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 prioritizing.
But, here we are, a few minutes opened up and it didn’t take long to get back into the groove.
Chasing leads, maybe
I’d expected more questions from her, but the ride in the train to Wimbledon, and then to the car, she had very little to say. There was no doubt she was intrigued by the offer, but there was some trepidation too.
But it didn’t auger well for her longevity if she trusted people this easily. I had expected a lot more questions if only to find out what the job was.
Then, by the time we reached my car, it seemed she had time enough to think about everything.
“How do I know you’re not going to kill me too?”
She was standing on the other side of the car, yet to open the door. I was about to get in.
I looked at her across the roof.
“I could have done that ages Ago if that was my intention.”
“Not in a public space unless absolutely necessary.”
She was quoting the manual.
“So, I’m about to take you to a quiet spot in the country and shoot you?”
“Unlikely. You don’t have a gun with you.”
“A knife then?”
“I’m sure you don’t have one of those either. Besides, there’s a few other ways that don’t require weapons.”
I was astonished this was the conversation.
“I asked for your help, and that wasn’t to practice my killing skills. But, where we’re going that might happen to either of us.”
“Where are we going?”
“To a residence in Peaslake. Do you know of it? It’s about an hour away, southwest, I think. I’m not expecting to find anyone, but I am looking for a USB drive.”
“This O’Connell character’s?”
A few seconds passed as she took that in, then, “If you are not expecting anyone to be there, why do you need me?”
“Rule whatever number it was, expect the unexpected. And get back up if it’s available. And there are other people looking for these documents, and the USB. Not friendly people I might add. I have no idea if they have the same information I have, so I’m expecting the unexpected. We have worked together and you know me.”
We had performed several assignments together for training purposes, as each of us had with the other four. She hadn’t been the best, but she hadn’t been the worst.
I saw her shrug. Acceptance?
She opened the door and got in.
It took me 15 minutes to get to the A3 and head towards Guildford.
A few minutes later she asked, “What the hell did we sign up for?”
“What do you mean? I thought it was pretty straight forward. Something other than a dull as ditchwater 9 to 5 job behind a desk.”
“I mean, don’t you think it’s odd we do all of this stuff for 6 months, almost to the day, then get an assignment, and it all goes wrong.”
“That our instructors were frauds?”
“We didn’t know that, and apparently they didn’t either. Do you know if any of it was real?”
“Seemed to me it was. And we only have this Monica’s word that Severin and Maury are frauds. I mean, I was surprised to learn they allegedly didn’t exist, but you and I both know that in organizations like the security services have wheels within wheels, departments unknown to other departments, event MI5 or the police, so who’s to say what really happened.”
“And you say you now work for this character Dobbin, whose another department head. As is this Monica.”
Put like that, it seemed very confusing.
“There are others that I’ve run into, working for both Dobbin and for Severin.”
“You mean Severin is still out there?”
“Yes. He tracked me down.”
And when I said it out loud, it crossed my mind why he hadn’t come after her, but the answer to that was he might have thought I was the only one that O’Connell hadn’t killed.
“And he thinks you are still working for him?”
“It’s complicated. I’m kind of doing a soft shoe shuffle around all of them and trying to find out what the hell is going on while keeping them at arm’s length. That might go horribly wrong which is also a good reason why I need help. We really should find out what we got into.”
“I’d prefer not to. He hasn’t come after me.”
“He will. It’s only a matter of time. You’re in the system, and I have no doubt he has access to that system. You’ve just been lucky so far. And you equally know as I do, there’s no such thing as luck in our line of work.”
Another minute or so passed.
Then she said, “If you’re trying to scare the hell out of me, it’s working.”
© Charles Heath 2020