Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: TEXTING (05/18/17)
- TITLE: The Mission
By Hannah Cooper
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His orders: to make contact with a girl wearing a dark, leather jacket. She will be texting on her phone, and will direct him into the underground, where a priceless treasure will be auctioned.
He observes several girls in the vicinity who are texting, but none wear a jacket.
Three minutes and fourteen seconds later, he sees her – a girl in a dark, leather jacket is chewing gum rapidly and texting on her pink phone while walking towards him.
Feeling a prickle of anticipation, he strides towards her and she glances up just in time. She halts, narrowly avoiding a collision. He clears his throat.
‘The eye of a needle is too small for a camel.’
He waits for her expected response: Yes, but I know a way the camel can enter.
And he waits.
It isn’t forthcoming.
In fact, looking up at her, observing her dubious expression, he wonders if she’s forgotten her line.
So he repeats, in hushed tones: ‘The eye of a needle is too small for a camel.’
‘Well duh,’ she says.
He waits again.
Nothing except the sound of smacking lips as she stares at her phone.
‘But?’ he prompts.
Her expression becomes perplexed. She must have a terrible memory, he decides.
The girl’s thumbs move rapidly against her phone. Perhaps she’s trying to find her instructions?
‘But,’ he tries again. ‘You know a way I can enter?’ He waves in the direction of the cinema.
She looks up once more, and her mouth forms the shape of an ‘O’. She considers him for a moment. ‘I can get you a ticket, if you wanna get in.’
The youth of today. They don’t make spies like they used to. He sighs.
‘I would appreciated that,’ he responds.
‘It’ll cost you $15.’
Quickly, he pulls out a $20 bill.
She snatches it up. ‘Whaddya want?’
He leans forward in a whisper. ‘The underground, of course.’
Her eyebrows rise. ‘Okay... wait here.’
He watches as she waltzes into the cinema, satisfied that soon he will have the treasure his employers want.
After six minutes and nineteen seconds, he hears the sound of chewing and turns. The girl is back, looking at her phone as she hands him a paper ticket.
‘You need to go inside,’ she motions behind her. ‘Show the ticket to the guy at the back.’
‘Thank you,’ he says, not bothering to ask for his change. When that vessel is in his hands, it won’t matter. ‘Have a good night.’
The girl glances up once more and says, ‘Yeah no problem. Bye, old man.’
She goes back to texting and he wonders whether he should have a word with his superiors about her training. Old man? Old man? Dignified is more like it. He straightens his tweed jacket and turns, heading into the cinema.
Directly ahead a gangly teenager is checking patron’s tickets.
When he reaches the lad, the ‘dignified’ man hands him his ticket with a flourish.
The boy glances at it and gives him a strange look. ‘Door number 5, Sir’.
Feeling buoyed, the spy heads toward a door with the number 5 above it. He enters a dark room and uses the floor lights to find a seat down the front.
It’s in here? Not actually under the ground? He wonders.
A movie is playing on the big screen. It has dark themes and portrays an underground existence.
Perhaps it will be after the show?
He settles back to watch – and wait.
The show eventually ends. The credits roll up. ‘Underworld’ appears in big letters.
The lights come on. He watches as people leave.
Wait… what about the auction? He looks around, confused.
The gangly boy is back, broom in hand.
‘Did you enjoy the movie?’ he asks.
‘Yes – Underworld.’
‘Well… yes of course. But I came here for –‘
‘Sorry Sir, but you have to leave now. We need to clean up for the next session.’
Slowly, terribly, realisation hits. The man looks at his watch… he missed it.
The Auction Is Over.
Pulling out his phone, he finds a new text waiting:
WHERE WERE U? GIRL WAITD 2 HRS. U NEVR SHOWD. MISSN FAILD.
No… he got the wrong girl.
‘But she was texting, and in a dark, leather jacket!’ he mutters in self-defence.
He glances up and sees a group of teenagers pass – several on their phones, texting. One girl is even wearing a black jacket.
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