The Watchers 17

You can’t park here

Liza poured a cup of coffee and sat next to Mrs. Davenport and Zuri at the table. She took a long sip savoring the warmth of the mug in her hands.  She looked up to see two pairs of eyes staring back at her. 

“Mama I thought you hated coffee,” Zuri said staring at the cup then back to Liza.

“Yeah,” Liza said gripping the coffee cup tightly with both hands, “Mama needed a little pick me up today.”

“Go get your book bag, young lady,” Mrs. Davenport said and the girl immediately stood up to do as she was told. “You sure you up to taking her to school,” Mrs. Davenport said. “Leena can do it if,”

“No, Leena can’t,” Leena said walking into the kitchen still wearing the scrubs she wore last night as pajamas.

“Remember, I don’t have no kids,” Leena said.

“I said I’d do it,” Liza said.

She needed to make a few stops, and the car would make it easier. Hiding away in the Davenport’s house wasn’t going to keep me safe. Eventually I had to venture out.

“The keys are on the latch over the switch,” Mrs. Davenport said, “take the red set to the Chevrolet.”

“Why you acting like she don’t know where stuff at,” Leena jeered. “She may have been big timing it for a little while, but she ain’t been gone that long.”

Liza grabbed the keys and headed to the door with Zuri close behind. The hardest part was getting the girl to give her directions without making her suspicious. Within minutes they were pulling into the school’s cobblestoned driveway. It was a nice school. There was a line of cars dropping kids off at the school and teachers standing at the door greeting everyone.

“Are you going to pick me up after school?” Zuri said before climbing out the car her round shoulders curved inward as if she were waiting for another rejection. Liza could tell she’d been disappointed a lot by her mother.

She wanted to shake some sense into the girl. Her mother was a selfish jerk, and the sooner she accepted it the better off she would be. She couldn’t say that, of course. That was for her to learn. 

“Yup,” she said, “unless I don’t. Then your grandma or auntie will come.” The little girl’s hopeful face fell, but Liza knew it was for her own good as she watched the girl walk away. A loud knock on the driver’s window startled her. 

“You can’t park here, “the woman dressed in a black puffy jacket and skull cap yelled. 

“Okay, I’m moving,” Liza said but the woman continued before she could put the car in gear.

“I said you can’t park here,” the woman said again. Liza looked at the woman. What the hell was her problem? Liza put the car in gear forcing a smile on her face. The woman looked confused then suspicious. She watched the woman in the rear-view mirror. She wasn’t Trina, but Liza was beginning to understand why the woman caught so much trouble. Every where she went someone went out of their way to push the woman’s buttons then point a finger when she reacted.

After watching hours of footage, Liza was sure Trina would have at the very least cursed the crossing guard out. The worst case scenario, she would have jumped out the car and slapped the woman silly. However, Trina’s way of handling conflict was what Liza wanted to avoid.

Central had trained her to deescalate not detonate conflict. Maintain your cover at all costs, and never draw attention to yourself.

In essence she needed to tone Trina down. Trina’s way was to bring as much attention to herself as possible. She thrived on it. Liza didn’t know how long she was going to be here, but she knew there was no way she could complete her mission, if she was fighting someone every step of the way.

Pulling the visor down she looked in the little vanity mirror when I came to the first stop light. Liza tilted the mirror looking closer. She marveled at the resemblance once again. The face staring back at her was her own but it was also Trina’s.

The things that looked foreign in the mirror could be changed easily. Then she could be more like herself, but still fit in. The hair had to go. It felt like it was wearing her more than she was wearing it. Although it looked alright, Liza knew what was going on underneath the helmet of dark auburn strands. It was time for a change. It was time to introduce the world to the new Trina.

Eventually she’d have to leave the Davenports, but until then, she could scale Trina’s look back a little. Liza didn’t want or need the attention Trina attracted. Trina thrived on having a high profile, but there was no way Liza could live that way 24/7.

Tracing her way back through the Davenport’s neighborhood, Liza made her mind up. She stopped at the drug store and picked up some things she needed. She made a stop at Walmart for bullets, and a few other places.

She didn’t know how people would react, but either way she knew it had to be done. It was time for Trina to have a make under.

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Figure out the pattern~

            “We haven’t made contact but we have her location.”

            “Has she identified you?”

            “No, sir.”

            “You have not been compromised?”

            “No, sir.”

            “Not that you know of, you idiot! You don’t know and wouldn’t know until it’s too late. Do not let your guard done with her for one second. You can’t trust or relax because just when you think you have her figured out; she will attack.”

            “Yes, Sir.”

“That’s what we trained her for. Remember that.”

            “She surfaced two days ago. She hasn’t tried to hide or run.”

“I don’t care whether she’s wearing a fucking neon sign in the middle of town square you stay away from her.”

“Yes, Sir.”

“If anything, she’s purposely stayed in the open. It means she’s playing her cover, and you are not going to approach until I say so. Stay on her tail and don’t mess this up.”

            “Yes, sir,” the agent said into his cell. “What about the Davenports?”

            “I don’t care do what you have to do just don’t lose her again.”

The agent pocketed his phone. The reports were dismal he’d heard from Liza’s old territory. They needed her back. They weren’t making any progress overseas and it wasn’t looking good. What the hell was Liza doing?

Liza was their best agent, but whatever stunt she was pulling went against everything Central taught all of them.  

What happened to her in London? So many questions floated in his brain.  Liza was a damn lethal weapon it just didn’t make sense. All he’d heard was she hadn’t worked another assignment since London. There was no telling what the truth was. All he had to go on was what he was told.

They’d been trailing her since she surfaced. She had to know that, but she wasn’t letting on and she hadn’t called in from what he’d heard.

The Mastermind confused him most of all. If it were his decision to make, he’d have her picked up. If it was anyone else, he was sure that was what the Mastermind would have done but not Liza.

He’d have to wonder if she might have turned. She could be working undercover for another agency, but who? And furthermore Why? Central was her home, Liza had no reason to leave.

Either way it wasn’t looking good for her. She was getting sloppy. They’d had to destroy two visuals on her since she’d surfaced.

First it was that bookstore that caught her taking down the couple who’d attacked her. He’d had Central hack the system to erase the tape.

The hospital security was a lot easier. Management gave the tape over without coercion. It hadn’t taken any subterfuge.

Then that crap she pulled in the middle of the street in public view. They’d had to work hard to contain the teenager brigade of YouTube videos, but luckily it was only crappy camera phone footage shot at night too distorted to really see what was going on. Still they’d wasted man power on containing it.

He didn’t know Liza personally, but he’d heard enough stories about her. From what he knew she was the best especially at this type of job. She could infiltrate any situation.

She was a chameleon but since she’d surfaced her awkwardness was palpable every time she was spotted. Something wasn’t right, but he couldn’t determine just what. Then again that wasn’t his place. That was the Mastermind’s job.

He was here to do a job and his job right now was to trail Liza. That’s what he was told to do. When it was time to strike, he’d be told that as well. Until then he just had to keep reporting back what he saw as the Mastermind told him.

One thing was for sure he didn’t take any of the warnings about Liza lightly. Although this assignment on the surface appeared easy, the Mastermind’s words worried him. These types of jobs were the ones that could get you killed. You get lulled into a false sense of security and then Bam- you wake up with a bullet in your head.

He’d heard the tales of how Liza could go so deep she could pull a hair from her target’s chin before they’d even realized she was there. It was how she caught the big fishes. It wasn’t magic it was her attention to detail.

Everyone had a pattern that was her motto, and she got the big catches because she learned them, studied them.  It’s what she built her career on. In fact, they taught an entire class on her techniques.

Figure out the pattern, learn to mimic the pattern, and then execute the pattern. It could be the most mundane things, but eventually it would tell you how to take down any target. It wasn’t always necessary to learn about every intricate detail of a mark, but it helped.

Sometimes you just wanted to get in and get out. Take them out and be done. No need to figure out habits for a job like that, but there were other jobs that more finesse was required that’s what Liza mastered in. For those missions patience was tantamount and Liza’s patience and attention to detail was legendary.

She assumed new identities as easily as most people changed clothes. She did it so often and perfectly that no one really knew what she looked like without her costume any more.

He’d met Liza twice in person, but she’d been undercover. If no one had told him it was her both times he would never have believed it because her looks and more importantly demeanor were so different.

That’s what she got the big bucks for. Liza could make herself look like anybody. She could be twenty-five or sixty-five. She could be fat or skinny black or white male or female- she was that good. This made this assignment all the more strange.

Since they’d arrived, Liza or “Trina” hadn’t left the house until this morning when she dropped the kid off at school. He’d seen everything following her. He’d even seen the confrontation with the school guard.

Liza hadn’t said a word to the woman, and that had been her big mistake. The school guard hadn’t waited for Liza to turn the corner before she was relaying a play by play of what happened to her fellow guard. It was a big mistake, on Liza’s part. He was sure by the end of the day everyone would have heard about how strangely Trina Davenport was acting.

Like Liza always said it wasn’t what people said that caught them up sometimes it was what they didn’t say. It was the small things that caught you. That moment you try to take a shortcut and you step out of the comfort zone of what is plausible.

You can’t reach out of that zone too many times when the stakes were as high as the one’s they played with. There was no room for errors or do overs. You either did it right the first time or you died.

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