Story Go Round 03/10/2007, #1

The Secret Life of a Secret Agent

(pre-titled by Amber)

This story began as a verbal improv that we took turns writing down, so the text color in this case indicates who was recording the improv, not who provided that part of the story. It is included here because we continued it on this date.

According to Public Record, secret agents don't exist. Mary Maxweather-Hilton knew otherwise. (No relation to the Cornbeef Hiltons.) Therefore, Mary couldn't exist - publicly. She accomplished this with good old-fashioned smoke and mirrors, and healthy dose of bribery. She also wore overalls. Overall, Mary knew everything there was to know about the secret agent community. It was of a frightening extent, you could almost way she knew too much. In fact she did know too much about _some_ things, and not enough about others. Have you ever heard the saying "What you don't know can't kill you?" Well, it's true, as Mary found out just before she died.

One day she started befriending secret agents - taking them out to coffee, listening to their problems, etc. But the next day she found herself meeting them in secret. Spilling her guts. From out of the front of her overalls, Mary pulled a long furry thing. Her diary, with colored levers. This one is for 'go' she said, "and this one makes a big boom. This one makes you leap real high and I don't know what the other 7 do."
"Mary, those are your innermost thoughts, feelings," one secret agent reproved.
"No," she retorted primly "They're yours."
"Prove it!" he said.
"You're wearing pink lacy underwear."
"Everybody knows that" he retorted, "that just means you've read my blog."
"Yeah," she countered coolly, "but it's yer mom who makes you wear them."
A deadly pallor came across his face, and then skedaddled.

Mary felt a sense of triumph, then it passed away like all the other people who find out about secret agents. Her coffee-entertainment budget was waning dangerously low. "Must find another way to distract them," she thought out loud as fast as she could.

"I may be able to help you," said a small voice behind her. Mary froze.

(Cont'd on 03/03/2007)

"I believe I have something of yours," the voice continued as Mary turned slowly around, "something you've been missing for some time now."

"I don't think I have to trust you on this," says Mary. "You are the 3rd person saying the same thing to me today."

"Why, last week alone I had 12 people and one small child who 'wanted to help'" she said, warming to the subject, " and all that got me was 3 cancelled appointments! What secret agent wants to befriend someone with an entourage? Really, you have no concept of what it's been like for me."

The little man before her was wearing thick lenses that magnified his tiny eyes. Within those eyes, she could see words tattooed. His right eye had the word "Pride", and the left said "Prejudice."

"I heard you're a Jane Austin fan," he remarked.

Her whole world reeled. It flopped over like a dolphin at Sea World. Suddenly, the power balance had shifted. The agents were her mystery. Her passion. She pursued them. And now, with this tattoo, this 18th century homage, the community was trying to court her. To cater to her. Like banks that supposedly competed for her loans. Could it be?

Keeping his left eye closed - 'PRIDE' stared her in the face. Whisking off the spectacles and climbing down from his stool, the unnamed agent began to walk away.

It was now or never.

"Wait," she called nervously, "I..."

The agent's stride slowed.

"Forgive me," she pleaded, "I spoke hastily just now. Come back - I'll listen."

He turned to her slowly with "Pride and prejudice" both opened. "Well... now you want to listen to me? Umm... but I forgot what I was going to say." He glanced sternly and meaningfully at the security camera mounted on the wall that had just swivelled to point in their direction. He briefly flashed a "Lizzy Forever" tattoo on his right bicep, and a touching depiction of a Regency countryside on the inside of his left nostril. "Follow me!" he whispered.

The tattoos in his eyes Mary found disturbing in a fascinating sort of way. Tha tattoo flashing on his arms seemed like a ritualistic dance that she couldn't discern. She flashed her "Woody Woodpecker" tattoo just to see what kind of reaction it might provoke.

True to everything she admired in a secret agent, he didn't blink. "I would have thought Tom + Jerry. But I would have been wrong. The pecking bird - much more appropriate. Now, please, follow me." Though he continued to whisper, somehow his voice had become infused with tenderness. She almost couldn't stop herself.

"What do you have of mine?" she asked, as a complete afterthought.

"Your most secret desire," replied the bespectacled man, not turning around. A rusty blue station wagon pulled up to the curb ahead.

"Get in," he whispered almost lovingly, "And don't look back."

When she hesitated, he added: "Your chariot awaits..."

(continued on 03/10/2007)

Mary closed her eyes and reached for his hand, suddenly surrendering to the sense of trust that had been growing in her. After a moment, she let him go and steeled herself at the parting.

Not daring to look back, Mary slid into the passenger seat of the old beater. She craned her neck after mystery man, losing sight of him within seconds. But when she turned to the driver, he turned to face her and the same tattooed eyes looked back.

"Hello! Miss! It's nice to see you again!" He said it with his tattoed eyes wide open.

"Who are you!" she said it with fear!

"Well, apparently you already forgot who I am!" he said.

His lightness seemed out of place with what I knew was a serious situation. I did know too much, and the clock was ticking , she thought.

A 'thunk' sound echoed around her, and it took her a moment to recognize the sound - all the doors had just locked. She scrabbled at the doors, looking for any way out, ruing her ignorance of twentieth Century American Automotive schemata.

Any good secret agent worth her salt knew all makes & models, from any century, like the back of her hand, but Mary had fudged her way thru the exams. Cheated, actually. Cheating was acceptable during secret agent training as long as you got away with it, and Mary had lived by the motto 'too much knowledge is a dangerous thing'. Now she would die by it.

For while what she didn't know couldn't kill her, Mr Tattoo-eyeballs, now revealed as the last key phase of her secret agent training: the required 'evil nemesis' character, he didn't know that.

And he killed her.

Somewhere Marsha Bittersfield was activated as a secret agent, and the bespeckled man would be after her, too.