Now, he was off the boat. Standing on the dock, the glare of the sun was dazzling. When he covered his eyes, he saw the American city. Even in daylight, it looked dirty. All he could see was brown around him, and it was made worse by the fact that he was warm in front but cold in back. He didn’t like putting his back to the ocean; it was too wide.
He stepped onto the dock, and felt somehow free. He had no assignment for a month. He had to set up the transistor in his apartment and figure out how it worked. Getting paid for this job mystified him. He held his black suitcase aloft, and shook it slightly. Jingles and jangles of metallic objects awoke in him something he hadn’t felt since the war.
He was standing motionless on the dock, but wasn’t in anyone’s way. Not that it would have mattered, but he would have thought it sloppy of him all the same.
He was wearing an overcoat with gloves in late Spring. He didn’t like opening himself up to the world, but he supposed he had better, before he looked suspicious. Curious, he thought, that opening up to the world was a way of covering up. Curious, that opening was closing. The thought wound its way around his brain.
He was a strange man. He didn’t look strange: he made sure of that. All scars were surgically removed, and his hair did not look foreign anymore. He had a strong jaw, mixed with dark blue eyes. The eyes flitted back and forth, scanning the faces on the dock.
Slowly, and with a slight sense of disgust, he moved forward into the brown American city.
Detective Merky was having a good day. Freshly promoted, he found he had a low case load. The mayor’s campaign of community improvements may have done the trick.
Dennis Merky was not the most handsome looking man, but he got the job done. Short and weak-jawed his entire life, he was afraid of nothing. His mind was sharp enough to have never had to be in a fight, until he was in law enforcement. Looking up at everyone sure put things in perspective.
Making enemies his friends was what he specialized in. After ten minutes of talking with the man, you could feel easy while getting a root canal, or so the officers said. Merky didn’t like getting a reputation as an outgoing, charismatic guy: it only made being outgoing and charismatic that much harder.
He sat in his office, looking over the latest cases, his jacket slung over his chair, and his coffee steaming on his desk. His window looked out over the city, with the sun illuminating everything in his office.
This was his favorite room in the police station. He could see the city from here. It looked dirty, but everything is a little dirty. In fact, it felt very homey to him. It reminded him of his grandmother’s house in a typical morning, near the lake.
The man reprimanded himself for feeling uneasy in this new area. He knew English well enough for the locals to not get suspicious, and he had all the trappings of an American, according to his previous experience in the country.
He felt uneasy like a cloud feels rainy: a very dull feeling. He didn’t like emotions: they came through one’s face, one’s hands, one’s body too easily. They shone through to strangers, and made others feel distant.
He was walking along the streets, and at least they were silver sidewalks. He watched the faces around him, and considered them the faces of boring people. This must be the impoverished side of town. It lacks “hustle and bustle,” and everyone seems a little secretive. Friendly, but still defensive, as if they would be robbed any day now.
Feelings were unnecessary for missions. In fact, they were usually a hindrance. After years of being an assassin, the softer emotions had been drained out of him. Crying was one emotion he felt uneasy about.
When he was a child, crying for the commandant to not make him execute weaker orphans had eventually transformed into crying for the lack of crying. Over time, his hardness had given way to a more mature outlook on the world.
Youth makes the world seem so clear -- either black or white -- and he used to see it as completely hard and black, like some alien pearl.
The man entered the apartments he was assigned, and, after climbing four stories of stairs, began setting up his small transmitter.
8 years ago