Hugo sat in the waiting room, waiting. The walls were peach coloured, the floor shone, pot plants occupied strategic corners. On a television mounted on the wall a video played on a loop. He watched it for the fifth time.
Guy sat watching the foreman’s sweat-lined lips moving, not hearing a word. Something about birds nesting in the coil. He’d never liked the foreman, a fat man, aggressive, whose tiny amount of power had gone to his head. He could hear the restlessness of the crew all around him — this was eating into their lunch break. He listened for the buzzer.
The man staring at Guy across the table had a chest, shoulders and arms built for bending iron bars. He folded them and said, “I don’t trust him.”
There was a man standing at the foot of the stairs talking to the proprietor. He was short, dressed in a black suit, a black trilby on his head. While they watched he took off the hat and ran a hand over his short hair before accepting a glass of water. They watched him drain it and hand it back, with his hat, to the proprietor.
Every time she moved the bangles on her wrist clicked together. She reached across him for the cigarettes on the bedside table and sat up. He watched her light two at once, lean over and press one between his lips.