No Time for Spies
Maxwell Smart, a dark haired and sharply dressed man, who was known only to the world of espionage as Agent 86 for Control, strolled into the George Washington University library. He made his way through a maze of tables and shelves to the periodical room where he had been instructed to go. According to his instructions, he was suppose to meet his superior, the Chief of Control, and his wife, Agent 99, by the newspaper rack. Just as he was precisely ten feet from the door to the periodical room, he found that he had stepped in a very sticky wad of gum. As he attempted to release his foot from its sticky trap, his other shoe began to ring.
Max took a quick glance around the room to make sure that he was alone. He then took off his shoe and pulled off the back panel to reveal a phone. At this point the ringing had finally ceased and was now replaced with a shrill shouting sound. Max sighed and put the shoe to his ear.
"Hello? Chief?" asked Max, speaking into the shoe.
"Yes, 86, itís me," answered the Chief. "Where are you??? You should have been here a half hour ago!"
"I am here, Chief -but Iím stuck to the floor," explained Max, still trying to pry his other shoe from the floor.
"How did you manage that?"
"I stepped in some gum... Chief, if youíll just let me get my shoe loose Iíll-"
"Smart! Just leave the shoe and get in here!" barked the Chief.
"But, Chief, these shoes were expensive," whined Max, "and I donít have the heart to break up a pair."
"Get in here now," screamed the Chief, "or get fired!"
"Youíve made your point," Max laughed nervously as he hung up the shoe phone.
Within seconds he was shoeless and inside the periodical room just as he had been ordered. He found Agent 99, a statuesque brunette, and the Chief of Control, a not so statuesque balding man, sitting off in a corner by the newspapers. Max also noticed a dumpy little man sitting on the other side of the room. From what Max could see, the man seemed to be jotting down notes in a notebook. His presence in the room aroused Agent 86ís curiosity.
"Chief," began Max, in a low voice, "why are we meeting in here?"
"Simple, Max, this is a library and itís more secure than anything we have back at headquarters. No one will hear us or disturb us here," explained the Chief.
"Oh, really," said Max in a smug tone as he crossed his arms across his chest. "Whoís that guy over there?"
"Him?" asked the Chief, looking over at the man who was writing in his notebook. "Heís just a writer. Donít worry about him. All he ever does is write down whatever conversations he hears."
"Well thatís a relief," sighed Max. "For a minute, there, I thought he was a spy."
"Chief," interrupted Agent 99 in her velvet coated voice, "what about the mission?"
"Yes, 99," nodded the Chief. "Max, I have placed you and 99 on a vital mission that-"
"Let me guess," interrupted Max. "Due to this mission, the fate of the entire free world hangs in the balance!"
"Your wrong Max," said the Chief shaking his head. "Actually, itís the future that hangs in the balance."
"Future?" asked Max raising an eyebrow. "I thought the words future and fate were synonymous. Isnít that what I just said?"
"No, Max, I mean the future of the future is in the balance," explained the Chief. "Kaos has invented a time machine and they intend to use it to change the future to their liking."
"Chief," began 99, "how is this possible? Iíve heard of the Navy doing experiments with time travel before and theyíve not only failed but the results were like something out of a horror movie!"
"Yes, 99, but those experiments have been officially denied by the Navy and if they are officially denied by the Navy, then they donít exist," explained the Chief. "How Kaos acquired a time machine and how it was made is a mystery to us. What is not a mystery, however, is their plans for it."
"So, what do you want us to do about this time machine, Chief?" asked Max.
"Steal it," answered the Chief.
"What?" asked Max and 99. Both of their expressions had changed to that of a pair of shocked school children that had found the part of their health book that they had been instructed not to read.
"All right, let me rephrase that," mumbled the Chief. "I would like you to locate the time machine and liberate it from Kaos."
"Okay," nodded Max, approvingly. "Liberation we can handle, but theft is illegal.
That afternoon, Max and 99 had decided to check up on a few leads regarding Kaosí time machine. At the moment, though, they were getting nowhere since they were stuck in heavy Washington D.C. traffic. Cars were driving all over the place and pedestrians, immune to traffic laws, were wandering into the steady stream of vehicles. It was a typical afternoon in the District of Columbia and it even seemed that the light they were stopped at was stuck on red. Max was about to honk the horn to his Karmann-Ghia, hoping to join the choir of angry motorists, when 99 pulled his hand away.
"Max! Donít!" cried 99. "If you honk that horn, weíll be ejected from the car!"
"Sorry about that, 99," replied Max sheepishly. "This traffic is driving me crazy."
"The light is dead. It never works at this intersection," commented 99. "Max, what do you think the future will be like?"
"Iíd say it would be in pretty sad shape if Kaos uses that time machine," replied Max.
"What if they donít?" asked 99. "Do you think it will be different?"
"Yes," nodded Max. "For one thing, we wonít have to worry about broken stoplights because weíll all be living on different planets."
"Different planets, Max?" asked 99, throwing him a confused look. "I find that a little outrageous. Where did you get that idea from?"
"99, havenít you been watching Star Trek?" demanded Max. "Itís all right there!"
99 shook her head and sighed. "If you say so. Do you think Kaos will still be around?"
"Donít be silly, 99. Of course Kaos will still be around!" answered Max as he maneuvered the car into another lane. "Kaos agents need to work too, you know."
"I figured that," mumbled 99, looking out the window.
About an hour and several traffic jams later, Max and 99 found themselves standing in front of a crumbling, weather worn, and partially chewed on building on Fenslick street. Their sources had informed them that several Kaos agents had been seen going in and out of the building on a regular basis. This led them to believe that this dilapidated building had something to do with Kaos and the time machine. Their sources also, however, had lead Max to believe that the Red Sox would win the 1967 World Series, so 99 was not sure how accurate her husband's informants were.
"Do you think this is it, Max?" asked 99. "It just looks like an abandoned warehouse to me."
"That, 99, is where you re wrong! Being a trained expert in all types of buildings, I know which buildings are warehouses and which buildings are not," replied Max, studying the building.
"How do you determine that, Max?" asked 99.
"It's all very simple, 99. First of all, this warehouse has no trucks parked by it. Warehouses always have trucks nearby. Secondly, it is not completely abandoned -someoneís Buick is parked by the curb."
"Also," added 99, "thereís a sign on the building that says that this warehouse is a division of Kaos."
"I wasnít finished, 99," snapped Max in a huff. "Also, thereís a sign on the building that says that this warehouse is a division of Kaos."
"Good thinking Max!" cheered 99 as she rolled her eyes.
They then moved to open the door. Just as Max was about to turn the knob, he felt something poke him in the back. He began to wonder if 99 was playing a game with him. He was just about to question her when he heard a voice behind him. He recognized the German-accented voice as that of Seigfried, one of Kaosí top agents.
"All right, Schmart, stay right where you are," instructed Seigfried.
"Do I have to?" asked Max.
"Yes!" answered Seigfried, reaching into Maxís sports coat and pulling a pistol from it. "Now, Schmart, Iíd like you to explain to me what you and your wife are doing on this side of town?"
"Well, 99 and I thought weíd take a nice long walk today," offered Max, hoping that Seigfried would be satisfied with this line of bull. "Right, 99?"
"Max is right," nodded 99.
"I find that very difficult to believe, Schmart," replied Seigfried. "Now, I have something to show you -or rather rub your noses in- before I kill you."
Seigfried then shoved the Smarts through the door of the warehouse. This particular warehouse was typical of big-city abandoned warehouses. Warehouses were the barns of the inner city and this one was no different. It was poorly lit with sparse lighting and contained air that had been entrapped in the building from all the way back to the day the foundation was laid. There was, however, one thing about this warehouse that made it stand out from its carbon copy counterparts: it had a peculiar looking recliner sitting in the middle of its empty floor.
This chair was not just any old living room Lazy-boy. Like the standard easy chair, it had a side lever to pull up the foot rest, lace doilies to protect the arms, and upholstery that looked like it had been colored with every crayon that Crayola had rejected. However, unlike the standard easy chair, this chair came with several knobs and levers that protruded from its arms. On one of the arms even had some sort of a monitor attached to it. After studying this bizarre creation, Max and 99 exchanged puzzled looks. They were both asking themselves the same two questions: Was this the time machine and why would Kaos pick such an ugly shade of fabric?
"Seigfried, thatís a pretty poor excuse for an easy chair!" cracked Max. "I thought you had better taste than that."
"This, Schmart, is not just another piddly little piece of furniture," replied Seigfried, walking over to the chair. "This is how Kaos will seize complete control over the world!"
"How? By monopolizing the furniture market and manufacturing hideous recliners?" countered Max. Iíve got news for you, Seigfried, the consumer doesnít have to take this! Theyíll sit on the floor if they have to!"
"For your information, Schmart," retorted Seigfried in a huff, "this is a time machine."
"You donít say!" breathed Max in an almost amazed tone.
"Seigfried," began 99, "how did you acquire a time machine?"
"Excellent question," remarked Seigfried.
"How about an excellent answer?" prompted 99, annoyed.
"Bribery," smirked Seigfried, "as well as a little favor trading."
"Do you expect this thing to actually work?" continued 99. "I thought that time travel was proven to be impossible."
"Listen, girlie, I expect this thing to work because it has already been tested and proven successful. In fact, this piece of machinery is actually an innovation of the future!" smiled Seigfried. He then turned to a tall burly Kaos agent that was guarding the time machine as if he were a watchdog. "Shtarker, go retrieve the professor."
"But heís sleeping!" whined Shtarker.
"So what! Shtarker, this is Kaos! We donít sleep here!"
Shtarker then walked into an office in the center of the warehouse that resembled a chicken coop. A few seconds later he emerged from the office with a small middle aged man that he was dragging behind him. The man looked like the last person in the world that would have the nerve to make a deal with Kaos. What he did look like, though, was a lab-coated and bow-tied bundle of bad nerves.
"This," announced Seigfried, "is Dr. Croaker , the inventor of the time machine."
"Whatís he doing working for you?" asked Max.
"Iím NOT working for him!" cried Dr. Croaker, stamping his foot on the ground in frustration. "Heís holding me here against my will!"
"Okay," nodded Max, "now that makes sense."
"Seigfried, donít you have your own mad scientists?" asked 99 with an icy glare. "What did you gain by kidnapping some innocent bystander?"
"That innocent bystander, Mrs. Smart, should be arrested for breaking and entering! For the record, he was the one who landed this time machine in my private warehouse. I suppose I could have turned him over to our Kaos leader, but I decided to make this a private transaction," smirked Seigfried as he sat down in the recliner.
"Exactly what were you planning?" demanded Max, narrowing his eyes.
Seigfried made himself comfortable in the recliner and pushed several of the buttons. "Oh... nothing too complicated, Schmart. Iím just going to ruin the future of the entire world -thatís all. In the meantime, though, I have given Shtarker very precise instructions on how I would like you both to be killed."
"Well thatís nice of you to offer to kill us and all, Seigie, but 99 and I have to get going," said Max, turning to the door. He then saw Shtarker standing in front of the door with a Luger aimed directly at him. Disgusted, Max turned back around to face Seigfried again. "99 and I have decided to stay."
"Auf Wiedersehen, Schmart!"
Seigfried then pulled the footrest lever on the recliner. The recliner then began to whir and shake as if it were a blender. Then, without any type of warning, the recliner vanished into thin air. Seigfried, time machine, and all were gone without a trace.
"Okay, Schmart," growled Shtarker, aiming his Luger at Maxís chest. "where would you like it?"
"Where would I like it. . .," repeated Max. "How about Walla Walla, Washington?"
"Nah. Thatís too far away," replied Shtarker. "How about here?"
"Shtarker, look!" exclaimed Max, pointing at the wall behind Shtarker. "Itís Captain Kirk of the USS Enterprise!"
"Where? Where?" exclaimed Shtarker, turning around.
Seeing her door of opportunity before her, 99 pulled her red pistol from her purse and clubbed Shtarker on the back of his neck with it. Shtarkerís only response was a solitary grunt. He then sunk to the floor into an unconscious heap. Max bent down, picked up his Luger, and then turned back to 99.
"Good work, 99," approved Max. "Now we have to do something about that time machine."
"But what, Max?" cried 99, throwing her hands up in the air out of frustration. "Seigfried took the time machine and who knows where it could be! Heís probably destroying the future as we speak!"
"Hmmmm.... I guess that leaves sending out an All points bulletin out of question," remarked Max. "I suggest we regroup and think of something else."
"I think," interrupted Dr. Croaker , "that you both should know that the time machine will be returning."
"Huh?" asked Max and 99.
"Seigfried forgot to take the remote," answered Dr. Croaker as he studied a gage on what looked like a TV remote. "The way I figure it, Seigfried should be suck in the year 2000 without a time machine."
"But heíll still be there!" replied 99.
"Right and he can still do damage with or without a time machine to help him," nodded Max, as he walked over to Dr. Croaker to get a better look at the TV remote. "Say, Doc, what are all those buttons for?"
"Oh, itís a universal remote, you see," explained Dr. Croaker. "It can not only send you back in time, but it operates your TV, VCR, and CD player, and it can learn from other remotes."
"Whatís a VCR?" asked Max.
"How does it learn from other remotes?" asked 99.
"You two have a lot to learn and it looks like youíre going to get the opportunity!" replied Dr. looking back in the direction where the time machine had been sitting.
Then, just as it had vanished, the recliner reappeared right in front of them. This time, however, it was without its occupant. Max and 99 exchanged glances again and slowly approached the time machine.
"Max, weíve got to do something about Seigfried!" exclaimed 99.
"Yeah. Now heís not only in the future, but heís also a permanent resident," remarked Max. "Thereís only one way to handle this, 99."
"Whatís that, Max?"
"I have no idea. I was hoping you knew of something! I am, however, absolutely certain that there is only one way to tackle this problem, so don't come up with any alternate solutions, 99"
"Dr," said 99, addressing Dr. Croaker, "the time machine is set for 2000. Is that where youíre from?"
"Yes," nodded Dr. Croaker
"What can you tell us about life there?" asked 99.
"Itís a cruel, ruthless, world," explained Dr. Croaker. "Everyone is at each otherís throats constantly. There is no peace, quiet, or civility whatsoever. Everywhere you go, itís always me, me, me! I tell you, people will stop at nothing to get what they want. Nothing!"
"Are you talking about ruthless communist bloc dictators?" asked Max.
"No! Iím talking about my hometown -Gettysburg, Pennsylvania! As for dictators -Iím not up on current events," replied Dr. Croaker.
"Why did you come here?" asked 99. "For peace and quiet?"
"Peace and quiet in the 60s?" laughed Dr. Croaker. "Youíve got to be kidding! I came back to look for the car keys to my Ď59 Chevy Impala and after thirty years I still canít find them!"
"Well, thatís all very well and good, doctor, but we have a problem!" Max reminded him.
"But there will be a thirty-year time lapse! How much a problem can one German nutcase be?" noted the Doctor. "Donít you think that, after thirty years, Kaos will have forgotten Seigfried?"
"No!" announced Max, taking the remote from Dr. Croaker. "Seigfried always leaves a note before he goes anywhere. Kaos will be waiting for him."
"Max, what are you doing with that remote?" asked 99, with a touch of alarm in her voice.
"Yeah, thatís an expensive piece of equipment," Dr Croaker chimed in.
"99, weíre going to have to stop Seigfried at his own game," said Max, walking over to the time machine, "and the only way to do that is to go forward in time."
"Hey! thatís the ticket!" exclaimed Dr. Croaker snapping his fingers.
"It is?" asked Max with a confused look. He had been secretly hoping for a good excuse to weasel out of this solitary alternative to their problem. However, that opportunity was not presenting itself.
"Yes!" nodded the Doctor. "Youíll catch Seigfried off guard -and not only that, but you can warn the government about him!"
"Doctor! Thatís a great idea!" exclaimed 99, her eyes widening.
"Yes, ridding the nation of a terrorist will help the democrats in their bid for the presidency," nodded Dr. Croaker.
Max pursed his lips to form a "Just Shoot Me" brand of scowl. "Sure! Itís a great idea for you two -youíre staying home!"
"Relax, Max," the Doctor reassured him, thumping him on the back. "Nothing will happen to you! I made it! Iím still here!"
"Thatís just it, Doc, youíre still here, " Max pointed out. "The last thing I want to be is stuck there -wherever that is!"
"If you hurry up and get Seigfried, then we wonít have to worry about that, now will we?" snapped the Doctor. "Besides, I still need to find my car keys and I have to get back before the first of the final four NCAA basketball games. Itís March Madness, you know!"
Max, who had not a clue as to what the Doctor was ranting about, rolled his eyes and then turned to 99. He then walked over to her and took her by the hand. He led her to a corner of the room where they were out of earshot and away from Dr. Croaker's impatience.
"99, I think that guy really is a Kaos agent!" whispered Max. "Seigfried left him here for back-up!"
"Max, thatís ridiculous!" admonished 99. "Max, this is our last chance to stop Seigfried!"
"Well, I guess when duty calls, then duty calls," agreed Max, who was wishing he had not heard 'Dutyís' wretched screech. "What, exactly, should we tell the Chief?"
"The truth, of course," answered 99.
"Thatís what I was afraid of," frowned Max as he walked back to the time machine.
"Are you ready?" asked the Doctor eagerly.
Maxís readiness only went as far as his desire to end this case. With the present turn of events, though, his desire has diminished quite a bit. Reluctantly he picked up the remote again and sat down on the recliner, which was surprisingly comfortable -with the exception of the unrestrained spring that was jutting out from the seat. He put his hand on the foot rest lever and was about to pull it back when 99 grabbed his arm.
"Max," began 99.
"Yes?" asked Max, hoping she had changed her mind and decided that this idea was stupid.
"Please be home before dark," she requested, batting her eyes.
"Right," nodded Max, pulling back on the lever.
Yes the saga of Max and his ugly upholstery affair is far from over! Move on to Part Two NOW!
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