She can still picture the room in perfect detail, even though it had been a very long time since she was last within its confines.
It had the feeling of an interrogation room. Maybe they used it for that too; it's not like she knew or cared, really. The only furnishings had been a moderately stable table and two chairs that were set on opposite sides, but for some reason the room had felt like it was hollow and empty, probably because of the spotless, bland, off-white walls.
I wonder who has the lovely job of making sure those walls stay that way.
That had been the only thought that seemed to occupy the young woman's mind, which was odd, considering the situation at hand. She had been caught trying to dine and dash at a fancy restaurant. The kicker was she hadn't really needed to do it; it wasn't like she had been a starving street urchin or anything. She just got off on being able to not only make it seem like she belonged in such a high class establishment, but that she was someone who was able to demand respect and the best service. She had been playing the role of a European model who insisted that her well-to-do agency had booked her a table during the busiest time of the day. Her feigned indignation when her "reservation" could not be found had apparently been convincing enough that, after some well-played insistence on talking to managers, she had been shown to a nicely furnished booth and promptly given a menu and a glass of top shelf wine.
After ordering several high priced items off the menu, which she proceeded to only pick at, she had decided that it was time to make her exit. The woman had just haughtily informed her disgruntled waiter that the agency had made arrangements concerning her bill and to "just ask your manager, I'm sure they are aware." She had been a couple yards away from the exit and had almost made it when two things happened, almost simultaneously, that led to her capture: the waiter she had annoyed with her various demands came back to, most likely, tell her there was no such arrangement for her bill, and her stiletto heel got snagged on the fancy plush carpet in the entry way, which caused her to fall on her face.
So there she had sat, waiting for her sentencing while contemplating the variables that constitute the upkeep of off-white walls.
Finally, the door opened and a well-dressed gentleman entered the room. He took a seat across from the young woman and dropped a folder on the table. She braced herself for the usual lecture about how stealing is wrong and the "will I/will I not call the authorities on you" game, usually followed up by-
"I'd like to offer you a job."
Well, that was unexpected.
Obviously, that turn of events left her puzzled. The curiosity must have shown on her face, because the man opened the folder and started to read off a very extensive list of her "activities." Considering she had never actually been caught before, this had put her immediately on the defensive. The woman asked how this gentleman knew these things; the people she scammed didn't even know until she was long gone.
"One of the things you will come to learn while working for me...I know things...end of story."
He then went on to tell her that he operated several "businesses," one of which required people with skills that, typically, were hard to find. Apparently her ability to blend and take on various personas qualified as skills and, if she signed on, she would be paid handsomely. She asked what her supposed skills would be used for. He was straight to the point.
"You will be dispatched to get close to certain individuals. Then, depending on the amount of money that has exchanged hands, you will be tasked with anything from stealing files or property to making sure they never see another day."
Once again, that had been unexpected. After hearing this, the woman asked the questions that any sane person would ask in this situation: had he seriously just offered her a job as an assassin, and wasn't he afraid she would go to the police?
He confirmed that, yes, he did offer her a job as an assassin, though he preferred to think of his people as agents. In regards to her second question, he had assumed she possessed at least half a brain cell. He had just told her that he ran a supremely powerful organization; she wouldn't have even made it a block away from a police station before she was taken out. She asked what would happen if she were to politely decline his gracious offer. The look he gave her couldn't be classified as anything short of smug.
"I get the feeling you don't want to decline my offer."
The man had been right; she had been intrigued by the job. Of course, the thought of killing someone put a damper on things; she was more of a con-artist than anything. The moral dilemma had been either rendered perfectly on her face or the gentleman's skills included those of a mind reader because he had assured her that he always gave the new "agents" time to adjust to the bloodier aspects of their job if needed. He had then proceeded to say that it was somehow easier to find someone with her type of skill and teach them the more...unsavory aspects of the job than it was doing it the other way around. As further enticement and to show his sincerity, he had offered to give her a trial run: work for him for two months and if she wasn't a good fit, they would part ways amicably.
The young woman had paused for a moment to think. There really was only one choice. If she declined his "offer" she would probably never even make it out of the room, let alone the restaurant. But if she cooperated, she might be able to convince him that even if her skills in this particular area fit his needs, maybe she wouldn't be worth the effort for the other aspects of the job he had planned for her.
Working as an "agent" for someone who was practically a mob boss beat getting shot in the forehead in the back of a restaurant.
Besides, we wouldn't want to mess up these sparkling clean walls with the insides of my head. It would be a shame to make whoever maintains the walls work overtime trying to restore them to their current glory.
"Where do I sign up?"
That was about fifteen years ago. Sometimes it surprises even her how long she's been employed by the elegantly dressed gentleman she met in that room with its sparkling off-white walls.
As much as the woman would like to say that she never got into the "bloodier aspects" of her employer's business, that she had been able to convince her boss that she was more useful as a con-artist for hire than a hired gun, it would be a bald-faced lie.
She's resigned herself to the fact that her paycheck usually comes at the price of someone else's life. Most of the time she, gets lucky and the targets are people that usually do more harm to the world than good, but she's not naive enough to think of herself as some sort of avenger.
She's a killer, plain and simple.
The now older woman stands by a newsstand, sipping her morning coffee and pretending to browse the magazines. She feels a hand slip into the pocket of her expensive wool coat. Supressing a decade and half of hard-earned reflexes, she ignores it and randomly picks a fashion magazine to purchase.
Walking away with her magazine, she pulls the pack of cigarettes that the agency courier planted on her out of her pocket. On the back is a picture of her target, a man in a dark jacket, along with her assignment specs.
Stan's Bar & Grill