It was a quiet pleasure, to enjoy a cup of coffee. He understood that many took it for granted. But there was a decadence in not having to be pressured to chug down black swill and get back to grueling work.
Out on his apartment’s terrace, with the city bustling below him and the placid clear sky above, he could slowly imbibe each sugar and milk laden sip without worry.
No concerns over missing his quarry if they came back undetected. No anxiety about being discovered some place he really wasn’t supposed to be. No need to get caught up in the rush of avoiding gun fire when his coffee hadn’t even finished percolating.
Retirement was quite nice. Jacob wondered why no one talked about it more often.
The very obvious answer turned his coffee sour. Right. He’d forgotten, for a moment, that he was the only operative within his agency with that particular ‘honor’.
Jacob sighed. The color of the condensed breath in the chilly morning matched the fading edges of his hair.
He supposed it was a different kind of luxury, to forget how rare his position really was. He’d spent a long stretch of weeks convinced that his ‘retirement’ was a poorly concealed ruse. That he knew far too much about his agency to be permitted to live. That one day he would suffer from a slow acting poison because he could risk turning a restaurant into a place of habit, or to find someone standing over his bed with a noose fashioned from his own bedsheets to make a convincing suicide.
But those anxious weeks had passed without a drunk stranger knocking into him to discreetly stab him. Eventually, he got used to the idea that he didn’t have a contract on his head. He wondered if it was because, being the best agent in its decorative history, the organization didn’t want to risk their remaining operatives by trying to eliminate him. Just because he was at a reasonable retirement age didn’t mean he wasn’t dangerous.
He never bothered to use his old contacts to find out. If no one was coming for him, then that was that. And if this was all just a long con until his relaxation meant his undoing then…well at least he’d enjoyed all of the brisk sunrises with warm coffee that he could.
He smiled around his mug. His drink was lukewarm at this point, so he got up to head back inside. Too long out in the cold was becoming bad for his joints anyway.
Jacob felt a part of himself loudly proclaim that it was from years of tumbling off of rooftops and wresting guns from enemy agencies that made his knees and hands ache. It certainly, most definitely, absolutely was not because he was getting old.
Thankfully he was distracted from his own denial by the loud whirring of a helicopter descending way too close to civilian property, and an amplified voice turned tinny from modified electronics saying, “Agent 200! Finally, your time has come.”
Jacob’s long sigh fogged the glass door in front of him. Without turning around, he swallowed down the rest of his coffee, because he needed all of the bolstering stimulation he could get for this upcoming conversation.