There was something about the rain – the sound of the clash of the natural and artificial as the drops pattered on the awning overhead. It was inspiring. The torrential downpour was washing away the grime from the streets of Paris; rivers of rainwater threaded the cobblestone and seeped into the drains.
When the rain had started, most of the patrons of the small café had either left or vacated to the warm interior that smelled of baked bread and freshly brewed coffee. Save for one, a wiry man. His face was clean shaven and his hair cropped neatly, but tussled from the hat that was now opposite him on the table. Before him sat a half eaten pastry, a perfectly straight croissant that denoted its purity of butter. His hand rested on the table, and his finger circled the rim of his mug. The mug was still warm from the beverage that he had recently finished off with a contended sigh. All around him automobiles and strangers hurried through the rain to get away from its chilling drops. The sounds of muffled conversation drifted from the café door and the hum of motor vehicles was almost pleasant. The man didn’t seem to mid the chill in the air, for at least he was dry under the awning. His other hand played over the cold steel in his grey pea coat pocket, a Colt 45. automatic pistol that was standard military issue. He hoped there would be no call to use it, but then this was war; even if it barely involved men but rather information and secrets. America had been at war with Russia for little over a year now, but Terrance Sharp had been spying for much longer than that.
He watched each car that passed with interest, he was waiting for someone. Only he wasn’t sure who they were – All he had been told was that they had crucial information and they would meet him there at 2:15. He checked his watch: 2:17. ‘Whoever they were they weren’t very punctual,’ he mused to himself. He went over the sign and counter sign. The person would be wearing a red feather in their hat and be carrying a parcel. He would say, “The post has already been delivered for the day.” And they would respond, “And the ferry from Dover left at half-past.” He chuckled to himself because he wondered how drunk people had to be to think these things up. They never made sense and more often than not, were very much out of the ordinary for a regular conversation
He glanced at his watch again. It was nearing 2:20. He sighed and tossed a few francs beside the plate. He was almost about to leave when he caught sight of a red feather. His eyebrow rose in slight confusion. Moving towards him was a stately woman; her hair was tied up under the trilby hat she wore at a jaunty angle. Her skin was tan, which was accented nicely with a dark hued lipstick. She was wearing a tweed jacket that was near knee length and covered most of what she wore, but the bottom of her green skirt was visible. Her brown eyes glanced about the café before they alighted on him. Terrance’s eye twitched, how appropriate – A lady doing’s a man’s job and she was late. She was holding an umbrella and in her other hand a brown package tied with string. Terrance snorted, but didn’t move until she was near enough to him. “The post has already been delivered for the day.” He said softly. The woman smiled at him and gave a very carefree shrug, “And the ferry from Dover left at half-past.” She said as she closed the umbrella and slid into the seat across from him.
“You’re late.” He said flatly as he crossed his arms.
“And you’re rude.” She replied as she pushed the small box towards him. “Photographs of nearly a dozen Soviet spies.” She said simply.
“And how did you get them?” Terrance asked with bored look.
“I bought them on the black market.” She replied nonchalantly.
Terrance managed to keep from coughing in surprise.
“I’m aware you don’t think much of me, Mr…” she trailed off since she didn’t know his name.
“Terrence Sharp” He said. For some reason he knew he could trust her, even if he didn’t particularly like her.
“Jacqueline Carlyle,” she replied and then launched back from where she had left off, “Seeing as we have just met and as that I’m a woman, but I can assure you that I’m quite capable.”
Terrance laughed a little, “That remains to be seen.” He replied.
Jacqueline rose, and Terrence did likewise. Now that they were both standing, it was clear that Sharp was nearly six inches shorter.
“You don’t look like a spy.”Jacqueline laughed quietly.
Terrence smirked, “Neither do you, so that makes us even. Pleasure to make your acquaintance, perhaps we’ll work together in the future.” he said as he reached for his hat. He placed it on his head with a nod before he turned and left, the package tucked under his arm. Within moments he was lost in the crowd.
The rain had stopped for now, Jacqueline noticed, but she couldn’t help but feel that there was a storm coming.
I may be a little too excited for “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” which come out in August.