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 Continued Story

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Shelagh
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PostSubject: Re: Continued Story   Wed Mar 07, 2018 5:06 pm

"Mary Billingham" checked in at the hotel. After a hot shower, she sat down and wrote a letter to her boss back at the station. She explained that she had been offered a position that would be a great career move. She thanked him for all the help under his leadership, and said how much she had enjoyed working with him and all the police men and women in his department.

Next morning, she walked into her new place of work, ready and eager to make a success of this unexpected opportunity. It was 7am. She was the first of the day staff to arrive. When the chief walked in, he acted as though he was unaware of her punctuality, but inside he was pleased. It confirmed that he had made a good decision. If she was to remain a covert operator, the less staff saw of her the better, and she knew it.

"Today, you will be briefed about the serveillance work, and told the name of the informer who will help you to settle in at the sorting house. He's not police, so don't expect any help from him about your duties. He's being paid well to protect you, but that's as far as it goes. The briefing will take place at 2pm this afternoon. You will arrive here using the name Mary Billingham, and say that there was something you forgot to tell me yesterday. Spend the rest of the morning buying some suitable clothing." the chief explained as he handed over some money, and photos of girls dressed casually for her to copy.

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LynnCSWC
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PostSubject: Re: Continued Story   Wed Mar 07, 2018 5:19 pm

"Before I leave, Chief, I wanted to let you know I appreciate your confidence in me. I know this will be a tough assignment. This style of clothing is foreign to me but I'll make an all-out effort to become comfortable in them."

"We don't have time for pep talks. I will tell you these things because I may not be able to say them later. Stay within your briefing. Keep good mental notes. Above everything keep alert. I'll see you this afternoon. Regular civilian clothes, so as to not stand out." He wanted to say more but kept it professional. 

"Copy that." She saw the look he gave. It was almost paternal.
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alice
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PostSubject: Re: Continued Story   Wed Mar 07, 2018 6:41 pm

"Mary Billingham,Mary Billingham, Mary Billingham."   Over and over she said it to herself.  The last thng  she had best do was forget it.
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Abe F. March
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PostSubject: Re: Continued Story   Wed Mar 07, 2018 10:33 pm

After the reaction from the Chief to Sam’s phone call, Sam went home and downloaded the photos onto his PC.  They were surprisingly clear considering the distance involved and through a window on top of that.   “Should I back off”, he wondered.  “It is Police business and not mine, or was it?”  Sam sat in front of his PC and tried to sort things out.  He reflected on how he became involved.  He also remembered how often people have witnessed a crime in process and turned away, not wanting to get involved.  Sympathetic and concerned citizens did get involved to help their fellow man.  Sometimes they were shot in their attempt to save another person. Was playing it safe a normal human tendency or was that something influenced by society? Indeed, life was a risk.  He recalled things in his own life that involved taking a risk.  He also recalled the times when someone lent a helping hand.  He realized that much of his frustration was due to lack of information from Chief Murphy.  Why did the Chief keep him in the dark?  If the Chief was planning something, why wouldn’t he let me know?  Didn’t he trust me?  That question may be at the root of the problem.  He didn’t trust me to keep things confidential since I threatened to take it to the Press.  Was he concerned about CYA?   Covering your ass was something many people in positions of authority did to protect their position.  Was that a conflict of interest?  Was placing one’s personal interests above the interest of the public acceptable?  No, in my opinion it is not acceptable.  I will continue to gather information and use it if or when it becomes necessary.  I will give the Chief a bit more time.  Carrie will let me know what is happening at the Hoffman house.  With these thoughts, Sam shut down his PC and decided to give it a bit more time. 
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PostSubject: Re: Continued Story   Thu Mar 08, 2018 8:06 am

Time was an interesting concept.  it felt good not to feel rushed.  just doing   a  thing when it  was necessary rather than jumping in ahead was the way to go.  Sam was happy with  his  decision.to wait.
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PostSubject: Re: Continued Story   Thu Mar 08, 2018 10:40 am

The briefing was anything but brief. The chief gave precise instructions about the surveillance operation. He would have said more but an emergency occurred, and he was called away. After he left, Deputy Snyder made a passing remark as the undercover policewoman was about to leave. She considered flirting with him fo practice, but decided against it. It did put the idea into her head, though, so she headed to the nearest bar to test out her new personality on some unsuspecting guy. It's just acting, I'll be fine, she reminded herself. Get this wrong, and I'll be in deep trouble, was a more compelling thought.

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PostSubject: Re: Continued Story   Thu Mar 08, 2018 2:38 pm

In her job, flirting was frowned upon. Since she had been busy with her studies, she barely dated. Still, she felt she had a good idea of who might be trouble. She also needed practice wearing the new clothes so she went to the hotel, cleaned up and changed. She would have liked to have washed them first but she did take off all the tags and pins. 

She looked at her reflection in the mirror. The dress fitted her in all the right places. The stockings accentuated her legs. The shoes had some heel to them but not too high that she couldn't run if she had to. The make-up was just right not like a clown but more like a model. She put a few things in her evening bag and went to the nearest bar.

Most of the men had on business suits. A quick one before going home, she figured. There were a group of men in the corner who looked as though they were farmers or at least used to hard work in the sun. She strolled as casually as she could towards the bar. She sat on the bar stool. The bartender came over. 

"What'll you have, miss?"

"Do you have any white wine?"

"Coming right up."

As she was waiting, a young man close to her age approached her. 

"I haven't seen you here before."

"Do you come here every day, then?"

"Most every evening on my way home from work. My name is Jake and yours?"

She gave him a casual once-over. Rugged good-looks. Nice suit, not fancy but not shabby. Five o'clock shadow but otherwise clean cut. "I'm Mary. I'm just passing through. Spent the night after the snow fell. I decided to check out the local establishment before moving on tomorrow."

Jake took that as an invitation to sit next to her. "I'm glad you did. We have a lot of pretty women here in town but you are the prettiest one I've ever seen."

She blushed then smiled. "Why thank you."

"You have a beautiful smile."

The bartender brought her white wine. "You having your usual, Jake?" 

"That'll be great." He looked at Mary. "Would you like to take this conversation to a booth?"

She glanced at the paternal looking bartender. He gave her a slight nod as if to say he's a good guy. "Sure, but I can't stay long. I have an early day."

"No problem." He helped her from the barstool and pointed to a booth across the way.

She swayed her hips enough to make him notice but not enough to be too obvious.

He loosened his collar and swallowed hard. As she slid into the booth, he held her drink for her. Once she was settled, he got a brief peek at her cleavage. He averted his eyes and put the drink on the table for her. He sat across from her. "I take back what I said earlier. You aren't the prettiest woman I've ever met."

She frowned. "Here I thought you were a gentleman."

He frowned then smiled. "I'm sorry, I meant to add that you were the most beautiful woman I've ever met. You are elegant and without saying much I can tell you are charming. I'd like to get to know you better."

She smiled. At the same time she thought, I might have gone a little overboard but I guess I don't have to flirt to get a man's attention.
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PostSubject: Re: Continued Story   Thu Mar 08, 2018 6:38 pm

It was great fun talking to Jake and Mary never once forgot she was Mary.
The time flew by and she wished it had gone much slower.   
She found she liked being flattered.  She vowed to come back again.
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PostSubject: Re: Continued Story   Fri Mar 09, 2018 1:42 am

When she left the bar, she was smiling to herself.  “This is fun”, she thought.  As she continued walking to her hotel, the seriousness of her assignment hit her.  The comments by the Chief came back to her making her realize that this was not fun and games, but a dangerous assignment.  She felt confident that she was up to the task. Challenge was for her a natural motivation.  She looked forward to getting the details of her assignment before allowing her imagination to lead her astray. When she reached the hotel there was a message in her mailbox.  The message was from the Chief and said: “Meet me at 7AM in my office for a final briefing.  Be prepared to leave immediately on your assignment.”
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PostSubject: Re: Continued Story   Fri Mar 09, 2018 8:01 am

Mary McBride aka Mary Billingham put down the phone where she had received the voice message in her voicemail inbox. She took off her new clothes and hung them in the bathroom and closed the door as she steamed up the water to wash the makeup off. She hoped that the few wrinkles would fade from her clothing by morning. As she changed into her nightgown, she planned what she would take with her in the morning. She set the alarm on her cell phone and closed her eyes. She had a few fleeting thoughts of what she was going to face in the next few days.

The music filtered into her vivid dreams. She was dancing with a stranger. He was Middle Eastern and not nearly as handsome as Jake. He was nowhere the gentleman either. She turned her head and saw the clearly marked restrooms. She made her excuses and walked towards it.

The fog lifted and she realized it was her alarm. She went through her morning ritual as fast as she could. Today was a big day. A day that would change her career path forever. 

She had her clothes from the previous evening on under a long trench coat. The snow had picked up and was flying around. Her carryall, packed with a variety of civilian clothes, was trailing behind her as she came into the station house. The chief motioned her to his office. She glanced no one else was nearby. She followed him inside.

"You are going to the airport. You are going to pretend to be coming from an overseas flight. Here are the tickets." As she took them the chief continued. "Your vehicle will be fine in our parking lot. I will take you to the airport in my personal vehicle. This cannot be in any official books. I told my deputy that I have an out of town family emergency. I think it is best if we go to another airport and fly you into the local one. Silly, I know but if the criminals see you go into our airport and right back out, that could be the end of things."

"Makes sense. How will my contact know me?"

"I made sure he has your picture. Let's go out the back way before anyone here sees you."

They left the building and got into the chief's private vehicle. The chief took a route that he thought would keep them from prying eyes, including the locals.
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PostSubject: Re: Continued Story   Fri Mar 09, 2018 4:49 pm

When the young female police officer arrived at the airport, she checked in with airport security as pre-arranged. An airport security guard took her through to arrivals. Her luggage was put onto the baggage belt along with all the other bags and suitcases from flight 450 from Belarus. As she walked to collect her luggage and go through the arrivals gate, Mary Billingham, daughter of a Belarussian mother and English father, started her life as an undercover agent.

When she walked through to the crowd of relatives and friends waiting at the arrivals point, she scanned the crowds and saw two young men holding up a sign with her name written on it. They greeted her warmly as she walked towards them. "Did you have a good flight?" one of the men asked.

"Yes, it was fine," Mary replied in an East European accent.

"We'll take you to your hotel," the other said, which was a lie. Mary knew she was not going to make it to a hotel.

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PostSubject: Re: Continued Story   Sat Mar 10, 2018 5:30 am

They escorted Mary directly outside to a waiting Limousine.  The limousine had tinted windows where one could see outside, but prevented someone from looking in.  They threw Mary’s luggage into the trunk and opened the door for her to enter. There were two other girls  sitting in the backseat.  They moved over to make room for her.  One of the young men got into the front seat while the other squeezed into the backseat with the girls.  The driver placed the car in gear and they were on their way.  Mary, wanting to be polite, extended her hand saying, “Hello, I am Mary.” 
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PostSubject: Re: Continued Story   Sat Mar 10, 2018 7:51 am

The man in the back seat with them gave Mary a hard look. "You all be quiet. We won't be in limo long."

Mary noticed his broken English with a European accent. She nodded her understanding. Play along to get along, she thought.

The limo wound its way along and eventually came to a house. All the girls' eyes went wide. One of the other girls started to say something but Mary gave a slight head nod. The girl understood to be quiet. 

They were all escorted into the house and placed in a room. Just them no luggage. A woman came inside and lined them up. She turned faces this way and that. Opened mouths. When she got to Mary she said in broken English, "You have beautiful teeth. How that possible?" She saw the hesitation then realized they had been threatened about talking. "You speak."

Mary answered in her practiced broken English. "My parents wealthy until bad man take over our town. They send me here. Make money to help out."

"You willing to do what it takes?"

Mary put on a bewildered look. "I be nanny to wealthy man children."

The woman shook her head. "You take off clothes and go in shower. Come back clean and we see what you have to offer."

Then another woman came in. "No, she come with me. I have special orders just now." The woman grabbed Mary and pulled her out of the room. 

As they left Mary heard another girl being told to strip and shower. She rolled her eyes. 

She heard a whisper in her right ear. "Do as I say. I will make sure you are protected." 

"Are you, Robin?" Mary whispered back.

"Yes," she whispered but louder she added. "You come along, no talking, just doing."

Mary put on a frightened look, which wasn't difficult as reality set in.
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PostSubject: Re: Continued Story   Sun Mar 11, 2018 8:03 am

Sam decided to send the photos he took from Carries window to Chief Murphy . A small note that said:  “Attached photos taken three days ago.  Just thought that you may wish to have them.  Sincerely, Sam Sullivan.”
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PostSubject: Re: Continued Story   Sun Mar 11, 2018 9:13 am

Mary was taken to a room where three other girls were waiting, wondering what was going to happen to them. She knew that she was not going to be transferred to the home of a rich American couple to care for their children, but maybe she should pretend otherwise. She shook off Robin's arm and asked, "When will I be taken to home of children I take care of? Why was I not taken to the hotel? What is going on?"

"Shut up," Robin said. "Just do as you're told. Stop asking questions. Things around here could get real nasty if you don't co-operate. Understand?"

"No, I don't understand. Why you threaten me?"

"You are here to do a job. If you do it well, you will be treated well. If you do it badly, you might end up dead. Now do you understand?"

"Yes," Mary said meekly.

A woman with two men walked into the room. Robin asked all four girls to stand up. The woman walked up to the girls, and one by one, looked them over and assessed their appearance. She seemed to favour one of the girls but had not made up her mind. Robin intervened and said, "This girl arrived today. She protested less than the others."

The woman examined Mary closely. "I like her face. Yes, I'll take this one."

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PostSubject: Re: Continued Story   Sun Mar 11, 2018 2:02 pm

What is going on, Mary thought. Her bewilderment must have shown through. 

Robin said, "You go with her. Remember, you do as told."

Mary cast her eyes down. As she did she saw the woman was not really a woman at all. A man made up to fit into a woman's world. Strange, she thought. 

"My name is Terri. I will show you what you will be expected to do. Follow me." 

Mary was concerned but followed along. When they were clear of the room. Terri came alongside her. She smelt perfume and felt a breath, then she heard. "I'm with the FBI play along." 

Terri and Mary went outside and got into another limo. Terri said to the driver. "Take us to the hotel. I must get this one ready for her date." 

The vehicle started up and they left.
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PostSubject: Re: Continued Story   Sun Mar 11, 2018 5:03 pm

At the hotel, Mary was escorted to a small conference room. A man sat waiting. When Mary walked through the door, he stood to his feet and walked over, offering his hand. He shook Mary's hand warmly and held onto it while he explained that she would be treated well, and she would be safe provided she did everything asked of her. "What do you want me to do?" Mary asked.

"You will not be expected to sleep with anyone, if that is worrying you. I have important foreign contacts from Eastern Europe. I want you to be nice to them. Talk to them. Gain their confidence. Encourage them to drink. Then they will tell you things to impress you. That's the information I seek," the man replied.

"Do I have a choice?"

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PostSubject: Re: Continued Story   Sun Mar 11, 2018 6:19 pm

"Your other choice is to die for not following my commands."

"I'm sorry. I didn't mean to offend. I was thinking of something I heard on television. I thought it is what one says in America when given such an opportunity." 

"You are forgiven, this time. Do not let it happen again. Terri will take you upstairs. She will help you into an appropriate dress for the evening. Your first gentleman caller will be here in a half hour."

Terri escorted Mary to the elevator without any further consultation. They arrived on the third floor and took a left then a right. Terri used a key card to get inside. There were three racks of clothing. "Let me make sure no one else is in here. Sometimes they have several girls." Terri checked everywhere. No one was around. Terri turned on the alarm clock radio, came closer and whispered. "It was nice meeting you the other night. I wish I could have told you about my real job."

"Jake, is that you under all that makeup?" Mary whispered back.

"Yes, but don't let on. I felt it was the best undercover I could do in order to get closer to what is going on. I obviously don't have the looks. Robin was selected for another position. That leaves you." Out loud he said in his Terri's voice, "I think emerald green will please the client. Let's see what this rack has to offer." 

Mary took the hint. "Yes, ma'am." They slid some dresses around. 

"This one should fit you. Go into bathroom and change. Be quick about it."

Mary changed and when she came out Terri had a small broach to pin on the dress. Jake whispered, "This bug is all we have to get the information at the same time as Mr. Big downstairs. Don't be obvious but don't get too far away, either. Be friendly but not too friendly. Get the picture?"

She took the broach and pinned it on. "I got it." 

They went back downstairs and inside the conference room, Mr. Big introduced her to a Middle Eastern man. Mary narrowly held back her gulp. This is the man I saw in my dreams, she thought.
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PostSubject: Re: Continued Story   Sun Mar 11, 2018 6:34 pm

Mary did not wish to hang around  with these folks, but had no other choice She did not want to die and she had been warned.
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PostSubject: Re: Continued Story   Sun Mar 11, 2018 11:59 pm

Flashbacks were coming unexpectedly.  She thought about films she watched with James Bond as 007.  Women were always involved and undercover usually involved bed covers.  Women were tools for obtaining information from agents. In her role, the reverse was in process.  She was engaged to get information from the foreign agents, in this case, foreign spies.  “It would be helpful if I knew what information they wanted”, she thought. “Agents on a mission were thoroughly briefed. On the other hand, playing the innocent role – not knowing had the advantage of keeping her safe should she be subject to interrogation. She can’t be forced to reveal something she knows nothing about.  She was comforted to know that there were people watching out for her and would intervene if she ran into trouble. She reprimanded herself for imagining things that didn’t exist.  She then thought about her training as a police officer.  When interviewing suspects, their response to questions were revealing.  Either they were telling the truth or hiding something.  Responding without hesitation was the best defense.  She did a mental check.  " Stick to your story. Show excitement about being here.  Be the one asking the questions.  Use flattery. Eastern men are especially vulnerable to flattery and will talk to impress the woman.  Her thoughts were interrupted when she was introduced to the man that resembled the person she saw in her dreams. No, he wasn’t Jake.  This man was robust, had a small scar on his left cheek and a receding hairline.  The gray hair around his ears suggested that he was in his late 50’s.  Mary made a slight bow to the man, extended her hand and said, “Pleased to meet you Sir, I’m Mary.”
He took her hand while giving her an appraised look.  His eyes took in her figure as a whole but lingered at her cleavage.  He was obviously pleased at what he saw.  “Call me Rodney”, he said.  He took her by the arm and directed her to their assigned table.  He pulled out the chair leaning over her as he pushed her chair to the table, taking a closer look at her cleavage. She detected an aroma mixed with sweat, smoke and heavy perfume.  Combined, it was repulsive, however she didn’t let it show. Mr. Big took the menus presented by the waiter and passed them around.  As they pretended to view the menu, their eyes were on each other, attempting to size up their perceived opponent. The menu included cuisine typical of Russian traditional foods that included warm and cold soups, like borsch, Cucumber and other vegetable salads. Dark breads, pickled vegetables, fish, caviar, and pirozhki, popular Russian traditional foods. Tea, coffee, mineral water and even vodka to wash down these foods.
The type of food one eats reveals much about a person. Mr. Big and Mary were curious as to what Rodney would order and waited for him to make his selection. Instead, Rodney turned to Mary, saying “Miss, have you seen something that appeals to you?” 
“I’m still looking.  Everything looks good and I just can’t decide.  Do you have any suggestions?”
“I suggest, on this special occasion, that we have some caviar to start things off.  Does that appeal to you?”
“Yes, that sounds wonderful”, she said with a smile showing off her beautiful white teeth.
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PostSubject: Re: Continued Story   Mon Mar 12, 2018 9:36 am

Caviar was Mary's least favorite Russian delicacy.  it had far too much salt in it and she watched her salt intake religiously..
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PostSubject: Re: Continued Story   Mon Mar 12, 2018 10:29 am

The chief opened the envelope and pulled out the photos. He decided to visit the safe house to see if the two girls, Natalie and Suzy, recognised any of the  young women in the photos.

As usual, the girls were reluctant to say anything. "If you can help us, we can make it easier for you to return home," the chief said.

Suzy picked up one of the photos. "I don't know these girls. This man is a, how do you say? ... pimp," she said. "He looks after the girls. He's not a nice man."

When the chief looked carefully, he could see a man in the background, watching.

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PostSubject: Re: Continued Story   Mon Mar 12, 2018 2:12 pm

The chief wished he could do like they did on television and have the photo enlarged and instantaneously know who this was. Alas, he had to do it the old-fashion way. He went back to the office to see what the technical gurus what they could do. 

On his way, his thoughts wander to Mary. She was a lovely young woman with a great work ethic. He hoped she was doing well. He hated that he couldn't give her more time to prepare but with the life of young ladies hanging in the balance that just wasn't possible. 

Robin was another good person put in a bad situation. He wished he could contact either of his female colleagues. He knew that would risk everything. He thought once more of the man in the photo. He hoped his "techies" could help him figure out who it was.
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PostSubject: Re: Continued Story   Mon Mar 12, 2018 2:37 pm

Mary may have been in the chief's thoughts, but he was not in hers. All her concentration was focused on the man she was supposed to seduce into sharing information. She was glad she did not know the type of information; she might be tempted to broach the subject and risk exposing herself as a covert operator.

The man in her company had consumed large amounts of alcohol, but seemed none the worse for it. She stayed patient and mainly listened. When the breakthrough came, she was almost caught off guard. The drink was beginning to take effect. "You are a very pretty girl," he began. After comparing her to several famous film stars, his drunkenness was finally confirmed when he declared that Mary was beautiful, more beautiful than any other girl he had ever met. "I am a very important man in my country," he declared. Mary listened carefully, aware that he was about to say something he might later regret. "I can control what comes into the country. I have the power to do that. It has made me a very wealthy man," he said, and then winked.

Mary wondered if he was talking about guns, or drugs or money laundering. Whatever it was, she needed to find out.

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PostSubject: Re: Continued Story   Mon Mar 12, 2018 3:01 pm

"Thank you for kind words. I think you handsome man." Mary didn't know if saying more would encourage or discourage Rodney.

"You are very lovely, my dear. You make me feel much younger. I had no one as lovely as you in my youth. It was all business. I worked my way up and now I have power and wealth beyond your imagination."

"Really?" Mary widened her eyes as if she wanted to know more about this.

"Yes, you heard of me, maybe?"

"Perhaps and perhaps not. I watch some television."

"I do not advertise on television. Not on the internet, either. Still, I have lots of money and power."

"Are you an ambassador? I heard once they have lots of money and power."

"You could say that. I am like an ambassador of traded goods."

"I like pretty dresses. Could I get pretty dresses from you?"

Rodney laughed, loud and hard. "I would buy you a store full of pretty dresses. I do not trade in them. I trade pretty baubles for shiny metal."
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