HP: Another Day at the Office

(Dinner with Friends | High Value Target)

“So, what do we know so far?” Howard asks, squeezing a red rubber ball in Philip’s side of their office. Philip examines a wall with Kalcyphir’s picture in the center and shoves his hands in his pockets, sighing. “Well, Howard, to be honest, as of right now, we know zip. There are immortals, or at least there’s Kalcyphir. We don’t know where he lives or what he does, but we do know when he comes into contact with specific people tragedies happen. Like the guy who put his son in the trunk and drove them into the Hudson a few months ago, or the woman who ran her husband’s truck into her stepson’s schoolyard, or that kid who stabbed his grandparents to death. Man that still gives me the chills,” Philip says, shaking his head. He grabs the flask next to his office PC and pours some whiskey into his steaming coffee cup, slurping when he takes a sip. “I’m honestly not even sure what we do here, Howard. I thought this would be an adventure, but this is turning into actual work.”

Howard sighs. “Work is always real work, Philip. Otherwise, it’d be another four letter word,” he responds, waving no when Philip holds up the flask.

“Speaking of four letter words, I got us a double date lined up. I’m really hoping she four-letters me, if you catch my drift,” Philip says, winking.

Howard’s face is still. “I meant play, Philip. Stay focused… but… is her friend attractive?”

“They might as well be twins, just different color hair. Here, I got a picture of Katherine and me at the Run DMC concert last month,” Philip reveals. He pulls a folded picture from his wallet. “She’s pretty, eh?”

Uninterested, Howard shrugs. “She’s alright. Nice body, but her face is soft and round. She looks a little gullible, but I guess she’s have to be if you talked her into anything,” he declares. Both men chuckle. “How’s her friend?” Howard asks, eyeing the strings between Kalcyphir’s image and several locations.

“Well, I don’t actually know, but Katherine says they look like twins. They both went to NYU, so you know they’re at least intelligent. I don’t know your type, but if you’re looking for a sister, I can see if she’s got some black friends, Howard,” Philip says, his slight intoxication becoming apparent. “I’m not really sure about the black dating scene or what you guys are into.”

Howard sighs. “It’s not different. Men like attractive women. I personally like petite woman with good proportions, but I’m not an ambassador for black people and don’t speak for everyone, just as you aren’t a representation of every single white guy in the agency,” Howard replies, excusing Philip’s ignorance. He clicks his pen several times and clears his throat. “Anyway, we can talk about that later. Where are the other pictures we’ve taken of Kalcyphir?”

“Her,” Philip answers, shimmying his metal desk drawer open and pulling out an envelope with photos. “You ever notice how this smudge appears in like half of Kalcyphir’s photos whenever he talks to someone. If I didn’t know any better, it almost looks like a midget in a robe… or it could just be my thumb.”

“Probably the latter, Philip. You snap the photos in short succession, so it’s to be expected. Either way, regardless of the smudge, these are some damn good images,” Howard comments, flipping through the stack. “I see what you mean about the smudge though. Especially in this photo where he’s alone on the bridge, just staring off into the distance. What a strange guy. I wonder what an immortal does with their time, or how they experience it,” Howard remarks. He stands up and walks over to the wall, observing a red twine connecting Kalcyphir’s picture to the Brooklyn bridge on a map of New York City. The twine is wrapped around a yellow pin pressing a picture of the bridge over its location. “I wonder if these immortals have any special powers like the Justice League or Fantastic Four comics.”

“Who knows. If he does have a power, it’s probably a bad one. Seems like he corrupts everyone he comes into contact with,” Philip remarks, taking another swig of his spiked coffee. “We should prob’ly try and see what’s up with this girl and the old man with the guitar. He’s always hanging around them. They might be immortals too. Birds of a feather and the whole bit, you know.”

“I suppose so,” Howard responds. He leans on Elles’ picture. “This one just looks like a tourist, or a bohemian French hippie. She doesn’t have the same look our guy Kalcyphir does. I doubt we’ll found anything, but it’s worth a shot. And, this guy, Lieutenant Colonel Aldguin G. Allen, is probably not at all involved with him. He’s one of the astronauts on the Challenger rocket launch next year.”

“They’re the only people we see the weirdo with. It can’t be coincidence, Howard. I mean, what if there’s entire networks of these guys that we don’t know about. Maybe they’re like the Russians. Embedded here and there and steering the direction of geo-political events,” Philip says, shrugging. “Think ’bout it, pal. What if the agency has enough information on them and we’re just fall guys doing groundwork because they don’t want to get their hands dirty. They knew he existed and gave us a hypothetical appearance and general location. I think it’s bullshit that we just happened to be the first people to engage him, Howard. Someone knows something we don’t.”

Howard glares at Philip and presses a finger over his mouth. Silent, he points at the light over the board, the table, the coffee pot and several cabinets. “I don’t anyone knows anything other than they exist and Kalcyphir is one of them,” Howard says, clenching his lips and waving his fingers. “We probably shouldn’t talk or think like that, and just do our jobs.”

Philip rubs his face and shakes his head. “Fine. I guess you’re right. They wouldn’t pull us from the FBI if we were incapable of something impressive,” he says , setting his drink down. Philip grabs a marker and a large notepad from his desk and writes ‘Bugs?’ Howard nods and holds up seven fingers. Philip writes ‘camera?’ and Howard shrugs. “Well, we have the means to tail them and I think it’d be a good start. We’ve seen Kalcyphir alone with the girl several times. If nothing else, we could just ask a few questions rather than lurking… but, we could also just approach the colonel. He might be more willing to cooperate seeing as how we’re on the same team,” Philip says, sitting down and sighing. “So, what’s our next move?”

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