It was a weekday afternoon, and the park was empty, except for birds and insects.

Eytan watched as his former boss, Rafael, walked down the footpath towards him. The old sly, as they referred to him, had weathered and arthritis was evident in his movements. He had a bag in his hand and a stuffed toy tucked under an arm.

‘For my granddaughter,’ said Rafael, as he sat down on the bench. He held up the stuffed toy, a teddy bear. Frumpy, with a red and gold ribbon.

The two men remained silent. Thoughts of their years together. Some pleasant, some less so, but all filled with danger. A misspoken word. A moment’s hesitation. A bullet with their name on it. That had been their lives.

But the silence did not last.

‘The agency agreed,’ said Rafael. ‘A clean slate. We’ll leave you be, to live your life.’

‘What life?’

With his family lost, and he labelled a traitor, though the charges did not stick, Eytan had little going for him. But they got him on another charge. Dereliction of duty. Nonsense, he had yelled, but to no avail.

He had friends in the agency but operatives like him. None with influence. Not even Rafael.

More silence. The air turned heavy. A pair of starlings landed near their feet. The couple pecked the ground, got into a noisy altercation and flew off.

‘I fixed up a job for you.’ The older man handed a slip of paper to Eytan and said, ‘Call that number.’

‘A truck driver?’ Eytan glanced at the crumpled paper.

‘Times are hard but they pay living wages,’ said Rafael, and he got up and gestured with the stuffed teddy bear. ‘Got to go. My granddaughter.’

After a long silence, Eytan sighed, and said, ‘Same routine?’

‘Yes. Old habits. They worked so far. So why change?’

One minute. That was the routine. The head-start, so neither knew where the other disappeared. Eytan smirked. Old sly.

He watched the old man walk away. There was something strange in his former boss’ gait. Something missing.

Then it occurred to Eytan. The bag. Rafael had left behind his bag.

And the bomb exploded.

Copyright @ Eric Alagan, 2019


  1. You have crafted so much into this short tale, my buddy. It was the illusion of normality with a granddaughter and the starlings, that made it sinister for me. Great job. Hugs, always. Xx

    1. Hello there and good morning 🙂

      Yes, I can be sneaky in that sense – setting the stage to relax everyone including the victim. Of course, the reader gets to decide who the victim. (Sinister laughter.)

      Luv and hugz back to a great buddy,
      P/s You have not posted in a while.

    1. Hello Chiru,

      Thank you for your visit and comment.

      You read it twice – was it because you did not catch that hint about the bag in the earlier paragraph? If so, perhaps I should pepper it with another hint or so. Just wondering.

      All good wishes,

    1. Hello Jane,

      That was kind of sneaky of me – mentioning the bag in passing.

      Glad you liked the starling insertion – harbinger of what was to come between the men. Did the birds also sense the danger, one wonders.

      I read that flash fiction and left behind a “like”. The writer pulled it off well. Brave girl – good choice.


    1. Hello Ina,

      I agree. Cannot imagine a normal person choosing such a life. Must take a special breed – and I don’t mean that as a compliment.

      All good wishes,

  2. Maybe it is a good gift for Eytan, an afterlife. He’s losr everything already. In fact, his former boss is worse off, he has to live with the guilt if he had one and not know when is his turn to go next. So I kinda like the clean ending.

    1. Hello Windy,

      Well that is a dark way to approach the situation – a “clean ending”.

      I wonder what will get Rafael first – fate or his age.

      Have a great week ahead,

  3. That describes the life of a “spook” very well. They are dehumanized to do jobs that lack basic morality and then discarded to protect the agency controlling them. Usually a bullet, but a bomb cares for identity afterward when police arrive to face a wall of well constructed silence.

    1. Hello Ian,

      Espionage has been an instrument of government since the days of antiquity. The word “assassin” comes from “hashish”. Covert agents used to consume hashish before they went out to kill someone.

      Your comment regarding the police triggered an idea. I might post a sort of a sequel next week.


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