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The mini (research, insane, clarity, toy mouse, lottery)
When I stumbled into work this morning, I was surprised to discover a toy mouse on my desk. A bit of water-cooler research amongst my colleagues revealed that no one owned him or would admit to leaving him for me to find. He was a jolly little fellow, dressed in orange pantaloons and a little striped shirt, complete with matching neckerchief. He had a distinctly cheeky look on his face and (bizarrely) an eye patch covering his left eye, like some kind of fuzzy mini-pirate. Liking the look of him, I propped him up next to my computer screen for company.
“Heh! Maybe you’ll be able to give me some clarity when I get stuck on the Mortensen Contract,” I said to him, just for fun.
“Sure,” he replied, almost causing me to knock over my coffee in surprise. “but my experience of contract law is pretty limited, if I’m honest, so taking my advice would be a bit of a lottery.”
I thought I must be going slightly insane (probably from overwork), imagining the mouse replying to me like that. I gave him a long hard look, but he just stood there, still and silent –a simple toy mouse leaning against my screen. I shook my head, smiling ruefully to myself.
“As if a toy mouse could help.” I murmured, “what was I thinking?”.
“I told you!” the mouse cried indignantly, “I don’t do contracts. Now, if you’re needing some advice on maritime law….”
The 10-worder (celebrate, doctor, shipping, choice, stake, time flies when you're having fun, secrets, disaster, back down, clouds)
New to Harold? Catch up here
High summer clouds against a dazzling blue sky, the raucous cry of seabirds and a seaport busy with shipping. The pungent smell of fish…
The Listener clutched at this wisp of recollection as it floated by, and pulled it into itself, adding to the small ball of self-awareness which was coalescing in the dark nothingness. Where had it seen this before? What disaster had befallen it that it had no choice now but to float here in darkness and silence, trying to remember? There had been a time when choices were possible, the Listener was sure, a time before this relentless impotence.
Time flies when you’re having fun. A flash of laughing blue eyes, the scent of roses...
Now where had that come from? There was no time here and no way to measure it if there had been. Nor was there any fun.
Suddenly (it could have been seconds or years after) the tinny, distorted voices were back once more.
“It sounds like we’ve got some good news to celebrate then, Doctor,” said the lower-pitched of the two. “We’re not as badly compromised as we might have been by the looks of it.”
”So it would seem,” replied the mosquito-whine of what the Listener now recalled as being a female voice.
“But there’s too much at stake here for us to start getting complacent. Box and his cronies may not know all our secrets, but they could still cause trouble and they will start digging around now that they know about Infinity Recycling. That address I gave you, have you found out anything about it yet?”
“It’s a very tasty residence owned by one Elroy Jackson.”
“That name sounds familiar, who’s he?”
“He used to run Baron Samedi’s club – back when there was such a thing.”
“Interesting. Now why would Box have that man’s address in his notebook, I wonder.”
“Maybe he thought Jackson could give him some information about Samedi’s disappearance.”
“Perhaps,” the mosquito-voice agreed, “Fortunately for us, he’s as much in the dark as everybody else. Your people did a thorough job on the club - the police and the fire investigators still have nothing to go on, it seems.”
It was not yet itself entirely sure why, but a tiny pinpoint of anger began to form at the very centre of the Listener’s being.
To the row of printed photographs looking back down at them all, Harold added that of Agent Moon – retrieved by Othello in his third successful access of the OGS system. Now that his picture was set side by side with that of Agent Wood’s, the family resemblance was clear to see.
“According to Moon’s records,” said Othello, reading from the screen in front of him, “He was the only son of one Rebecca Bailey – a nightclub waitress in Reno. The father’s name is not recorded. Ms Bailey died when Moon was five years old and he spent his childhood in foster homes. He was academically gifted, it seems, and got a scholarship to study particle physics at MIT. After graduating, he travelled around Europe for a year. When he returned, he joined OGS”
“Astonishing,” remarked Teatime, “I have to say the boy struck me as rather dim. Awfully nice and all that, but about as bright as a 5-watt bulb. Particle physics indeed!”
“Not to be rude or anything,” added Harold, “but why would someone so bright want to join OGS? I mean, what you guys do is interesting and all, but I wouldn’t have thought you needed a degree in rocket science to do it.”
Several pairs of unimpressed eyes stared at him.
“What?” he protested, “It’s true! I really don’t mean to offend, but being an agent seems to be a lot of running around, followed by long periods of waiting about, with occasional bouts of dressing-up. I still haven’t figured out what that was all about, by the way.” This last bit was addressed to India, who tutted irritatedly and turned her back on him.
“Well done, old cork!” hissed Teatime, sarcastically, “You’ll have them eating out of your hand in no time at this rate. Just you carry on!”
“It is a valid question,” said Othello, “Most of our recruits do come from a more, shall we say, practical background and OGS doesn’t advertise, so it begs the question of how Moon would have known about us in order to apply in the first place.”
“No mystery there if Agent Wood was Moon’s father“ said Prada.
“OK, so we’ve possibly uncovered a past indiscretion of Agent Wood’s,” said Mercury, “But how does that –“
Box’s voice interrupted from the speaker on the table.
“Moon can’t be Wood’s boy,” he said, “Wood once told me that he couldn’t have kids – he had mumps and it messed up his fertility. My guess would be that he’s Jonathan’s kid - Wood’s nephew.”
“OK. Son, nephew, whatever,” said Mercury, “what does this mean, if anything?”
“Well, if he’s got ties to the Rainbow family,” said Othello, “he might have access to all kinds of stuff – the kind of resources we were thinking our so-called traitor might have.”
“Oh, no, I can’t believe Moon is our traitor,” said Mercury, “I’ve known him since he joined. He’s clean, I’d swear to it.”
“Well he hid his brains pretty effectively,” said Teatime, “who knows what else he may be hiding?”