When Polly Met Fleming: Part 3

Image of Polly and Fleming
Polly and Fleming

In Part Two, Polly was taken to a sea fort in the North Sea. She meets Commander Fleming of Naval Intelligence and questioning begins. Commander Fleming asks Polly about some of her personal belongings.


Polly squirmed in the wooden chair. “What time’s lunch?” She asked. The hunger built inside her gut as the thing under the flesh of her forearm tingled.

“I usually have luncheon at 1 o’clock—”

“One, that’s three hours. I don’t think I can wait that long,” Polly interrupted.

“Very well. What would you like?”

“Let’s see.” Polly thought for a while. “I’ll have the rack of lamb with a dozen spring potatoes prepared cheese Grateu. I’d also like a sweet pea fricassee. Oh, and plenty of bacon, garlic, and butter in that.” Polly had remembered the recipe from a cook book she’d read in the captain’s quarters.

“And this is what you’d like for lunch?” Fleming looked surprised.

“Is there a problem?”

“No.” Fleming smiled. “You realize that’s enough food for three people.”

“What can I say? I worked up a terrific appetite floating around in the water.”

“No doubt,” Fleming replied. He opened a drawer, removed a hand set from a radio telephone and ordered the meal.

“While we are waiting for your ahem, lunch to arrive, I’d like to ask you some questions?”


“How did you end up in the in the water?”

“I’m not sure. I think the ship I was on was torpedoed by a German u–boat.”

“Do you remember anything about the sinking?”

“No.” Polly shook her head.

Fleming leaned forward. “Do you remember the name of the ship?” He continued.

Polly scanned her memory. The shipping registry she’d read on the supply ship flashed through her mind. The name of a torpedoed ferry came to her. “The Sussex. That was the name. It was a ferry.”

“Hmm …” Fleming sighed. He wrote something a slip of paper. He buzzed in an officer’s aid. “Check the status of this vessel, please?”

The aid took the slip of paper, turned and walked out of the office. He returned in a few minutes.

When the aid left Fleming said, “Apparently, the Sussex was sunk in 1916. Which means you’ve been threading water for 25 years.”

Shit, Polly thought. I really fucked that one up. Her right hand shook. She felt lightheaded.

The radio telephone in the drawer rang. Fleming listened for a few minutes. He hung up and buzzed for the aid. He stood up from the desk. “Phillips, send in one of the royal marines.”

As Fleming opened the door, the armed soldier Polly saw on the catwalk earlier stepped in. He carried a Sten gun: the mass produced sub machine pistol favored by British commandos.

“I shan’t be long,” Fleming said, leaving the office.

The marine stood silently by the door. The smell of the sea and the cool air from the outside filled the room.

Polly looked around the office. There were only two exits: through the front door or out of the portal. Could she fit through the small opening before the marine danced nine millimeter slugs off her ass?

Fleming returned carrying a cardboard box. He set it on the desktop.

“Will that be all, Commander?” The marine asked.

“No, remain at your post, corporal,” Fleming replied.

“Yes sir,” the marine answered.

“What can you tell about these things?” Fleming asked as he emptied the contents of the box on the desk.

Polly looked at the items: a tube of lipstick with a built–in Taser and her smart phone. “It’s lipstick,” she said.

“Really.” Fleming unscrewed the beveled edge at the bottom of the tube. “Why would a tube of lipstick need all these electrical components?” Fleming asked. He pulled the piece away from the tube, revealing tiny circuit boards and microchips.

“I don’t know why the tube is like that? Aren’t all lipsticks the same?” Polly shrugged.

“What we found in the tube is unlike anything we’ve ever seen before.”

“I don’t know what to say.”

“Let’s put an end to the damn games. Are you working for the Germans and what is your assignment? Who are your handlers?”

“I don’t work for the Germans,” Polly answered. “Actually, in my previous line of work I was self–employed.”

“Polly, if you don’t cooperate you’ll be handed over to the hard interrogation room. I guarantee you won’t like the treatment you receive there.”

“All right. I’ll show you what the lipstick tube does,” she said.

Fleming gave Polly a suspicious look. “Don’t try anything foolish,” he said, eyes narrowed.

Polly clicked the end cap back into the tube. She placed her thumb on the end. A DNA sample, taken from her thumbprint, registered in the owner database installed in the flash memory of the tube. Polly pointed the tube, now armed, toward the marine. A stream of positively charged electrons flowed between the metal tube and the plug of lipstick. It struck the marine on the carotid artery. He fell to the floor.

Polly grabbed the machine pistol before it hit the floor. She flicked off the safety switch. “Keep your hands where I can see them,” she told Fleming. “Step out around from behind the desk.”

“Don’t be a fool. You’ll never get off this fort alive,” Fleming said.

“I’m thinking I will,” Polly replied. “I want a small boat and enough provisions to last a month.”