The last mission had been just short of disaster. What had promised in the beginning to be a simple extraction from Geneva of two defecting Chechens had turned out to be a trap for both sides, with a double agent in our side selling out to a third, unknown party. There were no goodbyes or tears when we left - guns had been shot, people killed, and your truly got a lead souvenir in his shoulder that still hurts when I turn to the right. If it had not been for my daughter, my 'backup,' I would have just shouted "Screw You!" and gone down fighting.
That, my friend, is life in the covert business. It' so very easy to die - and just as difficult to stay alive.
For Rebacca, my twenty-two year old daughter, I suppose the choice was pretty easy. She had been pulled into the murky world of post-Cold War espionage by accident, a ploy that had backfired on her abductors who had figured that they could use her to get to her mother - incidentally, my boss. Not only did Becky escape their clutches, she managed to sabotage enough of their vehicles so that the cops had everything on a silver platter. For an ordinary sixteen-year old, that must have been something, but for my daughter, being the product of two people in the same business made it as easy as learning to eat.
Before I knew it, she had accompanied me to Belfast, a perky seventeen-year old girl with a camera that wouldn't stop clicking. While I had objected in the beginning, fearing more her safety than anything else, it was soon made clear to me that she wasn't to be dropped of the team. Good operatives were hard to come by, and for her, 'good' was an insult. Within a couple of months, though, I was forced to reevaluate my reservations. I haven't worked with anybody else since then.
Besides, being family made unspoken communications clearer. She could understand me even before I did, and vice versa. That was something the Agency respected.
Ah! The Agency - our code for the Inter-Agencies Agency, a silent group that could execute the CIA's requirements within the US (the CIA, constitutionally, can't operate domestically) or investigate for the FBI internationally, sidestepping Interpol, or even clean out the NSA once in a while - God, the entire place was full of moles! I was fomer G-2, Army Intel, and perhaps the only person to have walked into the Kremlin empty-handed and walked out unhurt - and with 'certain' files towards the end of the Cold war.
So I guess it was not much of a surprise when the office summoned us for a meeting in DC, with the Director herself. My wife. Being in the same line of work ensured that the time that we did spend together was quality time, and we made it a point never to discuss office matters at home. When she could be home, that is.
"How was the last mission?" she asked.
"Bummer. What happened to the traitor, by the way?"
She grinned. "Apparently, the catch was too valuable - and they lost it. We found your buddy washed up from the Seine, Paris, with his throat slit. And his penis cut off."
Rebacca giggled. "Served him right. And that pig wanted me to go to his room alone!"
"I guess that absolves us of any guilt, then," my wife grinned back. "Either way, his penis would have been cut off!"
This was normal, professional conversation in our family.
Then my wife Deborah became serious. "Another situation has come up."
"You have to go under cover."
"So what else is new?"
"Both of you."
"The Apple? What's the deal?"
"Mossad. A gang of theirs wants to talk to a businessman. Jewish businessman."
"And I suppose I am to be Abraham."
"Correct. You are Ribbins, Abraham Ribbins. Rebacca will pose as your wife."
This was a first. Of all the things we had acted, husband and wife had been excepted. Now that was being remedied. But I had to be sure I heard well. "Excuse me?" Rebacca asked the same question at almost the same time.
"A few years ago, we created an exporter by the name of Ribbins. Totally fictitious, a fifth-generation convert - not exactly a Jew from centuries, but just long enough to have it in his blood. A complete dossier was generated, the image cultivated being that of a recluse who had finally tied the knot after forty-three years. Now, incidentally, he matches your description - the other way around, rather - and his young wife can look like anybody we say.
"Now what we want is a couple - but the stakes are high. We need to know what they are doing, without letting them know that we have a man in their department. No compromise on security, no risking exposure."
"What's the op?"
"The Desert Star, a five star hotel in Manhattan. Ritzy, expensive. You will check in from Texas for a week, minimum, and register as husband and wife. Now, it's quite unlikely that the rooms are bugged, but you will have to take precautions. Probably, you will get the King's Suite, their most expensive accomodation, but don't worry about the tab - your company, the Elixir Merchant Corporation will finance that."
"The Elixir Merchant Corporation? Tell me, honey, do we actually have a department in here that comes up with these names? Or do you just think them up in your spare time?"
Debbie laughed softly. "We do have a department for these things, Jack. After all, we've got to justify the billion dollars we get every month!"
As we walked out, she chuckled and said, "Becky, I know this is the first assignment you are acting as your father's wife, but please don't get any ideas."
I must have blushed when my daughter pretended to check me out, her eyes pausing for the briefest of seconds on my trim stomach before moving downwards. Thankfully, any reaction I might have had was left unnoticed.
"I'll try," my daughter quipped back, patting me on my buttocks, "But I can't make any promises!"
I had to tell myself twice that she was only joking before I could convince myself.
In deception, there are no half-measures. Which is why we caught an international flight from Bali, where we were supposed to have had our honeymoon, to Fort Worth, and then to NYC. We arrived by eight in the night, in a limousine that stretched two blocks, and checked in as Mrs. and Mr. Abraham Ribbins. The porter took us to the King's Suite, just as my wife had predicted, and we - actually, my daughter, looking quite undaughterly in her off-the-shoulder top and slitted skirt, mischieviously asked him for a Do Not Disturb Sign.
"And," Rebacca - as Rebacca - asked, throwing her arms around my neck and making me sit on the sofa, she in my lap, "Could you please inform the front desk that all messages are to wait until morning - wait! Better yet, we haven't checked in yet. We don't want any disturbances tonight, do we, Darling?" The last word rolled in her tongue in an exotic, sensuous fashion, and the alarm bells went off as my cock twitched under her weight. Then, as if for emphasis, and even before I had composed myself, her soft lips pressed into mine, kissing, yet... not kissing.
We had agreed within ourselves that we couldn't do away with such shows of affection. Sex was a different matter, or so we thought - sounds could be made, convincing sounds, with little or no effort. But I hadn't expected her to start on the kissing as soon as we had arrived - okay, so we had mouthed a little back at the airport, for purely surveilaance's benefit, but the tongues had stayed inside then. As we promised they would.
Now, the kissing was slightly different. Perhaps it was the boldness of being away from Agency eyes, or perhaps it was just temptation - or perhaps both, but there was so 'perhaps' about the fact that her tongue had ventured out, running its tip over my slightly opened lips. Before I could adjust, however, she squeezed her tongue between my lips and touched my teeth - and before I knew it, she made a loud kissing sound as she pulled away.
"Sorry, hun," she said brightly, "Just couldn't resist those lips of yours."
Since the Mossad ops were probably listening in, I figured it was just theatrics. "Same here, sweetie. But I don't think my teeth will ever taste half as sweet as yours - or be half as soft."
She gave a small, sincere laugh. "My dear, I hope you weren't thinking of becoming a poet."
"You could make me one, yet, my love," I replied, suddenly realizing how true that was. Be professional, I told myself, and of all the people... but her lips had been too...
Our eyes met, hers agreeing that the acting had been good, maybe even acknowledging my compliment, mine searching to see if she had read anything more into it. Apparently, she hadn't.
"Let me go take a shower," she said, "I feel so sticky in these things."
"Why don't you stick to me, baby?" She turned sharply, my question an unexpected one, and I winked softly at her that the act was still on, "Or better yet, why don't we un-stick together?"
She ruffled my hair in a loving manner, approving of my husbandly overtures, amused that I was being so good at it despite being her father, and replied, "I don't think so. Neither of us would get anything tonight then - and we had promised Rasmussen a call later. Maybe... later."
.... There is more of this story ...