Meeting in Venice
As promised, here is the story I wrote for the Mormon Lit Blitz Contest that I didn’t submit (sent in three others). All these had to be 1000 words or less. I wrote this thinking of all my friends who enjoy a good adventure with a little spice of romance. Let me know what you think! Enjoy!
Meeting in Venice
Graham hurried inside the diner, tossing a hasty glance over his shoulder and fingering the microchip in his pocket. He had a matter of seconds before he would need to disappear. Scanning the room, a young waitress with her hands full of drinks caught his eye. Moving toward the kitchen he bumped into her, sloshing cola onto the floor.
“I’m so sorry,” he apologized quickly. But the chip already rested in her apron pocket. She caught a fleeting glimpse as Graham slipped through the kitchen and disappeared into the alley. The busy diner kept Ali running the entire night, never noticing the chip smaller than a thumbnail, not even when a tiny red light flipped on and began to blink.
Ali locked up after midnight, eager to get off tired feet and unwind with a good book. The wad of tips in her apron pocket made her steps light. Maybe her trip to Europe this summer wouldn’t be so bare bones after all. She was daydreaming of Venice while she cranked the engine.
“Don’t move and don’t scream,” a deep voice said behind her.
Ali’s scream would have been long and loud if not for the hand that cut it short.
“I said not to scream!” the voice growled in her ear.
Ali’s hand slammed down on the horn and when the man lunged for her to stop she pushed the door open and flung herself out of the car, running back toward the diner.
Heavy footsteps were soon in pursuit and Ali felt herself beginning to panic when a car skidded to a stop inches from her.
“Get in!” Graham yelled. In spite of her better reasoning Ali jumped into the car and slammed the door. Tires peeled as he raced away, leaving the man yelling after them.
“That man was in my car!” Ali gasped, “I think he tried to rob me!”
The car slid around a corner and raced through a dark alley, “I’m afraid that’s my fault,” Graham said, “You possess something of international importance.”
Ali’s ears were rushing from the shock of her attack and the surge of adrenaline. She couldn’t be sure she heard him correctly. “What?!”
“Nothing that can’t be remedied,” he said firmly, skidding through another hi speed turn while shooting glances at his rear view mirror. “First we’ve got to find out how they found you so quickly.”
“Wait, who are you?” Ali shook her head trying to make sense of his words.
“My identity is of no importance to you. You only need to know I work with the FBI in International Security,” he tossed a badge into her lap and Ali looked at it with trembling fingers.
They pulled in beside an abandoned warehouse and Graham stopped the car. He crossed to her side and opened the door, offering his hand. Ali took it, “What does the FBI want from a struggling college student?”
“Your financial status is of no importance to me,” Graham looked into her eyes, “Your apron if you please.”
Still shocked, Ali untied it, kissing Tuscany goodbye. To her surprise the man handed her the wad of bills and shook a tiny fragment into his hand. Upon closer inspection she could see it was a microchip with a blinking red light. He cursed under his breath.
“This explains it,” Graham pried it loose with tweezers, “Tracking device.” Smashing it under his foot he appraised Ali, making up his mind.
“Change of plans. I’m going to need your help one more time. Tomorrow at noon I want you to go to the roof of your building. You’ll find a white pigeon with this microchip attached to its leg. Place it in your left back pocket and meet me at the airport near the second bathroom.”
“Then what?” Ali said, still unsure she was willing to risk her safety again for this stranger.
“Then you don’t ever have to see me again.”
Back in her apartment, safely delivered by the mysterious FBI agent, Ali spent a night of indecision. Something about this man made her heart race with more than fear. His dark eyes and smile stayed with her even though she knew nothing about him…not even his name.
On her rooftop the next morning she went through an entire coop of pigeons before the white one lit onto an AC unit in front of her. The chip was tied to his leg. She retrieved it awkwardly, slipping it deep into the pocket of her jeans. She felt sure she was being followed as she boarded the bus from her apartment to the airport and changed buses several times, eventually losing the man in the baseball cap who kept materializing three rows down from her.
At the airport she slung her gym duffel bag over one shoulder to blend in with the crowd of holiday travelers. At the second bathroom she paused searching the crowd nervously. When she caught sight of Graham her heart skipped a beat. Last night she’d felt only fear, but now she felt something completely different.
Graham approached her with a smile and swept her into his arms. Before she could catch her breath, his lips pressed against hers. She felt the light touch of his hand on her pocket and knew the chip was gone. Pressing his forehead to hers he whispered, “Thank you Ali. Hopefully this will help you see Venice in a bit more style.” She felt something slide into her pocket. “Ciao.”
Within seconds he was gone and Ali would spend weeks reliving that kiss. Two thousand dollars went a long way to making Europe a reality. Fanning herself at an outdoor café that summer, a pair of dark eyes caught her attention. A familiar figure materialized out of the shadows and Ali’s breath caught in her throat. Graham grinned at the young waitress who helped him divert disaster months before. He was ready to find out if there was more to their adventure.