Intrigue at the office. Makes me think of how much advertising is like a bad spy story. Alliances, affairs, double-crosses. To that end:
I met Lubjek at precisely the highest point of the bridge, right over the center of the river. I don’t know how he did it, but he was on-time to the second. I had said, “Let’s meet at eight,” and at exactly eight, with no seconds on either side, he stepped out of a black Trabant that sped away in the fog of its own diesel gloom.
“Lubjek,” I said.
“Tannenbaum.” We didn’t shake hands. We didn’t nod. Our eyes never met. But in unison we each took a long drag on the cigarettes we were smoking. Again in unison, we exhaled in a Trabant-like veil of vapor.
“I have the K. file,” I said, nodding toward the black leather attaché I was carrying.
“I have the Z. papers,” he responded.
“The K. files will tell you how to access Q. through R, S and T. But you can’t say how you got them.”
“And the Z. papers. They will connect you with D, E and F. Assuming you can find G.”
“We know where G is,” I bluffed.
We exchanged attachés. To be extra careful, I cuffed mine to my left wrist.
Lubjek lit another cigarette, throwing his previous one into the muddy water below.
“Stoyanoff is onto Timoshevitz and Korsakova is having an affair with Timoshevitz’s brother’s wife.”
“Complicated,” I said.
“Keep an eye on D. He is not to be trusted. And E, well, you probably already know that he drinks too much. And when he drinks too much, he talks too much.”
“That’s how people wake-up dead.”
I drew a cigarette pack from my coat’s inside pocket. I shook one out, then offered Lubjek one. He preferred the pack he pulled from his own jacket.
“From Kazahkstan,” he said. “Turkish tobacco.” He drew 50 percent of the cigarette down in one inhale.
“Latchkey is the one to watch. As far as I can spit,” I said, spitting, “I trust him. He could interfere with E., crossing L. and that could stymie getting through to F.”
I put my hand out and we shook good night.
That was wishful thinking.
The night was anything but good.