I’m back home and this story has been sitting on a back burner for a few months, waiting for some more to be written.
The trouble is, there are also other stories to write, and I’m not very good at prioritising.
But, here we are, a few minutes opened up and it didn’t take long to get back into the groove.
Was I working for a ghost?
I sat in that room for an hour.
I had no doubt someone was on the other side of the mirrored wall, watching me, analysing my body language. I hoped I hadn’t given any indication that Nobbin was a name that I recognised, or knew, but I was still new to this game, and as much as I tried to perfect it, I still didn’t think I had a poker face.
More than likely I had a ‘tell’.
There was something else I had to worry about, and that was what approach this Dobbin would take. For instance, did he know that I had met up with the man in the alley, and stretching that big if, did he know who the man in the alley was, and was he one of ours.
Of course, that was another problem I had, and that was recognising who ‘ours’ were. It seems the people I knew, were not the same people who were really running the place.
Or, paradoxically, were these people, interlopers, trying to get intel on the group I was supposedly working for. But they hadn’t disavowed me, so I must be working for someone they approved or knew of.
An hour and a half, and I was beginning to think this might be another game by my previous interrogators. I was glad not to be on the other side of the mirror, trying to work out what I was ‘telling;’ them. Once, I’d got up and stared directly into the mirror, thinking I might be able to see who was behind it. I also thought of tapping it to see if I could get a reaction.
And, in fact, I was about to do that very thing when Nobbin walked through the door and closed it behind him.
I saw him do a quick check of the room, from the floor to the roof, and stopping briefly at the mirror, before sitting down.
“We probably have an audience for this discussion,” I said, inclining my head towards the mirror.
“You might be right, but I did ask for a clean slate, and if anyone is considering recording or viewing this interview, there will be dire consequences.” Looking at the mirror, he added, “I made that very clear at the highest level.”
He then looked back at me. “Your name, I believe, is Sam Jackson?”
“Yes.” My current working name, that is. Once deployed to the field we started using aliases, and my first and current alias was Sam Jackson. But how they made the passport look old and used for that legend was interesting, yet not a question anyone would answer.
“You were recently assigned to a surveillance team, for this man.”
He’d brought a folder with him and pulled out a photograph of the man I’d cornered in the alley.
“Is that him?”
Was there a right or wrong answer here?
“Who was leading this operation?”
“A man named Severin.”
It evoked no reaction. Nobbin had a poker face. In fact, I was beginning to think it was etched in stone.
“Do you know who he is?” I asked.
“No. But we will find out. Thank you for your time.”
He stood, gave me one last look, and left the room.
I waited a minute, and then followed him out, where a security officer was waiting to escort me out of the building.
On the steps outside, security pass returned, I wondered if that was then end of my tenure with that organisation. Or whether I actually had any tenure in the first place.
© Charles Heath 2019