As Michael arrives, he asks the waiter where he could find the person he’s looking for. Apparently he is on the second floor, in the terrace area. Michael is escorted there by a staff member who points at a man smoking by the railing of the terrace. There are many people around and that is something Michael had not expected but, after all, it is a very popular town amongst tourists and every single day the streets get crowded with them.
He walks up to the man, who’s younger than he expected and asks: “Is this seat taken?”
The young man doesn’t turn to him, still taking a look a look at the people on the square below and smoking.
- Starting with a stupid question doesn’t make much sense.
Michael sits down. The waiter comes and takes their order: Michael asks for a whisky, straight, and the young man asks for a “screwdriver”. They don’t say a word until the drinks come to the table. In the meantime, they both watch the people and the pigeons come and go into square. The movements are almost hypnotic. When the drinks arrive, the young man throws his cigarette over the railing and takes a sip of his glass.
- That’s unsafe. – says Michael.
- I think people have better things to worry about, including you. – answers the young man. - Including whatever it is we are going to talk about now.
Michael looks straight at him, with disgust.
- That’s a nice mouthful of crap for a terrorist.
The young man laughs. He also looks at Michael straight in the eye. It’s the look of a mad man.
- You kill people for sport.
- Oh, please! You do that too. Besides, it’s not sport. I’m the same as you; I have a salary and everything. The fact that I enjoy it is the only difference.
Michael doesn’t say anything.
- Oh, so you enjoy it too?
- What are you talking about?
The young man stops directing his body towards the railing and decides to face directly at Michael and even comes a bit over the table.
- What do you want?
- It was you who contacted me.
- True. But it’s you who wants something. What is it?
- The truth.
Michael is very serious but the young man slowly pulls back, grinning.
- There are many truths.
- You put a bomb on that man’s house. You killed his family.
Total silence. Michael’s heartbeat is fast.
- His children…
- Yes, they died. And no, I didn’t plan for that to happen, collateral damage.
- That’s it? - Michael slams the table with his fist. – That’s all who have to say?
The young man takes his glass and takes a big sip of his drink. He looks around and slowly answers.
- That’s all I will say, yes. And I bet you don’t have much to say about those drone attacks you commanded while in the army.
Michael’s facial expression changes.
- What? You didn’t expect me to know that? Please, any decent spy would have dug that out.
Now, it is Michael who pulls back to his seat. He’s reminded of a time he thought everyone had forgotten, that people in his job at the CIA told that was behind him. Apparently a sealed file doesn’t stay sealed forever.
- Yeah, so that’s done. – says the young man. – So, what are you here, in town? Big party coming?
- Shut up.
- Come on, dish. What is it? A cartel, or slaves or what. What is piercing on your brain now?
- How is it that you are a spy? If you really are, how did you get to be one?
Again, the young man smiles. He drink some more of the drink and turns his head towards the square.
- I suspect we have been doing this for the same time, you know. – he smokes as he talks, pausing from time to time. – The thing is you were chosen to be a spy because you were a good soldier. I, obviously, wasn’t that.
They both smile.
- A woman that knew a lot about all of this stuff picked me from an early age. She chose me because, in her words, because “I wasn’t noticeable”. Apparently, I didn’t stand out in a crow.
- So you stole since you were a boy?
- Yeah. You didn’t?
A flock of pigeons passes over them. They both looked at the birds, with so much happening in their minds.
- So that’s how I started. I have a face that doesn’t stick. I can be in a crowd and you wouldn’t look at me twice.
- I would.
- Sweet but I meant normal people. Besides you know who I am now so, it’s pretty obvious you are going to look for me every single day of the rest of your life.
- You think you’re that important?
- No, but you do.
Some children yell and run on the square, scaring more pigeons. People take pictures and talk, a lot.
- They say you don’t only kill your targets.
- Who is “they”?
- You fuck them too.
The young man laughs so hard that he snorts a bit.
- Only the men.
- And the women?
- I don’t kill women. I thought you would know that.
He looks at his watch. Michael notices this.
- Somewhere to be?
- Nope. I’m just where I need to be. You?
- Awesome. Why did you become a spy? Childhood dreams?
Michael moves in his seat. He has never liked to talk about the subject, it makes him uneasy because it is private and he doesn’t handle private very well.
- Sorry, too personal?
- I don’t care, Mike.
- Don’t call me Mike.
- Fuck you Mike.
There’s a silence between them. They drink the last of their drinks and the young man turns his body against towards Michael. He looks at every single feature of his face. He smiles.
- You’re handsome, beneath that shell.
Michael exhales, annoyed.
- You are. And I guess there’s a nice little brain inside of there. You knew I was here and no one knew that.
- No one?
- Nope. You are the only one that knows and that makes for a nice little relationship, don’t you think?
He leans over the table and grabs Michael hand. He pulls back but the young man is much stronger than anticipated. The young man caresses his hand and finally says:
- I came here to do my job, Mike. And that’s what’s I’m doing. No psychological shit today, ok?
He leans over even more and says, in a whisper, “enjoy the ride”.
Then, an explosion occurs in the square below. Every person in the balcony looks below but Michael cannot. The young man grabbed his arm, making him unable to move, and then punched him hard in the stomach. Then threw him on the ground and ran. Michael chases him downstairs, barely breathing. He sees his jeans running down the street and turning left but then, a second explosion happens just a few meters away. Michael is thrown to the floor again and remains there for a while.
Later, in the hospital, he receives a big bouquet of roses that only have one white card with one symbol on it: the imprint of his lips in blue lipstick.