A Company Man: The CIA , Me Ch. 01

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This two-part story again contains some factual elements of my life inter-mixed with fantasy and fiction. As usual, I hope you’ll vote early and vote often. I invite e-mail comments on the story and my writing. I hope you enjoy this as much as I did writing it and remembering some of the events and occasions in the story. As usual, names have been changed to protect the guilty. The break between parts 1 and 2 is about in the middle of the story.

*

I was lying on my back watching one of the most beautiful women in the world move seductively above me — our naked bodies coupled together. Her breasts swayed and swung as we moved into one another. We’d already made love — for I could see the fluids from our earlier coupling oozing from her pussy into this second session of our lovemaking. I could feel the erotic pleasure as her tight cunt started to spasm around my cock. I reached forward and rubbed her nub — her clitoris. We both entered our orgasmic states together. She moaned and let out a long, soft “Oooooooooh” of pleasure as she peaked. I grunted my last thrusts into her and then moaned my own satisfaction with the world as I fell back into the soft bed. Finally, she fell on my chest, her long dark hair rolling into the space between our necks as we cuddled together. This was one of my tougher ‘assignments’ for The Company. What did I do to deserve Katrina?

I was recruited into The Company back in the 1980s. I’d always had a James Bond fantasy so when I was approached I felt like a life-long dream had been realized. Further, the way it was all explained to me didn’t make it sound very dangerous – just the right amount of risk to be ego gratifying. I’d do a small delivery task every now and again — no risk, no bother, but of great service to the country.

At the time I was a management consultant at McKennitt & Company. I was working mostly at the old AT&T before it was broken apart. I was an expert in information technology and combined with an MBA I was a hotshot consultant. My clients were all struggling, at that time, with integrating technology into their businesses and I knew how to do it. I’d just gotten a client in London and was working hard to convince the consulting firm I worked for that we should open an office there that focused on technology and that I should be one of the U.S. staff that worked in it.

I’d been promoted a couple of times in the firm and told there was no reason I wouldn’t make partner — the ultimate goal – before I turned forty-five. On a couple of occasions I’d been asked if I thought I could manage starting a new “Greenfield” consulting practice office in Europe; I enthusiastically answered, “Of course.” How naïve!

I can still recall the initial meeting with The Company. Jim Haight, my boss, asked me to be in the office one Friday for an important meeting. He was vague, but we often were with each other since we had so many other balls in the air. I scheduled Friday in the firm’s office. At the appointed time, Jim stopped by and asked me to join a ‘prospect’ and him in our private luncheon room.

Jim introduced us: “Dave Krall meet Kyle Thurman. Kyle, David.” We shook hands. Neither Jim nor Kyle offered the name of his company, which I sort of thought was odd. I figured I was playing Number 2 to Jim, so I rolled with the lack of information.

Jim set the stage. He turned to me and started, “David, we’ve had a unique relationship with Kyle’s organization for almost twenty years. He’s going to propose an opportunity to you that we in the firm hope you will accept. We want you to know that several good things will occur if you do: first, you’ll be fast tracked to partner — even faster than the track you’re on now; second, you will find the monetary rewards far exceed your expectations; and lastly, you’ll be doing a great service for this firm and your country. There are other benefits but those are the major ones. Now, hear Kyle’s pitch and I’ll be back in a few minutes to help answer any questions.” He smiled, nodded at Kyle and me, and slipped out of the room. I was VERY curious at this point but open to whatever the idea was.

Kyle waited for the door to shut. He was direct and blunt; “We would like you to work part-time for the Central Intelligence Agency. You’re about to start working in Europe and, I’m told, will open your company’s first technology office in London as well as travel around the entire continent doing your consulting work. There’s a lot going on over there in terms of intelligence gathering — that’s what we do; you could help us. We’d train you, of course. One key point is that you can tell no one.” He looked me straight in the eye and then emphasized the point, “NO ONE.” I think I nodded my comprehension. I had a vague vision of being blindfolded before a firing squad if I ignored Kyle’s emphatic warning.

He went on, “We’ve done a VERY thorough background check on you. You’re smart, creative, athletic, culturally-sensitive, and fast-thinking — just the type of person we need on bahis firmaları our team over there.” He paused then asked, “Any questions so far?” My ego did a little jig that I’d been recognized as the boy wonder that I am.

Finally, I asked, “What would I have to do specifically? Do you want me to be a spy?” An image of me looking remarkably like James Bond flashed before my eyes.

“No, no. We don’t use that terminology — too vague, for one. You would meet certain prearranged contacts throughout Europe as part of your consulting travels. These individuals would pass along ‘information’ to you in various forms or you might pass along something we’d like to get to them. Sometimes you’d never even see them. Most of the time you’d bring what you’re given back to London or Boston with you and pass it along to someone else — me, for instance. Other times, you’d be called to make an assessment of that information and pass your assessment on to someone else. Sometimes you’d be put in an … errr … delicate situation, and asked to assess all going on around you and report that later to someone else too. Often, I’ll be your contact but there will be others I’ll introduce you to. Much of the information you’d deal with would be in your area of expertise — computers and information technology. Oh, and you’ll always be well briefed ahead of time as well as debriefed after your assignments.”

“What about my family? My wife and kids?”

“They’re NOT to know you have this ‘alternate profession.’ You’ll still be doing consulting work and your speaking engagements. You could just consider this part of that work, in fact. They’ll be with you in London. Your wife will want to work and she’ll be assured of a meaningful job in McKennitt, I’m told. She may travel around too but she won’t have these ‘special’ assignments. As far as anyone not in the know, you’ll be an eager consultant starting the overseas practice office for a successful U.S.-based company.” This was news to me but I was happy that my idea had not only been accepted but that I was going to be the guy heading the new consulting unit. The vision of the firing squad dimmed.

Jim came back in the room leading a waiter with a tray of food for the three of us. We waited until we’d been served and the waiter left the room. I asked Kyle quietly, “How much does Jim know?”

“Jim knows the general nature of your assignments and will be a mentor to you in both your consulting work and your work for The Company. He should never know the specific nature of your work for The Company unless you are told you can include him in your thinking, however, he can always be asked about general questions and protocol. He’s my backup and you may even receive assignments from him; those assignments you can discuss with him.” Jim nodded.

“Am I the only person in our consulting firm doing this? It doesn’t sound like it.”

Jim answered, “No, there are about twenty others right now. A couple of others will join you in opening the London office plus we’ll hire some others over there — both straight consultants as well as individuals that have these ‘dual roles.’ You’ll know who’s who in your office but that’s all. Usually you won’t know anyone else’s assignments nor should you concern yourself with their split roles. Their assignments will be invisible and just another consulting engagement. This is exactly how it will appear in your own European work as well.”

“How’s that work?”

Jim went on, “Well, you’ll be given an assignment. It will appear to come from a company of good repute. You’ll take it on as you would any consulting assignment. The only difference is that when you spend your time — your billable hours if you will — you’ll be spending them for The Company and be carrying out that assignment. You’ll submit invoices and expenses just as you would normally, and they’ll be promptly paid. You’re administrative staff will be none the wiser. By the way, sometimes you’ll bring one or two others with you as part of your work ‘team’ but usually you’ll work alone.”

I was trying to think of all the other questions to ask but the whole idea was scrambling my brain. Finally, I asked, “Will I have to carry a weapon? A gun?”

Kyle’s eyes squinted at me and then he responded very slowly, “When the time comes, you’ll be trained in EVERY skill you’ll need. And, yes, there will be some initial weapons training here in the States. Everyone in The Company takes it.”

*****

It took nine months to get the family and me to London. During that time my wife Stacy quit her job in logistics software and joined McKennitt Consulting, ecstatic that she was now a consultant at a significant pay increase from her previous systems development work. She quickly joined a couple of ongoing projects and started to make a good contribution, confirming that the firm had made a wise decision to bring her on.

We waited to move to London until the summer so our teenagers didn’t have a break in their schooling; they were both kaçak iddaa pissed to be pulled away from all their friends but we knew they’d eventually love living overseas. By the time we got to London we’d arranged living accommodations with a live-in housekeeper and sitter. Someone still had to oversee the teens when Stacy and I were away on consulting assignments.

In the nine months before we actually moved to London, we were getting ready both on the home front and in the consulting firm. I also started receiving significant training from The Company, initially in the States and then in Europe. The CIA had a special weapons training facility outside of Kansas City; I spent three weeks there — being home on the weekends. By the end of the time I’d learned about a wide range of weaponry as well as concealment techniques. That said, I couldn’t hit the ground with a bullet if I was aiming for it. ‘Officially,’ the firm made $60,000 from a Kansas City-based pharmaceuticals company.

I started to travel to Europe, including London, about once a month before we moved there. I negotiated for office space, hired some consultants, lined up legal and accounting firms, and made sure any permits or licenses we needed were requested. I also needed to get work permits for the group of us that were going to move to England from the U.S. Of course, we also needed clients and I started an aggressive marketing campaign too, aided by a couple of colleagues from the home office and from the firm’s accounting services office in London.

On my third trip overseas I started doing “real” work for The Company, I was given a packet to deliver to a contact in Paris. I flew a red-eye into Charles de Gaulle airport, took a cab into Paris, sat in the assigned sidewalk café having a coffee and reading the “correct” magazine. A very Parisian man with a cane meandered in and sat next to me, said the right greeting after which I got up and left, leaving the packet behind on a chair. When I looked back as I walked away he and the packet were gone. I headed back to the airport and flew on to London and my other business.

Between that visit and another, I was taken with Paris and ultimately I talked the firm into also opening a technology office in a business center there. Noteworthy is that one night a year later, Basque terrorists blew up the building next to our office and destroyed their target as well as our office. C’est la vie.

My fifth trip to Europe I was instructed by Kyle to meet a woman who was to be my “handler” in West Berlin. The Berlin Wall was still up and actively patrolled by the East Germans and Russians at the time; we were still on a very confrontational footing with the Soviets not to mention all communist satellites in Eastern Europe. I flew on British Airways from London to West Berlin for a morning “seminar” on information management the next day. Of course, I didn’t give the seminar but I did meet Katrina Grüder.

Katrina was a tall, leggy, dark haired woman in her late thirties. She was a truly striking individual and someone you would do a double take or triple-take to look at because she was so pretty. When I met her she was wearing a very short, tight little black dress with fringe along the bottom that amplified the swish of her hips when she walked. She was also wearing three-inch spike heels that also accentuated her trim legs — my great weakness. She had a large purse the size of Denmark.

We met in the bar of my hotel late in the afternoon I arrived, supposedly for drinks and dinner and in fact that is what we did. I felt an immediate chemistry with her and I was pretty sure she did with me as well. I tipped the matré d’ to give us a quiet table where we wouldn’t be overheard. He was very accommodating and gave me a big wink once he saw Katrina.

Sitting over our wine and then our meals I couldn’t help but stare at her. After dinner, I apologized, telling her she was certainly one of the most beautiful women I’d ever met. She blushed and then held my hand for a while. Anyone watching would have assumed we were romantically involved and I certainly did nothing to dissuade them of that assumption.

After dinner, Katrina said we had a little business to discuss before we allowed anything further to take place. She gave me a silly grin that I took to mean she wanted something further to take place. I just nodded and let my mind wander.

She leaned forward in a conspiratorial manner, which it was, and whispered to me, “I will be your contact in Eastern Europe, when you go there — which will be a lot I’m told. You’ll travel under some fake identities. I need to take your picture later so we can make up the various IDs you’ll need. I will basically be your contact over here, even on many of the assignments you’ll have in the West. You can verify all this with Kyle by the way.” Her voice had the lovely characteristic of a German accent every now and then, otherwise her English was impeccable.

She went on in her hushed voice, “We’ll meet again kaçak bahis next month in Milan for three or four days; I’ll have a lot to tell you then about one or two assignments and how we’ll work together. If anyone asks about that trip you’re going to market to Montedision — the Italian chemical company. They’re based in Milan and we’ll actually pay a visit to one of our ‘friends’ there to make you legitimate.” She passed me a single typed page; “Here is your itinerary for that trip — dates, hotel, flights, taxis, etcetera.”

Katrina leaned across the table and kissed me. I kissed back. I noticed several people in the restaurant smiling at our display of affection. She said softly again, “We were talking too seriously for two people that are supposed to be romantically involved. If we’re being watched, a kiss always will deflect attention except from the most ardent voyeurs.” She laughed.

My brain was buzzing with questions and options, not only about the assignments I was to be given but also about the kind of relationship that Katrina and I would have with one another. I loved my wife and we’d been married over twenty years; yet our relationship was stale and we both accepted that many things were missing in it. Katrina was a sudden complication in how I thought about that other relationship. Further, I’d REALLY enjoyed our kiss.

We settled up and left the restaurant and she asked to go to my room to freshen up and take my picture. She was clutching me closely to her in her very European fashion. We rode up in the elevator together, she leaned in a kissed me. “I’m sorry if I appear forward,” she said, “but you make me want to do that.” She blushed again.

I asked, “Boyfriend?”

“Not for the last couple of years,” she said. “I just haven’t found any body that fascinated me,” she paused and shot me an oblique look, then added, “Until I met you tonight.” She kissed me again.

“I’m very accepting of all the affection that I can get,” I said. “I am flattered and honored at your feelings. You should know that you make my heart beat faster.” I paused and said quietly, “You know I’m married, I assume?”

“Yes,” she said softly. “I’ve read your whole file. That makes no difference to how I feel. I know a lot about you … a lot.” I remembered that comment later; it helped explained how fast some things happened.

We arrived at the door to my hotel room and I opened it and let her in. I had at least left the place reasonably neat – I thought. Wrong. The room had been tossed. Clothes, drawers, and the loose appliances that had been in the room were strewn from one end of the room to the other in complete disarray. Someone had been searching for something.

Katrina grabbed me and whispered in my ear, “Don’t say a word.” She pulled a device from her purse and waved it around. She gestured to me to pack up and leave the room with my luggage. I nodded. I searched for things they might have taken — some spare cash, my laptop, my Filofax, client files — but everything of value seemed in place. I packed things up and we left the room.

Half an hour later I was in a new and better room on a different floor with apologies from the hotel staff about their lapse in security. Katrina had accompanied me through the room change but no one had questioned her presence.

After we closed the door on the new room, she pulled the small electronic device from her large bag, turned it on and swept the room. When she was through, she looked at me and said, “We’re OK to talk in here. No bugs. There were in your other room.”

“Does all this happen often?” I asked.

“I think you were being checked out by someone local. Could have been the East Germans. They don’t like it when someone they don’t know comes to visit, even to West Berlin.” She pulled the curtains on the windows even though we were on the eighteenth floor.

Katrina pulled a camera from her bag and posed me in front of a plain wall. She took a dozen pictures then put the camera away. “I’ll have alternate IDs for you sometime — maybe by your next visit.”

“What now?” I asked.

She shrugged and said, “We dance with each other.” She made a little dancing motion and gave the fringe on her skirt a sexy swish. I was a goner.

I turned on the radio and quickly found an FM station playing some of the smoothest and most romantic jazz in the world. I came back to Katrina and we started dancing. Katrina walked up in front of me and pulled my arms up and around her shoulders. She wiggled in close to me, then looked up and kissed me again. We stood there in the dimly lit room kissing and hugging for quite a few minutes. I was distracted by thoughts about the East Germans torturing my body but those faded the longer we danced..

After we’d “danced” for about fifteen minutes, getting closer and closer to each other until you needed a crowbar to pull us apart, she grabbed my chin and pulled me so I was looking straight into her eyes; “Will you make love to me? I am REALLY attracted to you. I’ve never done this before … just warmed up to someone on a … first date. You’re hot. You think I’m hot — I think. Let’s … errr … strike while the iron is hot.” She laughed slightly at her own humor.

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