The Informant’s Agenda
Chapter XVII (17), Part 2
After changing my password and user name to the next backup one saved I sent Jeremy a message choosing my words carefully knowing he would understand my situation, and added a priority alert for his immediate attention.
[J. A situation has come up suddenly and I need to delay further contact for a while due to unforeseen circumstances to my already booked schedule. Please wait with replies and responses at this time. Will get back to you at a later time. M.]
It was past 7:00 p. m. when I called a cab to pick me up, checked out at the desk, paid my bill and left word with the desk clerk that if anything was found in my room I had left behind for them to contact me by e-mail not indicating what I had lost, and then I walked quietly down a dark hallway to the back entrance to wait for my cab.
The driver loaded my luggage and equipment into the trunk just as another car pulled out of the rear parking lot. When we were five or so miles out of Grigoriopol the car once again came into view, three car lengths behind, a black sedan like the one that followed me the day I walked back to Grigoriopol from the cemetery. I could not make out the driver’s face. It was too dark, and the glass tinted.
“Driver, could you take me to the Ayvazovsky Hotel when we get to Odessa?”
“Sure. No problem.”
As we came to the border crossing from Moldova into Ukraine we were stopped at the passport customs kiosk. An officer checked my passport, visa and ID credentials. The black sedan was right behind us, went through the same check and stayed with us all the way into Odessa until we pulled up to the front entrance to the brightly lit Ayvazovsky. The sedan pulled into a lot across the street and parked. But, the driver remained in the car, the lights turned off.
The cabbie unloaded my bags from the trunk, and then helped the hotel valet load it all onto a luggage cart.
“Thanks for your help.”
“Sure thing. Did you come here alone, into Moldova I mean?” the driver asked.
“Well, I came as far as Moscow with other colleagues, but our business here took us all into different countries, or directions once we landed.”
“Oh. Are you with the media then?”
“No. Not exactly.”
He shrugged. “Just wondered. We still have a lot of old snoops around from the old regime. They make it their business to learn every one else’s. With elections coming up we get a lot of press and media here.”
“Yes, I know. Your country is about to elect a new president aren’t they?”
“Yes. There’s talk that Antonescu hides things from his past and doesn’t want the media…well, nosing around. But, that’s politics, you know? Can’t keep it clean anywhere.”
“True. Does anyone know anything about his past?”
“Oh, there’s some old folks around that knew his family and their background, but Antonescu is a sly ole weasel. Some say he has done a lot for Moldova by creating jobs, helping the economy and all. But, I think he just pays off those to keep quiet, if they know anything. Grigoroui’s opponent wants a real investigation opened that would expose everything, and things on his campaign manager.”
“That’s interesting. How do you know all this, I mean about things hidden in Antonescu’s past?”
“Some of it has been investigated by our own media. And as a ‘cabbie’ I hear a lot just listening to what’s said from the backseat of a cab.”
“Yes, I’m sure.” I said, smiling. “Well, thank you very much. Here, keep the extra.”
“Thanks. I couldn’t help but notice the car that followed us all the way here from Grigoriopol.” He said, nodding his head in the direction of the parked car across the street in the lot. “But, maybe he just…well, stay safe. Goodnight, miss.”
“Thank you. I will. Goodnight.”
His observance and candid remark sent cold chills down my sweating spine.
After checking in I followed the hotel concierge with my luggage and equipment up to the fourth floor, room # 402, and settled in.
With the door locks secured I dressed for bed, but knew I could not sleep. The hours dragged on keeping me awake and alert to any sounds heard outside my door.
To be continued…
Joyce E. Johnson (2014)