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The Old Spies' Home
“I’d lend you a hand, Nessy, but,” Brick chuckled, “I haven’t got any.”
Margaret Ann gritted her teeth as she turned the lug nut wrench cracking free the nut.
“Excellent, only three to go,” Brick encouraged.
Margaret Ann weighed the idea of using the pointed end of the wrench to put Brick out of her misery.
“While you finish changing the tire, I’ll call ahead and make hotel reservation. Where do you want to stay and you haven’t changed your credit card number in the last two weeks, have you?”
“That’s it! I’m gonna kill you with my bare hands,” Margaret Ann snarled. “If you don’t shut your trap and stop bothering me, you’re not gonna live to see sunset.”
Brick laughed as he powered his chair towards the front of the disabled bus, “Oh, such sweet talk. You’re a woman after my own heart. Look Nessy, you finish up with the tire and I’ll make sure we get a lovely room in the city that never sleeps.”
Margaret Ann focused on the lug nut wrench as she tried to loosen the next nut. Her grip slipped and the wrench clanked off the rim leaving her knuckles to scrap the pavement.
“Shall I schedule you a manicure too?” Brick teased.
“He’s a dead man,” Margaret Ann muttered.
“Hello, we have an appointment for the two pm tour,” Robert said to the UN receptionist. “Listed under the name Langley.”
The young woman with the dark eyes and shiny black hair smiled as she checked the computer screen. “Yes, party of six?”
“Only five today,” Robert said with a hint of sadness. “Mr. Pink got sick.”
“Okay, here are the five passes and some brochures. Your guide, Liam, will be over to meet you in just a few minutes. You’re party can wait under the red sign near the elevators.”
“Thank you,” Robert gathered the material.
The receptionist watched as he carefully picked up the items and smiled again, “Have a wonderful visit to the UN.”
Robert nodded and giggled a little. He was always uncomfortable about the goodbye part of a conversation. Robert hated goodbyes. Shaking off the bad thoughts, Robert crossed the large marble lobby to meet up with his team.
“You get everything?” Carlos asked with a hushed voice. “The faster we finish up here the faster we get back to that hot tub.”
“Keep you head in the game, Carlos,” Grandma cautioned as she took her pass from Robert. “We aren’t here for hot tubs.”
“Well, you might not be but the rest of us are,” Radio grinned. “Ain’t our fault you got stuck with re-education.”
Jude and Grandma both groaned.
Robert jumped to their defense, “Don’t be mean.”
Before the team could get into a spat, a young uniformed man approached them. “Hello, is this the Langley party?”
“Yes, sir,” Robert answered promptly.
The young man shook Robert’s hand and said, “I’m Liam. I’ll be your guide for the tour of the UN today. The tour is about forty five minutes so does anybody need to use the rest room?” Four heads nodded simultaneously making Robert chuckle. Liam smiled broadly as he instructed, “Follow me.”
“License and registration.”
Margaret Ann almost bared her teeth at the cop. “Where were you when I was changing my tire in Connecticut? Aren’t you guys suppose to protect and serve?”
The cop removed his sunglasses to reveal his tightly furrowed brow. “License and registration, ma’am.”
“Do you know who I am?”
“Ah, Nessy, I wouldn’t screw around here,” Brick offered quietly.
“Shut it, asswipe.”
“Ma’am, you shouldn’t verbally abuse the handicapped,” the officer interjected. “If his care is starting to overwhelm you, there are agencies to assist.”
“Oh for the love of God!” Margaret Ann shouted. “I’m not his caregiver. I hardly know him. He’s a resident of a nursing facility.”
The cop frowned and grabbed the door handle, yanking it open, “Step out of the vehicle. NOW! Hands in the air!”
“What the fuck?” Margaret Ann screamed as she was dragged from the driver’s seat and slammed against the side of the bus.
The cop called for back up into his shoulder radio, “Possible kidnapping suspect in custody. All units respond.”
“Oh Shit!” Brick sounded truly nervous for the first time. “We’re screwed.”
“This concludes our tour,” Liam said happily. “Thank you so much for joining us here at the UN today. You can exit through these doors on the left.”
“I need to hit the little boy’s room,” Radio announced.
Liam realized he should have expected the man would need to go again. The tour had stopped three times for bathroom breaks. “Those are to your right.”
“Thank you, Liam,” Robert said. “We can handled everything from here.”
The young man nodded and walked away. The team waited a few seconds before they took a leisurely stroll across the lobby to the lavatories. They tried to appear casual but they were more than a little apprehensive. Their contact had not engaged them during the tour and now they were expected to leave the facility.
“I’ll wait outside the bathroom, just in case,” Robert said quietly.
Grandma nodded. She and Jude headed for the ladies’ room while the guys went to the men’s room. Grandma went straight into a stall but Jude stood at the mirror checking her hair and make up. The door swung open several seconds later. The woman who entered made sure the door shut behind her before stepping closer to Jude at the sink.
“I’m looking for Langley’s people.”
The woman’s French accent surprised Jude. “Langley’s my uncle,” Jude responded as Grandma flushed the toilet.
“Can you give me a ride to the airport?” The woman asked as she checked her short auburn hair in the mirror.
“Of course,” Jude replied.
Grandma exited the stall. She assessed the scene and understood contact had finally been made. Jude’s expression told her there was a problem, though.
“We ready?” Grandma asked.
“Set,” Jude replied and pointed to the door.
The three of them left the bathroom and found the men. They were joking about the delay but stopped when they saw their contact was in tow. Each team member went into operational mode. Robert sent the text to Scooter letting him know to pull the car around to the doors. Radio took point and Carlos took the rear. Grandma and Jude bookended the women as they left the building unobserved or notices.
Jude waited until they were in the vehicle and heading to the airport to mention her concerns. “Are you the wife of the French Ambassador?”
“Assistant to the Ambassador,” the woman quietly corrected.
“Shit,” Grandma groaned.
“International incident with an ally. Great,” Scooter grumbled.
“What is the likelihood your husband will raise a stink?” Grandma asked.
The woman paused before saying, “Really high. He’s very possessive. I’ll need protection.”
“I’ll call Uncle Langley,” Robert said and pulled out his phone.
“Good boy,” Grandma beamed her support.
Jude got to work, “We need to debrief before you get on the plane. Are you ready to answer some questions?”
The woman nodded and the team went to work. Just like always.
“Look on the bright side,” Brick encouraged as the school bus bumped along towards New York. “They accepted your triple A card for bail.”
Margaret Ann could not even look at him. Her cut and bruised hands had a death grip on the steering wheel. “Where is the hotel? What exit?”
Brick was quiet.
Margaret Ann asked a second time, “Where is the hotel?”
“I forgot to make reservations.”
“I got a busy signal the first time and forgot to try again when you got busted for elder abuse. I’ll do it now.”
“It’s almost eight o’clock! What are the odd we are gonna get a halfway decent room now? You fucking moron! I should have just stayed in that cell.”
“Relax. I’ll find us something. New York is a big city. What are the odds we won’t be able to get a hotel room at the last minute for a reasonable price?”
Margaret Ann sneered, “I’d say the odds are pretty high there won’t be anything but shit holes left. And, if that is the case, I’m gonna tie you to the bedposts and use you as a box spring.”
Brick felt that familiar warmth spread through his body at her threat and he smiled at the though thought of serving under her.