I’m back home and this story has been sitting on the 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
Needing to know more about Severin, aka David Westcott trumped talking to Jan. As it stood, it was difficult to know where her allegiances lay, with Dobbin, her handler, or someone else.
I hailed a cab and headed back to the office. I wanted to spend some time on the computer, hoping I had enough clearance to poke around in the departmental records, in particular personnel.
Just as the taxi dropped me outside the anonymous sandstone building, my phone rang. I doubt it would be Severin again.
“Where are you?”
“I do actually have a life, despite what you or Dobbin might think. I’m not sure I really want to have anything to do with you after what I saw you people do to Maury. Aside from the fact that you told me he had found the tracker and disposed of it. Once you start telling lies, there’s no going back.”
“I had nothing to do with that.”
“You were holding him for the interrogation squad. That makes you complicit. It also makes me very wary about what Dobbin will do to me if he thinks I know anything, which I don’t.”
“As far as I’m aware, all we have to do is find O’Connell.”
“And what? Torture him too if he doesn’t fess up? I know he doesn’t have it. I had him under surveillance the whole time. I frisked him after he was shot. What do you know that I don’t?”
“No more than you.”
“Not if you’re suggesting that he’s alive.” This was an interesting conversation, especially after O’Connell himself told me that Dobbin’s cleaners had come and rescued him, which meant Dobbin definitely knew he was still alive.
The question was, how many lies was she going to tell me.
“You know where O’Connell had his real residence. When were you going to share that piece in information?”
Silence, then, “How?”
“I saw you there.”
I knew what she was going to say, when was I going to share. When I came back, not intending to find a dead body in the hotel room.
“Had you been in the room when I got back, we were going to have a frank conversation about who you’re working for, but I’ve just had that conversation with Dobbin himself. No doubt he called you right after he dropped me off.
“He’s not happy.”
“Then that’s on him not trusting people. You want to have a good hard look at what your options are when we next meet. I’ll admit I haven’t been doing this very long, but one thing I have learned, is not to trust anyone.
“I suggest we meet up later tonight. Bear in mind that it will be in an open space for obvious reasons, and quite frankly, I’m not sure how Dobbin thinks this collaboration is going to work. I’ll text you the place and time.”
It might have been a little unfair to take my concerns about Dobbin out on her. I’m not sure what I had expected would happen when I took this job on, certainly, the instructors had emphasized that being an agent was very dangerous to our health and that we could, ultimately, trust no one, even those closest to us. Our world by its very nature was one of mistrust, lies, and deceit, that we would eventually not know who we really were and be doing things we never thought we could.
O’Connell was in the same situation, most likely because people were trying to kill him. It was a small detail that stuck in the back of my mind.
If Severin and Maury wanted O’Connell alive, and that definitely was the end result of the surveillance operation, to allow the drop then to corral him, why would they have sanctioned his execution in the alley?
In fact, how could they know he would end up in that alley.
The only conclusion I could come up with, Dobbin had put a tracker on him, one that he didn’t know about, and also had surveillance on O’Connell. It made sense because I was sure there were people in that area that didn’t look like they belonged.
So, a tracker on the USB was being tacked by an unidentified as yet party who no doubt wanted the information themselves, not Severin, and not Dobbin.
I shrugged. I’m sure there would be more questions before the day was out.
© Charles Heath 2020-2022