was a call unlike any Dad O’Rourke ever had received. Distant, despite the
wizardry of 21st century communications, her/his voice (sans video)
sounded remote, and, due to encryption, was practically untraceable. Know
your client’s name, location, and bar code before accepting work'—was a simple rule
O’Rourke had seldom failed to follow, regretting the rare occasions when
curiosity had brushed aside common sense. Like now. Though he would not be out
of pocket. His up-front fee plus a month of projected expenses already had been
deposited in his account. The job description, too, had been efficiently
delivered: facts tersely conveyed in a clear, straightforward manner, nothing
extraneous, a routine 'seek and find,' as opposed to 'seek and destroy' which
would have cost "Jeanne Claude" a damned sight more compensation. Or
the caller could have been a he as easily as a she, so resonant were the tones Dad’s
from vocal chords relaxed by a slug of Irish whiskey.
"…very glad am I that we have come to agreeable terms…"
an American; Franco-Indeterminate, based on the nom de plume and accent.
"…You will please report via email to the following address…"
judging by syntax and enunciation.
r y me at JEANNE CLAUDE dot e t dot net…"
Used to being
obeyed, or at least treated with deference.
"…Daily, if you would be so kind, by no later than midnight, your Time..."
young in years.
"...Number each correspondence and expect a brief confirmation."
a guess; proficient, nonetheless, in English—O’Rourke’s one-and-only tongue.
that was it. No words of encouragement; no goodbye. What, therefore, had
O’Rourke found so extraordinary? Nothing that had been said;
it was all between