The van had been parked out there for days, made to look as if the owner or owners were elsewhere but we noticed tiny movements. We recorded them using an HD camera and passed them through a custom piece of software that recreated a simulation of the van's interior based on them. Two people, it reckoned, seated, occasionally turning in their swivel chairs, sometimes eating a little, sometimes drinking a little, sometimes performing that action that usually follows eating and drinking into a bag of some description. The atmospheric breakdown did not make for nice reading. Sleep, it seemed, was dissuaded using pills. One of the two people was claustrophobic but fighting through his fear because he needed the money the job was paying. The second person was depressed because nobody had remembered his birthday. It was a pretty detailed simulation.

We didn't know what they were after, why they had targeted us. We only knew that we didn't like being the subjects of surveillance and that inside that van it was… unpleasant. And so we decided to address both issues.

Overnight we baked a special cake and had it delivered to the van. The icing read "Sorry I forgot your birthday Tony." The courier knocked on the rear of the van several times before the doors were opened enough to accept the gift. We started up the HD recording again as the courier left, clutching his hand to his nose. We stopped recording when we heard a dull thump and saw the vehicle's panel closest to us buckle outwards slightly.

The simulation confirmed what we already knew: Tony was overjoyed that Graham had arranged for the cake although he admonished his junior partner for potentially ruining the surveillance. Graham hoped that Tony would favour him in any future promotion talks and so took the credit for the iced sponge. As Tony made the first slice, however, he exposed the cake's innards to the chemistry in the van's air. The reaction was intense as the cake expanded to over a thousand times its original size in the span of seconds. Every hole, every gap, every tiny crevice became clogged with cake.

Tony and Graham suffered just as much as the van but they did eventually eat their way clear. Graham's claustrophobia was cured but neither man would return to the world of surveillance again.

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Author: Mark

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