La Bella

La Bella

by Jeremy Bioletti

I checked into the Grand on the edge of downtown. There was a cold drizzle. From my room I could see across the road a pizza parlour, La Bella. A fluorescent light shining through the window. The other shops in the block were boarded up.

A quick online check told me it would open at five. That’s great. I thought. If it’s still raining at five I can just run across the road and grab a pizza for dinner.

I settled down to wait. As it approached five o’clock a young couple came out of the shop with cleaning gear. The young guy swept the path in front of the doorway and they drove off up the road. This looked promising and I was imagining what type of olives La Bella used in it’s pizzas. What type of pizza would I order? Was it just takeaway?  Perhaps they might have a table where I could sit down and eat it. Perhaps I might have a lasagna. I could chat to the owner about where they came from in Italy.

It went five o’clock. A young woman parked outside the shop and went and looked through the door. She looked Arabic and obviously had the same feelings for pizza that I did. There was nothing stirring inside the shop.

I felt there was still a chance that La Bella might open. Perhaps they had been held up. The young woman reluctantly walked away to her car and left.

I waited for a while but La Bella didn’t open and I thought I would go to the Fat Camel in the next street over.

Things were pretty quiet at the Fat Camel. I ordered some dolmades and a shashuka. A few people drifting in and out.

A young couple came in. She was tall with a wooly hat on. He was short and blond. They were obviously European but spoke a language I couldn’t recognize. Perhaps they were Slavic. They were definitely lovers and sat close chatting. They didn’t stay long.

I finished up with baklava and then ran through the rain back to the hotel. As I went up the stairs the young couple were just ahead of me heading for their room.

They then went further down the hall to their room and went in. They seemed happy. Without her wooly hat on I could see the girl had long curly hair.

I opened the door to my room, switched on my wifi and lay on my bed. As I pulled the curtains I looked outside.

It was still raining. La Bella was still closed.

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Jeremy Bioletti
Jeremy Bioletti is a criminal lawyer in Auckland New Zealand. Lately he has been enjoying writing flash fiction drawn from the places and people he meets in his travells.

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