A Brief Glimpse of the Grays


The monsoon rains had finally arrived, but they’d failed to wash the acrid scent of burnt electronic surveillance equipment from the morning air of downtown Flagstaff.  The Gray Man gave the scene a disdainful shake of his head as he walked to the rendezvous site.

He walked down San Francisco Street to Macy’s, where he was to meet with his anonymous new ally.  Macy’s was the ideal place for such meetings, a busy coffee house blur of intersecting cultures, classes, colors, sexualities, appearances, employments and unemployments, and proclivities legal and otherwise.  Two ravens swirled overhead and quorked at the people on the street.  The scent of roasting Macy’s coffee beans overcame the lingering scent of burnt surveillance equipment.

The Gray Man shook his head again at the surveillance system job. It was not one of his hacks, it was far too flamboyant.  Flamboyance was counterproductive and attracted too much attention.  The Gray Man did not want attention.  He had thoughts, beliefs, practices, and actions that risked his job, credit rating, insurance rates, CCW permit, and/or prison time. He preferred to be gray, like a snowflake in a storm, like average in a crowd, like a raindrop in a monsoon storm.

Soon, the one he was to meet walked quietly up next to him and whispered the code words “Huginn and Muginn” as she looked straight ahead.

“How did you know it was me?” the Gray Man asked her as he looked her over.  He noted approvingly that she did not stand out from the crowd at all.  

She smiled and said, “you were the one I noticed last.”