Clement left the Bagel Fortress Bakery with a pit in his stomach. Instead of answers, he was left with more questions.
Out the corner of his eye he noticed a guy leaning against the wall. He looked like a caricature from a film noir.
The two made eye contact. The man tipped his fedora and slunk over.
“You buy Donnie breakfast?” asked the mysterious stranger.
“Who wants to know?” asked Clement.
“So you say,” said Clement. He was beginning to feel like he was in a 1930‘s detective flick.
“You’re in over your head in this one, Mack,” warned the mysterious stranger.
“My name’s not Mack. And if you got somethin’ to say, then spill it. If not, then scram.”
The mysterious stranger measure Clement with a critical eye. “Alright, I think I can trust ya.”
“Let’s start with your name.”
“George. George Twill.”
“What’s your business with Emperor Don?” asked Clement.
George cringed. “Don’t tell me he got to you, too.”
“What d’ya mean?”
“Donnie’s no emperor. He’s my brother.”
Clement thought there should’ve been dramatic organ music. “So he has a family. Does he have a home, too?”
“Of course he’s got a home, when he wants to stay there. But he’s crazy. We try to keep tabs on him so he doesn’t hurt himself or anyone else,” explained George.
“He seems harmless enough,” said Clement.
George looked around to see who was listening. “Harmless, eh?” he whispered. “People believe him. Worse yet, people believe in him. There’s nothing more dangerous than misplaced faith.”
Clement adjusted his coat. “Thanks for the advice.”
“You seem like a smart guy. Don’t get sucked in. He’s a confused old fool. That’s all.”
Clement nodded and walked away. George slipped around the corner and hid.