Tuesday, May 09, 2006
Secret Agent Man
Last Wednesday morning, the phone rang. Twice. The first time I was in the shower and having previously learned the hard way that running across hardwood floors with damp feet isn’t a good idea unless you're in the market for a concussion, I let it go to voicemail. I was toweling off when the phone rang again. I darted for the handset figuring it was my mom. I mean, no one else I know would stalk me in the early AM. She probably had something really important to ask like if Banana Republic had any white linen pants she might like on sale.
“Good morning,” said a groggy voice belonging to Boston Boy, a never met JDater from Beantown who sometimes provided intimate interaction from a distance.
“I can’t. Not now. I’m clean. And I have a job. Why can’t you call at normal hours of the day for phone sex?”
“You’re no fun. Come on. I'm already hard. And I know you’d rather play than work.”
He had a point. And so, with the phone in my hand, I retreated to my bedroom for a little morning action.
“So are you in med school?” I asked once the moans subsided. Last I knew, he’d abandoned his partner track job at a Boston firm to pursue his doctorly dreams.
“I can’t say.”
“Are you in Boston?”
“Actually, I’m in your neighborhood. At The Rittenhouse.”
“You’re lying. No one your age would book The Rittenhouse.”
“I told them I wasn’t coming unless they satisfied some requests.”
“I can’t say. Trust me. I’m in town. What are you doing later? My flight leaves at 10:30pm.”
“My night's booked solid. Need more notice than five hours. Are you here for an interview?”
“Are you practicing law again?”
“I can’t say. I got a call late the other night and was told to come to Philadelphia. I hopped a plane and landed here. It isn’t fun. In all seriousness, it's giving me an ulcer.”
“It’s a neutral spot.”
“What is going on?”
“I can’t tell you. But it isn’t good. Look in the paper tomorrow. You’ll probably see a picture of me in a big story. Heck, I’m not even checked in under my real name.”
“Will it make the New York Times? Color me a snob but I don’t bother with the local paper. Ever.”
“Not tomorrow but it might the day after.”
“Seriously, what is the deal? Are you somehow involved in a federal probe? Oh my God! Are you wearing a wire?”
“We don’t call it a wire. We call it a listening device.”
“Oops. I’m tired. Maybe I’ll call you when I get back home.”
“Which is where……”
“Can’t tell you. I’ve already said enough. Have a great day and thanks for the fun. You're better than I remembered. And I have a good memory.”
On that miscellaneous compliment, I put the handset back in the cradle, got dressed and headed to the office. My phone never rang later that night. The next morning, I checked the local newspaper. Nada. I sent Boston Boy an email saying I hoped he’d gotten home okay and that the vague drama was behind him. He responded, noting he was still in Philly. His short sentences capturing both an element of fear and an element of fatigue. I had no proof he was being honest but I had little reason to believe he'd be making any of it up. This is one of those straight laced guys. His idea of living on the edge was sleeping in on a weekday.
I didn’t write back and I haven’t heard from him since. My gut says I should lay low on this front. Something is clearly off and not in a good way. I mean, this guy is either in the witness protection program, has a good chance of ending up in the witness protection program or, based on his correction that a wire tap is actually known by those in the trade as a listening device, is in training to become the next International Man of Mystery. No matter what, nothing good can come from me getting tangled up in his present day, undercover web. So long, secret agent man.