“So where do I sleep?” Special agent Mission asked.
“Beats the hell out of me. I guess we could run down to the plaza, and buy you an air bed,” I suggested.
“Come on, we can go to the motel where I stayed when I came up last,” Mission said.
“I’m not going anywhere. You can find a space to throw down a blanket, you can go buy you an air bed, you can sleep in your car, but I’m staying right here where I feel safe,” I was adamant about it.
“Jesus, you are a hard ass,” she said. But regardless she went in search of 5feet and eight inches of unoccupied floor space. She had to rearrange the furniture. Even though I didn’t have it to spare, I gave her one of my blankets.
“You are agreeable to the fish solution?” she asked.
“With the understanding that the state will notify me the moment that the threat is gone. Also that Warren County Sheriff’s office will be held to their contract,” I said.
“That’s pretty much what we had in mind. By the way, why the hell would you want to force them to hire you. It will have to be a terribly hostile work place environment,” she said.
“I might just run for Sheriff,” I said with a smile. “Now if you look in that cabinet over the sink, you will find a bottle of Tennessee sour mash sippin’ whiskey. Please bring it to me?” I asked. Yes it still hurt to get up and down, and I was seated on the sometimes sofa.
Mission brought two glasses without being asked. I gave it a little thought then decided what the hell, and poured a couple of ounces in each. It would be impossible to replace the whiskey, but she seemed to be worth a drink. The label on the bottle carried the name of an obscure brand of cheap whiskey.
The whiskey inside was anything but cheap. The fifth of a gallon whole sale was more than the whiskey that came in the bottle was retail. The bottle had been sterilized then refilled with the dragon piss. I knew for a fact that Mission had never had anything like it.
“Wow that is strong and smooth,” she said of the amber liquid. It was colored with food coloring to look like sour mash whiskey.
“Yes it is, that’s why it’s called sippin’ whiskey,” I said.
“But my god that is smooth stuff,” she said.
“Too bad we don’t have any brownies. Brownies go good with this kind of whiskey,” I said laughing. After an hour of sipping on the glass of whiskey my pain was gone. Hell I could have danced I felt so good.
“Sorry about you having to sleep on the floor,” I said.
“Don’t be it will be like pretending to be a teenager at a sleep over,” Agent Mission said.
“Okay, but I’m going to sleep, not tell you how it feels to do it,” I said.
“I know how it feels,” Mission said giggling.
Then next thing I knew, it was 7AM and I had to pee bad. It was all I could do to hold it, while I found the least painful way to get off the make shift sofa bed. I held onto the walls while I found my way to the bathroom. Thank god there was enough ambient light to see Agent Mission on the floor.
I was both early, and late enough to begin moving around. That being the case I went straight from the bathroom to the kitchen next door to it. First thing I dis was to heat coffee in the microwave and round up a stale donut. I really wanted to go down to the cafe on the square for a bacon and egg biscuit. To do that I would have to climb over Agent Mission. She was between me and the front door. There was a kitchen door but it was behind a tea cart of small appliances and canisters. It was for emergencies only.
With my special cup, I had bought from Goodwill full of hot coffee, I went back into the front room. Agent Mission wouldn’t be asleep much longer, if she had managed to sleep through the very loud flushing toilet, and the clatter of my getting the coffee out of the fridge and heating it in the microwave. When I reached the front room with my double sized delta coffee cup, I found Agent Mission sitting against the wall wrap indian style in the blanket.
Her hair looked like shit. Suddenly my terrible short preteen boy hair cut didn’t seem so bad. “You want some day old reheated coffee?” I asked.
“Is that’s all you got?” she asked as an answer.
“Since I haven’t sat down yet, I can get it for you no problem,” I said returning to the kitchen. I heated a cup of coffee in the plain porcelain cut painted to resemble an old tin coffee cup. Yeah it came from Goodwill as well and it held almost as much as the Delta cup. “Here drink this,” I said.
She took the cup and then she took the half eaten donut out of my hand. “The coffee is good and the donut is perfect,” she said.
“Now you have done it. That was the only food in the house that was ready to eat. We are either going to have to go out looking like hags or cook,” I said.
“I vote hag look. I have no idea how you are at cooking and breakfast if the day’s most important meal,” Mission said. “If I remember right there is a decent cafe near here.”
“Yeah, Cafe On The Square,” I said.
“Wear your vest and carry a weapon, or two,” she suggested. I brushed my teeth but skipped the bath since the apartment was cool. It wouldn’t be warm enough for me until the sun heated the outside rear stucco wall of the bathroom.
I did dress wearing the Kevlar vest and the .38 upside down shoulder rig. I carried the box opener in my parka pocket, since I wore my running shoes. Running was going to be painful but I doubted that Mission was going to let me ride my bike. That being the case I planned to run to breakfast. Mission could follow along in the car, if she didn’t want to run.
Mission proved to be a good sport, she ran the ten or so blocks to the cafe beside me. She was also badly out of breath when she arrived. “God, I should be doing this every day,” She said.
“Well the Glock and Kevlar are your handicaps,” I said. “I highly recommend everything on the menu.”
“In that case I feel like I deserve bacon,” she said laughing.
When my waitress friend came to the table she order bacon and eggs. I ordered simply a bacon egg and cheese biscuit. I did put a spoonful of homemade strawberry jam onto the biscuit. That was my reward for running to breakfast.
Mission even picked up the bill and I left the tip. The bill would go on her expense account, but I was stuck for the tip. It was okay though, I didn’t mind.
Once we ran back to my place, I sat on the make shift sofa bed and read my email. Mission made a bunch of phone calls and checked her computer often.
It was slightly before noon when Mission came to me and said,” Time to close your email and kill off Sylvia Porter. Not even one more message just gone. We will notify your family after you leave but not tell them where you are.”
I handed her my keyboard and walked to the window. I would sure as hell miss this place. I watched as a one ton Uhaul backed into the driveway. Two men came up the stairs and loaded all my stuff into the truck. It took up about a tenth of the space in the truck. They put the bike in the truck as well.
“Give them your car keys,” Mission said. “Don’t worry we are going to put it in a storage locker along with your furniture. It will all be there when you get back to work here.”
“What about my clothes?” I asked.
“I had them put in my car. Too bad we had to leave the coffee cups for the storage unit. I rather liked those,” she said. “It’s time to go now.”
With that we began our drive from the mountains. I hated to go they were beautiful since spring was finally in full swing. But then it was spring all the way to the coast. The coast was to prove beautiful as well and it was much warmer there as well. I loved the warm weather.
It was a full day’s drive since we weren’t in any hurry. Mission was more interested in security, than she was speed. That and we got a late start so we ended the day pulling into a motel. It was one of those highway modular things. I was sure that each room had the same bad art work on the walls, since there was nothing original about any of them.
We had eaten before we pulled into the motel. The only call allowed was from Mission to her boss with some cryptic messages. Mission had taken my cell phone, but I didn’t care. I was used to burn phones by that time, so when she toss me the phone and the credit card to activate it, I wasn’t a bit surprised.
I sat on the bed and activated the phone. She put the number in her phone and we were connected. I expected the station where they were going to drop me to disappear to have an office phone. Even as I disappeared into the bureaucracy I would be connected there as well.
You new identity is in this folder. Read it and figure out who you are,” Mission said toss the folder at me. “By tomorrow you need to be the new you. The man you will meet probably won’t ask you too much, but he will ask some basic things so we tried to keep the new you close to the truth.”
“Yes that always works best.” I saw how questioningly Mission looked at me, so I added, “So I’m told.”
“Right, I wonder how much of what we know about you is true and what is fiction?” she asked.
“It’s all true, but it may not be all the truth there is,” I said smiling. “Well at least tonight you have a bed of your own.”
“Yes and I plan to enjoy it so behave,” Mission said as if I might do something else.
“I don’t have to behave for you to enjoy your bed. As a matter of fact,” I said then she interrupted me.
“Sylvia that’s enough of that kind of talk. Don’t even think about hitting on me I am so straight even make the men in my life cry.” She said.
“Geese that just sounds so boring,” I said with a leer.
“It is, but I like my life like that. You might want to find a way to pass the time without sex being such a big part of your life,” she said.
“And how big a deal do you think sex is in my life?” I asked. She had me curious as to how others saw me.
“Well I think you have had a lot of sex with a lot of different men and women,” she said.
“Do you know anyone personally who ever said he or she has had sex with me?” I asked.
“That isn’t the point,” she said trying to walk it back.
“Of course it is the point. If you don’t know anyone, what are you basing it on?” I asked. “Just a bunch of rumors, since I dress sexy and talk like I’m a slut is that it?”
“Of course not,” Mission said.
“Then what?” I asked.
After another few minutes thought with me staring at her, she finally said, “Okay maybe it is how you look, how you dress, and how you talk.”
“Then you believe, if it looks like a duck, quacks like and duck, then if must be a duck?” I asked.
“Okay, maybe you are the exception,” she said.
“Probably not,” I replied smiling.