Friday, August 12, 2016

Chapter 8

Trial and Error

Still laughing, Jace picked-up the telephone receiver and pushed the number for the front desk switchboard. There was no way contacting an underground Russian agent in a city of 18 million people could be so easy. A sweet sounding female operator answered.  “Yes, Mr. Mitchell. How may I help you?“

“I’d like an outside line, please.”

“Of course, sir. Will there be anything else, sir?”

“Oh, operator. Can you tell me what is the correct prefix numbers for this person’s telephone number; 634-5789?”

“Would you like me to access that number for you, sir?”

“Yes, operator. Thank you.”

This had to be some sort of prank. Jace remembered when the Wilson Pickett song was first introduced to the American public over the radio. Kids, drunks and just for fun, people would dial that number just to see who, if anyone, was on the other end. To the folks on the receiving end of those calls, it was most annoying. So much so that the all the American telephone companies stopped using that number everywhere. I suppose somebody somewhere whined, “There oughta be a law …” and Congress passed one.

The operator came back on the line. “Sir, I’ve tried all the proper area codes. I’m sorry, sir. That telephone number is not a valid telephone number anywhere in India. Would you like to try another number?”

“No. thank-you. You have been most kind.”

Contact Made

Jace hung up the phone. He knew it couldn’t be that easy.  Yet, he wondered …  This Russian Uri or whatever his name is, has to be somewhere in India. He has information that I need on a little titanium computer flash drive. Once again he picked-up the telephone receiver and without dialing for an outside line, he just pushed the digits 6-3-4-5-7-8-9. A special circuit which was secretly installed in his phone was automatically redialing another number. The phone rang almost a full ring before someone answered.

“Congratulations, Mr. Marshall. You can now add Russian code breaker to your resume.” She had the sweetest Russian accented voice that Jace had ever heard. This was, indeed, a surprise.  “Meet me tomorrow morning at the Lotus Temple of the Bahai at 11:30. Bring your taxi driver with three brown paper bags containing a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and some potato chips in each.” With that short conversation, the phone went dead. Jace hung-up the receiver without saying a word and two seconds later, the phone emitted a single puff of white smoke which smelled ‘electronic‘.

“Well“, Jace thought. “I guess she doesn’t want just everyone who uses this room to have her home phone number. Wait. How will I know her? How does she know me?  More questions than answers. What about Raahi?”  He would have to find out tomorrow.

>>>> Chapter 9 >>

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