Date: 27 February 2010, Saturday
Location: 21st Street Coffee and Tea
And, as always, Affiliated Agent M supplies us with most interesting and engaging narrative:
I'm detecting a pattern with my missions. The initial try or idea seems to fail, and that they usually involve coffee. Two missions in and I'm a one trick pony.
At least it's a good trick.
My original idea was to leave this package at a rest stop while I was traveling the past two weeks. The idea was simple, you're taking a break, driving hours and hours across our land's interstates, you need a break. I do a lot of driving, and know how important taking a half hour break is to driving safer, and always have some sort of game in my car at all times. Sudoku books, Gameboy games, something to gives your mind a break while you're giving your body a break is a welcome change.
And when I departed on my most recent trip, guess what got left behind? A certain blue bag with a bunch of books and a fresh pen.
Now, as it's been almost 3 weeks since I last did a mission, I wanted to do one, and sometime soon. This Saturday, I grabbed a new card, the bag, and headed on down to the Strip District here in Pittsburgh. Those of you reading Agent L's blog not from the Steel City, the Strip District is an area in downtown (pronounced "dahntahn") Pittsburgh that has a collection of large wholesalers, small mom-and-pop shops, and on Saturday mornings is one of the busiest and most active places in the city.
It is also home to one of my favorite coffee shops, 21st Street Coffee and Tea. Lacking creativity, having supplies for a mission, and the overwhelming urge to get my Agent groove on, the answer was very obvious.
I walked around the Strip for a bit, enjoying the atmosphere, even if it was more sedate than usual because of the weather. I'm sure the scene is similar to many larger cities, but it's a pretty unique experience in the 'Burgh, and one that I always enjoy. (Even if it takes 20 minutes to find a parking spot). Eventually I made it to 21st Street Coffee and Tea, ordered a muffin and coffee, and went upstairs to their little loft seating area.
The original plan was to put the package in a little nook that would have been perfect, but I heard another set of footprints on the stairs behind me. I moved over to the couch on the far end of the loft, to maintain a better view of the coming and goings, and broke out the ole' laptop to relax among the bits and bytes of the Net. (What? Walking in the Strip is tiring, I earned that rest...)
While the nook would have been an ideal place, it seemed like I was never going to be able to pull it off, as when ever someone would leave, another would arrive. I'd never have the loft to myself. Time to improvise. I had two options, place it on the bottom shelf under the coffee table or behind one of the pillows of the couch.
In the end, the pillow won out, the key reason being it would lend itself easier to what I'm calling the 'Agent M maneuver'; package remaining hidden until I get up and walk away. And even this became difficult, there were a couple talking at the table near the nook, and while their line of sight to one another were perpendicular to mine, they could easily look my way the crucial few seconds it would take to 'put the package in play', as it were.
(Aside: yes, all my spy terminology comes from Tom Clancy novels and James Bond movies.)
I tucked the package behind the pillow under the cover of fishing for a notebook in my backpack. My cup of coffee empty, the package in play, I clean up and walk out of the coffee shop, grabbing one snapshot of the loft from across the way, noting even from a distance it's hidden enough.
Let's see if I can actually do something this side of creative for mission 3.