The unmistakable sound of ripping duct tape wakes Chris from the stun. He opens his eyes and sees the tourist family yanking tape at a CM’s hands. As Chris reaches for his cool spy fat Sharpie pen as one of the kids yells, “Dad he’s waking up should I blast him again so we can finish them off without any trouble?”
The pen is gone from Chris’ pocket.
“No. I’m coming, Betes Boy, thanks.”
“Thomas, Chris Thomas I presume?” asks the Dad holding up 007’s killer Sharpie. “Looking for this?”
“Training kids as assassins? Only BadShoe could be so Evil.” Chris spits. His cool steel eyes taking in the whole ugly scene, “What, you don’t have the nerve to do it yourself?”
“Not so fast secret-agent-boy. It took all of us to save you,” Zurg nods to the other bloggers and hotel staff, “and them.”.
Looking more clearly Chris sees Zurg’s kids are removing the duct tape that bound the bell services staff. Mrs. BadShoe is working on one woman with a little lip hair, “Wont hurt much more than waxing dear.”
“You can have your pen back now that you head is clearing.” Dad moves close and hands Chris the sharpie. “Try to avoid killing anyone. You have all the weapons - Trust us now?” Chris can read the shirt embroidery, BadShoe.com. Dad sees what Chris is looking at and says, “It’s a cover, public foolery as camouflage.”
“If it isn’t you - what is going on here?” Chris asks.
“We are not sure yet. A bunch of strange things are going on - we are not sure if they are related: Testing strip shortages driving up prices, duct tape shortages, Internet servers going down, spandex...” Dad pauses, “I’ll explain later but we have to get you out of here fast, security is already on the way. I feel they tend to poke around thing better left alone.”
Chris shifts his shorts, “So I have found.”
“Ha! Come on then.” BadShoe pulls Chris up to his feet. “Ready to go kids? Cover story Foxtrot Alpha Tango! Will pick it up at Nordstrom’s in the mall.”
“Foxtrot Alpha Tango?” Chris asks
“Just play along,” Mrs BadShoe advises as she sticks a Peter Pan shaped name tag on Chris that reads ‘Uncle Bob.’
“BadShoe’s a jerk about those military sounding letter things Foxtrot Alpha Tango – F. A. T. I think it describes his head – Fat. He thinks it stands for Family Adventure Tour. Security will let that group do any silly thing they want.” She tells Dan. “We are about to be knee deep in rent a cops and you don’t want to be answering any questions. They have seen too many episodes of NYPD blue and they all want to be Sipowicz but they have the brains of Medavoy.”
“So I have recently found out.” Chris says rubbing his butt. “But who behind…?” The doors burst open and the kids run out wildly talking about imaginary tourist stuff. Security pours in.
A suit stops them and BadShoe starts asking him questions before he can ask any of his own, “Hey man that stuff scared my kids silly! When did you ad the pyrotechnics to the lobby? Way too much, we almost got hurt! The guy in the table behind us got hurt really bad.” BadShoe starts to raise his voice. “At least we are safe over at Hilton. ”The suit hands Zurg a stack of card for a free drinks at the bar. “Oh , Thanks…” BadShoe quiets down and the suit is glad to see him go.
“Like taking candy from a baby!” BadShoe laughs. “That should cover next spring break.”
The BadShoe crew and Chris make their way from the Sheraton to the mall skipping, hopping, yelling, imitating lawn sprinklers and in general making a spectacle of themselves. As planned this makes them invisible. Other guests turn their heads and avoid eye contact. More importantly the army of security wearing neck ties and carrying radios see the Peter Pan name tags and briskly walk past seeing them only as a Family Adventure Tour group and failing to notice that there is no staff member guiding them.
Only after crawling through the cafeteria and sneaking up to scare the shoe sales people at Nordstrom’s does the group give up the pretense of the tour. “The suits passed us a while ago - what's with the crawling through the restaurant?” Chris asks?
“It is the kids’ favorite part of the tour, - got to have some fun - they can’t be spy kids all the time.” Mrs BadShoe answers. We are heading to the food court care to join us.
“No thanks, I’m going to check with M.”
“Right – We are at Hilton if you need us.”
“One more thing,” Chris asks, “How did you know I’m a secret agent?”
“Our sources let us know someone was trying to pin a maniacal megalomaniac threatens global domination by controlling a particular commodity market – probably involving rockets and or satellites in space rap on BadShoe. We have had our eye on the fake Sheraton staff for a while and they had theirs on you.” Mrs. BadShoe says. “Rockstar bit was also clue.”
“Fake staff?” Chris asks.
“At Bar – the ones who duct taped you into the chair so the falling chandelier would KILL YOU. You didn’t notice the different costumes?” Zurgswife’s said, more as of a statement of disbelief than a question.
“Well yeah they looked nice but I never thought…”
“Men,” Mrs BadShoe interrupts, “a tight bodice and your brains turn to…”