“Hello Mrs Dixon we are from Swamp Dog, The university hired us to be sure nothing happens to you,” Karl explained to her.
“So they sent three of you?” she asked. I couldn’t tell whether is she thought there was too many or too few of us.
“This is what we have for this part of the trip. Are you going to be alright with it?” he asked.
“I am going along with this mostly for the university, and some for my daughter, if it were up to me I would send you home,” she explained
Suddenly the job got much harder. She was going to need convincing, and the only way that would come about was, if someone tried to kill her or her daughter. Which might mean one of us was going to have to die to convince her there was a need for us to be there. Wonderful. I thought.
“Then we will try to be as inconspicuous as possible,” Karl added.
“I rather doubt that will be possible,” she said.
I saw the red hair well in advance of the 15year old actually reaching our little group. It was no color I had ever seen on a person. It was more the shade of red one might find on a cheep piece of polyester cloth.
“This is my daughter Wendy. Wendy this is our security detachment provided by the university,” her mother explained. “You and I are going to try to get along with these people.”
“Wendy my name is Sylvia,” I said holding out my hand to her.
She just looked bored as she said, “Whatever,” She ignored my outstretched hand.
“Yeah whatever,” I said. Yes I knew I was supposed to ignore her and act all friendly. If Swamp Dog thought I was a diplomat, they really didn’t know me.
“I can see you two are going to get along famously,” Karl said. Wendy gave him a look that said more than words could have. I smiled, but said nothing.
We all boarded the plane headed for Mexico City. It was too short a trip to serve food. so I had no weapons whatsoever. I hated the feeling of helplessness. I knew The Brit could kill with his bare hands, as could Karl, I was the only one who was useless without a weapon. The first thing I was taught about combat was no you own limitations, and work within them. I the case of a being on a plane, there was no way I could do anything. The government had made sure we were helpless sheep.
I was in a seat two rows behind the Professor and her daughter. My companion was Karl. I would have preferred The Brit. Life was like that. I had to listen to Karl discuss Professor Dixon’s importance to the war on drugs. According to the university she had developed something that would eradicate pot. It sounded like a pipe dream to me. I had a strong opinion about it. The opinion was that no one would care what I thought.
When the Plane landed. the Professor and her daughter were met by their interpreter and two Mexican Uniformed policemen. The cops would escort them to the hotel. The cops went with them to pick up their luggage. We tagged along to get our clothes and tooth brushes.
A Mexican dress in casual clothes walked up to our little group. “Karl?” he asked. He didn’t single anyone out. I was more than a little surprised when the operative I had nicknamed Karl the Killer answered him.
The Brit whispered, “For some reason Colonel Martin liked your nick names. He adopted them as operational names for this operation.”
“Damn, I had no idea I was so well liked,” I said.
“You aren’t universally liked. Just like everyone else, you have admirers and detractors,” he added.
“I guess the trick is to screw more of the higher ups,” I said with a laugh.
The Brit just smiled and shook his head.
“The man who met us?” I said to Karl.
“What about him?” Karl asked.
“He didn’t know any of us. I assume you didn’t know him either. So that is not a good sign,” I said. “Who vetted him?”
“He is just here to deliver some equipment and a car. He doesn’t know anything about us.” Karl said.
“Bullshit, we arrive on a plane with a woman and girl escorted off by the Police. You think he can’t sell that to somebody, who wants her dead.” I said. “We just started and this operation is compromised.”
“That’s why people don’t like to work with you. You see fucking conspiracies everywhere. You are a hell of an operative, but you over think everything.” Karl said.
“Like I over thought your assault on the building. You didn’t leave anyone to guard the stairs. If I hadn’t come in when I did, that asshole would have been behind you.” I said.
“I would have handled it,” Karl said.
“Bullshit,” I replied and turned away before it turn violent.
“Look Sylvia this guy was vetted, and we need a driver who knows the city. He was a Mexican National Policeman till he lost an eye. Now he drives for a lot of people. He hates the Narco Terrorist as much as anyone. If we are after them, he is on our side. Now you know, but I want have you questioning my decisions or those of the Colonel again. If you can’t follow orders, leave now.” Karl explained.
“If you want me to blindly follow orders, then you need to send me home. As long as I’m here, I do the job and I don’t walk away ever.” I said.
“Fair enough,” Karl said.
“For what it’s worth Karl. She hasn’t been on that many jobs, so cut her some slack. Her instincts are good and you know it.” The Brit said before he left me and Karl alone.
“Okay let’a call a truce. You can ask about any part of this operation, but try not to accuse us of being incompetent. Trust me I am going to make sure that Alejandra doesn’t get behind me. “ Karl said.
“Just for the hell of it make sure he doesn’t get behind me as well,” I said.
“Done,” Karl said.
Al drove us to one of the better hotels in Mexico City. I didn’t care for the assignment, but then I wouldn’t have cared for anything happening outside the United States. I had never felt comfortable anywhere that didn’t use English as a first language.
The Brit hung close, so he could interpret for me. He managed to get us all checked in. Karl gave the driver a burner phone to keep in touch with us. The Swamp had him for exclusively till the mission was over. Karl was sure that the promise of a large bonus would keep him loyal. I had my doubts.
Karl handed me a large mail envelope before he went to the room. I Had decided to take the first lobby watch, I waited in the lobby for either the Professor or Wendy to come down. Just in case they tried to duck our surveillance. I was betting one or both of them would try to shake the cops guarding them and us.
I was dead tired and it was well after midnight when Wendy came down in the elevator. She didn’t try to sneak out as I would have expected. Instead she simply went into the bar. It seemed no one paid any attention to age in the upscale lounge. I slipped in behind her and sat at the bar. She had already hooked up with someone, so my guess was that he knew her. I also guessed he wasn’t a member of any drug cartel. I took their picture together, so I could have him checked out later.
I knew I could bust her and separate them, but I wondered if it wouldn’t be wiser to leave them alone. If I did, I might be able to keep better control of her, than to have her always trying to duck me. I was still thinking it over when Wendy went to the ladies room.
“Hello Wendy,” I said when I closed the door behind me.
“What are you doing here you pervert,” She said.
“Look Wendy, I don’t know how you dumped the guards and I don’t really care that you did. The truth is, I don’t have much faith in anyone but my team. Now you and I can come to an accommodation, or I can drag your ass back up to your mom and show her this picture,” I showed her the cell phone picture. “Or I can let you go right on with whatever you are doing and make sure no one bothers you. The choice is yours,” That is when I shut up and waited for her to speak.
“Okay lady, lets make a deal,” she said.
“Okay, here is the deal, One: you tell me who that man is. Two: you agree to tell me before you leave the lounge. Three: you tell me where you are going. then if all looks safe, you can have at it. If I say it isn’t safe, you fucking believe me and don’t argue.” I said.
“Okay deal,” she said.
“So who is the clown you are with and how did you meet him?” I asked.
“He works with my mom. He is down for the conference. He is just here to listen not participate. So he offered to buy me a drink,” she said.
“Have you dated him before?” I asked.
“Yeah, we have been out a few times back home. So see it’s alright,” she said.
“It’s alright, but you are fifteen and he is at well over twenty,” I said.
“But we just have fun together,” she said.
“Let me suggest something to you. If you want to sneak around meeting guys you would draw a lot less attention if you change your hair color. In the meantime I’ll just watch over you. Do not tell him I’m watching over you. It will just freak him out and spoil your date.” I said.
“How would you know,” she asked.
“Men like their women all helpless. If you show them any thing else they get defensive. Trust me on this.”
I hid in plain sight while he drank and bought her drinks. I sat and watched as he danced with her. I even watched while he groped her, and presumably she groped back. When they closed at 3 AM, she kissing him goodnight and left him. I made sure she went home by getting into the elevator with her.
“So, did he ask you back to his room?” I said once the elevator door closed.
“Yes but I said no. I knew you were watching,” she said.
“Do you want to play let’s make a deal again?” I asked.
“What’s the deal?” she asked.
“Tell me everything about him and let me run a background check. If he is harmless, you don’t have to say no to him,” I said. “Otherwise I am going to break in every time you try to get laid.”
“It’s not about getting laid, I just enjoy his company,” she said.
“Yes and putting the screws on your mom,” I said. “Showing her you are going to do what you want, and she can’t tell you what to do.”
“That might have been you, but it’s not me,” she said when the elevator door opened. She also ran down the hall and swiped a card in the door lock.
I thought about going back down and having a talk with her date, but I didn’t know enough. That wouldn’t always be the case I promised myself as I sent a text to the Swamp Dog office. Time to see what kind of background check they could do for a field agent.