Nice begonias, he said, tossing his hat on the table.
Begonias? A Mean Guy knows what kind of flowers they are?
His eyes roamed the yard, scanned the terrace. Nodding, he settled into the chair. He glanced over at the table.
“You might want to refinish that. The poly is peeling off. Look, I don’t have long. What do you want to know?”
I want to know everything. I want to know who he is, where he comes from, where he lives, what makes him get up in the morning, does he have any friends….How does a Mean Guy know anything about furniture? Did he learn how to build bookcases in shop class — or was it when he was in prison for the first heist?…What are his goals? His motivations? His conflicts?…Writers hardly ever get to sit down with a Mean Guy in person….What question will go straight to the heart and reveal his soul, help me get his GMC right?
“You want coffee?” I want him to feel comfortable, to talk freely. Should I be recording our conversation? No, he wouldn’t allow it.
“Hot and strong. Half cream. Four sugars.” He put his feet up on the wall. “Thanks.”
Who would have guessed? A polite Mean Guy who drinks coffee with loads of cream and sugar. I took down a mug and put away the shot glass for the whiskey that I assumed a Mean Guy would want first thing in the morning. Shoveling sugar into his light brown coffee, I heard a grunt and the scrape of a chair outside.
He’d left his hat — and taken a begonia.