I’ve always wanted to write a great spy novel, especially since my grandfather, LtCol. John Irving, was one during the Cold War. I grew up hearing rumors about his exploits in East Germany after World War 2. He also served as an “adviser” in Vietnam in the 60′s which we now know is Pentagon slang for Commie Killing Jungle Warrior. He was unquestionably the most badass person I have ever known, not to mention a brilliant man. I could go on and on about him, but this short story is a pretty good representation of him. Anyway I wrote this one a few years ago at Christmas time and thought both of my readers would like it. Below is John, enjoy!
A Short Story by: Jason Winn
It wouldn’t take long for someone to find the two dead East German agents John left between the cars on the third deck of the parking garage. Time was short and Gustav Falco was trying to make his exit.
“Never a fucking ashtray when you need one,” John silently grumbled as he expelled a cloud of smoke. He gave up after two turns of the head, dropping the butt on what was usually the mirror finish floor of Union Station.
The ambient Christmas music stopped. “Now boarding Amtrak 312 at Gate 9,” echoed the PA system. Off to the right a scurry of feet clamored towards the far side of the terminal and Perry Como’s voice returned to the world.
John brushed his fingers over the silenced Colt .22 parked in the small of his back, under his tweed jacket. In the same motion he brought out his pack of Marlboro 100s. His narrowed blue eyes never stopped scanning the holiday travel crowd as his Zippo sparked.
Falco might be disguised, but all the fake hair and makeup can’t hide the panicked look of a man desperate to get out of Dodge when the hounds are on his heals.
He rechecked the note on his wrist next to his Timex – “5542 Bmore.” The infernal arrival and departure board hadn’t changed in three minutes and forty-two seconds.
Just as Perry started up about Frosty, John’s patience was rewarded with the flutter of metal numbers and letters updating the arrivals and departures. Train 5542 was on time – arriving in less than twenty minutes. Gustav would then step over to Harold’s Newsstand next to John who, as instructed, would be holding a copy of today’s Chicago Tribune. The front page noted that Ronnie and Nancy had just lit the National Christmas Tree.
John staked out his post right under the green and white Harold’s sign, with the Tribune visible under his right arm. He stood like a bored husband waiting for his wife’s tardy train.
To his left, a collective groan welled up from the anxious passengers by Gate 5. The infernal board had clicked away, revealing their train to Philly would be late by an hour. The blizzard outside was savaging travel plans all over the East Coast.
“Sir, do you know the score of the Bears’ game?” asked a pale American accent.
“20 to 14, Seahawks,” replied John.
“Too bad, I don’t think Ditka will amount to much.”
John smiled and flipped his paper towards the exit leading to the third deck of the parking garage. Gustav’s eyes betrayed the relief of reaching the last leg of his American egress.
“Pünktlich zu Weihnachten in Berlin, ja?” joked John over his shoulder once they were out of the terminal.
“Ja,” sighed Gustav with a smile.
Just as the two were between two parked vans John pulled out his Marlboros. Gustav heard the metallic sound of keys hitting the concrete. He stopped and knelt down to pick them up for his savior.
“Danke,” muttered John as he put the barrel of his Colt to the back of Gustav’s head.