Just as I
have come from afar, creating pain for many--
men and women across the good green earth--
so let his name be Odysseus …
the Son of Pain, a name he’ll earn in full.
Autolycus in Homer's The Odyssey
Michael looks at me, confused. "Estrada Cajamar – Guapiara? Fi, you know Spanish isn't one of my strongest languages. Portuguese is even worse."
"It's a street, Michael. It's northwest of Cajamar in the state of São Paulo. I was supposed to apprehend Elvira Lucchese, supposedly this gun runner and cocaine dealer. Turns out she never sold illegal guns or cocaine at all. She worked for Card. And you know by now how Card wanted me dead, all because how dare I fall in love with you."
"You're convinced Card hates you because you worked with the IRA and agents aren't supposed to be attached to assets."
"Well, yes. That's what I think, and it's probably true. It's pretty cowardly he couldn't tell us to our faces.
"So after I get a good glance of Lucchese's body burning in her car, I'm walking down the road to Cajamar to boost a car. I was on a flatter part of the mountain. I don't know if I could've survived climbing up the mountain or accidentally sliding down the mountain to my death. I guess it took me, oh, 30 minutes to get back to Cajamar."
"Fi, you didn't even explain how you got to Cajamar." He's still giving me a puzzled look.
"I didn't? I thought you knew."
"Card didn't tell me anything until our meeting at the CIA office. He only told me what he knew. Now you're telling me about Portuguese streets on the beach."
"What's wrong with Lummus Beach, Michael?"
I turn over on my back on my beach towel. "I've had a pretty stressful few days. It's not like I could've flown to Rio to tan with the locals there. Lummus is just as good as Rio. I just need to recharge, that's all. And you do too."
Michael nods. "You're right. Continue."
"You know I've never wanted a 'normal' man, right?"
"Whatever your definition of 'normal' is."
"I've always liked someone with some tactical awareness and a bit of DIY knowledge. That's what attracts me to you. No matter who I tried to date in the past--the banker, Thomas, Campbell, Armand--they just weren't you.
"So when you told me 'Card wants you to become an asset for the CIA,' I thought you were going to propose to me."
"I'm not ready for a proposal yet. And I don't think now is the right time to get a proposal."
"It's never the right time for anything, is it, Michael?"
"I get your point, Fi. You can stop sighing."
"I could've had a ring around my finger, but instead my boyfriend wanted me to join the ranks of Manuel Noriega."
Michael looks at me. I guess Noriega being a CIA asset is news to him. It's easily Googable news, but it's still news to him.
"'Why does Card want me to become a CIA asset, Michael?'"
"Do I really sound like that?"
"Yeah, you do."
"'I'm trying to convince the CIA that my own team is better than the team the CIA gave me.'
"'The one with Rebecca?'
"'Yeah, that one. Card agrees with me.'
"'Whatever happened to the rest of the team the CIA gave you?'
"'The CIA sent them back to office work at Langley after Anson's stunts. I don't think anyone else other than Rebecca was involved in the mission sabotage and my kidnapping, but the CIA wanted to be safe. As for Card, he's not quite sold on you being an asset yet.'
"'Questionable immigration status, IRA affiliation, gun running, illegal bounty hunting--I get it. So the CIA wants me to give up all of that?'
"Then you froze up. 'Yes. And no. The CIA wants to use your knowledge of those things to their benefit.'
"'I thought you liked me the way I was.'
"'And I never wanted to be a part of the CIA. Why is the CIA upset that I'm working with you all of a sudden?'
"'Max and Pearce can't vouch for you anymore.'
"'That's it? They're not afraid that some Irish leprechaun is going to blow up their precious Miami headquarters?'
"Then you looked at me.
"'Yeah, that too.'
"'I'm not doing it, Michael.'
"'Come on, Fi. You'll get the same perks that I get working for them. Trips and money. It's all paid for by the government.'
"'I don't care about those things, Michael. I can get trips and money and money for trips from my jobs.'
"You grabbed my hands. 'You'll be fighting by my side. I know you like that.'
"I sighed. 'I do.'
"'Will you do this for me?'"
"I looked at you."
Michael touches my hand. "And I looked at you."
"I smiled at you. 'We do this a lot.'
"'I love it.' I took a breath. 'Okay. But if you're by yourself at the end of all this, with only your job and your money, you only have yourself to blame. Let's go see Card. And do I have to wear business casual?'
"'I think you have to, Fi.'"
I turn over on the beach towel. "Card came down to Miami from Langley, where he should've stayed. That's all you know?"
"That's all I know."
"What happened to Dan Siebels?"
"They transferred him back to Langley and told him never to contact my associates or me again. I think it's because of Management and the burn notice business."
"That makes sense. They don't want a guy that knows about a burnt agent working where that agent's currently burned. So we went to see Card and jumped through the red tape and security to get to him. I still think his photos aren't real. I'm certain there are a few tutorials on how to convincingly stick your face into pictures with famous people--"
"And he said 'Fiona Glenanne. It's a pleasure to meet you' as we were sitting down."
"That's not what he sounds like."
"It's what he sounds like to me. 'I'm so pleased to meet you too, Card.'
"'I know you are.'
"We said nothing for a few seconds.
"'You're still upset with me taking Michael out of Ireland without notice.'
"You were wincing beside me..."
Michael's wincing as I'm telling him the story.
"You're still wincing."
"But I told you I loved you before I left."
"While I was asleep, Michael. But it's okay. I know you love me. You don't have to say it."
Michael's nodding. He knows.
"Ahem. 'Miss Glenanne, I'll be upfront with you. His cover was blown in Ireland. I had to take him out.'
"I looked up at Card.
"'You don't see too upset about the news.'
"'Oh, I'm upset. But Michael and I talked about his blown cover years ago. He just happened to conveniently not include you in his story. You don't have a spouse, do you, Card?'
"'No. What's your point?'
"'That's the problem with you and Michael. You're married to your work to the point you can't relate to your family and friends. I bet you've never been to a singles bar in Miami. You could even try a nightclub. You seem like the type of guy to spend 500 dollars on a bottle of Grey Goose. At least Michael's getting better. But we're not here to see Michael fidget and me fighting with you. Michael wants me to be a CIA asset so we can work together.'
"Card handed me that joke of a contract. I'm sure he photocopied my signature and put it on a new contract that made me his bitch for a short time."
"You don't know that, Fi."
"Oh, I do. 'What is it about you and Michael working together? I don't see it. He's a CIA agent and you're one step short of being declared a domestic terrorist. If anything, I thought you would've killed him first.'
"I stared at Card. 'We work well together. That's all you need to know.'
"'I don't want to find out the ways you work well together, right?'
"And I signed the paper."
"The next day I was speeding and passing cars, making sure the police didn't catch me.
"To go to Publix?"
"Shopping should be fun, Michael. Where's the fun in sitting in traffic to get to a Publix parking lot? Besides, I was going to one of those elevated Publixes with the escalators.
"You were speeding to get on a Publix escalator."
"Anyway, a car blocked the road I was driving to. Black, bulletproof. I was forced to stop.
"A tall man stepped out of the car. He wore dark-tinted sunglasses and a black suit.
"All the guys in the stories you tell sound the same."
"What's the problem with that? I rolled down my window and peeked out of the car door. 'Yes?'
"'Tom Card wants you to go to his office now.'
"'Why? Why aren't you telling Michael this?'
"'You are an asset of the CIA. We don't need Michael Westen's permission to use you in a mission.'
"'Card didn't tell me this the other day.'
"'It's not your fault you didn't read your contract. Park your car in the Publix parking lot and come with me. Card needs you to fill out papers for a visa to Brazil. You'll be informed of the mission on a later date. Let's go.'
"I sighed and turned off my car. All of this struck me as suspicious. But I went along with it anyway. It's no use trying to shoot a federal agent. I don't think I'd do well in prison."
"So Card called you a week after you got the visa," Michael says. "What did he say to you?"
"'Fiona, it's nice to hear from you again.'
"'You too, Card.' I was lying through my teeth.
"'I've got your extraction mission all planned.'
"I sighed. 'What is this extraction mission you're taking me on, Card?'
"'I want you to go to Cajamar, Brazil, and apprehend Elvira Lucchese.'
"'She's a Brazilian drug lord. She ships a lot of cocaine to Miami. She also takes in a lot of weapons and passes them out like candy in the state of São Paulo.'"
"Don't you know most of the gun runners in Miami, Fi?"
"That's what I told him. But Card claimed that she was new and dangerous enough to be a threat to the CIA."
"You went along with it anyway."
"Because I thought if I didn't do it, I couldn't work with you on CIA missions anymore."
"Fi, you should've let me talk to him."
"Or maybe not. Michael, he betrayed your whole team. I'm sure if you didn't know what he was up to, I would've had CIA agents chasing me out of Dade County planning God knows what to me."
Michael inhales. "Maybe you're right. But I don't think you were in this case."
I shake my head. "No, Michael. I know I'm right. Didn't I tell you that I'd be fine in Brazil, that I did jobs before I met you—"
"But weren't those jobs more like robbing money launderers?"
"I did jobs before I met you…and jobs after you were burned. And I promised I'd come back to you. I even whispered it."
"I like when you whisper. You should do that more."
"In bed or out of bed?"
"Both." I wiggle my eyebrows.
"I had to pack some things and meet a CIA agent at a Metrobus stop. I chose the one near the Metrorail. It had seats and lighting. The agent picked me up there and drove me to MIA. When we arrived at one of the American Airlines terminals, the agent gave me plane tickets printed from a printer, $1000, a travel guide and a Brazilian Portuguese phrase book."
"Do you still have it? Maybe I can use it so I don't look stupid when we go to dinner at SushiSAMBA."
"I do. The CIA agent babysat me until it was time for me to go through customs and security. While I was bored, I flipped through the travel guide. That was when I learned that $1000 equals about 2000 Brazilian Reals. It sounds generous...but then the book said that would be enough for about a nice day in São Paulo."
"But you didn't hide from your babysitter."
"He acted more like my boyfriend. If I tried to get past him, especially in an airport, it would've looked awkward. And I couldn't call you because the CIA agent would know I was avoiding my death. So I went with it. At least the flight was pleasant. I watched a couple of violent movies and dozed to sleep. It's not like cuddling up to you, but it's the next best thing."
"What happened after you arrived in Brazil?"
"Another CIA contact picked me up from the international airport in São Paulo. I was driven to a hotel near the airport to rest for a few hours. I got a little bit of sleep. Then the contact drove me to a house in the heart of Cajamar.
"The plan was I was to talk to Lucchese for a few hours. I was expected to drive with Lucchese to Jundaí, about 30 minutes away from Cajamar. My cover ID was Celeste Daniels, although I really don't think I look like a Celeste Daniels. The contact would follow Lucchese and me at a distance in case I needed backup. But since Card's a bastard, the CIA contact lied to me. When I got in the car with Lucchese, the CIA contact was nowhere to be found. I bet he was hoping my body was cooling off after I died."
"So I guess now we're back at you being on...Eh...est...Est-ah-ray-dah..."
"Estrada Cajamar – Guapiara. In your case, you're better off calling it a street, Michael."
"We're back with you being on the street that's north of that city that's not São Paulo."
"And a beach hat and towel she put in the back seat. I didn't get a good glance at them, but I thought she was a total amateur and was covering some weapons.
"Without the CIA contact following Lucchese and me in her car, she stopped in the middle of nowhere.
"'I have a confession to make, Celeste,' she said. She dropped her Brazilian accent here and spoke in an American one.
"I looked at her.
"'I know your name is Fiona Glenanne. Tom Card sent me here to kill you.'
"'A few months ago, Tom Card sent me on an extraction mission in the state of São Paulo. It was a disaster. Card stripped me of my passport and forced me to stay in Brazil, where I had to pretend I was a gun runner and a cocaine dealer. I've never dealt drugs or sold illegal firearms in my life. He said he had a very special person he wanted to get rid of.
"Lucchese nodded. 'And after I kill you, Card's sending Sam Axe to Columbia for a mission. I'm pretty sure Michael Westen and Jesse Porter aren't invited.'"
"So according to Lucchese Card was going to divide my team, kill them and leave me alone."
"I had to be the first target. You lose me, you lose your will to fight. After I was gone, it would be easier to pick off Sam and Jesse in the same way. That's how I see it, and I'm sure that's how Card sees it."
"Deep down, Michael, you know it's true.
"Back to that street near Cajamar. Lucchese pulled a SIG-Sauer on me. Apparently Card or any of his goons didn't realize I know how to disarm people. I mean, it's a basic skill any gunrunner should learn.
"I was going to let her live, but she kept trying to take the gun away from me. So I shot her in the head. Self-defense."
Michael shrugs. "It had to be done."
"And then I realized I couldn't go back through Cajamar. Not dressed like the way I was. So I had to make it look like there was an explosion and Lucchese and I died in it.
"The first thing I did was look at Lucchese's shoes. They were too big for me, but she didn't wear sandals. And you know my foot tattoo."
"Oh, I know." He grins.
"I took them off her feet and put them on.
"Then I noticed the hat and towel again. Lucchese wasn't hiding weapons. She was going to kill me, put the hat on my head, wrap my body in the towel and say I had an 'accident' on the beach.
"Since I was still alive, I thought, why not take the hat and towel and use them to cover myself up? And I was wearing a scarf. I could cover my face up with it. I even had my sunglasses with me. Who knew attempting to look fashionable in Brazil would help me out?
"Lucchese also had a pocket knife on her. I'm not sure why, but it was helpful in punching a hole in the car's fuel tank. Along with the Zippo I brought with me in case something needed to go boom, I was able to create an attention-grabbing explosion."
"I wouldn't expect anything else."
I glare at Michael.
"You're so much more than explosions. I know."
"I headed back to Cajamar wearing my things and the stuff I stole from Lucchese's car.
"I try to use what you've taught me about boosting cars—older cars, no theft devices, employee parking lots—but when you're in a small town far away from a city, that's hard to do.
"I ended up walking off the main road and onto a road surrounded by a parking lot. That's where I saw this Ford Escort."
"A Ford Escort?"
"We didn't boost those in Ireland, did we?"
"I don't think so."
"It's a car. I thought they only sold that car in Europe. Apparently they also sold it in South America. I boosted that car before, but that was before we met. And while you were gone, but I don't like to talk about that."
"Because of me, right?"
"No, because I've gotten in a lot of messy situations with the authorities over Ford Escorts.
"Anyway, I found this Ford Escort in a parking lot. I used the SIG-Sauer to break the Escort's window. Then I used the blanket to attempt to move most of the shards into the passenger seat. Whatever I couldn't move I covered up with the blanket. I broke in the steering wheel, hotwired it, and…" I raise my eyebrows. "You know.
"I sat in the car and figured out the roads I needed to go back on in order to get back to São Paulo. There were a lot of roads. Rua Afonso Caramigo, Rua Lázaro Dalcin, Rua Visconde de Parnaíba..."
"You're saying all these names to annoy me, aren't you, Fi?"
"Yes. But I knew the main road I had to get on was Rodovia Anhangüera, which is a highway. Like Interstate 95, but possibly better to drive on.
"So I drove down all these roads, trying to get to the Anhangüera highway, when my CIA escort in Brazil decided to show up, finally, after I almost died! What a sweetheart. I recognized his S-Class as I passed by him. My escort must've seen me in the Ford Escort and trailed me.
"Shaking the bastard was hard to do. The CIA escort and I ended up driving to the ramp on Visconde de Parnaíba back to Cajamar a few times. I couldn't shake him with my driving skills. I mean, I'm driving a beat up car from the 80s and he's in one of the latest models of S-Class Benzes.
"Finally, I got fed up. I sped up near the CIA escort and rolled down the passenger seat. I shot the escort in the head. I still remember the blood spatter."
"I am? I'm not surprised. He veered off the road and he ran into a tree. Once I saw he was done, I went towards the ramp."
"And you had no problems on--"
"The Anhangüera highway. No. Lucchese and my CIA escort were dead."
"But getting back to Miami was the problem."
"I'm getting to that, Michael."
"By the time I arrived in São Paulo, I had decided to kill myself."
"You're not a ghost, Fi." Michael grins.
I groan. "I meant I wanted the CIA to think I was dead, at least until I resurfaced in Miami, since my first attempt was thwarted by that idiot CIA agent.
"I decided to ditch the car in the city, take public transport to my hotel, and, after committing an act of theft, go back to my hotel.
"There's an avenue in São Paulo. Avenida...Avenue Piramboia. There's a spot where there's no railing on the side of the road. There's also a river. I'm guessing it's the Parana River, but I'm not sure. I decided I had to crash the Ford Escort in the river while I was driving it. With the money I had, I could pick up a bus. I knew it would take a while to get to my hotel, but it would be worth it. Then again, although São Paulo is a huge city, and there was a slim chance I'd be recognized there, I still wanted to keep everything I had with me and everything I stole from Lucchese. Also, these Oliver Peoples sunglasses? They're $325. I'm not replacing them until they actually get broken. And I didn't want to be a huge soaking mess when I got on the bus."
"So you had no problem ditching your sandals in Lucchese's car, but you didn't want to lose your sunglasses."
"I can always buy new shoes, Michael. It's what I live for. But these sunglasses may not be available next year. I would like to keep them as usable as possible. "
"Anyway, I found a place to park on Piramboia Avenue. I took off all my clothes--don't get any ideas, Michael--put them in the towel, and flung it near the tree I was going to run to after I crashed the Ford Escort. Then I crashed the car. Michael? Michael?" I look at his crotch. "I see you're getting ideas."
"I dried off, flung the towel in the river, and walked to the nearest bus stop. The sunglasses were over my eyes, the scarf was over my face and I was wearing that hat. With my limited Portuguese and a transit map, I made it back to near my hotel. It was several hours later.
"I got off at a business hotel. I had enough money to buy the day's Folha de S. Paulo. And I sat in the hotel's lobby and waited for about an hour, I think. No one questioned me. Apparently I passed as a local. A strange-looking local, but a local.
"As I struggled to read the Folha, I tried to recall all the travel magazines I've read in airports for anti-theft tips. I was looking for luggage without any anti-tampering devices on them. No locks, plastic bags or wrap or twist ties. Name tags didn't count, although I like the cheap ones they have at the airport counter. You can rip those off."
"I never knew robbery could be so emotional for you."
I realized I had smiled a bit too hard when I said "You can rip those off."
"Why do you think I still take freelance jobs?
"Anyway, I found a mark in a woman who looked to be in her early 30s. She was speaking German, and from her use of it, it was her only language. I'm not sure why she didn't bother to learn either Portuguese or English before flying here, but that's beside the point. She wore professional dress. I was hoping that after I swiped her luggage she'd have a professional wardrobe that I could kinda wear.
"Her carry-on luggage was a dream. Black Heys case, hard plastic, no tags or locks on it at all. And because she was engaged with the receptionist, who was pleading with her to speak English at the very least, she had her hand off her luggage. It was like she wanted me to steal from her.
"I took off my glasses and pulled down my scarf. I left the Folha at a table and bumped into the German woman.
"'Oh, I'm sorry,' I said.
"The German woman glared at me and returned to her shouting match.
"I grabbed the luggage, went to the bathroom, waited a few minutes and left the hotel. When I left the woman was still fighting with the receptionist. I kept from laughing.
"I went to another nearby hotel to their public bathroom. I made sure the woman had business things like clothes, a laptop and a scrunchie in a storage compartment, and she did."
"Why do you think scrunchies make you look more professional, Fi?"
I shrug. "Hey, it works on marks. Besides, I was going for the Kate Hayden alias."
"The one you used on Conrad, the Polish government official. Except I told you the alias was CIA, and you went for FBI."
"I never used her name and I never said Hayden had an affiliation to the FBI. So I decided to reuse the alias again. And I think I'm one of the few people that have seen Turbulence 3: Heavy Metal."
"Only because one of the actresses looks exactly like you. Are you sure you don't have a cousin, because..."
"I don't have cousins living in America, Michael. All my relatives are in Ireland. Besides, she's not even Irish. She's English. Maybe we'd get along. The Irish and the UK share things now, like newspapers and reality shows. I don't think she's too much into explosions, though.
"So, in the Kate Hayden alias, I picked up a taxi and went back to my hotel. Luckily the receptionist wasn't my receptionist when the CIA stooge and I checked in. I also had my green card with me. I thought that if I covered enough of it up, the receptionist would think I was CIA. I couldn't exactly say I was CIA..."
"But I had to give off the appearance I was CIA when I wasn't.
"'Hello?' The receptionist realized I wasn't a local, so she said 'Hello' to me in English.
"That's when I pulled out my green card and covered up all the green card stuff with my left hand. 'Kate Hayden. Independent private investigator working abroad, but I dabble in United States-related affairs. Has a Fiona Glenanne come back to the hotel?
"'I'm...not sure.' The receptionist typed a few things into her computer. 'She did check in this morning with some guy in a black suit.'
"I've just been informed Miss Glenanne died this afternoon. I'm here to collect her things and send them to Miami.'
"'She was a vicious drug lord. Vicious. She was hoping to score some cocaine and have it shipped by boat back to the States, but she failed. She killed a drug and weapons runner and that man in a suit. I'm not sure why, but I think she didn't like her partner stealing from her. When the deal went bad and her partner was dead, she was hoping to hop a plane back to the States. Instead, she took a suicide dive into a river somewhere on the west side of this city.'
"'Oh, that's terrible.'
"'We don't want word of this reaching the national news, so I need you to keep this quiet. This could be embarrassing not only for Brazil, but for the United States.' I winked.
"'The receptionist gave me my room key.
"'I'll be checking out tomorrow as soon as there are flights available out of São Paulo.'
"The receptionist nodded. 'Thank you, Miss Hayden.'
"'No, thank you.'"
"Did the receptionist check on you, even though you told her not to?"
"No. She was spooked. It gave me enough time to pull up Kayak on the German woman's laptop and check out the flights for the next day. There were only two of them leaving at 10:30 AM local time. I chose one and decided to leave my hotel at five am to extort a TAM Airlines flight attendant. I felt bad taking the German woman's luggage with me, but I had to look like Special Agent Kate Hayden and not myself when I left the hotel."
"What happened to the German woman's luggage?"
"I checked it in at TAM Airlines and left it on one of the carousels at MIA. I'm sure it's now found a home in the luggage lost and found by now. Or, hopefully, some other idiot thief's taken it and destroyed the airline's name tag on the luggage. That's how come I haven't gotten a phone call from MIA about the luggage by now. It worked out. I'm pleased.
"But let me go back to the airport--São Paulo-Guarulhos International Airport. I dropped the Kate Hayden thing because I couldn't go through customs pretending to be Kate Hayden with a valid airport ticket. I didn't have the right fake identification. But trust me, if I did, I would've stayed dead for a little bit longer.
"I ended up reading more Portuguese magazines, struggling with the text inside of them, looking for a TAM Airlines flight attendant near the check-in counters. Took a while, but finally one of them walked past me.
"To the best of my ability, I ended up grabbing my luggage and the German woman's luggage with one hand while forming a fake gun with the other. I put the fake gun behind the flight attendant's back and I said 'Fala inglês? Não falo bem português.'"
"'Do you speak English? I don't speak it well.' She said sim, or yes. Michael, you really should learn something that isn't Russian one of these days.
"Anyway, I said, in English, 'Take me to the women's restroom, the furthest handicapped stall that's in there. Don't turn around until we get inside.'
"The flight attendant walked me to a stall. I noticed her name was Natalia Morietti. No, she's not Natalie Rice in disguise.
"'I raised my hands in the air as Natalia turned around.
"'I'm not actually armed.'
"And then Natalia scowled at me. She had a cute scowl, actually.
"'I'm sorry I had to do that, but I'm desperate.' I cleared my throat. 'My name is Fiona Glenanne. This might sound a bit crazy, but a man at the Central Intelligence Bureau in Miami was trying to me. He dropped me off here. I've got to get back to Miami.
"Why? You'd be safe here if the people looking for you are in Miami."
"There was air conditioning in the bathroom, and it was blowing my hair.
"'No, I wouldn't. The man trying to kill me in Miami would send more people to kill me until I was dead no matter where I'm at in the world. I've got to get home to my boyfriend. I came to Miami to save him. Well, not really. I actually came to Miami to see if he would die. But I stayed with him after he came to because I cared about him. That counts as saving, right?'
"Natalia looked at me and shook her head no.
"'If I don't come home to him, I don't know what he's going to do. I need him right now, and he needs me. And I'm sorry about the wind blowing through my hair. There really isn't a place I can escape the air conditioning in this stall.'
"'What do you want me to do, Miss Glenanne?'
"'Give me a free ticket on the next nonstop flight out to Miami.'
"'Don't you have money? You can try to book a standby ticket.'
"'Not enough to get home. I told you, this Card guy from the CIA was trying to kill me. He intentionally gave me too little money to get home.'
"'I can't do that. I don't have any free tickets left to give to anyone, and I'm supposed to be on the flight headed to Santiago.'
"'I'm not lying.'
"I could tell she was lying. She wasn't looking at me and I could sense she wanted to run. I ran out of patience."
"You sure it wasn't because you scared the hell out of the woman and tried to extort a free airline ticket from her?"
"I'm certain. Getting back to the story, I shrugged at Natalia. 'You don't have a choice,' I said. I picked up Natalia and slammed her against the wall."
"Did you really have to do that?"
"I told you, Michael, I ran out of patience.
"'Are you going to choke me?' she said.
"Instead, I grabbed Natalia's hair and pulled it to the side.
"'I'm going to get what I need so I can get a ticket onto that flight to Miami. Sounds fair to me.'"
"You got what you needed to get the ticket."
"And I got on the flight just before it sold out. I was so excited about the flight that I didn't keep an eye on Natalia. While I was getting the ticket, Natalia told a few security guards about the bathroom extortion. The security guards couldn't arrest me when I was in line for security and customs. When I stepped into the terminals, that's when hell broke loose. Again.
"There were about four guards standing on the side of the terminal. They let other people by and they had their eyes on me.
"After I got through customs, I made sure everything, including my carry-on, was on my person. Then I crouched down and ran towards the guards. They scattered.
"I ended up hiding anywhere and everywhere in the terminal. For a while, that hat, along with my glasses and scarf, proved to be a helpful disguise. I was able to sit a full five minutes before being recognized! And then, until I found Natalia, I ended up going in and out of stores and bathrooms and God knows what.
"At one point I was even able to go to the toilet and change clothes. It didn't work.
"So I ended up standing up and sitting down and walking around for 15 minutes. Then Natalia showed up. I approached her wearing the hat, glasses and scarf.
"Natalia froze. 'Who are you?'
"I took off my glasses and raised them. 'My name is Fiona Glenanne.'
"Some guards walked behind Natalia. They talked to her in Portuguese and pointed at me. I was only able to make out 'woman' and 'you.' Eventually the guards left; Natalia had called them off.
"I felt bad that I had to extort a ticket from Natalia."
Michael's eyes widened. "Well, that's a surprise."
"Natalia went up to me and whispered in my ear, in English, 'You win.'
"She was about to walk to her flight when I grabbed her arm.
"I pulled the scarf from my face. 'Look, I'm sorry. I'll make it up to you. Do you have time to write down your address and phone number? Home phone would be nice, but cell's even better.'
"'Why do you want my address and phone number?'
"'I do odd jobs for friends. They pay really well. I took a standard class seat to get back to Miami. The ticket costs about $4400 real, right?'
"Natalia nodded. 'I think that's about $2200 American dollars.'
"'I should have some money in Miami stashed away somewhere. I can get you $2500 US, I think. When I get back to Miami, I'll wire you the money to cover the ticket. You should be able to get it tomorrow at a Western Union, no matter where you are. I promise.'
"'Can I trust you?'
"I nodded and raised my eyebrows. 'I used to be my secondary school's treasurer. You can trust me.'"
"Is that true? You're not the one to randomly tell people about your past."
"Michael, it's not like I told her I was wanted in Brazil! Which, come to think of it, I might now be wanted in Brazil. We're not going there for a vacation, ever. Or if we do, we'll go to Rio. I don't think I'm wanted in Rio.
"Natalia grabbed a napkin from a restaurant and wrote down her address and phone number. She gave it to me.
"'Don't lie to me, or I'll fly to Miami and hunt you down.'
"'I'm not. I'll even text you after I send the money.'"
"And that was when you got on your flight."
"I was in one of the middle seats in the middle section of the airplane. It wasn't first class or business class with a bed. But it was relaxing. No CIA, no airport security guards, no people looking for me for their stolen and trashed goods. At one point, I thought I was home free."
"And then you called."
Michael smiles. I grab his hand and squeeze it. "Sorry it took so long. I figured you needed it."
"Thank you, Fi."
"I was amazed my cell actually survived the guards at the airport. I was also surprised I could make calls on the plane. You can't do that on a lot of American planes."
"I told you about my trip from hell here and my debt to Natalia. But you still didn't believe Card was trying to kill me."
"I was in denial that Card could do such a thing."
I scoff. "You still are, Michael."
"I'm starting to believe you, Fi."
"And I apologized. I said 'Remember when I said if you're by yourself at the end of all this, with only your job and your money, you only have yourself to blame? I was wrong.'"
"But you were right, Fi. I should've told you that.
"So I agreed to pick you up at the airport after your plane landed. We told each other we loved each other, and then we hung up. Nothing happened after that, right?"
I shake my head. "Had some food, went to sleep. Nothing happened."
"After my flight taxied, I was going to buy condoms from one of the newspaper stands. But then I realized it wouldn't be enough."
"I know." Michael smiles.
"So I headed out of the airport. I met you in the lobby of the J terminal. You hugged me. I said 'I promised I'd come back to you, Michael. Here I am. I even brought back the hat I was supposed to be buried in. I've only been gone a while.'"
"And I said 'It felt like forever.' It really did. Don't leave me like that again, Fi."
"I won't. I'll try to be more stubborn next time."
"I need you."
"I know. And I need you. Wherever you are, that's where my home is. And that's where I'll be. Forever." I clear my throat. "And we hugged. It felt really good. But whenever we make time for some romance, there's always some idiot wanting to spoil it."
"The man near United ticketing."
"The same man who strong-armed me into going on the Brazil trip in the first place. Yeah, him."
"And I assumed he was after you because my walking into MIA didn't trigger him."
"We walked out MIA. Once we crossed the street and made it to the parking lot, that's when we ran. It worked. I looked behind me and the weasel ran into a group of tourists.
"I have to admit, I was shocked when I saw the Genesis Coupe instead of the Charger. And then you gave me the keys and told me to drive. I was lost until you said 'Check under the driver's seat.' I was touched you left my Walther in the car for me, Michael. It's nice to know you're thinking about me even in a getaway situation."
"I knew I wasn't the only thing you missed in Brazil."
"We left the parking lot. Somehow the weasel caught up with us before we were able to get back on the freeway. But that's never a problem. One hundred miles per hour on a 75 mile per hour freeway and some cars in my way? Whatever."
"I understand you wanted to not park at the loft while I got the money."
"No standoffs near the loft. We don't want to accidentally blow it up. That's what you said."
"You only parked by the Miami River so you could see me wet."
I shrug. "I stole some towels from the hotel. I figured they would be useful."
"So what happened while I was in the river?"
"That CIA idiot finally caught up with us. It only took him, what, three minutes? He pulled up to the coupe. I aimed the Walther to his head as he rolled down the passenger seat window. I made sure to cock it.
"'That's assault with a deadly weapon, Miss Glenanne. You could get ten years in prison for that.'
"When he said that, I nearly lost it.
"'Ten years? Ten years? I'm going to spend ten years in prison after I was almost killed by two sleeper agents in Brazil? Not to mention you're another sleeper agent."
"'I'll need you to put the gun down.'
"'Why don't you admit Card sent you here to kill me too? I'm shocked Card didn't tell you I love guns. And I really, really love guns.'
"'What, are you going to pistol whip me and put my head in the water until I drown? All it takes is about three to five minutes. Card taught you that, right?'
"'You don't even know what my boyfriend looks like, don't you? Because he was the guy I was hugging at the airport. You kill me now, I will give him a signal and he will come and find you.'
"'What if I shoot you in the head?'
"I shook my head and told him 'I can still make a signal. I don't know whether he's going to kick your ass or kill you, but he's going to find you. And you know you can't shoot me, not on a public street with possible witnesses around. Stand down. Maybe you won't end up dead.'
"After a minute, the weasel drove away. Then you came back with the money while I was getting the towels."
"Why are you grinning...oh."
"I told you after I dried you off it wouldn't take me but 30 minutes. We still had time to get to a Western Union. You're no fun, Michael. Haven't you had sex with a woman in a car?"
"Should I answer that?"
"So we had a couple of hours to get to the Western Union. All of a sudden, the weasel pops up behind me. And we couldn't shoot at him in Coconut Grove, so we ended up touring it at 100 miles per hour. That was fun."
"Fi, next time you're in a car chase, don't drive around Coconut Grove."
"What's wrong with Coconut Grove?"
"There's nothing wrong with the Grove. It's when you're leading a high-speed chase that requires you to hope whoever's pursuing you gets lost, runs out of gas or gets in a car crash, I would like to not see the same Coconut Grove landmarks over and over again."
"We've done plenty of car chases in Coconut Grove before and now you're tired of driving around in it."
"I'm just saying don't only drive in Coconut Grove. You can go to Brickell or Coral Gables or somewhere else. Shake it up a bit, Fi."
I roll my eyes and ignore Michael. "You're just jealous you're not as good a driver as I am.
"After the weasel crashed, I called the police--'Hello, police? There's a lunatic speeding around Coconut Grove with a government car. He just crashed into a parked van. I think he stole it'--and that was it. Card didn't tell you about his whereabouts, did he?"
"No. I'm guessing he thinks the agent that was trailing you was still in prison."
"And then we went to the Western Union and sent off Natalia's money. And, as I promised, I sent her a text."
I pull out my cell phone and showed Michael the text:
"And then, finally, we went home," Michael says.
Hi. This is Natalia
Morietti, correct? It's
Fiona Glenanne, the
woman that took one
of your free tickets to get
back to Miami. I said I'd
pay you back, and I did.
I've just sent $2500 US to
you--the price of the
ticket plus a bit more.
You should be able to get
it tomorrow under your
"We went home. But that wasn't the end."
"Let's see. We talked about the Kate Hayden alias and how Card hadn't seen Kate or, hopefully, Turbulence 3."
"I'm confident you are part of that handful of people that has seen that film."
"Don't. It's really bad. Unless you're drunk."
"You didn't want me to sneak into the Miami CIA headquarters to surprise Card."
"That was risky, Fi."
"It worked. But I don’t want to talk about that. I want to talk about last night, after the plans for the Trojan horse of sorts. Last night was wonderful, Michael."
"I could tell that you missed me."
"It was around 11 o clock. All the target ranges were closed. It's not like I can randomly blow a car up in the middle of the night. And worse of all, you moved our throwing knives. Please don't tell me you had to use them for a job."
"I had to use them for a job."
I groan. "Did they find a good place in the afterlife?"
"Yes, Fi. I promise, after this CIA stuff is over, I'll get us new ones so you can cut holes in the loft." He smiles.
"Thank you. Anyway, there wasn't any other way to work out my frustration."
"You were very frustrated. At least you stopped so I could get some sleep."
"I only had an hour before I surprised Card. You had much longer."
"We can continue later today."
"I like that. I haven't shown you everything I can do."
"You can do more?"
"So much more.
"As I was leaving the loft to surprise Card at the CIA offices, I got a text back from Natalia. You want to see it?"
I show Michael the other text on my phone:
"A job well done. Are you getting a snow globe to commemorate it soon?"
Just got the money.
Thank you so much, and
I'm sorry this happened
to you. Natalia
"I haven't found one. You'd think you'd be able to find a Brazilian snow globe in this town, but I haven't found anything. I went to my usual tourist traps, but all I could find were cheap Miami snow globes with various hotels along Ocean Drive or flamingos."
"I got you something. It's not a Brazilian snow globe, but I think it represents what you've gone through to get back here."
I remember Michael bringing a duffle bag out here, but I thought it was for beach things. All I knew was it didn't have our guns and C4 and whatnot.
He pulls out a snow globe. It's still in its box, but the label on the side of the box says it's a Brave snow globe, complete with Princess Merida in the middle and a bear surrounding the globe.
"Michael, the protagonist is Scottish."
"I know. I called Sam and the only place he knew that sold the really nice snow globes was at the Disney Store. I was given a summary of the movie by the Disney Store representative."
"Can we go see it?"
"Not right now."
"This is gorgeous, Michael. It's not the type of snow globe I usually collect."
"But our relationship is different now, Fi. You should be getting nicer things."
I nod. "You're right. Although my idea of 'nicer things' isn't a Disney snow globe, I won't try to bean a guy in the head with this snow globe if the loft gets invaded. Thank you, Michael."
I kiss him on the lips.
I think he's blushing? I'm not sure.
"Card called while you were out."
"You had just left the loft and immediately after that, he called. He said 'I need you to report to the CIA building by 8 AM. There's something important I'd like to discuss with you in private.' I told him okay."
"It wasn't like you were already on your way there."
"While you were on your way to the CIA building, I hid in a parking lot besides the building. I was looking for a female employee so I could accidentally bump into her and swipe her pass. It didn't take me long to find someone.
"I grabbed one of those paperboy bags from our wardrobe and put some books and magazines in them. And I picked up a Miami Herald and stuffed it in there."
"And you bumped into her."
"I was pretending to be a paralegal. That's what the newspaper was for--to sell the cover. When she was helping me pick up my paper, she accidentally lost her badge. I decided to wait until she left the parking lot before sneaking into the CIA office. I was generous."
"What did you do before I arrived at the CIA office?"
"I hid at a desk and pretended to do office work. You told me that's what people do at the CIA. Office work. You happened to luck out and become a field agent."
"I don't like staying in one place."
"I think I may have ended up working at the desk of the woman that I stole the badge from by accident. No one looked at me or questioned me being there. I guess most of them were busy working on their boring office stuff.
"I cut the computer on, put on a word processing program and typed."
"What did you type?"
"A list of men I wanted to either shoot or kick in the groin. Had to start with the man after you on my list. You're no longer number one."
Michael cringes. "Thanks, Fi."
"A few minutes later, you came in. Card told you to sit. Can I do Card?"
"'Two weeks ago, Fiona Glenanne signed a contract to become an asset for the CIA.'
"'I know. I was there.'"
"You're doing me again?"
"It's my story. 'It was also two weeks ago I arranged for Fiona Glenanne to extract a drug dealer and gun runner from the state of São Paulo in Brazil. She was relatively new to the drug and gun running scene, but she had generated a lot of interest in a few months to get the attention of the CIA.'
"'Two days ago, Fiona arrived in Brazil to apprehend the target, a Miss Elvira Lucchese. But instead of apprehending Miss Lucchese and extracting her to stand trial in the United States, Fiona ended up murdering the target.'
"'I know Fiona has a short fuse at times, but it isn't like her to blow a mission and kill someone in cold blood.'
"'Maybe this trip to Brazil made her snap. She's far away from her family and especially her friends, Michael. I thought she was a big girl that could handle jobs like this in an unfamiliar country like Brazil. I guess not.'
"And you still think he's not resentful of me having a relationship with you, Michael?"
Michael says nothing. Then: "You're right. But you're the best thing that ever happened to me."
"I'm not mad at you, Michael. I know it's hard, but he tore us apart and misled the both of us. And the more I spend my time with you, it gets better. It's not completely there yet. I doubt it will be. But it's getting better." I clear my throat. "Card showed you the pictures of Lucchese in the car."
"Completely charred, the car and Lucchese. I knew how you set the car on fire, but I pretended not to know for the con."
"'As you can see in these photos, even though Lucchese's body is burned up, there's a hole in her head. Forensics analyzed the hole and believed it came from a P229. Since we didn't arm Fiona in the field, we believe Fiona murdered the target and then set the car on fire.'
"'But why was she in the field without a weapon? And why was she alone? Where was her backup?'
"'We didn't realize our target would be armed.'
"'You didn't believe a drug dealer and gun runner would be armed.'
"'We thought the target would take Fiona to Jundaí to her weapons reserve. After Fiona learned where the target's reserve was, she and the CIA agent I had in São Paulo would arrest the target.'
"'Who was going to acquire the weapons?'
"And then Card stopped for a minute." I laugh. "Then he thought of something to say: 'Never mind.' Took him long enough.
"'There were reports from Cajamar about a stolen Ford Escort. The CIA believes after Fiona went rogue, she stole a car from Cajamar. We're not sure how this happened, but Fiona also managed to kill the CIA agent that tried to apprehend her. His body was found outside Cajamar. There was a bullet from a P229 in his head, the same type of bullet Fiona used to kill Lucchese.
"'Is this the same agent that accompanied her to São Paulo?'
"And then I'm guessing Card nodded and pretended to be dignified."
Michael looks at me.
"'Why wasn't the agent with her when she was with Lucchese?'"
"'What's done is done, Michael. I can't undo any mistakes in the field now.'
"And instead of listening to your rage, he continued on. He really had no clue."
"'After Fiona killed the CIA agent, she fled to the city of São Paulo. She ended up crashing the car in a river. We found no body, but we did find the murder weapon near the car.
"'For a while, we thought she had died. Then she miraculously resurfaced at São Paulo-Guarulhos International Airport and then at Miami International Airport. We tried to apprehend her, but she's gone back into hiding. You haven't seen her recently, have you? If I was her, the first place I'd head to was your loft--it is where she's currently living at.'"
"I shook my head. And that's when you walked out of the cubicle and sat by me."
"I took off my glasses and scrunchie. I tried not to laugh at Card's shocked face.
"'Oh, so you are alive.'
"'Why wouldn't I be?'
"'After we're done, I'm immediately filing a police report and having you arrested.'
"'The murder of Elvira Lucchese and Doug Mays, arson, vandalism and grand theft auto in São Paulo. And since your reappearance from the dead can now be linked to Hal McGowan's arrest in Coconut Grove, I'm also going to add assaulting a government official and speeding to the charges. You'll be in an Irish prison for a long time.'
"Card did some ungodly hum thing.
"'The Dóchas Centre would be too good for you. There's no way you'll be getting out after this. I'll recommend you go directly to Limerick.'
"'How about my girlfriend stays in the US instead of being deported to an Irish jail?'
"That was the moment Card started to get nervous. 'What?'
"'I know exactly what Fiona went through. Fiona had to kill Lucchese because Lucchese was a sleeper agent you stranded in Brazil to kill Fiona. Lucchese said one by one you were going to kill my team.'
"'That's a lie.'
"All I could do was nod. We weren't the ones making fools of ourselves in the CIA building.
"'She had to steal a car to get back to the airport because you didn't give her enough money to live in São Paulo past a day. She lied, stole luggage and threatened a flight attendant to get on a Miami-bound plane.'
"'That's a lie.'
"'Hello? I'm right here, Card.' And then I crossed my arms and glared at him. 'You sent McGowan to follow me in case I survived. He followed me back to where I live to kill me. Do you really think Michael wouldn't have left my Walther in the car to defend myself? Do you really think I wouldn't have led McGowan in a high speed chase if I felt like my life wasn't in danger? You tell me.'
"'That's a lie!'
"'I was there. It's not a lie. And your yelling isn't part of CIA decorum, I think.'
"How in the hell did you sneak in here?"
"'I'm good at what I do, Card.' I smiled at him. 'That's all you need to know.'
Michael nods again.
"'What do you two want?'
"'I want the contract terminated and my affiliation to this suicide mission erased. I'd like the right to work with Michael whenever he needs me, no contract. Remember, it's Michael's and my word over yours. Oh, and I have another witness. Her name's Natalia Morietti, and she's a flight attendant with TAM Airlines. She may be Brazilian, but she speaks fluent English. Nothing was lost in translation. I'm sure she'll vouch for me if she needs to.'
"The best part was watching Card scramble for words after we called his bluff. I like when people stammer and fidget when they're wrong. It feels great."
"Finally he said 'As long as you two don't ever mention this mission again.' And it was a deal."
"Michael, do you think anything's going to happen to Card? Do you think Langley's going to learn about what Card tried to do to us and…oh, I don't know, transfer him, maybe even fire him?"
"I'm not sure. He holds a high ranking in the CIA. I don't know what will happen to him."
"I have a feeling if he stays in Miami he's going to figure out a way to separate us again."
"That won't happen."
"I know, Michael. He can't beat us as long as we're together. We're too clever for him."
"You're damn right."
South Beach isn't as idyllic as it seems. Well, at least the Lummus Beach portion of it. There are the brightly colored lifeguard houses in every travel book, magazine and television show. There are also a lot of tourists and topless sunbathers. Even though now it's nearing the afternoon, there aren't a lot of the sunbathers out now. Michael and I lucked out. Not like a set of boobs would ruin my day. I want to pretend they're not there, and it's even more helpful if they're not there to be tanned right now.
Near the coast, there are piles of seaweed. Occasionally, you'll see a buoy on the shore. Some days you'll see a ship or two out in the distance. Today there's seaweed and a buoy, but no ship.
At worst, there's a special event on the beach, like the Wine & Food Festival or Fashion Week. Thank God neither of those events is happening today.
It feels like a dream, sitting on the beach with Michael and the snow globe, but it's real. There's nothing I want to change about this moment.
I'm closing my eyes and resting my head on Michael's shoulder. It's going to get worse soon, I know it. It always does for us. And it's not only Michael and me, but Sam, Jesse and even Madeline. But I'm home. Not dead in Brazil and not in a jail awaiting a return trip to Ireland and Limerick. Michael's where my home is, and as long as I'm with him, I'm home.