Dwight Frye sat at his desk stirring sugar into the tea filled bone china cup on his desk. He liked to be at work early. Next to the cup sat a plate with several biscuits. He picked one and snapped it in half, pausing to brush a crumb from his neatly pressed grey waistcoat. He sipped the tea and surveyed his office. All was fine, everything was in order, not a file, folder or pile of documents out of place. He smiled, and took a small bite from the biscuit.
His early morning tea ritual, a welcome pause between the early arrival at work and the start of the working day was one of the things Dwight has always done, even when he worked at The Union Tax Office.
However, this morning the peaceful ritual was shattered by the somewhat hasty arrival his boss who burst through the door and swept across the room to her office, pausing only to bark out an instruction.
“Dwight ! Come to my office a soon as you are ready. “
“ Yes Miss Berg.”
Dwight dryed his tea and put the plate and cup onto a side table. Smoothing his waistcoat and sharply pressed trousers, he tapped on the door to Miss Bergs office.
He entered and softly closed the door behind him. Hanne Berg was already sitting behind the large desk,. Four files arranged in a slight arc facing the visitor chair on the opposite side of the desk from Hanne. Hanne motioned for Dwight to take the seat.
“ I need you to do a HIPS. An all day job.”
Dwight nodded. HIPS was the jargon The Ranyhyn Company used for ‘Hiding in Plain Sight’ which usually meant a disguise of some form. Dwight looked at Hanne. He noticed her tired eyes were criss-crossed with lines of red. Her face lined with signs of stress.
“May I ask why you ask me, and not one of the other chaps, Miss Berg ?”
Hanne looked directly at Dwight. Even though her eyes were tired, the fierce sky blue of her eyes still had the ability to penetrate.
“This case is delicate, you are the one I can rely on for discretion.”
Dwight nodded and felt the warm swell of pride he felt every time Miss Berg complimented him.
Hanne indicated the four files
“These four, I need any information, gossip or sightings. I need you to observe anything regarding the Kjaer-Spivey’s. I also want to know anything you can pick up about clowns. “
“Clowns? “ Dwight let slip a curious glance at his boss.
“ Yes, clowns. Spend the day by the Pond in the Plaza then report to me this evening. Thank you.”
“ Of course, Miss Berg.” Dwight nodded and stood up “ I will get prepared and let you know when I am leaving.”
Dwight crossed to the door and closed it gently behind him with the merest click of the latch.
Hanne watched his shadow move away before opening her purse. She took out the silver cigarette case and lit one, taking a long drag before popping a couple of her guarana pills. It was going to be a long day.
Thirty minutes later, Dwight tapped on her office door and entered, transformed.
Hanne’s face split into a huge admiring grin as before her stood the semblance of the worst tramp ever.
Dwight smiled from behind a straggling beard which seemed an integral part of the cascading tangle of filthy brown past-shoulder length hair. The smile was punctuated by several blacked out teeth which complimented the smears of dirt that ran over Dwights face. Beneath the hair was a filthy brown coat, holed and tattered in many places from which hung, supported by a length of twine, a complimenting pair of faded green pants. Dwight stood in the doorway for a moment and then stepped inside a meter or so. He was carrying a vodka bottle and a gnarled walking stick.
Dwight nodded as he saw Hanne’s obvious approval.
Hanne coughed. She was assailed by a sudden and pungent odour of stale piss. Dwight had clearly made his disguise as authentic as possible. As her eyes filled with tears from the strong smell she waved Dwight out
“Nice touch, very convincing .. “ She coughed.
“Thank you.. See you this evening.”
Hanne crossed to the window and threw it open. A smirk crossed her face. Dwight was so conscientious.
Hanne waited until she saw Tramp-Dwight shamble across to take his place on the parkbench by the pond before closing the window. She pulled her chair up to the window, arranged her cigarettes and a bottle of water on the sill. Finally she raised the binoculars to her eyes and focusses on Dwight and the pond. It was going to be a long day indeed.