The Epitome of Discretion

Written as an exercise on a writing course.

“Good evening.  A fine night.”

“It certainly is.  Did you…  Have you made the arrangements?”

“Of course.  I have just the man.  He should be perfect for your… project.  He is fast, efficient, and of course the epitome of discretion.  And he is available on the night in question.  I have but to send him the last of the details.  Assuming you agree to allow us to work on your behalf, of course.”

“Who is he?”

“Oh, my good sir, of course you know I couldn’t tell you that – even if I knew, which, beyond the necessary contact details for making contractual arrangements, I don’t.  However, I believe this is the gentleman most suited to the assignment as you have described it.  You need only agree, and sign the document, and our contract will be formalised.”

“Okay, fine – but I do think I need to know something about this guy.  His qualifications, if you like – even if I don’t get his name.  I mean, you say he’s good enough – but it’s going to be a complicated job.  The targ…  My associate… isn’t an easy person to get to.”

“Well, I don’t think it will do too much harm for me to assure you of my operative’s credentials by outlining his skills to you.  He is a young man, but of many years’ experience.  So he combines health, fitness, the agility and acuity of youth with the adeptness and erudition of a graduate of the Shadow School.  I can tell you no more, except that your payment will assuredly buy you the outcome you desire.”

“All right.  I guess I’ll trust you.  Where do I sign?”

“Just here.”

“There.  Okay, the money’s yours.  And I can expect you to update me on the day?”

“Oh, no doubt; no doubt.  Oh, there is one thing I should possibly clarify with you…”

“Go on.”

“The plans you provided to outline the approach…  They do involve rather a large number of rooftops, ledges and the like.”

“Yes?”

“Well, it’s just…  Ah…  You don’t happen to have anything, you know, more… street level?  It’s just that I’m…  I mean, my operative…  He has a bit of a thing about heights, you see.”

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