They chose a popular delicatessen on the south side of town. A cold front had moved through the area, plunging the temperatures into the 50’s; typical for November. Phillip got out of his car. Dressed in a Humphrey Bogart-style outfit straight out of the 1940’s, he wore a three-piece black suit, complete with pocket watch and fedora hat. As Robert parked his car, he caught sight of the fashionable man. Their eyes reacquainted the two men in a momentary gaze. Robert was so distracted by the sight of Phillip he tripped on the curb, almost falling. While he was always attracted to Phillip, the sight of the buff, plain-clothed cop being his eccentric self brought back his strong feelings for the man.
Phillip met Robert at the deli entrance, marveling at the aide’s appearance. He was dressed in a navy pinstriped suit hugging all the right places and his once boldly-highlighted hair had been restored to its original brown. The length hadn’t changed though, still down to his chin. Robert smiled and they strode quickly into each other’s open, waiting arms. Sharing their embrace, both men relaxed their stature. It seemed like old times.
“You look amazing Phil! Those classic looks have always looked wonderful on you. And check out your fine physique! How much weight did you lose?”
Phillip smiled. “Over 40 pounds. After I passed the exam to be a cop, I wanted to keep it off.” Eager to shift the focus away from his appearance, he poked his friend on the shoulder. “You look extremely important, Robert. It looks like being a politician agrees with you.”
The young aide grinned. His eyes traveled over Phillip’s body, until his ornate wedding band caught his eye in the sunlight. His demeanor quickly changed. “Yeah, it does.” His stomach growled loudly. “Hey, I’m starving; let’s eat.”
Phillip nodded. “Lead the way.”
The old-style deli, Weissbratten’s, had been on the corner of Randolph and Main for over 75 years. The business was now on their fourth generation of operation. The neighborhood had seen enormous change over the life of the business; but the popularity had not waned. The lunch crowd was still very smitten with the restaurant’s fare. The specialty of the house was the Reuben Sandwich, something both men had always enjoyed immensely.
Phillip flipped open his wallet. “Here, let me get that for you.”
Robert smiled politely. “No, it’s alright. I’ve got money.”
“Come on, I owe you at least a sandwich.” Phillip pleaded.
Robert looked to his friend and then to the person at the counter, and paid for his sandwich. “It’s ok. I can take care of it myself.”
They scanned the deli’s interior in search of a place to sit, but there were no tables available. Despite the weather, the few tables outside were also occupied.
“Hey, Rob, let’s sit in my car. There's nowhere else to sit. And it’s still warm from the heater.”
Robert hesitated for a moment. He lost himself in thought as his mind filled with scenarios.
“What…I’m sorry, what were you asking me?”
Noticing that Robert was very distracted, Phillip began to lose his nerve. “I asked, if you wanted to eat lunch in the car.”
“Yes, of course.” Robert stammered.
They walked to the Chevy Monte Carlo and entered. Sitting in silence for the first few minutes, they concentrated on their delectable sandwiches. Robert was ravenous, gulping his down in less than five minutes time.
“Sorry, I didn’t have time for breakfast. Been busy.”
“Did you even taste it?”
“A little. Maybe I could enter a food contest, I can really wolf ‘em down.”