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International Raiders of Mystery...? 


   “Of all the sidekicks in the world, I had to get you…”

                “We drew straws, Phil.  Quit complaining!”

                “Yeah, but still…”  Phil threw a disparaging look over his shoulder.  He didn’t have any real problems with his partner….except that he was too short!  How DID he get into the Secret Agent Academy, anyway? he thought.  “No matter.  C’mon, let’s go.”  He pointed at the mountain ahead of him.

                Determinedly, the little man sped past him.  Phil had to admit that he was pretty fast on his feet.


                Phil Volk had been an agent with the United States Super-Ultra-Clandestine Secret Service for several years.  His training had started when his parents thought he was away at college; they only became suspicious when he left the supposed “university” on his first assignment.  Since then, life had been an amazing trip.  He was confident that he would be the next James Bond…


                Mike Smith was a little different.  He had been with the USSUCSS a few years before Agent Volk had come along.  Smith worked in Intelligence for quite some time and was on the committee the agency had for developing secret weapons.  While the poison gas cufflinks were useful, along with the heat-sensitive wristwatch, his work on creating bulletproof underwear had proven indispensable.  He was moved into the field for more research and study...


                “I’m surprised you can move so fast on those short legs,” Phil commented, taking long strides along his partner.  He grinned at him, somewhat rudely.

                “Watch out for that branch,” Mike said.

                “What?  OOOF!!”  Phil was greeted with a mouthful of leaves.

                “Told you to look out.”  Agent Smith shrugged casually and fought his laughter as hard as he could.


                The two agents had been dispatched to catch the biggest thief in the musical world—Professor Markus E. Badnote.  He had stolen the talents of several of the world’s finest musicians, leaving only the worst possible music behind.  It was of dire importance that he was captured and the musicians have their talent restored. 

    They didn’t have much time, however.  Badnote had tapped into Paul McCartney’s talents only days before.  This was serious.


    The two agents stood before the front door of something straight out of a bad horror movie—a castle.

    Phil examined the lion’s head doorknocker.  It was rusted and half the ring was missing.

    “It’s not much of a hideout, is it, Smitty?”

    “Well, I dunno…  A little paint, a few geraniums…  I think it’d look real spiffy.”

    “How do we get in?”

    “Open the door.”  Mike raised an eyebrow at his partner.  “Didn’t your parents teach you anything?  Or were you really raised by wolves?”

    Phil stuck his tongue out in response.  “NYAH.”

    “We could always knock, couldn’t we?”

    “Smitty, we’re secret agents.  We’re not even supposed to be standing at the front door,” Phil pointed out.  “We’re supposed to smash through the windows or find some kind of secret door to get in.”

    “Says who?”

    “Well, it’s on all the shows and in the movies….”  Phil tapped his head thoughtfully.  “Just last week, I saw Illya Kuryakin get into a castle by twisting one of the stones by the front door.”  He immediately began twisting and poking every stone he could get his hands on.

    “Wait a second, lemme see here….”  Mike pulled a booklet from his pocket: Everything You Wanted to Know About Secret Agenting (But Were Afraid to Ask).  He thumbed through the pages, scanning the lines.  “Ah-HAH—Here it is!”

    “Not that one…No….  Not that stone, either….  OUCH!  I think I bent my finger backwards…”

    Mike kicked the bottom of the worn front door, then twisted the rusted doorknocker.  Seconds later, a secret door opened in the rocks Phil had been twisting.  Phil stared at the door, then at Mike, then back at the door.

    “How’d you know?”

    “It’s always backwards on the shows,” Mike said matter-of-factly.  “You think we wanna give away ALL our trade secrets?  Come on, gotta save the world from bad music.”  He scuttled into the secret entrance.

    Phil had no choice but to follow behind him.



    Agents Volk and Smith carefully treaded through the dark, secret passageways of the castle….  Well, they weren’t too dark.  There were plenty of mod, streamlined light fixtures along the walls, along with three-inch thick shag carpeting on the floor.  What the men didn’t realize was that they were being watched via a Mondrian print hanging on the wall.

    “That’s right—Just walk right in like you own the place,” Markus E. Badnote grumbled.  “Why am I worried?  Better agents than those two have come after me and I’ve beaten them all.”  He strode to his super-computer, running a check on the agents.  A wicked smile crept across his face.  “So their plan was to fight fire with fire?  They sent musicians!  Oh, this IS good….”  He wrung his hands evilly, planning to capture their musical abilities as well.  “I’ll just get them out of the way, then see if I can get John Lennon’s talents next…” 





    “Do you want to know a secret?…”


    “Do you promise not to tell?…”

    “I like you Phil, but I’m not gonna go pick out curtains or anything…”

    Phil punched Mike across the shoulder.  “Hey, you’re supposed to be doing the other part!”  He broke into a smile, amused.

    “There’s only so much doo-dah I can take after a while!”  He stopped in his tracks suddenly.  “Wait a minute.”


    “Something doesn’t feel right here.  Something in the floor.”

    “It’s the shag carpet.  It feels weird under your boots there, little guy.”

    “No, I mean it’s sinking…  It’s SINKING?!?!”

    Sure enough, the floor was sinking.  Phil made a grab for Mike’s arms, yanking him from the descending section of the floor.  They tumbled across the floor, a flash of shaggy hair and neat-print shirts.  When they landed, they quickly turned their attentions to the sinking part of the floor.

    The floor wasn’t sinking, exactly.  It was a trap door.  However with the thick shag carpeting, it didn’t engage as quickly as it should have.  The rug tangled into the hinges and some of the mechanisms, causing it to malfunction.

    Military-style, the two agents crawled to the edge of the slow trap door.  They peered down, sighting Badnote, cursing the faulty booby trap.  His ponytail snapped up and down as he continued to angrily stomp and shout to try to work it on out.

    Phil and Mike looked at each other, puzzled. 

    “No way it was THAT easy to find him,” Mike said.

    “We gave up the trip to Vegas for THIS?  Geez…”

    “Vegas, eh?  Well, you’ve hit the jackpot here!” Badnote cackled.

    “Oh UGH!” Mike responded.

    “That was the WORST pun I think I’ve ever—“

    “Couldn’t you come up with something better?”

    Phil began to stand, then offered his partner his hand to help him to his feet as well.  He shook his head.  “I can’t believe that such a lousy crook could steal all the rock world’s music talent, but he can’t even get his trap door to work.”

    “Uh, Phil…”


    “I think it’s—“

    The other half of the door snapped free from the shag rug.


    The two agents plummeted to the floor of Badnote’s lair, Mike landing on Phil’s back with a tremendous “thud”.

    “Shmitty…” Phil groaned, just barely audible due to the fact that his face was pressed against the floor.

    “Yeah?”  Mike was on his back, staring cross-eyed at the door flaps above him.

    “Fffor a lil’l guy, you sshhure are HEAVY.”

    “I’m compact, quit complaining.”

    “Aren’t you guys supposed to chase me and ambush me and read me my rights and all that stuff?” Badnote reminded them.  He was beginning to feel much more like a fanfic footnote than a villainous Badnote.  “Hello?  Bad guy here…”

    “I guess we should,” Mike sighed.  He scrambled to his feet.  He glanced at Phil, who was still spread-eagle on the floor, face down.  “Phil?  You okay?”

    “I’m shtuck.”

    “Whaddya mean you’re shtuck?”

    “My teef are hung in da fffloor,” he whimpered.

    “I thought you sounded kinda funny.”  Mike struggled to pull Phil’s face from the floor, but with no luck.  He looked angrily at Badnote.  “A little help here?”

    “If I must…”

    Badnote and Agent Smith finally loosened Phil’s teeth from the floorboards, much to Phil’s relief, but also his embarrassment.  He’d have to spit out the splinters later, though—Duty called.

    “Now, are we ready?” Badnote asked, exasperated.

    “Just a second,” Phil said, picking his teeth.  “Okay.”  He and Mike both assumed the most authoritative poses they could.

    Badnote, in turn, struck his most sinister pose.

    “Professor Badnote…Your…days…of stealing…other people’s talent….are….over,” Phil recited, as if from a poorly written script.

    “C’mon, emote, man—EMOTE!” Mike coached.

    “Do I look like I mean it?”

    “Grit your teeth.”

    Phil gritted his teeth as hard as he could.

    “Ooooh, that’s good.  I’m convinced.”

    “Would you just slap the cuffs on me and run me in already?  I can’t take much more of this!” Badnote complained.

    “Well, first you have to let all those people have their talent back,” Phil said.  “As it stands right now, the only entertainment any of us has it to listen to the Royal Philharmonic play ‘Melancholy Baby’ on rusty kazoos.”

    “Don’t forget about the seals,” Mike reminded.

    “Oh yeah, and the top record on the chart is ‘Three Blind Mice’ being barked by a buncha tone deaf circus seals.”

    “And frogs!” Mike added.

    “Yeah—AND frogs.”  Phil nodded.

    “Oh, this is just stupid.”  Badnote pouted.  His eyes circled the lair, as if looking for someone.  “AUTHOR!”

    “Arthur?  We didn’t invite him along,” Mike commented.

    “I thought he was in Africa this week,” Phil pondered.

    “AUTHOR!!”  Badnote shouted again.




    “And would you STOP calling me ‘Badnote’?!?”

    Just then, another figure—a redhead—fell through the trap door, landing on the two secret agents.

    “What in the—“  She scratched her head, trying to figure out where she was.  She looked at the two agents in disbelief.  “Phil?  Smitty?”



    “Hey, no teeth in the floor this time,” Smitty pointed out.

    “No writer to type it again,” Badnote sneered.  “I’ll ask you to quit the ‘Badnote’ stuff already.”

    “Sorry Mark,” the girl answered.  “But it just seemed so funny at the time!”

    “I hate to tell you this, darlin’, but you have GOT to move,” Smitty said.

    “Am I too heavy?”

    “No, but I think you’re sitting on my spleen…..”

    The girl stood up, letting the agents stand up as well.  “Why’d you guys stop in the middle of the story?”

    Phil and Smitty pointed at Mark, who was still pouting.

    “Mark,” the author grumbled.  “What is it?”

    “It’s not as funny as I thought it was gonna be.  There’s no real character development on my part—I’m just HERE.”

    “You’re established, what are you complaining about?”

    “Listen, Red—Those two get some kind of background, right?  We’ve got James Bond with vampire teeth there and miniature Mr. Wizard and his bulletproof BVD’s there!  What about me?!?!”

    “It’s always about YOU, Mark—That’s why!” the author argued.

    “You tell him, little one!” Smitty cheered.

    “I’m cuter,” Phil said, sneering.

    “Bite me,” Mark hissed.  He turned his attention back to the red haired author.  “What about my part in the story, huh?  What about me?”

    “I just thought Phil and Smitty needed some fic time more than you did,” she answered.  “There are only about a million some odd women on the MAL board who are stuck on you—Isn’t that enough?”

    “Ego trip,” Phil said.

    “He needs an ice water enema,” Smitty added with a chuckle.

    “I wanna be in my own story!” Mark demanded.  “Wanna wanna wanna!”

    The author rolled her eyes, disgusted.  “Alright, alright!  You’ll get your story!”

    “HAH!  About time!”  Mark ceased his tantrum and threw his hands on his waist, proudly.  “What role do I get to play?  Romantic lead?  Jungle god?  Swashbuckler?”  He strutted around the room, poking his chest out.  His ponytail wagged behind him like a dog’s tail.

    “Smitty, lemme see that book you had earlier,” the author asked quietly.

    “Sure,” he said, handing over the secret agent guide.  He and Phil watched as the author tore the last two blank pages from the back of the book.  A wide grin spread across Phil’s face; Smitty started laughing.

    “Here, you’ll need this,” Phil said as he handed the author a pen.  She smiled, accepting it.  She began to write.

    “I can see it now—Mark Lindsay….in a modern rewrite of ‘Julius Caesar’…  Better—‘Romeo and Juliet’!  How about an independent romance novel with a cute, blonde heroine?”  He looked anxiously at the author.  “Can she be about 5’ 9” with lots of blonde hair and big—“




    “That was cool—How’d you do that?” Phil asked.

    “Poison pen,” Smitty answered before the author had a chance.  “I invented that in this story.”  He beamed.

    “So, where’d he go?”

    “Oh, he’s lead in another story I’ve been working on, so he got his wish….kinda,” the author snickered.

    “What about us?  The story’s not really over,” Smitty said, a bit disappointed.

    “Yeah, we didn’t even get to bust him.  He got all whiney,” Phil added.

    The author pondered the situation a few minutes, looking pensively at the paper before her.  Her eyes lit up and she began to write again.

    “Phil, my stomach feels a little funny…”

    “You okay, Smitty?”




    “Smitty?!?!”  Phil approached the author, surprised and just beginning to get angry.  “Hey, now you just wait a minute there, missy—Don’t make people just disappear with a wave of your—“





     After the successful capture of Professor Markus E. Badnote, the two agents were finally allowed some vacation time.  While they had missed out on Vegas, they were much more satisfied with the trip they received to Hawaii instead.


    “Yep….She knows how to write ‘em,” Phil beamed.  He lowered his sunglasses and glanced at his friend.  “What do you think?”

    “I think I could get used to this,” Smitty laughed.  “We should do fanfic more often.”

    “Wonder whatever happened to Mark?”

    “Dunno.  She said he got his wish.”  Smitty only shrugged.  “Maybe he suffocated under that buxom blonde he wanted?”

    “Or from the strain of his ego, maybe,” Phil snickered.


    Just then, the author walked past the two men.  She carried a hand-written manuscript with her.

    “Here you go, guys,” she said, placing the papers on the small table between the beach chairs.  “Compliments of the author.”  She winked at them both and was on her way.

    Smitty scooted his chair closer to Phil.  “What’s it say?”

    “It’s another story,” Phil said, looking at the first few lines.  “Doesn’t have a title yet, I guess.”

    “Lemme see it a sec…”

    They began reading over the manuscript, a look of amusement gracing both their faces.

    “Yeah, I think I could get used to this,” Smitty said again.

    “Me too.”


                When Mark awoke, he found himself staring at what looked like thick blonde hair.  The concussion he had received caused his vision to blur slightly at first, but his eyes were adjusting.  As things slowly came into focus, he realized he was next to a lion—The “blonde hair” was actually the lion’s mane.

    “Oh no… No no no,” he grumbled.  “She didn’t…  She did NOT do this to me…”

    The lion began to stir, growling lowly.

    “Crap.  She did!”


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