After my last run-in with a new nemesis, Natalia deMilo—perhaps the Moby Dick to my Captain Ahab—things went disappointingly quiet. My day job as a lawyer seemed to be filling up most of my time. I have a few meetings with a Long Island personal injury lawyer to discuss some changes to New York laws, and I consulted with a few people, but beyond that? Everything is quiet.
Too quiet, as it turned out.
When my office closed for the night, I stayed late, excusing myself with extra casework and more to do. Then, I opened my real computer and reported in with HQ and my superiors.
I’ll leave plenty to the imagination on my supervisors, of course. If they have found my little site, I simply don’t want them to think I’m giving too much away. Still, I had to ask about the sudden radio silence.
“Oh, that’s because there’s a new agent on the block.”
I was, frankly, in shock. After all I’d put into my work, into being the best agent they’d ever seen, only to be replaced? Truly, I understood what it was like to go from an only child to being pushed away by a new baby.
I paced and thought and bemoaned my sorry state, before it finally occurred to me what I should do—have a little chat with my new coworker.
She wasn’t hard to find: Sally Fawne, ornithologist. A little creative to pose as an attorney? Perhaps, but at least I wasn’t a glorified bird-watcher. I typed up a quick email, and soon, I was locking up my offices for the weekend.
Up on the Rooftops
“I thought this spot would appeal to you. Very… for the birds.”
Sally, or whatever her true name was, smirked. “Did you practice that one? I hope you’re wittier in court.”
Drat, she was good. We circled, sizing one another up as rivals, not as coworkers.
“Why did they bring you on? I have this city covered.”
“Oh, don’t get overexcited, darling—it’s just a short-term assignment.” She chuckled. “I’m tracking an art thief. You may have heard of her.”
That got my attention. “In fact, I stopped some of her goons just a few weeks ago. Where were you then?”
“Putting trackers on their van. Shame it never made it back to her base, but at least we caught a few thugs, no?”
I stopped in my tracks, hands balled into indignant fists, “That would have been pertinent information to know! I could have snuck onto the van myself, and we’d have her.”
That gave her pause. “I suppose I thought you knew.” She studied me. “My gut says that’s off, and my gut is rarely ever wrong. Would you like to sit for a moment? I want to know what you know about her.”
Filling in the Gaps
So we perched, just outside a small pigeon coop, where she did much of her work. She even held out her hand and let one land on her, stroking its feathery head while I gave her a full briefing of what I knew about the heist.
Soon, we had plugged the gaps in our knowledge, and when we each took our separate, secret leaves, we had a lot to think about.
Why didn’t we have the full file on this mysterious Natalia deMilo?
Where was she now?
Who was keeping all this from us?
I hesitate to assume the worst, but next time, I will visit HQ properly, or perhaps my new coworker and I may join forces and seek out this art-minded mastermind. One thing is for sure, though—Miss Fawne and I are in this together, and we’re getting the answers we need, one way or another.