An otherwise blank business card with only a first name and a phone number, is something fairly common in my line of work. Mandy! Of course I dialled the number immediately, and of course the call went straight to a nondescript voicemail, but I cannot help but remember another business card; one with simply a name and a phone number.
1995, Late spring, a covert assignment for Special Branch, in U.S. America. The picturesque seaside community of Groton, Connecticut is home to one of the foremost war machine manufacturers in the world. The Americans, keen to maintain a leg up on her allies, didn’t share much of their latest technology with the U.K., particularly Australia. My task was to infiltrate Electric Boat: sort of a white on white job, and report on the U.S. Navy’s latest stealth technology.
My cover, as a consultant for a new hydrophone company the U.S. Navy was in contract negotiations with, was flawless. Having ingratiated myself with the Electric Boat’s technicians, the team decided to show me a good time. I suppose the “powdered lunches” I provided a time or two helped things along. I expected a quality steak dinner, fine wine, and, finally, getting those egg-heads drunk enough to spill the beans on their project, the Ghost Drive. A short company helicopter ride to a small airfield on the outskirts of Hartford, Connecticut. A black car waiting for us at the airfield, took us to our destination.
The non-descript building didn’t look like a steakhouse, though sometimes the best restaurants are disguised like this. Inside, the true form of the evening became rapidly apparent. The bevy of lovely ladies, eager to provide the best in horizontal entertainment, rushed to greet us. After perusing the attractive variety of females, I decided on a twenty something lass with cascades of brunette curls. Voluptuous, petite, and vivacious, Tabitha possessed both the alluring look of an innocence that didn’t belong in this type of establishment, and the cold steel of a seasoned professional. Just which profession I, initially, guessed wrong.
After expunging my body from the day’s grime, I retired with Tabitha to a small dimly lit room, typical to brothels. Tabitha locked the door to the room, only a mirror, and a small table holding up a lamp, accompany the bed; certainly, a single purpose space.
Tabitha removed her wrap, revealing the most perfectly beautiful body I have ever seen. We sat together on the bed, chatting, caressing, light kissing; the getting to know you phase. Quickly I started to wish I hadn’t met Tabitha there at a brothel, I really liked her. Tabitha’s next words, breaking from the deepest of French kisses, let me know she felt the same way. “Leave now and I’ll let you live”, Tabitha announced in a conspirator’s tone. “My name isn’t Tabitha, I’m not a whore. Look, the C.I.A. knows you are here to spy on the Ghost Drive technology. I was hired to determine how much you know and then terminate you to make sure the data you collected never leaves the country.
Redressing, not-Tabitha continued, “Bradley International Airport is about a half hour cab ride north of here. If you hurry, you can catch an international flight before the ticket counters close”. Leading me upstairs to an emergency exit reserved for police raids, not-Tabitha pressed a business card in my hand, “I’d love to see you non-professionally sometime, call me”. I shoved the card in my pocket as I stepped out into the suddenly cold night air on the brothel roof. I looked back at not-Tabitha long enough to see her mouth the word, “hurry”.
After locating the well used fire escape and bribing a cabbie to forget the fare he was waiting on, I relaxed a little in the back of the taxi cab, pondering how I got burned on the job. Remembering the card in my pocket not-Tabitha gave me, I fished it out to see a phone number, and a name: Mandy.