It was an incredibly beautiful day.
The effects of the heat of the subtropical Sydney sun were wonderfully negated in Vince Balotelli's location. He was comfortably sitting in the green leafy shade covering in cool shadow the outdoor pavement seating of his favourite Spanish restaurant in MacMahon's Point. Soothing cool winds from the blue harbour that he had crossed by the ferry from Circular Quay gave things a heavenly touch.
It was the wonderful time after the lunch crowd and before the afternoon tea mob. Though dressed as a businessman in a tropical suit and panama hat that was hanging on the empty chair facing him, he now had no office to go to. He was no longer in need of excuses for being late, and he had no need to hide the smell of the red wine on his breath. In this wonderful time of his life, there was no more office for him to be at. He now had all the time in the world and all the world to do it in, but on this warm February Thursday afternoon he thought to himself that he couldn't have picked a better place to be. After an adult lifetime of week daily work of schedules to keep and deadlines to meet there was an odd feeling that time was somehow standing still at last for him.
On his table was a large green bottle of Italian sparkling mineral water, a French manufactured clear drinking glass to pour it in and a goblet of red Italian wine. On the edge of the table was a neatly folded Sydney tabloid nicknamed the Daily Terror as some time ago the Daily Telegraph had merged with the now defunct Daily Mirror. By his neatly polished brown dress slip on shoes was a matching brown attaché case. He was awaiting his Spaghetti Pomodoro with a small bowl of freshly grated Parmesan and a basket of bread. He had always thought it odd that his favourite Italian food was served by a Spanish restaurant.
He wasn't thinking of that today. His mind wasn't on the food either, nor the wonder of the day. He had fixed his attention to the woman sitting on a high stool at the bar that faced the intersection of the two tree lined streets.
She appeared to be in her late twenties or early thirties and to Vince she was a true work of art enlivening the perfect day.
Her blonde hair was wonderfully askew, too neat to be untidy, but it was delightfully casual. Her dress screamed 'smart casual' as well; a cotton seersucker blouse, navy blue slacks, a pair of tan stiletto heeled shoes that were perched on the bottom rung of her high stool and a matching tan handbag on her table.
She had a genuine smile and a soft wonderful laugh as she spoke softly in French into her Smartphone. She sipped champagne and had a bowl of strawberries on her table; she would display both of them to the lucky person she was chatting with. Though everything was going well for Vince he slightly but cheerfully envied the person she was talking to. As she was wearing earphones he could not hear his replies.
Wasn't technology wonderful?
He wondered where what he imagined her lover was. Metropolitan France, or France d'outre-mer? Was he speaking to her from a gloomy shabby Paris in the wee hours of a freezing February morning or from a beach in New Caledonia, Tahiti, or perhaps Martinique?
Vince pondered that now he had the means to travel to France. He'd plan his itinerary, waiting for the northern summer that was the Australian winter when he'd fly to Paris, then the Brittany coast, then the Cote D'Azur.
The proprietor now acting as a waiter brought Vince his lunch. He continued watching her as he dined and drank, noticing that between her smiles and laughs her look was intense.
''Scuse me, Sport. I wonder if I can "have a Captain Cook" at your form guide?'
A male Vince's age dressed in a navy blazer and grey slacks pointed at the folded newspaper.
'No worries, mate. Have a seat and a look.'
The newcomer handed Vince his Panama hat that was on the chair, that Vince put on top of an empty table. The racing fan had an identical brown attaché case that he opened to pull out a spectacles case. Vince was the only one to notice that besides the spectacle case the only contents of the case were bundles of United States currency. The visitor shut the case and placed it next to his foot.
The young lady was still carrying on her conversation and signalled the waiter for a refill of her champagne.
'Do you mind if I keep your paper?'
'No, mate. I've already finished it.'
The visitor picked up Vince's attaché case, opened it to put the paper in and examined the documents inside Vince's case.
'Catch ya later, Sport.'
As the racing fan walked to his car with the case he had swapped with Vince, several cars that had been parked on the side of the street suddenly had their hidden occupants pop up and blue lights flash as the cars drove to the racing fan's sedan to cut off his escape.
The French speaking woman now was facing Vince. She had a Glock automatic pistol and an Australian Federal Police badge in her hands and an intense expression on her face.
'Vincent Balotelli! You are under arrest for-'
He noticed that the Smartphone now facing him on her table had his image on it; he realised that she had a concealed camera and recording device in her handbag with him appearing on her phone.
Wasn't technology wonderful?
Author Notes: I am the author of three Extra Dimensional/Ultraterrestial military science fiction novels MERCENARY EXOTIQUE, OPERATION CHUPACABRA and WORK IN OTHER WORLDS FROM YOUR OWN HOME! as well as two travel books THE MAN FROM WAUKEGAN and TWO AUSTRALIANS IN SCOTLAND. I live happily ever after with my wife in paradise (coastal Kiama, NSW Australia).