A Simple Dinner
The tiger jiggled the locks on his windows. Troy slowly inspected his apartment, idly stepping over a tripwire on his way to the security system. His clawed fingers tick-tacked on the keyboard while he ran a diagnostics check of his security cameras. Once satisfied, he put the computer to sleep.
Troy nodded once, grabbing a three-piece, black suit with blue trimming and a matching navy tie. With care, he pulled the white dress shirt over his muscled form, trying not to stretch the silky fabric. The tiger walked barefoot to his bed and knelt down, pulling open a secret compartment and clicking a few digits on a keypad. His safe opened, and he pulled out a wad of non-sequential bills, two handguns, and a holster. Troy doubted that even with this, he'd be prepared for his next encounter.
The tiger stood up, pulling on a pair of black socks and recently-shined shoes. Troy peered through the peep-hole before exiting his apartment, locking the door, deadbolt, and making sure the electric lock beeped.
He made sure to walk around and check underneath his unassuming, black sedan. When he found no trace of bombs, he eased himself through the driver's door and into the leather seat. A jolt of anxiety shot through his body until the car hummed to life without a surprise.
He drove to the Italian restaurant without incident. Perhaps tonight would go off without a hitch. Troy stepped out, adjusting the cuffs of his suit before entering.
He saw her immediately; a tiger who he definitely knew was older than him despite her youthful face. She wore a rich blue dress that flowed easily over her slim, striped frame and matched his suit. She wore a pair of white opera gloves that extended up to her elbows.
When Troy met her eyes, her lips split into a sublime grin, and she happily waved him over. ``Troy, Darling. Come here!''
His shoulders slumped briefly before he corrected himself. He had to stay on target tonight, despite the inner dread. He glided over with practiced grace, taking her arm and leading her to a nearby table. He pulled the chair out for her, and she sat delicately, keeping a paw on her blue purse.
When Troy took a seat on the opposite side, she dived right in. ``Glad to see you were on time. I've been anxious to see you again.''
``Of course. I wouldn't miss this for the world,'' he lied. He flagged down a waiter, sliding a hundred dollar bill into his paw. ``Please fetch us your finest bottle of wine and a couple of appetizers to start with.''
The waiter, a coyote, gazed hard into Troy's eyes. He departed and returned with a dark red wine and two glasses before disappearing swiftly, leaving the two tigers alone. Troy swirled the wine and went to take a heavy drink.
The woman then steepled her paws, gazing at Troy with intensity. ``So... Do you have a lover yet?''
Troy went wide-eyed and coughed into his glass. When he recovered, he glared at the woman. ``Mom! Don't just dive into stuff like that! Damnit, I could have choked!''
The woman, his mother, laughed heartily, the light dazzling in her eyes. Being in her 50s had done nothing to wear away her gentle, kind face. ``Well, what do you expect? I haven't seen you since my birthday. Didn't realize it took me getting older or Mother's Day for you to visit with me.''
Troy groaned a bit, pressing a paw to his head, trying to hide his shame. ``You know how it is, Mom. I get really busy.''
``I know, Dear. But, I do miss you. It's good to see you again.'' She smiled, her fragility still seeming a distant fact. One gloved paw swirled her glass of wine while the other remained hidden under the table. She took a few delicate sips. ``Ah, this is a good one. Nice and sweet, just how I like.'' She paused, taking in her son's visage. ``Well, if your love-life is off limits, perhaps you could tell me how your job is going?''
The male tiger patted his muzzle from the previous mess, tightening his other paw in his lap. This was why he hated visiting her. She had raised him to be truthful, and all he could do now was lie to her.
``Oh, you know, I'm just working for that security firm. Nothing too crazy, but, it keeps me busy.'' He nonchalantly pulled at his glass of wine.
Troy saw a frown tugging at her lips, and did his best to ignore it. Just then, the waiter from before came back over with a plate of appetizers. Troy's eyebrow climbed when he noticed a cloth that seemed to be concealing the coyote's other paw. He glanced up to the server and could not read his expression.
The coyote glowered at Troy, his voice icy. ``The Taggarts send their best dish.'' In a fluid motion he pulled out a small pistol with a silencer.
Troy immediately reached for his concealed firearm, but, he already knew that he was too slow. The coyote was already moving to point the weapon straight for his head. The tiger felt that all-too-familiar sensation of millions of thoughts and memories flashing through his mind.
The coyote pulled the trigger, until a loud bang erupted followed by a shot piercing the coyote's chest. He fell limply to the ground, his pistol sliding away.
Troy turned, and saw his mother delicately holding a compact gun. She looked back at him with a motherly smile before laughing again.
``What, you didn't expect that reaction?'' She set down the gun and removed the glove, wrapping the gun inside it. She idly took another sip of wine before dabbing her chin with a napkin. ``Now, Troy, please tell me what you're actually doing. Mother won't always be here to protect you.''
Now it was Troy's turn to grin. What a woman.
By: Novak C