|Image source: openclipart.org|
Monique looked through the stolen purse again and considered. Using the woman’s airline ticket and passport would only be asking for trouble; she might leave safely but de Amerikaanse politie would be waiting for her. Better to trust her luck with the fake passport and ID she had in her own bag. “But I can perhaps buy myself a couple of hours,” she muttered, fishing around in the American woman’s giant purse and finding the cellphone. The train to Schiphol was a good place to be anonymous; people chatted among themselves or simply looked out the window. She called the hotel.
“Yes, my name is Monica Germain,” she told the clerk. Interesting, the American had not only her looks but her first name. “A strange woman entered my hotel room—room 504—this morning, and attempted to take my purse. I managed to keep it and run, but left my luggage behind. I’m afraid to return to my room.”
“I understand, madam. Can you describe the woman?”
“Certainly.” Act American. “She was my height, five—excuse me, ah, 175 centimeters. Brown hair, thin.”
“We will let the police know,” the receptionist said. “I would think it is unlikely that she would still be in your room, though. If you wish to return, one of our staff will be glad to accompany you.”
“Yes, perhaps that will be best. But I am on a train at the moment, so I will have to turn around. It may be some time. Could you be kind enough to send security upstairs to make sure my room is unoccupied?”
“Good idea, madam. I will do that.”
“Thank you,” Monique ended the call. It was unlikely that her twin would be arrested, but a little confusion would work in Monique’s favor.
At the airport, her first order of business was to cash in the airline ticket. Act American, chatter as if her plight mattered: “I’m traveling on business, and now they want me to go to Frankfurt and then to Paris. I’ll fly home from Paris. I know it will cost more, but they think it will be worth it. Euros will be fine, I’ll use them.”
At the hotel, Monica was turning the room upside-down, looking for her purse—she could have sworn she’d left it in the room before she went down for breakfast!—when the concierge and the security guard opened the door without knocking. “Did I call already?” she asked. “I’ve lost my purse.”
“Come with us, please,” the concierge said. He and the guard each took an arm and marched Monica out of the room before she had a chance to protest.
“For the last time,” Monica snarled in Dutch, “I’m not Monique Fleek. My name is Monica Germain. I was born in Eindhoven, yes, but I have lived in America since 1992. Call the Consulate, dammit!”
The security guards looked at each other. “But you are a perfect match for Fleek,” said the guard who had brought her down to this basement office, “and why would you ransack your own hotel room?”
“Again. I was in the restaurant, eating breakfast. I left my purse in the room and brought my key and my credit card with me. When I came back upstairs, my purse was gone.”
“Perhaps we should let the Americans deal with her,” the conceirge said. “Monica Germain is a guest here, and if that is who she is, then we apologize and all shall be well. If she is Fleek, the Americans will turn her over to the police, and all shall be well. Either way, turning her over to the Consulate seems to be the best course of action.”
With a stolen credit card that still worked, Monique bought another ticket on the same flight, using her false ID. It seemed likely that if the politie were closing in, they would assume that she would book another flight—or perhaps take the train out of the country.
“No luggage to check?”
“My bags were stolen this morning. I’m buying clothes in New York,” she said. She planned to practice Monica’s signature on the flight, and use some of her travelers cheques to buy those clothes.
The clerk looked again. “Good thing. The check-in time just closed. You’re cutting it close.”
Monique bought a magazine with some of her cash from the airline ticket, and took a seat at a gate across and one down from her departure gate where she could keep an eye out for trouble. It wouldn’t be long — she had already emailed an American contact, who said he could furnish what papers she would need in America. A new identity, a new land… perhaps she could even take Monica’s place.