This 'get a feel for retirement' holiday of James' is beginning to grate on Robbie's nerves. He will admit--to himself if not to James, but Lord knows he can't keep much from the man--that the heat feels good in his bones, but the crowds of chattering tourists by day and drunken punters by night make him feel like he's back on patrol, fingers itching for his truncheon. Not exactly how he wants to go about feeling twenty years young again. Now, he is stuck trying to make a path to the Cafe du Monde, crowds pushing him one way and then two steps back the other. He and James should never have gone their separate ways at breakfast, no matter how ridiculous that 'zydeco' festival had sounded.
Hard fingers clutch at his elbow, fingers digging in. "C'mon now, pops," some skinny, mad thing, all elbows and fingers, says, and then the lad's spitting curses out to either side and dragging Robbie across the street. The lad--well, a young man, but they're all lads these days--sets them both to rights, and stands next to him, chewing his lips and staring at him through sly blue eyes.
"Y'all damn tourists need to watch where you going," he says, in a drawl so thick Robbie's almost certain he's having it on.
Robbie raises his eyebrows, and nods towards the crowd. "Suppose I should thank you then," he says, "for setting me to rights."
The lad grins, suddenly, brilliantly, and shrugs his thin shoulders. "No thing, old man," he says, with enough edge that Robbie knows the lad's aware of just how little Robbie appreciated the help. He tugs his hand through a thatch of dark curls, and flicks his hand over his shoulder. "Got myself a hot little number tonight. Take me ten minutes get through this crowd but for you, and my boy don't like to be kept waiting."
And before Robbie can do more than purse his lips and set his hands to hips, the lad's away off the street, whistling a broken tune.