I looked up - as if coming out of a deep nightmare - my mind sluggish - like I was in a stupor from far too many psychotropic medications. But I remember I threw them all away moments after getting them. I did, didn't I?
"Many anxious moments." He said. The balding man in the wrinkled cotton suit who claimed to be my Case Officer sat across from me behind a mahogany desk littered with files and typed reports reaching far above him. His face was bright pink and glistened in a fine layer of sweat. The small office was ill lit - the smell of dust, old paper and dead bugs. Behind him in the darkness stood two men on either side - I couldn't make out there faces but wore bright white lab coats. My Case Officer continued hissing harshly, "I knew you would fuck me around! Just knew it!"
"What? Huh?" I slurred, still in my stasis - background sounds of popping electricity.
"Your reports are very unsatisfactory! Boring crap - if I may say so." He yelled slamming a file three inches thick onto the desk. He tapped a pudgy finger on the file to the rhythm of his words. "You forget to report many things. All kinds of shit. We must know everything!"
"Everything!" Said the man to his left and he had no face - a slide projection of an old mans pale seamed face would flicker across blank skin when he spoke. His voice was a bass rumble.
My Case Officer continued, "Why didn't you write about the fist fight in the alley over your coke transaction with that cholo (glances at typed sheet from my folder.) ...uhm..Shadow?"
"Or when you and your friend were thrown out of that fag bar for doing all kinds of arcane nasty shit, what was the name...Chiquitas?" Said the bass voice.
"Or when you were blowing little Stevie in the men's room at The Tool Box Bar? That was tasty!" Lisped the other white coat, a face of a thin pinch faced old man flickers across his blank flesh screen. "You squealed like a bitch when he corn holed ya!"
I sat up and squinted, "Look - it's just I don't feel like writing everyday. It's all the same over and over - like a moebius loop. It breaks the monotony."
"It breaks the monotony." Mimicked my Case Officer in a little girl voice. "Mr. Blasini, we chose you for this assignment on account of your sly perseverance, your cold character, your cryptic demeanor - your chutzpa!' He stood up and began pacing the room with one hand in his wrinkled white cotton blazer waving his other hand in the air. "However, Control is satisfied - you did accomplish one job for us. An important job"
"Yes." Said pinch face - drawing out the 's' like a serpent.
"Control has been trying to locate an agent defector for sometime." My Case Officer was behind me now, massaging my shoulders with delicate cold old woman fingers. "And you led us right to him. Thank you, my boy, thank you."
"Yesss, thank you." The others repeated in unison.
"Ah-ha!" His finger shot up, "So sublime of you to pretend to be his friend and then crushing his ego only like you can." The Case Worker offered me a Lucky Strike.
"Pure genius." Said bass voice.
"Superb." Cooed pinch face.
"And now, thanks to you, Control will step in and liquidate him." The Case Officer smiled, lighting my cigarette. "Didn't you notice how he is reacting now? Depressed, non sociable. A feeling of utter defeat. You crushed his spirit, kiddo!" His face goes livid in hate. "The fucking perverted junky beaner deserved it, too!" He goes quiet - pauses thoughtfully. "Ahem - but I digress. We have another job for you, my lad - one that I think you are again perfect for."
"Really? I am attentive to the news." I said crossing my legs taking a drag slowly blowing the fumes out my nostrils.
The Case Officer returned behind his desk with a squeak of springs from his chair, folding his fingers, face blank and business like, "You will go to Juarez City in Mexico, there you will locate a notorious enemy agent that has eluded Control for some years. We know only that he is located in the Red Light District the area is diabolical and fill with purposeful agents swarming in their own diseases, after you have made contact and gained his trust - it will be up to you to fuck...I mean heheh, pump vital information from him and then file us a complete report. Sabe?"
A flashbulb of clearness wave of paranoia fills my head - I took a puff, "Who the fuck are you people?"
Lights flickered with the sound of arcing electricity. The Case Officer looked passed over my head with fear, his face washed in blue from the light - then down to me and smiled, "I can say no more. Control will contact you once you have settled in Mexico." The Case Officer stands grinning, walks across the office and opens a broom closet, "Now..up and at 'em, my boy, no times a wastin'"
Slowly, I stand and sluggishly walk towards the open door. The Case Officer pats me on the back, whispers in my ear, "You'll be okay, kid - Control's got your back. But, just remember - write everything...okay? Leave out nothing." With a push I go in the enveloping darkness with the Case Worker patting me on the ass. Quickly I look back and all three are waving at me like departing queer tourists.
"Break a leg, kid!"
"Trust no one!"
Just before the door slammed shut I heard the bass voice whisper, "Stupid faggot."
Cold darkness. A feeling of falling - a tremendous rush of wind and bright light. I close my eyes a second and when I open them I am standing on a cracked sidewalk next to a crumbling blue washed adobe building - sounds of Latin music down a windy street. Wires criss cross the air with popping conduits and the smell of fried meat, burnt beans and urine fills the air. A group of dirty preteen Mexican Indian kids swarm me - hands outstretched - I reach in my pocket and pull out a few peso coins along with a key. After I pass out the pesos to the kids and they giggle away - I look around and grunt. Cuidad Juarez! I am back in Juarez! I study the key on a pink key chain. Engraved into the key it reads "NO. 12". I know that place. As the winds and dirt howl around me under the stern glare of ancient Indian Mexican with white drooping moustache - I trudge over the blistering concrete to my apartment two blocks away...determined to continue without fail my destiny.