Chris decided to walk to work. She had a bounce in her footsteps, a song in her heart. The odd looks her way made her laugh.
The project would finish today. She’d fly home tonight and the next ten days were hers and hers alone. No more projects, no deadlines. Ten days to work on her latest novel. Another laugh bubbled up. Chris didn’t mind people peering as they passed by. They’d never recognize her under the wig and makeup. The mobs of people served as camouflage. She was just another blur.
She glanced at the café as she passed. Beautiful people in the beautiful weather. How they could stand the exhaust of the vehicles while they ate, she’d never know. More than miles separated her home from New York City. The corner table had a reserved sign on it. Chris mentally checked that off her list.
11:08. She got to the building right on time. The doorman held the door for all the worker bees heading for lunch. She wove her way among them, passing the reception desk unnoticed. Check. Slipping into an empty elevator, she waited for the doors to close before she hit the button for the twentieth floor.
A glance at her watch put extra speed in her footsteps as she left the elevator, heading for the stairs. Nearly two minutes off schedule. Her heartbeat thumped, but she handled everything smoothly. A wire here, a button there. Practice did make perfect. 11:23, check. They’d get to the café any moment.
Chris tied a scarf over her wig and pulled the fancy sunglasses out of her handbag. A huge vent was near the roof door. Her case was tucked under its ledge. She snagged it and settled into the shadow of a billboard. Assembly was easy. Tab A into Slot B. Check. As she worked, a part of her listened, smelled, felt, and filed everything away.
He was being seated at the corner table as usual. She watched through the lens as he got comfortable. Three joined him. All in boring business suits, all carrying attaché cases. As she watched, they ordered. 11:52, within the estimated timeframe. Check. Still she waited.
When the waiter put a bowl of soup on the table, Chris knew it was time. Amusement registered within the part of her on observation duty. She took a slow breath and eased off the safety. He bent to his soup. She squeezed the trigger. He dove face-first into the soup. She broke the weapon into components. No time to waste. The security system would be back up in three minutes.
As always, she was disappointed she couldn’t watch the mark and aftermath up close. The feeling was filed away with other details. She stayed on schedule and was in her hotel room by 12:35. The bank manager’s murder splattered across the news. She hardly noticed as she typed up observations.
Research made a novel come to life.
© 2010 Jessica Rosen
The first lines are a #storystarters I wrote and filed away a couple months ago. Have you searched the hashtag on Twitter yet? Treats for your muse.