So this took longer than expected.
To be fair, I’ve been super-de-duper busy (great excuse, right?) and, wouldn’t you know it, when you ask your readers to give you weird ideas … they deliver.
This is what I came up with. I hope you like it.
“Agent Salvador.” The tinny voice blared from my wrist watch. The wrist watch that also happened to serve as a GPS, laser, communication unit, and mini computer.
“Yes?” I directed half of my attention to the voice of my director. I held my right arm up by my ear to hear better, and, with my other, I continued fighting with the burly thug across from me. It was a pathetically easy fight, really.
“You’ve got a new case. We’ll put someone else on the Gold Bar Gang, we need you for this one. Come to base right away for your briefing.”
“Got it. Over and out.” I immobilized the man with a few quick jabs to major pressure points and handcuffed him to an exterior pipe, then made my way back to base.
“One of our agents has informed us that there’s to be an attempt on the President’s life, sometime in the next week. We aren’t sure yet, but later in the week seems to be the word. Our informant is staying in touch.”
“This is our target.” A picture of a hard-looking man came up on the screen. The picture must have been taken by a security camera on a street. He was checking his pocket watch at a crossing. “And this–” a man in a white lab coat, bloodshot eyes, and brown hair flecked with gray came up on the screen—“Is the man who is supposed to have helped him plan the assassination. They have, according to our spy, manufactured a new poison. Instant death, not painless. The President has, of course, been informed that he may be in danger, but we told him we were putting someone good on it right away, and not to worry very much.
“You need to do what you do best, Agent Salvador. Find out when, where, and how this is going to go down. Stop it; and do it quickly.”
I strode out of the base, my new information speeding through my head at a thousand miles per hour. First, I thought, we must go to see this professor of poison.
I knocked hard on the metal door. “Professor McKallen?” I called. “Professor McKallen! Open the door, I have some questions for you!”
The door opened a crack and I saw one terribly bloodshot eye peer out. “What do you want?” The voice was timid, but surprisingly deep. There was some gravel in it, as if he hadn’t spoken out loud in quite a while.
Almost unintentionally, I heard him think, Uh-oh. They’ve figured it out. I quickly reeled my mind back in. Spy or not, it was against Darlonian law for telepaths to use their powers without a warrant—which I didn’t have.
“I just have some questions for you, Professor McKallen,” I said, forcing a smile. “Nothing to worry about. Unless you have something to hide?”
“Oh, oh, oh no, of course not! Don’t be silly.” The man laughed nervously. “Mister … ?”
“Agent. Agent Salvador.”
“Oh, oh no, that simply won’t do. What’s your first name?”
I bit back a frustrated growl. Wasn’t I supposed to be the one interrogating him? I played along anyway. “Jessi. But I’d really prefer if you call me Agent Salvador.”
Professor McKallen wrinkled his nose at my name. “Yes, I would prefer that, too.”
I tried not to roll my eyes. “Where’s somewhere I can ask you a few questions, Professor?”
“Right this way.”
Professor McKallen guided me through wending and winding halls to a room that seemed to be an odd hybrid of a laboratory and a sitting room. I heard a terrible crash and bang to my right, and turned to see a monkey swinging along the rafters with something bright and yellow in its mouth.
“Stop eating that rubber duck, you demented monkey!” Shrieked Professor McKallen.
I turned to him and raised a single eyebrow. In my peripheral vision I saw the monkey swing out of the high doorway.
“Oh, goodness me, I apologize. Please, sit down.” Professor McKallen gestured to a large couch, which was an unfortunate shade of vermilion. I sat and sunk into the couch as if it were quicksand—and took out my notepad.
“Professor, you’re suspected of having manufactured a poison. Is this true?” Better not to tell him what that poison is suspected to be for. At least, not yet, I thought.
Professor McKallen, sitting on a ridiculous chair shaped like an open palm, straightened up as much as he could. “I am a man of science, Agent Salvador! I was presented with a problem: how to make a poison fast-acting, but still painfully lethal. I simply solved the problem I was given. I didn’t hand any of it out, that would be awful!”
I sighed. “It was a yes or no question, Professor McKallen.”
“Is all the poison that you made accounted for in this laboratory, Professor?”
“Are you sure?”
The Professor faltered slightly. “I … I haven’t checked in a while. But I’m relatively certain I would have noticed if someone had stolen something out of my lab!”
“I think you should check that right now. Don’t you, Professor?”
The Professor nodded demurely and shuffled over to a set refrigerator-looking cupboards that were padlocked. He fished some keys out of a pocket of his lab coat and unlocked the door.
Out of the corner of my eye, I saw the pet monkey swing back into the room and land somewhere behind me, but still in the lab portion of the room. I saw the monkey puttering around, but I didn’t pay it much mind.
The Professor spluttered in front of me and I directed all of my attention to him.
“It’s gone! All of it’s gone!”
I swore quietly. “All of it?”
“Yes.” The Professor caught sight of something just over my shoulder and his eyes widened. “Marcel, no!”
There was a flash, a crash, and an unintelligible squealing. The world went black.
When I woke up, it was to a massive headache, smog choking my breathing, and a painfully blue sky. And noise. Lots and lots of noise. The nearest of which—
“Marcel! Give that back! I just made it! Haven’t you caused enough trouble already?”
I propped myself up on my elbows and saw Professor McKallen chasing the monkey—Marcel—around a tree. Marcel was holding a small device with a long antenna. I assumed he’d stolen it from Professor McKallen.
I sat the rest of the way up, groaning and rubbing a lump on the back of my head. “Professor? What in the good name of Darlonia happened here?”
The Professor stopped stock still, nervously shifting from foot to foot. “Um … well, I had this experiment. Inter-dimensional traveling. Long story. Well, Marcel–” here he shot a blinding glare at the monkey, “flipped the switch! And now we’re in a whole ‘nother universe. We’ve landed in a city called New York. This is Central Park, according to the nice people walking around. Well, perhaps ‘nice’ isn’t the appropriate adjective …”
“Well, can we get back?” I snapped. “I kind of have a really important job to do.”
“Um, well, I’ve compiled a list of materials that–”
I gave the man a quelling look.
“Yes. Yes, I can get us back.”
“Then let’s do that. Now. And control your stupid monkey!” I got up, picked a direction, and stomped away, not looking to see if he followed.
Eventually we stumbled upon some sort of pavilion. There was cheerful music and a chill coming from inside. I knew I should probably just keep going, but …
“Professor,” I called over my shoulder, “we’re going to see what’s in this pavilion.” Upon entering, I rubbed my eyes and blinked, unsure of what I was seeing. There were large penguins, gliding about on what appeared to be white ice on bladed boots. There was a crowd of people watching them. It appeared to be some kind of show.
I heard a small child speaking to her mother to my right.
“Mommy? Are the penguins dancing?”
“It’s rather like ballroom dancing, yes.”
“Do you think ballroom dancing penguins like unicorns?”
“I’m sure they do, honey.”
I chuckled at the wonder and curiosity in the small child’s eyes. I debated staying and watching the rest. I wanted to. It was really quite fascinating. But the Professor, who had entered behind me, looked disturbingly close to jumping onto the ice himself. Not to mention that Marcel meant nothing good for the show.
“Let’s go.” I turned and left the odd display.
I spent the next three hours—give or take—following the Professor around the city as he collected seemingly random objects.
At one point, we came upon a wooden sidewalk all surrounded by odd, colorful contraptions and screaming people—mostly children. All I could conclude was that it was where parents took their children for punishment. It was all quite shocking.
On one contraption—what looked like a wheel covered in flashing lights and carts at the end of each spoke—I saw a pink snake eating colorful cotton. Upon closer investigation, it became clear to me that the snake wasn’t real—a child was holding a toy snake—and the cotton was really a quite delicious spun sugar called “cotton candy.”
This world was full of oddities.
By the early evening, we ended back in Central Park. I looked at the Professor’s full arms and hefted my own load that I had accumulated. I couldn’t even name most of what we had.
“Can you make what we need out of this?”
“Plan to keep Marcel out of the way this time?”
The Professor looked away sheepishly. “Yeah.”
I dumped my armful on the ground as carefully as I could. “Get started, then. I’m supposed to be saving the President.”
We secreted ourselves in a gazebo somewhere in the huge park and the Professor set to work. Marcel came over and sat in my lap. I grudgingly let him stay, deciding my discomfort was better than the President’s death.
I meant to stay up with the Professor to help if I could, but I must have dozed off, because when I was shaken awake there were traces of orange in the gray sky indicating that sunrise was not too far off.
Not that it mattered in this place. There were lights everywhere.
“Professor? Is it ready?”
Professor McKallen was fiddling with a large, egg-shaped metal object with a single lever on the outside. How our enormous pile of disconnected junk had transformed into that, I had no idea.
“Yes,” Professor McKallen said breathlessly. “I’m just doing a few last-second checks.”
“Probability of success?” I wasn’t nervous. Of course I wasn’t nervous. What was there to be nervous about? It wasn’t like we were traveling through time and space, or anything.
“Um … I’d say probably an eighty-six percent chance of success.”
“What’s the other fourteen percent?”
Professor McKallen shrugged. “We dematerialize in the wormhole and die. On the upside, though, that’s a painless and exciting way to go.”
“Gee, thanks. That makes me feel so much better.” I didn’t even try to reign in the sarcasm dripping off my voice.
“Ready to go?”
I nodded and picked up Marcel. “Yup. Let’s hit it.”
“Okay. I’ve aimed for the President’s board room. Time moves differently here, so it’s been a few days in Darlonia. I figured it’d be safest to just get you straight to the President, to make sure …”
“I get it. Let’s go.”
The Professor looked around to make sure no one else was there, and flipped the switch.
When I woke up this time, it was to be surrounded by men in dark clothes pointing guns at me. Professor McKallen was shouting something, but I didn’t bother to decipher his gibberish.
“I’m an agent! I’m an agent,” I flashed my badge to the men surrounding me. The immediately holstered their weapons. “He’s with me,” I added, indicating the Professor. “And his monkey.”
I finally heard what Professor McKallen was saying. “That’s him! That’s the guy! That’s him!”
I looked to who he was pointing at. It was one of the body guards. I shrugged internally. It couldn’t hurt to be sure.
I tackled the man. He was much bigger than me, but I had a lot of training, and I had surprise on my side.
I swiftly searched him, and found three vials of clear liquid in this inside breast pocket. I turned to Professor McKallen.
“Is this the poison?”
I finally turned to the shocked face of the President. “Mr. President. This man was trying to assassinate you with this poison. I was sent to stop him, but there was a bit of trouble … it’s a long story. With your permission, could I get rid of this?” I held up the vials.
The President nodded bewilderedly. I turned to the Professor and handed him the vials. He walked to the sink … and poured them down the drain.
So, how’d I do? It’s silly but I had quite a lot of fun writing it, and I hope it was as much fun to read. 🙂 Comment and be sure to tell me if you liked this and if you’d like to do more. It probably won’t take me as long in the future. 😛
You know the drill. The commenty and likey and share-y and follow-y things. Just do it if you wanna, don’t if you don’t. 😀