With a wave and a smile, she was off, and suddenly the world was not nearly as bright and exciting for the two White House staffers who dragged themselves back to their hotel. When they reached the lobby, Tucker said he was exhausted and headed up to his room. Brick would have liked to do the same, but he saw two men in the hotel bar with whom he needed to speak. The code names for the counterintelligence agents Alan Akers had assigned to follow Brick were Rocky and Shooter. Brick could never remember which one was which, but he nodded as he entered the bar, and they followed him to an empty booth in the corner of the room.
“How did you guys make out the other night with Tourischeva?”
The two agents shrugged and began to tell Brick the embarrassing story. “When you left the restaurant, Tourischeva killed the bottle of wine and walked out to a waiting car. Two of his guys were in the vehicle, and we followed them when they took off. They clearly knew this town better than us, and they made multiple loops around different blocks of the city to shake anybody who might be tailing them. It worked, because we lost them at an intersection crowded with traffic. We cruised around for a while, looking for the black Audi they were driving, and we thought we spotted the car on a street near the lakefront. We parked and got out and made our way down to where the car was sitting. It was dark—there wasn’t anyone around—and we walked right into a trap. The two KGB goons came up behind us with drawn pistols and told us to lie down on our stomachs so they could frisk us. We weren’t carrying weapons, so they basically just made fun of us and called us amateur spies. They took off our pants, and then the bastards stole our car. It’s tough to maintain your cover as a clandestine operator when you are walking down the street in your underwear.”
“You gotta be kidding me,” said Brick.
“I wish we were, Colonel. They had already scoped us out ahead of time, and we are operating on their turf. It makes us look like fools, but it’s tough to track a KGB general when he has so many people watching his back.”
“These guys say anything else to you?”
“Yeah, they had a message for you. They said that you should be looking for a son of Lubyanka, not General Tourischeva.”
“Great, I’ll keep that in mind. I’m going to hit the sack. I’m glad to see you guys are wearing pants.”
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