10 January 2014

#fridayflash: getting ready for work

Cinnamon ducked into the back lane without glancing behind her or changing speed. Pepper always told her that you attracted more attention if you acted like you didn't want to be seen. She also always said that the safe house they were rendezvousing at hadn't been discovered yet. Cinnamon clenched her jaw as she pushed through the apartment building's service entrance door and hoped that particular piece of intelligence was correct. She had had to shoot her way out of a tenement block in Chicago two months ago. It wasn't an experience she wanted to repeat any time soon.

She fished her skeleton key out of her coat pocket as she approached the stairwell door. There was a security camera trained on the door, and Cinnamon had tucked her hair up under a black baseball cap to avoid getting any identifiable part of her on a recording. She shifted the key from her palm to her fingers in one motion, using her hand to shield the key from the camera. It only took a little bit of wiggling to get the door open — no more than someone with a real key would if the door and the lock were slightly misaligned. She closed and locked the door behind her, checked the stairwell for any new cameras, and jogged up the stairs. Pepper called that a mini-workout.

Cinnamon hated the stairwell, hated the pale green paint and the way it always smelled of dog's piss, but she had to admit getting to the fifteenth floor didn't feel nearly as awful as it had when they had first started using this location. She listened for a moment before opening the stairwell door and slipping through to the corridor, pretending to make sure the door latched as an excuse to keep her head down. There were more security cameras, one at each end of the corridor.

Cinnamon studied her nails as she walked down the corridor. She found the right door and rapped on it, calling out the all clear signal. "Ellie, it's me."

"Hang on, I'm coming," she heard Pepper reply, the response indicating it was safe to enter. If something had been wrong, she would have said, "just a second."

Cinnamon walked into the apartment when Pepper opened the door for her. She took three big steps into the living room and froze, waiting for Pepper to close the door behind her. "So how are things?" she said, as a way to fill the space if anyone had bugged the corridor.

"Same old, same old," said Pepper, scanning Cinnamon for unauthorised tech or weapons. "Want to see what I'm working on in the sewing room?"

"Sure." Cinnamon followed Pepper down the corridor to the spare bedroom.

The spare bedroom, like all the rooms in the apartment except for the living room, was soundproofed and had anti-scanning devices running. Pepper tossed a sealed plastic bag at Cinnamon. "Here's your kit for tonight."

Cinnamon tore open the bag. "Nice." The bag contained a classic little black dress, black pumps that were more practical to walk or run in than they looked, and an evening bag.

"Jewelry and makeup are in the bag," said Pepper. "The emergency signal is on the bottom of the lipstick."

"What's the brief?"

"I'll get there at 2030 hours. You'll show up at 2100. You want to chat up the guy in the brief I'm pulling up now  —" Pepper pulled open a drawer in what looked like it actually was a sewing table and retrieved a laptop " — until at least 2130 hours. That should give me enough time to get into his hotel room and get the USB key."

"USB key? You're kidding me."

"Hey, he has information. No-one said anything about him being smart."

"Sounds straightforward." Cinnamon pulled off the baseball cap, revealing the tumble of shoulder-length red hair that had given her her code name. "My ID's in the purse too?"

"Just enough to make you seem legitimate." Pepper picked up the evening bag and checked its contents. "Don't use that perfume spritzer — it's sulphuric acid. You shouldn't need it, but you know — just in case."

"Lovely." Cinnamon continued to get changed while Pepper fiddled with the laptop. As usual, she hadn't been issued any earrings; they were against policy ever since an agent had had her earlobes torn during a scuffle. The choker-length pearl necklace broke apart easily if someone yanked on it, and the beaded jet bracelet had a magnetic clasp.

"We won't be seeing each other again tonight," said Pepper. "No interaction this time. You finish, and then you go home. Got it?"

Cinnamon laughed.

"What?"

"I'll never get over how boring this job is compared to what people think it's like."

Pepper rolled her eyes. "Read the brief. I need to get changed."

To be continued...

8 comments:

  1. Looking forward to seeing which way you take this Katherine, the two women could be working for the goodies or the baddies. either way, they sound like they're used to handling themselves.

    This line made me smile.

    "Hey, he has information. No-one said anything about him being smart."

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  2. Ooh, intriguing! Looking forward to more.

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  3. Sulphuric acid spritzer...nice!

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  4. Very intriguing - I too look forward to more. ^_^

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  5. I liked your gentle mocking of the "secret data on usb key" trope. Can't wait for that to die a death if I am honest lol.

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  6. What a great flash, Katherine, I especially loved your line "Hey, he has information. No-one said anything about him being smart." Yup, that about sums it up on him ;)

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  7. Ooh. I read Part 2 first. I kind of like it that way. :)

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  8. Starting here on part 1. That's one dangerous spritzer. I'd likely forget and spray myself.

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