• Vol. 08
  • Chapter 12
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The colors of the sky

Of course I would never pick a hotel of that sort. It's because of the job.
Such a splendid sky. The colors make me think of an Anton Chekhov story. At this motel, right next to me, lying in a bed is a woman. You thought I would be alone? Her name is Nove. It's a code name. This woman is my partner. She joined me ten minutes ago in the room and we are now ready. We are lovers, cheaters, we raise no suspicions like this. The job is to get to a location for the pickup of a witness and - on a need to know basis only - possible suspect. We check out and hand over the key. I realize how strange and eerily vintage this key is, as if it opens up a treasure chest. But no, it’s the key to a lame door of a lame hotel in the middle of a highway. When we drive off with my partner's Ford, raising dust, my eyes look for the sky. The colors are now prettier and I mention this reflection to my partner who looks at me sideways, says nothing, squints her eyes and sucks her coke with a black plastic straw. The noise she makes gets on my nerves. She's not into literature, I get it. I just wanted to strike a conversation.
After meeting up with our connection in the Northeast, we had the witness in our car and Nove was boring him with protocol and procedures. But I got him to talk a little. It was a four hour drive to Rome. I got him to talk not about the event he witnessed - that wasn't our job - but about himself. "I'm a Russian literature undergraduate". I felt a twinkle in my heart, a tickle in my ear. That was unexpected. I wanted to keep talking but I stopped. My partner said mockingly, "oh, that is a coincidence, we are fans of Chekhov here". The witness was puzzled, tried to smile, said nothing.
I wanted to talk about the colors of the sky and the story that triggered the connection. But I couldn't remember the name of the story, only that it was macabre, and it was about the ocean, and dead bodies thrown in it. I kept my hands on the wheel until the sky turned dark, until in my mind there was nothing but duty.