rules of [redacted]
“Be a secret agent, they said. You’re the Russian James Bond, they said. You’ll drive fast cars and wear sharp suits, they said. Bull shit,” Victor grumbles into his scotch. “Here’s the truth: you will bust your ass to chase your dream and in return you will spend your whole career sitting in a windowless basement and redacting things.”
Christophe brushes away a nonexistent piece of lint from his sharp suit. “Victor, you’re a valued member of the team.”
“Oh shut up,” Victor groans, downing the last of his scotch and reaching over the bar to grab the bottle and pour some more. “You don’t have to toe the party line with me, Chris. We’re off the clock. Just admit that I’m the laughingstock of the entire agency. I’m a big boy, I can take it.”
Chris smirks. “First of all, no, you can’t. Second of all,” he leans in close, “you get to read everything. Do you know how many people I’d kill for your security clearance levels? Seven. I would kill seven people.”
Victor narrows his eyes. “…you already know which seven people you’d pick, don’t you?”
Chris snaps back upright with effortless grace. “A girl’s got to have some secrets,” he grins, taking a small and dignified sip of his drink. Victor takes a gulp of his own, wiping the corners of his mouth and grimacing as the alcohol burns its way down his esophagus.
“This stuff is all a lot more boring than you’d think,” he grumbles. “It’s also useless unless you know the code words, so everything is just gibberish to me. Earlier today I went through an entire file that read like it was spit out by a Markov Chain bot with a severe syphilis infection. It said something like ‘Don’t allow Eros to totter the puntsman, it vertically genders vermiculites.’ I don’t even know what they could possibly be talking about.”
Chris goes deathly white and he grabs Victor’s arm so hard that he splashes scotch everywhere. “What did you just say?”
Victor furrows his brow, looking from Christophe’s saucer-wide eyes to the white-knuckled grip on his arm and back again. “I just said a lot of high-scoring Scrabble words, so you’ll have to be more specific?”
“The name, Victor. That name. Did you just say Eros?!”
Chris slams his hand down on the bar. “Motherfucker. He’s back. Shit. I have to call Yakov.”
“…what did I say?”
Chris is already off his barstool and has tossed a bunch of cash on the counter. “If Eros is back, we’re boned, Victor. Just…okay. We can get this under control but I need to work fast. Find everything you can about Eros for me, please. Please. Off the books, okay? And whatever you do, do not engage with him.”
And just like that, he’s gone, like the perfect spy that he is.
Victor looks into his glass with a skeptical eye and briefly wonders if he’s been poisoned, but the fact remains that he’s the world’s most useless secret agent, so who would possibly want to?