A walk by the seafront
They walked down the seafront, idly chatting at first.
The taller man asked after the shorter man’s children, and expressed the apparently required impressive noises when the latter showed pride in their achievements. And the smaller man made equally respectful gestures when the other talked about the recent successes his horse had achieved.
That took care of the first twenty minutes.
They didn’t know each other well, but the mutual friend who’d suggested they meet had been enthusiastic about how well they’d get on together. And, to their pleasant surprise, they slowly discovered he’d been correct.
Sure, both had things in their pasts that would have to be discussed, or politely ignored, but as they continued to walk, and talk, edginess and nervousness gradually eased.
The first time a genuine laugh occurred, though, it surprised both of them equally and the mutual smiles afterwards were recognised and acknowledged.
As they continued their stroll, paying attention only to each other, they discussed careers and character, preferences and promotions, acknowledging both the similarities and differences between them as people and professionals.
And then they stopped at a doughnut stand, and the taller man bought six. He held out the bag to the shorter man and waited, patiently.
And when the policeman took the ringed cake, and bit into it, the two men looked at each other, understanding each other completely.
The career criminal smiled. As first bribes went, he’d known larger ones, but it would suffice for now.