Putin’s Last Case
Down on the corner, opposite hotel Miro, agent Putin stood waiting and smoking his third Ronhill. His feet were cold. He was getting impatient. The Dubrovnik case was getting old.
‘They don’t pay me enough Kunas to stand out in the rain,’ he considered. ‘I wish the Americans would make a move.’
Wishes are granted by capitalist fairies, even to Communist agents, as long as it’s profitable. Within seconds a figure appeared from the door of the Miro. It was the owner’s mother, opening her umbrella. She turned to the left and went up the street.
Putin puffed his cigarette and attempted to blow a smoke ring.
Then miracles of miracles, the American man appeared and the woman beside him. The man gave a brown paper bundle to the woman and opened an umbrella. He gave her a kiss on the cheek, then the umbrella, turned up his collar, and walked away with his hands in his pockets. The woman turned right and set off down the street, hopping puddles as best she could.
Putin threw down the butt and snuffed it out with his foot, and buttoned the top button of his coat. After he’d given her a half a block lead, he trailed the enticing puddle-hopper as if she were a vein of precious gold.
After a block or two Pamela crossed the street and looked in a shop window. Not for the non-hip collection of women’s clothes displayed there, but to see a reflection in the street behind her. When she was sure the agent was on her trail, she proceeded another block to a busy street where people were waiting for a late-night tram. She made a great show of looking in all directions, and placed the brown paper bundle in a trashcan under a streetlight, and replaced the lid with care. Then she looked both ways again, and tripped off down the street.
To young agent Putin, who had aspirations of becoming a life-member of the K.G.B., she was obviously making a drop.
‘What matters now is not where she goes, but who comes next.’
Agent Putin found a coffee house within sight of the streetlight, and sat down at a table near the window, ordered coffee and strudel, and lit up a Ronhill and steeled himself for what might be an all-night vigil.
‘They’ll give me a Karl Marx Award after I solve this one, and I’ll display it on my dresser. My mother will be so proud.’
Hours later, and on his second pack of Ronhills, the street was nearly deserted. Finally he threw ‘caution to the wind’ as Eddie might have phrased it, and decided to investigate.
The brown paper bundle was still there, and he lifted it free of the mess. It seemed very light for even one pair of jeans. It was yesterday’s edition of The Dubrovnik Times, an English language newspaper. Wrapped up inside was a small object, and our intrepid agent noticed a stench.
‘Perhaps it’s a clue.’ he decided, and opened it up.
But it was only someone’s discarded lunch, a red herring with onions.
In the meantime, Pamela put her dark glasses on and met Eddie at the Babylon.
©Steven Hunley 2016
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