Wednesday, February 25, 2009

"The Spy Who Wants Me"

It has been a crazy week in the Lucy office. Lots of emails, orders, research, you name it. I still have a stack of filing that needs to get done this week along with the weekly routine. I thought to relieve some of the pressure I would offer a prize

If you have a crazy work story, share it on the blog for a chance to win "The Spy Who Wants Me". If you win and have already read TSWWM then I will send another book of your choice if we have it in stock.

Enjoy the excerpt from The Spy Who Wants Me!

Elle was stupefied.

No one had ever copped her cover. No one had ever even come close. To identify her as a federal agent as her family had done would be one thing, though implausible without inside information. But to know that she was an agent for TGP? She would have said that was not possible.

So few people were even aware of the existence of her agency, the risk of one of them ever running into her personally was almost nil. And even if they did so? To know that she worked for said agency, was beyond improbable. Without a leak in TGP, it should be impossible.

How then did Mr. Smith know about TGP and further, how had he discovered she was an agent?

Was there a leak? Oh, man, she needed to talk to her boss.

While thoughts whirled in her head – speculation competing with prospective answers to Mr. Smith’s words – she let her gaze fall first on Frank and then Beau. Neither showed the least surprise at Mr. Smith’s words. They had known. Beau had known. This whole time.

“Before you attempt to deny your status as a TGP agent, or your assignment here to discover both what we are working on and the true status of the antigravity experiment, let me assure you, it would be useless. Not only do I know which agency you work for, but I know the name of your boss and in fact think it would be a good idea to bring him in on this meeting.”

Elle crossed her arms and sat back in her chair. When in doubt, maintain silence. It was neither an admission, nor a denial.

“Frank, will you please call the number I gave you earlier and request the man who answers to join our discussion?”

“Of course, sir.”

Elle waited while the connection was made.

“Hello?” The Old Man’s voice came over the speaker phone, cautious but unmistakably his.

Adrenalin surged through her at this further evidence Mr. Smith had way more information than he should have, but she maintained her calm fa├žade while she waited to see what came next.

“Hello, Whit. We’re having a meeting with your agent Elle Gray and thought you should be brought in on it.”

Several beats of silence and then, “I’m not sure what you are talking about. I don’t have agents.”

Mr. Smith laughed. “While Ms. Gray is technically a Goddard Project agent, TGP is your baby so that makes her your agent, wouldn’t you say?”

“TGP?” The Old Man asked carefully.

“Please, let’s dispense with the subterfuge,” Mr. Smith said.

“Who am I speaking with?”

“I’ll answer that, since I seem to be the topic of this conversation, as bizarre as it might be.”

When Mr. Smith had called Whit by his name, Elle was utterly convinced he did indeed know about TGP and her role as an agent. She didn’t know how he knew and that was something they would have to investigate, but she didn’t want The Old Man worried that she was at risk. So, she’d used her code word – bizarre – to let him know she was not in any known physical danger. It was not her code for all green, however.

This situation was too fantastic for her to be okay with it.

“You are speaking with Mr. Smith, benefactor and founder of Environmental Technology Research and Development. In the room with us is Frank Ingram, Company Controller. We’re actually at the conference table in his office. The only other person in the room is Dr. Beau Ruston, second in command to Mr. Ingram. I am Elle Gray, a security consultant hired by the company. Although the room is clean since I disarmed the single listening device my equipment detected, I can’t tell you whether or not our conversation is being recorded or listened to by anyone else via the one-way video conference apparatus Mr. Smith is using.”

There. She’d apprised her boss of the situation, let him know she hadn’t admitted to anything and left any revelations made up to his discretion. If her fury at the situation leaked through her words, The Old Man would understand it. The idea that someone within The Goddard Project was feeding information to the outside was more than disconcerting, it was devastating.

The agents and support personnel for TGP were more than her co-workers, in a very real sense, they were a second family.

Beau was looking at her with that odd expression again. Only now, maybe she understood it. He’d met her knowing she was pretending to be something less than what she was. And because of that, he didn’t trust her. A lot of things made more sense to her.

But one thing didn’t. Why had he made love to her the night before? It had been the first time she’d had sex in four years without some ulterior motive. The prospect that he’d had one left a hollow feeling in the pit of her stomach.

“I see,” Whit said. “Mr. Smith, do you have a first name?”

“Of course.”

“Do you mind sharing it?”

“I do.”

“I see.”

Silence again. “This situation certainly is bizarre.”

The Old Man might be giving her tacit approval for her handling of the circumstances and agreement that she did not appear to be in imminent physical danger, or simply stating the truth.

“I am sorry it seems that way to you.”

“Ahh…” The Old Man sounded like he was pleased about something. “I thought your voice sounded familiar, Mr. Smith.”

“So, you recognize it?” the other man asked.


“If I assure you the conversation is neither being recorded nor listened to by anyone not already listed by Ms. Gray, will you believe me?”


Elle waited. Everyone waited. Even Mr. Smith, who said nothing else.

Finally, “I will,” came from The Old Man.

“Good. Can we dispense with the cloak and dagger regarding Ms. Gray’s role here at ETRD?”

“It would be pointless to refuse, however I expect you to tell me how you got into my computers and identified my agent.”

“Will do. Later.”

Mr. Smith and The Old Man knew each other? And trusted each other? This case was getting stranger by the minute. She didn’t know there was anyone Andrew “Whit” Whitney trusted outside of his precious TGP. But the way her boss talked, made it sound like Mr. Smith himself was responsible for the leak in information. That he had somehow hacked into TGP’s computers.

Which put him in league ability wise with about three computer hackers in the world. Unless he had one of them working for him.


Eshani said...

I don't know if this counts as a crazy work story, but I'm working full time and trying to finish up my last semester of college at the same time, so within the last 3 days I think I got a combination of about 6 hours of sleep (usually it's not this bad at all, it's just papers, exams, and hiring new staff at work all happened to crash on me this week)
I hope your week gets better =)

limecello said...

Love the excerpt - thanks for posting it!

As for a crazy work story... living it now, I suppose. Although it's not even really "work" because I'm not exactly paid for it... I became editor in chief of a publication under duress. It was supposed to be to the publisher Monday - its not there yet. My laptop (only computer) died- and just got the new one set up today. Authors had a deadline of last Friday, some were still sending in edits YESTERDAY and my executive editor was telling them "oh yeah sure - no problem if you make changes - we'll take that one." ... I haven't slept in about 40 hours.

Jane said...

For once nothing crazy is happening at work. We still have the usual breaking down of the copier and sniping, but nothing major.

kim h said...

coming up will be crazy, co worker goiogn on matainaty leave so wil be busy at work
cant wait to read spy book.

Ladyhawk said...

What a great way to start my work day! This is what I love about Lucy's writing: The moment I start reading I'm right there, seeing the room and the people, feeling Elle's shock and frustration as well as the empty pit at the thought of Beau using her.

Craziest work day: Transcribing an interview. I was sent a CD, which was very clear, and a micro tape that I could use in my machine. Unfortunately, the sound degraded with the tape. I typed as much as possible (about a third) and then had to use the CD. Unfortunately, the CD player is on the other side of the room, so it was type a few words, get up and stop the CD and restart at the beginning of each section. It could have been worse; at least it was divided into about eight sections instead of being a whole and having to start at the beginning each time. I'd been working for almost twelve hours, when my visiting Sis-in-law had the heater on in the other room and then turned on a blow drier. Blew the circuit breaker. Even with the surge protector, the computer blinked and "lost" the document. Fortunately, I'm compulsive and save what I'm working on every minute or two, so I didn't actually lose much. However, it took a while to get the circuit straightened out. I finished the work after midnight and emailed it without further trouble, but I'd really rather not do another day like that one.

robynl said...

No, I haven't read this book yet. Am hoping too, though.

Crazy work story- I work in a Level 1 & 2 Personal Care Home and when filled up there are 17 residents. Most are minimal care but they sure can find things that they want taken care of and right now most of the time. One night it was a many extras night and I was happy when the 12 hr. shift was over. One wanted a rub down now b/c she was going to sleep in a few minutes; another said 'where is my bleeping drink that I always have even though she hadn't asked for it; another one wet the bed so a bed change was in order; etc. etc. Meanwhile I need to get some baking down if possible and oranges cut up for the morning. I get in the kitchen and along comes a resident who hasn't had a BM in ages(they tend to exaggerate)and could she have some ... to make her go. A gentleman comes out at 03:00 and sits at the table. I go over and ask what he wants and tells him it's 03:00. He thinks it is breakfast. Another one gets up at 04:00 b/c they can't sleep and before you know it others are coming out for breakfast and then I need to make beds, change bedding, put out clean towels, empty commodes. I love it but it does get hairy with the extra demands once in awhile.

Ladyhawk said...

Oh, robynl, I believe I will gladly take my day over yours. It's one things to struggle with the vagaries and irritations of machines and unreasonable bosses, but quite another to deal kindly with people who are difficult when they can't really help themselves, be they babes or oldsters.

Amy said...

Great excerpt Andre. I have my own cleaning business and have to travel a lot in between houses. Getting tied up in traffic is what makes my day's crazy. One day I had a 15 minute drive that took over a hour and a half because of traffic.

Marie said...

My most crazy work story was when I was living in the UK. It had been raining non-stop for for weeks and everyone had to leave work early that day because they were affraid the house would get flooded.

RachieG said...

This week is good for me, but last week! Whew! Between taking my Grandma to the doctor in a town an hour from my house (and she DEFINETLY DID NOT WANT to go and it turned into an all day thing), working full time, had jury duty, had my own doctor's appointment, a piece of siding off of the house was wanting to come off so had to fix that...It was incredibly busy. Oh my gosh, barely had my head on straight! :) Hope things get better for you!!

flchen1 said...

Eeeek! Hugs to everyone--your crazy work stories are scaring me! It makes me glad I'm not working full-time right now! The mad scramble to get the PTA fundraising dinner invitations printed and out today (we started Monday) was enough to throw our game off this week ;) Hope everyone has a terrific weekend!

Seneca said...

As an IBCLC (Certified lactation consulted) I've seen my share of breasts, and normally I don't have to touch them unless they are very, very big and one needs to be lifted or moved while the mom's hands are busy holding the baby or something.
One time there was a little new guy who had a terrible time getting latched on. The mom was very frustrated, she was in tears, and to make matters worse she had inverted nipples which can give some new moms trouble if they don't get the right help.
Once we got the babe latched on he would eat for a moment, get a few good swallows in and then pull off. At one point I leaned over to get a better look at the latch because the nursing sound wasn't one that you would hear with a good latch. Well just as I got my head down close to see the latch the baby pulled off I got a stream of his food right in my face.

The poor mom was horrified and embarrassed, but I just laughed it off.

That mom and I had run into each other at a park one day and she was able to laugh about it then. LOL

Maureen said...

My desk is always piled up with stuff to do and today will be no exception. With the bitter cold I am just not motivated. I need some warmth.