The subject was wearing a black jacket and cap, his eyes hidden behind dark sunglasses. He leaned against a storefront with both hands in his pockets. He spied left, then right. After noticing an elderly lady wearing a red scarf ambling towards him from a block away, he turned his jacket collar up and walked in her direction.
“Raven’s on the move.”
Agent Max Gold was perched atop a building across the street.
“Carney, you got’em?”
“Ten-four, sir. The only one walking toward him is an old lady with a paper bag.”
“They just brushed by each other, Carney.” Gold refocused his binoculars.
“Our subject has the bag now, sir.”
“Unit two, stay with Raven. Carney, you follow the woman. I’ll catch up.”
Carney and Gold sat in a black sedan parked on an old residential street.
“She lives in that house?” Gold took a drink of bottled water.
“Yes, sir. Far as we can tell, she’s alone. A taxi dropped her off. P.D. says her name is Gertrude Pearlman. Operates a home-based knitting and crochet business.”
“Any connection with Raven?”
“None. Raven’s from London and the woman isn’t on anybody’s radar. We checked with Homeland, FBI, Interpol; nothing.”
“What do you think, Carney?”
“Should go chat with her.”
“We better; our units lost Raven on the MARTA* . We have a bomber loose in Atlanta and we don‘t know why. All airports, bus and train stations are covered. Local authorities have his photos, but that‘s useless.”
“”Yes, sir, Raven’s a chameleon. He’s probably dressed like a female by now.”
Carney and Gold walked up to the woman’s house.
“Hello.” Gertrude Pearlman sounded flustered as she opened the front door.
“You okay, miss?” Carney’s eyes scanned the room behind her.
“Oh yes. There’re just people knocking on the front and back doors at the same time.”
“Is it unusual for someone to be at your back door?” Gold quickly entered the residence with his weapon pulled.
“Yes. Oh my, my.”
Agent Gold maneuvered to the rear of the home and opened the back door. A young Arabic male tried to flee. Gold tackled him in the backyard and handcuffed him. A search of the man’s person produced a hunting knife. Local police were there within minutes. Gold told them to hold the suspect for their agents.
Carney was sitting with Gertrude on her plastic covered sofa when Gold entered and sat down.
“What do we know, Carney?”
“Unbelievable, boss. Miss Pearlman says the bag had a knitted baby blanket in it.”
“But, it wasn’t for a baby,” Gertrude interrupted. “It was code. I deciphered it. The original message had the name of a strip club named Stars.”
“What a minute, lets back up.” Gold scratched his head.
Carney took a deep breath. “Gertrude said a lady stopped by and asked if she could knit a baby blanket and told her when and where to deliver it.”
“I would never have ventured downtown like that, but she gave me $200.”
“What about the code?” Gold asked.
“In school, us girls were allowed to knit, and we would knit each other notes in code. Well, I got to looking at the instructions for the blanket the lady left, and there was a series of double back cross stitches and color changes in the middle that didn’t make sense. Then, wham, it hit me. Our old code. I thought it was a mistress sending a note to her secret lover. So I fixed‘em.”
“How?” Gold’s eyebrows crinkled.
“I knitted the address to my church with the service time for tomorrow morning. I thought that would mess up their adulterous plans.”
Both Gold and Carney stared at each other incredulously.
The next morning, Gertrude’s church was filled with undercover C.I.A. agents as an elderly looking man walked in with a small briefcase. He was quickly apprehended and the brief case was whisked outside and the bomb inside it disarmed.
“So, he was a hit man?” Gertrude trembled as she spoke.
“Yes. We found out through Secret Service, some visiting middle-eastern dignitaries were supposed to be at the strip club this afternoon. You’re a hero, Gertrude.”
“Wow. But, couldn’t you have allowed the man hear the sermon? It was gonna be a good one.”
“He’ll have plenty of time to get right with the Lord,” Gold explained with a smile. “And you, Miss Pearlman, are coming to Washington with us. We need some training on that Double Back Cross stitch.”
Footnote. *Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority. Provides bus and rail service in Atlanta.
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