“I’ve been made. The last thing I need.
I shake my head in annoyance and continue walking. There’s no apprehension, or fear. Even the adrenaline rushing through my veins is not as exciting as it used to be. I go past the guards, and head towards the revolving doors at Barclays Bank. Any notion of doubt, and I abort the mission. And now I think I’ve been made.
“Excuse me, Miss? I believe you dropped something.”
I turn around; at eye level all I see are broad shoulders and a hand stretched out, holding a piece of folded paper. The other hand is in his pocket.
Immediately, alarm bells are ringing in my head. He’s got a gun. With the kind of people I got myself involved, I know he wouldn’t be afraid to use it. In fact, I know he will use it. I’m certain of it.
I look up at his hooded eyes searching for a clue, but they are staring at me impassively. They are hooded, I see it, there must be something he’s hiding but his indifference is calming at the moment.
“That’s not mine.” I give him a cold smile and turning around, I continue walking. As a precaution all my senses hone on to the man behind me. But he has to be a passer-by.
As I walk, I keep wondering how come I was made by the mark – an overweight Caucasian woman, wearing shamrock green dress and bright red bag, talking quietly on the phone. There was a briefcase next to her on the ground. Her eyes were roaming all over the bank tellers, but in the last 20 seconds lingered mostly on me. She knew something was up.
One more step and I’ll be inside the revolving door. Already feeling the small contained space suffocating me I push with all my might to rotate the heavy glass, but it’s practically immobile. In a millisecond I get a sharp influx of adrenaline, and my eyesight becomes crystal clear. The enclosed space suddenly gets even smaller. I don’t have to look behind me to feel his presence. He’s literally breathing down my neck. My eyes open wide, my pupils dilate just as any time I’m ready to attack. This is it. I’m going to kill this man. I reach for the gun inside my coat when I feel him grabbing my arm from behind. It’s all happening so fast – even though I anticipate it I cannot act on it.
“Don’t. You are being watched.” I feel his warm breath on my ear.
Having someone this close makes me nauseas. I don’t like men getting close to me.
The door spits us out on the pavement and instantly, he turns me around. He’s looking at me again, with clean shaven jaw, a naïve, candid white smile but oh so scheming sky-blue eyes. His hair is blond, messy, with one unruly strand falling loose over his face.
“Don’t mention it. I saw it fall down when you took your phone out of your pocket.” He says out loud, still having his hand reached out and holding a small piece of paper.
“Um, th-thank you. Yeah,” I clear my throat as I look around. Who’s watching me? Does someone know I’m here? I grab the damn piece of paper, and walk away brusquely. This is not good. I quickly unfold what I was given to see what’s inside. It’s blank. Now I’m worried. It was a decoy. Who was this man and why did he come between the mark and me. I look back but he’s gone. Probably he’s back in the bank. Fuck. Trevon won’t be happy.
I scrunch it inside my hand and take a few steps before deciding to throw it away on the pavement sideways, stumped at what actually happened.
“Miss! Excuse me, Miss?”
I reach for my gun again and turn around. Something’s not right today. A police officer on the beat, standing all straight and proper, is pointing his finger behind me.
“Pick that up if you don’t want me to write you a fine!” He orders.
“You are talking to me?” In one hand I hold my gun, and in the other the bag with the sniper rifle. The one Trevon said I will need it. Fuck Trevon. One of these days I will stop doing his dirty deeds and fuck him up for good. I plan to.
“I do not joke, Miss. I take littering very seriously. You better pick that up or you’ll be paying a fine.”
A few passers-by have stopped and are now looking at me. What is happening today? And why do I suddenly have the urge to kill people?
“What’s it going to be then?” I hear his voice again.
I grunt aloud, something I haven’t done in a long time, and go back to take that damn piece of paper. I’ve got too much to lose. All crumpled, I pick it up and put it in my pocket.
The next twenty minutes feel like forever. It’s probably because I never had to do this before. I walk to my hotel, looking back over my shoulder at every corner. For some reason, I’m getting paranoid. I pass by a glass building, and check out the people in the reflection. Is anyone following me?
Today is odd. I can’t put my finger on it. Everything becomes a blur at times, apart from those blue hooded eyes.
Why did he warn me? Was that a warning? How did he know I was there at all? How did he know I’d reach for my gun? Better yet, how did he know I had a gun?
With pools of sweat under my armpits and confused mind I reach the Park Plaza Hotel by Westminster Bridge and I walk brusquely past the concierge. The bag in my hand had never been heavier.
I take the left walkway by the elevators, and press the button.
I’m sweating, that’s what I’m aware of. Profusely. Something’s wrong. I never wait for an elevator, and today, now, I do. I have no strength anymore. My room is on the fifth floor and I doubt I can walk five levels up.
The door finally opens and as I enter, I’m sensing I’m not only sweating, but I’m also hearing the pulse in my ears. Why do I feel this way? Something wasn’t right at the bank. Just as I’m about to exhale I see four fingers poking through, vying to open the closing doors. They succeed.
I quickly glance at my feet, avoiding eye contact. How is it possible? How did he get me? I recognise the shoes standing next to me. I’m good at the details, and these shoes stood next to me only a while ago. He had all this planned. I smile despondently – it’s okay, I think I’m ready. I’ve had enough of being used, abused, blackmailed and threatened by Trevon.
I lower my head more but almost instantly I feel his index finger under my chin, lifting it up. In any other situation I’d try to break his fingers, then his legs and then I’d think about blowing his brains out but right now, I can’t. I have no strength.
“Do you still have that piece of paper I gave you?” Those blue absorbing eyes are haunting.
Sluggishly I take the scrunched paper from my pocket and give it to him. I have no strength to even talk. I’m incapacitated in a strange way. Although I’m almost certain, it’s not possible. Biological weapons?
“You got to be careful with that.”
“W-why?” Hearing myself talk sounds strange.
He pulls a white medical glove from his pocket and first he slides it on, then he peels the glove off of his palm, rolling the paper inside it. When it’s safely inside the glove, he places it in his pocket.
“I take littering very seriously,” he smiles. “Now, take it easy. Walk with me.” He takes my bag in one hand and wraps the other one around my waist. The elevator pings to my floor and the door opens dreadfully slowly, then he starts dragging me down the hallway.
He walks me in front of my room and with the pen he produces from his pocket he manages to work the lock. Within a moment we are in, and I’m forced onto a chair he pulls from under the table.
With a zip tie from his pocket he ties my hands behind me, and does the same to my ankles, tying them separately for each chair leg. I’m helplessly observing – my cognitive behaviour is diminished. I don’t feel anything, and my mind is kind of the same, but numb. I look at him while he pulls a chair and sits directly opposite me.
“How are you feeling pretty face, can you talk yet?”
His eyes are coming to focus now. There are several wavy strands of hair over his face; his nostrils, flared from the labour of dragging me are coming to rest.
“The substance on the paper affects your movement but it’s nothing serious. It’s probably worn off by now.”
He’s right. My senses gradually come back, my coherence as well but not at the speed I want it to.
“C-call me p-pretty face one more time.” I don’t have the energy to spit my words out like I’m used to. This will do.
He should be saying good bye to his teeth instead.
“Who sent you?” I ask.
“Who sent you? Your gear was visible from miles away. How you are still alive I don’t know.”
“Who are you, and what were you doing at the bank today?” I demand.
His firm hand lands on me fast, strong, and splits my lip. His hooded eyes may be on fire, but the whack on my face is a joke. My pain threshold is way beyond what he could put out. Only my black bob wig moves slightly. I mustn’t let it fall of. My cover must not be compromised. I blink, checking on my contacts, too.
“I think I’ll be the one asking questions.”
I ignore the blood seeping from my lips, and meticulously plan my escape in my head. I can easily free up my hands by rolling them over my head and in front of me, that zip tie will break like a twig. My legs – I’m going to try to break the chair to set myself free.
“Name.” He orders.
Another, harder smack. I didn’t plan on messing up my face today.
I give him a defiant look, although I know that won’t get me anywhere. I need to get him closer if I’m to free myself.
“What is your name.”
I raise my chin like a solder.
“I wonder who taught you to hit like a girl.”
He raises his hand once again, gaining sufficient traction to hit me harder, but stops halfway through. Ha. He’s trying a different strategy.
“Do you understand that whatever you were sent to do at the bank, it was way too obvious? Were you going to rob the bank? Kill someone? Burn something? You need to cool your head off and get some training! Now, one last time, what’s you name.”
“Miss…hmrda.derss.” I mumble.
He narrows his eyes and gets closer. Really close.
“Don’t mumble. Speak up!”
My moment arrives and I grab it. I smash my head into his, incapacitating him for a few seconds. While he’s down on the ground I raise my hands above my head as high as possible, and then swing my arms down towards the ground while spreading my elbows apart. Works every time. The stress of the manoeuvre tears the zip tie apart. Who ties people with zip tie anymore?
But I need more time to free my legs up. First, I turn and swing my fist with full strength towards him, hoping to break his nose. I think I do. I wish I’m this brave every day. Then I search for his gun, he must have one and I’m right, I find it strapped to his back. I take it and hit him on the head with it. Instead of breaking the chair, and possibly alarming someone outside of the room, I search his pockets quickly and luckily find what I was looking for – the pen. I break off the small metal shin and slide it inside the locking blade of the zip tie. I hold the locking blade up and pull the tie out.
I do the same thing with my other ankle and once that is done, I’m free.
I check his pocket for the glove containing the piece of paper I was nearly killed with. After opening it carefully I rub it on his neck for a couple of seconds. I take his gun and I grab my bag, adjust my wig and head out. The room is paid for, and I don’t need to check out. My plans are always perfect. Well, they have been until now.
I did feel someone watching me at the bank. But who? Fuck Trevon and his requests. Nobody knew I planted £50 so the mark would find them. Nobody knew, even myself, which bank she’d get in to return the money. That’s pure chance. That’s why I manage to get away every time. Because everything I plan is unplanned. Because I know people and their behaviour. I knew it would take her around twenty minutes to return the money. The banks usually take them at the back and take their information before accepting the money. Because they can’t just take any money, there are policies and procedures they need to follow. And while went on, Trevon thought I’d find myself a place somewhere opposite the building where the mark is in and do the job. Kill her. Well, that wasn’t in my plan. I was going to get the briefcase, and leave.
Right. Eyes back on the game, I must do this, or Trevon will flip. This is just a hiccup. I’m heading back.
I check the watch Trevon gave me and press on the side button a few times – a beep comes up and I see the mark on a map. Perfect – she’s back in her office. I’m going to take that briefcase and disappear.
I take the stairs and head off. I have at least a half an hour head start.”