The first thing he remembered was the sweet smell of bacon. Not just any bacon, but some sort of glazed sweet smelling bacon. His eyes and his brain battled to be the first to regain focus. Something felt cold against his face. “Wha…what happened,” he tried to mutter but what tasted like a mouthful of blood kept the words from fully forming.
“Spit it in the trash can asshole,” said a gruff busied yet calm voice.
Tommy Kirk’s eyes started to win the battle and he quickly realized that he was sitting in a kitchen. The cook or chef or whatever the fuck you’d call him was a burly, half-shaven and knit cap topped mountain of a man. “Keep the flank steak on that face my man, or that face is gonna swell up like a two year olds birthday balloons.”
Kirk felt a slab of something cold in his own hand. He pulled it from his face and glanced down. Sure as shit it was a hunk of red meat. He tried to crack a smile but the only thing that felt like it cracked was his orbital bone around his right eye. He leaned over and spit a mouthful of blood into the little red bucket the chef had placed beside his seat.
“What happened?” he mumbled.
“You my friend,” the chef replied cheerfully, “to put it bluntly, took one for the team.”
“I did what?”
“You saved McFinn’s ass my friend.”
McFinn, oh shit, McFinn…that’s right. Kirk remembered – the fancy cocktail joint, that guy raising the hefty white plate over his head behind him…
“And…you saved one of my best plates!” the chef laughed. “You’ve got a soft noggin dude. Didn’t even chip the thing! I owe you.”
“Who was that guy?” Kirk whispered.
“It doesn’t matter man,” the chef said with a suddenly very serious tone but never breaking stride with the dough he was working dutifully. “Here’s the deal. ‘That guy’ is very bad news. I’ve dealt with him many a time in my day job. He is serious business in this town. Very serious.”
His tone was sufficiently ominous to keep Kirk’s attention.
“He obviously had a “job” to do, and you warning Kirk like that – while heroic in most eyes – is very likely a death sentence in some other eyes.”
Kirk silently mused to himself, “of course”