After the Wake

Dear, Avid reader… please bare with me as this feels like it could be a long intro. Don’t worry you can skip it if you like I won’t be offended. For those of you who are interested I hope I can entertain or stimulate you, so to speak! (Author’s note: this definitely turned into a muttering ramble so has been shifted to the appropriate category. I shall now return you to the story and normal service…)

 

It hadn’t been the typical rainy day for a funeral but then again the deceased hadn’t been a typical man. The sun had beaten down on the graveside, the mourners, me included had suffered in our traditional sombre clothing. The wife of the deceased seemed to be the only one oblivious of the baking heat. I reckoned she was suffering from it but obviously had other things on her mind. I noticed that beneath her veil the tears seemed to be only running down her right cheek.

I notice things like that. It’s a sort of pre-requisite for my job. The same had applied to the body slowly being lowered the last six feet to its final resting place. I knew he had got sloppy and he had paid for it dearly (Rule No.1- Don’t get sloppy). What did we do for a living? I always thought his description had seemed to fit best, ‘Diplomats without portfolio (though sometimes with other people’s portfolios!)’, or to use the more common parlance, ‘spies’.

****

It seemed my old friend (I’d known him for eight years and that could be a lifetime in our profession) had been killed in a car crash. It all looked quite innocent to even an interested party like the police but once you knew that his official job title of ‘Social Demographic/ Statistical Analyst’ was bogus and you looked at it through our eyes there was plenty of room for doubt. I had none.

The killer was here!

It seems my old friend jumped a red light and was side swiped by a truck. And if he had been a normal ‘Joe Public’ sort of person it would seem like ‘just one of things’. We are trained in Vehicular Pursuit/Evasion but generally speaking if you have to resort to such crude methods you have already failed your mission. As a rule we drive within the law and very carefully. Even to the point of once every few years earning a speeding ticket just to appear not ‘too careful’! (Rule No.1- Be normal, but not abnormally normal.) Yes, we are paranoid to the point of being sociopaths.

It seems that my fellow ‘traveller’ had been running late, a flat tyre was found in his boot, and he had obviously been in a hurry and jumped the light. Or, quite possibly, had been sitting calmly waiting his turn and a car somewhere had beeped its horn and he had seen a flash of a green light and pulled away (Rule No.1- Listen to your instincts but do not let them control you). All it takes is patience and for ‘someone’ to wait for the perfect moment. Who knows how many times he was secretly followed from home to work and back again. The lights are due to change, your target is first in the queue and a large or fast vehicle is crossing the intersection wanting to beat the lights. Add in a small powerful, narrow beamed strobe light with a green filter and the phrase “an accident waiting to happen” springs to mind. We’ve all been there, someone beeps their horn behind you and your foot is already moving from the brake to the accelerator, you see a ‘green flash’ or look to the wrong traffic signal and automatically assume it’s your traffic light and before your conscious brain is fully aware of it you are pulling forward.

Of course ‘someone’ is also the Good Samaritan’ who rushes to the aid of the injured driver (if they aren’t already dead) checks both Carotid Arteries simultaneously struggling to find a pulse in front of all the witnesses. A little too much pressure and instead of finding a pulse you are cutting off the blood flow to the brain and in a few short seconds what could have been a survivable accident (all of us spies curse the many and varied safety features in modern cars) turns out to have been a fatal one.

The car had been a wreck and following the attempt at resuscitation, which of course once the professionals have arrived your assassin willingly lets them take over, a walk around to the boot (popping it open, if needed) and a small puncture in the spare provides a reason for the poor unfortunate driver’s haste. One dead spy!

****

I could feel the sweat running down my spine from the overhead sun. One thing I don’t like about funerals is the apparent social nicety of removing one’s sunglasses therefore making it harder to observe the attendant mourners without attracting unwanted scrutiny. The only family of the deceased is his wife. The rest of the gathering is made up of our work colleagues and friends. Except for the two obvious spooks (at least to me) sent from the ‘Company’ most lightly just for appearances sake (for a covert organisation they have some odd practices) and possibly to conduct a ‘head count’. Nobody stands out at me, no-one who wants the little piece of silicon and plastic that lead to us all standing here sweating in suits on such a hot summer’s day when we’d much prefer to be sitting beside a pool sipping Mojito’s.

That tiny data card that you could easily balance on the tip of your smallest finger held an encryption key which would allow access to almost all transmissions made by the various Government agencies. The wake would allow me the chance to recon the deceased’s house and to see if a ‘contact’ turned up as well. My attention came back to the wife. It was indeed his wife and not some part of an elaborate ‘Legend’ as I had attended both of his Stag night and wedding nine months earlier. She was a little dumb for my tastes, having said that in our line of business an intelligent and inquisitive partner would not be considered an asset. As a matter of course I was sure that the Company had vetted her completely though that isn’t a 100% guarantee. She was quite cute and if my dead friend was to be believed was better than any whore when it came to giving blow-jobs. And he would have known as he had sampled purveyors of the ‘oldest profession’ all over the world!

The things we have to do for our country!

****

We worked together at an international telecommunications firm. It was a long term mission, more security than full-on espionage. Working in tandem allowed us a lot more leeway to poke our real and digital noses into the more secure areas of the company without drawing attention to ourselves. Being a private firm they handled a lot of data traffic for smaller firms and countries that didn’t have enormous budgets to build their own secure systems. As a rule we didn’t ‘crack’ any codes but simply monitored the flow of traffic and the level of encryption employed. Multiple messages travelling back and forth between a potential hotspot/strategic site and an unfriendly (though we did keep an eye on our allies as well) government told you that ‘they’ were up to something and the heavier the encryption the more lightly that ‘something’ was potentially ‘not good’ or possibly ‘profitable/interesting’.

That is where my partner met his widow-to-be two years previously on the floor below us working as a personal assistant. It was also the place where we discovered an ‘S-A-K’ algorithmic key on the floor above us. Lots of companies main headquarters reflect their security in the height of their buildings (unless of course they have underground levels as well in which case you just turn the building upside down), the higher the floor the more confidential the information handled thereon. We were in a complex that rose to six stories and both of us worked on the fourth where our general day-to-day snooping found a data stream encrypted to the highest level originating from an office less than a hundred feet from where we worked and on the floor above. Orders came down from ‘Head Office’ to discover the nature and the origin of the communication. We ‘upped’ our game and found that an ‘SAK’ was for sale.

An ‘SAK’ or ‘Swiss-Army-Knife’ algorithmic key is a basic, if subtle, code breaker/program that can be latched onto a heavily encrypted data stream. Once at its destination it will wait in a dormant state till the message is replied to and will piggy-back on it with the encryption key used to unlock the original message. Most two way communications tend to use the same type of encryption so normally once you have cracked it the first time all following messages are easy to read. Unless you are really paranoid (and you think there are spies and hackers everywhere (!)) and you change your encryption for every message. The beauty of an ‘SAK’ was that it stuck with the dialogue and on each return message gave you the key to the last. Of course you never found out the final message but hopefully by that point you had most of the Intel you wanted/needed.

I guess you know as well as I do how much something like that could be worth especially when we found out it was designed specifically for our own secure networks which also meant it was designed by someone on our ‘side’!

****

It was a blessing to get back to the house and into the cool interior. Most of the mourners from the graveyard had returned to pay their condolences to the recent widow. I stood beside the bay window at the front of the house and chatted to a couple of work colleagues (from the legitimate company (no capital C)that was part of our cover). I had been here a few times before and slowly scanned the room to see where the ‘chip’ may have been hidden. Of course at some point over the next couple of hours I would slowly check the entire house. I knew it wouldn’t be in the attic as, like myself, I would want it somewhere easy to grab and yet hard to find. Being so small the ‘chip’ was a spy’s wet dream as far as portability and concealment was concerned. Standard tradecraft was not to keep it on your person but to be secure in the knowledge that apart from the most exhaustive of searches it wouldn’t be found. I had an advantage in the fact that I had known him for so long and might just be able to second guess the hiding place.

I sipped on my second ‘vodka’ and tonic (this one didn’t have any alcohol in it as would most of the ones that followed) and laughed quietly at the slightly smutty joke one of my work fellows had just told. The spooks made one last scan of the main lounge and left. I reckoned they were less than six months out of training camp as I wasn’t the only one to notice that they hadn’t paid due respects to the widow before leaving. (Rule No.1- don’t draw any unnecessary attention to yourself.)

I heard a couple of utterances of displeasure from those nearest me and nodded my agreement. Of course I was much more interested to see if there were any veteran spies still at the gathering before I made any move to search for the valuable ‘chip’.

****

It was at least another ninety minutes before the crowd had thinned and I was as sure as I could be that I wasn’t being covertly watched. If the chip was in this room or the kitchen no idea had been forthcoming as to its location. I made an excuse and headed for the toilet. I had already used the downstairs facilities so after spotting someone already headed in that direction I made my way to the hallway and the stairs. The common parts to the house were fairly spartan. The coat hooks just inside the front door were still full and I wasn’t interested in the visitors belongings and I imagine the wife or one of her friends had probably moved all her own and her dearly departed husband’s coats elsewhere to make room. The walls held a few pictures which I gently lifted away, running my fingers behind to check for lack of dust. I wiped my finger clean on the inside of my jacket.

Depending on the situation a spy lives at the two extremes of cleanliness and tidiness. The hovel with lots of dust and a plethora of possessions means that it is easy to spot if your place has been searched in your absence and much harder for the searcher to replace items exactly where they had been previous to his visit. This is much better suited to the long term mission where it is mainly observation and your own telltale signs in the layer of dust will not reveal anything but the normal everyday routine of a ‘normal’, if slovenly, person. The drawback is, at least for me, it grates against my own preference for neatness. The second style is very neat and dust free, almost, but not quite, minimalist. A place where, you can easily tell, if a picture frame or ‘knick-knack’ has been moved a quarter of an inch to show signs of an intruder. Of course nobody dusts behind picture frames unless they want to remove signs that they themselves don’t want left behind.

I looked around the upstairs hallway, four doors which I quickly opened to scan the three bedrooms before returning to the toilet. I chewed on my bottom lip as one of the spare bedrooms was full of miscellaneous boxes and junk. Hell to search, easy to hide! Lifting the seat of the toilet I emptied my bladder as I scanned the smallest room. Would I have hidden the chip in that room full of the detritus of human life? Would it be just one big ‘red herring’? My friend had a wicked sense of humour but it was still hard to second guess what he would have done. For the moment I had ruled out the second spare bedroom which was minimalist but would afford any visitor time to search it thoroughly at night if they chose too. After all I had already done so myself months before simply as an exercise in tradecraft before the spectre of the ‘chip’ had presented itself.

In that maze of random junk or in the master bedroom was my final conclusion.

****

There were only five people left in the house as the sun began to set. I had relaxed somewhat as my options dwindled and a surreptitious search would be needed, preferably at a time when the house was empty. We were sat around the large wooden kitchen table making idle chit-chat, wandering to stories of the departed every now and then generally to gain a smile from the grieving widow. Her veil and hat had come off a while back and she had loosened the top buttons of her dress as the heat from the outside world won its battle with the house’s air con. I don’t think she was aware in her present state how much cleavage she was exposing but my eyes kept drifting back to it. (Rule No.1- Don’t let your penis lead you into trouble) I had swapped to whiskey now that I had given up, for the moment, on my covert searching. My tie was in my pocket and my jacket over the back of the chair as I talked to our hostess about the night we had met and how I had carried her dead husband-to-be back to this house in a drunken stupor. A look passed across her face and I raised a questioning eyebrow.

“…well… it was touch and go that night” she said.

“Yes?” I asked in a non-committed way.

She blushed deeply before continuing, “He phoned me the next day and apologised for his behaviour even though he had been a perfect, if somewhat drunken, gentleman.” She dabbed her eyes with her much used handkerchief, “I had been hoping that it was going to be your voice I heard on the phone when I picked it up…”

“Ohh…” I replied eloquently (not) as she turned her face away. “Did you know I was there when he made that phone call? I’d never seen him so nervous… somewhat worse for the wear but determined all the same.” I wasn’t lying. A cold stone hearted killer when it was necessary was almost panicking about ringing a secretary on the floor below to ask for a date. She looked back at me and smiled. My eyes flicked to her small mouth and for the briefest of moments thought about my partner’s boast about his wife’s abilities. I could feel my cheeks colouring and quickly raised my glass to my own mouth.

The five of us seated about the kitchen table made small talk for a while before the widow asked to show me something. She led the way out of the kitchen, apologising to the remaining three, a couple and a female friend of hers that we would be right back. She led me round to the front of the house and up the stairs. My eyes lingered on her ass wrapped in her tight black dress as she walked up the steps ahead of me. It was a little on the slim side for my tastes, but still curvy enough. The whisper of her stockings as her thighs brushed against one another was enough to encourage a stirring in my loins. (Rule No.1- I said don’t let your penis lead you into trouble!!!) I shook my head and looked anywhere except at her slim figure.

She opened the door to the cluttered spare bedroom. I suppressed the grin on my face when she turned back to me.

“I don’t know what I’m going to do with all this?” she gestured with her arm, “he emptied a storage container about two months ago with the idea of getting rid of most of it but had been so busy at work he hadn’t found the time yet…” A couple of tears ran down her right cheek and I offered her my arm which she accepted and hugged her for a few moments. Her face was buried in my shoulder, my chin resting on the top of her head as I surveyed the ‘clutter’. She shook herself lightly and I felt her breast rub against my side and consciously told my penis to behave in my thoughts. She turned back to face the pile of memories (false ones, I was sure- just camouflage) “Why did he have a dollhouse?”

I followed her gaze and sure enough peeking out from under a dust sheet was indeed a dollhouse. I released my arm about her and stepped forward lifting the sheet to find a cheap, mass-produced and slightly worn plastic dollhouse. I chewed on my tongue as I squatted down and opened the front of it. “I’ll be honest, I have no idea. He didn’t have any brothers and sisters and I figure it’s too new to have been his mothers.” I scanned the interior and felt my heart jump. There in the layer of dust was a small clear square with the smudge of two fingers on either side. Not absolute proof but I’d bet my cover identity that he had placed the ‘SAK’ chip there previously. “Maybe a younger cousin…?”

“I don’t know… he never mentioned one… sometimes I feel like I never really knew him… is that odd?”

I stood up and turned back to her. “No, not at all… we all think about the questions we never asked or the stories we never heard after it’s too late…” Tears were flowing rapidly down her cheeks now and even my cynical heart tore a little at the sight. “Here…” I said offering her my handkerchief, “Look, I’m free next weekend and I’ll happily come over and help you sort through this…” I glanced down at the dollhouse. “You know, I imagine when we lift that up we will probably find a little girl’s name written beneath it and, who knows, we may find some of his more distant family?”

“You think so…” (Not a chance I thought) she said wiping the tears from her cheeks. She sniffed deeply three times. “I don’t mean to… would you be free tomorrow… it’s just… I think I want…”

I took her hands in mine and made a mental effort not to grin, “No problem, no problem at all, I’ll be back in the morning if that’s what you want? Now let’s get you cleaned up and go back downstairs.”

When we re-entered the kitchen the tall blonde shut a kitchen cabinet as her husband was deep in conversation with the widow’s friend. I felt the hairs on the back of my neck rise. (Rule No.1 They are out to get you!) The next hour I spent with the corner of me eye on the couple that at least stopped me from eyeing the widow’s cleavage. They made their excuses and left with me none the wiser. I also bade my hostess good night with the promise to be back again by ten the following morning. I had taken her in one final hug on the threshold when there was a crash from the kitchen. The two of us ran back to find her friend lying on the floor snoring with the remains of her glass shattered on the tiles.

We shared a conspiratorial smile as we cleaned up the debris and I carried her friend, muttering about Kermit the frog, up the stairs to the spare bedroom. The widow pulled off her friend’s shoes and rolled her into the recovery position before grabbing a light blanket from the closet and throwing it over the prone form. We made our way back to the front door.

A further hug and a peck on the cheek and I turned to leave. I looked back over my shoulder at her hand still holding mine. “What is it?” I asked genuinely caring. Her head was lowered staring down at her black shoes. I turned back and took her other hand in mine. “You can tell me…” I whispered.

Her small finger squeezed mine but she remained silent. I waited patiently as I saw a small stain appear at her feet where a tear had fallen. “It’ll get better… I promise.”

“I know… I think… it’s not that…” I pulled her into an embrace feeling her chest heave against mine. (Rule No.1- Don’t become emotionally involved.) (Fuck the rules!!!) I kissed the top of her head as I felt her hands rise up my back to rest on my shoulders. Suddenly she turned her face up, her watery eyes locked on mine and she raised herself on her tiptoes and kissed me hard on the lips. It probably only lasted a second before she broke our embrace and sat down with a bump on the bottom step of the stairs. “Oh God, I’m sorry… I don’t know what’s… come over me…” the tears poured from her downturned face to splash onto her thighs.

I knelt before her and placed my hands gently on her knees. “Its grief… it can… be confusing to say the least… it’ll pass…”

Her head shot up and she stared hard into my eyes, “Grief? But I’m so goddamned horny!”

I smiled sympathetically, “I… err… it can do that… life instead of death.” Her head dropped once again as her hands took hold of mine.

“Please…” she whispered squeezing my fingers.

“Look… I…” If I was to be honest with myself I would have happily taken her then and there on the stairs. “I am not going to take advantage of you… it’s never going to be a good idea. I’m quite flattered but there’s no future in it… I’ve even applied for a new posting…”

She looked up again, this time her expression was hard even with the tears running down her cheeks. “I don’t want a relationship. I want… I need a fuck! Just tonight I want to feel a cock inside me, I want to feel alive… not this emptiness…” her words trailed away but her hard stare remained. It was my turn to drop my gaze and look down at her feet. She released one of my hands and in the top of my vision I saw her dress slide up revealing her stockings. I gulped and my cock completely disregarded Rule No.1.

Her fingers reappeared beneath my face covered in her clear sticky juices. Her musky scent wafted upwards and before I knew it I had taken her hand in mine and lifted those fingers to my willing mouth. As I greedily cleaned her fingers she pulled my other hand swiftly up between her thighs, pressing them into her hot crotch with her own. Two of my fingers slipped easily into her slit as her own hand pulled her wet panties to one side. I raised my head still sucking on her fingers as her eyes closed and she dropped her head backwards moaning loudly. I curled my fingers all the way inside her as my thumb pushed up between her lips searching out her clit. As soon as I made contact she jerked and gasped. I felt her pussy instinctively tighten about my buried digits.

An animal growl somewhere down in my brain stem was growing louder, beginning to whoop with delight as it drowned out the rational part of my mind that had been in control so long. The last I heard of the ingrained pragmatism from the years of training and practicing of tradecraft was a tiny voice repeating Rule No.1 over and over. I dropped forward onto my knees pushing the widow’s knees apart, her black dress riding up around her hips exposing the tops of her stockings and suspenders. She stretched out her feet as she fell back against the stairs and my cheeks brushed the exposed flesh of her thighs as my tongue replaced my thumb upon her clitoris. Her pubic hair was trimmed closely to her mound leaving soft fuzz that tickled my nose. Her sharp fingernails dug into my scalp as I rolled the small hard nub about. “That’s it…” she gasped above me pulling my mouth harder onto her centre. I sucked hard on the sensitive flesh teasing the tip with my tongue as I began to thrust my fingers in and out of her hot wet slit.

I slipped my other hand beneath her ass, threading it between her suspender strap and her buttock, kneading the flesh in my fingers as she began to writhe. Her pussy begin to quiver about my fingers and I increased my pace as she grunted and lifted her hips to meet them. All at once I felt her quim lock down on my fingers and her juices squeeze out past them to run down between the cheeks of her ass. I was vaguely aware of one of her hands leaving my head and her groans become muffled. The fingernails remaining on my head dug painfully into my scalp. As her pussy relaxed about my fingers I eased them out and softly kissed her clit before looking up at her heaving chest. She removed her own fingers from her mouth as her eyes opened and beamed down at me. “Come on!” she breathed as she grabbed my wet fingers and stood before ascending the stairs.

She pulled me into the master bedroom and flicked on the light. The room was bathed in harsh light until she changed the setting leaving only one light that spotlighted a Lalique vase on a shelf above the bed. I stared at the fine piece which was now almost transparent, more like whispers of coloured smoke than glass, casting a myriad of hues across the bed. I was pulled around to stand at the foot of the bed and my jacket pushed from my shoulders. My belated friend’s wife dropped to her knees and hurriedly unbuckled my belt as I unbuttoned my shirt. (All thought of tradecraft and Rule No.1’s were miles away as I completely forgot about the obvious scar from a bullet five years previously that had pierced my upper arm.) I pulled my shirt off as she pulled down my trousers and boxers in one go my hard-on springing free and into her hand. I looked down at her as she stared at my cock licking her lips lasciviously. She placed her other palm on to my stomach and pushed me back onto the bed following quickly to kneel between my feet on top of my lower garments still wrapped around my feet.

“Tell me… do you like your hard cock being licked and sucked?” she asked pointlessly.

I raised my self onto my elbows and looked at her as she slowly squeezed and pulled my cock up and down. “I would love it if you were to lick and suck my hard cock!” She leaned forwards holding my cock still with one hand as her other lightly scratched beneath my balls and stuck her tongue out of her mouth. Her eyes never left mine as she slowly and deliberately ran her tongue up along the vein on the underside of my erection. She approached the head and pulled down on my cock, rolling back my foreskin and equally slowly running her tongue about it gathering the considerable amount of pre-cum that had gathered there. As she reached the very tip she pushed the end of her tongue into the small slit eliciting a quiver from my cock which echoed through my body.

She waited for the tremble to fade before slowly opening her mouth and sliding it down my length. I watched fascinated as my cock disappeared within her mouth, her lips forming a perfect seal about it as deeper and deeper she descended. Her hand slid down before her advancing lips till just her thumb and forefinger circled the base. Her mouth was hot about my cock as her nose pushed into my pubic hairs, her pupils dilated completely and still fixed on mine as suddenly her cheeks hollowed and she sucked incredibly hard. I dropped from my elbows and jerked my hips upwards feeling the back of her throat press against my glans. My partner was right I thought to myself as I looked up at the vase above. Her fingers wrapped around my balls and squeezed as her other hand searched out my nipple and pinched it savagely. Ten more seconds of this and I was going to erupt into her mouth. Five seconds later my cock went cold as she lifted her mouth away.

I looked up to see her swing her small hand across and smack the side of my cock. It bounced back and forth from the blow as she moved back off the bed and stood on the floor. “I need it in my cunt, if that’s alright with you?” I nodded dumbly. Suddenly she seemed embarrassed although she continued to reach behind her to pull down the zipper of her dress. “Do you have any…” she mumbled.

For a moment I was at a loss as to what she meant but then pulled my jacket out from under me and rifled through the pockets for my wallet. As I pulled out the condom I watched her dress drop to the floor to leave her standing in a black bra and her stockings. Her knickers were still pulled to one side exposing her wet snatch framed by the suspenders. I ripped open the packet as she pulled my trousers, boxers and shoes from my feet. As an afterthought she also pulled off my black socks. I leaned up on an elbow once again as I shook the contraceptive. A smile crept onto my lips as I thought the widow chose mourning underwear as well. She grabbed the condom from my hand as she mounted the bed, knees on either side of my hips and expertly rolled it down my cock.

She barely paused once it was in place and spread her lips with one hand and held my cock with the other before dropping down hard onto it. I grunted as she squeezed me with her internal muscles and quickly began to bounce up and down. My grin broadened at the thought of being used as I reached for her hips and began to thrust upwards matching her rhythm. My grin soon transformed as I felt my own pressures begin to build. I felt the familiar prickling sensation pass over my balls just before they began to tighten. I drove up in to her harder and she leaned back, grinding down equally hard, placing her hands upon my knees. She threw her head back and her groans grew higher in pitch as I felt her pussy tighten about my cock. I swore loudly as I pumped my seed into the condom and the widow let out a long high pitched ‘aaahhhhhh….’ as the tendons on her neck stood out and her heels pressed hard into the flesh above my knees. The pair of us quivered and trembled within and without each other as we both lost ourselves in our own personal bliss. I opened my eyes briefly as I heard a faint ringing sound. I managed to focus on the Lalique vase which was echoing back the bereaved woman’s voice.

My muscles went slack as my orgasm ended and a moment later the widow collapsed on top of me. I held her for a moment before she broke free and rolled off turning away from me. I noted that suddenly there was no part of us in contact. A wave of guilt washed over me as I looked at my latex shrouded wilting cock. I rolled off the bed and headed for the en-suite to dispose of the evidence of betrayal. I could feel my rational psyche sitting in a corner of my brain with its arms folded and a superior look upon its face. “Hmmph…” I grunted as I flushed away the condom.

I quietly walked back into the bedroom and stood beside the bed looking down at the woman who had just fucked me. Not that I was complaining. My eyes drifted up to the vase that had sung for a brief moment and I lifted it down. It was incredibly light and I knew if I was to squeeze it just a little it would shatter. I went to place it back on the shelf and there where it had stood was a tiny plastic packet with a small black square inside. I grinned broadly at such a stroke of luck and my partner’s sheer gall in highlighting his hiding place. I wondered if I had searched the room would I have lifted an almost transparent glass vase beneath a spotlight. Possibly not was my answer. I silently replaced the vase and palmed the ‘chip’.

“I think you should go…” said a voice from the bed. I almost jumped but looked down to see her still turned away, lying in a tight foetal position. “I’m sorry… but… you should go… and don’t worry about tomorrow.”

“I’m sorry too…” I mumbled. I got dressed quietly. All at once feeling like the biggest bastard on the earth and elated beyond measure.

****

 I never did see her before I left the company. I had already known I was to be re-assigned by ‘The Company’ following my partner’s death. The degree of monitoring called for would make one operative all the more obvious so I’m sure that the people who took over our posts had more than one pay-check as well. Of course my bosses were very happy with me getting hold of the SAK chip and I’m sure they put it to use straight away.

Three years later, high summer and I sit down outside a small cafe on the fringes of Soho in London. I order a black filter coffee from the waiter and watch the world go by. In no time it arrives and I ask the cute blonde in sunglasses on the next table for the sugar. All is good with the world as I tear open the small packet and watch it cascade into the near boiling liquid. My success (Rule No.1- Never, ever admit to luck where your bosses are concerned) led to my choice of assignment and I had always wanted to visit London. I even have a girl who I’m very fond of, who, dare I say it, might be the one. I lift the hot beverage to my lips and sip. I grimace a little as I catch a slightly acid taste to my coffee. I look at the small packet and see I’ve used an artificial sweetener. “Gavno” I mutter in my mother tongue.

“Well you shouldn’t have killed my husband then?”

I look around at the cute blonde taking off her sunglasses. “Pardon?” I reply but I already know.

The widow looks me squarely in the eye “You killed my husband, fucked me on the day of his funeral and stole a SAK chip which you gave to your masters in Moscow.”

(Rule No.1- Say nothing till you know some more!)

“You’ve had a nice time riding on the prestige of that success. A false success I might add!” It was a hot day but the sweat I was feeling form between my shoulder blades had nothing to do with the temperature. “The ‘chip’ was a Trojan… your masters have been spoon fed what we want them to know and when we want them to know it while letting us access whole areas of your own communications. You didn’t need to kill him, we were already working on a way for you to get it… we figured you would have had your bosses make him an offer.”

I looked down at the seemingly innocent sweetener lying ripped open on the table beside my forgotten coffee cup. I felt my heart beginning to slow within my chest. The widow stood up and gathered her bag from the chair beside her and stepped around the table. She leaned in close to me and whispered in my ear as she tipped the bowl of sweeteners into her bag, “and just for your information. You’re a lousy fuck… first time ever I’ve had to fake it!”

The bright afternoon began to dim as I watched that slim ass walk away…

The End

~ by ftfagos on February 19, 2011.

3 Responses to “After the Wake”

  1. *jaw falls open….

    I am literally speechless!!!! I cannot say anything cause I’d just babble and spoil the story…

    I adored the twists in this one!!!!! And the rules he had for himself??? I got a chuckle over them!!!!

    g

  2. My gorgeous man… Ok… I give up, I’ll be honest! Sexy man… hehe…. Your words are ANYTHING but lousy.

    XXX
    Your Goddess 😉

  3. […] Comforting the bereaved in ‘After the Wake’… […]

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