“Okay, our target is leaving the house,” said Central Control. “What have you got for me?”

A pause on the frequency. “We can have a furniture truck that takes up half the road and putters through intersections to make him miss the light on Stephens Drive in two minutes,” said the operative from Traffic.

“Excellent. Do it. Okay, that gets us to Van Buren Avenue,” Central Control said. “We need something on Van Buren before he turns onto Grizzly Drive.”

“Car accident?” said an operative from Disasters.

“Negative. We don’t have any agents there in civilian cars,” said the Traffic operative. “All we have is a groundskeeping crew.”

“Excellent!” cried Central Control, loudly enough that the transmission broke up into static for a moment. “Have them close off a lane.”

“Central?” said Traffic. “A lane? Groundskeepers?”

“If anyone asks, they’re mowing the lawn.”

“But you don’t have to close a lane to mow the grass.”

“Lanes have been closed for less,” said Central. “And the point of the exercise is to annoy the target and make them late for work, not to make sense. You do it, and you do it now.”


“What next. Disasters?”

“We have a few cyclists and pedestrians that can jump out in front of their car on Grizzly Drive, and some motorists standing by who can back out really, really slowly. Not much more than that, not with this short notice.”

“Do it. All to gain time for our big finisher, you see.” Central chuckled slightly. “Construction? What have you got?”

“Oh, it’s a beauty, Central,” said the Construction operative in a heavy–but well-pleased–smoker’s voice. “We got a road closed to ‘replace pipes’ on Grizzly just before the turn the target needs to make.”

“Replace the pipes?”

“Wouldn’t you know it, they’re digging in the wrong place,” laughed Construction. “Oh, and there’s no side street that gets around the blockage. The target will have to go back to Van Buren and take the long way around.”

“Excellent. Great work!” crowed Central.

“Oh, that’s not the best of it. The target’s usual parking lot is closed for construction as well–we’ll think of some excuse–and the other lots are all full. The only one with any spaces is a 10-minute drive away, and Traffic has cunningly lain in several motorcycles in full size spots and people parked across the lines to make notionally free spots unusable.”

“Brilliant,” said Central, voice crackling with approval. “There might even be a promotion in it for you.”

“Just doing my job.”

It was hard work, cutting together a conspiracy to infest a target’s life with tiny annoyances. Death by a thousand cuts…a fitting punishment for someone who had dared to tailgate and then cut off the leader of the Illuminati in his blood-red Firebird near Indianapolis.

There was still more work to be done, however. “Hello, Flights of Birds?” Central said into the radio. “How many incontinent seagulls can you have on station, and how soon?”

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