I finally met the Jackal at a small café and I have only just realized it. I was there to meet a contact for the last time before shipping out tomorrow. I sat near the window drinking a tea.
I didn’t notice anyone else inside until I heard, “Tea…where small talk dies in agony”.
I stopped mid-sip. Did someone just quote Percy Shelley? I turned to see a solid man stretched back in his chair, a foot resting on an empty seat. He drank from a cup of what I can only guess was tea. He was American with a slow baritone voice that addressed the room if not me specifically. He wore a loose open shirt that added to his strange mystique – like a free love prophet with a .45 on his hip.
“I’m sorry?” I said. He looked at me, I realize now it was a look of familiarity. He knew who I was.
He said, “Something tells me you aren’t a man for small talk. Me neither”.
We spoke for only 10 minutes. We spoke of the war, the two factions. We both agreed a stalemate was brewing, and if that was allowed to continue, these contractors might start turning on the locals left in the country. I told him my time was done. I was shipping out tomorrow.
He said, “I thought you were looking for the Jackal. You never know. Maybe he was looking for you too.”
At that he stood up and strode out the door. Without so much as a nod to me, he was gone.
Now that I’m back at the hotel, it suddenly hits me. That man is the Jackal. It seems so obvious now, but at the time the prospect of meeting him like that was such an impossibility that it never entered my head.
I can’t leave. I have to find him. Michael and Peter are driving out tomorrow morning. I’ve decided…I’m staying.