Something cold slithered through me.
“Smile at me then start to head straight down to the restrooms you pointed me to. Don’t turn to look back, keep your gaze ahead, and look casual.”
She smiled gently. To any onlooker it would have seemed genuine, only I knew it was far from the case.
“You’ll get up before me and go over to the bathrooms, and there my colleagues will be waiting to speak to you.”
I nodded blankly. I was not truly afraid, just stunned.
She patted my knee kindly. “If you cooperate with us you have nothing to be worried about. We’re on your side.”
Taking a deep breath, I rose to my feet. I dropped my unfinished ice-cream into a bin and walked slowly towards the restrooms. My mind was whirling. What did they want with me? I had done nothing wrong. When I arrived at the Ladies, I almost knocked, but stopped myself and pushed the door open.
As it shut behind me I looked up and saw a man and a woman awaiting. They were dressed casually, but the moment they saw me they came over.
“I’m Sarah Yale,” the woman said. She had thick dark brown hair, and carefully blank eyes.
“I’m Gregory Wang,” the man introduced. He had an accent and was thin, gaunt almost, and black eyes.
I looked nervously between both of them. “What is this about?”
“Miss Morrison, we’ve become aware of your… relationship with Mr. Messana.”
If he expected a reaction he got none. I had done nothing wrong and I was not going to let them intimidate me.
“We have been monitoring the criminal Messana family for a couple of years now for various criminal offenses like corruption, money laundering, suspect dealings with the Russian mafia, and even murder. However, we’ve not been able to get anything or anyone to rat on those slippery bastards. This is especially true of the Capo Luca Messana who moves about almost leaving no trace, even digitally. His operation seemed to be iron clad and impenetrable… until you came into the picture. We need your help.”
My response was automatic: fuck you! I tried not to let it show and especially not to speak it out loud. “What do you want me to do?”
“We have solid reasons to believe a massive drug trafficking operation in collaboration with their associates in Italy is active. The biggest players in both countries will be involved in the deal so it is our big chance to catch them all red-handed. Having someone like you on the inside, who is on our side, would be invaluable.”
“I’m not on the inside,” I said calmly. “He barely speaks to me, let alone about his business.”
Gregory Wang glanced at his colleague, then back to me. “We understand this, but at this point, any leverage we can get would be akin to a miracle. This potential bust is the largest case we have ever worked on, and it has also already caused the death of one of our officers and tears of too many of our members. Lives are at stake here. We hope that you’ll be willing and able to assist us.”
“You’re not listening to me,” I said. “He doesn’t speak to me about business. Ever.”
They shared another look with each other. Sarah Yale took over. If they were playing good cop bad cop I wondered who the bad cop was.
“We have a script that you would have to follow. It’s very effective. Just follow it and for the most part it works. All criminals love to boast and they just need a bit of encouragement. It is especially effective after sex.”
I took a deep breath. “So this is a honey trap?”
“How are you going to record the conversation? Do you plan to bug the house?”
“We will fit you with a wire now, and if you agree to help us we will send our operatives around disguised as your friends and fit up the place.”
“You want me to wear a wire?” I asked in disbelief. This was just so out there. Never in a million years did I ever think I would be having this conversation with FBI officers.
“Yes, do not worry. Your safety will not be endangered in any way. We’ll make sure that it is completely undetectable.”
I could feel a deep frown working its way into my forehead. Anger churned in my stomach. “Do you understand what you’re asking me to do?”
They nodded quietly.
“You tell me he’s the head of one of the biggest criminal enterprises in the States. You tell me you have been hunting him for years with no results and then you ask me, a little waitress to wear a wire and to put my life and the life of my entire family in danger. Guess what? Based on that information he’s smarter than you guys are and therefore smarter than me.”