My Only Talent Ch. 24byconanthe©
DC Dom, CO Mom, and EGLC Bomb?
Note: The descriptions and accounts in these stories are fictional and do not portray any actual people or events. The delay in posting this chapter and perhaps the next few may be ascribed to some unexpected turbulence and travel in the author's recent schedule.
Suzanne Pliskin was bored. Suzanne Pliskin was horny. That was a very difficult combination to deal with. She had been fine for the first 24 hours, swapping stories with her parents and catching up on some sleep. Their new DC house was very nice -- two year rental with a one year renewal option -- right in the heart of Georgetown, easy walking distance to her father's new security think tank office on N Street NW, and with enough room for her mother to entertain in the style to which she was determined to become accustomed. Living in one place for two whole years was one of her mother's dreams. It even had the right kind of DC history, having been built for a long ago mayor, and a very impressive set of trees framing a white painted brick façade with black ironwork balconies. What could not be seen from the street was even more impressive: a host of highly upgraded security features, a secure and hidden off street three car garage abutting a long, narrow and very well wired alley and a third floor observation deck with spectacular views of the capitol skyline. The house's owner, who had inherited the house from his grandfather, was an 'old, old money' major political donation bundler for the current administration, and had thus been made ambassador to one of those small European tax haven countries with no security concerns but lots of nice parties. He was going to be spending very little time in DC for the next three years, and having the desirability and security of your ancestral home blessed off by an international eminence like 'Ambassador" Pliskin was a major status symbol. Pliskin didn't bundle for anybody, and always got assigned to those countries with very few nice parties but many heavy security concerns, and was either respected or feared by almost everyone that mattered in DC and most of the world's capitols, and intelligence and Foreign Service people who worked with him always seemed to get promoted faster than the ones who didn't.
Suzanne was scheduled to go to some of the more interesting events with her parents over the holidays, but had begged off on most of the stuffy receptions and evening parties. Her normal schedule at ESU was so busy she never had time to get bored, especially since she met Robbie, not to mention Lara and Millie. She had turned off that part of her that got horny after Mike's devastating injury, and left it turned off for more than two years, again until she met Robbie. He woke her up, in several ways, but he was in Texas, or by now maybe off to London, and she was still stuck in DC with her parents. It would certainly be more fun to be with Robbie in London and help him to further their jointly fantasized and regrettably delayed seduction of Nora Upman.
She wasn't sure when the idea to run the personal ad struck her. Normally she would dismiss it as nonsense: such ads never stayed anonymous in the real world, and meeting someone that way was a security nightmare, even if they turned out to be just as advertised, which they seldom did. While young Robbie was getting dinner table lessons from his Dad about sales and business, young Suzanne was hearing about honey traps, dead drops, and identifying and tracking people who thought they were communicating anonymously. But her father had proudly demonstrated to her a recently installed direct fiber link from his study to his very own quantum anonymous proxy server in Virginia. Only the DCI could look at the records, and given their relationship he would only do that if he was virtually certain that the Ambassador was about to overthrow the government. Even then, he might hedge his bets. Using that facility, she knew she could not only be as certain as humanly possible to remain anonymous herself, but that she would also get instant and very complete data on whoever might contact her through the proxy.
But exactly what kind of ad should she run? Then it hit her. Robbie's half joke about her being somebody's dream Dominatrix was perfect! She could avoid anyone else's bodily fluids, a big consideration as she was beginning to really appreciate her trustworthy but uninhibited lovers in Austin, and amuse herself with a little sexual psychodrama virtually risk free. She spent a few minutes doodling on an ad, but just couldn't make it sound right. She got fidgety, and wanted to move around, but she had already run her 15 miles earlier when it was warmer. The late December sun had been down for almost an hour, and it was getting quite chilly. She decided to put on her warm coat and go for a walk. She needed something. Robbie hadn't just awakened her: he had ignited her.
* * * * * *
The Colorado house in Beaver Creek always made Lara think of her Mom. It was her dream to have a place like this, but she didn't live long enough to see it actually built. With her father's surviving insurance companies now profitable and growing like crazy, it took longer than they wanted to build but it ended up being much more spectacular place than her mom had ever envisioned. She didn't want to think about how much it had cost, but then she didn't have to. A six acre lot overlooking the village wasn't cheap, and this had probably been the last big flat one that would not require an extra million dollars in foundation construction, not that this house hadn't because of all the extra underground stuff her father had wanted. It was at the end of an extended cul-de-sac, the approach guarded by foothills on one side and a solid wall of birch and aspen forest on the other. From the house there was a view of the village, several nearby peaks, and several ski runs, all of which were easily accessible from the house, two by simply skiing cross country to the lift. It shared access to four tennis courts with the neighboring houses, but it was a little cool for that to matter now. It looked like most of the other big homes in the neighborhood from the outside, but was fitted into the mountainside such that only about a third of the house was visible above ground. Her dad called it The Iceberg, because most of it was hidden under the surface, and because it was so cold up here in winter, especially when they visited the house while it was being built.
Lillian Gush and her father had been there for several days by the time Lara arrived at the Eagle County airport, and the house was well decorated for Christmas. They had saved space on the tree for all of the ornaments that Lara's mom had given her, and she put them up with both pride and tears in her eyes. She played Monopoly with them at the kitchen table half-heartedly for a while, and then went to bed early, which her father and Lillian obviously wanted to do, too. Tomorrow they would get the place ready to host an evening open house for the neighbors and the few friends they had made up here. Lara tossed and turned, but when she finally went to sleep, she dreamed of Robbie and Suzanne. They were all enjoying each other so, and were so trusting and comfortable with each other. Then in the dream, Lara got pregnant. She was totally overjoyed, Suzanne was totally not, and Robbie was caught in the middle. She woke up in a cold sweat.
* * * * * *
Elizabeth Ashcroft Knowles continued to feign concentration on the mission and disinterest in the sex they had seen as she made surveillance assignments for the next few hours. No one needed to follow the very buxom Miss Duchenne to the museum reception, as they could tap into the security system there to easily monitor her movements, which would certainly much more discrete and less interesting to the techies than the behavior they had seen in Robbie's room at Horse Guards. They tracked Robbie to a restaurant at the Four Seasons near Canary Wharf, and discovered they had no coverage via the hotel cameras, as there were none in the little private dining room the group was using, nor could they send in a fellow diner with a magic briefcase as they had at tea.
But that meeting may very well be on the meat of the matter as far as her mission was concerned. There were all sorts of people one could meet with within walking distance of Canary Wharf: upstanding bankers, lawyers, advertising and 'new media' firms, international consulting firms and some very high end retail establishments and diamond brokers. But there were also money launderers and facilitators, jewel thieves, drug dealers, and flesh peddlers of every stripe, along with residences of some very rich people from the middle east who were seldom home. A quick scan of the phones inside the restaurant found the manager had multiple calls and texts to a known drug dealer, and to a well-known, at least to HQ, and very unconventional and specialized escort service. One of the techs discretely visited the manager, and in return for not making all those calls known to his loving wife, he soon entered the room in his managerial capacity to check on things, upgrading the centerpiece on the table in the small private dining room to one that included better flowers, and some GCHQ grade electronics. Now Elizabeth and her team could hear everything, and see most of it, and the cute little multi-band femtocell included the flower basket would capture the signals to and from any phone that tried to operate nearby, if they turned them on. That meant Elizabeth and friends would hear everything and the phones would not try to 'handshake' with any of the regular phone company cell sites that normally served this area.
As she settled in to learn more, a spiderbot working on the HQ data warehouse servers piped back some interesting information on our young Mr. Roberts. During the F1 race week in Austin in November, his phone had been in very close proximity to two other phones that were very high up on the watch lists, and that her colleagues had later identified as burners belonging to some former Spetsnaz troopers who had gone into the kidnap and ransom business (and not on the prevention side) after the Russian military had cashiered them. Also nearby, several times, had been a major top list Italian billionaire who would be on any kidnapper's hit parade, and several phones belonging to the Texas DPS Rangers, of all people, and a few others that were unidentifiable but likely US government agents of some stripe. As the arborist bot climbed and untangled the contact tree, it found one frequent caller identified as a unit belonging to the daughter of an up and coming minor US insurance billionaire, who was also a potential kidnap target. Then the arborist bot beeped an alert: the next most frequent contact in Robbie Robert's phone tree belonged to Ambassador Pliskin's daughter. Very sticky wicket that. What the hell was this kid into?
The Spetsnaz boyos had disappeared from the face of the earth after that, never having been heard from again, despite being offered some wet and very lucrative contract work on certain discrete message boards. Occam's razor: they must have messed with Pliskin's daughter, which Elizabeth considered a most efficient way to make oneself disappear. There were several highly trained and very competent people at HQ alone that owed The Ambassador big time, and would lend their skills to any mission he might ask for, very discreetly too, and likely hundreds more like them within the USA intelligence apparatus had similar obligations to him, not to mention several other services.
* * * * * *
Suzanne started out walking east, putting her hands in her coat pockets for shelter from the cold, and the reassurance of touching the pepper spray, armored metal flashlight, and stun gun add on case for her cell phone that her father insisted she carry if she walked around DC at night. She saw some papers blowing in the wind, and she picked one up. It was a crudely stamped flyer, printed with reverse cut carved linoleum like she was taught to do in grade school, on cream colored paper with bright blue ink, advertising "The Blue Spot", a new "theme bar" only a few blocks east of her parent's new house. The flyer itself said the place had a "ludicrous" $20 cover charge and "the most expensive drinks in town", and featured regular "theme nights" like Karaoke Night, Disco Night, Monday Night Football Night, and Poetry Night. The other days of the week were simply called Night Night. That was kitschy enough to be interesting. Her feet continued on towards the address, as she saw more of the flyers tacked up to light poles and walls.
It was downstairs from a first floor midrange Italian restaurant that was downstairs from a high end yoga studio and gym that was below a set of medical and law offices, judging from the building directory, plus an unlabeled top floor that look like someone's penthouse with a big rooftop terrace. At street level, there was a bright neon sign with big blue spot, the words "Blue Spot" and a blue arrow pointing down the stairs. Suzanne was not a fan of bars: they usually smelled of dirty carpet, fetid bar rags, and not so well groomed people. When you added in cigarette smoke and the usually greasy bar food, they were virtually guaranteed to turn her stomach, and make her turn on her heels. As she descended the stairs, the first thing she noticed was that this place didn't really have a smell of its own. She detected the smells associated with individual people as she went by them on the wide and well lit stairs, but the place itself was neutral. That was unexpected, especially in a building this old. She saw some unusual vents about 4 feet from the floor, and felt a gentle flow of cool air from them, and a little sideways breeze that seemed to carry the cool air down and away from her. She saw some larger vents up high in the ceiling, and noticed that the floor was made of raised tiles on supports, like a computer room at ESU. There was also a very faint hint of ozone, like after a thunderstorm. There seemed to be constant motion of air in the place, but no really uncomfortable draft.
Following her father's teachings, she quickly located the exits. There was a back door opposite the one she had entered and a little sign that said simply "Stairs". She found the fire department sign: occupancy limited to 200 people, and the responsible party was "Locus Coeruleus LLC" which jogged her Latin memory from her Jesuit private school in France when she was a 'tweenager'. Blue Spot, Blue Place, Cerulean Blue, it all made a certain sense. A big blackboard with a very intricately drawn pastel chalk mural announced "Poetry Night" and a menu listing of relatively exotic tapas style food. Not your usual bar. There were about 40 people inside -- 10 women and 30 men. Three of the women had serving aprons on. The one with wild curly blue hair sauntered over to her.
"Welcome to the Blue Spot! What can I get you to drink?" The hair wasn't the same blue as the Blue Spot sign, but it did match her eyes perfectly. Surely that was the extent of her dye job, Suzanne found herself wondering.
"Do you have Tito's vodka?"
"Yes. Most of our customers absolutely will not drink that other vodka - something about Russia. They say Tito's tastes best. Do you want a Tito's screwdriver, then?"
"Unless your bartender can make me an Instant Stripper!"
She laughed, looking Suzanne up and down. "I'd like to see that, and Steve the bartender would too. He's straight, and you're hot! How would we make that happen?" She shot a hip out and looked at Suzanne provocatively.
Suzanne smiled. "It's a drink. It's usually made as a punch 50 gallons at a time. It's named for the effect it has on college coeds. But just between us girls, it doesn't affect me that much. But sometimes I just strip because I want to."
"Me too, honey, me too. Well I'm going to send Steve over to see if he can scale the recipe down a little." Suzanne noticed a little extra sway to the waitress's hips as she walked away, and realized she did not know her name. Come to think of it, the waitress didn't know hers either.
The bartender approached smiling, and introduced himself as Steve, which left Suzanne in a bit if a quandary. "Call me Suzie" she decided. "Can you make me an Instant Stripper?"
He smiled and looked at her frankly. "I think slowly would be better, but Kimmee Blue tells me it's a drink?"
"Yes, made infamous by one of the fraternities at ESU. It's usually made in a 50 gallon plastic trash can. You start with three gallons of Ever Clear 190 proof, and then a six pack of Tecate beer, then 4 cans of frozen lime juice, two bottles of Dextromethorphan cough syrup, the pulp from 2 whole pineapples pureed in a blender with two big jalapeños, and then fill to six inches below the rim with Diet Mountain Dew, mix well, and then add finely crushed ice to fill it up all the way. The secret is supposed to be the narcotic in the cough syrup, the Diet Dew which makes the alcohol get absorbed faster, plus the vitamin C and some other pepper stuff in the jalapeño. If given 6 ounces, supposedly 7 out of 10 sorority girls will want to strip when the music starts, and if they drink 12 ounces its effectiveness improves to 9 out of 10."
He smiled and took out his phone, and opened up an app on it. "Well, the health department would shut us down if they found out we made it that way, but let's see if I can leave out the cough syrup and convert it to a more conventional batch size and mixing vessel. Will you be my official drink tester?"
"Sure. I'll tell you if it tastes right!"
"I was looking for a little more objective and observable performance based test results."
Suzanne gave him her best coquettish smile. "Let's see how it tastes, first."
Steve returned to his station behind the bar, and sent one of the waitresses out to the Whole Foods on "I" street for the pineapple and jalapeños. For some reason, he really wanted to impress this short and superhot little Suzie. He then sent Kimmee Blue over to her with a double Tito's screwdriver, and Suzie smiled and waved.
A spotlight came on up on a little stage, and a guy came out in some grey pinstriped suit pants and a white monogrammed dress shirt, with very colorful suspenders and a red bow tie. He was short -- about Suzanne's height -- and compact like she was, but much more muscular, especially his arms and shoulders. She guessed he was one of those short guys that won a lot of money winning arm wrestling contests with bigger guys in bars. He sat on a director's chair in the middle of the stage.
"Welcome to Poetry Night at the Blue Spot. I'm Chuck Bailleur, the owner of the Blue Spot; at least it's my night job. One of my tenets of leadership is to never ask people to do something that I wouldn't do myself, so I am leading from the front tonight, hopefully setting an example and encouraging other budding poets in the audience."
He proceeded to perform a composition called "The Locus Coeruleus of Marcus Aurelius" which Suzanne sort of understood as tied to this bar, and the Latin was tied to Rome, and if she remembered her undergrad multi-media Western Civ course properly, Marcus Aurelius was one of the emperors of Rome who won more wars than he lost. A video of a statue of a bearded guy in a toga was projected on the wall behind Chuck, and the poem continued. Chuck spoke very quickly and the words flowed turbulently like water at a rapid. She had trouble keeping up. The lines did mostly rhyme, but she couldn't recognize the meter he was using. At first she thought it was about his two different girlfriends, Nora Penifrin and Sarah Tonin, who wanted him to do different things at the same time. Then she thought they were multiple personalities or voices inside his head, and then that he was talking about depression or bipolar disorder. He finished with a shout, and there was a smattering of applause. She wasn't sure what to think of it, but it sure wasn't boring.