…Archie wasn’t sure he could endure the nun with the paddle on this one.
Pushing the thought out of his mind, Archie opened his laptop and made a decision. He would just make it up. That was it. He couldn’t see traveling to the hinterland of Pakistan/Afghanistan and actually risking his life.
He felt as if he had been liberated as he started typing his cable. He had learned long ago that keeping it brief was best, especially when lying.
Upon completion, he slapped his laptop closed and felt a sense of deep accomplishment – he would still have plenty of time to visit that French restaurant he had seen.
Archie sat wide-eyed and frozen, like the proverbial deer in the headlights. He barely had time to respond before another officer chimed in and spouted out so much detail about some terrorist network that Archie’s head was spinning.
“Um, well Bisaam definitely wants to travel. He’s mentioned Denmark – is that something we can do? Pakistan might be a bit of a struggle for him. I mean, um, financially…” Archie trailed off.
The officers around the table exchanged looks. Henningway just bowed his head for a minute.
“Denmark?” one of the officers said, mouth hanging open in disbelief.
“But Pakistan is closer to Thailand than Denmark,” another officer stated the obvious.
“CTC has the funds. In fact we have excess funds that we have to use or they will be re-appropriated,” a portly guy who appeared to be the Group Chief chimed in, laughing. “You know, everyone wants to get in on the counter terrorism thing these days. It’s where the money’s at.”
Archie knew Barry, Oliver and Allen went way back, but Archie was new to the division. He put on his best kiss-up face and strode over to the group.
“Hey Arch! Did you meet any more ladyboys in Thailand?” Oliver bellowed.
Archie turned a bright shade of red. The group burst into laughter as Oliver and Allen launched into a description of Archie’s activities with prostitutes in Phuket. It was a literal blow-by-blow of events in which Archie could not even remember participating. Besides the lurking dread he felt upon the sudden realization that he had possibly slept with a Thai transvestite, he felt he could almost die of embarrassment.
How could they bring this up in front of the Chief?!
…With blurry images of his nights with random Thai women filling his head, he headed to a local church and dropped off a bag of rice. It made him feel better about himself when he donated to people in need. It made the nun with the paddle go away.
There was a distinct chill in the air and, having lived in Thailand for so long, Archie definitely felt the cold air. His phone chimed with a text from Waan. He still hadn’t told her about his relocation….
“Yes, I was hoping I could pick my next assignment today. I have some big things going on and I think I can coordinate some of my ops with my current assets so there wouldn’t be any turnover required. I could keep them all and still easily run them from Tahiti, or alternatively, Fiji would work.” Archie paused.
Henningway met Archie’s grinning face with a blank stare. It seemed he blinked fifty times.
“Do you speak French?”
“Well, uh, no but… I figured I could get by,” Archie stammered.
Henningway went back to looking at his computer screen.
“It looks like you’ll be coming to Headquarters to serve as…” He trailed off. A look of disbelief came over his typically blank face. “Chief of Operations of this group,” he finished, somewhat reluctantly….
If you’ve ever wondered what it’s REALLY like to work at the CIA, you will have an awakening when you read my books. My series of short reads, or novelettes, Mingling in the CIA, takes readers into the lives of the CIA officers I met during my time there. You’ve met Annie, you’ve met Bloud…..
This time, join me in Thailand for some debaucherous fun! Are you ready to meet Archie?
…Bloud eventually managed to finagle his way into working outside of the office, instead of being there every day to further poison the atmosphere. It seemed Vicky’s perception of Bloud had changed pretty dramatically and the decision had been made to allow him to become a satellite employee of our office, in preparation for future overseas posting. There were quite a few beach locations that Bloud was proposing as his next assignment, and to my surprise Headquarters was entertaining these requests. For the time being, he was going on very expensive TDYs to different paradises in the Caribbean [text was redacted here]. Written from various barstools in tropical resort towns, his cables never made much sense, just a barrage of babble that someone in our office or at Headquarters had to rewrite. He could not be bothered with actually writing cables documenting his work, a secretary would surely be needed to do this for him. It pained me to see these trips get approved when it was pretty clear they were a colossal waste of money…
As Chief of Operations, Bloud wasn’t very impressive…
…Bloud was in charge while Lawrence was gone, but that was not saying much. He had taken to throwing hissy fits and closing himself in his office any time he received news from Headquarters that he did not like. He would leave the young officers who needed his guidance out in the cold while he sulked behind a closed door. He had also begun a weekly ritual of cooking a slab of meat in a crock pot for the whole office and we were all expected to eat it and listen to him blabber on while the young officers kissed his butt. I dreaded being herded into the office kitchen for these little get-togethers…
…Bloud was an experienced [text is redacted here] officer, in his fifties, whom I had heard much about. Apparently he had done some pretty exciting things years ago and he loved talking about his experiences, holding a captive audience in the young officers surrounding him. He delighted in telling tales of encounters with tigers and serving time in a hole in the ground somewhere in the Middle East. It was hard to imagine this slovenly, obese man doing anything besides eating pork rinds and drinking beer, but the stories were entertaining. He was given the Chief of Operations or third-in-charge position in the office. I did not have many friends in the office and he seemed like an interesting drinking buddy, so one day after work Bloud and I went to a nearby bar for drinks….