So there I was, just minding my own business. (Those of you who know me are already aware that I do that quite a bit... But, then, you are also well aware that I have a tendency to entertain myself a lot too…)
Seriously. I really was minding my own business. I wouldn’t lie about something like that…
In fact, as I recall it was around 4:45 PM and I was fixing dinner. You see, if I don’t have dinner on the table at precisely 5:30 PM when E K arrives home, well then she does horrible and terrible things to me, then sells tapes of it on the internet. But, that’s another blog, and probably really isn’t one that would be age appropriate for the younger readers. (Oh, and I’m just kidding about the tapes on the internet part. Really… I am… It was a joke…)
You know… Come to think of it, none of my blogs are really age appropriate are they? No matter what the age…
Be that as it may, I’ve already started so there really isn’t much I can do. Once I begin a story I have to tell it to its conclusion or my medulla oblongata seizes up… And, as you well know if your medulla oblongata freezes up on you things can get a bit messy since it controls all those autonomic functions and such.
So anyway… There I was, minding my own business and fixing dinner, while at the same time keeping an eye on the clock and an ear out for the sound of a car in the driveway. Why? So that I would be sure to meet E K at the door with her Tall Vodka-Tonic of course. (The E K Vodka-Tonic: Five ice cubes, 1/8 of a fresh lime – squeezed over said cubes – followed by three fingers of Premium to Average Vodka, [whatever we have at the time] – straight from the freezer – And topped with Vess tonic to fill the glass within 1/4 inch of the rim. Never shaken. NEVER… Stirred only, and it must only be stirred 3 1/2 revolutions counter-clockwise with a red plastic chopstick. She’s very specific about her drinks… Or else… Well, you know…)
So… I was fixing dinner, keeping an eye on the clock, listening for a car, and preparing to slice a fresh lime just at the last moment so that it wouldn’t have too much time to oxidize and all that jazz… Like I said in the beginning, just minding my own business, and that’s when it happened.
“What happened?” you ask… I’m glad you did. If you hadn’t I might have seen another “chicken” as one of my readers says, and we’d be off down a different trail yet again… (I love that whole “chicken” reference, by the way…)
So, anyway, what happened is that the phone rang.
I realize this probably doesn’t seem like a big deal to some of you, but you see, I despise the telephone. It is there for emergencies and that’s pretty much it in my opinion. But, E K insists that we have one so we do. Hey, what can I do about it? I’m just the chef / bartender / waiter / doormat guy…
Well, since you can never be exactly sure what you might end up dealing with on the phone I put the paring knife aside and abandoned the citrus surgery for the moment, then went over to the clamoring device. The caller I D box hanging on the wall beside it read, “NOT AVAILABLE”…
Uh-huh. Yeah… Right.
It’s been my personal experience that if the number is “NOT AVAILABLE” the person at the other end is most likely a telemarketer and they have the Caller I D blocked. However, I have to admit that isn’t always the case… In something like .01% of the unavailable number type calls there’s been a malfunction of sorts and the ID box simply cannot decipher the signal. When that happens you have no idea who is at the other end. It could be a telemarketer as one would suspect… It could be Ed McMahon calling to tell you that you’ve won some kind of sweepstakes… It could be your Great Aunt Gertrude wanting to hit you up to bail her out jail after she got into a brawl at no limit Bingo… Or, it could even be E K. And, well, you don’t ignore The E K when she calls, if you know what I’m saying… I mean, after all, she could be feeling magnanimous and might be calling to let me know she’s running early, in which case I would need to hop to making that drink right away. Or, maybe that she’s running late, in which case I’d need to adjust my timing on that drink so that the ice wouldn’t be too melty… If her drink is watered down, well… You know. Last time I let that happen I was in the hospital for a week…
Therefore, all of the above was rushing through my brain as I stared at the caller I D. As you can imagine, having that much to think about all at once hurt quite a bit. But, truth be told it really didn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that I needed to answer the damn thing just to be sure.
So, I did.
“Hello?” I said as I put the handset up against my ear.
The phone went click… Click… Then I heard a female voice say, “Good evening, Mister Kat?“
“Ummm, no,” I replied. “Mister Sellars.”
“Oh, I’m sorry,” she apologized. “I was trying to reach Miz Evil Kat.”
“This is her husband, can I help you?”
“Oh, good evening sir. Is your name on her [insert fancy department store name here] charge account?”
“Nope. I can’t say that it is.”
“Then I would really need to speak with her.”
“Well, I’m afraid she’s not here right now,” I replied.
At this point I really had to give this young lady an E for effort, because this is when most telemarketers just hang up in my ear. Instead, she persevered with, “No problem. Is there a particular time that would be good to reach your wife?”
Now, I need to give you some background. You see, E K is no bigger a fan of talking on the phone than I am, which is one of the reasons I find it so perplexing that she insist we have one of the silly things. But, be that as it may, I knew damn well she wasn’t going to want to speak to this young lady about Ginseng Tea, Credit Protection that guarantees you absolutely nothing other than you have to pay for it monthly, or even a special VIP invite to the Flying Polish Grandmothers for Pagan Babies Day sale. By the same token, however, I certainly understood that the poor little gal on the other end of the talkie-talkie thingy was just doing her job, so I couldn’t find it in my heart to be overtly rude to her. I mean, after all, it’s not like she called during dinner, or during an episode of N C I S or something else equally unforgivable…
Still, y’all know how I am. I certainly couldn’t pass up an opportunity to entertain myself…
“Well, I’m not exactly sure,” I said cryptically, paused for effect, then added, “You see, she’s out of the country right now.”
This bubbly young telemarketer had to be new on the job because she was just too damned cheerful for her own good. Upon hearing my reply she exclaimed, “Oh, how nice! Is she on vacation?”
“Nope,” I replied. “It’s work related. At least, I think it is.”
She fell silent for a second. Now I really had her curiosity piqued, “Uhm… Uh… You think it is?” she finally ventured.
“Yeah,” I replied with an audible shrug in my voice. “She really isn’t allowed to tell me anything about what she’s doing until after the fact. And sometimes not even then. It all just depends on how classified it is.”
“Classified?” she repeated, her voice brimming over with confusion.
“Well yeah, it’s all kind of hush hush you know,” I said, lining up the sights so I could move in for the kill. “For instance, sometimes it’s just something simple like stealing sensitive documents from a hostile country and bringing them back to the United States, and other times it’s a little more involved… Like assassinating some whacked out dictator who’s trying to get his hands on a nuclear missile or something… I never really know what she’s been up to until she turns up back here at home.”
“I’m sorry…” she said, her voice taking on an incredulous tone. “I thought I just heard you say, assassinate?”
“You did,” I answered in earnest. “Killing people is her specialty. In fact, I once saw her take out 11 really bad ass guys in a biker bar with nothing but her high heels, a piece of chewing gum, and a used cocktail napkin – and she did it all by herself… No help at all… Took her less than a minute… Of course, I had to buy her a new pair of shoes afterward because she couldn’t get the blood stains out of the leather… But, I’m here to tell you it was just plain amazing to watch. She’s like the female MacGyver of assassination or something. Around the office they just call her MacBitchver. The funny thing is, she actually does carry a Swiss Army Knife in her purse. Is that ironic or what?”
A stunned silence filled the earpiece. The only thing that surprised me about it was that the young woman hadn’t yet hung up in my ear.
Since I still had an audience, I continued. “Oh, please don’t misunderstand. She doesn’t just go around killing people without permission. She’s a deep cover operative for the N S A and it’s her job. She actually has a license to kill and a permit to torture. It even has her picture on it so she can use it as a government issued I D in the security line at the airport, which is kinda cool because they rush her right through and all. Of course, ever since nine-eleven they’ve kept her pretty busy doing… Well… You know… Whatever needs to be done to keep the country safe, if you get my meaning.”
I could still hear the young woman breathing at the other end of the phone, but a quick glance at the clock told me it was getting close to time for me to pull the vodka out of the freezer in preparation for the Femme Fatale in question’s arrival.
In a bid to wrap things up I added, “But, you know, if I happen to hear from her in between ops or something, I’ll be glad to let her know you called…”
“Uhm,” the girl finally said. “So, you don’t know when she’s going to be back in the country?”
Obviously, I had a live one on the other end and I had to stifle a laugh. Adopting as serious a tone as I could manage I replied, “Nope… I really never know until she just shows up here at home. But as long as I haven’t received one of those letters telling me she’s been disavowed and all that jazz, I just make sure I don’t give away any of her stuff and we’re all good.”
I’m fairly certain we’ve never had another call from that particular outfit… If we eventually do, I’ll be sure to let double naught E Kay loose on them. I’ll just make sure I have a drink waiting for her when she gets back from her secret mission… Of course, after she’s had to go all Jack (Jacquelyn?) Bauer on folks, she usually wants a Cranberry Martini instead of the old standby Vodka-Tonic…
…But she absolutely insists that those be shaken, not stirred…
More to come…
(… PS. In case you didn’t notice the scrolling info on the embedded player, and you are wracking your brain trying to place the origin of the Secret Agent Evil Kat Theme Song, it’s the main title music from The Girl From U.N.C.L.E*… [Composed by the late Jerry Goldsmith and arranged by Dave Grusin]… Of course, if you’re an old fart like me, you probably already knew that. Or knew it, forgot it, and needed a memory jog. Either way, there you have it.)
* U.N.C.L.E. – United Network Command for Law and Enforcement
(Yeah… I’m a geek. Wanna make something of it? Just remember, I’ll tell E K and you really don’t want me to have to take her shoe shopping again… )