Things are a bit different here but I was ready. I had to battle through intense skepticism from my partners who would not believe the French could carry out this mission. I knew better. My contact at the Ecole Primaire, a beautiful, long legged blonde with a checkered past and a sexy accent assured me the operation would go off as scheduled, nightfall tonight, October 31. I was to leave the lights on, a signal that would not seem out of place to a casual observer.
As the afternoon wore on, I began to worry. Could I really trust her? I wanted to call, but knew she wouldn’t answer, not today. I tried to nap but couldn’t sleep, checked and re-checked my gear and finally got up to begin my preparations. I have a certain ritual about these things. It’s not superstition but I figure why mess with it when it works. There are a lot of faces I don’t see at the café anymore, but I’m still here.
Shower, shave, manly deodorant. My housekeeper, a beautiful petite brunette with Hungarian and Canadian passports and a husband for each had made sure everything was clean and neatly folded: black jeans, Giants T-shirt, Giants cap. The real stuff, traditional and black. My mitt wasn’t where it should be but I wouldn’t need it tonight.
I got out the Nikons and went to the locked drawer for the memory cards. I always keep them separate to prevent an accident in case I have children. It’s worked so far. Knowing I needed to be fast and agile and might have to quickly flee if things went sour, I decided on the D7000, 16-85 and SB900 with a small softbox. The softbox was a gamble but I thought I might have to cover a large area and knew it would put the odds on my side.
I went downstairs, turned the lights on, lit a candle to be sure and sat down to wait. It was a long night and I began to get sleepy. I knew if I fell asleep in this weather I would never wake up. I was thinking of calling it a night and watching a movie on my IPad when things started to turn around. First my partners returned from the station with a mysterious Brit and a pitcher of muscat. I was distracted for a moment by a tale of a beautiful French cellist playing Bach on the Eurostar and it almost cost me, but I was back on my game when the operation began.
They started slowly, sending the young ones out alone and in pairs. Despite all my preparations, the SB 900 let me down. I checked and re-checked the settings but something was amiss. I was able to hold them off with bonbons, but I knew my supply would not last the night. I finally got a breather, and was able to adjust the 900. I knew it might only work for one shot and I could hear the carriages coming down the hill; if they split off and tried to outflank me I was doomed. As my batteries were recharging and my eyes adjusted to the dark, I couldn’t believe my good fortune: they had decided on a standard formation and big smiles.
I held my breath and pressed the button.