See, I didn’t forget this story! Hope you enjoy my trip into dark and murky waters.
Kerri walked into the office to find James and Sally already in the conference room. Papers and computers were scattered across the desk.
“So, what kind of mess is this?” asked Kerri.
“One that I wish I’d never started,” said James. “The job is schedules for computer training, and personnel files. A company hired me to set up the training, document the progress and then make compilations of the data to give a profile for each person.”
“Okay, then why has this been so difficult?” asked Kerri.
“Apparently, the head of the company has changed the testing and training schedules three times. This has gotten James totally scattered. So, we are going to restructure this and make it livable. Meanwhile, he’s going to work on an invoice for the first two weeks of training and documentation,” said Sally.
“Piece of cake. Give me one set of the data and I’ll start crunching. Any particular format?” asked Kerri.
“No, just stick with the fourteen digit codes that were provided for each person,” said James.
Kerri looked over the data she was given while Sally dealt with the other stuff.
Forty-five minutes later, Kerri walked away from the computer. “What in the hell is this company doing?” she asked.
“I don’t know,” said Sally. “When James asked, this Ms. Nelson showed up and apparently blew his cool. Why do you ask?”
“Well, looking at this data, the tests, personnel, backgrounds and such, I was wondering what she was recruiting for. What kind of job,” said Kerri.
“What do you mean?” asked James. “I’ve been looking at this and haven’t seen any patterns.”
“No, because it probably looked normal to you. To me, it is damn strange. So, I ran a few of the names and those fourteen digit numbers through Google. Seems like most of the people are ex-military and while not computer savvy, they have IQ’s to put most people to shame,” said Kerri.
“Let me see,” said James. He and Sally walked over to Kerri’s computer and looked at what she pulled up.
“Geeze, this reminds me of a lineup for a cheap spy novel or a Die Hard flick,” said Sally.
“You may not be too far off,” said James. He took out a USB drive and copied off the data. “Give this to David tonight.”
Kerri took the USB drive and stuck it in her pocket. “Shall we get back to sorting this? If I remember correctly, James has to meet with Ms. Nelson tonight,” Kerri said.
“Yeah. A client consultation dinner,” said James. “And before you ask, no spouses.”
Sally nodded. They’d already talked about just how tight security would be until they had more information. “I’m going out with Kerri and the girls tonight.
“Good, just stay clear of the Rosy Thorn or any of our usual spots,” said James.
“We will. We’re going to the movies to see Dark Shadows,” said Sally. “Now can we finish the organization before lunch?”
James and Kerri nodded and got back to work.
On the way to the meeting with Ms. Nelson, James called David. “Yeah, I’ve got some data for you. It isn’t going to make you happy. No, they didn’t figure it all out, but enough. Kerri is one smart woman. Yeah. See you in the park in five,” he said and ended the call.
In the park, David and James passed the USB drive when David bumped James as they headed on opposite directions. It was a move they’d done many times in other places. James continued on to the Garden Patio Cafe where he’d be meeting Ms. Nelson in twenty minutes. David moved off to a safe distance and watched through binoculars.
Ms. Nelson showed up eight minutes after James was seated. She walked over and sat down with a smile on her face. “Ah Darling James, so good to see you again,” she said.
“Hello Ivanka,” said James as coldly as he could.
“Eva dear, Eva. Please remember that,” she said. She crossed her legs and leaned forward to show off her cleavage.
“You’ll always be Ivanka Eltsina to me. Why did you choose me in the first place? There are hundreds of others that could have collated the data and done the training,” James said.
“I am Eva Nelson and please remember that,” she said draping her hand over his in what looked like a friendly gesture, but was in fact a chance to bend back a finger in a painful manner to drive her point home.
“Eva, I don’t play those games now. I’ll finish this job, but then I never want to see you again,” said James.
“Ah James, you say no, but I know how to make you feel alive. I’m sure you still play those lovely games and must know of some place to enjoy yourself,” Eva said.
“What I do in my private life has nothing to do with you. Nor will it. I can find out the name of a club or two if you and your pet of the moment would like to go play, but leave me out of it,” said James. He pulled out his phone and started tapping a search into the browser.
“No, I want you James. Ever since our time in Siberia, I’ve wanted to work with you again,” said Eva, her hand trailing up James’ arm.
“No. Not ever again. When I left, it was with the knowledge that you were dead. Here is the name of a club that might do for your tastes,” he said. He turned the phone to show her the name of a club deep in the suburbs that dealt with rough play that ‘Eva’ would like. She wrote down the names and address.
“You don’t understand. I want you, and will have you,” she said. “Just like I have you working for me.”
“No Eva, we’re finished. We were finished a long time ago when it came to things like that. As far as I’m concerned, the contract over. Finished. I’ll return your data and I never want to see you again,” James said. He stood up, grabbed his jacket and briefcase and left the cafe.
“I’m a bloody fool!” he thought. “Why in the hell didn’t I make sure that it was her body? Why didn’t I kill her myself? Oh yeah… cause I was nearly dead.” James strode quickly towards the end of the park where he knew that David would be waiting. They’d go back to David’s new office and examine the data. He didn’t notice the men move in behind him as he rounded a set of benches and an evergreen tree. He passed the first of three benches when the world went black.
David had watched the exchange at the cafe between Eltsina and James. He almost dropped cover when she started to bend back James’ finger. He waited and was relieved to see James walk away. James had his jacket over his left arm, which was the signal that Eltsina hadn’t changed, and that he was dumping the contract. He watched as James rounded a corner by a huge evergreen tree. When he’d walked the path earlier it had taken four seconds to come back into a line of sight.
“Okay, where are you?” David thought after he’d counted to six. Ten seconds later, still no James. He dropped the binoculars into his pocket and began to sprint towards the evergreen tree. As he got near, he slowed to a walk. Coming around the corner, there was nothing. No James, no briefcase or jacket. Nothing.
“FUCK!” swore David. He combed the area again. Just as he was ready to give up, he saw something glint in the twilight. He walked over and picked up a cell phone. James’ phone. He activated the screen and saw the name of the club that James had shown Eltsina. He pocketed the phone and ran towards his car.