Special Agent Ryan raised his beer, the cold liquid soothing his throat and offering some relief from the humid Venezuelan heat. He set the nearly empty bottle carefully down directly onto the wet ring of condensation it had left on the bar counter and fished in his pocket for his cigarettes. Raising his head to light his smoke he glanced into the large mirror behind the rows of liquor bottles.
The front door of the pub opened. Sunshine poured into the dimly lit room silhouetting the newcomer. The framed form of a woman stood in the doorway. With his lighter frozen half way to his cigarette, Ryan watched, waiting for the female to walk deeper into the room. Lost in the moment his eyes remained locked on the reflection in the mirror as the form materialized from the blinding light, the image growing clearer as the door slowly closed.
Ryan smiled to himself as he admired the advancing form. Dressed in a loose white shirt and khakis, Ryan let his eyes linger on the ladies face. Her dark hair cascaded over her shoulders framing a tanned face that he found quite beautiful. Walking into the bar with an air of confidence the woman's head swiveled in a searching movement taking in the scattering of patrons in the bar.
Ryan took one last glance then returned to lighting the cigarette hanging out of his mouth. Expelling a cloud of smoke he picked up his beer, a local favorite called Zulia and drained the bottle. Not exactly Bud he contemplated then waved to the bartender for a refill. A shadow fell across the bar in front of him. Turning his head, he glanced up straight into the eyes of the woman who had recently entered the pub.
“Is this seat taken?” she asked pulling the barstool back, her accent foreign, different than the Venezuelan accented English spoken by the locals.
“N…No,” he stammered feeling his skin heat up, his face blushing red darkening his tan. Ryan cursed under his breath at his awkwardness, took a breath and spoke again. “No. Help yourself.” He regained his composure and assisted in holding the chair as she sat. His eyes remained on her face. Her skin was more olive colored then tanned, her eyes looked like pools of black in the bar’s poor lighting, almost matching the color of her flowing hair.
“Do I have something on my face?” she questioned, her mouth turned up at the corners with a mischievous smile. Ryan quickly averted his eyes, the blush on his face deeper.
“I’m sorry,” Ryan apologized turning back to look at her. “Ryan. Charles M. Ryan,” he announced extending his hand.
"Please to meet you, Mr. Ryan,” the lady lightly grasped his hand. “I am Netanya Kalb.” Pulling her hand free she waved to the bartender. “White wine, por favor.” Netanya lifted her purse onto the counter, Reached inside and shuffled through the contents then pulled a card out and passed it to Ryan before shoving her bag aside.
Ryan raises the card and read. Netanya Kalb, Shabak, Israel Security Agency, Tel Aviv, Israel.
Setting the card on the table, Ryan picked up his beer and looked quizzically at Netanya. Noticing the confusion, Netanya quickly explained. “I, like you have also been investigating the outbreak of sabotage that has befallen the energy industry, Mr. Ryan. Shabak is Israel’s version of your F.B.I.” She paused while the bartender set the glass of wine on the counter. Tasting the wine she replaced the glass and continued.
“This epidemic is now worldwide, and I have been assigned to work with you. I was watching you at the refinery fire on Lake Maracaibo. I too sent photos of the suspected terrorists. Anything you can tell me about them. My agency hasn’t replied with information on the dead men yet.”
Ryan studied the Israeli Agent. How much could he divulge, he pondered. A little put out that he hadn’t received notification from the Bureau of having to work with Agent Kalb, he played with his beer bottle deciding which path to take.
“Why don’t we meet for supper later and I can bring my files?” he delayed. The break would allow him time to contact Washington and have Agent Kalb’s credentials checked.
“Mr. Ryan. I am supposed to work with you not carry on a relationship,” she joked.
“I, well, that’s not what I meant,” he blustered. “We have to eat, and my files are back at my hotel room,” he clarified. Netanya Kalb laughed. “Supper will be suitable,” she reassured. “That will provide you with time to check my credentials if you need. I understand.” Ryan smiled at her response. Beautiful and smart, he thought. This union could work out fine. With the ice broken he ordered another round of drinks.
“One of the terrorists is well known back in the States. Not as a terrorist but as an advocate of the environment.” Stopping to test his fresh beer, he wiped his lips and continued. “The man’s name is Professor Anthony Enders. He was a full-time professor at the University of Washington State before he began crisscrossing North America speaking at environmental rallies and leading protests against oil production. The fact that he was found dead at the Lake Maracaibo refinery is out of sorts for a fellow of his background and something worth digging into once I have returned to America.”
“Wasn’t he a founder of the People Of The Earth Foundation?” Netanya asked.
“He may have been a founder, but I think he may have found himself forced to the side by the man who now leads the organization, a man known as Lucas or as the media refers to him, the Climate Prophet.”
“Yes. I am well aware of this…Climate Prophet. We have been investigating the man for some time now. Does it seem coincidental to you that as this Prophet gains popularity and his foundation grows, the attacks on fossil fuel deposits have escalated?”
“Bingo.” Ryan winked at Netanya. “That has been my working thesis for a while now. The problem I am having is I can’t find even one small crumb that leads back to the P.O.T.E. foundation. If they are behind these attacks, they are very thorough at covering their tracks.”
“Maybe the death of this professor will help us uncover…crumbs, as you say that will lead us to their door. Until then I guess we have our work cut out for us, don’t we?” Netanya ended the conversation by emptying her glass and swiping her purse off the bar counter as she stood to leave. “What time is supper and where shall we meet?”
A new Canadian Author with too many ideas in his head. Surprising even himself with where his stories go.