It was one of those lazy weekend days. I was sitting in my office, having a cup of coffee. I heard a noise come out of my desk drawer that I haven't heard in a very long time. I unlocked the drawer and the phone was ringing. What makes this so amazing is that this phone hasn't rung in years, not since I retired from the company.
I picked it up and said a tentative hello. I heard a laugh and then the voice says, "What, are you expecting a winning call from Publishers Clearing House? You know who this is, right?"
"Yes Al, I know it's you. What do you want? You know I'm long retired from the game, don't you?"
"I know that, but we have the need for you special skills for an assignment in New York City."
"What special skills? I'm a 60-year-old man with bad knees, a bad back and other ailments I won't bore you with a list of all of them. Good-bye Al."
"Wait a minute will ya? This is easy. I'll pay you a premium for helping me out. Can I at least tell you about the job?"
I sigh deeply. "Ok Al. What is it?"
"We need you to play the grandfather to one of our young and upcoming agents. Her name is Tanya. There is no one else I can ask, right now. I'm in a bind and you're the only one that can do this. You'll also be working with one of your old friends, Betsy."
"Hell, no, she and I had a falling out a long time ago and that's a candle I don't feel like relighting. She's a shrew that doesn't take direction. I told you back then; I'd never work with her again. So forget it. We're done! Good-bye!"
"Hold on! She has mellowed. She has been retired just like you. She's a true grandmother now. She said she wouldn't mind working with you again."
"Of course not, she's the one that almost killed her partner because she’s incompetent!"
"I'll triple you regular rate."
"Okay, how about this. I'll quadruple your regular rate and double your yearly pension."
"How the hell can you do that? You don't have the authority."
"Yes I do. I'm now the director of the company. I figured that with the time spent on this case, your hours would qualify you for that double pension. So, how about playing grandpa for us?"
Another deep sigh, "So where and when does this happen? What's the game?"
"It's happening this Saturday night, at The Waldorf Astoria Hotel. You and Betty will accompany Tanya to a reception for the Russian ambassador. You will watch her back as she gets some needed information. There will also be some other agents planted at the reception and in the hotel, so there will be plenty of back up if anything goes sideways."
"Sideways? What part of my being 60 didn't you understand? I'm not going to carry a gun, and I'm sure as hell not going to fight anyone."
"I said just in case. You don't have to carry a gun and Betty won't either. Tanya will. Believe me she can handle herself. You just have to get her to where she needs to be. We booked a room for the three of you right above the ambassadors. You just have to get her up there, and she'll handle the rest."
"What's the catch? There's always a catch."
"The only catch is making sure that she is safe and getting her up to that room. Once you're in there, a waiter will make a delivery. He's one of our agents, and he will help you with the equipment he brought. He'll leave and return an hour later to retrieve the equipment."
"What is she going to do in the room? I'll guess there's a computer or documents that important to the company that you want."
"You guessed right. So, are you in?
"I'm in only if I get the payment first and my pension paperwork is updated on Monday."
"It's already done and I just emailed it to you. I didn't know what you were going to say, so I had to be prepared no matter what. I'll be at your house tomorrow morning to personally go over the operation and give you the payment. Besides, I want to see your smiling face!"
"Fine, be here around 11 am. Good-bye."
I hung up the phone and said to myself, “What the hell have I gotten myself into? I'm too old for this crap. I can only imagine how hideous Betty must look now. Sure, she was a fox 35 years ago, but there is no way she can still look that good unless she had some artificial help.”
You see, when Betty and were working partners, it turned into a torrid affair. We were young, stupid and single; looking for some fun. Had the company known what we were doing, they would have broken up the partnership. As the sex was so amazing, we kept it quiet, until our last assignment when her stupidity almost killed me. That was the last time I saw Betsy.
To Be Continued.
Matt Seinberg lives on Long Island, a few minutes east of New York City. He looks at everything around him and notices much. Somewhat less cynical than dyed in the wool New Yorkers, Seinberg believes those who don't see what he does like reading about what he sees and what it means to him. Seinberg columns revel in the silly little things of life and laughter as well as much well-directed anger at inept, foolish public officials. Mostly, Seinberg writes for those who laugh easily at their own foibles as well as those of others.
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