Superfreaks: Mading Mysteries #2
martinphipps2 at yahoo.com
Wed Jul 23 04:01:52 PDT 2008
A SUPERFREAKS SERIES
A QUANTUM OF SILLINESS
Even though it was a Saturday morning and, hence, Mading's day off, Mading got up early -actually the same time as usual if he had been going to work that day- leaving his wife sound asleep in the bedroom and headed to the living room to watch TV. His cat, seeing that Mading was alone, proceeded to follow him to the living room and jumped up on the sofa as Mading sat down. Mading, flattered by his cat's demonstration of affection, lied back on the sofa and started stroking his cat's chin. His cat, purring madly, responded by spreading out over Mading's chest as if he were using it as a pillow and intended to go to sleep.
Just then, somebody kicked down the door to Mading's apartment. Mading's cat jumped down and gallopped away. Mading was understandably annoyed.
"Okay," Mading said matter-of-factly, "what's going on?" It was typical of Mading to ask questions and then get upset only when the nature of the offense had been made clear.
"I'm James. Brad James. And you must be Blowhard."
"Must be? Says who?"
"Says British Intelligence."
"Well in this case British Intelligence seems to be a misnomer. What do they know?"
"They know that Blowhard is a bald man with a cat."
Mading pointed to his hair. "Hello?"
"You fit the description from where I'm standing."
"So you kicked down my door because I have a cat and I'm losing my hair??? Just what is this Blowhard fellow supposed to have done?"
"He's a criminal mastermind and the head of an international terrorist organisation."
Mading waved his arms about. "Does this look like a terrorist base."
Brad James looked around. "No," he admitted. "Not particularly."
"What on Earth made you think that a terrorist mastermind was hiding out on a university campus in Taiwan?"
Brad James shrugged his shoulders. "It was based on a tip."
"From British Intelligence?"
"The same guys who said there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq?"
"That was the Americans who said that."
"But you guys believed them."
"Yeah," James said, sheepishly.
"And in all the world this is the only place they thought this Blowhard might be hanging out?"
"They also thought he might be hiding out in his secret base hidden in the heart of a volcano on an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean."
"I see. And yet you decided to come here first."
"Well, sure," James argued, "I mean if you had your choice where would you go first? Taiwan or an island off in the middle of nowhere?"
"I see your point."
James sighed. "Look, I'm sorry about the door."
"Right. Looks kind of ruined."
"Yeah. Tell you what." James took out his wallet, opened it up and picked out one of his credit cards. He threw it at Mading. "Catch."
Mading caught it. "A gold credit card."
"Yeah. You can use it to pay for the door. Then after a few days I'll report it stolen."
"Right. Anyway, I've got to go. Queen and country and all that, you know." Brad James left.
Mading wondered about his wife: she hadn't gotten out of bed and yet, surely, she must have heard everything. He decided to go back to the bedroom.
"What was that noise?" his wife asked.
"A British Secret Agent kicked the door down. But it's okay: it was just a case of mistaken identity."
"Oh and he gave us this." Mading threw the credit card on the bed.
"What's this?" she asked as she picked it up.
"It's a credit card."
"Yeah. We can use it to go shopping."
"And we don't have to pay?"
Mading shook his head. "No, but in a few days he'll report it stolen."
Mading's wife got out of bed. "I'm going to take a shower and then I'm going to cook breakfast. You get Michael out of bed, make him take a shower and then you take a shower when he's finished."
"Where are we going?" Mading asked.
"To Carrefour," was the response.
The plan was that they would go shopping at Carrefour, have lunch and then go shopping some more in the afternoon. Travel time was considerably reduced seeing as how Mading could teleport.
"You know, we really should use the card to pay to fix the door," Mading pointed out.
"That can wait," his wife told him. "I need to buy some new clothes."
"In that case, why are we at Carrefour? Why not go to a mall?"
"Sus! The clothes at the mall are too expensive!"
"But we've got a credit card."
"It's okay. Maybe later he changes his mind and he wants us to pay."
Mading nodded. "Okay."
Just then, Mading's son Michael noticed the video section. "Yeah! DVDs! I want to buy cartoons!" He ran off.
"Michael just ran off," Mading told his wife.
"Then follow him," she suggested.
Mading nodded. "Okay, fine, you pick out what you want and we'll meet at the checkout counter. Okay?"
After a half an hour, the three of them got back together, Mading carrying a bunch of DVDs for his son and his wife carrying a pile of clothes for herself. Mading and his wife put everything together on the counter. Mading then pulled out Brad James's gold credit card.
The salesclerk looked at the card. "Are you Mr. James Brad?"
"It's Brad James."
"So you're him?"
"Not exactly? What do you mean?"
"I'm not him."
"But you have his card."
"Yeah. He said I could use it."
"Is there a problem?"
"We're not authorised to accept that particular card here without a supporting form of identification."
"What's wrong?" his wife asked.
"They're not accepting the card," Mading told her.
"Bastos!" his wife swore.
"How? How is it okay?"
"I just need to go find Brad James and bring him here. That's all there is to it."
Mading teleported from the store and hovered way up high in the atmosphere. It was a bit cold and Mading was falling. He only needed a moment, however, to think about where Brad James said he was going.
"An island in the Pacific. Volcanic. Wait. He said 'the middle of the Pacific'. So it's not around the Philippines or Indonesia. And he said 'the middle of nowhere' so it's not Hawaii. Probably somewhere around Hawaii though, just not a populated island."
Mading teleported over to Hawaii and landed in the water. He walked up onto the beach and dried off surprisingly fast -or perhaps not so surprisingly seeing as how this was Hawaii in the middle of summer. Mading teleported up into the high atmosphere again and looked for small islands with active volcanoes. He saw one right away and teleported directly onto the beach. He hit the beach and made a huge identation in the sand but he was otherwise okay.
Mading looked at the volcano. Brad James did say that Blowhard's base was a secret one so perhaps this was the right volcano. The only way to find out would be to teleport directly into the volcano! So Mading did just that.
Mading found himself walking along a passageway inside the volcano. It wasn't exactly fine craftsmanship but it certainly did look manmade. This seemed to be the right place.
"Halt!" a man with a gun said. A second man stood behind him. Mading could see that he too had a gun. "Who are you and what are you doing here?"
"Oh," Mading said, "I'm Mading and I'm looking for Brad James." Mading was always saying the first thing that came to mind and as the first thing that came to mind was always the truth, Mading was cursed with imbeccable honesty.
"Brad James?" he man asked. "Brad James is here?" The two men started looking around fervertly. Suddenly a third man jumped out at them. It was dark in the passageway so Mading couldn't see clearly what happened next but he did hear the two men grunt and fall to the ground.
"What on Earth are you doing here?" Brad James asked Mading.
"Oh good it's you!" Mading said.
"I happen to be on a mission!"
"I know! I know!" Mading told him. "You're after Blowhard!"
"If you want Blowhard," somebody else said, "then we'll take you to him. You might not be still breathing though by that time." Mading's eyes were starting to adjust to the poor light: he could make see five more guards, all pointing guns at himself and James. They opened fire.
Luckily for the two of them, Mading had already teleported himself and James back to Carrefour.
"What kept you?" his wife asked him.
"We were attacked by seven armed guards in a terrorist hideout in a volcano on an island near Hawaii," Mading told her.
"You couldn't get back sooner? Michael says he wants to go home."
"I want to go home!" Michael said.
"What was so important that you had to take me away from my mission?" James asked.
"They didn't accept your card," Mading told him. "Oh and, by the way, I just saved your life. You don't have to thank me!"
"I most certainly do not," James told him, "not after you alerted them as to me being there! I had the element of surprise!" He sighed. "Anyway, what's the problem?"
"They need a second form of identification."
"Oh, is that all?" Brad James pulled out his British Secret Service Agent Card and handed it to the salesclerk.
"Thank you, Mr. James. We apologize for the inconvenience."
"That's quite alright!" Brad James told her.
"What a charming young lady!"
Mading sighed. "You have a card that identifies you as a secret agent?"
"And you bring it with you on undercover missions?"
"And I suppose when you introduce yourself you say you're 'James, Brad James'."
"Yeah," Brad James said, "what's your point?"
Mading shrugged his shoulders. "Nothing really. I suppose you'd like to get back now."
"If you don't mind."
Mading teleported himself and Brad James back to the Blowhard's secret base.
"They must have gone looking for us," Mading said. "Looks like we can just walk in."
Mading and Brad James entered the fortress and saw a huge facility with mainframe computers, busy scientists rushing about, a huge television screen and two swimming pools, one full of sharks and the other full of piranha. In the middle of all this, Blowhard sat on a metal chair next to a metal table. He was stroking a white siamese cat that was purring madly on his lap.
"Good afternoon, Mr. James," he said. "So nice of you and your friend to join us."
Mading was momentarily perplexed but then remembered the time difference between Taiwan and Hawaii meant that it was, indeed, the middle of the afternoon where they were.
"You'll never get away with this, Blowhard!" James told him.
"If I may interrupt for a moment!" Mading said as he pointed to Blowhard's head. "Bald," he said. He then pointed to his own head. "Not bald."
James sighed. "Really, Mading, we have more important concerns here."
James sighed. "Blowhard here has stolen the world's diamomnd supply and used it to build a laser so powerful that it will melt the polar ice caps and flood the world's major cities, causing millions to drown and millions more to be left homeless."
Mading shrugged his shoulders. "So? Al Gore says that will happen anyway if we don't reduce greenhouse gas emissions."
Blowhard laughed. "Yes but did Al Gore think to ask for... a hundred billion dollars? Perhaps if he had then people would have paid attention!"
Mading sighed. "Anyway, since when do they use diamonds to make lasers? Lasers work based on the stimulated emission of light from a population inverted gas placed in a chamber between two mirrors, one perfectly reflecting and the other partially transparent. How exactly are the diamonds being used? Who writes this crap?"
James shook his head. "Could you just suspend your disbelief for one second and accept that the world is in immediate danger?"
"Okay. Fine. So what are we going to do about it?"
"This." Brad James pulled out his gun and shot Blowhard. Blowhard's cat jumped down and galloped away.
"You shot him!" Mading said.
Brad James nodded. "I have a lisence to do that," he said matter-of-factly.
"You fool!" Blowhard said, gasping. "I'll have you know that if my pacemaker detects that my heart has stopped beating then there'll be a two minute timer activated and if I am not revived within two minutes then this whole place blows up!"
"Fine!" James said. "And then with you dies your plan to melt the polar ice caps!"
"Oh," Blowhard said, "then I guess you win after all, Mr. James." He collapsed. A huge digital readout, counting down every second from two minutes, appeared on the television screen above them. Meanwhile, an electronic voice called out "Alert! Alert! Two minutes until self destruct!" and kept repeating every ten seconds with the updated time. An alarm also rang out. Scientists screamed in panic and headed for the exits.
"We'd better go too," Mading told Brad James. He teleported the two of them back to Carrefour.
"Can we go home now?" his wife asked impatiently.
"Sure," Mading said. He, his wife and son, Brad James and everything they had bought were teleported back to Mading's apartment.
"Finally," Mading's wife said.
Mading turned to speak to Brad James. "So... where's the Bond girl?"
"The what girl?"
"Oh, sorry, the Brad girl, I guess."
"You mean my wife?"
Mading's jaw dropped. "You're married?"
Brad nodded. "Yeah. I thought everybody knew. I'm married to Angelina James."
"And she married you knowing you were a spy?"
"No, we didn't know we were spies until after we got married."
"Wait. Angelina James is also a spy?"
Brad James looked thoughtful.
"What's wrong?" Mading asked.
"I'm just wondering if I've told you too much and now I'm going to have to kill you."
"I'm kidding," James told him, unconvincingly.
"So all those trips overseas to make movies or adopt children or be a United Nations Goodwill Ambassador?"
James nodded. "Missions."
"Do you want to meet her?"
"Sure. I'll tell you where we live and you can teleport us there."
"Wait." He went to look for his wife. "Melda?"
"Do you want to meet Angelina James?"
"Angelina James. Brad James is married to Angelina James."
"We go now, okay. Michael and Ian can stay here. We won't be gone long."
Mading teleported the three of them to the James home in Malibu, California.
"Oh, hey, Honey, you're back early!" Angelina James said when she saw her husband.
"Yeah," he told her. "We world is safe again... for now."
"And who's this?"
"They're friends. Mading here helped me against Blowhard."
"Nice to meet you," Angelina said, shaking Mading's hand.
Mading sighed. "You were great in those Crypt Looter movies," he told her.
"You just had twins?" Mading's wife asked her.
"Yes," Angelina told her. "I'm fresh out of the hospital."
"I heard it was a Caesarian section?"
"Yes. It was."
"Oh," Imelda said. "Very painful."
"You had a Caesarian?"
"Yes. Two." She raised her blouse and showed Angelina her scar. "It's okay now."
"Mine hasn't quite healed yet," Angelina said as she raised her blouse too.
"Whoa!" Mading said. "Brad, let's go to the other room." Mading didn't wait for Brad's answer: he just teleported the two of them away.
Brad nodded. "Thanks," he said. "I didn't want to be around while our wives compared scars."
Mading sighed. "You know, I've dreamed about your wife, Brad, and seeing her lift her blouse. I never thought it was going to look like that."
"It's okay though. It'll heal up in a few months."
Brad nodded. "I know. It's her second Caesarian."
"Really. It's Imelda's second two." Mading sighed. "I guess we'd better get going." He took out his wallet. "You might as well have this back: I can't use it without identification and so there's no point keeping it and having you declare it stolen."
"But you didn't fix your door yet!"
"It's okay. Really."
Brad sighed. "Wait." He rumaged through a drawer and took out a spare wallet. There was some money inside. He took some out and handed it to Mading. "Here's two hundred dollars."
Mading thought for a moment and considered the Taiwan-US dollar exchange rate. "That should cover it. Thanks."
"You can teleport back here anytime if there's any trouble." Then he reconsidered. "You should call first." He went to find a pen and paper so he could write down his home phone number.
"I don't think we'll need anything else," Mading told him.
"Take the number anyway," Brad suggested, as he handed Mading the slip of paper with his number on it.
"Thanks. Anyway, we'd best be getting back."
Mading and Brad James walked back into the living room. After a second round of goodbyes, Mading and his wife teleported back home.
COMING SOON: Extreme #4: "Me Android, You Extreme"
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