Tuesday, October 30, 2012

It's in the Cards



    “When are you leaving?” Þora said calmly. She wasn’t nearly so upset as she had been when they first sat down.

    “Tomorrow,” said Sean, “The Embassy has some paperwork I have to complete in order to leave the country on short notice. Nothing is simple anymore.”

    “What about your clothes?”

    “My clothes?” Sean was wondering where Billy had kept his things.

    “I’m not going to have them wasting space in my apartment.”

    “We could get them now, if you like,” said Sean.

    “Yá, but we’ll need to do it right away, I have to be at work at 12.”

    Sean still needed to get the ‘Evidence’ file out of Billy’s computer. He needed it for his own protection as much as Billy had. Sean figured that without something to hold over the Senator he would become expendable after the election. He needed some insurance.

    “Þora, do you know where I could get an SD card?”

    “Memory card? I’ve got a spare for my camera, somewhere here in my purse.”

    As she rummaged through her bag Sean thought of a way to save the file and get a message to Mrs. Robinson without blowing his cover. He went over to the next table and picked up a copy of the morning paper. Þora produced her camera and the card.

    “Would you take my picture with this newspaper? On the spare card? I want to send it to my Aunt Mary in Seattle. She says I never send her anything from my trips abroad. She doesn’t believe me when I tell about my trips. I’ve got some files on the computer in the hangover shack to send to her too.”

    “Why don’t you just e-mail them?”

    “She doesn’t own a computer,” said Sean,  “But she can bring the card to the library and view the files there.” Lying was becoming easier and easier.

    “Já,” Þora put the card in her camera, “Smile.”

    Sean held the paper close to his face with the date clearly visible.

    “Satisfied?” she said, showing Sean the review.

    “That’s great. Is there a place nearby where I can get a greeting card and a stamp?”

    “Eymundssons, in Austurstraeti, it has cards in the basement,” Þora said, “The post office is across the street,” handing him the memory card.

    “Let’s go back to the hangover shack. It will only take a minute to download the files, I’ll mail this to my aunt Mary, then pick up my clothes and you’ll be able to get to to work on time,” Sean said, although he didn’t have any idea where she lived.

    “We’ll have to hurry,” Þora acted calm but Sean could see that she was still angry with him. Sean could see how Billy would have been attracted to her. “Mon petit Vulcan,” he thought as he watched her put her things in her purse.

    They left the restaurant and went back to the storeroom. Sean copied the evidence file and then erased it, using a line command to make sure the computer was clean. He knew the Senator’s people would be going through it and Sean didn’t want them to think that  the file ever existed. He grabbed the duffel he had gotten from the embassy and the couple left, Þora leading him toward the center of town.

    When they got to the Post Office Þora pointed Sean in the direction of Eymundsson’s and said “The cards are downstairs. I’ll get the stamp.  Make it quick.” Sean grabbed the goofiest Icelandic card he could find, paid for it, then wrote on the inside:
Not dead yet. It’s in the card. Your eyes only. Wait for instructions.
    The greeting had a double layer cover printed in gold foil. Sean wedged the SD card between the cover’s layers and addressed the envelope to Mrs. Robinson at ADR in Seattle. She would be able to figure it out. Back on the street, he gave Þora the envelope. She stamped and mailed it.

    “Come on, let’s go. I haven’t got all day,” Þora said.

   Then she was off—walking so fast that Sean almost had to jog to keep up with her. They walked in silence along the edge of the pond. Swans and ducks gracefully swam in random patterns. Patches of blue sky and moments of sunshine erased all traces of the previous night’s wretched weather. Þora’s apartment was in the basement of a large stuccoed cube of a house near the south end of Tjarnargata. A living room, kitchen, three bedrooms with a shared bath. It had the appearance of a college dorm. Her flatmates were out.

   “Don’t get any ideas about a repeat performance,” said Þora as they entered the flat. “I’ve put all your things there, on the floor, in the back of the closet,” she continued, waving at a pile of socks and shirts and pants. There were no shoes. As Sean put the clothes in the duffel, he felt them carefully, seeing if they held any clues—things which Billy might have forgotten. He hadn’t found anything until he picked up the last sock. It held a roll of at least thirty one-hundred-dollar bills. Sean doubted that would cause problems in customs, but it would be gauche to give it to Þora—turning his ‘fuck and run’ into something much worse.

   “Þora, I’ve got this money,” Sean said,  “The embassy won’t let me keep it. Would you… hold it, hold it for my daughter? Don’t let on it’s from me. Get her a book or a dress once in a while. Take her out for an ice cream or a movie, I don’t know. Do something with it that you’d think would make her happy.”

   Þora looked at Sean sadly and simply said: “Já,” then turned away and said, “Go now.” Sean reached out to embrace her but she shook her head and moved away.

   Sean picked up his duffle and went back to the hangover shack. He went in and stretched out on the pile of tarps. Then he crashed.




Fiction

By Professor Batty