One step at a time John...

John stood uncomfortably against the bathroom wall, trying not to be conspicuous. The gentleman that had been using the urinal finally finished his business and stepped towards the sink. John moved forward to take his turn. He glanced down and spied the round little urinal cake that had about a quarter of it's circumference sliced off, creating a flat edge. John, recognizing the long awaited signal, glanced to his side as the only other occupant departed the restaurant bathroom letting the door slam behind him. John quickly fished the little zip-lock bag out of his pocket and, choking back his disgust, scooped up the all important little cake, sealing it up and stowing it in his pocket just as another patron entered the restroom. 

His trip home was uneventful. He had even done a couple SDR's (Surveillance Detection Route) on the way back, just as he had been instructed to do. Satisfied that no one was following, he continued on to his apartment. Even though he had been a soldier not all that long ago, this was unlike anything he had done while in the Army. 
He stepped into the closet of his small bedroom closing the door behind him. He felt silly sitting in the tiny windowless room, but his sponsor had insisted on this particular protocol. He broke open the pungent urinal cake releasing the small usb drive inside. Once he logged into his encrypted system, he plugged in the drive opening the encrypted partition inside. He decrypted his instructions and deleted the file after which he pushed the usb drive inside the tennis ball he had prepared just for this special task. He shoved the ball into the pocket of his fleece jacket and headed towards the city dog park. 
A block behind John, the passenger door of a tan SUV swung open depositing a middle aged man in a jogging suit onto the sidewalk. He spoke quietly into his hidden microphone, asking for a comms check as he set out in a surreptitious pursuit. 

John scanned the scene as he walked into the park, trying his best to look nonchalant. He struggled to keep his paranoia in check as he walked past an old man playing a game of chess with what John assumed was his grandson. He approached the dog area and headed for a bench that was partially obscured in the trees. He pulled off his jacket as he sat down, laying it next to him. He scanned the scene again – the two men playing chess had departed, several children played on the nearby jungle-gym, a half dozen people were walking or playing with their dogs directly across from him....and waited. John glanced to his left inexplicably and caught the gaze of a jogger stretching against the fence near the entrance, the jogger's head snapped away suddenly and John simultaneously felt a chill crawl over him and a heaviness hit his gut. Was this more paranoia? Something felt very wrong and John suddenly wanted nothing more than to be away from this place. He kept his head straight but watched the jogger with his eyes. He could see the jogger's mouth moving as if he was speaking, but there was no one visible in his vicinity. John's mind raced – he was being watched, and he had to assume that the regime's thugs were about to descend on him and drag him off on what was typically a one way trip. John took a deep breath and tried to focus on the E&E plan that had been drilled into him. Step one: Create distance and establish baseline.....

Despite every part of his being telling him to sprint like a madman, he calmly stood and walked away from the jogger/spy towards a cafe on the opposite side of the park. He had actually rehearsed this very escape plan not even a month ago, but still had serious reservations about it actually working. If he could just make it into the cafe bathroom, he could slip out the small window into the alley, and if lucky, get to his emergency cache site putting some distance between himself and his pursuers. John didn't even breathe as he crossed the street.....waiting to feel the agent's hands grab him from behind, but no one grabbed him. He latched the bathroom door shut and breathed a sigh of relief. This could actually work! He allowed himself to think as he pulled his reversible shirt back on and reached for the window........

Back at the park – a little old lady watched agents swarm into the park and descend on the jacket the young man had left behind. They tore open the pockets, shaking the jacket and gestating wildly in what she knew was frustration. She just smiled and tossed the fuzzy green ball back across the grass with Brisco in happy pursuit.


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