as he sat reading his new assignment. a thought occurred to him. maybe it was time to find some other line of work or career. though career change wasn’t something anyone his age thought very much about. at least not if they were sane. dumping those thoughts from his mind he got up from the table went into the bedroom and began packing a bag.
when he finished packing he went back into the kitchen and opened a drawer. to be exact, the bottom drawer to the right of the stove. inside the drawer were throw away cell phones. all pre-paid with twenty to thirty minutes on each phone. he selected one. once the call was made it would be tossed out after being wiped clean.
his ipad was on the table. one of the newer gadgets he had come to rely upon. just like the cell phone. a necessary evil. one of many he mused. things had changed and seemed to change even more quickly with each passing year. at times it was hard keeping up with all of the changes. maybe that was why he was tired all the time.
as he typed his query into the search engine on his ipad he thought of the name and number he needed to call after this call. the airline web page appeared on the screen and he found their phone number. pulling out the old cell phone he dialed the airline. safety first. he never used the computer to book anything at all even remotely related to his work. not good business and for sure not a good idea.
after a few minutes the flight was booked. he got the one he wanted using a new and different name his contact had provided him, along with a mastercard number. the name and number didn’t create a problem with the airline. they never did. southwest airlines. tomorrow afternoon 12:45pm. gate 47. MWD. satisfied he ended the call.
next he dialed another number from memory. one of many stored safely away where no one would ever find them. no one. ever. that he was sure of. the phone rang at the other end and a voice answered.
i’m coming into town tomorrow. early evening. i’m in need of some assistance.
yes? how may i help you?
i have a job that will require your services along with some of my usual requirements. i hope that won’t be a problem.
not a problem at all. shall we say 7? the usual place?
perhaps. i’ll call you after i land and get a car.
with that he ended the call. as he sat at the table he removed the back of the cell phone. he picked out the SIM card and sat it on the table. he got up to find a butter knife and a paper towel. he used the towel to wipe the card clean and then he folded the card into it. several layers of paper covered the card. he took the butter knife and with the heel of his hand he smashed down on the card. the SIM card broke into pieces. and stayed in the paper.
getting up from the table he went into the bathroom where he flushed the pieces down the toilet. while still in the bathroom he wiped the cell phone clean with a dirty towel. then he sat the open phone on the tile floor. he stomped down on the phone with all his might. the plastic phone broke in half and the screen cracked but did not shatter. he picked up the phone with some toilet paper and carried it back to the kitchen.
in the kitchen he tossed the phone into the wastebasket. picking the basket up he carried it out into the hall and found the trash dump opening. he shook the basket into the opening and the phone with the rest of the trash rattled down into the basement.
back in the kitchen he picked up the new phone and slipped it into a pocket. for the first time in a long time he wasn’t tired or sleepy. more like energized he thought. time for a long brisk walk before dinner. time for some time killing. but first a bit more business. he smiled as he pulled the front door shut and the latch took hold with a metallic thud.
the outside air was brisk further energizing him as he walked along the street. nothing was out of line and no one was following him. he pulled the cell phone from his pocket. dialing a number from memory as he walked. the call connected. rang twice and a tape began to play. odd seemingly divergent phrases and words with a few numbers was all he heard.
the tape ended and he stopped by the curb. two large delivery trucks were parked there. he stepped between them and quickly removed the SIM card. wiped it clean and dropped into a stream of water flowing in the gutter. the card traveled a few feet then entered a storm drain. eventually it would find it’s way into lake michigan.
stepping back up on the sidewalk he began wiping the phone clean. once the job was done it quickly found it’s way into a restaurant dumpster. turning left at the next intersection he made his way into grant park. it was still warm enough for the giant fountain in the park to be sending water into the air. smiling to himself he thought of al bundy and thought perhaps the fountain should be named after al instead of clarence buckingham.
at that time of day there were few visitors. the few souls there paid no attention to him. walking around the giant fountain he found what he was looking for. the trash can on the north east portion of the fountain. standing next to it he looked around. no one was watching him. no one was even anywhere near him.
he pushed the can several inches to his right with his foot. there on the ground was a wallet. inside would be his new id, the mastercard, and several thousand dollars in cash. a down payment and working capital for times when the mastercard was of no use. he bent down and picked up the wallet and slipped it into a pocket. no one had seen a thing.
satisfied he checked his watch and decided a beer and a burger in the congress hotel bar would be a good idea. he made his way back through the park towards the hotel.