The Losers of Lumina Lane

The First That Flunked

[66 Lumina Lane | 1005 hours Central Time, Day 1]

A little bit late for a breakfast, but late is better than none at all.

Thats what Roque Mendez thought when he sat upon his bed, his dirty blond hair messed up beyond recognition. A bed-ridden pillow face, more like.

Roque Mendez is not very muscular, although he has broad shoulders and partially chiseled abs. He has noticeably long legs contributing to his approximate 178 cm height, proportionate to his arms length, which has hints of muscle on both of its biceps. The arms are tattooed, too; the right shoulder has a tattoo of a cross decorated with a pair of angel wings, the right forearm has a tattoo of a dagger covering the entire inner side, and the left shoulder bearing a thick black tribal tattoo that ran all the way to his lower left neck.

Perhaps one of Mendez more distinct facial features is his jawline, which is sharp and narrow. His facial expression is always that of a smirk and his eyes have different-colored irises: the inner part blue, the outer part brown. His dirty blond hair is usually shaped into a forwards spike, although thats not the case this time. Two scars are plastered on his face: a long thin scar ran down from left to right narrowly missing his left eye, while a circular, hole-like scar is pegged into his forehead.

Mendez was barely conscious. But it was at that point as well that he received an epiphany of what he will eat for breakfast.

”Some omelets would be nice, ” he mumbled, as he slowly climbed out of his bed, making his way into the kitchen. He hasn an image of what exactly hes going to eat, but Mendez knows hes got a good number of options, given his experience.

Fridges open. No eggs left.

No eggs?

Mendez rummaged through the kitchen. Cupboards, cabinets, even the sink. No eggs. He briefly considered searching his whole apartment, but then realized that hes just a tad bit untidy, not a lowlife that doesn know how to handle his eggs. Besides, if the eggs were to end up anywhere other than his kitchen, wouldn he have known that already?

Still, it doesn change the fact that he didn have eggs when he needed them.

Not that he won be able to live without them, but when Mendez wanted eggs for breakfast, theres going to be eggs for breakfast. And with this lack of eggs… well, thats quite a hurdle, wasn it?

How come–actually, it doesn matter. Trying to find new eggs is tenfold more effective than sitting there lamenting on how the eggs went missing.

After all, from where hes living, eggs shouldn be pretty hard to come by. Not just a single egg, but a carton of a dozen eggs at that.

Mendez best option is located just below his apartment.

Cafe Aurores, thats what the place is called.

Might be bizarre for Mendez to just waltz in expecting the cafe to hand him even a single egg, much less a carton of eggs, but Mendez wasn just an ordinary patron or cafe regular. He does, after all, live literally above the cafe, so that mustve counted for something.

Should Mendez take the stairs down from the hallway where his apartments located, hell conveniently find himself already in the cafe, just beside the barista/bar counter where the co-owner usually hangs out.

Full names Morgan Dawn Cassidy. Mendez usually calls her Morgan.

At 35 years old, shes 2 years older than Mendez himself. She sports dark brown hair thats spun into a twisted low ponytail, although Mendez knows that it reaches her shoulder. While she does have subtle hints of wrinkles here and there, people would still readily believe that she hasn hit her fourth decade yet.

Mendez thought about walking up to Morgan and asking her for some eggs. Simple as that. If she requires it, hell pay for them, no problem. Even if she wanted the egg returned, hell return the eggs. With interest at that. Just a quick fetch was all he needed.

With the egg game plan all chalked up on his mind, Mendez put on his pair of stonewashed black jeans and black canvas sneakers before heading downstairs.

When he came down, cafes already open. Its supposed to open an hour before he wakes up, after all. Not bustling with customers just yet, but more than a couple of tables are already taken.

Mendez recognized all of the cafes early customers. All of the regulars, all of them know Mendez just as much as they know Morgan.

He is, after all, the cafes co-owner. Just next to Morgan.

”Good morning, Rock! ” greeted a voice from behind the bar. A womans voice, even-toned and enthusiastic without sounding too cheery. Mendez knows exactly to whom that voice belongs to.

”Ah, Morgan, ” said Mendez. ”Morning to you too. ”

Morgan is tending to the bar, hastily moving around preparing a cup of coffee, by the looks of it.

”Are you busy at the moment? ” asked Morgan.

Mendez couldve easily brought up the egg problem, but he noticed that Morgan was darting left and right, taking orders and brewing coffee, sometimes both at the same time. All of which convinced Mendez that the egg problem can wait.

”Nothing too urgent. ” replied Mendez.

”Alright then, ” quipped Morgan as she handed Mendez a tray of ham sandwich, ”can you please take this to Mr. OHara over there? ” instructed Morgan as she pointed towards an occupied table by the window.

”Sure thing, ” assured Mendez.

”When you
e done, can you please come back here, I got something else for you, ” said Morgan as she went back to her work. ”That is, if you
e still not busy. ”

”Well, I gotta ask you something as well, so Im gonna come back nonetheless. ”

”If you
e gonna propose to me, Rock, ” teased Morgan, ”then Im afraid I still have customers to serve. ”

”Oh, lets not get ahead of ourselves, shall we? ” jested Mendez as he set towards the table OHara sat on.

Might be a little weird for Mendez to suddenly start tending tables and serving up food mere seconds after he woke up, but then again its a lot better than just standing there looking like the cafes low-budget mascot. After all, this cafe is his main, if not only, source of income.

As Mendez approached OHaras table, he noticed that the cafe regular wasn alone. Opposite him sat a middle-aged upper-middle-class type man, just like OHara himself, only with a different face. A face Mendez didn recognize. Probably his friend, judging by the occasional laughs the two shared as they converse. The man apparently already has his order delivered: a plate of BLT sandwich.

”Mr. OHara, ” said Mendez as he put the plate on the table, ”one ham sandwich? ”

OHara initially merely thanked Mendez as if he was yet another cafe waiter, although his expression changed when he got a good look at whos actually serving him.

”Rocco! ” greeted OHara, delighted to see the face of his waiter. ”Good to see you! ”

”Pleasure as always, sir, ” smiled Mendez to OHara and his friend, who smiled back.

OHara noticed Mendez glance at his friend. ”Ah, Rocco, Id like to introduce you to my friend from work, Stan Oakley. ”

As Mendez and Stan shook hands, OHara proceeded to introduce Mendez to his colleague.

”Stan, meet Roque Mendez, ” said OHara, ”co-owner of this fine establishment. ”

Stans eyes widened. ”You… own this place? ”

Mendez smirked and shrugged, presumably both at the same time. ”Co-owner sounds a little too grand to me, ” he answered lightly. ”Lets just say Im a shareholder. ”

”Wow, really? ” exclaimed Stan, still amazed. ”So, hows business? ”

”Well, ” started Mendez, ”business is not exactly booming, but I wouldn say that we
e doing bad either. All this time weve always been able to get even with our expenses and then some, ” explained Mendez. ”Partly due to the loyalty of our regulars, such as your good friend here, ” Mendez said, motioning to OHara, who heartily laughed at Mendez remark.

”Oh, I just know where to find a nice hot cup of coffee is all, ” quipped OHara. ”Well, don let us keep you here. ”

Mendez stepped away from the table. ”Please enjoy your breakfast, gentlemen. ”

As OHaras table got further and further away, Mendez can faintly overhear OHara continuing his talk with Stan. It would appear that they were talking about him, although Mendez was convinced that they were talking good things, otherwise, their tones wouldve been much quieter, which wasn the case.

”Good, you
e back, ” said Morgan as Mendez returned the serving tray. ”I need you to fetch something from across the street for me. ”

”Don tell me, ” said Mendez teasingly, ”a carton of eggs. ”

Morgan halted for a moment to look at Mendez, a bit shocked. ”How did you know? ”

”I was just about to ask if you got some eggs, ” answered Mendez. ”Coincidences like this, you know they
e just waiting to happen. ”

”If thats the case, theres no such thing as coincidences, ” replied Morgan as she handed Mendez a $20 bill. ”Go get yourself a carton as well. ”

”No thanks, I bring my own cash. ”

”Well, in that case, go get me two cartons, ” said Morgan as she went back to her business. ”Thanks. ”

”No problem at all, ” replied Mendez as he prepared to cross the street.

The cafe is situated at a hook between two intersecting roads. The entrance is located precisely opposite of the intersection. Large windows occupy the sides of the cafe, exposing the bar where Morgan worked as well as the tables neatly arranged around it.

As Mendez found out earlier, his best option to get some eggs didn really work out, which led him to the second option, just across the cafe.

A 24/7 convenience store.

Owners already known Mendez well. Pretty nice guy. Mendez sometimes let him keep his changes, and in turn the owner would let Mendez into an exclusive uy-one-get-one-free policy. He would even give Mendez discounts for items he bought for the cafe. After all, Cafe Aurores acts as one of the convenience stores largest source of income.

The stores doorbell chimes as Mendez walked in. The owner greeted Mendez with a smile, asking how he can be of help today. Kind of weird for a convenience store, but then again, the owners on excellent terms with Mendez.

”Just fetching some eggs, ” answered Mendez. ”You haven ran out of those, have you? ”

”Of course not! ” said the store owner, pleased. He then motioned to the corner of the store, the furthest from the entrance. ”They
e at the back. ”

As Mendez made his way to the aisle containing the eggs, the front door bell chimed once again. Someone else entered the store.

The owner was silent. So this must be someone new. Someone the owner doesn really recognize.

Mendez took a quick look at the circular convex mirror–the ones that allow him to look at whoevers at the other aisle and beyond–located just above the racks containing the eggs.

Apparently, it was someones. As in, two persons. All black from head to toe, by the looks of it. They wear some really heavy coats though as if they were carrying something heavy in it. Walk pretty fast, too, and towards Mendez direction at that. Duly noted, alright.

When Mendez reached the very end of the aisle, right in front of the egg racks, he heard a pair of distinct sounds.

Schuk-chuk.

Hes heard that before.

Its a shotgun, pumped before ready to fire.

Adrenaline jolted through Mendez body. Part of him wanted to turn back to see if it is truly a shotgun or just some BB gun with harmless pellets in it. But another part of him knew how stupidly useless that would be.

Too late for that now.

Its do or die, baby.

Mendez dove to his right.

BANG!!

Not a split-second too soon.

It is, indeed, a real shotgun with real lethal pellets in it.

And Mendez was its supposed target.

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