Susan del Piero entered the office of Claudia Reyes carrying a number of files under her arm. All the blinds were closed against the sun, which would be hot today, though not hot enough to induce a siesta amongst the staff who had been warned regarding introducing this Spanish staple custom into their workday.
Susan looked at the family photographs of the husband, kids, and pet dogs on the desk. She smiled and thought that all she had was a picture of her cat, a snapshot of a double-decker bus in London, and a real-life cactus that appeared to be thriving on her coffee dregs.
Claudia was wearing a red top today with a bright blue skirt. Her wardrobe had changed dramatically since being posted here from Helsinki six months previously.
“How was Burgos?” asked Claudia, finishing off an email.
“I must return sometime soon and pay a proper visit,” replied Susan. “I didn’t even have time to look around the cathedral and see the tomb of El Cid, as I wanted to report what I had found.”
“Sounds promising,” said Claudia looking up at Susan. “What was it that made you hurry back here?”
“James Adam was able to write down some information. He couldn’t speak as his jaw is still wired shut.”
“What kind of animal would do such a thing?” asked Claudia. She looked away and shook her head.
“James thinks the attacker was smaller than him, about 5 feet 9 inches, because when he glanced around – and James is 6 ft 3 inches – he saw the top of a bright red MAGA baseball cap. That’s all he remembers because the attacker concussed him.”
“MAGA? A fellow American? That is not possible? Unless… is James left-wing at all, you know, Democrat, or even worse, a socialist?”
“I asked him and he said he was not a commie, but definitely a Democrat and not a Republican.”
“Jeez, do we have a one-off assault here then, Susan? Did we find anything on the CCTV footage at the station?”
“Yes, we did… and here is our man, by the looks of it, still wearing his baseball cap with shades. He appears to have blond hair. He’s not looking at the camera but is carrying a black travel bag.”
“Travelling light, perhaps a local, but not with blond hair, surely. Okay, chances are he’s gone, but let’s see if any of the taxi drivers or the drivers of the airport bus recognise him and give us a clue. Ask Sanders and Russell to head up there and ask the drivers and check the hotels in the centre, to see whether this person showed up there. We have to find this person, just in case they are hell-bent on attacking Americans whenever they come across them.”