Two mornings later, a seriously unremarkable man came into my office. His last name was Yaacov. He worked for the CIA.
“Yaacov,” I said.
“Hawkins,” he said. “Buy you a cup of coffee down the street?”
I stood up. In one step, Yaacov had reached my set of hangers on the wall. He pulled my suit coat off one of the hangers and handed it to me. He wasn’t being polite, he was checking the weight of it to see if I had a tape recorders in the pockets.
“You’re carrying a revolver, now? I thought you were a 1911 man,” he said, referring to the Army Colt automatic pistol.
“Why’d you switch,” he asked.
I pulled on my suit coat. “Too many problems.” I came out from behind my desk,
Yaacov stepped through the doorway. “There are better functioning .45s,” he said.
“What, you’re moonlighting for Shooting Times, now,” I said.
Yaacov snorted. We went down the stairs and out to the street. There was an elevator in the building, but it was so slow that you could time the intervals between floors with a calendar.
As we walked, Yaacov reached into his suit coat and extracted an envelope. I glanced at it; it had the same coat of arms embossed on the outside as Hauger’s business card. I put it in my pocket, rather than try to open it while walking down a sidewalk.
“What’s this,” I asked.
“An invitation to a reception at the Norwegian embassy three days from now. It’s to commemorate the 48th anniversary of their country’s liberation from the Germans. Attire’s business dress, so wear a nicer suit, if you have one. Leave the gun, the embassy’s their soil and they don’t take kindly to people bringing guns into their embassy.”
We went into the coffee shop, ordered our coffee, and sat at a table to drink it.
“You want me to take the job,” I asked.
“We’d like you to consider it. There’re folks in The Company who would regard it kindly if you did.” Yaakov looked bored, as though whatever answer that I might give was of no concern to him.
”And the FBI,” I asked. I didn’t have to explain to Yaakov that the FBI has been known to be displeased when the CIA runs operations on American soil,
“They know about it,” he said.
I nodded. I didn’t have to tell Yaacov that I’d check that out. Yaacov was, after all, a CIA agent. When it came to lying, they made congressmen look like rank amateurs. He knew I’d make some calls.
Yaakov also didn’t ask me to let him know whether or not I decided to take the job. I took that to mean that he’d hear about it. Maybe from Hauger, maybe from another source. He just said: “See ya.” Yaakov stood up and walked out of the coffee shop, taking his coffee cup with him. He was a careful man.
I finished my coffee and then strolled back towards the office.