Bored. He was so bored. He hadn’t been bored for the better part of a decade and couldn’t remember how one stopped being bored. None of his assignments held any interest for him. Even if they had, they were finished anyhow. He was just delaying closing them out so he wouldn’t be assigned a new menial task. He couldn’t account for it but he was in a holding pattern for some reason. Not knowing was slowly driving him mad, a trip he had taken before, but wasn’t keen to repeat.
“Knock, knock,” an elderly voice broke through the silence.
“How can I help you Mrs. Mōus?” He asked.
He carefully checked himself to see if he appeared nonchalant. Leaning back in his chair – check. Feet propped up on the desk – check. Hat hiding face – check. Phone off the hook – not sure.
“First, you can take your grubby shoes off the desk I polished this morning,” she snapped.
She tapped her toe as she waited. Heaving a sigh he tossed his hat onto the desk. Then he exaggerated the effort it took to plop one foot and then the other to the ground. He leaned forward, twirled, and pulled himself under his desk. Lacing his fingers together on top of his desk his eyes flipped up to meet hers.
Shaking her head, Mrs. Mōus continued, “Honestly Mr. Milliner, what has gotten into you this past week?”
“Not entirely sure,” he mused.
“Well, seeing as how you aren’t up to much any how, why don’t you head off to a meeting with a client?”
“That’s not my gig, you know that. No direct contact with the clients, we all agreed.”
“Ms. March says it will be good for you to get out.”
“Does she now?”
“Well, she didn’t say it like that, precisely, I’m taking license.”
“Also the client insisted it be you.”
“What? Then I definitely shouldn’t go.”
“Just go, he’ll be at Ducks Pub at two.”
“Ducks? Why didn’t you say?”
He spun round and studied the wall. After a moment he stood, grabbed a grey newsboy cap from the vast array and pulled it over his unruly mop. Once secure he crossed to the coat rack and thrust his arms into his army jacket. Walking to his desk drawer he pulled out his keys. Finding them buried under a few take out menus he started to pad down his pockets, absently taking the missing wallet as Mrs. Mōus held it out to him.
“Run along, don’t want to keep him waiting.”
He peered over at her then. Mrs. Mōus’ toneless hair was set, as ever, in a text book finger wave. Her small frame and nondescript clothing combined with her bland make up to make her utterly forgettable. An all too valuable asset in their line of work. Unfortunate that she was strictly an office worker. Lucky some of those ‘don’t notice me’ genes had been passed on to her niece, Ms. March. Although where Mrs. Mōus was small, March was tall and willowy. She had the same hue-less blond-brown hair that was often braided into a knot at the base of her neck. True, March had to work to tone down some of her personality. She had a fiery spirit that burned without any effort, not the most useful while doing recon, but quite helpful when it was time for a tactical strike. He didn’t spare any thoughts for what they must have thought of his appearance. Or his personality for that matter.
Leaving the offices he promptly ran into a messenger boy in the hall. Offering a hasty apology, Milliner left the building as fast as he could. Once he reached the fresh air he took a deep breath to clear his head. After a moment he turned to go to his car. As he neared his old Chevelle he went for his keys. Not feeling them in their usual pocket he started searching his other options. Frustrated he kicked the tire and rested his head on the top of the car. Figuring he had left the keys in the office, lost in his haze of boredom, he had one of two options. Return to the office and face Mrs. Mōus’s scrutiny and potential lecture or take alternative transportation. It was no contest. Leaving the lot he returned to the street and hailed a cab. One pulled over in short order and off he went.
“5829 Mallard Avenue please,” Milliner told the cabby as he got situated.
Barely audible, the cabbie called back, “Sorry sir, but I’m afraid you’ll have to miss your planned meeting.”
Before he could do more than lean forward the cabbie turned around and shot him.