“Keep it down. He’s coming.”
“I’m afraid to look.”
“Don’t worry he can’t see you.”
“I’m still afraid. Tell me what he looks like.”
“He is wearing denim pants, a black t-shirt, and get this, he has a buzz cut.”
“A buzz cut?”
“Can you believe it?”
“Aw, this makes it too easy.”
“I know right. Wait he is carrying something in his hand.”
“What is it?”
“Some kind of bag. At least we only have to worry about the one hand. It is the right one by the way.”
“I am always concerned about getting hit by the right hand.”
“There are two of us. Don’t you think we can have our way with him?”
“There is still a chance he could smack one of us with that hand.”
“Well, this is the chance we will have to take. He’s getting closer.”
“Be still my beating heart.”
“Oh, C’mon. Be brave buckaroo. On my count, we will jump him.”
“This is the worst part. I wish I were born as someone else.”
“Why? You have a great life.”
“What’s so great about having to drop down on a mammal and hope not to be slapped flat.”
“But after you get your fill you just sleep. That buzz cut means you can hit the sweet spot on the head and he’ll never know. Now get ready and try not to make that whining noise with your wings.”
“You gotta be kidding me. All mosquitos make that noise.”
“Yeah, I was kidding. Pre-mission humor. Let’s go.”
My effort was:
“That’s him, close-cropped hair, black tee-shirt, faded jeans and carrying something. Looks like something to change into so he can change his appearance.” Isaac Slater was the most experienced spotter the security service had. His job, though mundane, was an essential element in the fight against… well, bad stuff of all kinds. This mission took him to the south of France, a prospect that he relished until he found what long-term exposure to the heat of summer meant to a man like him: late middle-aged, slightly overweight and totally bald. He quickly learned that his ‘comfort-zone’ was restricted to places that provided shade or, better yet, air-conditioning.
Isaac had been tasked with locating a tracking one George Benjamin Knowles, a man in his thirties suspected mastermind behind a plot to kidnap the UK Prime Minister and her entire inner cabinet, replacing them with look-alikes who would advance his group’s agenda.
“You sure that’s our man?” asked Joe Green, “I don’t want to put a tracker on the wrong man. You know what the chief said.”
“Never mind what he said, Joe. He might control the budget, but he’s not out here in this heat, is he? Just keep your eye on the target, and make sure you hit your mark.”
“Give me a few seconds to compose myself, Isaac.”
“What do you mean, compose yourself? That didn’t help on your second big job, did it?”
“No, but that was a bad time for me. I’m over it now. Anyway, shut up. I need to get my breathing right. Hitting a target from this distance isn’t easy.”
“And you need to get him in the middle of the back of his neck.”
“Right. Stand by.”
A few seconds later Knowles’ free hand smacked the back of his neck. Either Joe had hit his mark or a mosquito had indeed bitten Knowles. The whooping noise in his earpiece told Isaac that it was the first. Isaac backed further into the archway, temporarily losing sight of Knowles.
“Good job, Joe, now scram. I can take it from here.”
“Remember, mate, provided he doesn’t find it, the tracker will give a signal with a range of three kilometres in clear air for up to four weeks.”
“What’s the chance he’ll find it?”
“Unless he has an MRI or something, it probably won’t be detected. He’ll have a spot on his neck that’ll look to anyone like a mosquito bite and will feel like one to him. You’ll know straight away if he does find it.”
“Duh! It’ll stop moving or lose its signal.”
“Unless, of course, he implants it in some other poor schmuck just to keep you off his tail.”
Joe broke the connection and disappeared into the heat of the day. Isaac watched as Knowles walked past him under the arch. He tried to look at the back of Knowles’ neck, but his mark turned towards him and smiled. It was a smile that spoke of defiance, disdain and contempt. Once he’d cleared, Isaac took the tracker from his rucksack and dialled in the active frequency. The display was overlaid on a detailed map which Isaac studied. He found his position and saw that his mark was two streets from him, moving away at a brisk walking pace. Knowing he’d have to follow on foot, Isaac went into the shop next to him and bought a sun-hat to protect his pate. He walked the length of the alleyway between the shop and archway and followed the track left by Knowles. Twenty minutes later, he followed the signal into one of the lower-priced tourist hotels where the tracker indicated that his mark was at the bar, presumably having a drink.
He noted the location and sent it to his chief via text message. His chief asked him to take a photograph and send it to him. Isaac fished the small camera out of his pocket and followed the signal into the bar, where he found only two men laughing together: one wearing black shorts and a white shirt, and carrying a ‘man-bag’; the other of pale complexion, wearing blue shorts and a red tee-shirt, and having a small pimple in the middle of the back of his neck…
On to this week’s challenge: Using this photo as inspiration, write a short story, flash fiction, scene, poem; anything, really; even just a caption for the photograph. Either put it (or a link to it) in a comment or email it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org before 6pm next Sunday (if you aren’t sure what the time is where I live, this link will tell you). If you post it on your own blog or site, a link to this page would be appreciated, but please do also mention it in a comment here – pingbacks don’t often work.
Go on. You know you want to. Let your creativity and imagination soar. I shall display the entries, with links to your own blog or web site, next Monday.