Josh looked at the restaurant. The neon name danced back and forth and a crowd gathered outside. It was the hottest pasta bar in town.
“I can take your coat if you’re warm enough,” Josh said. His date didn’t seem to mind. She gave him an imperceptible smile. They walked to the back of the line and waited.
“These places always put on a show, but can you trust the food?” A fat man asked.
“Honey, you claim to get food poisoning everywhere we go.”
“Well, it’s because these fancy places think uncooked cuisine is fashionable.”
The line began to move.
“You see honey, we don’t have to wait very long after all.”
“That’s because people are getting poisoned.”
Josh was seated at a small table, near the window, looking out onto the lake.
“Just a table for one, sir?” The waiter asked.
“Oh no, my date is freshening up. She’ll be back soon.”
Josh waited and watched the couples, trying to assess if their dates were going well.
“Oh, you look just lovely this evening.” He got up and pulled out his chair for his date. “You know, these restaurants always have a secret behind them.”
“Really? I thought this place was new,” she said.
“The chef and the name are new, but the building is very old. I worked here 15 years ago. See the waiter over there, he’s been here all this time.”
“Well, he’s Italian, I guess he fits right in.”
“No, it’s not that.”
“A murder happened here.”
“Yeah, the police couldn’t find her body, but blood was splattered all over the kitchen. They tried to pin it on the waiter over there, but he had a rock-solid alibi.”
“How do you know this?”
“I worked in the kitchen.”
“Who do you think did it then?”
“Who knows. The real question is how the murderer got rid of her body. She was a waitress. The police suspected she was having an affair and her lover wanted to cover up the evidence. I do remember the soup special of the evening was to die for. The restaurant sold out and would have put tonight to shame.
“Why do you think he continued to work here after all these years?”
“Maybe he thought leaving made him look guilty.”
The waiter walked over. “I never thought I would catch you alive in this place?”
“Same here. What’s the statute of limitations on murder?”
“Life. Why ask me that question?”
“Why are you still hanging around here?”
The waiter clenched his fists.
“This is just getting a bit too tense for me. I’m going to freshen up.” Josh’s date left for the back room.
“Did you tell her the whole story about the soup special?”
“Well, she probably thinks you’re a potential murderer. That will only increase her excitement this evening.”
“Who do you think murdered that woman all those years ago?”
“Maybe the sous-chef. He was always a bit strange. He could’ve chopped her up into little pieces and fed her to the guests.”
“That’s a bit over the top, don’t you think?”
“Reality is stranger than fiction. I’ve got to go wait on that table over there. Enjoy your evening.”
“Same to you,” Josh winked. His date came back.
“Is that man gone? I think he was the murderer, for sure.”
“I can’t wait for our second date. Do you have any more stories?
“You’ll have to wait and find out.”
Josh escorted her to his car. “It looks like I have a flat. I’ll need to get my tire iron out.”
He made quick work of it and thought about the soup special. Maybe he could remember the recipe for when he got home. It was to die for.