Some four and a half minutes before the planned hour of meeting, David Thurman reached the restaurant in this southern provincial town. He entered the restaurant rather slowly reviewing intently all its advantages from his point of view, and the few guests in the restaurant hall that were seated next to its tables.
He chose a free table in one of the restaurant corners, from which he could see the entire hall, and part ot the outside street through the restaurant's glass pane.
After having sat down with his back to the wall, he watched the rest of restaurants guests in a quick survey, taking pains not to attract their attention. Whenever someone turned his eyes to him, he covered the lower part of his face with the palm of his hand, as if he is smothering a yawn. There was no need to worry of course, and even the surveillance check that he did before reaching the restaurant was not particularly needed, and was as an exercise to know better the lanes through which one could sneak away in emergency.
The name David Thurman in his authentic passport was not his real name of course, but a 'nom de guere' that did not rule out his identity as an Israeli citizen but sounded as an Anglo-Saxon name, as long as he was not asked to present his passport.
He has been six weeks already in this provincial town, after having two weeks in the company of a veteran agent in the capital and up to the ride in his company to this very town. He helped him to get used to his new identity and to the new environment in which he has to live now for a while.
It was a stage of adaptation after a two year hard training and studies, that was intended to establish a sound cover and to learn the basics of a profession that would serve him in the near future. Nevertheless it was just the beginning and it would last sometime no doubt.
While he was buried in his thoughts David realized that some type was gawking at him. That type sat on a stool opposite the bar, with some half a dozen guests at the edge of that group some three yards away. It was a young man, a lean fellow with black smooth hair and typical Asian features. Right at the moment their eyes met, that Asian turned his face back straight ahead, as if he was watching the rows of bottles on the shelves behind the barman.
In a quick glimpse at his watch David realized that his guest is seven minutes late. The time passed without his being aware to it, he thought a bit worried. The Asian kept glancing at him repeatedly in very short breaks, as if to annoy him on purpose.
He does get on my nerves the bastard, David thought frustrated; maybe it's my short beard and my spectacles that attract his attention, or maybe he caught up what I really am…
A tall figure in a dark overcoat crossed the road, David saw him through the glass pane. It was his guest that has arrived at last. The allowed fifteen minutes did not pass yet and even if that time would have passed, he would have to cancel the meeting; their meeting is taking place in a friendly country, and in some hostile one. As for the Asian he could be part of the local organization that kept an eye on him, and has even contributed to David's training it seems.
His guest crossed the restaurant threshold, looked the place all over, identified David and went straight to his table. David stood up smiling to welcome his guest; they shook hands, exchanged a few words and sat opposite one another.
A waiter rushed to their table. 'May I serve you gentlemen?'
His guest checked the menu that was prepared before hand by David, in a few seconds he ordered, David did the same right after; the waiter wrote down their orders in his pad and left.
'So what's going on with you?' The guest opened up, you aren't pleased I've heard, okay I'm listening.'
'I've been here about a month already, it isn't the right place; I'm wasting time here, it isn't serious and it isn't…'
'I see,' his guest interrupted him in mid sentence. 'Do you've a better idea, or do expect us to solve your problem?'
'I've checked several other places and there're such where I would acquire a useful profession and…'
'What are they then?' The resident agent of Western Europe interrupted David once again.
'There're several colleges in which one can study during a six months semester some useful professions.'
'Listen your future profession wasn't decided yet, pack your things and get back to Capital.'
It was the very solution that David expected to have, and thus the meeting was over actually, although they kept sitting on, they eat their food with hardly an additional word between them.
The Asian was not there anymore, he must have sneaked while they were in mid discussion.
At the end of the meal they shook again, his superior left and David had to sit on about a quarter of an hour, before he could leave according to the rules. As that time has elapsed he called the waiter and paid the bill; he put on his overcoat and he too, left the restaurant.
On the pavement before the restaurant entrance he stood for a seconds quite pleased, enjoying the cold wind gusts.
A car passed from its open window a string of red and yellowish tiny lights flashed out…
He was thrown back as if he was hit by an unseen heavy object, and in a friction of a second he was sprawled on his back on the cold pavement that was covered with rivulets of his warm blood.
© Haim Kadman September 2011 – all rights reserved.