11. What Did Those Thugs Want With Our Marco? #RRBC

Nonnie Jules is the founder and President of RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB, as well as interviewer of RRBC authors in the famed, “Who’s On The Shelf With Nonnie?” interviews. Her interviewing skills are legendary and she decided to accompany Author, John Fioravanti, through space and time to another galaxy 700 years into the future. Nonnie’s goal is to meet the key personalities on planet Genesis featured in Fioravanti’s series, The Genesis Saga, and utilize her formidable skills to find out something more about these characters. This scene is the eleventh of many, which will follow.

Setting:   In the last episode, Nonnie expressed her desire to know more about Marco Rossini. As well, she said she’d like a cup of coffee. An instant later, Nonnie found herself sitting in a café of some kind, in a booth with John. She’s not panicked, having been through this before, but she is surprised as she looks around the café and peers through a nearby window to orient herself.

Nonnie:       (Whispers insistently, not wanting to make a scene.) “John!! Where are we now? Still at home on Earth? Never been in this place…”

John:        (Interrupts her, mid-sentence) “Relax, Nonnie! We’re back on Genesis – in the Campus Café on the University of Genesis City campus. But there’s no need to whisper since this time we can’t be seen or heard.”

Nonnie:       (Suddenly agitated) “What?!! You mean I can’t order a cup of coffee?”

John:        (Smiling sweetly) “Coffee isn’t good for you!”

Nonnie:      (Annoyed) “One cup won’t hurt anyone! Never mind, darnit! So… why are we here if I can’t talk to anybody?”

John:        (Helpfully) “You can talk to me…”

 

            (Just then, Nonnie is distracted as a young woman with long, dark hair enters the café with two men in tow. She takes a seat in a booth on the far side of the café, while the men make their way to the kitchen area. A few minutes later one of the men emerges and sits at a table near the young woman’s booth and a few moments later the other emerges wearing a waiter’s uniform.)

 

Nonnie:       “What’s happening? Who are those rough-looking guys? They can’t be students or faculty, can they?”

John:        (Calmly) “We are here to watch, Nonnie. Be patient because…”

 

(Soon after, Professor Marco Rossini enters the café, briefcase in hand. He looks around briefly, walks past Nonnie and John’s booth without looking at them, and heads in the direction of the young woman who waved at him.)

 

Nonnie:       “Hey! That’s Marco! (Sounding hurt and confused) He didn’t even stop to say hello – after we spent almost a whole day with him. What…”

John:        “I told you, Nonnie, no one can see or hear us. Now just watch…”

 

As soon as he stepped inside, Marco saw that the café was empty except for Beth Carter, who waited for him in a rear booth, and one man, sitting at a nearby table. He’d expected a crowd of students and faculty at this time of day.

Carter caught sight of him, and smiling, she waved at him. Nodding in acknowledgement, he made his way to her booth, placed his briefcase on the seat opposite her and sat beside it.

“I’m surprised this place is empty.”

“Perhaps it’s just the lull between the lunch crowd and the after classes crowd,” she offered with a shrug of her shoulders. “I took the liberty of ordering your coffee. I hope you don’t mind, sir.”

Just then a waiter appeared with two steaming cups, a dish of creamers and sugar packets.

“Cream and sugar?”

 

Nonnie:       “John! That guy’s no waiter! What’s going on…” (John urges her to be still and just watch as the event unfolds.)

  

Marco shook his head, “I take it black, thanks.” The professor took a sip, surprised to experience an unpleasant aftertaste once he’d swallowed the coffee. He smiled, checked the time and urged Carter to begin the discussion about her research paper.

 

Nonnie:       “Did you see that? She put something in his coffee! John, we have to stop…” (Again, John cuts her off, holding both hands up, in front of her.)

 

Beth launched into her topic, explaining how Athenian democracy in ancient Greece on Earth fascinated her. Marco listened, as he sipped his coffee, wondering when this girl was going to get to the issue that was giving her trouble. As she questioned how the paper should be structured, his vision began to blur. He shook his head and rubbed his eyes trying to stay focused on her words.

Before long, he put his cup down and loosened his necktie. “So warm in here… ugh… don’t feel well.” As he looked at his companion across the table, the room began to move, the hanging lights flickered, and his body fell sideways along the bench. He saw Beth get up, felt someone grab his arm, and then, everything went dark.

 

Nonnie:       “Oh my God!” (Nonnie stands up, intending to march over to help the stricken professor. John stands and grabs her arm.)

John:        “Look, Nonnie, we can’t interfere…”

Nonnie:       (She shakes off his hand in her agitation.) “Are y’all just going to sit there and do NOTHING? How can you?” (Just then she is distracted by movement from the kitchen area.)

 

The phony waiter joined the man sitting at the nearby table. Together, they eased Rossini out of the booth, and grabbed his arms and legs, while Beth took his briefcase. They carried the professor through the kitchen and out the rear door into an alley where a car waited. The real waiter, the cashier, and the cook were unconscious at a table near the back door. No one inside or outside the café saw Rossini being manhandled into a car which sped away.

Five minutes later, the three drugged café employees regained consciousness, wondering what happened to them. Once they were steady enough, they checked the café and found nothing amiss. The window shutters were closed and a sign hung on the door saying the café was under repair. They looked at each other, shrugged and returned to their jobs. The waiter cleared the booth and the other table, while the cook went about his preparations for the impending supper hour. They decided not to share the mystery with anyone else. It wasn’t worth losing their jobs.

 

Nonnie:       (Nonnie sits down heavily in her booth, and stares at John in disbelief.) “We just witnessed a kidnapping, didn’t we? (John nods in the affirmative, but says nothing. She leans forward.) So who were those thugs? What did they want with our Marco?”

John:        “Well, my friend, I can’t tell you that right now. I can say that those people messed with the wrong guy!”

Nonnie:       (Nonnie continues in a tone betraying her frustration.) “Tell me, John, is Marco going to be okay? They won’t kill him? My God! Won’t he be missed?”

John:        (John nods his head in the affirmative and checks his wristwatch.) “Indeed! Just relax and in a little while, we’ll see some folks come in here that are very concerned about Marco’s disappearance.”

 

Join us for the next episode in the Campus Café!

 

 

About John Fioravanti

Author, John Fioravanti writes non-fiction as well as fiction in the sci-fi genre. He's a retired secondary school educator and a lifelong learner. He considers himself a work in progress and welcomes the opinions and insights that others may have about his work. He prizes dialogue about meaningful topics, so please leave your thoughts!

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