(Last week: Chartan is mesmerized by the birth of his son while Brazil finally meets the mysterious Riley at a diner.)
Chartan opened the envelope and carefully removed the single sheet of white paper with the salutation: “To Gina Chartan and Chartan Chartan.” What followed were a jumble of words and numbers with the most prominent figure coming last in boldface. They owed the hospital $782 for the birth of their son, despite state assistance. The good news is that they had 30 days to pay.
Chartan entered the room with Gina in a wheelchair cradling Jake while a nurse talked to her.
“You can leave as soon as I check the car seat.” said the nurse.
“Car seat?” asked Gina.
“Yes, state law requires that you put the baby in a car seat for the ride home from the hospital.”
“We don’t have a car,” replied Gina.
“How will you be getting home?”
Chartan positioned himself by the wheelchair. “Actually, we have a limousine—my boss let me borrow it for a day.”
Gina laughed while Chartan squeezed the paper in his pocket: I’ve never been a debtor other than being a few days late with the rent payment. Now we are three.
Later he watched Gina in the rear view mirror as he gripped the steering wheel of the limo, realizing for the first time that he must become a full-time limo driver.
Brazil watched the waitress place his order by the brown envelope that he had yet to open.
“Anything else to make you happy?”
Brazil smiled, aware that she was flirting with him.
“More coffee and some hot sauce, please.”
“Be right back.”
He watched her shift her buttock—she hadn’t done that before. There were now two distractions in his life. He quickly opened the envelope and removed a single sheet of paper, not folded.
Skyler Brazil: I know you know we’ve been checking on you—that’s good. We come from the same place—love of our country and the skills and experience needed to protect it from terrorists. I’d call this the final mission—once you’re in that’s it. Your personal life will be the mission—nothing else will exist. If you can make this pledge, call the number below at 1400 hours tomorrow.
“Here we go, honey.”
The waitress bent over with a cup of coffee, exposing her cleavage that he hadn’t seen before.
“That’ll be all,” said Brazil sternly.
To be continued next Sunday…