First Times

The two of them met, for the second time, in a bar.

The disappointing thing about southern Morocco was that it was impossible to have a decent dark and stormy night. Sure, you could have nights that were somewhat ominous, and rain did happen every so often, but when you were engaged in what might just be considered treason the weather was often lacking a certain gravitas.

The treason itself wasn't that complicated, or really all too out of place. Both of them were certain that others had done identical missions in the past, and they were certain others would do it once they were gone. The mission involved trading certain state secrets, which - although the agencies both spies were from already had identical information - would lead to some dramatic position changes in how the agency carried out its business.

It would take the two of them months to figure out that they were actually working for the same agency, selling secrets their American employers had gotten about other nations. Beforehand she had masqueraded as an Indian agent, then as a new employee of the British Crown once he mentioned he would be visiting that area. He had maintained that he was an Australian agent whose cover story included a cheap tourist store and a drug addiction.

That would come later, though. This meeting was only their second, a follow up on the orders of their superiors. He was already sitting at the bar when she swung the door open and slinked inside.

She slinked, he noticed. That was a defining feature of hers. It was interesting someone in her career would even walk like she was hiding something. It was interesting that India trusted a foreigner with such obvious tells with such important secrets.

She sat down, tight white dress wrinkling. That was another defining feature of hers. She was always wearing white. He wondered if she was color blind.

"Barkeep, three martinis," she said, before turning towards her companion. "Morning."

"Morning," he said back. "Do you own anything with color?"

She laughed. "Mommy tried a bit too hard to make sure I'd never go goth."



The bartender came back with her drinks. She pushed one towards her companion, then downed another. "Got anything good for me today?"

"I might," he said, picking up his drink and looking at it as though she had gotten it from some road kill off the highway. "Looks like you don't have anything for me, though."

"I have everything you need," she said. "And drink it, dammit. I bought it for you."

"What's in it?"


"That's not a good answer."

"Fine, I'll drink it."

As she made good on her promise, he remember what he said about her information. "What do you mean you have what I need? You don't have anything with you."

"It's in my hotel room."

"You left something like that unattended?"

"I figure I'm selling them to an enemy, anyway."

"We're not an enemy."

"You're buying military information."

"We're in public."

"You should try not caring about it. It's liberating." She pushed the last martini towards him. "I even got you something to help you get started."

"I don't drink."

"You really should."

"So you want me to walk into an enemy area which I have no information on, collect on something you have good reasons to want to hold onto, and not worry about anything while I do so?"

"Mostly. You were wrong about one thing, though."


"I don't want you in an enemy area," she said, leaning towards him. "I want you in my room."

Then she kissed him.

"My real name's Tanya," she whispered in his ear.

"James." Then, silently, shit. Shit. Shit. Why did he do that. Why did he tell her that. She didn't even ask.

"Come with me," she said. "I'll show you my room. Give you the grand tour." She giggled. "Point out the bed." Turning on her heel, she paced out of the bar, tall white stilettos gleaming in the mood lighting.

Shit. Shit. Shit. What was he supposed to do. Shit.

He looked at the door, slowly swinging shut, then back at the bar. With a small sigh and shrug, he grabbed the martini off the bar and chugged it. First time for everything stupid, he figured.

He gagged. The drink tasted like pain.

Hoping against all odds that wasn't a sign of some sort, James followed her out the door.

An America Story

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