Fates 59: The Lincoln Conspiracy
This is just the first scene, which isn't very long, but it's funny, so I thought I'd pep up some Saturdays with it.
16 MAY 2008
DOUBLETREE SUITES, ROOM 407
“Beards are unprofessional,” Casey said for the third time. He removed his oil rag and wiped at an invisible smudge on the gun slide.
Chuck debated the skinny black tie and cast it aside for the silver and blue selection Ellie had packed for him. Skinny ties were probably not worthy for meetings with Generals, no matter what the 60s’ news agencies had to say. “Honestly, I was expecting resistance from Ellie and Sarah, not you,” he said as he fitted the tie under his collar.
“Plenty of professional men have beards. Riker has a beard. You don’t get more professional than that.”
“Unless that is a real person, Bartowski, your argument is worthless.”
Chuck began tying a Windsor knot. After a couple of days in the same hotel rooms, he and Casey had fallen into a pattern of getting ready in the morning. Casey was cleaning his Sig. Chuck was avoiding looking at his sunken eyes and fighting off the vague, buzzing headache he’d had since February. “What about Abe Lincoln?” Chuck asked. “He had a beard.”
“And look how well that turned out for him.”
“What do you mean?”
“Bullet to the head, Bartowski. Bullet to the head.”
“All because he had a beard? Casey, that conspiracy is just—” A knock at the door made both men look over. “—Absurd. Who is it?”
“Delivery.” The voice was unfamiliar, and unexpected. Of course the bosses knew where they were staying, but Chuck had lain awake in the night, waiting for the door to burst open, waiting for the final bullet to come. When dawn had come, he’d begun to hope again. Now, though, he traded a glance with Casey. He retreated away from the door, finger sliding the bandage on his wrist down. He nodded at Casey, once.
Casey opened the door to a man in a generic delivery uniform. Code phrases of a sort were exchanged and Casey, apparently satisfied, signed for what seemed to be a garment bag of some sort. He closed the door.
“What is it?” Chuck asked, wandering back.
“Orders. Your cover, it looks like.” Casey set the bag on a hook by the door and unzipped it. Both men stared at the contents.
“What the hell?” Chuck asked.
Casey smirked. “Hope you weren’t too attached to that beard, Bartowski.”