Shining Through Experience (2 of 4)

If you haven’t seen the first part of the story, please feel free to check it out HERE.  Thanks for reading.

 

The plan suddenly made sense.  Eddie and Glory made their way through the Peach Groves Mall food court and saw her CIA pick up waiting out in the parking lot.  Eddie had called over to the Shop & Save to let Annie know he would be a little late getting back because he was handing off a defecting KGB agent over to the CIA.  Normally that wouldn’t have made any sense at all, but since a bleeding CIA agent had stumbled his way into the store, it was just another part of a weird start to Eddie’s Tuesday.

“How much longer will it be?” Glory asked.

“With traffic like it is during this time of day, probably another eight to ten minutes. At least that’s about how long it usually took me to go from the Shop & Save to the mall when I was an Uber driver for four months,” Eddie said as he finished another bite of General Tso’s chicken.

Glory looked out towards the door again impatiently. “If we miss this window things will get much worse.  There are things that your government needs to know.  And why are you eating at a time like this?”

Eddie took a sip of his diet soda. “Well, one, I’m not bringing up a soviet spy to a CIA team by myself; I’m liable to get shot.  Two, with your old team looking for you, there’s no better way to blend in a food court than to eat something.  Three, after biking you all the way here from downtown I’m starving.  Don’t worry.  Annie at the store was able to patch up your CIA handler Smithers-“

“Simmons.”

“Yeah, that’s what I said; Simmons. Then she got him in a cab headed this way.  All we have to do is wait for him.  He knows where we are.”  Eddie took a last sip of his drink and sat back in his chair.

From the corner of her eye Glory saw a familiar face work his way around the back of the food court. “Eddie, don’t panic.  Just act normal.”

“Huh? What?  Sorry I wasn’t paying attention.”

“My old KGB team has followed us here to the mall. I can see one of them now making his way behind you.”

“There’s no way. I should have lost them on the way here.  I took all kinds of short cuts.”

Glory looked over her shoulder and made out two more members of the usual five man team standing over by the photo booth. “Well, Eddie, I imagine two grown adults riding a bike all though town caught plenty of attention.  This was just a matter of time.  We can’t wait any longer.”

“What about your guy Timmy?”

“Thomas!”

“Yeah, that’s what I said.”

“We will have to move on and have him catch up. We can no longer wait here.  It isn’t safe.  We need to get outside to the extraction team.”

Eddie looked around and made out four big, burly guys who definitely did not fit in with the other people in the mall. These must be the bad guys.  “Okay, follow me.  Thanks to my small stint as a mall security monitor I know a service entrance that we can get through.”

“Security monitor?”

“Yeah, how do you think I got the job here at the Panda Wok?” Eddie and Glory slowly got up and started to make their way to the escalator.  The four Russian agents pulled out weapons and started shouting.

“Quick, get down!” Glory pushed Eddie to the floor and threw a food court table to the side where they took cover as the Russian hit team opened fire.  People quickly started running everywhere and were screaming.  “We are helpless without a weapon!” Glory said.

“Hey don’t worry. Watch this!”  Eddie quickly grabbed a large stack of serving trays that were on top of a close by trash can before he dove back down behind the table.  He took one in his hand and peeked around the corner of the table.  The four gunmen were slowly making their way toward them.  Eddie tossed one of the food trays like a Frisbee landing it right under one of the Russian’s feet as he stepped down.  The thug fell backwards like he had slipped on a banana peel and hit his head on a table, knocking him out cold.  “Ha-ha!”

Glory looked on in astonishment. “I can’t believe that worked.”

“Yeah I’m pretty good with throwing these. It’s what got me fired from the Panda Wok actually.  The manager there had no sense of humor.”  Eddie sent a quick volley of several serving trays.  He managed to hit one straight in the eye and another in the throat, but they were still moving their way closer.  “Okay, I’m out of trays.”

“Now what?”

“Uh…”

A voice from the second level looking over the food court said, “Glory, look out!” Gunfire erupted from above Eddie and Glory as the Soviet assassins hit the floor dead.

“Hot, hot, hot!” Eddie shouted as he got up and took off his shirt.

Glory turned towards Eddie, “What are you doing?! You want to get killed?”

“One of those casings fell down the back of my shirt. That thing was burning me.”

“Sorry about that, Big Guy,” Simmons said as he made his way down the escalator upstairs. “Don’t worry.  I don’t think these guys will be bothering anyone else any time soon.”

Glory ran over and hugged Simmons around the neck. “You got here just in time.  I thought for a moment we were done for.”

“Well, Annie patched me up pretty well and I headed over this way. It seems like you two were spotted on CCTV cameras going into the mall.  That’s probably how the Russians tracked you here.”

“Well at least I got one of them,” Eddie said. He pointed to the unconscious one on the floor.  “You can interrogate him or whatever.”  He walked over to Glory.  “Look, I’m sure you’re grateful for me saving your life and stuff-“

“Eddie, I don’t see that you really-“

“But I gotta get back to my own life. I still have shelves to restock back there.  You go with your guy here and keep on defectin. “  Eddie pat Simmons on the shoulder, “Gibbons…”

“It’s Simmons.”

“Yeah, like I said. You take care of her now.  I put her in your charge.”

“Uh, thanks. Look you did a good job today.  I appreciate it.”

“No problem, dude. You couldn’t have found a more experienced guy to do the job than me.  Now if you’ll excuse me, I have sanitizer to organize.”  Eddie grabbed his bike helmet and headed out the service door to his bike.

Eddie rode back with his head held high. He knew that the long road from job to job would prove useful someday and today was the perfect example of that.  He had saved the life of a defecting spy and served his country.  After about eighteen minutes on the bike, and still a half hour from his dinner break, he pulled back up to the Shop & Save.

“Hey, Annie, I’m back. I got the lady to the guy and they are going off with the CIA somewhere.  Did Mr. Rooney come back out yet or do I still have time to fix the-“

“Eddie?”

Eddie looked over to the photo developing booth where he heard Annie’s voice. There he saw a tall man with a close cropped beard holding Annie in front of him with a gun pointed at her.  “You are the infamous Eddie I presume?” he said through a heavy Russian accent.

Eddie could have kicked himself. “Oh yeah.  She DID say five man team, didn’t she?  What are you doing here, man?”

“You and your actions have cost me my mission today. Since I can’t get to my asset anymore I can at least extract revenge against the Shop & Save employee who has foiled me.”

“Hey, take it easy, man. I was just doing what that guy Wesson wanted me to.”

“Simmons,” Annie said.

“It matters not. Eddie,” the Russian said, “you are a dead man.”

“Alright, those hand sanitizers better be put back just like the diagram shows or I swear you’re getting a write up!” Mr. Rooney yelled as he turned the corner around the week-old holiday candy. “Hey, what’s going on here?”

The Russian leveled his weapon at Mr. Rooney. “Bad timing I’m afraid, comrade.”  He pulled the trigger.

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