The target was coming into view. This operation had been rushed but the pieces had fallen into place and there was no reason not to expect success.
Less than a week ago we had learned of a plan to sell the product from a small shop near the outskirts of Seattle. This was our chance to get to them before they had time to learn the neighborhood or to become familiar with the locals. The shop they had opened up was across the street from the canal, which would help us logistically and give us a chance to pull off the operation with minimal, or hopefully no, loss of life.
We had first learned that the target was moving into this location from a bird who worked the docks. She had been in the area and watched as our target made a few small deliveries earlier in the week, judging the traffic and any other variables that they might have to deal with once they were in full operation. Two of my best followed up on the intel and tracked shipments and routes.
Timing would be everything if we wanted to maximize the impact. I had picked an assault team, including two scouts and a canine unit. We had opted to include a canine unit to ensure that all aspects of the operation were covered.
Yesterday we had done a trial run to ensure the timing. A critical part of the operation was the timing of the canal barge and its crew. We were in luck because this particular crew was punctual to a fault.
Now all that was left was to watch and wait for the target to appear. Pepe and I had dirt and leaves on our coats and we looked like we had been living on the street for a while. Hiding in full view we relaxed and waited for the target to approach. The rest of the unit was spread out and under cover. The canine unit was currently being held back near the dumpster in the alley.
Finally, the moment arrived and we watched as the inconspicuous panel van rolled down the street and parked near the entrance of the alley. Now the operation depended on timing. As if on cue we heard the plaintive burp of the channel barge’s air horn—our signal to move.
The plan unfolded like clockwork. The back of the panel van opened as the driver came around from his side. Together he and the guy in the back of the van began to drag out the large plastic bin. The driver had just rolled a rusty old cart near the back of the van when we hit them.
Four of my team dropped from the roof of the building nearest the van. They hit the top of the van in near silence and split into two teams. Back down the street the two scouts, who had followed the van, started a disturbance by charging the flower shop. They knocked over the stands outside that held urns scattering the flowers every which way. Our two targets stopped to look at the ensuing chaos from the flower shop.
The large plastic bin was now on the rusty old cart. It was time to make our move. Pepe and I headed to the cart as one of the teams from the roof of the van moved into position with the canine unit. The two dogs shoved the cart so that it began to roll across the street. The other team, with the assistance of the canine unit, engaged the two men, drawing their attention.
The other team members joined with Pepe and I as we maneuvered the cart to the edge of the curb near the canal. Together we shoved the plastic bin causing it to tip, then empty its contents into the canal, or so it appeared.
The contents actually fell onto the aft deck of the canal barge as Pepe and part of the team jumped to join the contents. I turned back to finish the operation. The two scouts responsible for the initial distraction joined me as we righted the bin back on the cart and shoved the cart out into the roadway in time to collide with a passing tourist bus. We disbursed and melted into the background confusion. The canines and their team had also vanished into the crowd now trying to make sense of what had just happened.
I knew that the canal barge would reach its dock in less than five minutes. The crew would tie it off and head home for the weekend without looking back at the new additional cargo in what should have been an empty hold.
Operation Lucky Strike had been a success.
I made my way in the shadows to a point near the van and listened to the two men as they tried to explain the chaos.
The driver was saying, “I have no idea what just happened. One minute we’re unloading a bin of halibut we picked up from the harbor. Then all hell broke loose as cats and dogs were running every which way and getting underfoot. The next thing we knew the cart and the bin was hit by a bus, but eighty pounds of halibut is nowhere to be found. I hate cats.”
Stevan Fisher retired from the U.S. Navy in 1992 and now lives in Southern California. Over the past decades he attended the University of California at Riverside, George Washington University School of Medicine, and several lesser edifices of higher education with mixed results. As a result of this varied education he has a degree in Medical Laboratory Technology and spent over 20 years in Navy Medicine and medical laboratories. He has been a freelance photographer, a web designer, dabbled in programming, and currently trains customers on a specific software package.
Fisher has self-published three novels and would rather spend his time writing than acting as his own publisher, art department, and marketing firm.
Show Stevan some love via PayPal at stevan_f(at)att(dot)net.