No Time for Spies
“Lucy,” said Max as they walked into a small tavern that was a few blocks away from Union Station, “Would you believe I’m the mole?”
Lucy shook her head no, and then led Max to a table in the back corner of the bar. She then sat down at the table and scowled. It had not been cleaned off and she had made the unfortunate mistake of resting her elbow in a cup of ranch dressing. Max who was about to sit down across from her noticed her flub and promptly pulled out his handkerchief. He handed Lucy the handkerchief and then, in all the suaveness he could muster, he smirked and sat down. His pride packed smirk, however, soon shifted to a grimace of discomfort.
“Problem, Max?” asked Lucy.
“I just sat in the onion rings that went with your ranch dressing,” frowned Max, standing back up and dusting himself off.
“Max, this case is a lost cause. We’ve been through everyone –we’re not going to find that mole,” frowned Lucy.
“Buck up, kiddo,” encouraged Max, noticing the downcast look in the girl’s eyes. “We’ll get to the bottom of this, or I’m not Smart! We haven’t looked at everyone. What about Anté?”
“He’s not much to look at,” sniffed Lucy.
Max raised an eyebrow at her. “Miss Bently, while we may not see eye to eye with our superiors, it’s not nice to belittle them behind their backs –even if they appear to be corrupt.”
“Thank-you, Reverend Smart, but Jack Anté is a jerk! Just make a mental note of that for future reference,” advised Lucy.
“Hmmm…,” pondered Max staring off in the distance at some indiscernible point on the other side of the smoke filled room. “A naval officer pegged as a jerk.... Do all his subordinates feel this way?”
“No,” replied Lucy, icily, “only the ones he dates and dumps. You see, Max, Anté’s not like us –he’s a social amoeba.”
Max ignored Lucy’s snide remark because his mind was already to the point of overflow with speculations, accusations, and insinuations. He began to wonder if Anté was the mole. Anything, after all, was possible in the field of espionage. His impression of Anté was not a genuinely pleasant one, but he secretly thought the noticeable tension between the jay gee and Lucy had much to do with that. There was, however, something about Anté that seemed oddly familiar to him. It was an eerie yet nagging feeling that even he, Maxwell Smart super spy, could not put his finger on.
“Lucy,” began Max, looking across the table at the fuming girl, “do you think that Anté could be the mole?”
Lucy’s livid eyes grew wide as she began to laugh. “Anté a mole? HA!”
“Control gets moles all the time,” frowned Max, slightly insulted by her rebuff. “I don’t see why the Navy should be any different. I know for a fact that they aren’t as secure as they think they are!”
“I’m not knocking that idea, Max. It’s just that Anté doesn’t have the initiative to be a mole,” sniffed Lucy, sipping the fake margarita that had also been left on the unclean table. “He barely has the initiative of a rock!”
“Bently, that’s a tad harsh,” scolded Max.
“Yeah,” agreed a slightly slurred voice that was coming from the table behind Max and Lucy’s. “That’s a tad harsh, Bently!”
Lucy turned around and saw that Anté was leaning over the back his chair and staring at her and Max with a glazed look. It was quite obvious to Lucy that a certain jay gee by the name of Jack Anté was plastered. It was quite obvious to Max that Anté was spilling a Gibson onto his lap and that a perfectly good pearl onion was now rolling its way across the barroom floor. Max and Lucy then exchanged glances only to think one thought: if Anté kept spilling his drinks on himself, then how could he have gotten so drunk in the first place?
“The name’s Miss Bently to you!” hissed Lucy, glaring back at Anté.
“Anté, you should be aware that spying and alcohol don’t mix!” said Max with all the nasal authoritativeness he could muster.
Anté then got up, staggered over to their table and plopped down right beside Lucy. She then turned and looked out the window while Max lit up a cigarette. Anté pulled out his own cigarette case, but managed spill its contents onto the floor.
He shook his head and moaned. “This, Mr. Smart, is really all my parents’ fault.”
“Whiner,” muttered Lucy.
Max threw the jay gee a confused expression. “How is a mole in the NEA really your parents’ fault? Did they hire him?”
“Lucy,” said Anté in all earnestness, “Mr. Smart and I will be discussing classified information. I demand a procedure 138!”
“It’s karaoke night!” cried Lucy. “The DJ is not going to appreciate that!”
“That’s why it’s a security procedure,” retorted Anté.
Lucy then got up, crawled across Anté’s lap and made a beeline for the jukebox. Much to her relief, the disc jockey had left his post to make a pilgrimage to the john. Feeling like a sneak and a traitor to her fellow patrons, she inserted a quarter into the machine and pressed selection 138. Seconds later Hanson’s MmmBop belted throughout the bar. Moans and curses were uttered. Women began to cry and drinks were tossed around the room. Within seconds the bar was completely deserted except for the three spies, the disc jockey, and the two bartenders.
“See, Smart” said Anté as Lucy sat back down, “my mother thought that my father was the ideal spy –a role model for Bond and Solo to pattern their lives after. She always claims he was Control’s top agent. . .”
“What!?!” demanded Max, who knew very well that he was Control’s top agent.
“Max,” hissed Lucy in his ear, “Don’t listen to him. Jack –er Anté always whines about his parents when he’s plastered.”
“Now I realize wives habitually brag about their husbands,” continued Anté, picking up the draft from the empty table behind them and taking swill of it. “But my mom outdid herself.”
“My mom never bragged about my dad,” frowned Max, scratching his head. “Or was that me that never bragged about him?”
“Anté,” snapped Lucy, “I don’t see what your parents have to do with moles. Max and I are talking about moles and you’re making us digress! If you can’t stay on topic, then you’re out!”
"But I am on topic! My dad stunk at catching moles -and now I've been.... imprisoned by my own hereditary..." breathed Anté, looking off in the distance as if he had just quoted some piece of wit from Voltaire15..
"Max," began Lucy, noticing that a pained expression was now spreading across Max's face, "Have you had enough of this horse hockey? You're not going to get anything out of Anté tonight except bunk war stories about his parents and bellyaching about his job."
"How would you know?" asked Max. "I think we still have a shot!"
"She knows," interrupted Anté, nearly slumping across the table, "because we were... an item! Lucy used to sing me love songs... Sing one of them Lucy!"
Lucy flashed Anté withering look for her answer. Anté shrugged and then ordered another round of drinks. He continued to boast about his former spy parents in a way that only a proud, but drunk son could: he kept repeating the same stories over and over and even inside out. Lucy rolled her eyes and pulled out a deck of playing cards for a game of solitaire while Max pulled a Peanuts book out of his inside pocket. Lieutenant Junior Grade Jack Anté, however, was oblivious to his being ignored. He rambled on for another hour with tales of his father's mysterious disappearance from Control in the late 60s and, as Lucy had predicted, he began to complain about working for the NEA.
"See, Smart," said Anté. "Since my mom's a congress woman, she had the clout to hook me up with any naval position I wanted!"
"And little Jack got to be a spy for Christmas," smirked Lucy, "because he can't swim and the Navy doesn't know what to do with him."
Max cringed. He felt as if he were sitting in the middle of the 38th parallel16.. He had to find some way to cease the bickering without making the matter worse. He decided that he needed to get the jay-gee away from Lucy if he was ever going get any worthwhile information out of him.
"Say," interrupted Max, donning his best blank look, "can Lucy really sing?"
"Of course she can!" nodded Anté, turning to Lucy and giving her a good slap on the back.
"Max," hissed Lucy, "What are you trying to-"
“Awe, come on, Lucy,” pleaded Anté, falling into her lap “sing us a song! Do it for Smart!”
Lucy rolled her eyes, “Jack, your embarrassing me in front of a fellow agent and you’re making yourself look like a-"
“Don’t you want to hear a song, Smart?” interrupted Anté, crawling back up.
“A song?” asked Max. “Well-"
“Who asked you?” shouted Anté. “Go up front and sing, Lucy! Make it pretty –don’t hiccup or nothing!”
Max watched Lucy give Anté a glare that he was certain could peel the wallpaper off of a wall. He had only seen that type of glare once before, but he could not, for the life of him, remember who had granted him with such a look. He wondered where Lucy had gotten such a volatile temper. Then he exercised the possibility that attitude, in the later half of the twentieth century, might be available in pill form.
“Fine,” hissed Lucy, getting out of her seat and slithering past Anté. “I’m going sing something for you, Jack, that used to mean something to you –and that’s the last song I’m ever going to sing for you ever again!”
“Ooooh! Fight’n words!” taunted Anté.
Lucy’s responded to Anté’s remark by promptly picking up his drink and dumping it into his lap. Max cringed as she stomped over to the D.J. He then looked over at Anté who was now about as white as one of the paper napkins that were strewn across the table. Max pondered Lucy’s roller coaster emotions and her icy glare for a moment more. He knew he was a bona fide expert at irritating people and because of that, he had seen every fish stare known to man. However, even the Chief had never given him that look. Even when he rubbed 99 the wrong way, she never got that mad. In fact, he knew Kaos agents that had better temperaments than Lucy’s –except for one.
“Say Anté,” began Max, “you don’t suppose she’s related to Seigfried?”
“No,” moaned Anté. “I certain that she’s a direct descendent of Attila.”
Anté tried to shuffle into a more comfortable position in his chair as the sound of canned piano music began to pour from the speakers. The strains of a Carly Simon tune followed, but it was not Carly Simon that was singing. Instead Lucy’s alto voice carried the tune of Nobody Does it Better17.. Anté wanted to pull the plug on the karaoke machine, not because of Lucy’s singing, but because she was singing what had been their song.
“I wonder if I could take her back to the 60s with me so that she could sing that to 99,” pondered Max, interrupting Anté’s musings of self-pity.
“Why would you want to do that?” asked Anté, giving Max a confused look.
Max rolled his eyes. “Simple –it’s the perfect love song to sing to my wife! Lucy can sing it because it wouldn’t sound as nice coming from me.”
“That’s not surprising,” snorted Anté.
“Glad you see it my way,” nodded Max, ignoring Anté’s obvious insult.
“Smart,” began Anté, looking up at Max with a hazy glaze to his eyes, “I didn’t want Lucy to hear this because she’ll get upset and-"
“Knock your block off?” offered Max in an insensitive voice. “Not that I could blame her. After all, if I were Lucy and you were you, I’d-"
“Smart!” barked Anté. He then cleared his throat and regained his composure. “The fact is . . . I believe . . . I’ve been drugged.”
Anté then fell face first onto the tabletop. Max’s lived eyes nearly popped from their sockets. He looked over at Lucy who was finishing up the final verse of her song and tried to get her attention. She, however, was either unaware of their superior’s lack of consciousness or she simply did not care. Max then crawled across the table, grabbed Anté by the shirt collar, and shook him in hopes that it would jostle a response out of him.
“Was it a doctor’s error?” asked Max, taking Anté’s pulse. “Did you call a pharmacist?”
“It was . . . the drink . . .” gasped Anté.
“That’s shear idiocy! You should know that prescriptions and alcohol don’t mix!” said Max, shaking his head in disappointment at Anté’s negligence.
“Smart, it was only ginger ale!” wheezed Anté. “Somebody spiked it!”
Max picked up Anté’s glass and looked it over. It was, he decided, a fairly ordinary shot glass. What Max did not understand, though, was that why an apparent lush like Anté would have ordered a Shirley Temple18. –in a shot glass yet. Max took another look inside the shot glass and blinked. His previous assumption had been too hasty: what he was holding was no ordinary glass. He looked up and saw Lucy glaring down at him.
“And I supposed you’d like one too,” she snapped, snatching the glass from him.
“Just cool it, Lucy,” snapped Max as he swiped the glass away from her. “Our fearless leader has just been slipped a Mickey!”
“He’s a sloth, Max!” declared Lucy in a matter of fact tone. “We don’t need that kind of leadership in these united states!”
It was at this point that Max gave Lucy his meanest fish stare. “Listen, John Wayne, I have just one question for you –just one!”
“Then ask it!”
“Does every patron of this joint that orders a Shirley Temple in a shot glass get a secret message carved on the bottom in lieu of the cherry?” he asked smugly as he handed her the glass.
Lucy stared into the bottom of the glass and squinted. Inscribed in the bottom of it she could make out the words “Meet me at N’tnl Twr G-burg –M. Finn.” She wanted to kick herself for being such a jerk towards Anté, especially when he was not even drunk to start with. She then handed the glass to Max and moaned as she turned to look at Anté sprawled across the table.
“Odd,” she muttered.
“Yes,” nodded Max. “What kind of a bartender would put a Shirley Temple in a shot glass? Any idiot knows that it goes in a—"
Max stopped in mid-sentence when he noticed that Lucy was apparently frisking Anté. She was in the process of searching for his car keys, but Max, who had failed mind reading in spy school, did not see it that way. He pulled Lucy away from their superior and rewarded her as especially piercing stare.
“Chill, 86,” said Lucy airily. “I’m just trying to find the keys to his Thing19..”
“His Thing! It’s parked out front, Max!” explained Lucy in a frantic tone.
“I just bet it is!” said Max in a disgusted huff.
Lucy pursed her lips in annoyance. “Max, I’m talking about his car! We need to take it and drive to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania and find out who this M. Finn is!”
Max tossed Lucy a confused look. "Don't you think this is a little late in the day for sightseeing?"
"No," insisted Lucy, showing him the message in the glass again. "You see, Max, unless I miss my guess, "N’tnl Twr G-burg" in this message stands for the National Tower in Gettysburg20.. Obviously somebody was trying to tell Anté that there is something there!"
"Well, in that event, how about we just leave it there?" suggested Max. "I mean, whoever sent him the message couldn't have wanted him to show up that bad. After all, Lucy, the M. Finn character drugged him!"
Lucy scowled. "Maxwell Smart, I'm surprised at you! What's with you not wanting to check out a possible lead for the good of the free world?"
"Would you believe I'm not getting overtime for this one?" offered Max, sheepishly.
Approximately two hours later, an exhausted Lucy, a still unconscious Anté, and frantic Max arrived at a tightly closed National Tower. Lucy studied the gearshift, which was now in neutral, and glanced over at Max who had his head bowed and looked as if he was involved in a very deep form of prayer. He then flipped open his eyes to discover that that he was actually still alive and that Lucy was still trying to figure out how to turn the car off. He first wondered if Lucy was related to Larabee rather than Attila. Then he wondered, if they ever managed to get out of the Thing, how they would get into the tower.
"I know what you're thinking," said Lucy.
"That you can't drive?" snapped Max, glaring at her.
Lucy sniffed and ignored his comment. "You're wondering how we'll get in."
"Actually, I'm wondering how we'll get out," said Max in a frank tone.
"We're going to get in with these," she chirped, as she opened the glove compartment. Several ball point pens fell out of the floor and onto Max's lap. He then picked one up and turned the cap only to wind up burning a hole in the roof of the Thing courtesy of the laser beam that was now emitting from the pen. Max winced and turned the cap in the opposite direction, making the laser disappear.
"The old Laser in the Ball Point Pen Trick," approved Max. "Clever."
Lucy smiled and then hopped out of the vehicle. "Well, happy trails, Max. May the schwartz be with you, live long and prosper, and all that!"
Max was about to speak when Lucy ran up to the tower. The fact that she was ahead of the game did not make him happy. He wanted to be the first one at the tower and he could not help but sweat over the threat of Lucy screwing something up. He watched her fiddle around at the front with the laser while he struggled to unbuckle his seatbelt. Realizing his seatbelt was, for the most part, jammed, he flipped the laser pen open again and managed to burn apart his seatbelt with only the minimal damage of a melted cup holder. He then took a last glance at Anté who was slumped across the back seat, drooling on a copy of Mad. He then jumped out of the Thing and started for the tower.
"Can't you wait," huffed Max as he ran up to Lucy, "Or are you some sort of go-getter?"
"Can't you pipe down?" hissed Lucy. "I bet you're little squeak right now could've been heard all the way over in Devil's Den21.!"
"Sorry about that," apologized Max. "Now, I think you owe me an apology."
"For what?" shrugged Lucy. "Look, Max, I got you here in one piece and I made this all nice and cozy-like little passage way for you to get your little body into the tower. What more do you need? I mean, are you asking for a cherry on top or something?"
"You're hogging the mission!" accused Max.
"Me!?!" cried Lucy, screwing up her face into the picture of confusion. "You're the one who's always bawling about top security and all that! Listen, Max, if you want to be the hero. . . fine! Go up the tower and have a blast."
Max wanted to kick himself. He really did not want to start a fight with the girl -starting fights with girls was not one of his hobbies. What had been weighing on him, though, was that Lucy was no 99. Lucy was pompous, touchy, and in desperate need of a driving instructor. Unlike Lucy, 99, always seemed to be such a cooperative and supportive partner. Furthermore, 99 definitely was not a mission hog. Personality conflicts aside, Max decided to bite the forever clichéd bullet and get on with the mission.
"Listen Lucy," he said, giving her the look that a puppy gave it's master after breaking every vase in the house. "I'm sorry if -"
"Don't be sorry, Max," said Lucy, "just get on up there -and don't forget to take pictures of the battlefield! During the day you have to pay admission to do that!"
Max crawled through Lucy's hack job of a hole and then crawled back out. He turned back to her and noticed that she was busy filing her nails. He then walked over to her and snatched her nail file away.
"What are you doing?" he demanded.
"Wait'n on you, Max. Just wait'n on you," answered Lucy, snatching her nail file back.
"You're not going up?"
"Nope. That's your job, Spyboy," smiled Lucy. "I just play with the laser pens."
"Yeah, well you're no Frank Lloyd Wright22. of passage ways," griped Max, glaring at her. "Why aren't you really going up?"
"I'm acrophobic," admitted Lucy. "Heights give me vertigo and I get dizzy."
"Heights?" scoffed Max. "How could anyone have a fear of something as ridiculous as that?"
Suddenly a streak of jagged lightning flashed across the sky and cast an eerie white glow on Max and Lucy's faces. The lightning was then promptly followed by what was most definitely the firing of the loudest thunderclap Max had ever heard. Fat splats of rain began to hammer down as Max jumped next to Lucy and tried to hide behind her.
"We're gonna die!" wailed Max.
"No, Max," said Lucy in a soothing voice, as she patted him on the head.
"We won't?" he asked in a quiet voice, but then he narrowed his eyes at her. "How are you so certain?"
Lucy rolled her eyes. "You're just like Jack -er Mr. Anté. He's afraid of storms and this ridiculous gollywoggles business. Anyhow, there's something far worse than a little noise and rain that could happen to us!"
Max looked at Lucy as if he was not sure whether the girl was just plain nuts or just plain missing all her vital bolts. "Exactly what could be worse than being electrocuted by lightning?"
"Due to the humidity, my hair will frizz up, which will make me look like an idiot," explained Lucy in a matter of fact tone.
Seeing that there was no other alternative at the moment, Max and Lucy both crawled back through the hole in the gate. They then darted over to the tower and proceeded to cut their way through the door with the laser pens. Panting, they discovered that they had broken into a completely deserted tourist trap. The mysterious M. Finn of the bar was nowhere to be seen, which made Max wonder if he had fallen into a trap. If so, that would be the fourth time he had fallen for the "Old Killer at the Tourist Trap Trick" in a month.
"Our only option is to go up to the observation decks and see what's up there. Considering there's a storm, we should play it safe and use the stairs," said Max, as he walked over to the staircase and peered up it.
"Thank-you Captain Caution, but this thing is to high" said Lucy, moving towards the door. "I'm going home! Good night!"
Lucy then darted over to the door, but Max grabbed her by the arm and pulled her back. "Just cool it, missy! You're in this mess too and if you don't straighten up and fly right, I'll.... I'll complain -a lot!"
Lucy rolled her eyes and moaned. "Smart, do you know how tall this thing is?"
"Well," said Max, puffing out his chest in the manner of a prime expert of architecture, "I sized up the the height of the tower outside and since I'm a trained expert at estimating structural height, I'd say this tower is... oh... 307 feet."
Lucy groaned inaudibly as she looked up at an information sign that announced, in all bold capital letters, that the height of the National Tower was a towering 307 feet. "That's a tremendous guess -as well as a good reason not to go up!"
Max then grabbed Lucy by the arm and drug her over to the staircase. Lucy managed to squirm away from the stairs, until Max picked her up and shoved her up the steps in front of him. More insulted at being manhandled than anything else, Lucy turned to sock Max like she would have done with her brother if he had dared to try such a stunt. Max, however, ducked her punch in the nick of time, which resulted in Lucy banging her fist into the wall next to them. Ignoring the splintering feeling in her hand, she then tried to slink past him again, but Max grabbed her and put her on the next step. It was then that her insubordinance began to tread on his patience.
"Lucy, are you finished fooling around?" demanded Max.
"Nope!" smirked Lucy.
At that moment a shrill scream pierced the air and echoed off of the walls. Lucy's smirk shifted to a pained expression of soul gnawing worry and Max's normally deep set eye's appeared as if they had emerged from his head on springs. Within seconds, something whooshed down past the window on the other side of Lucy and plummeted to the ground. They both peered out the window only to see a crumpled body sprawled out on the grass below. Max, on instinct, pulled out his pistol and charged up the stairs with Lucy following at his heels.
They arrived at the exhibit level of the tower's sky capsule only to find it completely empty. After thoroughly scoping out the exhibit level, they then ran up the stairs to the next level. Max bolted up the stairs as if powered by rockets, and upon reaching the top of the stairwell, he found himself nose to nose with a black clad Kaos agent that was trying to run past him.
"You know," said Max, plowing the man in the nose, "there's a rule about running up here and you broke it!"
The Kaos agent responded to Max's physical reprimand with a prompt sock to the stomach. Seeing that Max was doubled over and Lucy was standing in front stairs with her pistol trained on him, he then turned and ran through the doors that lead to the outside observation level. Lucy, gun in hand, sprinted after him. About a minute later, Max finally caught his breath and darted after them.
He reached the observation deck just in time to watch the Kaos agent breeze past him. Lucy trailed after the man just as he dashed to the other side of the deck and ducked behind the center wall. As Lucy slid around the corner and disappeared from his sight, Max poised to follow her. It was then, though, that a shrill and distinctively female scream shot through the air, making Max decide that even thunder was a much sweeter sound.
on to your hats folks because Maxwell Smart isn't though with this mission
yet! Keep reading for more action in Part Seven!)
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