10 August 2012
A SHOWER SCENE
By Curtis C. Chen
No matter how much things may change, this fact remains the same: United States Federal Agents are still mostly straight white males, and if there's one thing straight white men do not want to see, it's two dudes macking on each other.
My contact at the shady motel off Route 53 wasn't exactly my type, so I appreciated the fact that he'd attempted to freshen up his breath with something synthetically minty. And that he didn't use any tongue when we kissed, an act for the benefit of the hidden cameras which the FBI or DIA or some other three-letter acronym had scattered around the room.
I had been surprised when my jailbroken smartphone detected scrambled law enforcement frequencies popping out of nearly every metal surface in the room, but sometimes it pays to be paranoid. The microlens-and-radio-transmitter bugs were invisible to the naked eye, but they lit up my phone's ultra-sensitive antenna like a Christmas tree.
Fortunately, even though I wasn't expecting any smokies to have pre-tagged this rustic roadside retreat, I'm always prepared for the worst. I texted my contact a code word indicating a change of plan and hoped his boss—my current client—had passed along the memo with our standard playbook. Good news: he had. Bad news: he was one hairy motherfucker.
After the mercifully brief lip-action, I told my contact to warm up the shower, smacking his ass for effect. While he turned on the water, I made a show of dancing around the room and disrobing, hoping my feigned enthusiasm would be enough to discourage whoever was watching. Then I joined my contact in the shower.
Here's the thing about masking noise: it doesn't work. Whether it's road traffic, or music, or a loud newscast, it's always somewhat predictable, and any law enforcement outfit with two CPUs to rub together will be able to filter out the background and get the gist of what you're saying. I don't like showering with strange men any more than the next guy, but in my line of work, it's one of the few ways to ensure a private conversation.
My contact gave me a disapproving glare when I joined him in the shower, naked. He had opted to keep his boxer shorts on. I shrugged.
He raised his hands, gesturing in the pidgin sign language my client had pre-arranged for audio-compromised situations like this.
DON'T TOUCH ME AGAIN, he signed.
I nodded. NO SPANKING. ACK. IS JOB STILL GO?
COMPLICATION. TWO TARGETS.
I shook my head. NOT WHAT WE AGREED.
BOSS WILL PAY TRIPLE.
I hesitated. A big pay hike like that was almost always bad news, but I needed the money. Besides, the original target was some milk-toast accountant; how bad could this add-on be?
WHO IS SECOND TARGET? I asked.
YOU GET DETAILS LATER, my contact replied. AGREE FIRST.
I frowned. I DON'T ENJOY DOING BUSINESS LIKE THIS.
He scowled back at me, water dripping off his mustache. THAT MAKES TWO OF US, ASSHOLE.
Image: Showertime by EJP Photo, September, 2011