Just a short extract from an idea I am working on. Feed back always appreciated.
The window rattled a little in the wind and the thunder was getting louder but this didn’t bother Julie Sevenpenny, she was relaxing in a generously bubbled bath with a chilled bottle of wine and a Bill Evans album playing softly in the background on her tablet. The past few months had been a dramatic affair so the chance for three weeks in the Caribbean had been snapped up straight away even if there were strings attached… Those were yet to be pulled so at the moment she could relax a bit and a thunderstorm wasn’t going to spoil that. She poured herself a glass of wine, it wasn’t the greatest but certainly not the paint-stripper many hotels serve as the house wine, especially all-in hotels. There was a knock on the door and a request to enter.
“Permission granted,” called Sevenpenny with a smile and a moment later Arthur entered with his head turned away. “I hope you aren’t hoping to use the loo.” She added.
“No,” answered Arthur cheerfully as he crossed over to the sink and let the tap run for a moment before rinsing a glass under it. “You could say I’m making appearances.”
“Appearances Arthur?” Sevenpenny queried slightly bemused, “it’s okay you can turn around. I’m sufficiently submerged.”
Arthur turned around to face Sevenpenny and blushed despite her figure covered by bubbles, “Sure you’ve put enough bubbles in there? Looks like your in a PG rated movie,” he laughed. “Anyway, several members of staff and countless patrons have seen us sitting on the balcony before the rain started and heard you say you were off for a soak in the tub. I ordered the wine for you, so that adds the chambermaid to the list and I made a show of tarting myself up in front of an open window so plenty of people think that our attentions at the moment are elsewhere.”
“And the point of this being?” asked Sevenpenny.
“Well the service isn’t paying for us to top up our tans.”
“So this is the briefing then,” Sevenpenny stated. “Tell me Arthur do you have a book called 101 Strange Places to Brief your partners?”
“102 actually,” answered Arthur, “Dr Webster, Liz and the Corporal Bell could fill you in on some of the more outlandish places.”
“I’m sure they could,” answered Sevenpenny. “Why do still refer to Benjamin and Marie in professional terminology?”
“Force of habit I guess,” answered Arthur pouring himself a small amount of wine into his glass and began his explanation, “I am pretty much trying to give the impression to the Hotel, his wife and pretty much anyone else looking, that I am treating this as a holiday and I am much more interested in spending time with my nineteen year old secretary.”
“I’m twenty in two months,” answered Sevenpenny.
“Yes, so your nineteen. Anyway at some point in the next four days we will be in receipt of a certain item which we will then need to take on to a contact in Havana and then on to a contact on the isle of Margarita.”
“A certain item?” queried Sevenpenny. “What certain item?”
“I’ve no idea, but if it isn’t passed on or falls into the wrong hands it could call disaster, governments may fall, armies may-”
“How can you possibly say that if you don’t know what it is?” snapped Sevenpenny.
Arthur smiled, “fair-point. Anyway I would like to try and draw out the opposition and I feel that being casual will achieve it.”
“There’s something else isn’t there?”
“Yes,” sighed Arthur. “Last night Walter Baxter, our decoy agent, was found murdered in his room which is one of the reasons I got a twin room instead of two singles.”
“The other being it makes it easier to maintain the myth that we are engaged in our own ‘diplomatic relations’,” concluded Sevenpenny.
Arthur blushed, “Well I’m afraid so. Anyway briefing is over now.” With that he turned to leave Sevenpenny to her bubble-bath”
“Arthur I think you are forgetting something,” she interrupted.
“Yes?” asked Arthur somewhat puzzled.
“We’re supposedly having a bit of activity in here right?”
“Well you will probably want to close your eyes,” Sevenpenny said with a smile. Bemused Arthur shut his eyes and Sevenpenny leaned out the bath quickly gave Arthur a hug and returned to the modesty of the bubbles. “You can open them now.”
“What was that about?” he queried brushing bubbles off his clothes.
“Well it wouldn’t look very convincing if you emerged bone dry from in here would it?” She laughed. Arthur merely sighed in agreement. “Just one thing,” Sevenpenny added. “How did Baxter die?”
“He was drowned in the bathtub,” answered Arthur. “Enjoy your soak,” and with that he departed with a wry smirk and lit a cigarette.