“Sure,” Agent Fysshe responded, looking absently into the distance, “you found something?”
Henrick lifted the instrument to his eyes and adjusted the focus to bring up a sharp image of his subject.
“I bloody thought so!” he exclaimed, “I told the director it was a mistake hiring that SoCal pothead to the crew.”
“What’s up, Rik?”
“Take a look, John,” he said, passing the binoculars back to his partner.
“You told him to blend in, Rik.”
“Yeah; ‘blend in’, I said, ‘make yourself inconspicuous’, I said. I also instructed him to stay alert and observant. Does he look alert and observant to you?”
“I wouldn’t describe him as that, Rik.”
“So how would you describe him; based on your observation of his deportment and apparent attitude?”
“I think ‘spaced out’ in the expression I’d use.”
“Me too. And would you consider ‘spaced out’ to be an appropriate condition for a junior investigator on assignment?”
“No, I would not, Sir,” John Fysshe (the third) replied.
“No, I would not, Sir,” Rik van Rintall repeated, “and what do you think would be an appropriate financial and employment status for a junior investigator whose mental status is best described as ‘spaced out’?”
“I really don’t know, Rik,” John said, “these decisions are well above my pay grade.”
“Well they’re not above mine,” Rik replied, “and I have a few suggestions as to an appropriate financial and employment status for this particular junior investigator. Care to guess what they are?”
“Fired, laid off, sacked, dismissed, unemployed, jobless, out of work, out of a job, not working. And that’s just for starters. What the hell does the guy think he’s doing, bumming around on skates when he’s supposed to be observing?”
“Let me call Sally, Rik; maybe she can tell us something.”
“Okay, John. She’s standing right in front of his group. See what she says.”
John starts speaking to his cuff. “You there, Sal?”
“Sure am, John.”
“You got eyes on Leroy?”
“Sure have, John.”
“Does he look to you like he’s following his orders?”
“Sure is, John.”
Rik grabbed John’s arm and dragged it to his mouth. “What exactly is Leroy doing, Sally?” he asked.
“Why, the boy’s doing just what y’all told him to do, Rik. What else do you suppose he’d be doing?”
“The fool looks to me like he’s on drugs again.”
“Again? I’ve known Leroy King for most of his life, and I know that he’s never taken any drugs.”
“And you can vouch for what he’s doing?”
“Sure can, Rik.”
“How can you be so confident?”
“Because, Sir, I am getting a bluetooth feed from his glasses onto my tablet. I see what he sees, and I hear what he hears. And it’s all being recorded, so when we get back to HQ, you’ll be able to see and hear it, too.”
“Are you as spaced out as he is, Sally? What’s all this nonsense about glasses and tablets. He’s supposed to be on observation. That means looking, listening and taking notes. I’ve a good mind to dismiss the pair of you on the spot.” Turning to John, he angrily added, “And you can stop prodding my arm as soon as you like.”
“When did you last visit Special Equipment?” John asked.
“What’s that got to do with anything?”
“Everything. Most surveillance these days is electronic. SE issues smart glasses, smart watches, tablets, listening devices, all that kinds of stuff. If you don’t go there regularly, you’ll be behind the curve.”
“You’ve been watching too many movies, lad. We’re in the real world here. Looking, listening, following; that’s how investigations are done.”
“That’s how investigations were done in your day, Rik. For now, you’re a dinosaur. You’re great for giving advice, based on your many years of experience, but you simply aren’t current; not for jobs like this one. Are we agreed?” That last question was spoken into his wrist microphone.
“Agreed,” came the reply from Sally.
John turned to Rik and, loudly and clearly, pronounced the code word, “Esterkha’a.”
The hard-light hologram that was built using a memory dump from Special Agent Henrik van Rintall (deceased) dematerialised and the illuminated letters ‘VSAvR’, on the memory stick that stood where Rik had been, dimmed to nothing. Special Agent John H Fysshe III picked up and pocketed the memory stick and spoke again to his cuff.
“Recall Leroy and we’ll go home, Sally.”
“Sure thing, John.”
I wrote this in response to Kreative Kue 61, issued on this site earlier this week. Feel free to join in; just follow the link.