Saturday 18 June 2022

'Worst Codename Ever: A Spy Story' by Myna Chang

I know it’s trouble when my e-Pay is declined at the coffee shop. “Sorry, Spot,” the cashier says to me. “No money, no mocha.”

Head pounding from caffeine withdrawal, I log into my bank account. E-Pay’s empty, and there’s a message from my handler: “Cover blown. Extraction: Chinatown station, 9 am.”

It’s 8:55. Great. I’m late, broke, and uncaffeinated.

Someone jabs a gun into my ribs. “Time’s up, Spot.”

So this goon knows my stupid codename, too. Must be a mole in the organization.

Tires squeal and a taxi lurches toward us. The gunman dodges left, so I go right.

“Get in!” the cabbie shouts.

I don’t recognize him, but he isn’t pointing a gun at me so I jump in. He revs and we take off before I can shut the door. A bullet zings off the back fender.

He bullies into traffic, and dammit, I was wrong: this guy’s also pointing a gun at me.

“I know you have the classified codes,” he barks. “Hand ‘em over.”

Good thing the door didn’t latch. I leap out, tuck and bounce off pavement, roll to my feet and cut through an alley. I come out ten steps from the Chinatown station entrance. A sidewalk coffee cart is dead ahead.

“Coffee?” the barista asks as I skid past. She hands me a large cup with the words “9:03 Airport Express” scrawled on the side.

I race for the platform and slide through the closing train doors. Momentarily safe, I gulp the coffee, welcome the caffeine buzz. Then I see another note on the cup. “New codename: Mocha.”

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