drop-off

The room was clambering with conversations, broken sentences and ardent exclamations littering the noisy air. The clattering of footsteps and distant rumbles of trains against tracks were comforting, reminding me that I wasn’t alone. My eyes caught those of a familiar face, their green irises guiding me through the heavy crowd. As I approached the bench on which his huddled figure was sat, he showed no sign of recognition, continuing to stare at his dimly lit phone screen.

“Hello,” I greeted with a short mumble, my words stopping before they carried over to any of our unsuspecting surroundings.

“Do you have the package?” the man asked clearly, his eyes still firmly trained on the unintelligible words flickering across his phone. The swath of black fabric, in the form of an ill-fitting coat surrounding him, remained unmoving, hiding the sharp outlines of his torso and shoulders. I waited for any other form of acknowledgement, hesitant of delivering the parcel to a man I had just met, given its classified nature. My eyes caught onto the royal blue scarf tucked around his neck, an indication given to me by my employer for the designated characterization of the contact.

I sighed in response to his indifference, reaching into the pocket of my trench coat, grasping for the smooth manilla envelope. I pulled it out in a swift motion, sliding it across the cold cement bench we were seated upon.

“How did it go?” I prompted, curious about the details of his mission. I had heard about his actions on the news, but they never quite explained his handiwork with the eloquence I desired.

“It was simple,” he shrugged, pocketing the envelope. His eyes still hadn’t met mine, in an effort to make our discussion look like a casual one, between two strangers who happened to be at the same train station. “There wasn’t much struggle. I always get stabbed, though.”

“Drawbacks of working with knives, I guess,” I suggested, my tone unnaturally blasé. He gave me a short chuckle, standing up from where he was seated. His briefcase rested against the armrest of the bench, purposefully abandoned. With a curt nod, he disappeared into the crowd I had just escaped, his black coat of just another jaded commuter rushing through the busied room.