By Cindy and Walt
I awoke at my usual 6 AM, but I wasn’t in my usual place. I was in Ellie the Editor’s bed. I had no idea how far I was from my temporary apartment, but I knew I needed to get home. I had been out of touch with Church Camp since I sent them a coded Email message explaining where I was mentally, and where I would be headed physically. They wouldn’t start to worry until noon, but I needed to get back to my computer before the noon check in deadline.
“Come back to bed,” Ellie the Editor said.
“I got to be somewhere in a couple of hours. I need to get a cab back to my place and get dressed. Besides you proved your point. The country girl can be compromised,” I said.
“You know that’s bullshit,” she said turning to face the wall and presumably go back to sleep. I thought, how easy it would be to drive a little yellow pencil in the base of her neck. I didn’t do it because I still needed her. Truthfully her offense didn’t rise to the level needed to terminate her life.
“Whatever,” I said using the most infuriating word I could think of at that moment. I put on the semen stained skirt after using a sponge she had on her counter to wipe them off. I found my new panties stretched but still wearable. My bra was the only part of my wardrobe undamaged. I put it on, then found my torn blouse. It looked pretty ragged and I had nothing to cover it with. I went back into the bedroom and opened the closet.
“What are you doing,” Ellie the editor asked.
“I’m stealing a blouse unless you want me walking around looking like a rape victim,” I said angrily.
“Look in the drawer. There are some Tee shirts take one,” she said.
“Thanks,” I said.
I left her apartment in short black, water spotted, skirt and a red tee shirt a couple of sizes too large. The three inch heels looked out of place with the red tee shirt, but there wasn’t much I could do about it. The little clutch bag held the burner phone and my wallet. The wallet held money, my credit card and ID. I used the cell to call a taxi. I was standing outside her little brownstone apartment when it arrived as the sun crept over the horizon.
I had the taxi drop me outside the little neighborhood restaurant. In the south it would have been called a diner. I went inside and found the same sign posted on the same chrome pole. There were few people, but everyone honored the no single diners at the tables rule. I went to the counter and saw a young woman sitting alone.
I sat down beside her. “Hi, how would you like to do me a favor?” I asked.
“I don’t have any money,” she said.
“No it isn’t that. I hate sitting at the counter, but they have a no singles at the tables policy. I’ll buy your breakfast, if you sit with me at a table. You don’t have to say a word,” I said.
She looked at me and said, “Sure, but it’s just breakfast right?”
“Like I said, you don’t even have to speak,” I repeated.
I chose a table for two, so I wouldn’t get fussed at for taking too much space. I ordered eggs with cheese, bacon, and an English muffin. I never ate English muffins, but I didn’t see biscuits on the menu.
“Do you really hate eating at the counter, or were you hitting on me?” my breakfast companion asked as she cut her Danish with a fork.
“I hate the counter that much, and you were the best choice. I would never ask a man. A man wouldn’t have asked my intentions he would just assume I was a hooker,” I said with a laugh.
“Yeah, you have a point,” she said.
“So what brings you out so early,” I asked.
“Is this early?” she asked.
“Yeah it is,” I suggested.
“I just stopped for coffee and a danish. I’m on my way to work,” she said.
“So what do you do?” I asked.
“Garbage collector,” she said.
“Shit, you are a cop?” I asked. “I should have known. It’s too nice a day for the jacket.”
“It’s a little cool, but you are right the jacket is to hide the Smith,” she said.
“Well you are so young, you must be a rookie,” I said taking a bite of the eggs. “Geeze how do they manage to cook an egg, so it has no taste?”
“Three years in, and they probably put them in a mold and microwave them. Part of the health kick, we all seem to be on now,” she said. “I got to run, it was real.”
“Yeah, see you tomorrow?” I asked.
“Okay, but just so you know, I’m straight,” she said.
“Just so you know, I like men to,” I replied.
“Fair enough 6:00 AM tomorrow at the waffle and egg on 3rd Avenue and 91st Street. They still cook the food on top of the stove there,” she said.
“Fair enough,” I said. I had a hard time understanding her Brooklyn accent. I was also sure she was having a problem with mine. On the walk home, I wondered how she pegged me as a dyke. I wondered if she was a plant. Then I looked for a paranoid pill, since there was not a chance of her being a plant.
When I got home, I took a shower. I dressed in jeans and a cut up light weight sweatshirt. I tried the sofa bed again and found the cushions on the floor were more comfortable. They just wouldn’t stay together. I gave up and opened the bed and plopped down on it. The springs poked me so that the nap was less than a great idea.
I awoke from my less than adequate nap just before noon. I decided to try sleeping on the sofa bed as a sofa. I figured the springs wouldn’t jab me through the cushions.
Rather than go back to sleep, I checked the mail. The coded message from Church Camp advised me they had arranged a set of press credentials. It seemed that Ellie the Editor applied for a UN pass for me. Swamp Dog’s nerd approved them within an hour. So beginning tomorrow I would be able to attend briefings. That should allow me to make contact with Sarah without raising her suspicions.
Jeremy and Alice were doing well and would be up to help in the next few days. I was looking forward to seeing them. I was looking forward to seeing anyone except Ellie the Editor. I had about enough of her, I decided. With a little luck I would have breakfast the next morning with the girlie cop. In the meantime I chose a frozen dinner from the freezer part of the fridge.
It wasn’t awful but it certainly wasn’t as good as my dinner the night before. Still I preferred it to eating with Ellie again. I had expected her to call, if for nothing more than to recover her red tee shirt. I didn’t burn it or put lipstick stains on it but I should have.
Wilson could have somehow arranged the UN press pass, but they had me get it from Ellie. I knew he had to have a reason, probably because the whole thing was different. Wilson was involved and Swamp Dog was using a real person’s ID, people who could stand up to the background check. Maybe this way was better, I guessed that I would be finding out soon.
I decided to get dressed and walk the halls of the UN building. It might be interesting to meet some of the players, I thought. Then I thought it might be fun to just visit one of the parks and watch the kids play. It was a hard choice, but I chose the kids over the politicians. I could always meet the politicians when Sarah arrived.
I knew that I needed to be seen at the UN before she arrived so I decided to go to the UN the next day for sure. I needed some time off and the email said that tomorrow was soon enough to start working on the cover.
I got the bike from the closet and then hooked up the battery before pushing the bike to the street. I pedaled out onto the road and began moving the bike in the direction where my GPS directed me. I had programmed in the name of a park, one which was closer and smaller than Central Park. It was several blocks away, but I was enjoying the ride. I pedaled some to give the illusion that I was not riding a motor bike.
When I got to the park, I parked the bike in a bike rack. I used the stranded cable to secure it. I still had to paint the bike, but that could wait. I sat near the playground watching the children play. If I had been a man I would not have dared to watch strange kids at play. Some hysterical mom would be screaming pervert. I’m sure there are some perverted women. I just wasn’t one of them.
I wandered through the park watching as the joggers ran and the kids played. I came upon a soccer game, but I didn’t stay to watch. I had no idea what the rules of the game might be. Believe it or not, cute but unrelated kids got boring pretty quick. I chose to ride the bike around the neighborhood to familiarize myself with my surroundings. I met a police car in a less than busy intersection. I immediately went to the pedals. I tried to be as stealthy as possible. I had a pretty good idea where things were in the neighborhood after that ride.
I didn’t open the sofa that night. I just rolled in a blanket and fell asleep. The sofa would have been short for a six foot guy, but at five feet six inches it was a good fit for me. I just could roll around. I feared falling on the floor. I was up at 5 AM and began to run in the twilight. I carried a few bucks in my cardboard wallet as well as my credit card and cell phone. I ran until 5:30 then headed to the Waffle and Egg for breakfast. I arrived before my cop friend.
“You did show up,” I said when I saw her enter. I had ordered a pretty bad cup of coffee from the waitress behind the counter. When my cop pal showed. I moved to one of the tables.
“Do you run?” she asked seeing my jogging suit.
“I try, but I’m not much of a competitor,” I lied.
“Oh I run, but I run in Brooklyn. I just work here,” she said. “I have to run after work. It’s too dangerous to run in my neighborhood in the dark.”
“Too bad, I was going to ask you to run with me, so you could protect me while I ran.
“I just knew there was a catch to being your friend,” she said with a smile.
“No catch, I’m just a stranger in this land,” I said. “You really could come run with me in the mornings. I would even make coffee and danish for you after.”
“I’ll bet I could even shower at your place,” she said defensively.
“What is your problem,” I asked getting a little defensive myself. “I could hardly force you do anything. So what’s your name?”
“Jamie,” she said carefully.
“You might not believe this officer Jamie, but I have a lock on my bathroom door,” I said showing my ire.
“What’s your name?” she asked a little less judgmental.
“Laura Edwards,” I stated.
“Laura, if you are a competent female officer, the other cops think you are a dyke. I’m just a little too cautious. I appreciate the offer but no thanks,” she said.
“No problem, thanks for turning me onto this place,” I said. “Tell me one thing though. How did you know I swung both ways?”
“You are kidding aren’t you?” she asked.
“No not at all,” I said.
“You advertise it,” she suggested.
“How?” I said.
“Well you wear no make up at all, that mullet hair cut, and you move like a lesbian.” she said. “And you approach a total stranger with the bullshit about not wanting to eat at the counter.”
“Oh, how does a lesbian move?” I said. “And that was not bullshit.”
“They swagger like men,” Jamie said. “Okay so now I know they don’t force you to the counter in the south.”
“Nobody ever mentioned the haircut back in Mississippi,” I said.
“There probably aren’t as many bulls dykes in Mississippi as there are here,” she said.
“I’m really not a bull dyke,” I said just a little offended.
“I didn’t mean it that way. You just look kind of masculine,” she said. “I think it is the haircut.”
“Well I’m not going to change it,” I said. “I paid thirty five bucks for this cut.”
“You had to have gotten that in Mississippi,” she said with a laugh.
“Well yeah,” I said I have only been in New York three days,” I agreed.
“And your clothes,” she said.
“I’m in a running suit for gods sake,” I replied.
“Honey there are running suits and there are those unisex things,” she said.
I resisted the urge to strike back. I want to suggest that she should really get off the danish and donut diet. If you do your ass will thank you, but I didn’t say it. I just said, “Right I’ll try to dress less masculine,” I said.
“No it isn’t that, your clothes are fine and you have a knock out body. You just need to wear more makeup, and do something with your hair,” she said.
“Point taken, but tell me something, why did you bother mentioning it?” I asked.
“Just the nosy bitch in me,” she said. “It’s why I’m going to make a hell of a detective someday.”
The fuck you are, I thought. I asked instead, “So you plan on being a detective?”
“Someday sure, what do you plan on being?” she asked.
I honestly do not know why I said it, but I hoped it was in character. “Ernest Hemingway, and I think you mentioned it because you are worried. Afraid one of your cop buddies will see you. Then go paint your guilt by association with his colleagues. Which is fine with me, but for you it would be a problem. I get it, really I do. I promise I not going to tell any of my friends that I have breakfast with a cop,” I said.
“Okay, I guess I’m busted. We will just keep this affair in the closet,” she replied.
“Well I heard of the breakfast club, but I must have missed the sequel the breakfast affair,” I said finishing my coffee. “You know you are a terrible homophobe.”
“Okay just don’t make me attend those terrible sensitivity classes,” she said.
“I ain’t talkin’. I know my rights. I want a lawyer.” I said it with a grin.
“Okay, I get it. I can’t insult you and make you run away, and I can’t bring myself to tell you to leave me alone,” she said.
“Shortage of friends?” I suggested.
“Yeah, what was the Hemingway thing?” she finally asked.
“Did you know your mind is all over the place like a shotgun?” I asked.
“Yeah, so why Hemingway,” she asked again. I gave her one of the cards Church Camp had supplied me with. It had my name and the burner cell phone number on it.
“I should have known, a fucking reporter,” she said with a laugh.
“Don’t feel like the only one ambushed. I had no idea you were a cop. I’m a liberal journalist. We don’t love cops any more than you love reporters. And I am not a reporter. I write think pieces. Like ‘Why do male cops think, all good female cops are dykes? You know you are not a source, right?” I asked.
“I didn’t even think of that, but yeah I know I’m your ticket to a seat at a table,” she replied.
“Exactly,” I replied.
“Now that we have all the kiss and tell over with, are you staying here forever?” she said.
“No just doing a few pieces for ‘Out of The Shadows’.” It is a real magazine not the online shit I usually write for. Google me and you will see what I write.”
“I will do that after work today,” she said. “Now I have to go to work.”
“Well be careful out there,” I said with a grin.
“Yes mother,” she said. She also left the tip, since I refused to allow her to pay for breakfast.
I ran home to complete my morning work out. When I arrived, I showered, then dressed in the dyke business outfit. Severe cut black trousers and a fitted white blouse. I even wore a lightweight blazer in the heat. I skipped the make up and did not even think about a hair cut. When I decided on the hair style, it never occurred to me that it might be a gay look. Even so, I didn’t mind at all. It worked for the job.
The bike ride would be about five to ten miles I figured. I also decided to try it on the bike. I rode it easily in thirty minutes even with the traffic. Better still I didn’t wind up all sweaty, like I would if I had pedaled there.
I found a parking lot near the plaza where I locked my bike to a sign post then went into the building. I was surprised how difficult it was to pick up my press pass. Security was tight for sure. Metal detectors at the doors. I had to be escorted to the security office.
“Hello, I am Laura Edwards. I am here to pick up a press pass and attend the daily briefing,” I said to the guard with a bunch of shit on his collar.
“Hold on I’ll check the list.” He looked then at a thick black binder and then added, “Yes here you are. That rag you work for isn’t too popular with the Eastern Europeans and the Middle Eastern representatives, so a word to the wise, tread lightly.
“I’ll try to follow that good advice. Of course it will be hard, I have awfully big feet,” I replied.
“Then good luck to you. They will pull your ID if you rattle anyone’s cage. I would just watch and listen for a while,” he suggested.
“Thanks,” I said. He couldn’t know it was my plan to be seen and do a couple of softball interviews. What he has suggested was my plan exactly. All I wanted was to just be able to move about the building. Sort of scout it out to see if I could use it for the contact spot for Sarah. I knew that she and her husband weren’t due to arrive for another week.
I had no idea what the plan truly was. Andrew had told me a nice fairy tale but someone was paying Swamp Dog. He had not bothered to tell me who. Someone wanted to send Sarah back to pass on information. That sounded a lot like some agency within the US government. If it was, I had to wonder why the shift back to human intelligence, since so much time, money and effort had been invested in the electronic spying by the NSA. They had fancy names for it, but it was spying on US citizens in wholesale lots.
So someone wanted to recruit an asset, but didn’t have the right assets any more to use. Swamp Dog did. That was one scenario. Another was Silvia was recruiting Sarah and she would run her and sell the information. That seemed pretty unlikely. Much more likely was someone was paying us just to recruit her. I supposed somewhere along the way I would find out, or not.
I spent the whole day at the UN. I went to two briefing and two press conferences. No one said anything that would make a decent news story. I could only hope that one of the Ambassadors would have a heart attack. No such luck though. I went from the UN back to the apartment where I carried the bike up to the closet. I detached the water bottle from the bike and charged the battery inside.
“Don’t you ever answer your phone?” the female voice asked.
“I’ve been working. Who is this anyway?” I asked.
“It’s me Jamie the cop,” she said.
“Ah so what possessed you to call me?” I asked.
“I decided I would run with you in the morning after all. I have just got a new job so I have time,” she said.
“Did you rotate to the evening shift,” I asked. I knew a little about cops and how they worked.
“No I’m being reassigned to TAC. It a special squad for high risk assignments, it’s not swat but it is a nice assignment. Anyway the hours are eight till 4 AM. It would be about 4:30 when I could get to your place. Is that too early?” she asked.
“Well I can start the day that early no problem. I’ll just have to leave my Internet porn session to go to bed early,” I replied.
“So how do you feel about giving up masturbating to run with me?” she asked.
“Honey I am not going to give up anything. I am going to go to bed early, so I will need to start earlier that’s all,” I said.
“So where do you live?” Jamie asked.
I gave her the address and we agreed to meet outside my front door at 5 AM. After she broke the connection I fixed myself a typical frozen dinner. I really did like the mac & cheese in that frozen dinner. I actually liked it as a frozen side dish as well. I usually heated a can of beans of some type. I always cooked them for half an hour on the stove, if I went that route. It pretty much defeated the purpose of a microwave item though.
While I ate, I did more background research on Sarah. I couldn’t spell her last name and even if I could, I would still never be able to pronounce it. I managed to look at her file and transfer the name to the google search engine one letter at a time. Google told me that she was married to a man with a name derived from the root Abraham, so I thought of him as Abraham.
Google did not tell me that she was also Bisexual or that she tended to murder her lovers. She was a black widow with a twist. If she had done the killing herself, she would have been a serial killer. As it was she was just a psychopath who convinced others to do her dirty work. I would soon find out how bad ass she really was. When I got her alone it would be interesting to see how she would act. It would be interesting to see her on the defensive.
After my research I went to an adult chat room to entertain myself. It wasn’t very entertaining, so I took an over the counter allergy pill then went to bed early. I was surprised at the amount of light coming through the windows. There was as much light in the sky as we down south called false dawn. It was just a random thought while I tossed and turned. I was restless for a short time until the pill kick in. When it did, I was out like a light.