Unglamorous Detecting

toiletsignI’m sure every profession is less glamorous than outsiders think. Except accounting. Accounting can’t possibly be less glamorous than it seems.

Sleazy employee I was keeping an eye on lived in a dump and walked everywhere, which meant I got to drive a piece of junk rental car and sit in a frankly frightening neighborhood so I know all his comings and goings. The dumpiness of the area also meant that popping down the block to grab a quick bite or use a clean bathroom was out. Yes, you can use the bathroom and not miss a guy leaving his apartment, if he walks everywhere.

But if there’s no bathroom, you do what you have to do. It’s not pleasant but it’s the job.

After a few hours of slowly cooling black coffee and nibbles of a lukewarm burrito, nothing happened.

See what I did there? You thought something was going to happen. You’ll need to drop that attitude if you’re going to succeed at this game.

Because most of the time, nothing happens.

If this loser wasn’t lifting vital records during his janitorial shift at a prestigious research facility, prestigious enough to pay loads to get the dirt on the dirtbag, it wouldn’t be worth the waste of time.

As it was, any move he made could be worth millions. Could, in fact, mean lives.

So, I sat. I waited.

Nothing happened.

Nothing except the coffee getting colder and my attitude struggling to keep its head above water.

The Caravan at Alssikin

Trickles of sand crept into the boy’s clothes as he lay peering over the crest of the dune, down at the caravan below. He told himself he could ignore the sand just as he was ignoring the sweat, the heat, his hunger and thirst, his fear.

caravanLess than a mile to the east the caravan would pass through Alssikin, a narrow defile appropriately named for the long thin knife even young boys in his village carried. Only a thousand yards long, Alssikin was the right spot to launch an ambush, were a band of brigands so inclined.

… more … “The Caravan at Alssikin”

The Stillness of Waiting

the mesaNothing moved between the sagebrush and ocotillo below him. Now and then a ripple of wind scattered across the brush but any animal venturing out in the heat of the day was too small at this distance for even his sharp eyes.

The sand was hot under his belly as he lay under a creosote bush at the edge of the mesa. Unarmed, because it was not his task to attack or defend, only to watch and report. Three small, smooth stones in his mouth kept his tongue moist with saliva. Should he have to signal his brothers farther north on the trail, his lips and tongue would have to be ready. A dry tongue made ineffective sounds.

… more … “The Stillness of Waiting”