The man walked quickly, swinging his cane. Although his outer clothing was suitably dark, stray light from occasional windows touched the lace at his wrists. His footsteps echoed against tall houses. From time to time, he turned quickly to look behind, but always the street seemed empty. He tucked a book tighter under one arm and walked on.
Eventually, with a last glance to the rear, he turned down a narrow lane. No light shone from friendly windows here. His steps slowed.
“Keep walking,” hissed a voice in impeccable French. A shadowed figure came to his side, matching his pace over the uneven cobblestones. “You’re being followed.”
“I was careful,” the walker protested. “I saw no-one.”
“Two of them, keeping well back. You must not be found with it. Give it to me, and I will see it safe to France this very week.”
“No. I took the risk. I want to collect the reward myself.”
“This is too important to risk capture. I can pay you here and now.”
The walker cast another glance over his shoulder. In the faint light from the street he had left, a pair of burly silhouettes showed. One held a lantern high, but its light was insufficient to penetrate far along the narrow alley. “Merde. Give me my reward then.”
Quickly they exchanged anonymous packages.
"It is done. I bid you adieu."
"Wait. At least tell me your name."
The stranger thought for a moment. "Some people call me Maurice . . . "
* * *
Grisham stopped typing and rubbed his eyes. "OK, let's see what I've got. I've got a walker, I've got a talker, I've got a midnight stalker. . . Damn it!" He pulled the tiny speakers out of his ears. "I have got to stop listening to the Steve Miller Band when I write."
Opening: Jeb.....Continuation: Anon.