I meant to write about Steffie tomorrow, but she had a story for today, so here it is. Frequent commenter Pete Laberge calls himself “a hapless, hopeless romantic,” so I’ll probably throw him a romance now and then this month. Today’s story seemed to call for it. YES, ROMANCE WITH STEFFIE. You think cold killers can’t be all mooshy gooshy?
Steffie Fills a Cavity
by Marian Allen
Steffie left the dentist’s building with a spring in her step and a gleam in her teeth. She was on her way to a rare face-to-face with her mysterious handler, Pete, and now she knew she’d look her best.
Ordinarily, the privileged information gatherers (or, as they preferred to refer to themselves, spies) communicated via heavily encrypted and coded text messages and closed-network emails. In the past month, though, they had discovered that their network had been hacked.
The meeting this afternoon was to be a planning session, where she and Pete would meet for coffee to discuss the swiftest way for Steffie to locate and neutralize the hacker. You couldn’t blame a girl for hoping for more, could you?
She cocked her head, swung her hair, and grinned, as her country cousins would say, like a mule eating briars.
Although the newsstand on the corner was closed, it’s wooden awning lowered and latched to block the counter and the goods within it, Steffie walked behind it out of habit. She hadn’t liked feeling trapped by the curb since her trainer had been shot in a drive-by.
The rear access door of the newsstand swung open as she reached it, and the man inside swept her in and closed the door behind them.
The interior was only lit by the computer monitor and the lights of various pieces of electronic equipment stashed beneath the counter.
“Aren’t you going to say it?” The man smirked. “Isn’t this where the secret agent looks at the person they trusted or paid no attention to and says, ‘You!’?”
Steffie struck with her customary swiftness. A punch to the solar plexus doubled the man over. She shoved his head into the edge of the counter, intercepted it when it bounced off, and shoved it into the counter again. She couldn’t feel his pulse but, just to be sure, she unspooled her floss sample and fashioned a crude but effective garrote.
An open padlock hung on a peg just inside the newsstand’s back door. She took it and locked the rear door when she left. Pete would contact a clean-up crew, who would deal with the body and the equipment.
The coffee shop was just ahead. Pete would be in a booth with his back to the wall. Her heart began to race.
I’m posting today at Fatal Foodies about a soup Charlie made the other day. He’s a big soup-maker, is Charlie.
MY PROMPTS TODAY: dental floss, a “like” unsaid, an internet daemon, and a cup of coffee
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