I bravely led the way into the foreboding shelter. It was dark, looming, ominous. The building always has a vacant and haunted feel to it, even when it is full of happy, barking puppies. I immediately pick up a sinister sensation wafting on the air. Yup, I thought to myself. This place has the stink of evil alright. I waited patiently for my assistants to catch up, a natural downside of being the most agile and fit person in the group.
“Smells like animals in here alright,” Lizzy said. She smiled. “I’ll bet Velcro’s in here making friends and having a good time.” I wanted to shake my head and make tsk, tsk, tsk sounds with my tongue, but this wasn’t the time. The poor girl; the poor stupid girl. It’s not her fault. She doesn’t know what pure evil smells like. She doesn’t have the carefully acclimated nose for the business like I’ve got. She probably doesn’t have the stomach for it either, what has to be done.
JB saunters up next to me, his steps uneven and clumsy as always. “If you don’t mind, maybe I can do the talking? That way you can concentrate on reading his body language. What do you think?” I saw the pleading in his eyes. I knew that’s what he wanted, what he thought was best. He was wrong of course, but it was nice to see him try to use his Neanderthal brain once in a while.
“That won’t be necessary JB, but thank you. I can handle talking and looking at the same time. Now remember, if prong one fails, we have to go immediately into prong two. You ready to back me up?” His face said no, but I started forward before he could utter the word. That’s part of being a great leader, knowing when to just push forward and hope your team can keep up.
We quickly walked down a short, tiled hallway and took a left turn at the corner. When we rounded it, I saw before me a large metallic desk, four thick legs holding up its massive and sterile steel surface. It looked more like an operating table than a desk. Yet behind it, there sat a middle-aged woman with greying hair and small round glasses. Her hair was pulled back into a tight bun, a worn smile on her face matching her worn white sweater with kittens and a ball of yarn depicted on it.
I quickly marched up to the desk, clearing my throat and straightening my powerful navy beanie just before I closed the gap all the way. I saw on the name plate sitting on the desk that her name was Nancy.
“Hello Nancy, my name is Jacob Punch. These are my assistants, my brother Dick and his friend Judy. We wanted to inquire about a cat.” JB groaned behind me. He hated when I gave him fake names. The big dummy, did he expect to reveal his real identity to every henchman we meet along the way?
Nancy smiled and pushed her glasses up on her face. “Not a problem, what kind of cat are you looking for?” I smiled and snapped my fingers, holding my open palm out towards JB. When nothing happened, I snapped my fingers again, then again. Finally I was forced to turn around and look at my companions, who just shrugged sheepishly. “The poster,” I said, trying to keep the annoyance out of my voice. “That was clearly the time to hand me the poster."
Lizzy and JB both fumbled around in their pockets, but it was Lizzy who got a copy of the poster out first and handed it to me. “This one right here,” I said while pushing the paper cooly across the desk. “His name’s Velcro, but he probably doesn’t respond to that name because it’s dumb. Have you seen him?”
Nancy picked up the poster and glanced at it, but for only the quickest of looks. She pushed it back across the desk a little too hurriedly. “No, sorry. Haven’t seen it. Would you like to leave a number with us in case he shows up?”
JB started to thank her, but I cut him off swiftly. “The number is on the poster. You would have noticed it if you looked at it for more than a tenth of a second. And don’t worry, because we already have your number! Isn’t that right, JB?”
I turned to look at him, saw the frozen look of hesitation on his face. I sighed. What an amateur. As always, it was up to me to take charge. I quickly surveyed the desk, scanning and mentally inventorying all the items littering its surface. I honed in a ceramic mug, pencils and pens jutting out of its top. The picture on the side was of sand and water, the words “life’s a beach” written across it. “That’s a nice mug,” I said, drawing out my words so even an idiot like JB would pick up on my meaning. “Is this yours?” Before she could respond, I picked it up and then dumped it unceremoniously onto the desk. Her mouth dropped open in a gasp as the pens and pencils fell and scattered noisily everywhere.
Lizzy just froze, but JB stepped forward, hopefully to back me up. I didn’t wait to see. So far, everything was going according to plan. I turned my attention next to her box of tissues, extra soft with lotion. “Oh, are these yours too?” I asked as I calmly, one at a time, plucked them out and then laid them smoothly on the incoming mail pile. I continued one at a time until the whole box was laid bare on her envelopes.
JB was pushing next to me, an apology on his lips. He tried to grab my arm but it was too late. I was already spinning out of his grasp and lunging for her stapler. “Oh, is this yours?” I managed to spit out before I whirled around and started shooting staples all over the room, getting them embedded in the fabric of the rug beneath her chair.
“Why are you doing this?” Nancy cried out, but it was too late. Prong two was already activated. I opened two drawers and a folder before she could stop me, quickly grabbing handfuls of anything I could and switching their proper location before closing them up again. I finally asked her one more time if something was hers, as I deftly unrolled her entire length of scotch tape before winding it loosely back into its dispenser as a clumpy useless mess.
As Nancy wailed and JB profusely apologized for my behavior, I spun around three times to keep everyone guessing and then I took off like a cannonball down a perpendicular hallway.
I zigged once, twice, and then I zagged too for good measure. Soon I was around a few bends in the tiled labyrinth and slowed down enough to take stock of my surroundings. Directly in front of me, a heavy steel door, reinforced. A nine digit key pad hung on the wall to the left of the handle and an EMPLOYEES ONLY sign was engraved into a deep red sign. Bingo!
I crouched down, feeling the pump in my leg muscles. My muscles that are also steel and reinforced, my killer workout routine from The Rock really paying off. I squatted low as I could go and, with a loud and animalistic roar of strength, I shot straight up into the air towards the tiny observation window embedded high up in the door.
I launched myself like a rocket, over and over again, each time getting another glimpse into the ominous and forbidden room. On my fifth leap, I saw it. There, in the corner of the room, locked in a plastic cat carrier, a small orange paw dangled, attached to what i knew was Velcro. Double Bingo!
I landed and turned, ready to run again, but I was stopped short by a hulking, monstrous beast of a man in a tight blue shirt. Pinned underneath a name tag that said Don, was another tag, this one reading SECURITY. Double crap!