Friday, December 11, 2015

Photo Prompt - The American Contract

We were provided with 5 photos to pick from and write a story segment about. It didn't have to be a finished story, but it did need to be between 500 to 600 words.
This is the picture I chose and the words that followed.

The American Contract


I've been sitting here with my bitter black coffee in this cafe for about 30 minutes. The smell of coffee beans and toasted bread is in the air. The street lights have just come on against the crisp autumn evening of the city. The bicycle bells are starting to diminish but the sound of the train is still going strong nearby. The church bells all rang about an hour ago when I was trailing the denim wearing fellow down a few side streets. He ducked into the building across from where I'm sitting in this cafe, essentially becoming invisible due to security badges and metal detector body scans being a requirement in order to follow. I'm slightly pissed at feeling under prepared. This assignment is no different than jobs I've taken previously. When the message comes through and I take a job, there's usually just an initial date and time to pick up the trail, a grainy photo, boosted from a security camera, and a time frame for how long I'm supposed to trail the mark. Most of the time, the jobs are only a day or two. The longest was about 23 days. I've never had a contract last longer than a month. My job is to simply document movements and routines and remain completely inconspicuous. I rarely ever know the reason for the job. I don't ask questions and appreciate the income.

The waiter that first brought over my coffee has forgotten about me already. The coffee cup is empty and instead of looking for someone to refill, my eyes fall upon an old salty fellow in the dark corner of the room. He's got a pack of cigarettes in his shirt pocket and his jacket is hanging on a hook to the side of the table. He's reading a book which is lit by a single white candle in a pewter holder, and I can see only half of his wrinkled grey bearded face. For a brief moment, I consider what his internal voice sounds like as he's reading.

In my peripheral vision, I see a familiar shape exit the building across the street. My mark is on the move and immediately, I'm glad the waiter has forgotten me since I'd already been getting lost in my thoughts without that second cup of coffee.  I leave a few coins on the table and head towards the door, keeping an eye on my mark through the glass as I exit.

I'm supposed to be trailing this guy, I'm assuming is American because of his jeans, for a Monday through Friday contract, but he's moving faster than the usual 5 day gig.

I've only been to America once, to Disney World with my family, back when I was a kid and we were still a family. I remember there being giant stores full of denim. I vowed to never wear denim. My look is efficient and forgettable - I own exactly 7 black shirts, 7 pairs of black leggings, 2 pairs of black boots, and 2 black jackets; one sporty, one leather, and 3 black hoodies, and a drawer full of black socks and underwear - the boring kind you can buy in a pack of 5 at a time. It's easier to hide in the shadows and/or blend into the crowd wearing all black. It makes me feel invisible and as a result, I've never been made during a job.

My American denim wearer is walking briskly through a higher traffic touristy area and ducks into a coffee shop. I stop in an alley way across the street and light a cigarette.I've been sitting here with my bitter black coffee in this cafe for about 30 minutes. The smell of coffee beans and toasted bread is in the air. The street lights have just come on against the crisp autumn evening of the city. The bicycle bells are starting to diminish but the sound of the train is still going strong nearby. The church bells all rang about an hour ago when I was trailing the denim wearing fellow down a few side streets. He ducked into the building across from where I'm sitting in this cafe, essentially becoming invisible due to security badges and metal detector body scans being a requirement in order to follow. I'm slightly pissed at feeling under prepared. This assignment is no different than jobs I've taken previously. When the message comes through and I take a job, there's usually just an initial date and time to pick up the trail, a grainy photo, boosted from a security camera, and a time frame for how long I'm supposed to trail the mark. Most of the time, the jobs are only a day or two. The longest was about 23 days. I've never had a contract last longer than a month. My job is to simply document movements and routines and remain completely inconspicuous. I rarely ever know the reason for the job. I don't ask questions and appreciate the income.

The waiter that first brought over my coffee has forgotten about me already. The coffee cup is empty and instead of looking for someone to refill, my eyes fall upon an old salty fellow in the dark corner of the room. He's got a pack of cigarettes in his shirt pocket and his jacket is hanging on a hook to the side of the table. He's reading a book which is lit by a single white candle in a pewter holder, and I can see only half of his wrinkled grey bearded face. For a brief moment, I consider what his internal voice sounds like as he's reading.

In my peripheral vision, I see a familiar shape exit the building across the street. My mark is on the move and immediately, I'm glad the waiter has forgotten me since I'd already been getting lost in my thoughts without that second cup of coffee.  I leave a few coins on the table and head towards the door, keeping an eye on my mark through the glass as I exit.

I'm supposed to be trailing this guy, I'm assuming is American because of his jeans, for a Monday through Friday contract, but he's moving faster than the usual 5 day gig.

I've only been to America once, to Disney World with my family, back when I was a kid and we were still a family. I remember there being giant stores full of denim. I vowed to never wear denim. My look is efficient and forgettable - I own exactly 7 black shirts, 7 pairs of black leggings, 2 pairs of black boots, and 2 black jackets; one sporty, one leather, and 3 black hoodies, and a drawer full of black socks and underwear - the boring kind you can buy in a pack of 5 at a time. It's easier to hide in the shadows and/or blend into the crowd wearing all black. It makes me feel invisible and as a result, I've never been made during a job.

My American denim wearer is walking briskly through a higher traffic touristy area and ducks into a coffee shop. I stop in an alley way across the street and light a cigarette.
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