An Agent’s Valentine
Robert McCallum was in a deep sleep when his mattress overturned onto him. He woke falling from mattress to floor; he was quickly covered with the mattress and felt the weight of three grown men jump on top. He looked ahead and saw through a small half circle that the lights turned on. He began to breathe heavily, for this was his weakness. McCallum was a claustrophobic.
He moved back and forth, trying to squirm towards the light, but the more he squirmed the more the men weighted down on him. He heard a male voice speak,
“Mr. McCallum, you have a diary that is not your own,” from the positioning of the voice to his ears, he could tell that the Voice was a fourth person in the room, “You should seriously consider giving me that diary.”
McCallum could feel that he would hyperventilate, if he didn’t take measures fast. He closed his eyes and the light was gone. It was all black now. The Voice spoke on,
“Mr. McCallum, I know you think you are an honorable man working in an honorable profession…”
McCallum faded out the Voice; he was imagining himself in an open field. Perhaps it was just outside of Liverpool. He could hear a slight breeze on his ears, the tall grass and trees turned to and fro in the cool wind. He sat on the ground and laid back upon the grass, he looked to the cloudy England sky. He then changed his mind and it was a nice, blue sky. It was a little warm and the wind was a warm comforting one. He closed his eyes and said to him self, “I shall take a nap on this nice day.” And so he did, he calmed himself and fell asleep.
He was awakened by the pain of light; the mattress was removed from him and tossed against a wall. His visitors then shut the lights off before he could focus his eyes on them. They roughed him up good.
When they finished, he felt soft hands grab his face and hold his face up towards someone in the dark. He could not see for lack of light and swollen eyes, the Voice spoke, “Don’t be stupid, Mr. McCallum. Consider what I have told you. We shall see you soon.”
McCallum spoke, gasping and smirking, “Sir… you have nice hands… like a school girl. What grade are you in? What do you want to be when you grow up, little girl?”
McCallum laughed mockingly.
The Voice then shoved McCallum’s face into the carpet and rubbed it to and fro, and than finished with a slap of the back of his head. He heard them exit.
And then, he slept.
“Well,” Madame Superior spoke condescendingly, “Where is he, Agent Brown?”
Agent Brown spoke, “Madame Superior, we… we do not know,” he stepped forward, rubbing his hands nervously, “But his apartment was ransacked, it appears.”
Madame Superior sighed, “Either they know or the apartment is McCallum trying to deter us.”
“Yes,” Agent Brown spoke up, “That was my thought.”
She glared right at him, “Really, Agent Brown? Because I believe it just came out of my mouth… and not yours.”
He cowered, “Right you are, Madame.”
“Find Robert McCallum.”
“We are trying, Madame Superior,” Agent Brown attempted to defend himself, “We have agents all over the place.”
“Yes, I know, Agent Brown,” she explained, “But apparently, they are in all the wrong places.”
Vivian walked away from the Madame Superior’s door; she stopped at desk four and spoke to Dorothy, “Dot, do you remember the time that you and Mr. McCallum had lunch?”
Dorothy smiled, “Explicitly.”
“Where did the two of you have lunch?” Vivian asked, but in a tone that made it clear she wasn’t hungry.
Dorothy’s smile went away, “I don’t see where that’s any of your business, Vivian.”
Vivian grabbed Dorothy’s right bicep and squeezed her pink nails into it, Dorothy was biting her lip. Vivian leaned and spoke into her ear, “But I’m really, really interested in Mr. McCallum’s tastes, Dot.”
Vivian walked up to the front desk with her best flare and smiled, “Excuse me, Sir.” The young boy turned about, and when he saw her he almost choked. He was obviously not a very good worker, but probably was the son or nephew or grandson or cousin of the owner of the motel. He tried to push an unruly hair in the back down, he failed. He rubbed his wrinkled shirt, it was still wrinkled. He spoke softly,
“Yes, ma’am,” he cleared his throat, “How may I help you?”
“Well,” she blushed, “This is kind of embarrassing, but… oh, who am I kidding. I’ll just get to the point,” she giggled, “I need a key to Mr. McCallum’s room.”
“Okay,” the boy turned and grabbed key sixteen, he turned back to her and almost handed it to her, but then stopped and pulled his hand back, “Wait, why?”
“Alright,” she through her hands up, “I’m his whore. He said he wanted me to just bolt in and take him off guard, but he forgot to give me the key.”
The boy cleared his throat, “You don’t look like a whore; you look like a secretary or something.”
She rolled her eyes and smiled, “Well, we all have our fantasies now don’t we? And, pray tell, what’s your fancy?”
The boy cleared his throat one last time, reached his hand back out and gave her the key. Vivian winked at him with a huge smile,
“That’s a good boy, want a promotion?” she growled and the boy jumped a little, than she laughed and scurried away down the hallway.
When Vivian opened room sixteen McCallum was laying on top of the covers, fully dressed in a grey suit and reading a notebook. On the radio, “I Heard it Through the Grapevine” was being covered by Creedence Clearwater Revival. He looked up to her, she propped herself in the doorway,
“Mr. McCallum, you look a fright.”
McCallum placed a finger in the notebook and closed on it, “Yes, well, I was tossing and turning all night, Ms. Vivian. It was a real drag.”
Vivian looked to the radio, “I prefer the Gladys Knight and the Pips version myself.”
“Really?” McCallum responded, “I am surprised. I had you pegged for a Marvin Gaye girl.”
She looked to him, “Maybe in another life.”
“So, Ms. Vivian, how did you get my key?”
She perked up and announced, “I’m your whore, Mr. McCallum.”
McCallum’s eyes opened wide, “Well, this is a surprise. Am I dressed appropriately for the occasion? Are you cheap, my mother always taught me to never overpay?”
Vivian smirked his way, “Ah, have many conversations with your mom regarding whoredom, did you?”
“Touché, Ms. Vivian,” McCallum started, “What brings you into my bedroom? And if you say it’s for sex, rest assured I know far better.”
It was at this point that Vivian noticed the notebook he had been holding all this time, she perked up with the excitement of a two year old, “Is that Jack’s diary?”
McCallum quickly responded, “Listen. Do you hear that? It’s the sound of your brains being blown out of your skull, Ms. Vivian,” he looked at her with a face for correcting and scolded, “Shut the door.”
She rolled her eyes and entered the room, the door shut behind her. She scurried to the bed and hopped onto it next to him and lay back, placing her head against the headboard next to his. McCallum grunted and tried to keep stiff, the movements sent sharp pains throughout his bruised body,
“Ms. Vivian,” he started, “Need I remind you that I had very, very rough night?”
“Oh, dear,” she frowned, “Are you pregnant? Is it unexpected?”
“I should slap you.”
He laughed lightly, “You want me to slap you?”
“No, you pervert,” she pointed to the diary, “I want you to read me some.”
“It’s pretty dull actually,” he explains.
“I don’t care,” she states, “I want to know what killed the great Mr. McCallum.”
“We appreciate your support, Ms. Vivian,” he smirks, “Please pick up your gift package on the way out.”
“Speaking of appreciation, aren’t you proud of me for finding you, Mr. McCallum?”
“Why should I be?” he started, turning a page back in the notebook, “You’re a liar and a whore.”
She frowned at him, “Not a whore, just a liar.”
Vivian perked up again, “And what woman isn’t?”
This got McCallum’s attention, he looked to her, “Why, Ms. Vivian, what a narrow tie you wear?”
“Thank you, Mr. McCallum, do you like it?”
“I hate to be the one to mention it, Ms. Vivian, but I wouldn’t be your friend if I didn’t,” he started, “It’s painfully out of style.”
“Well, get on with it,” she pointed to the diary, “I’m on my lunch.”
“If you insist,” he turned another page, looking for a good excerpt, “Ah, here we go, ‘Dear Boss, I keep on hearing the police have caught me but they wont fix me just yet. I have laughed when they look so clever and talk about being on the right track. That joke about Leather Apron gave me real fits. I am down on whores and I shant quit ripping them till I do get buckled. Grand work the last job was. I gave the lady no time to squeal. How can they catch me now. I love my work and want to start again. You will soon hear of me with my funny little games. I saved some of the proper red stuff in a ginger beer bottle over the last job to write with but it went thick like glue and I cant use it. Red ink is fit enough I hope ha. ha. The next job I do I shall clip the ladys ears off and send to the police officers just for jolly wouldn’t you. Keep this letter back till I do a bit more work, then give it out straight. My knife’s so nice and sharp I want to get to work right away if I get a chance. Good Luck. Yours truly, Jack.’”
McCallum looked to Vivian from the diary, she wore a very perplexed expression upon her face, “Ms. Vivian, you look vexed.”
“I am,” she starts, “It doesn’t make a lick of sense.”
“Sure it does,” he begins turning the pages and showing each entry as he speaks, “It’s a code. Every entry in his diary is a Ripper letter. All I have to do is figure out what he was substituting for what and I’ve got a scandalous story worth killing for.”
“Well, that’s ridiculous,” Vivian left the bed and stood next to it, “That stupid diary could mean anything, because it isn’t a code. It’s a bloody interpretation. And only Jack knows the interpretation. And Jack is dead,” she sighed, “Mr. McCallum you’ve gotten yourself in a fine mix and you don’t have a single clue.”
“Nonsense, Ms. Vivian,” he held the diary up, “I have the whole case right here.”
“You’re batty, Mr. McCallum,” she moved to the door, gripped the doorknob and looked back to him, “By the by, the Agency had nothing to do with your rough performance in bed last night.”
“Now that does complicate things, Ms. Vivian,” McCallum remarked, “I’ll give you that one.”
“Good luck with your interpretations, Mr. McCallum.”
“Good day, Ms. Vivian.”
After she left, McCallum packed his things and left for elsewhere.