Thursday, October 7, 2010

Week of Transition

I'm writing this on my laptop in my cozy little room at a bed and breakfast in Bennington, Vermont. During the course of only a week and a half, I have gone from posing as Carla Fontaine, Internet porn vixen of Las Vegas, to plain old Angela Bayard, chastened office drone in Washington, DC, to Carla Franklin, mousy Manhattan office drone on vacation in scenic Vermont. I never thought I would be put back in the field so soon, but I'm eager to prove my worth after that botched assignment in Vegas.

My brief stint on desk duty shook me to the core. The past year was a whirlwind of training and exciting assignments both here and abroad. The work was shaping up to be just as exciting as I had hoped, but then came the mess in Vegas and I was stuck doing busy work in a gray cubicle. I realized that, if you are not a field agent in this organization, a career here would be just like any other government office job: dull and repetitive and safe. I'm not cut out for that, so I have to do everything in my power to stay in The Colonel's good graces and remain a field operative.

My period in purgatory wasn't all horrible though. I did get to reconnect with my mother, whom I haven't been able to spend much time with since my father died. When she started dating my old high school principal, Mr. Huggins, while I was in Vegas, I was angry and hurt and a little weirded out. I felt like she was betraying my dad or something. Not to mention the fact that I was forced to think of my mother as a sexual being for the first time in my life. It was all too much to handle while living thousands of miles away.

Now that I'm home, I recognize that she was working through her stages of grief completely on her own. I had work and travel to distract me. She had to live in the same house we all shared for so many years, left with all the memories and no inkling of a future. Finding Mr. Huggins was like having extra chapters added to her book of life. It doesn't just end abruptly with no finale. Her story goes on. I understand that now.

We all went out to dinner together last Saturday at McCormick & Schmick's. Strange how someone can seem like a completely different person when you meet them socially. As a teenager, Mr. Huggins was all grim and humorless, relentlessly on patrol for vandals and pot smokers and hall loiterers. He really had no personality, so far as I could tell, as if he were stored in one of the gym lockers during the night and trotted out the next day to continue his reign of terror. Last Saturday, sitting next to my mom, joking about his life and career, he became human in my eyes. Like my mom, he had adored his spouse and was devastated by her passing. Still is, I imagine. He seems happy with Mom though. And as he approaches retirement, he can joke freely about putting "the fear of God" in us kids so he could maintain just enough calm that we might learn something. Turns out, he's even ex-Navy like me, although he served peace time during the late 70s. I was so glad we had that dinner together.

Then, just when I was beginning to feel re-energized, The Colonel smiled upon me and handed me this new assignment. Not the most high profile job: playing bodyguard to a civilian professor working undercover for the FBI. I'm supposed to stage a fake romance with him so I can stay close in case he gets in danger. From porn star to ingenue. Can't say The Colonel isn't a bit sexist, but at least I'm in the field again.

Have to wrap this up so I can get downstairs and eat breakfast. The cooking aromas have been wafting up to my room all morning, and I'm dying to see what Edgar, the innkeeper, has whipped up. He's a bit of an odd duck, but friendly and eager to please. Frankly, I think he has a bit of a crush on me. Anyway, it's breakfast and then off to meet my contact. How thrilling it is to be back in the game!

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