The doorman bowed as Pierre’s boots thudded steadily across the marble entryway. An intoxicating breeze off the Mediterranean stirred the palm trees planted between every open window.
“Good afternoon sir,” the portly dark man wrapped in linen looked up from a tome wider than his desk. “Welcome to the Sofitel Cecil Hotel, do you have a reservation?”
“No, I’m afraid not,” Pierre replied with a heavy French accent. “I’m meeting someone in the restaurant.”
“What is their name Monsieur? Perhaps they are waiting for you already?”
“I rather doubt it,” Pierre tipped his hat and sauntered toward the sound of quiet conversation and clinking glasses.
“Monsieur?” the insufferable clerk objected. “You must leave that here with me.”
“It’s not even loaded, I just like the weight of it.” Pierre turned away once more.
“I must insist,” he continued, less courteous than before. “There can be no exceptions. Everyone else in Alexandria follows the same rule.”
Pierre Christoph walked back to the desk and dropped his prized six-shot revolver into a wooden chest next to the clerk. “It better be there when I get back.”
“Of course Monsieur, enjoy your visit.”
One brandy, two cigarettes, and forty-five minutes later, Pierre closed his grandfather’s battered gold pocket watch and slipped it back into his coat.
Where is she? he mused as the seagulls darted and shrieked at the shoreline. Sailboats and steamers filled the marina, dazzling sunlight shot across the cloudless sky. The wood-paneled restaurant managed to remain both mysteriously dark, and pleasantly airy. Thanks to the lacquered furniture and wide windows.
His withered bony fingers tapped incessantly. War is a young man’s game, he thought. Industry is for the foolish and the greedy. But this, Pierre stopped tapping and gestured to the breathtaking view in front of him, this is for a civilized man.