Jonas has the football, but what is it, and why do agents of B.O.N.E. want to get their hands on it? And who is the mysterious, sultry “Babe”?
Snooker and I stared down at The Football for maybe two minutes before he broke the weird silence. “That was anticlimactic, man. Let’s go get a burger.”
Classic Snooker. Food is the answer, man. Food! Especially a good burger – or three, in his case – piled with pickles, lettuce, and slices of avocado. Thing is, it sounded good to me, and what was I going to do with this little silver egg right now anyway? I scooped it up and shoved it into the inner pocket of my jacket, the one where guys in movies always keep their checkbooks.
“Last one to The Mad Cow is buying!” I cried, bounded up the stairs, raced out the door, and hopped into my lottomobile.
Now you have to be asking, what’s a lottomobile? At first glance, you might be inclined to think it meant I had a slick machine, some fancy European sports car with a sixteen cylinder engine, leather interior, and all the ladies swooning as I drive by. You know, like maybe I won the lotto and picked up the sweetest of sweet rides. This couldn’t be further from the truth. A lottomobile is just a car that has a one in a million chance to get you where you want to go when you want to get there.
Mine’s a ’76 Chevy Vega Wagon held together by baling wire, duct tape, and the sheer force of my awesome will. I call it George.
George spluttered to a start just as Snooker burst from the door. I stomped on the accelerator and the Vega lurched forward, its engine revving up like a riding lawnmower. George and I reached the end of the drive just in time to hear Snook shout, “But I don’t have a car!”
Right. I was his ride.
Foot on the brake, I waited for my portly friend to fold himself into the cubby hole that is George’s passenger seat. My poor Vega leaned to the right as his full weight fell on the already failing shock absorbers. Did I mention he’s a big guy? I mean, not “Oh, Hell No!” big, but somewhere between Fluffy and “Dayam!” (Shout-outs to Gabriel Iglesias for the fat scale, but man, it needs some fine tuning.)
We reached the halfway point to The Mad Cow when I began to notice an odd pattern. Behind us, a black SUV made all the same turns we made. Thinking it had to be a coincidence – it had to be, right? – I even made a couple wonky turns, trying to lose my tail. He stuck with me, zigging when I zigged, zagging when I zagged. He even swerved to avoid the same dead cat laying sprawled out in the road like a fur-covered pancake.
“Yeah, boss,” Snooker said.
“See that black truck behind us?” I asked.
“Yeah, man. Low pros and everything.”
“It’s following us.”
“What? No w–?”
My phone rang. Default ringtone: Bruce Dickenson belting out Iron Maiden’s Run to the Hills. How appropriate. I answered anyway, turning on the speakerphone.
“Harro!” I said, falling into my Chinese Take-Out voice. “Today fie-dollah special General Tso! One quart, so so good!”
“Stop it, you idiot.” Like before, it was a female caller, but where the woman who dialed me earlier had a voice as smooth as forty-grit sandpaper, this one sounded two things: sultry and annoyed. She caught me off guard, and my initial response was to stammer the single syllable – um – a few times. “Do you have the football with you?”
I gathered my wits for a response. “Hey, babe. I’m not sure what you’re talking about. I mean sure, I threw some pigskins back in high school, but all that childish garbage is behind me.”
“Agent, this is no time to dissemble. You’re being followed by a bone operative, highly trained mem–”
“Wait. Bone operative? This is some stupid prank, right?”
She sighed. “Not bone. B.O.N.E. – Bureau of Nefarious Evil. Weren’t you debriefed?”
“Oh, come on!” I held my tongue before telling her I preferred boxers.
“Agent Brook, you must listen to me if you wish to survive.”
A quick glance over my shoulder revealed the SUV closer than ever, its driver a stark silhouette through the front glass. Snooker turned, too, and offered the man a wave. Neither of us expected it, but the B.O.N.E. operative waved back, an awkward movement he retracted as soon as he realized he was doing it. He must have come from a small town somewhere in the Midwest.
“He seems nice enough,” I said.
“Nice enough,” she scoffed. “If waterboarding is nice, sure. Are you into torture, Agent Brook?”
“Are you offering?”
“Turn left here.”
“That’s not an answer!”
“Turn left, Agent!” she shouted. “Now!”
Snooker grabbed hold of the Oh Crap Handle™. “Do it!” he screamed.
I cranked the wheel hard to the left and George screeched around the corner. Halfway through the turn, the light switched from green to red, skipping yellow altogether, and cross traffic sped into the intersection, blocking our tail from following us any farther.
“Another left, down that alley,” she commanded, all the sultry gone from her voice. Too bad.
At the end of the alleyway, a garage door opened.
As fast as George could move – which wasn’t much more than a crawl – I pulled into the garage and parked. The door closed behind me, leaving Snooker and I in darkness.
“What now, babe?” I asked.
“First, you stop calling me ‘babe’.”
“Right. Whatever. You want to tell me what’s going on?”
“Get out of the car.”
Snook nudged me. He leaned my direction and said in a voice just above a whisper, “I don’t know if that’s a good idea, dude.”
It probably wasn’t… but I did anyway.
Author’s Note: Who is “Babe”? And is she going to pop Jonas in the nose if he calls her that one more time? Find out next week!