Blatant editorial intrusion.
The following is a portion of a novel that your esteemed editor wrote. It is full of snide rebuke, has no plot, and the characters (to be imagined as looking like J Crew models) aren't especially likeable. Since all this was the author's intent, we shall call the wsork experimental
* * * * *
The Mother of All Battles
- 1 --
Alas, poor Gessa.
Something terribly unattractive gripped her, perhaps ennui, if not
weariness, boredom, tedium, languour, listlessness, lassitude,
apathy, or maybe even—oh my God!—indifference. She sat alone at a
café table, and it was so weird. Usually, Gessa exudes the
essence of sunniness like all people who do likewise; today a grey
cloud seemingly covered the sun, or something almost as harsh as
that. Gessa could only gaze at the vibrant people ambling happily
along the sidewalk, elegant shopping bags from the finest shops
completing the subtle colour motifs of their terrific outfits. Oh,
how she wished for a return of her normal inner drive. Somehow, she
knew the world was out of kilter, had absolutely slipped a widget—one
of the really important ones—yet she knew not how. She felt
powerless to do anything but sit in her despondent gloom, sadly out
of sync, though looking fabulous.
The weather was
beautiful, no problem there. The sun dazzled as only a perfectly
wonderful flaming ball of radioactive gas and what not could. The few
clouds shone boldly white and interesting like the beguiling foam
atop a delicious cappuccino. Just the day for enjoying an exquisitely
luscious, fresh-squeezed blend of orange, grapefruit, tangerine and
mango juices (topped by a succulent strawberry) such as Gessa had
ordered, and savouring every word of the style section in whatever
great newspaper happens to be at hand.
The beverage Gessa
sipped was a drink of juice but by no means a juice drink. As we all
know, and in fact take pride in knowing, a juice drink is a
beverage consisting of, oh, ten percent real juice; the other ninety
percent is just drink. What Fuad served was one hundred percent not
ersatz, and that, QED, means it was terrif. Being served by Fuad, the
utterly adorable, dark-eyed waiter with the dreamy ponytail, made the
juice experience that much more special.
Gessa loved receiving
steaming cups of precisely bitter espresso, beautifully befoamed
cappuccinos or out-of-this-world fruit drinks from this superiour
waiter. Not only could Fuad accurately remember one's order,
including really complex ones, he was just amazingly
sensitive, even though he obviously had all the right male
chromosomes in place. Gessa had been so pleased when he had
introduced himself, gallantry personified, that first visit to his
wondrous coffee salon. He was just so, like, oh my God!
This day, Fuad noticed
that Gessa floundered in heinous doldrums—even her, oh my God, her
hair looked glum—and tried to free her from them. Sadly, not
even his flashing smile restored her equilibrium. Gessa was in a bad
way, hitting the southbound spiral in a major downer. Yes, she was in
The cool, refreshing
beverage, Fuad's canny suggestion, proved an inspired, almost sinful,
delight to drink, but it too failed to relieve Gessa's distress.
Something was WRONG somewhere, she just knew it. She leaned
back in her chair, the wide brim of her straw sun hat protecting her
fine complexion from the impertinent ravages of the summer sun, and
watched the passing parade.
Suddenly, a charming
salutation lifted her from her dull reverie like only the best
salutations can do.
We just knew we'd find you here."
It was Lance, smiling
that fabulous smile of his. With him were Chaz, Sergei, Kimba,
Bethany and Gunnar. They all smiled those fabulous smiles of theirs,
"You were looking
for me?" asked Gessa, brightening hopefully. Maybe this was what
were," said Kimba truthfully. The fantastic Kimba did not want
her friend to understand anything but the truth. That's because she
considered the truth excellent.
said Gunnar, as only he can say "That's right." He added
with sudden seriousness, "We need you, Gessa."
"So what's up,
guys?" gasped Gessa. "I mean, tell me, you just have
to." Her electrifying zeal made her even more wonderful,
difficult as that is to imagine.
Sergei answered simply. A lot was implied by those deft words; Sergei
was always so good at implying things. Gunnar almost amplified
Sergei's statement by saying "That's right," but instead he
situation, isn't there?" pressed Gessa. Excitement began to
thrill within her. "I sensed something brewing."
coffee,” said Lance, flashing his ready wit.
"Nothing new, if
you know what I mean," replied Chaz, after the gales of laughter
at Lance’s incredible riposte had died down. Chaz significantly
touched the side of his handsome nose, which was located between two
of the bluest eyes in captivity. Gessa grimly guessed what Chaz
meant. She had recently participated in a task force that faced a
mighty ticklish predicament. It definitely required all
available resources to handle. Without doubt, the problem had
resurfaced. That was not good news at all. In fact, as news goes, it
was downright bad.
"We must head to
headquarters pronto," said Bethany, throwing in a Spanish
word, as she occasionally does, to give savour to her conversation.
Even though Bethany was as beautiful as ever—especially her
currently predominantly red hair—and her fashion sense showed no
diminishment from its normal perfection, her intonation suggested a
world of bleak possibilities, bummer of bummers.
"We barely have
time to order coffee," noted Kimba, scanning the timeless beauty
of her resplendent Rolex so that she could have a rough idea what
time it currently was. It was later than she thought.
"What kind of
juice is that?" probed Gunnar suddenly, eying the sumptuous
liquid refreshment sitting rather wistfully before Gessa. "It
looks so yum."
Gessa generously pushed the glass towards that gleaming hunk of
handsomeness. Gunnar couldn't wait to discover just how
mouth-wateringly wonderful the drink would prove. If it was as
delicious as it looked, he would order one too, he would just have
"Wow, what a
drink!" Gunnar felt forced to exclaim after the merest sip. He
was known to exclaim only when circumstances truly deserved an
exclamation, so everyone knew he was duly impressed. It was some
"I'll attract the
waitress," said Chaz, his resonant voice inflecting in a
mysterious way, "because we've really got to get a move on."
Chaz never failed to attract the fair sex: that chin, those dimples,
and the clutches of gorgeously long lashes attending each eye
naturally drew women to him like magnets to a refrigerator, or iron
filings to magnets, or even flies to shit. Women wanted to know what
inner tragedies lay behind those dark eyes and great smile.
"Not waitress but
waiter, Chaz," said Gessa, smiling a smile of much greater
wattage than she could've managed a few minutes earlier. "Fuad's
said sinkingly. He had hoped that Fuad's fetching sister Fatima was
on duty. Apparently she wasn't.
Gessa flicked her
lovely hand to catch Fuad's attention. His consummate ability as a
waitperson showed in the alacrity of his response. For sure, he was
happy to take their orders, since he could tell that Gessa's mood had
improved markedly. She had basically bloomed like some prize-winning
rose that had received a hearty dose of well-composted cow manure. It
was as if she'd been given a new purpose in life or something super
great like that.
In no time, the entire
gang had refreshing libations to drink and contemplate. No one
attempted to tell Gessa the current situation since there was as yet
little to go on. Things could well change at the drop of a hat.
Besides, everyone felt it was best to wait till they all got safely
to the security of Headquarters. Procedure indicated that this was
the proper route to take.
-- 2 --
Soon enough, once they
had consumed their respective delightful libations—and Sergei,
typically lavish, paid the bill—they were gathered nearby in
Armando's office at HQ. Armando, known by all as the Chief, looked
great, better than usual. The grey streaks at his temples were like
symphonic gestures of grace. Nonetheless, he showed signs of almost
being nearly close to overwhelmed by stress.
"Glad the team
could locate you, Gessa," said the Chief by way of greeting. The
situation was tense, elsewise he'd've commented on Gessa's terrific
"Tell me what's
up, Armando," demanded Gessa. She spoke forcefully but
remained attractive, even with her lower lip jutting like that. "It's
serious, isn't it?"
all right," confirmed Michela, second in command. She wore an
oatmeal-coloured fine wale corduroy jumper with a white tee
underneath and looked cool and comfortable, as always. Being cool and
comfortable bears great weight when you face the sort of
responsibilities that confront Michela daily.
"That's why I've
assembled the strike force that you see here gathered," said the
Chief in that great official tone he adopts when the situation
demands something like that.
Gessa, who in her
excitement had not scanned the room, did so now. Aside from the five
with whom she arrived, there were the twins Kiki and Susu, Chance,
Grif, Kimiko, Brent, Sven, Liam, Chandra, Brianna, and, back together
again, that inseparable duo of Rick and Mei-Mei. Quite a collection
of operatives. Greetings were performed with warmth and respect.
"Gee, it's great
to see all you guys," gushed Gessa. "Too bad we meet under
such circumstances as we seem to be under right now."
"It really is,"
said Kimba. Her beguiling yet enigmatic perfume somehow added
emphasis to her words, possibly so did (in subtle ways) her always
Sven. He bowed his head and contemplated the upcoming action, psychic
pain contorting his still immensely handsome face. As he knew,
participating in such grim operations as the one that seemed in the
offing meant a toll must be paid.
heartfelt to beat the band, everyone proceeded to grill each other
about how things were going and comment upon recent fashion
epiphanies and that sort of thing. Sven roused from his gloom, tho
still keenly feeling—oh wow!—the burden of the current dilemma.
"I see we've got
our work cut out for ourselves," stated Gessa without a
suspicion of using uncertain terms. She honestly couldn't remember
having seen so many top operatives gathered together for one mission.
It's certainly possible such a task force had been assembled at one
time, but Gessa couldn't think when. Gessa could be a totally happy
airhead when times were light and easy and made for FUN but not when
consequence hung in the air like those things that hang in the air
"We really have,"
Chance realized, adjusting his ascot. He hoped he had it in him to
deal with what lay ahead. This case would definitely be a tester, but
that would not mean he'd let his ascot remain askew.
"This will be no
picnic," the Chief asserted, as if that were not patently
"That's good, I
forgot to bring the picnic basket," Lance put forth. Once again,
Lance had come up with an incredible witticism to alleviate tension.
Everyone laughed riotously although a portent of the coming
difficulties remained stubbornly present, like the smell of something
none too attractive.
"Exactly who are
we up against, Chief?" asked Kimba, ever able to hit the right
tone of inquiry. She figured this information would be highly useful
in ascertaining how to proceed.
"Is it the same
ones we faced the last time?" Lance wondered. That was one tough
case. The operatives who were in on that one carried the scars to
"I'm not anxious
to meet that bunch again," Rick popped in, but then he switched
the brim of his trademark baseball cap round to the back, which was
his action-mode, so everyone understood that Rick was ready.
As if anyone questioned that.
What made that
previous skirmish the roughest anyone had encountered was that it was
so befogged in mystery. You just never knew where you stood. It had
definitely been no much-needed vacation to St. Moritz or Nice, that's
began Susu, but words failed her. Still, that mole above her
lip—which she should just about register because it was so her,
not to mention so Kiki—looked terrif, a fabulous accent.
"We had that
info, didn't we, Michela?" the Chief snapped like someone who'd
forgotten in the stress of things to apply cologne, not that the
Chief had forgotten anything so basic to his lifestyle.
"Yes, we finally
found that piece of data, Chief," answered Michela, brushing a
lock of hair from her face, which is such an attractive gesture when
done properly and by the right people. "I put it on your desk."
"Ah, my desk."
Armando gazed at this legendary item of oak furniture as if it held
some incredible truth. "Well, we haven't time to rummage through
this mess. I don't suppose you read that document, did you, Mick?"
"Sorry, Chief, it
was marked Top Top Secret. You can't get more secret than
"It's the apex of
secretiveness, then. So that totally means you can't look at it?"
The Chief sensibly desired to know the answer to this question so
he'd have a better read on how things stood.
"Not under most
circumstances," responded Michela with an air of mystery.
Michela had a dark secret about her, as everyone knew. People
particularly remarked on her enigmatic expressions, and her hosiery.
"It would've been
nice to know what that document said," sighed the Chief. He
almost glared at his beautiful desk. It wasn't his desk's fault that
it was messy. Manifestly, the anxiety of the current situation was
having its effect.
Chief," Bethany stated. "It matters not un poco who
right," said Grif, whose chin was like some fantastic force of
nature such as Old Faithful, Mount Vesuvius, or the Roman Coliseum.
"No use spilling
more fresh milk," the Chief uttered. Nonetheless, his eyes
betrayed an inner turmoil.
"Even though many
of us couldn't, for various completely legitimate reasons, be in on
that last action," Grif went on, "there's no way any of us
would back down, no matter who, or what, we face." Grif's words
literally rang in the air exactly in the way such words tend to ring.
"I have no doubts
about that," murmured the Chief. Displaying resilience, he
regained the composure that he had briefly lost. Rarely does he lose
his poise but he was stressed to the max.
"Just give us the
skinny," prompted Lance, with business-like aplomb. "It
sounds like we haven't the luxury of wasting time."
sure," agreed Michela, who in her privileged situation had seen
lots of those sensitive documents that drive the various courses of
action that need to be driven. Some would describe Michela as
Armando's right hand man but since she's a woman and a lefty, it's
basically a piss-poor designation.
Before the Chief could
speak, the phone on his desk rang, making the very air crackle with
its imperative need to be attended to, just like important customers
at fine emporiums everywhere. Fortunately, the phone sat atop the
mess so the Chief easily grabbed the handset. He spoke right into the
mouthpiece thing, a pro's pro when it comes to this sort of thing.
said he. A serious look crossed his face, indicating that someone of
major importance was on the other end of the line. Either that or
some really terrific little restaurant has gone belly up again, to
close its estimable doors forever until new investors could be found
and reeled in. Armando gestured to excuse himself then turned away,
speaking quietly. The sense of grim tension was almost, but not
quite, palpable. It was about as close to being palpable as it could
get without actually becoming palpable.
"I wish we could
get things going," Chaz whispered to Gessa. He obviously
suffered the waiting. Chaz never perspires but you could almost
imagine that he was close to nearly doing so, which would prove a
terrible injustice for his grey silk Armani. Gessa put her hand
reassuringly on his knee. Her hands weren't all sweaty or anything so
this gesture didn't muck up his pants.
Finally, Armando rang
off his call. He thoughtfully studied the handset in his hand,
probably appreciating its fine old world craftsmanship, then tossed
it back amidst the detritus on his desk.
"If you were
thinking this was the big one," he said gravely, "that
"Who was it,
Armando?" quizzed Michela, assessing rightly that she asked on a
"It was that guy,
really important. You know who I mean."
prodded Chandra, sitting up straight and uncrossing those lengthy,
lovely legs of hers. The president was widely known to be pretty
"No, the person
right below him. What is he called? He's not the Under President, I'm
sure of that."
"The Secretary of
Something?" mused Bethany. She knew there were a lot of
consequential people called secretaries of one thing or another.
"No, it's like
he's almost the president, but not quite."
said Gessa, "I've heard of that. The deputy president?"
sound right," Michela remarked. She was pretty good with this
sort of thing; she took the demands of her job seriously.
"It's not the
Lieutenant President, is it?" asked Sergei. He felt it was
possible that such an office existed. If it didn't, it ought to: it
"That rings no
bell, either," Armando felt compelled to respond, much as he
would've liked Sergei's suggestion to ring a bell. "But I guess
it's neither here nor there. The point is, someone of utmost
importance wants us to know that the action we are entering must
assume the highest priority."
Lance, simply unable to express himself more articulately. No prob,
tho: good looking people don't need to be articulate.
"Coming from such
a vaunted personage, that's really something," noted Sven. "I
mean, as a situation, this one's really up there." He sure had
Everyone looked at
each other, which normally is a pleasure since they're all so
good-looking. This time, however, everyone could discern that the
tension in their midst had, if anything, become even closer to
"So what's our
game plan?" queried Kiki finally. Her sister Susu sat forward
intently, so that she too could learn the answer to this
"We're going to
split up into teams," responded Armando authoritatively. Not for
nothing did they call him Chief.
"I like the sound
of this already," approved Grif, rubbing the rough stubble on
his chin. He could see advantages in spreading out their forces, ease
of movement being foremost.
orders are enclosed in the packets that Michela is handing out now."
"Looks like a
really well-done packet," Rick reflected. He was a photographer
and so had that special eye. Mei-Mei, also a possessor of a great
"I guess we're
pulling out all the stops," she remarked. She'd obviously hit
the nail squarely on the head, exactly as that nail was meant
to be hit.
"We have no
choice," was Michela's simple retort. She continued handing out
the packets as a pall of silence fell on the retinue.
"Thank you for
the packet, Michela," Gessa murmured, when the pall of silence
had wound down. Though anxious to get a look at her upcoming duties,
she was not about to throw politeness to the wind. The syntax of our
girl's style profile simply forbids that.
"I hope we have
the necessary firepower," muttered Michela. Much as she hated
even to think the thought, she had her doubts.
said Bethany gaily. Speaking Spanish was pas de problème for
the likes of Bethany. Everyone could tell she wasn't as confident as
those bold Spanish words sounded, however.
Gessa discovered that
she, Lance, Grif, Brianna, Chandra and Brent would constitute one
team. She recognized the Chief's canny sense of group dynamism at
work: it was a good group.
"Chief, do you
expect us to combine forces any time soon?" quizzed Chandra,
trying to get a bead on expectations.
"It's hard to
say." Armando's expression said more than his words could.
Chandra nodded. The collar of her elegant beige silk blouse fluttered
sympathetically. She gave the thumbs up to Brent, who looked like he
needed encouragement. His brown cashmere sweater-vest looked almost
morose, and his paisley bow tie drooped.
"Says here that
we can expect further communications later," said Bethany. She'd
quickly read the instructions and understood just about every word.
It had occurred to her that further communications later may just be
the key to this whole enterprise.
said Armando, unwilling at this juncture to elucidate.
"We'll be ready
for whatever happens," remarked Liam. His jute-coloured nubby
piqué crew neck seemed to offer much-needed assurances of its own.
in Michela, in that efficient way she's so famous for, "we
should synchronize our Rolexes."
Michela," replied the Chief, impressed once again by the steady
head his youthful and beautiful second-in-command possessed.
Everyone proceeded to
make sure their respective Rolexes read the same time, or
thereabouts. That way, if a fellow operative mentions the time, you'd
know with complete confidence that your Rolex said the same thing.
Kimba especially enjoyed this second opportunity to scan the timeless
elegance of her timepiece, it was such a magnificently beautiful one.
sighed, still mulling the complexities of the current situation, as
well as his Rolex.
"I guess that's
all," said the Chief, consulting some notes salvaged from the
mess on his magnificent blonde oak desk. "Good luck."
Michela repeated efficiently. It was a message that could not and
probably would not be stated too often.
The gang understood
that there was nothing further to be gained by this meeting so
without further ado—aside from a round of nourishing cups of
cappuccino made as only the Chief thinks he knows how—everyone went
off as their directives indicated. Each operative silently hoped that
they would all meet later, under better circumstances, like the
opening of a great new restaurant or art gallery or whatever.
-- 3 --
Outside, Gessa and her
comrades discussed their course of action. It made sense to do this
because of reasons that are all too obvious. If they aren't, there's
nothing that can be said.
"We have to get
ourselves to the Burlington Mall faster than fast," said our
girl, explicitly reiterating those instructions that she and the rest
of her team had received.
"If that's what
we have to do, that's what we have to do," noted Brent
philosophically. He may be young in years, but he had done a lot of
living. So had his loafers with the truly fantastic tassels that no
one could resist envying.
"What say we go
in my car?" offered Grif. "It's of foreign make."
Everyone knew what that meant.
"Can I drive?"
Chandra asked. She felt that driving Grif's car, especially since it
was of foreign make, might help her get her thoughts straight.
Besides, she'd never driven before so this would be a terrific
opportunity to learn.
Chandra." Grif swung his unbelievable grey linen jacket over his
shoulder. He adored carrying his jackets in his trademark way, like a
toreador straight out of some excellent book by Hemingway or Faulkner
or whichever of those guys.
"Grif, you're so
generous," marveled Gessa, genuinely impressed by his
unselfish nature, as well as that windblown hairstyle that's just so
going," said Lance anxiously. He rubbed his chin, hoping the
stubble there wasn't too short. Because of the stressful times of
late, he inadvertently shaved yesterday.
said Brianna, who felt that her so saying put the right emphasis on
the whole situation. Brent nodded, still in the throes of the
philosophical mood that made his dreamy dark eyes resemble dark coals
of philosophy, as if someone had burnt a book by Kierkegaard or maybe
At the parking garage,
the gang easily located Grif's terrific foreign-made vehicle because
Grif had this rare, electronic kind of device that caused his car to
signal where it was. This helpfully cut their search time quite a
bit. Everyone knew that time was sadly at a minimum.
Soon, they were making
their way to the Burlington Mall. This mall, easily the greatest,
most excellent one in all of Burlington, was a veritable Cheops or
the like dedicated to the pleasures of consumerism. Many other
people, a huge proportion of the ever so peripatetic native
population, also visited the Burlington Mall, never suspecting the
huge predicament that threatened to ruin the equanimity of one and
all in a most unpleasant fashion.
"Looks like I'll
be able to park this heap pretty close to the entrance," Chandra
remarked. She had managed the drive without hitting anything
significant. It pleased her that something so wonderful could happen
at such a tense time for everyone.
"We must head
straight for those lock up things," said Grif, reminding
everyone as best he could of their directives. "Does anyone know
where those things are?"
answered Lance, overflowing with suaveness. His Suavity Quotient was
simply off the charts, as always.
"Do you really,
Lance?" gushed Gessa, never missing a chance to enthuse about
one thing or another. "I sort of think I know where they are but
I'm just not really really sure."
"Oh, I know this
place like the back of my closet," Lance reported, continuing to
brim with suavity. He was lucky enough to have a huge closet, and
famous for knowing where every stitch of his wardrobe, at least the
currently fashionable stuff, was stowed. Just his shoe tree would
"Sounds like you
should lead the way," observed Brent, thinking how having a keen
pathfinder helps efficiency immeasurably. Efficiency, he knew, was
said Lance coolly. In less strained circumstances, Lance might well
have said something marvelously funny but he judged that now was no
time for levity.
Like a breeze of fresh
fashion sense, they hustled into the shining constellation of stores
that was the Burlington Mall. Under Lance's expert guidance they
found those banks of locker things into which you can stash your
expensive purchases so that you can go collect more stuff. Without
question, this was a situation he'd been in before.
"Who has the
key?" Lance asked.
"I do," said
Gessa, who certainly had lost none of her pizzazz on the journey to
Burlington Mall. During the drive, she'd managed to make a slim,
elegant braid on one side of her head, and it looked smashing,
upticking her beauty to unheard of levels, even for her. The little
things make all the difference, and so do the big things.
"So open the
locker, girl," urged Brianna, caught by the pressing nature of
"I will, just as
soon as I get the key out."
"You didn't put
the key in your totebag, did you, love?" gasped Grif. "We
really need it vitement." The squalour of Gessa's totebag
was nearly as famous as that of Armando's desk, although that's not
the reason Grif used a French adverb.
"No, I didn't,
you beast," retorted Gessa. "I attached it to my necklace."
She slipped the necklace from inside her sleeveless green satin
blouse. The faces of her compatriots showed relief. It would be
simply dismal if this of all operations should fail because of
a messy totebag. No one should have to face that kind of
said Grif, and he wasn't kidding. Nobody with dimples like Grif
sports could possibly kid about something so consequential, although
he might risk a jape in less serious matters.
"What a darling
necklace!" exclaimed Chandra. She could never contain her
delight in seeing wonderful necklaces. Gessa's necklace was not just
a fantastic accessory, it was exquisite in its own right. Gessa did
not utilize necklaces as mere accessories; that was not Gessa's genre
at all. She was simply too down-to-earth to let her style
sense flip flop like a fish out of, or a mouse in, water.
Chandra. It's one of my favourites."
"One of my
favourites, too," said Lance appreciatively. He always enjoyed
seeing what sort of incredible necklace might be adorning Gessa's
matchless, swan-like neck.
"Here, let me get
that for you," said Grif, proving that not just Lance owned a
monopoly on suaveness. He carefully detached the key from Gessa's
necklace without catching a single strand of her lustrous, scented
mop of hair in the necklace's intricate design.
"Wow, Grif, you
Grif always tried to smell good but, you know, in the flush of
activity, sometimes unwanted aromas will occur. They must then be
brutally beaten back so as not to destroy one's all-important poise,
the linchpin of a successful and enjoyable lifestyle.
"Oh yes, you
smell terrif. Way better than usual." Gessa smiled mischievously
and everyone just laughed and laughed at the great wit once again
revealed by their darling friend.
nothing, babe," replied the victim of that astonishing
"Oh Grif, you
know I'm kidding," returned Gessa, pushing him playfully.
"You always get the best colognes."
"What about me?"
snickered Gessa, to yet another gale of appreciative hilarity.
"But we're used
to the smell," added Brianna with that smile of hers. Lance
shrugged that patented shrug of his. Everyone was doing their best to
lighten the gloom, see, of their travail.
"I better use
this key toute de suite," said Grif, remembering, even in
the midst of all the frivolity, still more of the French he learned
in school, as well as the mission that lay before them. The others
gathered around, intent on getting all the particulars. They wanted
the skinny and they wanted it bad.
Without further ado,
Grif put key to lock. Opening that locker thing, he discovered a
packet. It seemed to glow with importance, it really did.
"Must be more
info," Brent asserted with his usual confidence. Would that this
info could solve the puzzle.
Grif, quickly scanning the document within that packet, "it
looks like we go to the movies."
"A movie, eh?"
said Brent, pondering the possibilities. "We'll meet a contact
there, do you suppose, or might we be asked to deconstruct images of
modern society as offered by Hollywood? I read a book about that sort
of thing and feel I could offer some useful insights."
"It doesn't say,"
Grif informed him, having gleaned this information with a quick study
of the document. It was almost tragic that they just didn't have much
to go on.
for security reasons or that sort of thing," Chandra decided.
definitely no time to be lax about security," Brianna
Brie," Chandra heartily agreed. "What movie will we see?"
"We're to find
out at the cinema here," Grif revealed.
"It'd sure be
nice if we got to see a great movie but even if it's the worst dreck
Hollywood ever turned out, we are duty-bound to see it,"
said Brent bravely. No one could naysay those words.
"Security sure is
tight," commented Gessa. "Really, it really is."
"Our foe could be
anywhere," said Brianna chillingly. "I mean, it's totally
"It would explain
the cloak of security this operation has worn from the start,"
"Let us get us
hence," said Lance, talking funny because it seemed the right
approach given the current situation.
Forthwith the team
sought the cinema. At the box office, a mystery woman of rare
cheekbones, perky breasts, yummy bracelets, and obvious efficiency
told them sotto voce the time of the movie they must see,
though not which one. Brent was absolutely impressed by this
mysterious woman's efficiency, cheekbones, breasts, and bracelets.
Her white beret, black veil, wondrous lashes, and smoky voice sure
engrossed him, too. He wanted to indulge his interest in this
fascinating creature but, suddenly, she was nowhere to be seen. It
was as if she were swallowed up by a veritable cloud of mystery, a
cipher to ponder.
wasn't she, Brent," remarked Gessa, noticing signs that the
handsome guy had been smitten. Gessa lacked nothing in the beauty
department so she wasn't jealous in the least.
"And I know it's
no use asking about her," he sighed. There was true yearning in
his eyes, the kind that artist types make great poems and searing
hour-long tv dramas out of. Maybe, if Brent has the time—someday,
when all this business is over—he'll write a poem about his
feelings and send it to The New Yorker for them to use as column
declared Grif, "for security and other reasons, certain
operatives must keep the lowest of profiles."
"She had a great
profile." Brent sighed, almost inconsolable, but luckily, he was
made of sterner stuff, a pro all the way.
"We have other
things to consider now," Chandra reminded one and all. "Somehow,
we must keep busy, and useful, until the next showing."
"I guess we could
just wander around here," said Brianna. "Maybe something
will turn up." Suddenly, she was drawn, as if hypnotized, to a
nearby shop window displaying some utterly wonderful leather goods.
Gessa and Chandra were likewise compelled.
"Is that the most
beautiful belt on earth or what?" asked Gessa, eying a gem
amidst the exquisite array.
"Why did you have
to see it, Gessa?" asked Brianna.
practically calling out to me."
"Oh, you can get
it, Brie. I want you to." Brianna's nickname was Brie because
that's one of her most favourite cheeses of all time.
I'll let you borrow it sometime."
"Would you truly?
That's so unselfish."
"Hey, can I
borrow it sometime too, Brianna?" asked Chandra. It was a great
belt, you can understand why there'd be such enthusiasm about it.
"Oh sure, but you
guys have got to let me wear it sometimes."
"I guess we could
once in a while," said Gessa, yet again displaying the mischief
she's so renowned for, if in fact that was mischief she displayed, a
question for the ages.
"Let's go get
it," stated Brianna with fortitude. Her beautiful chin was set
with determination as of a topflight runway model saying NO!
to a fashion designer's ridiculous ideas of fashion show theatre.
"We just might
find other things of interest," surmised Chandra.
"You girls do
your thing," said Brent, the boys having moseyed over to see
what splendours attracted the attention of their tempting teammates.
"We'll scope out other places."
"Let's say we
meet at the cinema five minutes before the hour," proposed
affirmed Grif, coolly swinging his coat from his right shoulder to
his left. Everyone checked their perfectly synchronized Rolexes and
felt, despite the incredible odds they faced, that things were
working out pretty good. But would these upbeat times last?
* * * * *