An Agent’s Thang
Madame Superior entered her office, sighed a long sigh. She removed her mink, tossed it to a sofa to her left and made her way to her secret stash of wines and various tonics. She pulled out vodka and two eggs and deposited her rump behind her desk. Agent Brown came in shortly, removing his overcoat, tossing it to the sofa, it covered her mink. He loosened his bow tie and sat across from Madame Superior.
“Vodka, Agent Brown?” she asked, as she poured, then broke the two egg shells upon the corner of her desk and dropped the yoke inside the vodka.
“No, Madame,” he spoke hoarsely, “I don’t have to drink right now.”
“I do,” she motioned to the juke with her head, “Give me music, Agent Brown.”
Agent Brown moaned as he rose from his chair, he flipped the radio on and instantly the room was filled with the presence of Etta James, “I got it bad and that ain’t good,” she sang.
“As the Americans say, ‘I hear ya, sisda,’” Madame Superior spoke, tipping her glass in the direction of the juke. Agent Brown returned to his chair and she spoke between sips, “I hate these little events. They are tiresome. They are fake and droll.”
“Could be worse, Madame Superior—” Agent Brown began to consolidate and reassure her, but she promptly interrupted him.
“Could it, Agent Brown? Could it?” there was a silence; “Robert McCallum and Ms. Vivian have been running around for four years. FOUR YEARS! Four years with the Agency’s secrets. MY SECRETS!” she stopped for a moment, took a few sips, “Do you know what it’s like Agent Brown? Do you know what it is like to have the evidence of all your crimes, all your faults, all your regrets… just out there, somewhere, hanging in the balance? Do you know how that feels, Agent Brown? No, Agent Brown, do not answer. You do not understand, you could never understand. You could never understand, because you will never know what I know. You can never know what I know. No one can know what I know,” she stared for an instant, than shouted, “Bloody Jack! Stupid, blinking, blooming, bloody Jack! Bloody Jack and that bloody diary! That stupid, insignificant pest. Bloody fool that he is… bloody, stinking, blooming, blinking fool.”
Madame Superior abruptly stopped speaking and hung her head; she was all out of vodka and Ms. James, “I wish I felt more comfortable, Agent Brown.”
“How do you mean, Madame?”
“I feel as if my corset is too tight.”
“Figuratively,” she scowled at Agent Brown, “As long as Robert McCallum and Jack’s diary are missing in action, I can’t breath.”
Agent Brown wished he could say something that would change this mood, but there was nothing to be said. He had been the brunt of many of these escapades. It was a rerun of the same show they should have cancelled two seasons ago, but they keep zapping it for all its worth. Madame had jumped the shark a long time before.
Robert McCallum believed in epiphanies. And with that train of thought, he read the diary twice a day and every news paper he could get his hands on. Yet, there was nothing. No epiphany, no leads. Not a single clue. Vivian on the other hand, did not believe in such nonsense. She believed he was wasting his time and was sufficed to sit and leave the world on a cliff for a space. The two of them were on the move constantly, moving from one place to the next as soon as they had saved up enough money to get a ticket out of the current residence.
Currently, Vivian was working as a waitress in a cafe. This was quite an accomplishment considering she neither knew the language nor the lingo. McCallum made deliveries of meat packages to local markets and restaurants. It was a dirty, thankless job but seeing the blood reminded him of who he was and what was about him.
It was early evening, the sun was setting and as usual McCallum had returned home before Vivian and jumped into Jack’s diary. He sat just outside their hut, overlooking the beach and the sunset. Strung about him were newspapers and their clippings, the diary and a notebook. The notebook tripled for note taking, scrap booking and file organizing. As organized as McCallum was with his physical physique, he was just as disorganized with his work.
In truth, Robert McCallum had deciphered little. He figured The Boss was Madame Superior; that Jack the Ripper was Jack and that Jack (like Jack the Ripper) was not remorseful of his betrayal and in fact was eager, willing and happy to continue his dirty work. He figured the entry that read, “Mr Lusk, Sor, I send you half the Kidne I took from one woman and prasarved it for you tother piece I fried and ate it was very nise. I may send you the bloody knif that took it out if you only wate a whil longer,” was a reference to something (the kidney) he took from Madame Superior (one woman) and gave to the other side (Mr. Lusk). It could be that he could not get the entire kidney, so thus he apologizes and that somehow the bloody knife would make up for the missing half of the kidney. He wondered if maybe the bloody knife was a key of some kind that got him into the body (place that housed the kidney). These all seemed very likely and very plausible to McCallum, but without any knowledge of what the kidney was or the body or the knife or even Mr. Lusk he was pretty much just shooting in the dark.
The rest of his findings were just as shallow. He was looking through the news for the first piece of the puzzle, and when he found it he would take it and slip it in every time it was referenced figuratively. He figured once he had found the first piece, the rest would be a cakewalk. However, he didn’t count on it taking so long to discover that first piece of the puzzle. He was waiting for that epiphany.
Like most epiphanies it wasn’t found, but conjured. Conjured in that magical poof! sort of way. It hit him like any epiphany would and then everything seemed to become clear. He recited it out loud to himself, “It’s not Jack’s diary… its Madame’s diary. Madame Superior is Jack the Ripper.”
Rachel, a new secretary, entered Madame Superior’s office and her eyes were flittering with nervousness. Her hands quickly stroke one another, her bracelets on either wrist jingling as she did so. She spoke softly, “Madame Superior?”
“Yes, Rachel,” Madame spoke with great annoyance in her voice, “What do you want?”
“There is a—” Rachel gulped, “A Mr. McCallum and Ms. Vivian to see you, Madame.”
Madame Superior looked up, her mouth open and eyes white with wideness in disbelief, “Show them in.”
“Yes, Madame Superior.”
Madame spoke up suddenly, “Where is Agent Brown? Show Agent Brown in, as well.”
Rachel left and Madame sat and wondered. She was completely thrown for a loop, Why, after all these years, would they just waltz in?
Rachel reentered with McCallum and Vivian, who looked sharp and dazzling; McCallum spoke first, “Madame Superior, how are you these days?”
“I’ve been better, Mr. McCallum,” she remarked from her chair, “Say, when I was sixteen, that was a good year.”
McCallum and Vivian sat in chairs across the desk from Madame Superior; Rachel started to exit but physically ran into Agent Brown who was rushing in and sweating his stomach’s floppy overhang off. When Agent Brown saw the guests, his jaw dropped and eyes popped, “What the dickens?!”
“Leave Charles out of it, old pal,” McCallum delightfully reprimanded.
“So—” Madame Superior started the conversation, “I suppose we all know why the two of you are here.”
“Actually, Madame Superior,” McCallum started, “You don’t. You see, I need two things of you.”
“Of me!” Madame was flustered with anger and appall, it showed.
“Yes, of you,” he continued, “First off, I need a gun.”
“A gun?” she questioned in disbelief.
“Yes, it’s a rough world out there, Madame Superior,” he grinned.
Vivian sat forward in her chair and addressed, “I want a gun as well—but not a big one, a small one. One more fitting for a lady.”
Madame Superior was ready to kill someone, and when she jerked her desk drawer open it fell to the floor. She reached into it and pulled out a small wooden case, sleek to the touch. She slammed it upon her desk, “Ms. Vivian, this is the gun Prince of Monaco gave me upon my visit—it’s never been used. You should suit you,” she looked sharply to Agent Brown, “Agent Brown give Mr. McCallum your gun and holster.”
“DO IT!” she calmed, “There, Mr. McCallum, are you satisfied now?”
“Well, that does take care of the first order of business,” he continued, “I also want immunity—diplomatic immunity.”
“Oh, come on,” Agent Brown spoke out of turn, infuriated, “She can’t just bloody pass them out like hall passes to the loo!”
“Shut your trap, Agent Brown,” Madame Superior started, “Aren’t you forgetting that you are withholding very important documents, Mr. McCallum?”
“Of course not, Madame Superior.”
“Well, where is it?!”
“Not on me, Madame.”
“I don’t budge any further until I have it, Mr. McCallum.”
“Actually,” McCallum leans forward, “If I die or go missing, the diary is going to go public… very, very public.”
Madame Superior was feeling inferior and she didn’t much care for the feeling, “Rock me gently, Mr. McCallum.”
There was a moment of silence while McCallum and Vivian waited for the next affair and Madame Superior considered her options. She finally consented, rolled her seductive eyes and paged Secretary Hall, “Ms. Rachel, bring me a Temporary Diplomatic Immunity form.”
Vivian half frowned and spoke up, “Actually, Madame, I would like one of those, too.”
Madame glared at her former secretary, “Better make that two forms, Ms. Rachel.”
After she had removed her finger the telephone, McCallum spoke up, “How long is temporary, Madame?”
“Six bloody months!”
Robert McCallum took his right thumb and scratched his chin just beneath the left side of his lip, “That might not be enough.”
“What do you mean six bloody months might not be enough?!” Madame Superior was far past impatience, “Six bloody months will just have to do, Mr. McCallum!”
Vivian leaned in the direction of McCallum and spoke aloud, “Actually, Mr. McCallum, you can just renew at the end of the six months,” she turned to Madame Superior, “Unless that’s changed, Madame?”
Madame Superior bit her tongue and shook her head.
After Robert McCallum and Ms. Vivian had left, the door barely being shut, Madame Superior blew her casket, “I want to bloody kill that man!”
Agent Brown spoke softly, reasoning, “Not sure that is a good idea, Madame, you heard what he said—”
“I didn’t say I was going to bloody kill him, I said I bloody WANTED to kill him! You impotent coward! GET OUT!”
Madame Superior had spent four years being paranoid and uneasy, now she was paranoid and extremely peeved. The game had only just begun; How many years will this list? she pondered to herself, The answer is blowing in the wind, she concluded.