Pressed for time

At precisely 8:29am Armand turned his custom-made leather office chair to the window facing the street. At precisely 8:30am the blonde in the black trenchcoat emerged from the Underground station. She was right on time. That was good. She was not carrying the valise. That was bad.

“Continue?” Armand asked his own reflection in the glass. They had come so far. So much planning would be wasted if they had to abort now. But it would be more than futile to continue if the mission was compromised. Always smarter to be patient, and Armand was nothing if not patient.

He returned his gaze to the blonde, who had stopped by the appointed newsstand and appeared to be perusing the pulpy magazines. To the untrained eye, she was just another attractive woman, an aspiring actress or model perhaps – the cities were full of them – who has stopped to see what celebrities made the tabloid covers.

He was nearly certain that the mission was a bust, and was about to swivel his chair back to the desk, and resume the tedium of his “job” anew, when he saw it. The signal. His pulse quickened, but just a touch. Nothing that would be perceptible to the untrained eye. So it was a go.

He turned back to his desk, ready, but full of questions. Where was the valise? Why was the mission a go without it? Perhaps they had been forced to hide the contents somewhere else on her person.

No time to think of that now. He would find out soon enough.

He adjusted the drawing pencil behind his ear, stood and walked out the office door.

“Watch out for the stenographers.”, he said softly to the empty hallway.

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