Spies Stare

Spys Stare Stan pic

Is that guy staring at me?
I can’t let him see me staring back. Why would he be staring at me? This could be dangerous.
Two men in a park, one sitting on a bench under an elm tree, the other across a pavilion sitting at a small chess table. One wears a grey Burberry trench-coat the other a button up cardigan.

If I start staring at him he’ll be sorry. but that’s not my concern. He’s not my assignment. Yet I can’t help wondering why he’s staring at me. Could I be his assignment? HQ should have alerted me of any personal assassination attempts.

One man gets up and walks casually along the park’s walkway, keeping parallel with the other man sitting at the table. The walking man pulls thick, black-rimmed glasses from a pocket underneath his cardigan.

I’ll move to the bridge and see if he follows me. The technique doesn’t work on a moving subject. If he follows to get a better advantage, I’ll know something is up.

The other man leaves the table donning a dark gray fedora and walks away, towards the city streets. Confrontation averted.

Later in the afternoon outside a midtown bistro, a carafe of hot coffee is brought to a man wearing a cardigan. Inside the bistro is another man reading a paper at a window booth, a dark fedora lays on the seat. One man notices the other one looking at him.

That was a look. There, another one. He’s gaging the distance and angle. I’ll have to protect my peripheral vision from here. He has window glare advantage that’ll shielding my counter gaze.

The indoor man turns his paper over and reads the back. The outdoor man drinks his coffee. Many people pass by. A waitress brings the inside man his check.

He has a diversion. He can attack at any moment. I’m at a disadvantage with the window between us, I’ll have to move, pay my bill and relocate. This guy is very good.

The evening rush hour begins. Commuters head home. One man sits in the subway car, looking across at an advertisement and adjusts his dark rimmed glasses. Another man enters the back of the car and holds a strap, his Burberry collar turned up. The train lurches forward. One man notices the other.

He’s trying to stare at me. It would be self-defense. Without an assignment, I have no legal ground for an offensive strike. It would be unauthorized. I’ll have to protect myself with defensive glances until I can glare at him dead in the eyes without question of intent.

The subway car careens around the underground skyscraper foundations. The interior of the car is lit only by dim ceiling lights and reflectors around the doors. Most people are closing their eyes and half dozing.

Now would be a good time for him to make his move. I’ll stand and force his hand.

The train lurches and a woman with packages falls against the man standing holding the strap. They tumble against people seated. The seated man rises and holds onto a pole, taking a deliberate stance to look directly at the second man.

Damn! So many people jostling around, his focus is broken. I have a chance to catch him unaware. I just need three seconds of lock and he’s toast. He might not notice if I switch sides, I’ll have a definite advantage once he takes his original position.

The train pulls into it’s first stop, the doors slide open. Everyone in the car shifts positions and either leave the car, or take emptying seats for the next stop. The second man, fedora low over his eyes, leaves. The night wears on and people busy themselves with the routine of their private lives.

A man is walking his dog before bedtime. They pass under city street-lamps twice a block. Other’s are out grabbing take-out dinners, renting movies and strolling with loved ones. Another man leans against a lamppost and smokes a cigarette, his eyes shadowed by the brim of a dark fedora.

The man with the dog nears the man under the street light. There’s a brief but arrestingly cough and the man with the dog looks up, straight into the eyes of the man with the fedora. At the same instant, a butane cigarette lighter flicks into flame as he lights a cigarette revealing the intensity of his slate-gray eyes.

The two men lock stares and wrestle in a cerebral game of death. It only lasts seconds. A dog barks, then whines. The light of the street lamp reveals a fallen body in a cardigan sweater, a pair of dark-rimmed glasses lay near by. There is nothing else to be seen here.