Thursday, September 18, 2008

Season One, Episode Two: Four Weeks Earlier

The woman was young, on the eve of her thirties, but she didn't show it. No visible tattoos, no shiny studs in any visible parts of her anatomy. Not that you'd see much, she was wearing the power suit reserved for female managers and executives. A small Louis Vuitton Damier Azur bag was resting against the back of her chair.
Her office was the only one on that floor still showing activity, her colleagues had left their offices and turned the lights out. She unbuttoned the top end of her blouse, an impulsive consequence of management's decision to use less air conditioning in order to reduce carbon emissions.
The woman looked out of the window, at the flow of traffic on the boulevard five stories below. She logged out of her computer and waited until the screen went dark with a floop.
She pulled a cloth shopping bag out of her desk and started putting in everything that was on her desk. First the files she had last been working on, then the computer USB sticks. Slowly, methodically, like it was something she did every night before heading home.
Writing implements, a ruler, a block of yellow adhesive notes. When her desk was bare, she stood up, left the bag on her chair, and walked up to the window to glance outside. Traffic was thick, as it should be when people leave work, head home, or head for pleasure.
The woman went to the closets behind her desk, where she had used a flat cut-out space in the middle to put some knickknacks.
She looked up to the camera in the corner next to the door as if seeing it for the first time.

The guard put down his corn soup. His hand hovered over his cream bagel, then over the cell phone on the table beside it. Did he have to call this one in?
They had had some really cracking customers at this company, and he didn't want to overplay his hand and sound more paranoid than management were.
If he called this one in, he'd better have a good reason. More than just a woman dusting off her own place. Maybe she was taking a vacation, and felt unsure about leaving her stuff unattended for so long. Damn right she was, that smart lady.

The young woman looked at the objects in the space in front of her. A portrait of her with a young man against a Rocky Mountain kind of backdrop. She let her hand stay a bit too long on its frame before shoving the picture into the cloth bag.
She handled the exotic stuff next. A porcelain white cat, something which looked like a small red animal with Chinese writing on it, a small porcelain effigy of three people, a piece of brown colored glass with a plant in it.

The guard took another sip from his corn soup and a bite from his bagel before he put his face closer to the screen. He couldn't figure out what kind of stuff she was putting into her bag.
He knew he had to use his cell for this kind of thing. They would give him another one tomorrow.
'We've got one subject moving,' he whispered into his cell as if she could hear him.
'The neat lady on the fifth.’
He put down the cell without a word and reached for the gun in his holster.

The woman went round the room, putting almost anything that could move into her shopping bag. An expensive pen. A bottle of water from the cool black dresser on the other side of the office. Even a bottle of water?
When she was done pulling stuff off the furniture, she checked her bag for a bulge. Nothing. All her stuff was small so it wouldn't attract attention as she walked by any acquaintances on her way down.
She started wiping fingerprints off furniture and door knobs with a handkerchief. Then she left the office, putting one step back into the room to turn off the light. A stupid mistake.
She hit the button to call an elevator. One was on the first floor, the other on the tenth. The one on the tenth was coming down.

The guard's hand hovered over the elevator controls. He watched the woman on another screen. The gun was lying next to the empty soup bowl. As soon as he saw the woman enter the elevator, he pushed a couple of buttons on the console under the screens. Several lights turned from green to red. He watched the screen showing the lobby on the first floor.
The woman exited the elevator with her cloth bag and the small brand-name bag which was too small to hide anything in. She headed for the front door, as the guard had expected. He grinned as she tried to pull it open and failed.
She looked around her, wondering why the main guard had left the front desk. She went to the back, round the elevator block, to a long narrow hallway with a heavy steel door at the end.
The guard turned the camera showing the parking lot away from the cars, in the direction of the ceiling. He hit a button, turning the light from red to green, took his gun and left the room.

The woman held the two bags pressed against her side as she pushed the steel door open. At least it wasn't locked. She sighed once she was outside. The covered parking lot was in front of her. The exit to the alley behind the office complex was somewhere straight ahead, right at the other end of all the cars. Considering the hour, there were still a lot of cars around.
Instead of following a straight line, she went round the back of the second row of cars. She looked around and saw nobody. She looked at the pillars but nobody seemed to be hiding. She looked up at the ceiling.
She saw the camera turned upward and knew what it meant.

NEXT: Find out about Camry and reconnect with Markus Bentley in the next episode of Concentric before September 30.

Labels: , , , ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home