Shad looked around himself, wary. There. There it was. The thing he detested. Monitoring. They always find away.
He narrowed his eyes, grabbed the little round device, and dropped it in his water bottle. Have to empty that out before I drink, he thought. But better than having them listen.
Shad pulled his phone out, dialed, and held it to his ear.
“Sierra Hotel Alpha Delta Seven Seven Three. The chicken has lost its head. Repeat, chicken lost its head.”
“Umm…okay,” said the voice on the other end.
“Awaiting further instruction.”
“Don’t call back.”
Shad hung up and slid the phone into his pocket. He picked up the metal napkin holder, a few napkins hanging out. He held the metal box up, looked at the people behind him laughing, sipping coffee, talking. One of them looked at him.
There you are, Shad thought.
Shad stood, walked to the counter, and ordered another coffee. He returned to his table, sitting on the other side, and lifted a newspaper, feigning reading.
His target continued to laugh and talk, talk and laugh. The target appeared to be pretending he was on a date. Nice try, Shad thought. I can see right through you. The target looked over again. Clearly, Shad thought, you know I’m here.
Shad continued to flip through the paper as the target and his date kept up appearances. Finally, the target picked up his phone and called his base.
Shad withdrew his own cell and called the new number, as he had been instructed.
“Hello?” came a woman’s voice.
“Sierra Hotel Alpha Delta Seven Seven Three, E.T. has phoned home, preparing to move, please advise.”
“Who is this?”
“Ugh, Mom, someone on the phone!”
“Understood. Over and out.” Shad hung up as the target and his cover stood. He waited a moment while they collected their things, then, as they left, he rose and followed them out the door. He walked behind the target, a careful thirty paces, until the man reached a car.
The target opened the door for his cover, then got in the driver’s side. Dammit, Shad thought. He hurried to the main street, looking for a taxi, but none was around. He watched as the target drove off, cursing his luck. Control really needs to provide me with a car, he thought. I can’t keep losing them this way.
He pulled his phone out and started dialing, preparing to report another loss, hopeful one of the others could pick up where he left off.