The Worst Superhero Name. EVER.
I knew the day was coming, but nothing could prepare me, or calm me for the storm I was about to unleash. I slide my credit card room key into room of the Sofitel San Francisco Bay, for the first, of what would seem like hundreds of times, over the next two weeks. I took a deep breath, burst through the threshold of the room, knowing that my life was forever going to be changed. Scanning the room, I gratefully realized I was alone, and breathed a sigh of relief. Paul wasn’t here yet.
I checked the closet, and breathed another sigh of relief. Nine pairs of beautiful designer shoes lined the bottom of the closet. They looked like beautiful objects of art, all begging to be worn at the same time. Carefully selected elegant designer dresses, trousers, suits, and sweaters of the world’s finest wool, silks, and cashmere hung on velvet hangers. And at the end of the closet was a silk robe-all the essentials necessary for my two week stay.
Peeling off my traveling clothes and sliding into the off white silk Kumi Kookoon robe, I opened the armoire on the way to the settee couch. La Perla bras and panties lined the drawers like dedicate pieces of silk and lace candy. The contents of those drawers, were after all, the ‘stars’ over the next two weeks.
I became anxious as I thought about the evening that lay ahead of me. I’d never done anything like this before and not sure what to expect. Tea from room service was on it’s way which I was hoping would calm me since I learned I’d have an hour to kill before Paul would arrive.
My mind was swirling with self doubt. I kept asking myself what I’d gotten into this time. I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror as I went to let room service in and wondered if I would somehow look different after tonight. Shaking that thought free, as I remembered how silly it was I thought I would look different after I got my period for the first time or lost my virginity, I laughed to myself.
I slammed my tea like a shot of tequila before getting into the shower. So much for the tea calming me, I laughed to myself for the second time in a minute. I try to laugh or make myself laugh when I’m nervous or don’t have any control over a situation. I had the butterflies of a first date but only worse, Paul was bringing a woman with him tonight. I told him I felt more comfortable if came alone but he insisted. They were his rules, always his rules.
Walking back to the armoire with a towel wrapped around me I carefully and methodically ran my fingers over the bras. Stopping on and selecting a sheer nude lace La Perla under-wire bra, well that seemed fitting, so I grabbed the matching panty in hand I headed to the closet.
I love clothing, I know shocking admission from a woman, and have always been able to pull together looks for the occasion with ease. I was struggling, I had no frame of reference and there wasn’t a handbook on how to dress for such an occasion, I know because, I Googled it.
I really don’t know why I was putting so much effort into getting dressed knowing I would be undressing moments after Paul and the woman he was bringing arrived. I decided casual was the best option. Jeans, black Louboutin ankle boots, and a taupe Tse cashmere sweater, made the cut. Just as I finished pulling the sweater over my head I heard a knock at the door. I took such a deep breath as I put my hand on the door to open it, that I actually saw stars and thought I might pass out. There was no turning back now.
Paul greeted me as he previously had in Boston, with a smile and degree of confidence that should have made me feel better but it had the opposite effect. Paul turned and introduced me to Krista, who looked like the Biggest Loser’s Jillan Michaels, only more buff and intense. I’m not easily intimidated, but I was, and Krista, and this situation had me doubting that my mouth had finally written a check my body couldn’t cash.
Paul instructed Krista to take me into the bathroom and that I was to follow her direction. I’m a girls/girl. I have two sisters, tons of girlfriends and have never been shy about being naked in front of other women, until that moment. We stood there for a second, trying to ignore how awkward the situation had become, and I began to mentally curse myself for not wearing a button down for ‘my first time.’
Krista, placing two AA batteries into a little black device, interrupted my mini mental fashion rant and she said, “Alright, let’s go ahead and take your top off.” I thought wow, no drink first or a couple of get to know you questions-got it. Krista was all business, in a business of which I knew nothing.
She proceeded to tell me that she was married to someone just like Paul and they even managed to have 4 kids. She went on to say, “Don’t worry it gets easier, you’ll be a pro at this in no time.” In the midst of trying to process all of this, I also marveled at how her body of steel had produced 4 kids, and that her husband was home, in Boston with them, while she was here in San Francisco with Paul. That’s one understanding guy.
My carefully selected taupe sweater now lay crumpled on the bathroom sink. I trembled as Krista’s fingers began to place the two wires attached to the battery operated device into the lace cups of my bra. Very nervous about the microphone later being detected, I asked if I could tape the wires in place. She informed me she didn’t have any tape. Out of my make-up bag, which had been Fed Ex’d, along with all of my other belongings in the closet, I produced two pieces of double sided tape (also known as boob tape in my circles). She marveled at the brilliance, affixed the taped wires to my breasts, and helped put my sweater back on, commenting that it was a great choice.
I exited the bathroom, standing in the middle of the two FBI agents assigned to me, and laughed to myself, ‘Melayna in Middle’ again. As a middle child, I’d become very accustomed to the position. And, ever report card from kindergarten on, expressed negatively, that I liked to be in the ‘middle of all the action.’ Paul, my FBI handler, gave me a reassured wink, and as I exited the room ahead of them I heard Paul alert the rest of the team, “Minion is wired and on the move. Repeat. Minion is on the move.”
Seriously? Minion? That is the worst superhero name. Ever. And, now I was ‘Minion in the Middle.’ Rolling my eyes, I made a mental note to talk to Paul about that one later. C’mon, you didn’t think I was a high-priced call girl, did you? No, I wasn’t. Although, at times it felt like it working for a venture capital-funded startup, that was based in Menlo Park, CA.
The decision to wear a wire, was never a decision at all. I knew I was going to do whatever it took to expose corruption in my industry. That said, it’s not the same thing as saying wearing a wire was easy. It wasn’t. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life. I do understand why it needs to be done though. After the subpoena in 2012, people started changing their stories, some understandably out of fear and some, not surprisingly, out of blind loyalty and stupidity. Fifty people were made millionaires on the acquisition of the startup and none of them were the reps, like myself who were manipulated daily into committing fraud on behalf of the investors and executives. The United Stated Department of Justice understood that and it was negotiated that anyone who truthfully cooperated would be granted immunity.
 For the last ten years, whenever I travel, I put everything on hangers inside garment bags and ship via FedEx. It’s less expensive than baggage fees, no hassle at baggage claim and your stuff is waiting for you when you get there.
 DOJ gives assets in any federal investigation codenames which are used publicly so that anyone in the area that may know the asset isn’t alerted to their presence, and with a name like Melayna Lokosky, I understood the need. Although, it didn’t help when returning to the hotel one day after training for another job, that Paul, waived to me from the bar, subtle. (Sorry Paul, it was a little funny). Don’t worry he had the last laugh with Minion. And I never thought I was a superhero but if anyone has any designs thinking that being a federal whistleblower is glamorous, it’s not, it’s humbling and at times degrading and humiliating, and that’s on a good day.
Part 2. The Shaping of the Shrew