FINGERED: deafblog serial #8
by Joseph Santini
She trusts me. She really trusts me.
The situation sucked. They were in a car she’d managed to get, goddess knew how. They were driving someplace he didn’t know, to identify two people he’d seen once, to get one person he’d met twice out of jail, because the woman next to him – the beautiful dark-featured woman who seemed to be two people at once, sometimes – seemed to think the fact that the guy was in trouble, was her fault.
And all he could do was smile, because, well, she trusted him.
Deeply, eagerly, he wanted to be the person deserving of her trust.
“So. Peace corps, never, truebiz since CIA undercover middle east?”
“Six years total.”
“Now work finish, come New York, new life start.”
Nodella le Nod the IIIrd.
“Important, me keep confidential. Blab blab blab, you die. Right?”
Nodda nodda nodda. Was she paying attention? He decided to throw a little bomb in.
“Why’d you tell me?”
She looked at him sidelong, startled, then returned to the road. She was a careful, if not overly concerned about speeding limits, driver. Ten minutes of driving with her and he knew already he could sign all he wanted – she would see and pay attention to everything, but she’d wait patiently for a red light to reply. He took the time to watch her.
Make the plan, execute the plan. When he’d told her about Amil, she’d frozen for a moment – a long, gear-turning moment. Then she’d asked him to wait, gone upstairs, and come down five minutes later in a pantsuit telling him to turn around. And a car, a big old black Lincoln, had been there waiting for them, keys still in the ignition. Once in the front seat she’d told him a precise version of her history (he hadn’t thought, at the time, that precise meant two things – not only complete, but particular.)
She’d done a special job for the CIA. In the middle East. Amil might have gotten mixed up in it.
He saw two of her now, overlapping, like two waves each rising and setting in front of the other: the girl desperate to please her family, her friends, and this other, harder girl who… made the plan. Executed the plan.
“We go where? You know?”
“FBI office, Manhattan, downtown, near Chambers.” She signed Chambers St. eye street, for the eyes that guarded the subway, forever open, like the entrance to Mordor. “If fail, FBI office in Brooklyn-“ She paused for another short drive and at the next light, holding the wheel with one hand, deftly described the possible arc of a search of offices in New York.
“But really – only need inform one person, they call call others? Your CIA situation, middle east, happened what?” He saw her lips tighten. “Come on!”
Another red light. She turned to him. “Fine. You answer me. I ask ask ask many people. All say same! You, Mark, quiet, nice, never ever chase girl, possibly gay, who knows? Now me, we-two meet, suddenly chase chase chase. What for? You want what?”
She’d been asking people about him? Cool! But, no. Act pissed off. “You ask my friends about me? Why not ask me?” She merely glared at him. “Only, I want to know you. That’s all.” Her face softened a little, but not enough. “Look,” he waved at her for attention, careful not to touch her – touching might be the last thing she needed right now. “I’m here with you, right?”
“Fine. You want truth?” She turned to him. “I went to Middle East, why? Because the President, the Sultan, he had a son who was Deaf. I play tourist, I meet him. So natural! He falls in love for an American beauty! And Deaf, same him!” A mocking expression of surprise and excitement suffused her face. “All the time I continue, collect information secrets knowledge, pass on to contact. Military secrets, serve my country…” she shook her head. “One day they asked me to move faster. Stuff was happening. More information need. Fine. I seduce him…” she shrugged. “I become whore. Fakey whore, for for? My government. Fine. More information, they get. Me, I’m inside. Then…” They had arrived. She nodded a little further down, where the ruins of the World Trade Center rested. “They pulled me out. Told me, travel for a year, year and a half. Cover up. Finally I came home. New life, same you said.” She shrugged. “So. That’s it. Any questions?”
Mark could only shake his head. But then: “Did you love him?”
It was this question which cracked the hard persona. She burst into tears.
He put his hand on her shoulder. She pulled into him. She leaned up. He tasted salt.
There were a few quiet minutes, punctuated by the rumbles of the trains below Chambers Street. He kept his eyes shut till he felt her withdraw, wanting only to feel the land beneath the salt, the soft mountains...
She smiled. “Thank you. It’s the most I've got, since…” she shrugged. "Not plan, intend you me... now, this way..." He nodded, smiled. It was okay. Inside his head he was bouncing off walls. Better change subject. Important things happening anyway.
“So... think you Amil involved somehow?”
She blinked. “What else?” The arc of her arm and hand as she flipped it backward formed a question mark.