“A Spoiled Game” excerpt II

‘Travelogue’ excerpt from A Spoiled Game: A Jack Swift Case by Carl Knauf

He turned onto 12th Avenue, and before dropping down the Federal Triangle metro stop, he huffed at the Trump International Hotel. “Man, that was some sort of crazy.”

Swift took the Blue Line to Foggy Bottom, and then the short 12-minute walk to the Watergate Hotel.

“Man, this was some sort of crazy as well.”

As he walked through the spotless lobby, past spiraling silver pillars and wavy golden walls, he observed, “This is rather fitting.”

The hotel clerk raised his brow, unimpressed, and smugly asked, “Checking in?”

Swift approached the sleek desk. “Yes. That’s a nice suit, I must say. I feel quite underdressed, been traveling all day, you know.”

“Yes, sir,” the clerk said with little interest and much doubt. “Name, please.”

“Hickis, Michael Hickis.”

After a few exaggerated taps on the keyboard, he verified, “Here you are, Mr. Hickis. Just the one night?”

“I believe that’s all I’ll need.”

“And it looks like you prepaid.” He handed Swift his room keys. “Enjoy your stay, and let us know if you need anything.” The clerk offered a fake smile.

“Thanks. Don’t worry; you won’t even know I’m here.”

Swift snatched the key, brushed shoulders with history and political enthusiasts, visitors, and networking lawyers, and took the elevator to his floor. Inside the room, he bolted the door and unpacked his own black suit, ropes and hooks, and tiny flasks. After a thorough prep and a flowing stretch, he poured himself a neat two fingers and enjoyed the darkening view over the Potomac River from his balcony.

“This feels too easy. What a beautiful country.”

Swift sat and placed his feet on the railing and drafted a message on his cell phone. An unsaved number popped up on the screen. He knew it was Anna and his thumb quivered between answering and ignoring the call. For a moment, the vulnerability of loneliness widened, but soon subsided with the realization that there was work to be done. Swift swiped the red circle with guilt and sorrow.

He finished his note and sent the email. “Damn crazy, but beautiful.”

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