Sitting on the bench across from the public clinic, Becker wondered what he was supposed to do now. His calls to the escort agencies had turned up nothing. The commander, uneasy about communication over unsecured public phones, had asked David not to call again until he had the ring. Becker considered going to the local police for help‑maybe they had a record of a red‑headed hooker‑but Strathmore had given strict orders about that too. You are invisible. No one is to know this ring exists.
Becker wondered if he was supposed to wander the drugged‑out district of Triana in search of this mystery woman. Or maybe he was supposed to check all the restaurants for an obese German. Everything seemed like a waste of time.
Strathmore’s words kept coming back: It’s a matter of national security . . . you must find that ring.
A voice in the back of Becker’s head told him he’d missed something‑something crucial‑but for the life of him, he couldn’t think what it would be. I’m a teacher, not a damned secret agent! He was beginning to wonder why Strathmore hadn’t sent a professional.
Becker stood up and walked aimlessly down Calle Delicias pondering his options. The cobblestone sidewalk blurred beneath his gaze. Night was falling fast.
There was something about that absurd name that nagged at the back of his mind. Dewdrop. The slick voice of Senor Roldan at Escortes Belen was on endless loop in his head. “We only have two redheads . . . Two redheads, Inmaculada and Rocio . . . Rocio . . . Rocio . . .”
Becker stopped short. He suddenly knew. And I call myself a language specialist? He couldn’t believe he’d missed it.
Rocio was one of the most popular girl’s names in Spain. It carried all the right implications for a young Catholic girl‑purity, virginity, natural beauty. The connotations of purity all stemmed from the name’s literal meaning‑Drop of Dew!
The old Canadian’s voice rang in Becker’s ears. Dewdrop. Rocio had translated her name to the only language she and her client had in common‑English. Excited, Becker hurried off to find a phone.
Across the street, a man in wire‑rim glasses followed just out of sight.