Finding Intelligence Is Slow-Slow-Quick-Quick-Slow
Monitoring Jackson on an assignment was like watching an expert ballroom dancer as he led his partner through the steps of a tango. Each precise action and every muscle movement had intent—sometimes to lure, to seduce, or to distract. As Jackson entered the casino, the dance began.
Step One: Observe and Listen. If my team did their job, the paces outlining where to be and where to focus were decided before Jackson even entered the room. But refinements and quick alterations always came up. In this case, Jackson strode to the bar by the high-limit tables and ordered a drink while he scrutinized the VIP area where Dr. Faust played. He sat long enough to become an unnoticed cadence under the casino’s hum, blending in while he surveyed the scene. With the right moves, the dealers, other players, and wait staff could be choreographed to move to his advantage. By eavesdropping and observing, Jackson sized up the players and began his manipulation using body language, facial cues, and alcohol. With eye contact, a shared smile, a casual brush of a hand, or an overheard conversation, Jackson would be able to identify willing partners for this set.
“Waiting on Faust,” Bill stated the obvious into the microphone. “We don’t have eyes on him yet, but he should be arriving any moment.”
“Bill, zoom in on the entrance,” I said. “Right. Do you see the man standing by the pillar by the slots?”
He moved the camera to the spot. “That’s him. Dr. Faust is here.”
Speaking into the microphone of my headset, I said, “Jax, we’re a go. Dr. Faust has arrived. Repeat, Faust has arrived.”
A crackly voice came through the speakers in my headset. “Can you say it one more time, darlin’? I love listening to you when you’re excited.”
That’s Jackson—flirting at the most inconvenient times. Come to think of it, maybe he never stopped.
The Killer-Bs chuckled as I regained composure. “Jackson, you’ve not heard me excited,” I said through clenched teeth into the microphone.
“Mmm, that’s true. I doubt any man has gotten you to where I could take you.” On Bob’s monitor, I had a visual of Jackson moving away from the bar, forward into Harrah’s.
I verified this on Bill’s screen. “Dr. Faust just sat down at the second table from the aisle inside Baccarat Bay. Is there an opening for you? Do you see an opening?”
“I don’t need a visual before I fill an opening.” Geez. The double-entendres flowed from his mouth. “But I need to do some foreplay before I get lucky here.”
The Killer-Bs bit their lips, muffling sounds of laughter while I flashed a dirty look.
“Let’s try to advance from junior high, boys,” I scolded them off mike. “Who has eyes on Baccarat Bay?”
Barry raised his hand. “I’ve got Dr. Faust at the second table. But Jackson needs to find a way to get in the room before he can think about joining the game.”
Step two: Embrace. At this point in the dance, our lead gambled his pride. Jackson had to find a connection to the inside and proposition her. Like a boy whose hands sweated and shook as he ambled across the room to ask a girl to dance, Jackson became vulnerable. Turning back was possible, but not without exposure. His role became reality, and total commitment to the operation crucial. It must be, because charming the right mark could determine how easily his goal would be met. He scoped each possibility one by one, and when his eyes stopped roving, he had found his mark.
“I have an entry point,” Jackson drawled.
On screen the cameras followed his movement as he circled past the security detail guarding Baccarat Bay. I shifted the monitors to the view from Jackson’s lapel camera, and it zeroed in on a blonde approaching who wore a dress with very little fabric and whose breasts required much more coverage than she gave them. Jackson’s camera sat at a level making the most of her two most prominent features. The Killer-Bs started snickering more than a group of eighth-grade boys stumbling upon a peephole to the backyard of the Playboy mansion.
I imagined Jackson giving her one of his disarming smiles and a nod, as she responded with a smile and a lick to her lips.
“Too bad we’re not playing poker, because she’s got a great high pair,” Barry joked.
“I’d go for a little Texas hold ’em,” Bill added, shooting his fingers like pistols.
The corner of Jackson’s mouth twitched in amusement as he listened to our banter in his earpiece, but he remained unmoved. The girl approached the velvet rope to Baccarat Bay, nearing the security, and Jackson slid up to her and tapped her on the shoulder. “Do you think you could show an old southern boy around this game? I have a mind for Poker, and it looks like you know what you’re doing.”
“Heh, heh, heh! Poker! He should have said he had a mind for poking her!”
The other two Bs and I shushed Bill.
The girl eyed him up and down and bit her bottom lip suggestively. “I’m Cherry Ryder.” She extended her hand for him to take. “And you are?”
“Jackson. Jayce Jackson.”
Click Follow to receive emails when this author adds content on Bublish