Wednesday, September 29, 2010

What Happens in Vegas...

Sometimes events can turn so quickly your mind doesn't have time to catch up. That's the way I'm feeling right now. The past five days have been a blur, taking me from the heights of anticipation to the depths of disappointment. I guess the only way to sort through it is to start at the beginning.

Last Saturday was the night of the big operation. Stephen and I had been working out our scenario for almost two weeks. I was even simulating my moves by running around casinos to test my speed. Finally, it was the night of the 25th, and I was to meet the online customer known as Hommecornee and his boss, a major arms dealer who will remain nameless. Basically, the plan was for me to show up at the client's suite as sexy call girl Carla Fontaine. I was a little worried that the suite was in the same hotel where Lucky worked, but the chances of him spotting me in such an enormous place were slim.

I met Hommecornee and another hanger-on at the suite where I was told to see the arms dealer in his bedroom. Once I was in the room alone with the client, I was to administer a drug to him which would simulate a heart attack. I was to pretend to have called 911 and two men whom Stephen had hired to pose as paramedics were to arrive and carry the arms dealer away, supposedly to a hospital but actually to a safe house where he could be interrogated. I was to slip away when the paramedics arrived.

All of this had to be precisely timed because the drug we were using could kill our target if he was not given another drug to counteract the effects within 20 minutes. That's why we had to hire outside help with medical experience. Unfortunately, our freelancers never arrived. I panicked and took off before Hommecornee and his buddy could discover that their boss was dead. I was racing to get out of the hotel when I spotted the men  pursuing me in the casino. As if things couldn't be worse, I also spotted Lucky having a drink with another woman in the lounge. I was angry and hurt, but I had to focus on getting out of there alive. Then Lucky saw me and came over to explain himself, giving my pursuers time to move in. Only through some quick maneuvering (and the help of some bouncers at the hotel) did I manage to escape, losing both Lucky and the bad guys in the process.

By the time I made it back to Lucky's trailer in Henderson, I knew the operation was a shambles. I dutifully reported everything to The Colonel. He was clearly peeved, but gave me no reprimand. Instead, he ordered me back to Washington immediately. I packed my bags and took a cab to McCarran Airport, leaving Lucky, my little Tercel, and Carla Fontaine behind. By Sunday afternoon, I was back on the East Coast calling my mom for a ride home from the airport. Essentially homeless, I also had to ask if I could move back into my old room.

Saturday night, I was playing a call girl. Monday morning, I was playing civil servant and reporting to the office in my little gray suit. I had a meeting with The Colonel that morning. It didn't go well. Although he didn't place the blame for the operation's failure directly on me, his eyes and body language made me feel as if I was just some inexperienced screw-up. Inexperienced maybe, but I did my part perfectly. Something went wrong on Stephen's end, and I wasn't sure why he wasn't in that room with me getting the third degree. I can't help but think that Stephen is working for someone else.

Anyway, that's not my call. I have to trust that The Colonel will sort this all out. For me, I'm stuck on indefinite desk duty until The Colonel finishes his investigation. Sitting in a cubicle updating files and monitoring field reports is not exactly my natural state. One of the reasons I joined the Navy after college was to avoid the office trap and have some adventure. Then I came to this agency and had some interesting experiences, but the Vegas assignment was my first long-term undercover job. Despite the creepiness of the cover, I enjoyed the freedom of working on my own, away from The Colonel's steely glare. I need to get in the field again, but after last Saturday, I don't know what will become of me.

As it stands, I'm putting in my eight-hour days and coming home to my old bedroom. My mom goes out to dinner every night with Mr. Huggins while I sit alone watching cooking shows and wondering when she'll be home. It's like we've reversed roles since I last lived here. In less than one week, I'm a different person.

I suppose I could pretend the old me never existed except for the texts and voice mails I keep getting from Lucky. There's no way I can talk to him, although a part of me feels like he deserves some sort of explanation. Of course, it would just be another made up story since he can't know the truth. I lied to him; he lied to me. It was all a big pretend game. Best to just put it in the past. As the commercial says, What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. Carla Fontaine is buried in Las Vegas.

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