Check-in Time for Martha Stevens and Mike Johnson

          He knew the philosophy of leaving nothing to chance was in reality most likely impossible.  Chance had a way of working itself into a horrendously big knot-ball of endless possibilities, and therefore, one could theoretically never leave nothing to chance.  The best one could hope to achieve was to leave as little to chance as humanly possible, monitor the situation with the eyes of a hawk and have a few viable exit strategies for those times in which the real world threw a zinger of a knot-ball in one’s direction.

          That being said, he had become an expert in the art of disguise.  He supposed being an expert in disguise went hand-in-hand with being an expert in the art of surveillance as one relied heavily on the other for its success. 

          He had the physical body structure which made it possible to pull off a seemingly endless variety of personas.  His physique was slim, but not so emaciated as to draw unwanted attention to him.  Thin men were more capable of dressing as a woman, an elderly man or a foreigner than the average obese beer-bellied American male.  Thus, he worked hard to maintain his thin, fit physique.

          Today, his disguise was Mrs. Martha Stevens, a middle-aged widow from Orlando, Florida, whose husband recently kicked the can and left her enough funds to travel wherever she desired, which is why the dear Mrs. Stevens was in this hotel in Colorado on this day.  True, Orlando was technically in the South and he was linguistically inept in respect to the Southern drawl.  It seemed so easy to fake, but most people can spot a false Southern accent a mile away. However, Orlando was a metropolis of foreigners and retirees from all points of the country.  He could fake a vaguely Midwest accent of no definite origin and nobody would raise an ear.   He had a general rule not to reuse a persona, but he did have an affinity Mrs. Stevens and her ilk.  He had used Mrs. Stevens five or six years ago on a jaunt over to Paris, kill the mark and enjoy the Eiffel Tower and delicacies of the local Patisserie weekend.   Martha Stevens loves her French baked goods.

          Martha Stevens was a gregarious woman with a commanding voice.  People noticed her.  That was his plan. Nobody expected a middle-aged widow in a bold, Hawaiian print dress with pictures of her dead husband, Merle, to be a man or a killer.  People liked Martha Stevens, and would never believe she were somehow involved in any sort of sordid affairs.

          After the hoopla of the arrival and check-in of Martha Stevens had died down and she had become just another guest who just happened to be residing in room 327 for the next week, he quietly, with great stealth, snuck out to his car, and became Mike Johnson.  Mike was mild-mannered, a world away from the vivaciousness of Martha.  Nobody would look twice  if they saw Mike entering or leaving his room number 212. He was white bread, mayonnaise, bland.  Mike was a blend-into-the woodwork person, and that was by design.  Mike was an exit strategy if worse came to worse.  Cain prayed it wouldn’t come to that.

The End

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