Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The Agency, Chapter 4

An Agent's Song
Madame Superior was at her wit’s end. If she was in fact witty and if there could potentially be an end to such a wit, there she was before its presence. McCallum was on the loose with Jack’s diary or perhaps he was dead in an alley and the diary was in The Others’ hands or perhaps there was worse, though she couldn’t think of anything that could be worse.

Agent Brown entered her office, licking his hands and quickly swabbing his hair down, “Madame Superior, a word?”

“It better be good word,” she said as she paced about her office, glasses hanging from the corner of her mouth as she bit into the frame.

“Madame,” Agent Brown closed the door behind him, “Word about the office is that Ms. Vivian has been in contact with McCallum.”

Madame Superior stopped pacing, removed glasses from her mouth and looked sternly at Agent Brown, “Really? I pay you to seek out office rumors?”

“Shall I bring Ms. Vivian in, Madame?”

“Yes,” she sighed, “It’s the only lead we have.”

When Agent Brown asked Ms. Vivian to enter Madame Superior’s office, she knew she was in for a ride.

*******

McCallum had been having very little luck with the wretched diary. He couldn’t piece anything together. He began to wonder if there was any relevance to it at all, that perhaps everyone thought he’d been keeping a diary but old Jack was just bluffing. Perhaps the diary was a decoy from the real diary. He could tell it was going to be quite tedious to decide any thing of its relevance.

McCallum’s phone rang and he answered it, “Yes?”

Vivian spoke quickly and in a matter of fact type manner, “I punched Madame Superior, breaking her nose. Agent Brown did nothing, having been struck with either masculinity or having been previously emasculated, we may never know which. I just greased out of the agency and I was wondering, Mr. McCallum, do you have a car?”

“You can drive it, Ms. Vivian.”

“I’d prefer you picked me up on the eastern corner of 300th,” she replied.

“As you wish, Ms. Vivian.”

After they hung up, Vivian left the phone booth and hit the sidewalks again, making her way to 300th. McCallum grabbed his suitcase and bolted out of his motel room.

Outside, McCallum quickly retired his suitcase to the trunk and hopped in the driver’s seat. He put the key in the ignition and something caught his eye. He looked into the mirror and saw two Beatle wannabes standing next to each other, leaning against the fence that surrounded the motel’s pool. They both wore black suits and thin black ties with white shirts and sunglasses. Their dark hair dangled about their ears. They were on the opposite side of the parking lot from McCallum, possibly one hundred yards away. McCallum looked to the key he gripped in his hand and that was ready to ignite, he smirked and removed his hand from the key, moving it to the door’s handle.

One of the Beatle wannabes looked a bit frustrated and so removed himself from the fence, pulling something out his pocket. It was black and silver. He pulled a silver antenna from it and McCallum recognized it as being a transmitter and thus remarked to himself, “A persnickety bunch indeed.”

McCallum flung his car door open and ran from the car, the Beatle pushed down on his button and the car blew up; the force of the explosion flung McCallum spiraling through the air. He rolled about ten feet across the harsh pavement of the parking lot, but instantly followed through with the momentum and hit the ground running, as it were, the Beatles pursuing.

As McCallum rounded his first corner, he saw two more Beatle wannabes. One dropped an ice cream cone, the other flung a newspaper and they joined the two previous Beatles. The Fabulous Four chased McCallum persistently through the streets, weaving in and out of the cars.

McCallum shot straight through the center of the road, between two lanes. The Beatles in hot pursuit, he ran directly into the center of an intersection and stopped. The cars whizzed just past McCallum on either side, honking horns as they passed and cursing a smidge. The Beatles stopped at the edge of the intersection; McCallum faced them and took the diary from his old, yellow and white high school jacket. Holding it in the air, he asked, “Is this what you’re looking for?”

The John Lennon look-alike spoke up, “Just toss it here and it’s over for you.”

McCallum could hear a small car approaching from his right, “Do you work for Madame Superior?”

Ringo responded, “No.”

“Thanks chaps,” McCallum smirked and placed the diary back into his jacket, “That’s all I wanted to know.”

He turned to his left and took off into a sprint just as the car from his right reached him. Running beside it he leapt at it, shoving his left arm through the back window and gripping the frame of the door. He latched onto the trunk and car door with his feet. He placed his right arm on the roof trying to grab some sort of grip. The lady driving began to slow down, McCallum looked back and saw the Beatles coming up behind the car so he turned and looked to the lady looking back at him, “Don’t stop, lady! PUSH OFF!”

The lady frantically turned around and began to pick up speed; McCallum looked back to the pursuing Beatles and they slowly came to a stop, some leaning over to catch breath.

*******

Vivian scurried up to the eastern corner of 300th in her heels, as planned, and looked about—McCallum was nowhere to be found. She was nervous; she looked to her left fist and saw Madame Superior’s blood on her knuckles. She reached into her purse, looking for a tissue. As she looked down towards her purse, she heard a car drive by and saw McCallum roll up to her feet. He looked at her feet for a second, than back up to her,

“Get out of those heels, darling.”

“Why, Mr. McCallum, how dare you look up my skirt?” she remarked, pulling a tissue from her purse.

McCallum jumped to his feet and grabbed Vivian by the arm and rushed them towards the corner of the bank behind them, “Trust me, Ms. Vivian; your underpants are the last thing on my mind.”

“Do you mind?!” she shouted, dropping her tissue behind them.

A bullet hit the corner of the bank near Vivian’s head, than they retreated around the corner. As they ran, McCallum looked to Vivian and her eyes were very white now.

“Vivian,” McCallum spoke, as they frantically ran through the streets and down the sidewalks, “If I were a carpenter—”

“And I were a lady, Mr. McCallum?” she interrupted.

“Yes.”

“No.”

“But if music be the food for love, Ms. Vivian?”

“Than by all means,” she started as they retreated onto a bus, “Someone brutally murder the fat one.”

The Agency, Chapter 4

An Agent's Song
Madame Superior was at her wit’s end. If she was in fact witty and if there could potentially be an end to such a wit, there she was before its presence. McCallum was on the loose with Jack’s diary or perhaps he was dead in an alley and the diary was in The Others’ hands or perhaps there was worse, though she couldn’t think of anything that could be worse.

Agent Brown entered her office, licking his hands and quickly swabbing his hair down, “Madame Superior, a word?”

“It better be good word,” she said as she paced about her office, glasses hanging from the corner of her mouth as she bit into the frame.

“Madame,” Agent Brown closed the door behind him, “Word about the office is that Ms. Vivian has been in contact with McCallum.”

Madame Superior stopped pacing, removed glasses from her mouth and looked sternly at Agent Brown, “Really? I pay you to seek out office rumors?”

“Shall I bring Ms. Vivian in, Madame?”

“Yes,” she sighed, “It’s the only lead we have.”

When Agent Brown asked Ms. Vivian to enter Madame Superior’s office, she knew she was in for a ride.

*******

McCallum had been having very little luck with the wretched diary. He couldn’t piece anything together. He began to wonder if there was any relevance to it at all, that perhaps everyone thought he’d been keeping a diary but old Jack was just bluffing. Perhaps the diary was a decoy from the real diary. He could tell it was going to be quite tedious to decide any thing of its relevance.

McCallum’s phone rang and he answered it, “Yes?”

Vivian spoke quickly and in a matter of fact type manner, “I punched Madame Superior, breaking her nose. Agent Brown did nothing, having been struck with either masculinity or having been previously emasculated, we may never know which. I just greased out of the agency and I was wondering, Mr. McCallum, do you have a car?”

“You can drive it, Ms. Vivian.”

“I’d prefer you picked me up on the eastern corner of 300th,” she replied.

“As you wish, Ms. Vivian.”

After they hung up, Vivian left the phone booth and hit the sidewalks again, making her way to 300th. McCallum grabbed his suitcase and bolted out of his motel room.

Outside, McCallum quickly retired his suitcase to the trunk and hopped in the driver’s seat. He put the key in the ignition and something caught his eye. He looked into the mirror and saw two Beatle wannabes standing next to each other, leaning against the fence that surrounded the motel’s pool. They both wore black suits and thin black ties with white shirts and sunglasses. Their dark hair dangled about their ears. They were on the opposite side of the parking lot from McCallum, possibly one hundred yards away. McCallum looked to the key he gripped in his hand and that was ready to ignite, he smirked and removed his hand from the key, moving it to the door’s handle.

One of the Beatle wannabes looked a bit frustrated and so removed himself from the fence, pulling something out his pocket. It was black and silver. He pulled a silver antenna from it and McCallum recognized it as being a transmitter and thus remarked to himself, “A persnickety bunch indeed.”

McCallum flung his car door open and ran from the car, the Beatle pushed down on his button and the car blew up; the force of the explosion flung McCallum spiraling through the air. He rolled about ten feet across the harsh pavement of the parking lot, but instantly followed through with the momentum and hit the ground running, as it were, the Beatles pursuing.

As McCallum rounded his first corner, he saw two more Beatle wannabes. One dropped an ice cream cone, the other flung a newspaper and they joined the two previous Beatles. The Fabulous Four chased McCallum persistently through the streets, weaving in and out of the cars.

McCallum shot straight through the center of the road, between two lanes. The Beatles in hot pursuit, he ran directly into the center of an intersection and stopped. The cars whizzed just past McCallum on either side, honking horns as they passed and cursing a smidge. The Beatles stopped at the edge of the intersection; McCallum faced them and took the diary from his old, yellow and white high school jacket. Holding it in the air, he asked, “Is this what you’re looking for?”

The John Lennon look-alike spoke up, “Just toss it here and it’s over for you.”

McCallum could hear a small car approaching from his right, “Do you work for Madame Superior?”

Ringo responded, “No.”

“Thanks chaps,” McCallum smirked and placed the diary back into his jacket, “That’s all I wanted to know.”

He turned to his left and took off into a sprint just as the car from his right reached him. Running beside it he leapt at it, shoving his left arm through the back window and gripping the frame of the door. He latched onto the trunk and car door with his feet. He placed his right arm on the roof trying to grab some sort of grip. The lady driving began to slow down, McCallum looked back and saw the Beatles coming up behind the car so he turned and looked to the lady looking back at him, “Don’t stop, lady! PUSH OFF!”

The lady frantically turned around and began to pick up speed; McCallum looked back to the pursuing Beatles and they slowly came to a stop, some leaning over to catch breath.

*******

Vivian scurried up to the eastern corner of 300th in her heels, as planned, and looked about—McCallum was nowhere to be found. She was nervous; she looked to her left fist and saw Madame Superior’s blood on her knuckles. She reached into her purse, looking for a tissue. As she looked down towards her purse, she heard a car drive by and saw McCallum roll up to her feet. He looked at her feet for a second, than back up to her,

“Get out of those heels, darling.”

“Why, Mr. McCallum, how dare you look up my skirt?” she remarked, pulling a tissue from her purse.

McCallum jumped to his feet and grabbed Vivian by the arm and rushed them towards the corner of the bank behind them, “Trust me, Ms. Vivian; your underpants are the last thing on my mind.”

“Do you mind?!” she shouted, dropping her tissue behind them.

A bullet hit the corner of the bank near Vivian’s head, than they retreated around the corner. As they ran, McCallum looked to Vivian and her eyes were very white now.

“Vivian,” McCallum spoke, as they frantically ran through the streets and down the sidewalks, “If I were a carpenter—”

“And I were a lady, Mr. McCallum?” she interrupted.

“Yes.”

“No.”

“But if music be the food for love, Ms. Vivian?”

“Than by all means,” she started as they retreated onto a bus, “Someone brutally murder the fat one.”

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The Agency, Chapter 3

An Agent's Valentine
Robert McCallum was in a deep sleep when his mattress overturned onto him. He woke falling from mattress to floor; he was quickly covered with the mattress and felt the weight of three grown men jump on top. He looked ahead and saw through a small half circle that the lights turned on. He began to breathe heavily, for this was his weakness. McCallum was a claustrophobic.

He moved back and forth, trying to squirm towards the light, but the more he squirmed the more the men weighted down on him. He heard a male voice speak,

“Mr. McCallum, you have a diary that is not your own,” from the positioning of the voice to his ears, he could tell that the Voice was a fourth person in the room, “You should seriously consider giving me that diary.”

McCallum could feel that he would hyperventilate, if he didn’t take measures fast. He closed his eyes and the light was gone. It was all black now. The Voice spoke on,

“Mr. McCallum, I know you think you are an honorable man working in an honorable profession…”

McCallum faded out the Voice; he was imagining himself in an open field. Perhaps it was just outside of Liverpool. He could hear a slight breeze on his ears, the tall grass and trees turned to and fro in the cool wind. He sat on the ground and laid back upon the grass, he looked to the cloudy England sky. He then changed his mind and it was a nice, blue sky. It was a little warm and the wind was a warm comforting one. He closed his eyes and said to him self, “I shall take a nap on this nice day.” And so he did, he calmed himself and fell asleep.

He was awakened by the pain of light; the mattress was removed from him and tossed against a wall. His visitors then shut the lights off before he could focus his eyes on them. They roughed him up good.

When they finished, he felt soft hands grab his face and hold his face up towards someone in the dark. He could not see for lack of light and swollen eyes, the Voice spoke, “Don’t be stupid, Mr. McCallum. Consider what I have told you. We shall see you soon.”

McCallum spoke, gasping and smirking, “Sir… you have nice hands… like a school girl. What grade are you in? What do you want to be when you grow up, little girl?”

McCallum laughed mockingly.

The Voice then shoved McCallum’s face into the carpet and rubbed it to and fro, and than finished with a slap of the back of his head. He heard them exit.

And then, he slept.

*******

“Well,” Madame Superior spoke condescendingly, “Where is he, Agent Brown?”

Agent Brown spoke, “Madame Superior, we… we do not know,” he stepped forward, rubbing his hands nervously, “But his apartment was ransacked, it appears.”

Madame Superior sighed, “Either they know or the apartment is McCallum trying to deter us.”

“Yes,” Agent Brown spoke up, “That was my thought.”

She glared right at him, “Really, Agent Brown? Because I believe it just came out of my mouth… and not yours.”

He cowered, “Right you are, Madame.”

“Find Robert McCallum.”

“We are trying, Madame Superior,” Agent Brown attempted to defend himself, “We have agents all over the place.”

“Yes, I know, Agent Brown,” she explained, “But apparently, they are in all the wrong places.”

Vivian walked away from the Madame Superior’s door; she stopped at desk four and spoke to Dorothy, “Dot, do you remember the time that you and Mr. McCallum had lunch?”

Dorothy smiled, “Explicitly.”

“Where did the two of you have lunch?” Vivian asked, but in a tone that made it clear she wasn’t hungry.

Dorothy’s smile went away, “I don’t see where that’s any of your business, Vivian.”

Vivian grabbed Dorothy’s right bicep and squeezed her pink nails into it, Dorothy was biting her lip. Vivian leaned and spoke into her ear, “But I’m really, really interested in Mr. McCallum’s tastes, Dot.”

*******

Vivian walked up to the front desk with her best flare and smiled, “Excuse me, Sir.” The young boy turned about, and when he saw her he almost choked. He was obviously not a very good worker, but probably was the son or nephew or grandson or cousin of the owner of the motel. He tried to push an unruly hair in the back down, he failed. He rubbed his wrinkled shirt, it was still wrinkled. He spoke softly,

“Yes, ma’am,” he cleared his throat, “How may I help you?”

“Well,” she blushed, “This is kind of embarrassing, but… oh, who am I kidding. I’ll just get to the point,” she giggled, “I need a key to Mr. McCallum’s room.”

“Okay,” the boy turned and grabbed key sixteen, he turned back to her and almost handed it to her, but then stopped and pulled his hand back, “Wait, why?”

“Alright,” she through her hands up, “I’m his whore. He said he wanted me to just bolt in and take him off guard, but he forgot to give me the key.”

The boy cleared his throat, “You don’t look like a whore; you look like a secretary or something.”

She rolled her eyes and smiled, “Well, we all have our fantasies now don’t we? And, pray tell, what’s your fancy?”

The boy cleared his throat one last time, reached his hand back out and gave her the key. Vivian winked at him with a huge smile,

“That’s a good boy, want a promotion?” she growled and the boy jumped a little, than she laughed and scurried away down the hallway.

When Vivian opened room sixteen McCallum was laying on top of the covers, fully dressed in a grey suit and reading a notebook. On the radio, “I Heard it Through the Grapevine” was being covered by Creedence Clearwater Revival. He looked up to her, she propped herself in the doorway,

“Mr. McCallum, you look a fright.”

McCallum placed a finger in the notebook and closed on it, “Yes, well, I was tossing and turning all night, Ms. Vivian. It was a real drag.”

Vivian looked to the radio, “I prefer the Gladys Knight and the Pips version myself.”

“Really?” McCallum responded, “I am surprised. I had you pegged for a Marvin Gaye girl.”

She looked to him, “Maybe in another life.”

“So, Ms. Vivian, how did you get my key?”

She perked up and announced, “I’m your whore, Mr. McCallum.”
McCallum’s eyes opened wide, “Well, this is a surprise. Am I dressed appropriately for the occasion? Are you cheap, my mother always taught me to never overpay?”

Vivian smirked his way, “Ah, have many conversations with your mom regarding whoredom, did you?”

“Touché, Ms. Vivian,” McCallum started, “What brings you into my bedroom? And if you say it’s for sex, rest assured I know far better.”

It was at this point that Vivian noticed the notebook he had been holding all this time, she perked up with the excitement of a two year old, “Is that Jack’s diary?”

McCallum quickly responded, “Listen. Do you hear that? It’s the sound of your brains being blown out of your skull, Ms. Vivian,” he looked at her with a face for correcting and scolded, “Shut the door.”

She rolled her eyes and entered the room, the door shut behind her. She scurried to the bed and hopped onto it next to him and lay back, placing her head against the headboard next to his. McCallum grunted and tried to keep stiff, the movements sent sharp pains throughout his bruised body,

“Ms. Vivian,” he started, “Need I remind you that I had very, very rough night?”

“Oh, dear,” she frowned, “Are you pregnant? Is it unexpected?”

“I should slap you.”

“Would you?”

He laughed lightly, “You want me to slap you?”

“No, you pervert,” she pointed to the diary, “I want you to read me some.”
“It’s pretty dull actually,” he explains.

“I don’t care,” she states, “I want to know what killed the great Mr. McCallum.”

“We appreciate your support, Ms. Vivian,” he smirks, “Please pick up your gift package on the way out.”

“Speaking of appreciation, aren’t you proud of me for finding you, Mr. McCallum?”

“Why should I be?” he started, turning a page back in the notebook, “You’re a liar and a whore.”

She frowned at him, “Not a whore, just a liar.”

“You’re conniving.”

Vivian perked up again, “And what woman isn’t?”

This got McCallum’s attention, he looked to her, “Why, Ms. Vivian, what a narrow tie you wear?”

“Thank you, Mr. McCallum, do you like it?”

“I hate to be the one to mention it, Ms. Vivian, but I wouldn’t be your friend if I didn’t,” he started, “It’s painfully out of style.”

“Well, get on with it,” she pointed to the diary, “I’m on my lunch.”

“If you insist,” he turned another page, looking for a good excerpt, “Ah, here we go, ‘Dear Boss, I keep on hearing the police have caught me but they wont fix me just yet. I have laughed when they look so clever and talk about being on the right track. That joke about Leather Apron gave me real fits. I am down on whores and I shant quit ripping them till I do get buckled. Grand work the last job was. I gave the lady no time to squeal. How can they catch me now. I love my work and want to start again. You will soon hear of me with my funny little games. I saved some of the proper red stuff in a ginger beer bottle over the last job to write with but it went thick like glue and I cant use it. Red ink is fit enough I hope ha. ha. The next job I do I shall clip the ladys ears off and send to the police officers just for jolly wouldn't you. Keep this letter back till I do a bit more work, then give it out straight. My knife's so nice and sharp I want to get to work right away if I get a chance. Good Luck. Yours truly, Jack.’”

McCallum looked to Vivian from the diary, she wore a very perplexed expression upon her face, “Ms. Vivian, you look vexed.”

“I am,” she starts, “It doesn’t make a lick of sense.”

“Sure it does,” he begins turning the pages and showing each entry as he speaks, “It’s a code. Every entry in his diary is a Ripper letter. All I have to do is figure out what he was substituting for what and I’ve got a scandalous story worth killing for.”

“Well, that’s ridiculous,” Vivian left the bed and stood next to it, “That stupid diary could mean anything, because it isn’t a code. It’s a bloody interpretation. And only Jack knows the interpretation. And Jack is dead,” she sighed, “Mr. McCallum you’ve gotten yourself in a fine mix and you don’t have a single clue.”

“Nonsense, Ms. Vivian,” he held the diary up, “I have the whole case right here.”

“You’re batty, Mr. McCallum,” she moved to the door, gripped the doorknob and looked back to him, “By the by, the Agency had nothing to do with your rough performance in bed last night.”
“Now that does complicate things, Ms. Vivian,” McCallum remarked, “I’ll give you that one.”

“Good luck with your interpretations, Mr. McCallum.”

“Good day, Ms. Vivian.”

After she left, McCallum packed his things and left for elsewhere.

The Agency, Chapter 3

An Agent's Valentine
Robert McCallum was in a deep sleep when his mattress overturned onto him. He woke falling from mattress to floor; he was quickly covered with the mattress and felt the weight of three grown men jump on top. He looked ahead and saw through a small half circle that the lights turned on. He began to breathe heavily, for this was his weakness. McCallum was a claustrophobic.

He moved back and forth, trying to squirm towards the light, but the more he squirmed the more the men weighted down on him. He heard a male voice speak,

“Mr. McCallum, you have a diary that is not your own,” from the positioning of the voice to his ears, he could tell that the Voice was a fourth person in the room, “You should seriously consider giving me that diary.”

McCallum could feel that he would hyperventilate, if he didn’t take measures fast. He closed his eyes and the light was gone. It was all black now. The Voice spoke on,

“Mr. McCallum, I know you think you are an honorable man working in an honorable profession…”

McCallum faded out the Voice; he was imagining himself in an open field. Perhaps it was just outside of Liverpool. He could hear a slight breeze on his ears, the tall grass and trees turned to and fro in the cool wind. He sat on the ground and laid back upon the grass, he looked to the cloudy England sky. He then changed his mind and it was a nice, blue sky. It was a little warm and the wind was a warm comforting one. He closed his eyes and said to him self, “I shall take a nap on this nice day.” And so he did, he calmed himself and fell asleep.

He was awakened by the pain of light; the mattress was removed from him and tossed against a wall. His visitors then shut the lights off before he could focus his eyes on them. They roughed him up good.

When they finished, he felt soft hands grab his face and hold his face up towards someone in the dark. He could not see for lack of light and swollen eyes, the Voice spoke, “Don’t be stupid, Mr. McCallum. Consider what I have told you. We shall see you soon.”

McCallum spoke, gasping and smirking, “Sir… you have nice hands… like a school girl. What grade are you in? What do you want to be when you grow up, little girl?”

McCallum laughed mockingly.

The Voice then shoved McCallum’s face into the carpet and rubbed it to and fro, and than finished with a slap of the back of his head. He heard them exit.

And then, he slept.

*******

“Well,” Madame Superior spoke condescendingly, “Where is he, Agent Brown?”

Agent Brown spoke, “Madame Superior, we… we do not know,” he stepped forward, rubbing his hands nervously, “But his apartment was ransacked, it appears.”

Madame Superior sighed, “Either they know or the apartment is McCallum trying to deter us.”

“Yes,” Agent Brown spoke up, “That was my thought.”

She glared right at him, “Really, Agent Brown? Because I believe it just came out of my mouth… and not yours.”

He cowered, “Right you are, Madame.”

“Find Robert McCallum.”

“We are trying, Madame Superior,” Agent Brown attempted to defend himself, “We have agents all over the place.”

“Yes, I know, Agent Brown,” she explained, “But apparently, they are in all the wrong places.”

Vivian walked away from the Madame Superior’s door; she stopped at desk four and spoke to Dorothy, “Dot, do you remember the time that you and Mr. McCallum had lunch?”

Dorothy smiled, “Explicitly.”

“Where did the two of you have lunch?” Vivian asked, but in a tone that made it clear she wasn’t hungry.

Dorothy’s smile went away, “I don’t see where that’s any of your business, Vivian.”

Vivian grabbed Dorothy’s right bicep and squeezed her pink nails into it, Dorothy was biting her lip. Vivian leaned and spoke into her ear, “But I’m really, really interested in Mr. McCallum’s tastes, Dot.”

*******

Vivian walked up to the front desk with her best flare and smiled, “Excuse me, Sir.” The young boy turned about, and when he saw her he almost choked. He was obviously not a very good worker, but probably was the son or nephew or grandson or cousin of the owner of the motel. He tried to push an unruly hair in the back down, he failed. He rubbed his wrinkled shirt, it was still wrinkled. He spoke softly,

“Yes, ma’am,” he cleared his throat, “How may I help you?”

“Well,” she blushed, “This is kind of embarrassing, but… oh, who am I kidding. I’ll just get to the point,” she giggled, “I need a key to Mr. McCallum’s room.”

“Okay,” the boy turned and grabbed key sixteen, he turned back to her and almost handed it to her, but then stopped and pulled his hand back, “Wait, why?”

“Alright,” she through her hands up, “I’m his whore. He said he wanted me to just bolt in and take him off guard, but he forgot to give me the key.”

The boy cleared his throat, “You don’t look like a whore; you look like a secretary or something.”

She rolled her eyes and smiled, “Well, we all have our fantasies now don’t we? And, pray tell, what’s your fancy?”

The boy cleared his throat one last time, reached his hand back out and gave her the key. Vivian winked at him with a huge smile,

“That’s a good boy, want a promotion?” she growled and the boy jumped a little, than she laughed and scurried away down the hallway.

When Vivian opened room sixteen McCallum was laying on top of the covers, fully dressed in a grey suit and reading a notebook. On the radio, “I Heard it Through the Grapevine” was being covered by Creedence Clearwater Revival. He looked up to her, she propped herself in the doorway,

“Mr. McCallum, you look a fright.”

McCallum placed a finger in the notebook and closed on it, “Yes, well, I was tossing and turning all night, Ms. Vivian. It was a real drag.”

Vivian looked to the radio, “I prefer the Gladys Knight and the Pips version myself.”

“Really?” McCallum responded, “I am surprised. I had you pegged for a Marvin Gaye girl.”

She looked to him, “Maybe in another life.”

“So, Ms. Vivian, how did you get my key?”

She perked up and announced, “I’m your whore, Mr. McCallum.”
McCallum’s eyes opened wide, “Well, this is a surprise. Am I dressed appropriately for the occasion? Are you cheap, my mother always taught me to never overpay?”

Vivian smirked his way, “Ah, have many conversations with your mom regarding whoredom, did you?”

“Touché, Ms. Vivian,” McCallum started, “What brings you into my bedroom? And if you say it’s for sex, rest assured I know far better.”

It was at this point that Vivian noticed the notebook he had been holding all this time, she perked up with the excitement of a two year old, “Is that Jack’s diary?”

McCallum quickly responded, “Listen. Do you hear that? It’s the sound of your brains being blown out of your skull, Ms. Vivian,” he looked at her with a face for correcting and scolded, “Shut the door.”

She rolled her eyes and entered the room, the door shut behind her. She scurried to the bed and hopped onto it next to him and lay back, placing her head against the headboard next to his. McCallum grunted and tried to keep stiff, the movements sent sharp pains throughout his bruised body,

“Ms. Vivian,” he started, “Need I remind you that I had very, very rough night?”

“Oh, dear,” she frowned, “Are you pregnant? Is it unexpected?”

“I should slap you.”

“Would you?”

He laughed lightly, “You want me to slap you?”

“No, you pervert,” she pointed to the diary, “I want you to read me some.”
“It’s pretty dull actually,” he explains.

“I don’t care,” she states, “I want to know what killed the great Mr. McCallum.”

“We appreciate your support, Ms. Vivian,” he smirks, “Please pick up your gift package on the way out.”

“Speaking of appreciation, aren’t you proud of me for finding you, Mr. McCallum?”

“Why should I be?” he started, turning a page back in the notebook, “You’re a liar and a whore.”

She frowned at him, “Not a whore, just a liar.”

“You’re conniving.”

Vivian perked up again, “And what woman isn’t?”

This got McCallum’s attention, he looked to her, “Why, Ms. Vivian, what a narrow tie you wear?”

“Thank you, Mr. McCallum, do you like it?”

“I hate to be the one to mention it, Ms. Vivian, but I wouldn’t be your friend if I didn’t,” he started, “It’s painfully out of style.”

“Well, get on with it,” she pointed to the diary, “I’m on my lunch.”

“If you insist,” he turned another page, looking for a good excerpt, “Ah, here we go, ‘Dear Boss, I keep on hearing the police have caught me but they wont fix me just yet. I have laughed when they look so clever and talk about being on the right track. That joke about Leather Apron gave me real fits. I am down on whores and I shant quit ripping them till I do get buckled. Grand work the last job was. I gave the lady no time to squeal. How can they catch me now. I love my work and want to start again. You will soon hear of me with my funny little games. I saved some of the proper red stuff in a ginger beer bottle over the last job to write with but it went thick like glue and I cant use it. Red ink is fit enough I hope ha. ha. The next job I do I shall clip the ladys ears off and send to the police officers just for jolly wouldn't you. Keep this letter back till I do a bit more work, then give it out straight. My knife's so nice and sharp I want to get to work right away if I get a chance. Good Luck. Yours truly, Jack.’”

McCallum looked to Vivian from the diary, she wore a very perplexed expression upon her face, “Ms. Vivian, you look vexed.”

“I am,” she starts, “It doesn’t make a lick of sense.”

“Sure it does,” he begins turning the pages and showing each entry as he speaks, “It’s a code. Every entry in his diary is a Ripper letter. All I have to do is figure out what he was substituting for what and I’ve got a scandalous story worth killing for.”

“Well, that’s ridiculous,” Vivian left the bed and stood next to it, “That stupid diary could mean anything, because it isn’t a code. It’s a bloody interpretation. And only Jack knows the interpretation. And Jack is dead,” she sighed, “Mr. McCallum you’ve gotten yourself in a fine mix and you don’t have a single clue.”

“Nonsense, Ms. Vivian,” he held the diary up, “I have the whole case right here.”

“You’re batty, Mr. McCallum,” she moved to the door, gripped the doorknob and looked back to him, “By the by, the Agency had nothing to do with your rough performance in bed last night.”
“Now that does complicate things, Ms. Vivian,” McCallum remarked, “I’ll give you that one.”

“Good luck with your interpretations, Mr. McCallum.”

“Good day, Ms. Vivian.”

After she left, McCallum packed his things and left for elsewhere.

The Agency, Chapter 2

Agency Lessons
Robert McCallum came into work, dressed up to the nines and ready to take on the world. He was on cloud nine. Nothing could stop him now. Not the rain, not a freight train. He was invincible. Of course, Dr. Klein didn’t know this. Doctor Klein knew very little, in fact. He was always very behind in the times. He was always the last to find things out, and yet he was always the first to strike. He was notorious for being arrogant. All the other words in every language could not summarize Dr. Klein more. Doctor Klein was arrogant,

“Robert, there you are,” he said, eager to abuse an ego, “Where’s my coffee?”

“Make it yourself, Dr. Klein,” McCallum stopped for just a brief moment, “I’m an agent now. Excuse me, Madame is waiting.”

McCallum whisked away, behind him he could hear Dr. Klein’s frustration, “An agent?! And why haven’t I heard about this? Why am I always the last to hear about things around here? Was he not my chief clerk? How come I don’t get a say in what my people do?”

In truth Dr. Klein went on, but all personnel within proximity blocked his usual rant of how unfair things are out of their minds, beginning around “How come…”

McCallum came through the Secretary Hall, the hall leading to Madame Superior’s office. You see, apparently it takes 14 secretaries to write-off espionage and murder,

“Paper work in the business of espionage is about as painful as giving birth to sextuplets,” this according to one former secretary that actually had given birth to sextuplets.

“Morning, Ladies,” McCallum nodded his head, flashed a smile and wink as he passed through the hall. Agent Brown, a mildly overweight and almost over aged mess of a man frowned at the presence of Robert McCallum as he knows all moves are off. He turned away from a secretary who smiled now at McCallum, he exited the hall.

“Morning, Mr. McCallum,” Vivian came up and greeted him, “what are you doing this far up the food chain?”

Vivian was young, but oddly the oldest secretary in Secretary Hall. She always wore some shade of pink with accents of gray. She was a natural brunette, her hair wavy to perfection. She looked at McCallum, with a smile on her face. She was digging the scene.

“Actually, that’s Agent McCallum, Ms. Vivian,” McCallum explained.

Her smile faded a bit, “I doubt that,” she started, “You see, I do the paperwork of all new agents and I haven’t done your paperwork.”

“Well, then you best get busy.”

“No, Mr. McCallum, what I’m saying is that you have no paperwork for agent status.”

He considered the options, hoping it was merely a foul up in paper transit. His smile was gone, he’d been stopped. He sighed, “Is mum in?”

Vivian picked her phone up and hit a button, “Madame Superior, a Mr. Robert McCallum to see you. Shall I send him in?” She hung the phone up, “She’s all yours, good luck.”

McCallum entered Madame Superior’s office slowly; she had her face shoved in a file, her glasses on the tip of her nose. She lowered the file as she heard him enter and looked above her glasses,

“Ah, Mr. McCallum, welcome. Have a seat.”

After sitting, he looked to her with confidence, “Reporting for duty, Madame Superior. What’s next on the agenda, stealing rare coins? Maybe knocking off some communist sympathizer?”

She looked at him with a confused look, this was not good. This meant the game had begun, “You have me bumfuzzled, Mr. McCallum, you speak as if… you imply, I should say. You imply as if you are an agent for this agency?” She paused for a moment in thought, “When you arrived at work on Monday, where did you report?”

“To Dr. Klein.”

“And what was your position, then?”

“Chief Clerk, Madame.”

“Well, there you have it, Mr. McCallum; you are the chief clerk to Dr. Klein. Now, let us forget all this nonsense about being an agent. Perhaps you are just overworked; if I were you, I’d put in for some time off with the good doc.”

“Respectfully, Madame—”

She interrupted him, “You better get a move on, Mr. McCallum, Doctor Klein could probably do with some coffee right about now, wouldn’t you agree? As a matter of fact, if I were Dr. Klein, I would be a little irritated; I’d even say you were late.”

McCallum was furious, but he hid it well, “Madame, I am a very patient man and well-tempered. I won’t break.”
Again, she had a look of confusion, but she soon replaced it with a queer smile, “I do believe you are speaking in riddles, Mr. McCallum. But, unfortunately, you’ll have to take such riddles elsewhere, because I’m a very busy girl. Ta-ta for now, Mr. McCallum!”

“But, Madame—”

Interrupting in a more serious tone this time, “Mr. McCallum, you may leave now.”

McCallum rose to his feet and nodded his head, “As you wish, Madame,” he went to leave, but stopped at the door and turned back, “Oh, by the by, what did you want me to do with the body?”

“What body?”

“Jack’s body; I left it in the motel room on the floor,” he winced a little, “As a matter of fact, I may have left the bullet lodged in the floor as well,” suddenly he stopped himself, “I apologize, me and riddles again. Excuse me, good day.”

With that he was out the door and moving through the hall at a quick pace; he had reached row seven when Vivian’s phone rang, “Mr. McCallum!” Vivian called to him, “Madame Superior is requesting your presence.”

*******

It was not necessary for any secretary to place ear-to-door, Madame Superior’s voice screeched through Secretary Hall uninhibited. Agent Brown returned to the Hall with a few other agents. Everyone would agree later that this was the worst she had ever been. Needless to say, Agent Brown was not amused when he was assigned the task of returning to the scene of the crime with Robert McCallum.

After closing the door, Agent Brown spoke, slipping his hands into rubber gloves, “Alright, you dimwit, where did the bullet lodge?”

“In the floor,” McCallum responded, also pointing to the other side of the bed, “Beneath his head.”

“Oh, for Pete’s sake,” Agent Brown reacted at the sight of the body, “You didn’t even dispose? You really are an idiot. What, did you think housekeeping would take care of it?”

With that, Agent Brown grabbed Jack by his shoulders and flipped his stiff body over, McCallum remarked, “Was I wrong? By the by, I’m also out of ice.”

Agent looked up from the floor, glaring at McCallum. He then went to the floor, rubbing his hands across the carpet. Finally, Agent Brown found the hole and began with cutting a patch of carpet out. During the whole tedious job, McCallum would often switch from bed to chair to bed from chair, sitting here and there. Whenever Agent Brown would begin to accomplish something, he’d look up to McCallum and rudely remark, “Do you see what I’m doing? Do you follow me? Yeah, you better make a note of it ‘cuz I’m not doing it again. I’m not your Nancy.”

The only thing McCallum helped in was placing Jack into a body bag, even that was an annoying trip, “Flip, turn, turn, push, pivot, PIVOT!”

After loading everything into the standard issue Agency Volkswagen van, they entered the room and gave it one last look-over,

“So, what of the diary?” Agent Brown asked.

“What diary?”

“Jack’s diary!”

“When the deed was done, there were no possessions in the room,” McCallum convincingly replied.

“You stupid, bumbling lummox,” Agent Brown fumed, “I’m not a twit. Where’s the diary?”

“There was no diary.”

“You’re dead, McCallum,” Agent Brown explained, “No one crosses Madame Superior and lives long. You’re dead.”

“It’s queer then, because I’m feeling very much alive.”

*******

“Don’t play games with me!” Madame Superior exclaimed at hearing the news of the missing diary.

“Ironic, isn’t it?” McCallum calmly started, “Maybe if you wouldn’t play games with me, I wouldn’t feel compelled to play back. Personally, and off the record, but I’m a solitaire man myself.”

Madame Superior went into superiority mode, “I am the head of this agency; I own it, I run it. I am it.”

McCallum rose from his chair, Agent Brown gasped, “Oh, do get over your self, Madame.”

“And where on earth are you going?” she questions, in appall.

McCallum looked Madame Superior dead in the eyes and stated quite firmly, “I am leaving at will like any normal, adult human being. If you should need me, I will be dispensing coffee and shuffling papers for Dr. Klein.”

After McCallum left, Madame Superior sulked in her chair, “Come closer, Agent Brown, I must needs speak to you in confidence.”

Agent Brown conceded.

“I want that diary. I need that diary,” she looked to him, “Prepare to take all necessary precautions.”

The Agency, Chapter 2

Agency Lessons
Robert McCallum came into work, dressed up to the nines and ready to take on the world. He was on cloud nine. Nothing could stop him now. Not the rain, not a freight train. He was invincible. Of course, Dr. Klein didn’t know this. Doctor Klein knew very little, in fact. He was always very behind in the times. He was always the last to find things out, and yet he was always the first to strike. He was notorious for being arrogant. All the other words in every language could not summarize Dr. Klein more. Doctor Klein was arrogant,

“Robert, there you are,” he said, eager to abuse an ego, “Where’s my coffee?”

“Make it yourself, Dr. Klein,” McCallum stopped for just a brief moment, “I’m an agent now. Excuse me, Madame is waiting.”

McCallum whisked away, behind him he could hear Dr. Klein’s frustration, “An agent?! And why haven’t I heard about this? Why am I always the last to hear about things around here? Was he not my chief clerk? How come I don’t get a say in what my people do?”

In truth Dr. Klein went on, but all personnel within proximity blocked his usual rant of how unfair things are out of their minds, beginning around “How come…”

McCallum came through the Secretary Hall, the hall leading to Madame Superior’s office. You see, apparently it takes 14 secretaries to write-off espionage and murder,

“Paper work in the business of espionage is about as painful as giving birth to sextuplets,” this according to one former secretary that actually had given birth to sextuplets.

“Morning, Ladies,” McCallum nodded his head, flashed a smile and wink as he passed through the hall. Agent Brown, a mildly overweight and almost over aged mess of a man frowned at the presence of Robert McCallum as he knows all moves are off. He turned away from a secretary who smiled now at McCallum, he exited the hall.

“Morning, Mr. McCallum,” Vivian came up and greeted him, “what are you doing this far up the food chain?”

Vivian was young, but oddly the oldest secretary in Secretary Hall. She always wore some shade of pink with accents of gray. She was a natural brunette, her hair wavy to perfection. She looked at McCallum, with a smile on her face. She was digging the scene.

“Actually, that’s Agent McCallum, Ms. Vivian,” McCallum explained.

Her smile faded a bit, “I doubt that,” she started, “You see, I do the paperwork of all new agents and I haven’t done your paperwork.”

“Well, then you best get busy.”

“No, Mr. McCallum, what I’m saying is that you have no paperwork for agent status.”

He considered the options, hoping it was merely a foul up in paper transit. His smile was gone, he’d been stopped. He sighed, “Is mum in?”

Vivian picked her phone up and hit a button, “Madame Superior, a Mr. Robert McCallum to see you. Shall I send him in?” She hung the phone up, “She’s all yours, good luck.”

McCallum entered Madame Superior’s office slowly; she had her face shoved in a file, her glasses on the tip of her nose. She lowered the file as she heard him enter and looked above her glasses,

“Ah, Mr. McCallum, welcome. Have a seat.”

After sitting, he looked to her with confidence, “Reporting for duty, Madame Superior. What’s next on the agenda, stealing rare coins? Maybe knocking off some communist sympathizer?”

She looked at him with a confused look, this was not good. This meant the game had begun, “You have me bumfuzzled, Mr. McCallum, you speak as if… you imply, I should say. You imply as if you are an agent for this agency?” She paused for a moment in thought, “When you arrived at work on Monday, where did you report?”

“To Dr. Klein.”

“And what was your position, then?”

“Chief Clerk, Madame.”

“Well, there you have it, Mr. McCallum; you are the chief clerk to Dr. Klein. Now, let us forget all this nonsense about being an agent. Perhaps you are just overworked; if I were you, I’d put in for some time off with the good doc.”

“Respectfully, Madame—”

She interrupted him, “You better get a move on, Mr. McCallum, Doctor Klein could probably do with some coffee right about now, wouldn’t you agree? As a matter of fact, if I were Dr. Klein, I would be a little irritated; I’d even say you were late.”

McCallum was furious, but he hid it well, “Madame, I am a very patient man and well-tempered. I won’t break.”
Again, she had a look of confusion, but she soon replaced it with a queer smile, “I do believe you are speaking in riddles, Mr. McCallum. But, unfortunately, you’ll have to take such riddles elsewhere, because I’m a very busy girl. Ta-ta for now, Mr. McCallum!”

“But, Madame—”

Interrupting in a more serious tone this time, “Mr. McCallum, you may leave now.”

McCallum rose to his feet and nodded his head, “As you wish, Madame,” he went to leave, but stopped at the door and turned back, “Oh, by the by, what did you want me to do with the body?”

“What body?”

“Jack’s body; I left it in the motel room on the floor,” he winced a little, “As a matter of fact, I may have left the bullet lodged in the floor as well,” suddenly he stopped himself, “I apologize, me and riddles again. Excuse me, good day.”

With that he was out the door and moving through the hall at a quick pace; he had reached row seven when Vivian’s phone rang, “Mr. McCallum!” Vivian called to him, “Madame Superior is requesting your presence.”

*******

It was not necessary for any secretary to place ear-to-door, Madame Superior’s voice screeched through Secretary Hall uninhibited. Agent Brown returned to the Hall with a few other agents. Everyone would agree later that this was the worst she had ever been. Needless to say, Agent Brown was not amused when he was assigned the task of returning to the scene of the crime with Robert McCallum.

After closing the door, Agent Brown spoke, slipping his hands into rubber gloves, “Alright, you dimwit, where did the bullet lodge?”

“In the floor,” McCallum responded, also pointing to the other side of the bed, “Beneath his head.”

“Oh, for Pete’s sake,” Agent Brown reacted at the sight of the body, “You didn’t even dispose? You really are an idiot. What, did you think housekeeping would take care of it?”

With that, Agent Brown grabbed Jack by his shoulders and flipped his stiff body over, McCallum remarked, “Was I wrong? By the by, I’m also out of ice.”

Agent looked up from the floor, glaring at McCallum. He then went to the floor, rubbing his hands across the carpet. Finally, Agent Brown found the hole and began with cutting a patch of carpet out. During the whole tedious job, McCallum would often switch from bed to chair to bed from chair, sitting here and there. Whenever Agent Brown would begin to accomplish something, he’d look up to McCallum and rudely remark, “Do you see what I’m doing? Do you follow me? Yeah, you better make a note of it ‘cuz I’m not doing it again. I’m not your Nancy.”

The only thing McCallum helped in was placing Jack into a body bag, even that was an annoying trip, “Flip, turn, turn, push, pivot, PIVOT!”

After loading everything into the standard issue Agency Volkswagen van, they entered the room and gave it one last look-over,

“So, what of the diary?” Agent Brown asked.

“What diary?”

“Jack’s diary!”

“When the deed was done, there were no possessions in the room,” McCallum convincingly replied.

“You stupid, bumbling lummox,” Agent Brown fumed, “I’m not a twit. Where’s the diary?”

“There was no diary.”

“You’re dead, McCallum,” Agent Brown explained, “No one crosses Madame Superior and lives long. You’re dead.”

“It’s queer then, because I’m feeling very much alive.”

*******

“Don’t play games with me!” Madame Superior exclaimed at hearing the news of the missing diary.

“Ironic, isn’t it?” McCallum calmly started, “Maybe if you wouldn’t play games with me, I wouldn’t feel compelled to play back. Personally, and off the record, but I’m a solitaire man myself.”

Madame Superior went into superiority mode, “I am the head of this agency; I own it, I run it. I am it.”

McCallum rose from his chair, Agent Brown gasped, “Oh, do get over your self, Madame.”

“And where on earth are you going?” she questions, in appall.

McCallum looked Madame Superior dead in the eyes and stated quite firmly, “I am leaving at will like any normal, adult human being. If you should need me, I will be dispensing coffee and shuffling papers for Dr. Klein.”

After McCallum left, Madame Superior sulked in her chair, “Come closer, Agent Brown, I must needs speak to you in confidence.”

Agent Brown conceded.

“I want that diary. I need that diary,” she looked to him, “Prepare to take all necessary precautions.”

The Agency, Chapter 1

An Agent's Burial


Robert McCallum entered Madame Superior’s office and took a seat; he was looking dashing in his black suit and thin, black tie. His blonde hair was always short and precisely cut. No one had ever seen one hair out of its place nor had they ever seen one shred of stubble on his soft face. The only complaint anyone ever had of him was that he looked drunk when he was sober and sober when he was drunk. Though, truthfully, he was seldom drunk or even tipsy. He held liquor like an ox.

Women desired him and men didn’t mind him, so long as they weren’t trying to make a move. No moves could be made when McCallum was in the room. No moves could counteract the look of cool and the precision of his witty banter. He had a streak for the sarcastic. And despite that he almost always seemed drunk; he was calm and suave. It was as if Dean Martin’s drunken-calm morphed with Steve McQueen’s body and became a member of The Remo Four.

“I didn’t ask you to sit, Mr. McCallum,” Madame Superior noted, without looking up from the file in her hand, “Stand.”

“The word is you wanted to see me, Madame Superior.”

“Stand, Mr. McCallum,” she spoke, her eyes still looking through her sleek, black rimmed glasses at the file.

McCallum stood from the chair, and then she looked up from the file, “Ah, Mr. McCallum, welcome. Have a seat.”

He sat.

“I’m a blunt, frank individual, Mr. McCallum,” she started, leaning forward and placing the file on her desk, “I have a mole in my agency, I know who that mole is and I want you to take care of it.”

“Sounds serious.”

“If you complete the task, to my liking, I will give you that promotion you’ve been dying to have,” she leans back, “Agent Robert McCallum… it even has a nice ring to it, wouldn’t you say?”

“I should say,” he responded, “Chief Clerk Robert McCallum is a little bit of a mouth full. I haven’t been a big fan of it myself.”

She picked the file back up and held it to him, “Stand, Mr. McCallum.”

He stood and took a hold of the file with his left hand, but she didn’t let go; she looked him in the eyes and said, “If you botch this, Mr. McCallum, you’re dead.”

“Well, as long as I get an agent’s burial, I can live with it.”

“Chopped and scattered or tossed and forgotten, Mr. McCallum?” she asked as she let go of the file.

“I’ll have to sleep on that one,” he nodded, “Madame Superior.”

“Mr. McCallum, get out of my office.”

*******

It was the kind of motel where you take certain girls of which you would never take home to mum. It was sleazy, dirty and a flashing nuisance. Room 7 had dark wood walls and deep red carpet. The queen-sized bed was wearing a gold comforter. A radio on the table by the window quietly spoke of bookends and old friends. Jack was sitting on the edge of the bed, near the nightstand and talking on the avocado rotary phone,

“I need a ticket and safe passage, chum,” he spoke into the phone, “They’ve figured me out. Oh, come on, don’t be like that. I’ve given you plenty; you’d have nothing without me! No, I’m not getting demanding. I’m just saying. And I got more, but you can’t get it, if you don’t get me out. No, don’t talk like that—hello? Hello?”

Jack slammed the phone down and sighed. He held his head in his hands, sighing deeply to himself. The radio stopped with a click.

“Don’t get saucy Jack,” McCallum spoke from behind him.

Jack picked his head up, “Doing Madame’s business, eh? You aiming to kill me?”

“Thinking about it.”

“I’ve got a wife and boy—they’ll never understand, just… I ask you, as a gentleman, take me somewhere else before you do the deed,” Jack started to cry, “Just take me somewhere respectable, somewhere clean. For my wife, for my little boy.”

“I’d be extremely touched, if it weren’t that I read your file,” McCallum started, “You’re single, Jack. The wife and kid are a cover. If I hadn’t known that, you might have convinced me, but now I know you’re just a lying traitor.”

Jack was broiled, he burst like a volcano screaming, “Do you honestly believe—“

The bullet entered near the top of his head, exited through his mouth and lodged into the floor. Jack slumped to the floor. His blood blended in with the carpet. McCallum calmly gathered what little belongings Jack had, tossing everything into a trash bag. When he finished he started to leave, but then turned and went over to Jack’s body. He looked at the body for a moment, examining what he had just accomplished.

He spoke softly to himself, “Tossed and forgotten.”

*******

“You killed Jack?!” Madame Superior was startled and embittered, “I didn’t want you to kill him. I didn’t say anything about killing him.”

For the first time, to anyone’s knowledge, McCallum raised his voice, “Maybe you should’ve been a bit more specific, Madame!”

“No,” she started, “You should have asked.”

They both simmered in this thought while the crowd outside the office listened intently through the door for the next verbal thrashing.

Madame Superior smiled, “In the future, Agent Robert McCallum, you will ask. I do not pay you to assume things, I pay you to listen. Are we understood?”

“I think so,” McCallum answered, “Did you really want him alive?”

“No, no, no. Jack is exactly where he needs to be.”

There was a silence, and then McCallum asked, “Are we done, Madame Superior? Can I stand? Can I leave?”

“You may.”

He rose to his feet and turned for the door. The crowd outside heard his footfalls and bolted, heading back to their perspective desks. At the door, Madame Superior spoke up, “Agent McCallum, have you made your decision regarding your funeral arrangements?”

McCallum looked her dead in the eyes and lied.

The Agency, Chapter 1


An Agent's Burial
Robert McCallum entered Madame Superior’s office and took a seat; he was looking dashing in his black suit and thin, black tie. His blonde hair was always short and precisely cut. No one had ever seen one hair out of its place nor had they ever seen one shred of stubble on his soft face. The only complaint anyone ever had of him was that he looked drunk when he was sober and sober when he was drunk. Though, truthfully, he was seldom drunk or even tipsy. He held liquor like an ox.

Women desired him and men didn’t mind him, so long as they weren’t trying to make a move. No moves could be made when McCallum was in the room. No moves could counteract the look of cool and the precision of his witty banter. He had a streak for the sarcastic. And despite that he almost always seemed drunk; he was calm and suave. It was as if Dean Martin’s drunken-calm morphed with Steve McQueen’s body and became a member of The Remo Four.

“I didn’t ask you to sit, Mr. McCallum,” Madame Superior noted, without looking up from the file in her hand, “Stand.”

“The word is you wanted to see me, Madame Superior.”

“Stand, Mr. McCallum,” she spoke, her eyes still looking through her sleek, black rimmed glasses at the file.

McCallum stood from the chair, and then she looked up from the file, “Ah, Mr. McCallum, welcome. Have a seat.”

He sat.

“I’m a blunt, frank individual, Mr. McCallum,” she started, leaning forward and placing the file on her desk, “I have a mole in my agency, I know who that mole is and I want you to take care of it.”

“Sounds serious.”

“If you complete the task, to my liking, I will give you that promotion you’ve been dying to have,” she leans back, “Agent Robert McCallum… it even has a nice ring to it, wouldn’t you say?”

“I should say,” he responded, “Chief Clerk Robert McCallum is a little bit of a mouth full. I haven’t been a big fan of it myself.”

She picked the file back up and held it to him, “Stand, Mr. McCallum.”

He stood and took a hold of the file with his left hand, but she didn’t let go; she looked him in the eyes and said, “If you botch this, Mr. McCallum, you’re dead.”

“Well, as long as I get an agent’s burial, I can live with it.”

“Chopped and scattered or tossed and forgotten, Mr. McCallum?” she asked as she let go of the file.

“I’ll have to sleep on that one,” he nodded, “Madame Superior.”

“Mr. McCallum, get out of my office.”

*******

It was the kind of motel where you take certain girls of which you would never take home to mum. It was sleazy, dirty and a flashing nuisance. Room 7 had dark wood walls and deep red carpet. The queen-sized bed was wearing a gold comforter. A radio on the table by the window quietly spoke of bookends and old friends. Jack was sitting on the edge of the bed, near the nightstand and talking on the avocado rotary phone,

“I need a ticket and safe passage, chum,” he spoke into the phone, “They’ve figured me out. Oh, come on, don’t be like that. I’ve given you plenty; you’d have nothing without me! No, I’m not getting demanding. I’m just saying. And I got more, but you can’t get it, if you don’t get me out. No, don’t talk like that—hello? Hello?”

Jack slammed the phone down and sighed. He held his head in his hands, sighing deeply to himself. The radio stopped with a click.

“Don’t get saucy Jack,” McCallum spoke from behind him.

Jack picked his head up, “Doing Madame’s business, eh? You aiming to kill me?”

“Thinking about it.”

“I’ve got a wife and boy—they’ll never understand, just… I ask you, as a gentleman, take me somewhere else before you do the deed,” Jack started to cry, “Just take me somewhere respectable, somewhere clean. For my wife, for my little boy.”

“I’d be extremely touched, if it weren’t that I read your file,” McCallum started, “You’re single, Jack. The wife and kid are a cover. If I hadn’t known that, you might have convinced me, but now I know you’re just a lying traitor.”

Jack was broiled, he burst like a volcano screaming, “Do you honestly believe—“

The bullet entered near the top of his head, exited through his mouth and lodged into the floor. Jack slumped to the floor. His blood blended in with the carpet. McCallum calmly gathered what little belongings Jack had, tossing everything into a trash bag. When he finished he started to leave, but then turned and went over to Jack’s body. He looked at the body for a moment, examining what he had just accomplished.

He spoke softly to himself, “Tossed and forgotten.”

*******

“You killed Jack?!” Madame Superior was startled and embittered, “I didn’t want you to kill him. I didn’t say anything about killing him.”

For the first time, to anyone’s knowledge, McCallum raised his voice, “Maybe you should’ve been a bit more specific, Madame!”

“No,” she started, “You should have asked.”

They both simmered in this thought while the crowd outside the office listened intently through the door for the next verbal thrashing.

Madame Superior smiled, “In the future, Agent Robert McCallum, you will ask. I do not pay you to assume things, I pay you to listen. Are we understood?”

“I think so,” McCallum answered, “Did you really want him alive?”

“No, no, no. Jack is exactly where he needs to be.”

There was a silence, and then McCallum asked, “Are we done, Madame Superior? Can I stand? Can I leave?”

“You may.”

He rose to his feet and turned for the door. The crowd outside heard his footfalls and bolted, heading back to their perspective desks. At the door, Madame Superior spoke up, “Agent McCallum, have you made your decision regarding your funeral arrangements?”

McCallum looked her dead in the eyes and lied.