Waiting for The Messenger

kale decolletageYou could say that Franky Gumbo was a type. Maybe your type. Maybe he fits your profile tighter than a Victorian corset. Franky Gumbo, the swarthy, foul-mouthed tough whose leather-jacketed exterior concealed a tender heart that had been crushed by a childhood so brutal even his neighbors had PTSD.

But if you told him that’s what you saw, Franky would’ve slit your throat and licked the blood off his switchblade. He’d worked so hard to overcome his sensitive self that he long ago left it for dead. Monica Ray knew otherwise, from the moment she glimpsed him — looking completely out of place at the farmer’s market — stationed between the dino kale and kholrabi, waiting for The Messenger.

Monica didn’t exactly blend in either, with her dramatic décolletage and crimson stilettos. But she had her reasons, and now there was something besides heirloom tomatoes that she couldn’t resist.

She sidled up to Franky, gently fondling her tomato. “How do you like your kale?”

Franky eyeballed her like a carnivore who’d had nothing but kibble…for years.

“I like it fuckin’ fresh and wet,” he grunted.

Just the tone Monica had hoped for.

“Oh,” she purred, “you know, if you simmer it long and slow it becomes tender, pliable and succulent.”

“Zat so? Maybe you wanna gimme some cookin’ lessons sometime.”

The smell of roiling pheromones suddenly overwhelmed even the most pungent cruciferous vegetables causing nearby shoppers to scatter like fruit flies.

“My kitchen is fully equipped,” Monica offered, “and my oven is hot.”

Before he could wipe the drool from his chin, Franky was jerked back to Earth by the sight of a top hat bobbing above the throng at a goat yogurt stand. This could be the guy. Craning his neck for a better look, Franky discovered that it was actually a steampunk anarchist in spats, welding googles, and not much else.

Monica Ray did not appreciate being ignored. “Can the produce,” she said, lobbing the tomato over her shoulder, “I just wanna smoke your sausage and coddle your eggs.”

Franky was torn between professional obligation and primal hunger, helpless as a leaf of butter lettuce in the hands of a prep cook. But damn it, he was on a job here. He couldn’t let his dick lead him astray again.

With immense effort he pulled away from Monica’s force field and fumbled for some baby bok choy.

Monica brushed up against his backside. “Whatsa matter Franky, you scared?”

Franky shuddered at the sound of his name. The bok choy slipped from his fingers, landing noiselessly on the hot, sticky pavement.

The Messenger had arrived.


© Lisa Martinovic