“Are you sure you weren’t followed?” Alfonso asked as he shut the door behind the blonde woman, a lock of shaggy dark hair flopping onto his large, lined forehead. He impatiently brushed it aside, as he turned to look at his visitor.
“I’m not an amateur,” the blonde said derisively, as she pulled a pack of cigarettes out of her purse.
“That doesn’t answer my question,” Alfonso stated, staring at the woman with challenging eyes.
In response, she rolled her own eyes. “Can I guarantee it? No. But obviously I don’t think I was followed, or I wouldn’t be here.”
She lit a cigarette and sat down on the ragged sofa, its former vibrant hunter green color long since faded into a dusty green, its fabric rubbed and torn in several places. Next to the sofa was a battered wooden table, its scarred surface providing a resting place for a glass ash tray with the logo of a long-defunct, third-rate motel chain etched on the bottom underneath a smattering of dark grey ashes.
The blonde flicked her cigarette into the ash tray and stared at her host defiantly.
“So, I’m here. What was so urgent?”
Alfonso took a moment before answering, his brown eyes serious, and his thin lips pressed into a rigid line.
Finally, he spoke.
“We have a serious problem we’re going to need to deal with.”