31 October 2006

In Which Sarge Fears the Shadows...


Cpl.? Where are you? The days are dreamscapes of half-lived lives and dead children in mounds of acorns and pinecones. I sleep and wake with no sense of where I am or what borders separate dreams and wakefulness. Neither seems reality to me, but in both I find some necessity of experience. It has been almost two weeks since I have heard from you.

I am in Eastern Europe, Lithuania; I left Nwargo standing on a camouflaged airstrip in the cursed country of Nigeria. I am on my own, or rather, should I say, I head a team of five, and we are first to Lithuania to clean out a den of Frenchies who run a string of delis that launder most of the French separatist money from Asia. Everything comes through Honshu in Japan, across Vladivastock into the whole of Russia and everything ends up here on the heel of the Baltic in Klaipėda, with all of us around it, offering up bribes in broken German to a bunch of longshoremen. The rich go to Nida, just down the coast, everyone else is here, and the Frenchies have an easy time of with the laundering because everybody's looking in Grand Caymans and Isle of Man. From here it's up to Estonia and then across to Ukraine. At some point I will be in St. Petersburg. Perhaps we can meet there?

Stewart and Halliday are with me, you might remember them from that odd excursion in Patagonia, and I have a few newbies from the Academy. One shows promise, this kid Newfield. He's from Banff, and his instincts have been honed for Eastern Europe through his wandering the lonely Rockies near his home. We trained him at the base at Prince Edward's Island to get him a little out of his element and he seems quite able to adapt to new environments. He's smart, and he knows politics. Already he asks about Calrissian in ways causing me to wonder where he gets his gossip.

Your silence on that point is sore indeed. I wonder what it is in Berlin that keeps you from the pen, the ink and the ingenious methods of delivery I have come to expect.

During the day I work in a haze, cognizant, but in the motions of the work, the laying of the groundwork I half-exist in hallucinations of what might be. I have some sense that things can go wrong easily, and in my dealings with the network here, I can see why. I will be talking to a contact, say in the neighborhood of Eglė, and suddenly his voice loses meaning and I hear what must be his thoughts, terrible things full of prophesy and foreboding. I can barely listen. And then he is back, talking about where a drop must be made and yet I look at him and I feel he knows what I have felt, and in his look I see confirmation of that truth. And at night, the dreams, they are so clean and clear, a sight like that after you have just come out of a fog, the edges of things sharp so that it almost hurts, and in the dreams there are earthquakes and lovers, some dead and come back and in the distance there are wails and screams from the broken cities that seem to be African and European, with Canadian touches, like a bar in Montreal I used to go to lies broken apart in the middle of some avenue, or a newspaper cluttered and in pieces among the rubble of all this. And everywhere the screaming and people, some living, some dead, reaching out to touch me, the only reality among the smolderings and yet I feel myself a projection onto this new vision of somewhere and nowhere. I wake up in the quiet, the engines from the harbor the slightest vibration in the room, the window open with a cold breeze and I wonder what Calrissian is plotting and how I am involved. I wonder that I haven't heard from you? I think about Nwargo's worried face the day I left and Newfield's questions, almost impertinent, as if he knows he will never have to impress me to jump rank. Impulsively I get up and wander to the kitchen, the old woman, Liudvika, is already up and complaining about her rheumatism in the changing weather of this suddenly colder autumn.

It is the last absurdity, but everything seems like it's working. The speed with which I have set up this operation makes me nervous, much could go wrong, yet, I must say, it seems foolproof, and I think we can get most of the French operatives alive. From there we can take the operation to Estonia. I have some hope, but in this deepest night, it seems there are gears pushing the clocks in undiscoverable ways. The first bird of morning is outside, I hear him rather than see him, the shadows the trees have made against my curtains in the night with the moon are fading, replaced by their more stubborn realities.

I must go and make sure the safehouse in Kretinga is ready. If all goes well, that house will see us forward.

in anticipation of your correspondance,

I remain,


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