Take me back Home!

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The Park Central Affair

by

Amanda Haverstick

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Part Four

        “Okay, 99,” whispered Max as they walked into the coffee shop and noticed Phillips scowling at an empty table on the other side of the room,  “Phillips is over there.  Just act casual and maybe he won’t notice us.”

            “Right, Max,” whispered 99.

            Max took 99 by the hand and marched into the room the rest of the way.  He spotted a table on the far side of the room, opposite Phillips, and moved towards it.  His ‘movement,’ however, led him directly into the lap of a man that was trying to eat a Rueben.  Max jumped back from the growling man and found that his path was blocked by a row of tables.

            “Sorry about that,” apologized Max, attempting to wipe the smeared sauerkraut from the man’s lapel with his napkin.

            “Don’t worry about it,” huffed the man, snatching the napkin from Max.

            99 tugged at Max’s sleeve and the two made their way to the table without any more accidents.  Max studied the menu while 99 studied Phillips out of the corner of her eye.  She noticed that he was scrutinizing what looked to be two leather-cased cards.  A blast of insight then slapped her across the head:  Phillips had stolen their ID cards!  99 took a deep breath to hold back her rage and then turned to Max.

            “Max, I know what Phillips took from our room,” she whispered, her eyes growing wide.  “It was our Control IDs!”

            “Well that was a lousy trick to pull!” scoffed Max.  "I just got my card replaced and replacements cost—"

            “Max,” interrupted 99, “Phillips knows who we are!”

            “Good!” smiled Max.  “Now we can stop this silly game of charades!”

            “Max!” cried 99.  “Byron Glick is the best cover you have right now!”

            Max moaned at that idea and noticed Jose walk into the coffee shop with what could be described as a grin the size of the Brooklyn Bridge.  He strode over to Max and 99 and placed a small leather folder, quite similar in appearance to a standard issue Control ID card, down in front of Max.  99 raised an eyebrow as Max opened up the folder.  Inside was a rather official looking card and picture of Jose that claimed he was working for the CIA.

            “Where did you get this?” asked Max.

            “Same place you got yours,” said Jose, sitting down. 

            “Oh… yes of course!” nodded Max, relieved that Jose had unwittingly solved their identity crisis.  “Say, what do you know about the janitor –aside from the fact that he’s a room hog and has flunked sweeping 101?”

            Jose frowned.  “Not a lot.  He came here about two months ago.”

            Max nodded and looked over at 99.  According to Control’s contacts, Kaos had been smuggling laser parts for the past two months.  “Have you ever known him to be engaged in any questionable activity?”

            “Questionable activity,” interrupted Phillips, sitting down at their table, “is something you’re all too familiar with –Mr. Glick.”

            “Ladies and gentlemen, the National Enquirer,” muttered Max so that only 99 could hear him.

            99 tried to suppress a smirk.  One of the things she loved about her husband was the fact that he had the guts to pass the most blatantly truthful judgments at the most inappropriate times.  The only problem with this was that he never got away with it and this time was not an exception.  She could see that Phillips’ temper was going to boil over into a fiery explosion of accusations that she would rather keep on the back burner.

            “Mr. Phillips,” began 99, changing the subject, “Why did that fire alarm go off this morning?  Was there a fire?”

            “99!” cried Max.  “You know why that—Ouch!”

            99 glared at Max.  Considering that duct tape and twine were unavailable, her swift kick to his shin was a necessary security precaution.  “Sorry, Love, I was crossing my legs.”

            Max mumbled something nasty under his breath about women’s pointy shoes and picked up the cup of coffee that the bus boy had just set down in front of him.  He looked over at Phillips for his reaction to 99’s question.  The words to the silver-tongued manager’s excuse, however, slipped past Max’s ears.  His eyes were too busy observing Phillips’ seemingly amiss attire to pay attention to anything else.  Max inched closer to Phillips and studied his cuffs.  They were French cuffs and that was not unusual.  His left cuff was fastened with a brass cufflink and that was not unusual.  His right cuff was not fastened with anything and that was unusual.  Agent 86 scooted closer to Phillips to examine the cuff when he jumped back and pushed the gaping spy away.  In the process, Max’s coffee flew into the air and made a crash landing on the table.

            What are you doing?” demanded Phillips.

            “Right now?  I’m spilling my coffee, answered Max.  “Say, Phillips, did you know that you’re missing a cufflink?”

            Phillips looked down at his cuff and fingered the area where the cufflink should have been.  Then he looked up at the table and squinted at what he saw.  He noticed that the part of the table that Max’s coffee had spilled onto was now starting to disintegrate.

“Did you know that your coffee is eating away at my table?” demanded Phillips.

            “Gee… that must be some pretty strong stuff they’re serving today,” remarked Max.

Phillips glared at Max.  "You blundering—"

“That was hardly an accident,” protested 99.  “It’s obvious his coffee was poisoned with some sort of acid!”

You might know about such things, Mrs. Glick, but I wouldn’t,” sniffed Phillips.  "I happen to have my eyes on you two and I have reason to believe that—"

“That what?” asked Max, noticing the hesitation in Phillips’ voice.

            “That… that…Jimenez!” hollered Phillips, turning to Jose, who was busy trying to position his fake ID on the ketchup bottle.  “What are you playing with?”

“This?” asked Jose, handing Phillips the leather-cased card. 

Phillips opened the ID and raised an eyebrow.  “Agent Quigley of the CIA?  Where did you get this?”

“The five and dime across the street.  For a dollar-fifty you could be J. Edgar Hoover, Mr. Phillips,” smiled Jose.

“Jose, get to work,” breathed Phillips,  “and DO NOT buy anymore spy toys!”

            “Yes Mr. Phillips,” muttered Jose, getting up and making his way to the door.

Before he set out to do his rounds, he decided to drop his phony ID off in his room for safekeeping.  Loosing his new trinket to the bowels of the hotel would be a waste because, after all, a dollar-fifty was a dollar-fifty.  He asked himself why Byron would have bought a fake ID that claimed he and his wife were the hotel’s no-show guests, but then he considered that it was just like Byron to come up with an outrageous plan to make the whole hotel think that he was somebody other than who he really was.  While snoopy Mr. Phillips was gullible enough to fall for the trick, Jose decided that he would not be fooled.  He knew better.

He walked up to his door and was about to slip the key in the lock when he heard a pair of muffled voices.  At first he thought his roommate was talking to himself –but the fact that he was answering himself in a foreign accent made Jose think twice about the situation.  Rather than barging in on the conversation and irritating his roommate, Mr. Cronan, he decided to wait outside the door until the two were done.  The voices carried well into the hallway, but Jose discovered that the conversation was much easier to distinguish the closer he was to the door.  Soon, his ear was pressed up against the door and he was hearing every last nuance of the discussion –as well as some things he did not want to hear.

“Cronan, the fact is, it’s gone and Smart took it,” growled the voice with the foreign accent.

“Maybe that’s your own stupidity, Mogler,” snapped Cronan.  “If you would have just ignored procedure for once and would have given me the missing piece, then we wouldn’t be standing here discussing it!”

Our problems are still alive!  I want them dead!” cried Mogler.  “There is no way I can get the laser put together if we’re going to keep Smart around for show and tell.”

            “Are you trying to tell me he’s alive?” demanded Cronan.  “I poisoned his coffee!  He should have been pronounced dead by now!”

“Smart spilled his coffee –I walked upstairs a few minutes ago just in time to watch it.”

“This is why you came to get me?  To tell me he spilled his coffee?”

“No, dummkoph, I came here to tell you that you’re a failure!” shouted Mogler.  “If you want that laser delivered to KAOS, then you’re going to have to kill Smart.  If you would like to fail this mission, then KAOS will just have to kill you!”

Jose took his ear away from the door and shook his head.  From the earful he had just been given, it was clear that something indeed was going wrong. While it was not surprising that Cronan was mixed up in the fiasco, he was confused as to what to do about the problem. 

“Why would somebody try and murder guests that aren’t even here?” Jose asked himself as he walked down the hall.  “Why would they be picking on Byron, yet?”

 

*  *  *  *

            Max looked at his watch and surveyed the environment:  Central Park.  He had been instructed to meet the Chief there at three o’clock sharp.  Being the cautious agent he was, he decided to make sure the area was void of any common eavesdroppers or spies.  He then noticed a man in a fedora that was huddled behind a newspaper.  Max looked back over his shoulder and then made his way over to the bench the man was sitting on.  Max looked at the man and then at his watch, which had its big hand positioned firmly on the three.

“I am the Eggman,” announced Max, seemingly to no one.

“Goo Goo G’Joob,” answered the man.

Max let out a sigh, relieved that the newspaper pursuer was the Chief.  Max sat down and was about to speak when the Chief shushed him.  He then handed Max a newspaper and ducked back behind his own section of the paper.  Max frowned down at the funny page he had been handed.  He then looked up and noticed 99 heading for their bench.  Max smiled and pretended to be interested in Mary Worth as 99’s shoes crunched closer to them.

“They are the eggmen,” announced 99.

“Goo Goo G’Joob,” recited Max and the Chief in unison.

99 sat down next to Max as the Chief handed her the opinion page.  Just as Max had engrossed himself in the funnies again, he heard another set of footsteps crunching in the grass.  He peeped over his paper and saw that it was only Agent 13.

“I am the walrus!” proclaimed 13.

Max threw his paper down and glared at 13.  “No you’re not!”

“Max!” cried the Chief.  "13 is the walrus, you’re the eggman, 99 is—"

“But, Chief, everyone knows that the walrus was Paul!” insisted Max.

“Smart,” snapped the Chief, jumping up.  “I didn’t call this meeting for a trivia contest.  Now who has the laser?”

The only response to that question was a faint ruffling of the trees.  86, 99, and 13 all looked at each other and shrugged.  The Chief then crumpled up his newspaper and began to massage his temples.  He then asked himself if 86 had been multiplied by three.

“Would it be alright if I made an educated guess on who has the rest of the laser?” asked Max.

“No!” retorted the Chief.  “Do any of you have any clue as to where the laser could be?”

“I think it’s in the penthouse –it’s the most obvious place,” shrugged 13.

“That makes sense,” nodded the Chief.

“That’s a logical idea,” agreed 99.

“It’s a trap!” cried Max, throwing his hands in the air.

The Chief raised an eyebrow at Max.  “86, 13 has a good point!  Kaos probably assumes, now that you found the missing link, that you’re done with the penthouse and has moved the rest of the laser back into that room.”

“Chief, that theory is nothing more that an snare with a ‘shoot the spy’ sign hanging from it!” insisted Max.  “I propose that we search the janitor’s room.”

“Max, I thought we already discussed that,” groaned the Chief.

“Fine,” shrugged Max, sticking his hands in his pockets.  “Have it you’re way, Chief.  If you don’t want to find the next greatest weapon of destruction, don’t let me stand in the way.”

“Ok, 86,” nodded the Chief, his face breaking into a smile.

“Chief,” interrupted 99, looking from Max to the Chief, “why don’t we divide up?  We really don’t know that either of these places is where the laser is being hid.  Max could search the janitor’s room and I could check out the penthouse.”

“But, 99,” gasped Max, his eyes widening, "You’d be all alone!  You can’t go into that death trap—"

Potential death trap,” corrected 99.

“I don’t care what kind of a death trap it is, you cant go in it alone –you’re a girl!”

            “I’ll watch her back for you, 86,” said 13, smiling.

“I bet you would,” snapped Max, giving 13 a frosty glare.

99 rolled her eyes and then turned to the Chief.  “Well, how does my idea sound to you?”

“Excellent, 99” nodded the Chief, giving her a smile of approval.  “99 will take the penthouse, 13 will be stationed outside the room in the vending machine, 86 will be in the janitor’s room, and I will be in your honeymoon suite.”

“Mogler goes to dinner at quarter ‘till five,” said 13.  “He’s pretty ridged about his routine.”

“All the more reason for it to be a trap,” muttered Max as the group left the park.

 

Shortly before five that evening, Max walked into his suite to pick up a few security devices before he set out to snoop around in Jose’s room.  He looked over at the Chief and noticed that he was involved in a game of poker with Larabee and Kitty Karvelas.  Max raised an eyebrow and started digging through his luggage for his misplaced set of lock picks.

“Remember, 86,” said the Chief, not bothering to look up from the hand that he had been dealt.  “You report to 99 and 99 will report to me.”

“Right,” nodded Max, pulling the lock picks from the bottom of the suitcase.  Then, with Mr. Hugginstuff tucked under his arm, he started for the door.

“Agent 86, you can’t take a teddy bear with you on a top secret mission,” cried the Chief, scowling at Max’s toy.

Max stopped at the door and looked down at the teddy bear that was smiling up at him.  “Chief, after this mission is over, every spy is going to want one of these!”

 

Some time later, Max found himself pacing around Jose’s room with one question on his mind:  if he were a laser, where would he be?  He had rooted through the janitor’s half of the room –which had pretty much turned Jose’s half into a quarter.  Unfortunately he was unable to turn up anything remotely related to mission.  Disgusted, he pulled out a cigarette, lit it, and started to pace around the room.  He thought about giving up, but he did not want to admit to the Chief that his idea had been a waste.  Screwing things up –as he knew too well—was the only process that he didn’t screw up.  Then he considered the fact that this gaffe would probably be taken for granted since he was the guilty party.

Since it was indeed a waste of time to be loitering in a laser-less room, Max started for the door only to hear an unfamiliar gravely voice on the other side.  A pair of keys jingled at the door, causing his stomach to do a summersault.  He darted over to Jose’s closet and ducked inside just as the door creaked open.  He peered through the keyhole and watched Mogler and a man in coveralls traipse into the room.  Max squinted at the two men.  As he recalled from studying Control’s updated Kaos roster, the man in the coveralls was a second-class assassin named Cronan.

“Do you really think that Smart fell for the trap?” asked Cronan.

“Yes I really think that Smart fell for the trap,” answered Mogler in a mocking tone.  “If you would have passed spy psychology, you would realize that he’s bound to think that we hid the rest of the laser in the room he already searched.  It’s an obvious assumption!  Now, I’ll just give him a few more minutes and then I’ll go up to the penthouse and kill him!”

 

*  *  *  *

 

“I don’t want to hear it, Jose!  Clean the penthouse!” boomed Phillips, glancing at the clock on the wall.  “Mr. Mogler will return from supper in about ten minutes and I don’t want him to find a messy room!”

“But Mr. Phillips, I’m not a member of housekeeping!” protested Jose.  “Mr. Cronan was supposed to do this!”

“GO!”

Jose reluctantly trekked over to the supply closet, muttering a number of complaints about cranky bosses along the way.  After pulling a broom from the supply closet, it occurred to him that something was missing:  the janitor’s cart.  This was definitely odd and at the same time disappointing since he was hoping to help himself to some of the mints that were usually placed on the pillows. 

Broom in hand, Jose made his way up to the penthouse and started to unlock the door.  He stopped rattling his keys when he heard something slam shut inside the room.  Jose squinted at the door for a moment and then proceeded to open the door.  As he surveyed the room, which now housed the missing supply cart, he heard a shuffling sound coming from the bathroom.

“Is that you?” called a velvety female voice.  “Did you find anything?”

Jose’s eyes popped open.  “Uh… no….”

“Are you sure?  There’s nothing here –and I’ve looked everywhere!” insisted the voice.

“Well, uh… excuse me,” said Jose, opening the door and walking out into the hallway.  He started to walk to the elevator when he suddenly found himself face to face with Mr. Phillips. 

“I thought I told you to clean the penthouse!” sighed Phillips.  “Jose, I realize that this is not your usual job, but what is the problem with my simple instructions?”

“I can’t clean the penthouse,” said Jose in a flat voice.

“Why?

“It’s occupied.”

“Occupied?”

“There’s a lady in the bathroom!”

“There’s a lady in the bathroom,” repeated Phillips, as he took Jose by the arm and dragged him back to the room.  This should be interesting.”

            Phillips then opened the door and shoved Jose into the room.  The two glanced around only to find that the room –bathroom included— was completely empty.  Phillips glared at Jose and started for the door.

“We will discuss you and your mystery woman later,” hissed Phillips.  “I don’t want to hear anything more out of you until you’re done with this room.”

Phillips slammed the door behind him, which made Jose jump.  He considered sweeping out the room, but then changed his mind.  He was certain he had heard a woman when he entered the first time and he was not about to let Phillips think that he had made her up.  He then checked the room over again, but again found nothing.  Frustrated, he leaned up against the closet door that he was standing by and scratched his head.  He closed his eyes and the muffled tinkle of speech began to drift into his ears.

“Max, I thought you said you didn’t find anything,” said the same velvety voice Jose had heard earlier.

“Actually, 99,” replied a scratchy voice, “I was calling you now to tell you that I can’t find anything because Jose’s roommate is a slob.”

“Do you know who he is?”

“A flunky assassin named Cronan,” explained Max.  “Oh, by the way, Mogler’s on the way up to kill whoever’s hanging around in the penthouse.”

“I’ll be leaving then.  Max, what if this Cronan didn’t hide the rest of the laser in his things?” suggested 99.  “What if he stuck it in with Jose’s things?”

“Of course,” breathed Max.  “The old ‘stick the evidence in with my roommate’s stuff so I won’t get caught’ trick!  99, call the Chief and tell him I’ll have my hands on that laser or I’m not Smart!”

“Right Max,” said 99, as he hung up on the other end.  She snapped her compact phone shut and opened the closet door only to knock Jose over in the process.  99 gasped and helped him up off of the floor.  “I’m terribly sorry, Jose!”

“You’re sorry,” replied Jose, noticing that 99 was dressed in a maid’s uniform.  “Someone’s downstairs trying to find evidence in my room that somebody planted to make me guilty of something I didn’t do!  Does Byron that you’re running around in a maid’s uniform?  Does he know what you’ve been up to?”

99 winced but tried not to show her uneasiness.  Whether Max liked it or not, it was time for Jose to know the truth.  The only problem with that critical need was that 99 was not the person he needed to talk too. "Jose, there’s something you should know—"

“I’m about to be framed!” cried Jose.  “I don’t have time to know anything!”

99 was about to speak when she heard footsteps at the door.  “We have to get out of here!”

Jose raised an eyebrow and followed 99 to the window.  “If I go out there, Phillips will fire me!”

“And if I wait in here, the man on the other side of that door will shoot me,” replied 99, opening up the window.

“I don’t like what’s going on here, Mrs. Glick!” cried Jose as she walked out onto the ledge.

99 made it out of the room just as Mogler creaked in through the door.  Jose sighed and started for the door when Mogler stepped in front of him.  Acting like he did not see his human obstacle, Jose started to walk around the man.  Mogler, however, reacted by grabbing the bellhop by his collar and pulling him back so that they were face to face.

“Just where do you think you’re going?  You’re not the usual person that cleans in here!” growled Mogler.

“I know,” nodded Jose.  “I tried to tell Mr. Phillips that.  Say, why don’t I go and explain it to him again?”

“Why don’t you just pack up your things and leave,” snapped Mogler, pointing to the supply cart that 99 had pilfered.

Without so much as a sniff, Jose heeded Mogler’s suggestion and left the room.  After pushing the supply cart back to the janitor’s closet, he decided to go back to his room and sort out the current mess he was in.  This was clearly a tight fix, not just because someone had set him up, but also because something was not right with Mrs. Glick –and probably Byron himself.

Some minutes later, Jose walked into his room and sunk down on to his bed.  He thought about looking for the planted evidence that Mrs. Glick was talking about, but then he considered the frightening truth that he did not know what this so-called 'planted evidence' looked like.  Feeling fidgety, he got up and started to pace around the room and put things back in order.  Absently, he walked over to the closet and opened it up.  Staring back at him from inside the closet was a pair of dark, unblinking eyes.  He quickly shut the door and then opened it back up again.

“Byron!” exclaimed Jose, pulling Max out of the closet.  “What are you doing in there?”

“He’s waiting to die,” snarled another voice.

Max looked up to see Cronan emerge from behind one of the drapes.  “It’s the old ‘assassin in the drapes’ trick.  Can’t you people come up with better scare tactics?”

“Shut up, Smart!” snapped Cronan.

“I’d prefer not,” answered Max in a detached voice.

“I’d prefer you did,” said Cronan, pulling the laser out from under Jose’s bed.  “Now, why don’t you tell me what you did with the missing piece?”

“I gave it up for lent,” answered Max.  “I have a suggestion, Cronan.  You let Jose and I go, give me the rest of the laser, and we’ll turn you over to the police!”

Cronan groaned and grabbed Jose by the arm, pulling him away from Max.  “The first part of you that I will shoot, after I fry your friend, is going to be that irritating little mouth of yours.”

“Byron, tell me this is an April Fool’s joke,” pleaded Jose.

“Gosh, Jose, I can’t tell you that!” said Max.  “It’s not April Fool’s Day!”

“Where’s the missing link, Smart?” demanded Cronan.

Just as Max was forming yet another idiotic answer, the door swung open.  He began to feel a knot grow in his throat as he watched 99 being shoved into the room by Mogler.  It was now quite obvious that she was not going to be a part of the rescue team he had been wishing for.

“99,” sighed Max, “I told you that the penthouse was a spy trap.”

            “Well,” laughed Mogler,  “the infamous Maxwell Smart is smarter than we assumed, Cronan.  Shoot him.”

Cronan scowled.  "He doesn’t have the missing—"

Mogler smiled and tossed Cronan the piece of the laser that 99 had hidden in her purse.  “It was at the bottom of the girl’s purse.”

Cronan snapped the piece into place and then aimed the weapon at no target in particular.  “Alright, if anybody moves, then everybody gets it!”

“They’re already at bay, you moron!” moaned Mogler, moving over to Cronan.

Cronan then turned the laser on Mogler.  “Don’t criticize my methods!”

Seeing that the two men were engaged in a personal rift, Max grabbed Jose and pushed him behind him.  He then motioned for 99 to duck out of the room.  Slowly, he inched back over to the closet and picked Mr. Hugginstuff off of the floor.  Noticing that Jose was staring at him, Max put his finger to his lips and then aimed the bear’s paws at the melee in the middle of the room.

“Once and for all, Cronan, put that thing down!” barked Mogler.  “This is why Kaos gave you a second class rating –no self-control!”

"You are always criticizing my methods!  I am—"

At that moment the argument was interrupted by a series of shots.  Mogler and Cronan crashed to the floor just as a light fixture, a ceiling fan, and a piece of drywall crashed down on top of them.  A string of profanities could be heard from under the rubble but were muffled by another shower of debris.

            “Can either of you two clowns say ‘Bullet Bear’?” asked Max, smirking down at the smoke that was rising from the teddy bear’s paws.  He then walked over to Mogler and Cronan and retrieved the laser.  He handed Jose the laser and smiled at the incapacitated Kaos agents.  It was reassuring to know that once again the forces of evil had been thwarted by the powers of niceness.

“Byron,” began Jose, looking him up and down, “you’re not Byron!”

Max frowned and averted his eyes from his friend’s gaze.  This was the dreaded moment he had hoped to avoid, but confrontations, it seemed, were inevitable.  He then took a deep breath and looked back at Jose.

“No, Jose, I never was Byron Glick,” explained Max quietly. 

"Never?  Not even when we gave blood or when we—"

“Never, Jose,” said Max in a flat voice.  “I’m sorry I lied to you, but it was my job –it is my job.”

“That’s a rotten job,” sniffed Jose, crossing his arms across his chest.

“Oh, being a spy’s not so bad,” replied Max.  “There’s the world travel, the adventure, the—“

“The deceiving your friends?” prompted Jose.

“I know it’s hard to swallow, Jose, but we have to lie and keep secrets from each other –we’re trying to keep America safe for democracy!” explained Max.

Jose looked at the mangled mess of Kaos agents on the floor and then turned back to Max.  “I suppose you’re right.  They could’ve destroyed all of Manhattan with this thing!”

It was then that Phillips bounded into the room, followed by the Chief, 99, Larabee, and Kitty Karvelas.  Max nodded at the Chief and started for the door while the Control mop up crew started to pull Mogler and Cronan out from under the light fixtures and drywall.  Phillips, however, blocked Max’s path.

“Glick!” gasped Phillips, looking at what was left of Jose’s room.  “What went on in here?  What is that thing that Jimenez has in his hands?”

“It’s a weapon of destruction,” explained Jose, offhandedly.

“I didn’t ask you!” shouted Phillips, glaring at Jose.  “What happened to Mr. Mogler and Mr. Cronan?”

“Mogler and Cronan were thwarted in their evil plan to aid and abet Kaos through the use of this laser,” explained Max as he took the laser from Jose and handed it to the Chief.

“You dimwit!” squawked Phillips.  “You destroyed the ceiling, the lighting, the plumbing, and the wiring!  Have you no respect for other people’s property?”

 

*  *  *  *

 

That evening, Max and 99 were enjoying room service in the privacy of their suite.  It was the apt time for rest, relaxation, and recuperation.  Furthermore, hiding out in their room gave them the opportunity to avoid the questioning eye of Mr. Phillips.

“This is nice,” smiled 99, sinking her fork into a piece of French silk pie.  “Why can’t we always have dessert in bed?”

“Well, theoretically, 99, we could do that,” said Max, as he swallowed a piece of cheesecake.  “Remember when we tried it with the ice cream cones?”

“Oh… uh… never mind that idea, Max,” said 99.

A firm pounding sounded at the door just as Max had stuffed another load of cheesecake into his mouth.  Max groaned and jumped out of bed.  He then stumbled over to the door and opened it to find Jose standing outside.  Max looked him up and down and noticed that he was carrying a pile of blankets, pillows, and was wearing his pajamas.

“Jose, don’t tell me you can’t sleep in your own room tonight,” sighed Max.

“I can’t,” said Jose, walking over to the sofa.

“He asked you not to tell him that,” interrupted 99.

“Thank you, 99,” said Max in a tired voice.  “What’s your excuse this time?”

“Well, Byron –er… Max, you ruined the ceiling in my room so I’ll have to share with you until it gets fixed.”

Max moaned and plopped back down on his bed.  He looked over at 99, who was holding his piece of cheesecake –which he very nearly sat on.  He smiled sheepishly and took the cheesecake from 99.

“Max, why didn’t you just shoot Mogler and Cronan instead of making that huge mess?” asked 99.

“Well, theoretically, 99, I could have shot them” explained Max.  “As you recall, I shot that Kaos agent hiding in our bedroom with the Bullet Bear just last week.”

99 winced at the memory of the mess that affair had been.  “Oh Max…”

Another knock sounded at the door and Max again jumped out of bed.  He grumbled something under his breath about his room resembling State and Madison as he stomped over to the door.  He pulled it open in mid-grumble and found the Chief on the other side.  The Chief entered without saying anything and Max trudged back to his bed and his cheesecake.

“I hope I’m not interrupting anything,” said the Chief, looking around the room.  He then handed 99 a manila folder.  “I have some post mission paperwork for you to sign.”

“Jose,” said Max, “maybe you should leave the room for this.”

“Oh no –watching this will be good experience for me,” insisted Jose.

“Experience?” asked the Chief.

“Yes!  I’ve decided to join the CIA!” announced Jose.

99 and the Chief exchange confused glances.  For a moment, no one said anything.  The room had become something of a field house for a staring contest championship.  After another minute had passed, Max decided to break the silence.

“Well, theoretically, Chief, this could happen,” said Max.  “Remember when my army buddy Sid was sworn into Control?”

“Oh Max!” moaned the Chief as he shook his head and squeezed the bridge of his nose.

 

THE END

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N o t e - v i l l e

From Part One:

Mogler is the German word for a cheater.

From Part Two:

Blondie and Prince Valliant are popular cartoons that have graced the funny pages for eons... would you believe for well over half a century?

The Larabee’s Disease that Max refers to is Max's synonym for voyeurism.  Control Agent Larabee was notorious for ogling the Smart's while they were kissing during the run of GS.  

From Part Three:

The agents Phelps, Steed, and Kuryakin that Max refers to is Jim Phelps of the IMF (Mission Impossible) Jonathon Steed (The Avengers) and Illya Kuryakin of UNCLE  (The Man from Uncle).  Wishful thinking, Max.

Kitty Karvelas, one of Control's male agents in drag, was going to be Max's best man until he was abducted from his strip club act.

From Part Four:

A CIA Agent by the name of Quigley (played by Bill Dana) replaced Maxwell Smart in the 5th season GS episode "Ice Station Seigfried." 

Cronan missed being named something else by "that much."  Actually the name comes from Cronus, the youngest Titan who was overthrown by his children, the Olympian gods

The sign/countersign that Max, 99, 13 and the Chief recite is the chorus to The Beatles’ “I am the Walrus”.  In Beatles lore, it was John Lennon that falsely claimed he was the Walrus and little Nichola that said “No you’re not!”  According to the song “Glass Onion,” the walrus was indeed Paul.

Mary Worth is a popular soap opera cartoon that first appeared back in 1938.

The “I’d prefer not” line Max gives Cronan near the end of the story is a reference to Herman Melville’s Bartleby the Scrivener.

State and Madison is a gloriously busy intersection in downtown Chicago.

Max’s army buddy, Sid Krimm, was sworn into Control in part two of  GS episode “The Little Black Book.”

Added 3-15-02

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