Short Story Fiction
Checkmate

Everything about her was a lie. From her birth certificate to her breast implants, Sarah Tyson was a total fabrication.

story image-checkmateHimanshugunarath / Pixabay

Everything about her was a lie. From her birth certificate to her breast implants, Sarah Tyson was a total fabrication. It had to be. The assignment she was taking on was dangerous. It was the only way to be sure she wouldn't be found out. Sarah Tyson had been groomed for the past two years. Nothing was left for granted. She was absolutely the best person to pull it off. Her identity was "custom made" for the job.

Powerful people in high places were counting on her to do what no one had dared to attempt. She was to be embedded deep within the Gardino family crime syndicate. Louis Gardino and his closest confidants had been extensively vetted by government sources.

No rock was left unturned. Nothing was left to chance. Sarah knew the Gardino family better than she knew herself, especially Louis Gardino. She knew his favorite drink, smoke, food, taste in women, aftershave, toothpaste. All things above and below the belt. The list was extensive, and Sarah knew it well enough to play him and other family members like a chess tournament grand master.

Her assignment was to gather information on the family's illegal drug and gambling activities, and to identify their well-placed political moles. An extensive dossier needed to be built against the family before they could be brought down. Current information was flimsy at best. It wouldn't be enough to hold up against the high-powered lawyers employed by the organization. Was she ready? She thought so, and so did her handlers.

Her assignment was about to begin. It started at the Excelsior, a posh restaurant on the East side. She entered with a date. They were seated at a table where she faced Louis Gardino from across the room. She paid no attention to him, but he noticed her. Her hair, her dress, what she was drinking, and the way she held her cigarette. It was all planned.

Gardino couldn't help himself. He had to make an introduction. When he did, he smelled her perfume. His favorite. It was all too easy. Before the evening was over, Louis Gardino left the restaurant with Sarah at his arm. She was his for the night. As planned, her date would be going home alone.

For the next two weeks, she divided her time between her luxury apartment and his penthouse suite. Gardino had two of his men sweep her apartment looking for bugs or anything that might incriminate her. They found nothing. From then on, it was a spot check every few days. Gardino was careful, but so was Sarah. She had to be. They always found her clean.

Gardino's lawyers did an extensive background check. Other than a well-placed speeding ticket meant to strengthen her cover, there was nothing. The ticket was scrutinized, and she was asked about it. She answered their questions to everyone's satisfaction... except for one. Louis Gardino himself.

He was the lone skeptic. To him, everything was too perfect, too clean, too exact. To Louis Gardino, it was unnatural. "Everyone makes mistakes," he had said it many times. Sarah squeaked, and he didn't like it. He confided in his younger brother, Angelo. "Something's not right with this girl. I can't put my finger on it, but I can feel it in my gut. Dig a little deeper. Use our political sources if you have to. I want some answers."

Angelo deduced that if Sarah was working for someone, she was getting paid. If she had an account somewhere, it would be hidden. He checked with his Cayman Island banking contact. It's where the Gardino family hid most of their wealth. Within a week, the contact had come through. Angelo

finally had an answer. It seems that Sarah had set up an account just before she and Louis had met. Since then, two deposits had been made by someone other than Sarah. The banker followed the deposits back to a shell company used by several government organizations to launder money.

It was obvious Sarah was not who she pretended to be. Her handlers had overlooked something and Angelo had found it. He handed the information to Louis, and they discussed how to best handle the situation.

Sarah's people were getting nervous. She had been silent for several days. An anonymous tip sent agents to the East River where they discovered Sarah's body.

The coroner found the paperwork that incriminated her. It had been stuffed into her mouth.

© Copyright 2023 by Scott A. Gese All Rights Reserved.


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