Sometimes I feel like I've written myself in a corner, or that what I thought should happen doesn't work. This is one of those stories. Though we've had some good adventures with Pierre and Co.(Fires 3, 13, and 23), sometimes you have to sacrifice to build up to more exciting outings. One of the reasons I started this was to learn those problems and solutions in writing a series and coming up with a different tale every week. It's not always great, but it is always here, and I thank you all for that.
Le Mon looked at the barren plot of land where the Potan Del La De Magnus has stood just at two years ago. Nothing had been built in its place, kept as a grave to the finest and greatest restaurant Florence would ever know.
Popping the top to his Cool’s Light, he poured a bit in the ground, allowing the fizzing bubbles to stop and soak in before pouring another spill on top.
“And one to you as well, my truest of friends.”
The last year had been hard. Not only was the food truck impounded and never afforded release, Pierre, Le Mon, and Claudia were whisked back to Europe, the allure of other jobs and ready employment. But before they all left, they had made a promise.
A cheery “Hell-lo” with that familiar, feminine French accent came from behind Le Mon, breaking away his drift into the past and caught staring at the exposed dirt. He knew who it was as he turned with a smile and was grabbed up in hug from Claudia.
“How are you?” Le Mon earnestly asked.
Claudia took a second to reply, also caught in the sight of nothingness where the Potan had towered above the other restaurants of Florence, Italy.
“I… Sorry Le Mon. Zings are well enough. I miss zis place.”
Claudia and Le Mon stood there for a little while just looking, Le Mon offering her a Cool’s Light and her politely declining. She never did care for that foul beverage Le Mon was so fond of drinking during the anniversary of the Potan.
“Why do you always drink zose anyway, Le Mon?” Claudia asked, never really wondering till at that moment when he tried to offer her one.
“It brings me back to when this was all I could afford. I would party so much that all I had enough for was enough Cool’s Light to keep me drunk through the week.”
Le Mon took a deep drink of the rest of his first can and then popped the top to another one.
“Now that I don’t drink except for the Anniversaries. Pierre kept me sober, a condition of my employment working at the Potan 16 years ago now.”
“I never knew, only zat you drank zose horrible zings till ze whole party zmelt like zem.”
Le Mon spit his mouthful of suds with unexpected laughter at her observation. She was nothing if not correct about the foul smell these fucking abominations of brewery produced.
“Where are you working now, Le Mon?” Claudia asked after some more moments of sidetracked silence.
“At the Il Santo Bevitore.”
Claudia gave a little laugh.
“What?” Le Mon questioned, a little hurt by Claudia’s laugh. “It’s a very fine restaurant! Not as nice as the Potan, but what…”
Claudia interrupted him, still giggling. “ No, no no, Le Mon. It’s funny because it means ‘Ze Holy Drinker’ in Italian.”
Le Mon chortled at that too. He never did pick up Italian during all his time in Italy, but he never needed to learn, he knew the international language of good cooking.
Their jovialness was temporarily interrupted by another familiar voice.
“I see that our tradition and promise holds true.”
Pierre had arrived, looking weathered, ragged, and worn. First, Claudia gave him a leapt-up hug, while Le Mon gave a stern hug, noticing a smokey, dusty-worn smell hovering his friend.
“There is also someone who would like to say hello.”
Pierre snapped his fingers in the air and a black sudan, parked down the cobblestoned street. It drove up quickly and a familiar and forgotten face stepped out.
“Michael!” Both Claudia and Le Mon gasped audibly at the same time. Michael was the cleaning contractor who’s actions had caused the Potan to burn to the ground two years ago.
“Yes, yes, yes, Michael has come to join us.” Pierre confirmed. “Wasn’t there something you had to say, Michael?”
Michael looked much rougher than Pierre. As though he hadn’t slept, showered, or ate in some time. Which was true, Michael did not have the best of times coming here to the anniversary of the Potan.
“I… I…” Michael appeared nervous, as if saying the wrong words would be his last. “I’m sorry I burned down the Potan and ran away with the insurance money. I’m sorry I tried to gain monetary fortunes from the miseries of the employees of the Potan.”
Pierre then snapped his fingers again. “Thank you, Michael. You are dismissed.”
Michael’s eyes brightened up. He was going to say something but decided against it and just hurried off, never seen or heard from again.
Claudia and Le Mon weren’t shocked, they were more amused that Pierre had made Michael come all the way here just to apologize. There had to be a story behind that.
Pierre then pulled a property deed from his jacket pocket. It was for the empty lot in front of them.
“My truest friends, the Potan Del La De Magnus has risen again.”