Aedan looked at the note passed to him along with the photo on the beach then looked back up to verify the address. He knew he was on the correct street. Now he stood in front of a movie theater. There was nothing on either side that looked like a better place to meet someone so he accepted this was the correct place but now what?
The bus ride back to Havana was without incident though he had stayed out in the sun a bit too long and his burned back refused to let him get comfortable during the entire trip. It was a 15 minute walk from the bus station to where he now found himself excluding a stop for a bite to eat along the way. Similarly, it was now fifteen minutes before 9pm when he was supposed to meet…somebody.
The theater looked as though it were pulled from the 1950s and stranded in that time. It was clean, well lit and according to the sign, showing only one movie which happened to start at 9pm. Operating under the assumption that whomever had asked to meet him here wasn’t planning on meeting on the street, Aedan joined the line to purchase a ticket.
Ten minutes later Aedan was handing his ticket to the smartly dressed young man controlling access to the single movie room. Once inside the room he was only slightly surprised to see the condition of the room. It was fresh and clean if a bit small compared to what he was used to but it also looked comfortable despite the smell of cigarette smoke. There was a decent crowd of people already inside but still plenty of seats available. He chose on that was in a more sparse area which happened to be near the back.
Aedan took his time sitting. He knew he was walking a fine line between being visible to the person he was meeting while attempting to not be too conspicuous to anybody else. He estimated that if their meeting wasn’t supposed to be quiet, it would have been in a different place but nor did he want to sit in the middle of a crowd of strangers. Once he was sitting and comfortable, there was little else to do but wait for the movie to begin. Wait to be contacted. He scanned the crowd around him but saw nobody that appeared to be paying any attention to him.
At 9pm the lights dimmed and the screen came to life. Aedan mused at the lack of commercials he was used to seeing for 15 minutes before a movie. He also mused that smoking was permitted here and hoped it didn’t get too heavy while he was there.
For the next 10 minutes Aedan focused on trying to keep up with the movie with his very limited grasp of Spanish while simultaneously maintaining an awareness of his surroundings. His attention switched back completely to his surroundings when there was movement and whispers in the aisle behind him. He turned slightly to see a young couple passing behind him and continuing to the center of the aisle.
As he contemplated his actions and how much longer he would wait, a masculine voice spoke quietly into his right ear “Don’t turn around, Mr. Charron. Don’t draw any attention to us.”
Aedan nodded slowly and whispered back “Of course, though maybe we could have met at a different..”
“No, this is fine. We’ll talk more later. Right now I just want to give you this. At 10pm tonight you will receive an email with more information about the contents.”
Aedan felt a tap on his upper right arm and without turning, reached to blindly accept what was being handed to him. It was a small envelope. He took it and slipped it into his pocket. “I’d like to ask some questions after making the trip all the way down here.”
The man quickly responded. “Not here. Not until after you have read the email.”
The journey that brought Aedan to Cuba began with an email from a generic looking email address. After digesting the significance of that first email, he first wondered how anybody outside the legal system obtained his work address. That remained a mystery to him. That this person that he still hadn’t seen implied that he knew the address was now assuring to him that he wasn’t being lead on some wild goose hunt.
Still, there was some lingering doubt. “Can you at least tell me who I am speaking to?”
“Good night Mr. Charron. Don’t forget to look for that email”
The sound of the man standing and walking away before Aedan could get in another word was unmistakable. The temptation to turn and get a look at the man passed quickly. Obviously the man was concerned about being seen and with the envelope now in his pocket, whatever it might go to, Aedan too felt more pressure to be discreet.
For fifteen minutes he watched the screen but barely heard a word as his mind raced. He had hoped to have some answers after this meeting. He was promised something for the case he was trying and all he had now was a small envelope. It’s contents were as yet unknown to him.. What he did know that he had lost the plot of the movie but had thirty minutes to kill and this was as good a place as any to see it pass.
While watching the movie, like a kid Aedan slipped his hand into his pocket and squeezed the envelope between his fingers looking for a clue to it’s contents. It was unmistakable. Inside the envelope was a key but to what He didn’t know.
As Aedan left the theater, the key in his pocket seemed to gain weight. He scrutinized each face that he saw looking at him. He was looking for something familiar or for some hint that they were aware of what he now carried but to his relief he saw none.
He guessed that the walk back to his room would take more than twenty minutes which would have him knocking at the door just when he would be expecting the email about the key. Not knowing what to expect when the door opened or from the email, Aedan stopped for a drink at a place along the beach.
Right on queue, the waitress brought his drink right when his phone beeped. He pulled it from his pocket and checked the time. His phone read 10:01pm. He recognized the sending email address as the same that he had been communicating with and eagerly opened it.
The email left him with more questions than answers. It contained a website address with instructions to click on the link. It went on to explain that clicking on the link would identify his phone and nothing more. The website would not be accessible to him until he left the country and would now respond only to his phone and no other device.
With everything work related achieved that could be at this time, Aedan set the phone down in front of him and picked up his drink. A quick inventory of the people around him returned happy faces. The live band was backed by the sound of crashing waves and the moon was just rising above the horizon to light the night sky. The rest of his time in Cuba would be the vacation he had been waiting for. The rest would wait for him.