Regret, Deflect, Respect
ericklins
1

The Spectroscopist

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It is obvious that Clovis listened to Ron’s offer and accepted it. If it were otherwise there would be no story to be told. The circumstances and the details of his offer, however, should sound more interesting. This is what Ron described to him:

It’s a job, and it involves transportation of specific goods all the way to Nantes, France. The goods are, as expected, classified, but “for what matters, legal and safe” (Ron’s words). The payment is five grand, in advance, direct deposit. All travel expenses are covered, including flying in business class, a pricy hotel room with a nice view to the river Loire, and a couple of days off duty, like a paid mini vacation. He would meet a certain guy, who would lead him to a certain place to deliver whatever he was carrying, which is inside a black backpack. He’d meet people with interesting things to present to him, in professional aspects, but he could simply return home and live his life if he wanted.

Clovis arrived in Nantes in the evening, went past security without any issues, and had a good night sleep at the hotel. Everything was according to plan until there, and he went to meet the guy for breakfast in a charming café just around the corner the morning after.

“Bonjour, Monsieur Clovis!”, a girl with colorful summertime skirt, a white t-shirt with a drawing and a denim jacket, stood in front of him and greeted cheerfully.

“Um…Bonjour”, Clovis replied trying not to sound too weird.

“I see you’re still on the path to learn this beautiful language. No worries. May I sit?”

“Um, sure. You are…?”

“Call me Aspen. I’m the “guy” you’re supposed to meet in this lovely morning.” She said making enormous quotation marks with both hands. “Excusez moi, mon cher, je veux un omelette s’il vous plaît, et une noisette.” Aspen ordered to the young handsome waiter, with a following smile.

Aspen looked like a pretty friendly type of girl. She was a cheerful brunette, wore glasses and walked and talked as if nothing really worried her. She seemed to be in her late twenties, was single, flirted with shy waiters whenever she could, and dressed like a college student. In fact, her t-shirt drew Clovis’ attention, which she noticed.

Aspen asked him if he liked the drawing, and again Clovis was more confused than actually able to give an opinion. The drawing was basically the ghost from the classic Ghostbusters movie logo, except that it was under a sniper mark instead of the ‘No sign’ red circle and crossing bar. Aspen realized that maybe she should explain it.

“I made this with my buddies in college, a while ago. We had many works with spectroscopy, and we thought that you can inaccurately translate that word to something like “looking at ghosts”, because that’s what you do when you’re analyzing substances and all. Sometimes you’re looking at their shadows, or at what was left of them after you perturbed the molecules with whatever you shoot at them, and that’s what you aim for. So anyway we came up with this little gag, that makes a lot of sense if you have low standards sense of humour. So basically, if there’s something strange with your molecule, who you gon’ call? The spectroscopists! Pa-du-da-du-da-da!” She sang on the beat of the movie’s theme song, smiling and clapping hands and dancing with her shoulders, and it was as cute as it was embarassing.

“Oh, okay.” For a brief moment Clovis thought that this girl may just be crazy. Cute, but a bit weird. Maybe it was time to get to business. So he asked Aspen how things were going to go with the job that he has been given and if the schedule was still standing.

“Merci beaucoup, beau gosse.” She thanked the waiter and got her attention back to Clovis, while cutting her omelette in perfect triangular pieces. “I’m glad you asked. They told you the delivery was supposed to happen tonight, right? Well, something came up and they had to postpone it. So, don’t freak out, but you’ll be on vacation the whole week, and we go and meet them on Friday. Lucky you, I’ll be your guide touristique.”

“But I should be back home by then, what happened?”

“I know that, don’t worry, it’s been taken care of. As for what happened, I guess we’ll have to find out.” Aspen said, unable to hide a childish excitement, as if there was a new adventure right in front of her.

She proceeded to eating while Clovis just stayed there holding on to his seat.

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