I’ve had time to think about the next part of this opening sequence.
Long plane rides that leave in the dead of night are always conducive to working through plotlines because being on a plane in economy, the chances of getting any sleep is nigh on impossible.
And yet, this time the impossible is possible, which means that sleeping has overtaken the thinking process, and it will have to wait till I’ve woken up.
Of course, as usual, being in this interesting situation has provided another tangent, which is doing the impossible. It reminds me of a saying I once heard, ‘if you want the impossible it will take some time if want a miracle, that will take a little longer’. Temper that with ‘how long is a piece of string?’
When we last visited our intrepid wannabe hero, we were left with a cryptic ‘is anyone ever in the wrong place at the wrong time?’
Sometimes, but not for our particular hero.
It could be worse, I told myself, while the paramedic cleaned up my cuts and abrasions and gave me a concussion test, which, I suspect, might not quite discover if I was or not. But, at that moment, it didn’t matter.
I’d lost the person I’d been assigned to keep under surveillance.
It was meant to be a doddle, but of course, no one could ever predict what the conditions might be in any exercise, and whilst I was one part of a team effort, it had been on my watch, and I only realized what it was that I’d been doing when a voice in my ear started asking for an update, because it was coming up to the changeover.
I was surprised the noise of the explosion hadn’t been transmitted to the others. I waited till the paramedic had finished, a minute at most.
“I got caught up in an explosion, a couple of over-enthusiastic bank robbers, and taken down. The target was ahead of me.” I gave the team leader the exact location of where I’d last seen the target, then waited.
If the team was functioning properly, one of the other three should have been close enough to predict where the target would be at the change over point.
“Are you alright?” It was a question I’d expected earlier.
“Got caught in the aftershock, got a few cut and abrasions, and a ringing in my ears, but otherwise ok. The paramedics want me to go to the hospital to be checked over, mainly for a concussion, but I’m ok to resume if you want.”
A minute, two, of silence, then, “Do as they say. We have the target still under surveillance.”
And that was it, what I regarded as a massive fail, despite the circumstances.
I watched the paramedics load the battered policeman onto a gurney and head towards the ambulance. I went over to the cuffs and picked them up. A souvenir of the event, if nothing else.
Lights flashing and siren wailing it left, heading for the hospital.
I took a last look at the scene and started walking away in the direction I was originally heading, and once past the perimeter, walked through the group of bystanders who’d gathered to watch the event unfold. On the other side, I stopped, took another look back at the scene, and did the proverbial double take.
Standing not ten yards from me was the target.
And a quick look in every direction for the members of the surveillance team showed none of them was anywhere near the target.
I spoke quietly into the communication device.
“Target, I repeat, the target is in sight. Is anyone nearby by?”
So we now have a dilemma, if there is no answer from the team, are they maintaining radio silence, or is something more sinister afoot?
© Charles Heath 2019