I put on a burst of speed and kept my eyes on the troublemaker who’d ruined what had been, up until ten minutes ago, a tedious evening of guarding teenage girls at a school-sanctioned Welcome Formal. Of course, when the girls you’re getting paid to protect are the daughters of the wealthiest and most influential people in America, you can’t afford to stop paying attention for even a minute lest you miss something. Something like an intruder dressed in black trying to break in through a window along an unused service corridor. Maybe it sounds weird, but I was actually pretty grateful to get out of there and put my training to use. If not for the man in black, my post at the school would have risked being the most boring assignment of all time. I didn’t sign up to be a case officer for the CIA so I could listen to girls whine about corsages and hair spray.
Without dress shoes slowing me down, my long legs ate up the gap between me and the troublemaker in short order. By the time I could hear his labored breathing and the staccato, panicked sounds he made as he ran, I knew I had him. All I had to do was tackle, disarm, and subdue him, and I’d be free to find out what the heck he was doing trying to sneak into a high school formal. He wasn’t at that dance to make friends, and it was my job to figure out who he’d targeted and why.
The darkest, farthest corner of the ill-lit public parking lot materialized in the darkness ahead. It was empty but for five cars scattered throughout the spaces. I didn’t have time to note their makes and models because my quarry stopped up short, clutching his side as though he had a stitch.
In retrospect, I should have realized it was a trap. If I’d known who was dealing with at the time, I would have handled it differently. Maybe I would have kept my distance. Maybe I would have run away screaming, as fast as possible. What I definitely would not have done is try to tackle him.
Which, of course, is exactly what I did.