Chris decided to walk to work. She had a bounce in her gait and whistled off-key. 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 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 going past in the city.
She glanced at the café as she walked by. 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. As she entered the building on time, she made another check on her list. The doorman held the door for all the worker bees heading to 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 heart thumped, but she handled everything smoothly. A wire here, a button there. She imagined the worker bees in Security puzzling over the snow on their monitors. 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.
The binoculars showed him being seated at the corner table as usual. A waiter removed the reserved sign. Chris 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. Time to set aside the binoculars for a different lens.
When the waiter put a bowl of soup on the table, Chris nodded inwardly, taking her cue. 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. Between breaths, she squeezed the trigger. He splashed 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 already splattered across the news. She hardly noticed as she typed up observations.
Research made a novel come to life.