Jason Jensen deposited the cardboard bankers box he carried onto his new desk and pulled out the framed photo of his wife Ann. She was smiling blandly at the camera, her legs crossed at the ankles, hands folded in her lap seated in front of a canvas backdrop that gave the impression of some sort of muted pastel watercolor.
The little frame was hinged, and opposite the photo of Ann was another one, this one of them together wide smiles on their faces, him in a rented tux and her in a long dress with a yellow corsage on her wrist. They’d been high school sweethearts and it was Ann’s junior prom. Jason vaguely remembered thinking he might finally get laid that night, which probably accounted for the grin, but in the end he’d waited respectfully until Ann was of age.
So, four years later, after sowing a few of his wild oats in college, Jason knew Ann’s father was genuinely honored when he gave Jason permission to ask for her hand, and Jason believed he was equally sincere when he swore it was the happiest day of his life.
Setting the photos on the desk, Jason switched on his new computer and, while it booted up, pulled out a thick file from the box, before depositing it with the rest of it’s contents on the floor and roughly nudging them under the desk with his foot.
The file was well worn and frayed from frequent use, it was the kind of file where you could two-hole punch a sheet of paper and attach it to either the front of back cover with a pair of metal prongs. Jason knew from experience that those prongs could be surprisingly sharp. He’d scratched himself several times on folders like that.
On the tab of the folder, on a red color coded Avery file folder label, was a name written in black sharpie:
Beneath the name, another hand had scrawled an amendment:
Jason Jensen had never had a nickname himself. Naturally.
Even Ann only ever called him Jason, not Sweetie, or Babe or anything else, even when he was giving it to her hard and she’d had three glasses of Pinot Gris.
Opening the file, bored already, Jason Jensen located the information he needed and after logging in with all the newest passcodes, plugged it into the computer. Oksana Astankova/ Villanelle’s browser history was about as could be expected, google maps directions to the Standing Rock Protests, searches for a few of the seedier gun shows, 4chan trolling… fanfic. It was your basic femi-nazi insurgent starter pack. But there was nothing that could be used to indict or discredit.
At least, not without a subpoena.
Jason navigated to her personal email, entering the passcode he’d cracked this morning. As far as codebreaking went it was an easy task, at least for someone of his abilities— an ex girlfriend’s name with dollar signs in the place of the s’s— but Jason was pleased nonetheless. It had gotten him this promotion and a nice little bump in salary as well. He planned to take Ann out for a steak to celebrate.
Astankova’s email was as clean as her browser history. There was nothing to give away her location, or the location of where ever she would strike next.
Jason was about to turn back to the file, when his keen eye caught something, a slight anomaly that warranted a closer look.
In Oksana Astankova’s trash folder was a single unopened email, subject line blank, sent from her own email address.
Now, Jason of course knew from his NSA training that usually when people sent emails to their own email addresses, they did it for the purpose of logging some crucial piece of information which might prove useful to them later, much in the same way Jason himself used his black 0.8mm Bic pen and a pad of 8-1/2 x 11 3/4 canary yellow wide ruled legal paper.
This email however had been discarded unopened. It indicated either an attempt at subterfuge, supreme carelessness or a deep seated subconscious guilt complex. A quick, careful-of-the-prongs, glance back at Astankova’s file indicated her psychological profile ruled the latter to be unlikely.
I think about you a lot, the email read, think about you watching me.
So I finally decided it would be rude, not to say hello. Hello Mr. NSA agent. I hope you are enjoying my inbox. Victoria’s Secret informs me they’re having a 20% off sale, But between you and me I’m waiting for Independence Day weekend, that’s when you can really rack in the big savings.
Anyway, I’m glad we have this space to talk, here in my trash bin. Even if, I must say, you aren’t the best conversationalist.
Eve is making spaghetti tonight. Ironic don’t you think, all that ground up meat and red sauce. I asked her to put in olives but she’s got some epicurious recipe she’s working off. If it’s any good I’ll let you know and you can look it up in her browser history.
Quickly but methodically, Jason printed out the email, rushing down the row of cubicles identical to his own to catch the paper before it fell from the machine. He took it back from his desk and retrieved a red Pilot G2, drawing a firm line under the word “secret” and another under the words “Independence Day weekend”, then he stared at the rest for a solid five minutes.
Eve, was was likely Eve Polastri, Oksana’s fellow radical and lover. The reference to her browser history might be a lead. Unfortunately Jason hadn’t been given access codes to Eve’s data, all he had was her file, which he bent down to fetch out from the box by his feet. It was awkward, bending over double with his ass in the puny swivel chair he’d been assigned. He nearly banged his head on the underside of his desk as he came back up with his prize.
Jason poured over Eve Polastri’s file with his razor-sharp, mental fine-toothed comb. There was nothing that jumped out at him. Unlike Oksana Astankova/ Villanelle, Eve Polastri didn’t have any aliases.
Jason Jensen liked that.
He looked at the mug shot of Eve Polastri and wondered if she was a cold fish, then, realizing how late it had gotten, Jason began to clear up his desk. The file for Eve Polastri would go back in a hanging file folder in a locked cabinet, in a locked room behind a desk that Mrs. Horowitz sat at as she glared at Jason and the other NSA agents from behind her thick tortoise shell glasses.
From a drawer Jason retrieved a drab olive colored two hole punch and carefully positioning the red underlined printout of Astankova’s email, firmly punched two holes into the top of it. He looked at the file folder, with it’s worn edges and menacing tines, and then at the crisp sheet of white paper in his hand. Square and white, the paper’s perfect 90 degree corners reminded Jason of the starched collar on his favorite dress shirt.
Opening the top and thinnest drawer of the metal filing cabinet that doubled as the foot of his desk, Jason fished out a small box of round self-adhesive reinforcement labels and adhered them to both the front and back of the holes at the top of the paper. Then he looked once more at the file folder and the print out, before dropping the latter flat and face down in an empty drawer of his desk and stacking the former on top of it’s lover’s file to be returned to Mrs. Horowitz.
Content with a days work well done, Jason Jensen logged out of his computer, confident that sometime that night he’d be fucking Ann with a belly full of Chateaubriand.
The next day there was another email, unopened, in the trash bin.
Don’t tell anyone I said this, but the pasta sauce was nothing to write home about. It was barely anything to write about to the NSA agent who secretly monitors your communications like some sort of pervert.
It’s ok though, because last night after dinner Eve did this thing with her fingers, sort of like a pinching thrusting thing, it was ridiculous. It honestly made me regret I fed the leftovers to the dog because once she figures that out it’s going to take a while before she does this thing again. You should defiantly try it with your girlfriend or wife or whatever.
Oh, actually I forgot to ask. Are you a man or a woman?
OMG I’m just kidding, of course you’re a man you snooping pervert.
Hugs & Kisses, V
Jason stared at the email for a few moments, his heart racing with professional excitement, before printing it out and fetching it from the machine. He grabbed his red pen from where it sat in a coffee mug. He’d brought the mug from home just that morning so he would have a container for his pens.
The mug said:
Let’s me go fishing
He held the red pen over the printed email, but did not mark it, reading the words carefully three or four times. Then he put the paper facedown and unhole-punched on top of the other in the drawer.
For the rest of the day Jason searched through the attached images in the emails of female criminals looking for selfie’s of tits. The biggest ones he printed out on the laser printer and put in a folder that Mrs. Horowitz had never seen labeled “Big Tits”. At the end of the day, he took the folder and showed it to his boss.
Jason Jensen liked his boss and his boss liked scotch… and tits of course.
There wasn’t another email for several more days, and Jason Jensen, began to have a deep unsettled feeling in a place that was usually filled with steak. If he’d unpacked his thesaurus, he might have described the feeling as bereft, but he hadn’t yet, so he didn’t.
When the email finally did come, it was over the weekend, and so he didn’t get it until Monday morning. He printed the email out, and set it next to his still half-full paper cup of black coffee which sat beside his ceramic pen-holding fishing mug.
If I could have been an NSA agent like you, I wouldn’t spend my time reading MY boring old email. I’d go through the email of my favorite celebrities and see what they're up to, or if I can find any decent dick pics.
I bet, for a heterosexual man, you see a surprising number of dicks. You’re probably surrounded by them. Honestly, now that I think about it, I’m kinda jealous. It’s been a while, know what I mean?
Eve’s been acting weird lately, all quiet. Sometimes I wonder if we’re drifting apart.
At least I have you.
Jason’s blinked, his eyes blurring for a moment before lighting on the silent photo of Ann and her strange empty smile. She had never seemed interested in the sort of challenges he faced during the course of a workday, or for that matter, in hearing about the ways in which he overcame them.
Jason Jenson picked up a black pen and underlined the words “drifting apart”. He did see an awful lot of dick pics in the course of performing his duties.
On impulse Jason navigated to Oksana’s inbox and opened a blank email. Clicking on the paperclip icon he attached an image from a special file on his desktop. And hit send.
That done he dropped Villanelle’s printed email in his special drawer and went to the head. The coffee he’d had that morning was finally doing its job.
OMG that’s disgusting, the email said the next morning, I hope that isn’t YOUR dick. Because if it is you should maybe see a doctor or something, and like, invest in one of those pump things.
It wasn’t his dick of course. He’d simply found the most grotesquely interesting one he’d come across hoping it would get across in ways that words couldn’t quite capture, the sort of thrill involved in being a very highly regarded, and upwardly mobile NSA agent with top level security clearance.
She’d seemed put off though.
Not even bothering to print out the email this time Jason opened a new blank email and addressed it to Villanelle, attaching a new image this time from a different folder on his desktop.
He got a reply before the work day ended.
Much better handsome. -V
They continued like that for a while, Villanelle filling him in on the daily minutia of her life, never anything that could be considered serious intel per se, so he didn’t feel guilty keeping it out of her file. He never responded with words, but he knew nonetheless they understood each other. After all, they had so much in common.
Eve and Villanelle seemed to be drifting apart emotionally, even as Villanelle continued to fill him in on the details of their still surprisingly explosive sex life. Jason couldn’t claim the same. He’ddiscovered recently that a sense of drabness had fallen over his home life, and he found himself inexplicably uninterested in the deep manly thrusts which had up until that point satisfied him.
Ann hardly seemed to notice the change between them, which left Jason feeling even more despondent. She clearly didn’t understand him. Had she ever?
One day, his boss Scott Skaggs of the big tits and scotch, came by and dropped a copy of the NewYork Times on his desk. The New York Times was not Jason’s favorite source of news, but in his line of work it was necessary to stay abreast of all manner of publications. It was something Jason planned to painstakingly explain to Ann.
On the cover was a gruesome photo that put Jason in mind of a pepperoni pizza which had been dropped upside-down on the floor of a barber shop and then hastily jammed into the collar of a three piece suit. The headline read: Murdered Oil Exec Found Mangled.
“They suspect this is your girlfriend’s handiwork,” Boss Scott Skaggs grumbled, “thought you might want to have a look.”
Jason wasn’t concerned in the slightest that Skaggsy (as they called Scott companionably around the office) suspected the communication taking place between he and Villanelle. “Girlfriend” was simple something the boys called any reasonably attractive target of survaillence, and Villanelle was very pretty, beautiful even. Jason had had many “girlfriends” over the years.
Of course, being a red blooded American male Skaggsy might have also assumed that Jason’d had many actual girlfriends over the years. It was an assumption that would not have been untrue.
Jason briefly scanned the article which seemed to satisfy Skaggsy, before throwing the paper back on his desk, sure to have it land photo up so that his boss wouldn’t think he’d pussed out. If nothing else it finally made sense of Villanelle’s comment about the pasta sauce.
It was another month of patient waiting before Jason finally got an email with the intel he wanted.
Are you in Maryland? It began. He was of course seated at the throbbing heart of the NSA headquarters in Fort Meade Maryland. If so, there’s a nature preserve you’d love. It’s lovely, especially at 5pm on a Friday when the light hits the marsh at the end of the trail just so.
I left a google review. Two stars. I wouldn’t want the place to get crowded with a bunch of stay at home moms and their wailing infants out for nature walks.
Ever yours, V
The large clock over the door told him it was only noon.
It took only a few moments in Villanelles’s browser history for Jason to find the information he needed. He printed out a google map and the latest communication and, retrieving the the stack of emails she’d sent him over the course of his investigation, he set both on top and secured the lot with a large with a 41 mm binder clip. It was the largest size of binder clip, and though the stack of papers was thick, it was still a bit overkill.
He logged himself out of the server, and then typed in Skaggs’s unique user ID and password to log back in. He cleared all the logs related to the work he’d been doing, wiped his browser history, and any traces of Villanelle’s passwords from the server for good measure, but he left the folder of dicks on his desktop. The boys would get a kick out of that.
As he gathered his papers and walked towards the exit he heard Skaggsy calling behind him.
“Getting an early jump on the weekend, eh Jason?”
Jason knew he didn’t really need to respond. It was just the sort of rhetorical chit chat, people made at any office, much like nice weather we’re having, and how’s the wife? He gave a non-committal wave of his hand and continued towards the door.
“Alright then, have a good one!” Skaggsy called out behind him.
The NSA cars would be tracked, so Jason drove his work issued sedan home to switch out with his Mustang.
Since he was home anyway, Jason let himself in and threw a few personal items into a dusty old duffel he pulled out from under the bed. His favorite white button down, a few changes of briefs, and a box of condoms all were swallowed up by the dark zipper-lined jaws of the bag. Then he sat down on the bedspread to pull of his loafers and slacks and switch them out for a pair of pressed jeans and hiking boots.
Ann wasn’t home.
Jason found the trailhead easy enough. Checking his tactical watch he saw that it was 4pm. There was roughly two miles of trail ahead of him, he’d be just in time.
Sure enough, Jason reached the marsh just as the late afternoon sun was glinting off its murky water.
He sat on a log to one side and listened to the sounds of nature. It was lovely there, the ducks swooped down onto the water from time to time, trailing behind them showers of water droplets that glinted in the golden light. It reminded him of when he was a boy and his grandfather had taught him to chase the waterfowl that gathered on the small pond behind his house.
Jason loved his memories of the time he’d spent at his grandfather’s ranch. It was there he’d learned to be a man.
Without even glancing to his wrist, Jason knew when it was five o’clock. He stood, about to turn toward the trailhead with a smile when a flashing on the other side of the pond caught his attention.
Two shots rang out in the wilderness, terrifying the ducks. For a brief moment, Jason Jensen felt a searing pain first above one eye, then the other, but then there was only blackness and he felt nothing.
His last thoughts were of the blowjob Ann had given him in the backseat of his car after her junior prom. He remembered the corsage on her wrist as she’d steadied his cock, and that achingly sweet Police song that drifted swiftly out into the darkness.