This afternoon, I went on a mission. Multiple targets, time sensitive, low profile. I needed ink, paper, and chicken. The first part went as planned, after the bus had done a slight detour around the end of Burrard Street where the Santa Claus parade was going to end. I infiltrated Staples on Seymour, on time, zoomed in on my objective in a tight formation, grabbed two boxes of card paper, proceeded to the ink section in stealth mode and… realized I didn’t remember my printer’s model number. So much for stealth. I’d have to involve the local population. This could get messy. A first clerk didn’t really know what the hell this was all about and bailed. I glanced at my watch nervously; mission-critical time was lapsing. Then a second contact proved to be much better informed, her intel’ was fresh, we narrowed down the mark and I had my ink.

So I vacated the scene and headed on foot towards the next operational bus stop that would lead me to my point of entry into the chicken zone. On my way there, I had to fight with slow and probably hostile crowds of thousands of locals gathered along Burrard to watch the parade. I had my weapon handy and shot a few digital rounds, part of my daily recon’ into Vancouver, which are posted below.

Finally, I was on site, Safeway on Davie. Two blocks from home. Mission almost accomplished. I reviewed my orders briefly, grabbed some limes, thyme, garlic and steered towards the meat section. Arrived. Scouted it. Scouted it again. Rubbed my eyes. Scanned the entire section once more. There were no chickens. Chicken legs, chicken breasts, chicken wings, chicken parts, chicken soup, but no chickens. As in "whole chicken", which was part of the mission brief received by email earlier.

I must admit I might have flinched for a second. A warrior has moments of weakness too, or even fear. In fact there is no such thing as fearless people, only fearless moments. The thought of a failed mission flashed through my mind. But I stayed in control. I’ve seen worse. I’m used to being on my own behind grocery enemy lines. I’m resourceful and well trained.

So I soon came up with an alternative plan. We’ll call it plan B. The crappy grocery store up the hill. I broke into a controlled field run, designed to be extremely fast but still appear as a simple walk to enemy sentinels. I didn’t look crossing the two streets, relying on my peripheral vision, and even jay-walked once. It’s called a means to an end.

Once at the store, there was no time to be subtle. I rushed in, took a left, panned the area for competition, found none, and stopped in front of the meat counter. On site. I spotted it immediately. It was right in front of me. The package. I snatched it. Panned again, still no unfriendlies. Then just as a precaution, I scanned the counter better, to ensure the accuracy of my lift. I scanned again. There were no other packages. The chicken I had in my hand, was the last one. I looked at it closer, noticed the mention organic – score – scrolled down to the price and read: $14.35. Swallowed. The only bloody chicken available for me to buy in a radius of 10 blocks was a fourteen dollars organic chicken. And not even that big, on top of that. I guess they feed them good stuff, so they don’t inflate.

I completed the mission and returned home. There a new, more detailed mission order sent by email shortly after the initial one, stated: "1 chicken, rinsed, patted dry (you can also use chicken pieces.)"

Oh well. Maybe I’ll get a medal…

 [To be continued]