S... Is for a Lot of Things
(A Not so General Prologue)
Maxwell Smart took a deep breath as the subway doors slammed shut behind him. He glanced at his watch and discovered, to his relief, that he was right on schedule. He had received a lead several minutes earlier about a bomb that was set to explode on the D.C. Metro –taking much of Capitol Hill with it.
After a frenzied blur of running in and out of crowds and dodging human traffic, he had finally found the right car on the red line that the bomb was said to be on. Only that 'right' car on that 'right' red line was rather empty. Ignoring the unusual surroundings, Max went about his business and began to look for anything wiry strapped under a seat. He stopped his routine only to regard an unfamiliar tap on his shoulder.
“Looking for this?”
Max spun around to face a man swathed in a black ski mask and black leather coat that had decided to accessorize by carrying a tidy six-pack of dynamite. “Yeah… now hand it over!”
“Why?” asked the man. “You’re not in a position to stop me. You’re not even armed!”
Max felt around for his holster and then looked down at himself. He was attired, much to his disgust, in a pair of light blue pajamas and a burgundy bathrobe with the number 86 embroidered on the front pocket. This, he decided, was not only a bad battle tactic, but it was also darned inconvenient.
“Okay… this isn’t good.”
“No it’s not good,” nodded the man. “It’s not good for you, for me, and everyone else involved. Face it, Smart, you failed this one and now we’re all going to die!”
Max blinked at these words. He could not speak for his bomb-carrying companion, but he was certainly not ready to go to the big Spyville in the sky. In fact, he doubted it would happen. According to his law of averages, it was about time he found an escape route.
“You’re blowing smoke,” frowned Max, reaching for the bundle of wires and dynamite.
The man, however, hoisted it just out of Max’s reach. “According to my law of averages, Smart, it’s about time you flunked out.”
Max started to pace back and forth out of frustration and a lack of anything better to do. There were several things about this situation that bothered him –namely the fact that he had shown up for a mission with no weapons or appropriate clothing. What bothered him at that precise moment, though, was why the bomb-bearer was not executing a plan of escape. Max knew full well that Kaos had too tight a budget to waste agents on suicide bombings. He could not make sense of why his adversary was still hanging around.
“I’m hanging around because you’re keeping me here,” explained the man.
“What are you? Some sort of mumbo jumbo mind reader?” demanded Max, annoyed. Then he took a long look at the man and shook his head. “On second thought… don’t answer that.”
“I am at the forefront of your thoughts,” said the man, tossing the bomb in the air and catching it as if it were a football.
“Then why don’t you leave
my thoughts?” suggested Max.
You won’t let me,” moaned the man.
“You’re trying to kill me –that’s what you’re trying to do!”
“Aroo?” asked Max. “You’re the one with the bomb –not me!”
“That’s beside the point!” insisted the
man, poking Max in the chest with every syllable.
“You are trying to kill me! I
know what I know!”
Max groaned and slapped his hand across his
forehead. “Why did I get called
here to deal with you? Out of all
the cut-throats, I have to get one with some sort of paranoid complex!”
He sunk down into one of the seats and began
to massage his temples. He strongly
wished that somehow this would be the precise second in time that 99 would bail
him out. For no reason he looked up
just in time to see the masked assailant fly into the seat across the aisle from
him. Max then turned around to see
99 standing in front of him with the ticking bomb in her hand.
“99!” cried Max, jumping up.
“Don’t just stand there! Disarm
“Can’t,” shrugged 99, her crimson lips
curving into a crooked smile. “It’s
going to explode whether you take it apart or not.”
Max felt sweat bead up around his brow.
“How much time?”
“Hard to say,” said 99, airily.
“Could be this moment or the next.
Today or tomorrow. It really doesn’t matter when, Max. All that matters is that it will explode.”
Max looked at 99 as if she had just reported
seeing President Johnson walking around arm and arm with a Martian.
He noticed that she was dressed in a pair of black leather pants and a
black leather jacket. He shook his head and took in every inch of it again.
While she certainly cut a fine figure in leather, she did not belong in
it –not his
“99, don’t tell
me there’s no way out,” moaned Max. “I
“There is no way out!
Even I can’t pull you out of this like I always do because it’s your
problem,” said 99, tossing the bomb in the air and catching it before Max
could grab it away from her. “Face
it, 86 –you failed!”
With that said, 99 promptly exploded into a fit
of giggles. Blinking at her, Max
walked over to 99, grabbed her by the shoulders, and gave her a good shake.
She ceased her giggles for a second or two only to look at Max and break
out into rapid-fire laughter.
“99, this is serious!”
“How can it be?” gasped 99.
“You’re a joke –a farce!”
Not knowing how to respond to that verbal dart
into his self-esteem, Max turned away from 99 and looked over at the ski-masked
man. He noticed that his nemesis
was now curled up in the fetal position and was occupied with sucking his thumb.
Max walked over to the man and sighed.
He pulled the assailant’s thumb out and took a good long look into his
“You really need to buck up, buddy,” urged
Max. “How are you ever going to
be a successful spy at—“
“I’m not a successful spy,” retorted the
man, turning to the window and pulling off his ski mask.
“How do you figure?” asked Max.
“I mean, if you’d just give yourself a chance –like doing something
about the bomb.”
“I can’t. It’s
your bomb!” insisted the man, turning to face Max.
Max did a double take at the man sitting beside him. The man had his -Max's- exact same face. Everything, right down to each black hair on the man’s head, as well as the cut on the chin from his last shave, was the same as his. Max decided that it was simply revolting to see his law abiding face on the head of crook.
“Who are you?” demanded Max, jumping away
from him. “I thought I got rid of
my Kaos double!”
The man rolled his eyes and moaned.
“I’m your Inner Self.”
Max shook his head and looked over at 99 who
was still laughing. “This has
to be a dream.”
“Actually, it’s your worst nightmare,”
clarified Max’s Inner Self.
“Alright,” nodded Max, a smile forming on
his lips. “I guess this means
good-bye because I’ve decided to wake up now!”
“Sorry, Pal,” smirked Max’s Inner Self.
“I’m the part of your subconscious that’s having this dream, so
you’re going to have to sit tight.”
Max scowled and pulled his Inner Self over to
the far end of the car so that 99 could not hear them.
“You want me to be subjected to 99 ridiculing me and laughing at me?
What kind of an Inner Self are you?”
“You think I like that any better than you?
You’re the one that’s seeing her in this light --just the same way that
you’re seeing me as a bad spy. Maybe
you should decide what you would rather she do!” snapped Max’s Inner Self.
“You’re problem is that you live with your own fear of 99 day after
day whether you want to admit it or not.”
“Afraid of 99?” repeated Max, blinking in
disbelief. “That’s ridiculous!
99’s a fellow agent! She’s
a girl –what could she do to me?”
“You tell me!
You’re the one that keeps hiding me from her!” huffed Max’s Inner
Self, craning his head to catch a glimpse of 99.
“You keep smothering me when she’s around. She’s standing right over there and you won’t even let me
talk to her!”
“You don’t understand,” said Max,
at 99 and then looking back at his Inner Self, “she’s not interested in you!
She proved that when she ran off with that Victor Royale.”
“Correction, Oh Smart One!” said Max’s
Inner Self, smiling over at 99. “That
mess was all you –not me. She’s
never met me before, because you’ve never introduced us.
Now, why is that? Maybe
you’re not afraid of 99. Maybe
you’re afraid of the things I might do to her.
You’re afraid of yourself!”
“That is absolutely ridiculous!” cried Max.
“That’s a lie! After all, I’m Maxwell Smart, idol of kids aged eight to
“Max, listen to your Inner Self –he’s
telling the truth,” said 99, walking up to them.
“99!” pouted Max. “Don’t listen to him!”
“I have to –he’s the voice of reason,”
smiled 99, tossing the bomb over to Max’s Inner Self.
“Your time’s running out 86.
I wonder what will happen if you continue to be afraid of yourself?”
“Easy, 99,” said Max’s Inner Self.
“He’ll explode –and he’ll take us with him.”
Max’s Inner Self then tossed the bundle of
dynamite over to Max who very narrowly saved it from falling to the ground.
Max looked down at the bomb and didn’t know whether to laugh or cry
–he had gotten what he had asked for, only now he was too late to do anything
about it. The second hand had just
hit the last notch on the clock. Seconds
later a piercing, splitting sound filled Max’s head and deafened his thoughts
and muffled his screams. It
continued to vibrate and ricochet off the walls of his brain until there was only
the sound of nothing.
“Max?” asked a monotone voice in the midst
of the nothing. “Why are you
Max opened his eyes and found himself staring
at a face –a rather sideways face. In
fact, everything around him was looking as if it had been turned on its side.
Groggily he sat up and the face, along with everything else, promptly
righted itself like a solder snapping to attention.
It was then that he realized he was no longer a prisoner of the subway,
but was instead safe in his living room.
“What happened?” asked Max, looking at the
piles of electrical manuals and wiring tools on the coffee table.
“You fell asleep –you were trying to
replace my battery and you discovered my “snoop” setting was too high,”
“Ah… yes!” exclaimed Max, snapping his
fingers. “Boy when those clowns
from CAD drained your battery, they really screwed things up.”
“Did you have a dream, Max?” asked Hymie.
“Robots don’t have dreams.”
“I had a nightmare,” moaned Max, shuddering
at the ordeal. It was all too fresh
and was still seeming all too real. The
only thing that did not seem real was the 99 doppelganger –at least he had
always hoped that a situation like that would never become a reality.
“Robots don’t have nightmares,” noted
Hymie. “What was it like?”
“Do robots have neurosis?”
“Then if I told you, it wouldn’t make
sense. You’d miss something in
COPYRIGHT ©1999-2016 BY AMANDA HAVERSTICK.
Will it be more nightmares and dreamscapes for our Mr. Smart? Find out in Part One.
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