Chapter 10: Surveillance
Tuesday morning came over the skies of Hyde's Park. Chuck had only one more day to convince Donna to get back on the mission, but his conversation with Doug left him wondering if Donna was right for the job. Did Donna even deserve a second chance? Chuck contemplated his next move as Jamie left for work. At the same time, Miles exited the house and slid in Allison Dreary's passenger seat.
“Did Ashley call you last night?” Miles asked.
“Yeah. She told me everything that Alley revealed. Six operatives and one leader. We're looking for them, so chances are that they're on to us and have been watching us. The only thing we know is that Ms. Peacock's real name is Meredith. I don't suppose Donna could help us with that, could she?”
“It would have to wait a few days. She's already left for Vienna.”
Allison shrugged just before her cell phone began to ring. She never answered it while driving, so Miles took it upon himself to respond to the cell phone. “It's Drake,” he told her. Allison had a look of disgust on her face. Miles answered it. “She won't talk to you.”
“I figured,” he said disappointed. “I thought I'd give it a shot. That's not the only thing I called about. Yesterday, a man wearing a leisure suit came into the hospital. He seemed to know who the coma guy was, but he left before I could ask him anything.”
“Leisure suit?” Miles asked in anticipation. “Was it brown? Was he a brunette? About your height?”
“I think so. Yeah. Why? Do you know who he is?”
“If I had to guess? He's Professor Plum.”
“I'll explain later.” Miles hung up and turned to Allison. “Leisure Suit Larry paid a visit to the coma guy last night. I bet he's one of the six operatives sent to watch us by CATS. Let's turn the tables on him. Let's watch him for a change.”
“I'm surprised you're still here,” Gary told Steven Alley as he passed by him in the police station. “You know all the doors are unlocked, right?”
“I know,” he replied solemnly. “You don't know Natalie. She loves ruining my day if she thinks I've done something wrong. If I went home, she'd drag me back here. She's such a stickler for the law.”
“I see,” Gary replied. There was a short pause. Steven shuffled his feet while Gary aimlessly looked around the walls and ceilings. After a few seconds, Gary spoke up again. “So, you want to play some foosball or something?”
“Sure. Foosball is the thing with those soccer players on a stick and then you have to move them back and forth, right?”
“Yeah. I'll meet you in the game room. Let me just get a soda from the machine.” Steven left towards the game room, which he had passed at least six times since wandering pointlessly around the station the day before. At least now Gary was feeding him, since he forgot to do that yesterday. The game room was fairly extensive, with two foosball tables, a pool table, two televisions with a PlayStation 3 and an Xbox 360, a ping-pong table, and a pile of board games in the corner. The foosball tables themselves were electronic with a sensor at the goal lines to automatically detect when a player has scored a goal.
Steven approached the closest foosball table and began to twirl the miniature players around, waiting for Gary to return from the soda machine. He eyed the little players as he spun one group rapidly, trying to count how many times the players spun. They were going too fast, and Steven couldn't keep count. Suddenly, a foosball rolled into play from the slot, and the other side immediately slammed the ball into Steven’s goal. “You're supposed to wait until I'm ready,” Steven protested.
“Sorry,” She apologized. Steven looked up when he heard the familiar female voice. “You're right. I should have told you I was going to do that. I was way out of line. Tell you what, that one doesn't count. We'll start the game over. I don't want to win if you didn't think that was fair.”
“Peacock!” Steven finally managed to get out. “What are you doing here?”
“Playing foosball with you,” Meredith replied. She was dressed just as Steven described her. Her features were beautiful, but her clothes were trying to hide that fact. She was wearing a ruffled sweater that was common clothing in the 1970's when women were more conservative about revealing their bodies. Meredith was hiding even her neck. The only part of her body that was showing was her face, since she was also wearing black gloves. “Unless I shouldn't be. I probably shouldn't be. I bet you're waiting for that kid fighting with the soda machine, right? I should really ask before I jump into things. I'm sorry.”
“Sorry. Oh, sorry. Ugh. Never mind,” Meredith sighed. “I just came to ask why you're telling people about CATS. Mr. Boddy told you to keep quiet. What we're doing is very sensitive, and he doesn't want people knowing what's going on.”
“How does he know I said anything?”
“CATS has ears in places you wouldn't believe. I know it's an invasion of privacy. I'm sorry. It's just a precaution. I didn't tell Mr. Boddy that you're the one who told Miles Westin about CATS. All he knows is that Miles, Allison Dreary, and Ashley Brock Jr. have all used the organization's name in conversations over the phone that we've been listening in on.”
“How do you know I told them?”
“Because they've called me Meredith in their phone conversations as well, and the only people that know about both CATS and my real name are you and Mr. Boddy. Luckily, Mr. Boddy doesn't know that you know my name, so he doesn't suspect you.”
“What are you going to do?”
“I going to ask that you please stop telling people about us and do not assist Miles and Allison in their investigation on CATS. I will be forced to tell Mr. Boddy in order to protect our business, and whatever he chooses to do is his decision. I apologize for him in advance if it does come to that.” Meredith looked back as she heard Gary's footsteps approach the game room. “I have to go. If someone else sees me, I'm going have to do a lot of apologizing to Mr. Boddy. Sorry for cutting our conversation short.” Meredith quickly slipped out of the room just seconds before Gary turned the corner and joined Steven in the game room.
“That soda machine thought it was the boss. I showed that machine whose boss. By the way, remind me to buy a new soda machine. This one is riddled with bullets.”
“No it's not.”
“Yeah, you're right. I didn't. So are we playing or not?” Steven shrugged and motioned for Gary to take the other side. “Cool. This side already has a point for it. Today is my lucky day.”
Miles and Allison meanwhile prepared for surveillance at Hyde's Park High School. Miles made a point of informing Mary Ling of the situation so she wouldn't interrupt them in the middle of surveillance. Ling wanted to stay as far away from the investigation as possible, but she new that as long as the coma guy was in town, the investigation would find her. “What exactly are you doing?”
“Surveillance,” Miles told her. Allison was standing behind Miles with a grin as he continued to explain the situation. “Drake Sarkassian called and said Larry Burke was seen at the hospital. Apparently, he knows the coma guy from somewhere and I'm sure it's from CATS.”
“Oh come on Principal Ling,” Allison interrupted. “That was so last chapter. You have to stay current.”
Ling sighed heavily. “Do whatever you have to do. Just try not to damage to school when you do it. Oh, and try to avoid Aaron. He's been suspicious even since he walked in on our previous conversation. It's hard to keep a good friend like him in the dark.”
“Like the plague,” Miles assured her. The two left her office and began to formulate their plan. “I'm going to my classes as usual,” Miles pointed out. “You, on the other hand, will be sitting in on all of Leisure Suit Larry's classes. All of them. You'll come up with some excuse. Principal Ling will run point so if he tries to send you to the office, she'll send you right back with a warning not to send you back up there again. Meanwhile, I still have to get to the bottom of the other mystery. How did Ashley Brock know to ask Gary about the Polar Shift?”
“That’s a mystery worth solving,” Allison agrees. The two shook hands just as the morning bell rung. They departed for the respective duties. Allison reached Mr. Burke's class to see Larry was sitting at his desk with a despondent look in his eye. “Mr. Burke!” she yelled.
“Miss Dreary? It isn't the final class already, is it?”
“No, it's just that I felt bad for missing so many classes that I've decided to sit in on all your classes today to make up for everything I've missed.”
“I also teach Economics and American Government, mind you,” Larry meticulously pointed out.
Allison continued to smile. “No problem. It's all important to learn, right?”
Chuck Westin still couldn't believe everything Doug had told him. If it was true, Donna Murphy had proven herself to be a terrific actress. She still hadn't returned for her things, and Chuck didn't want to waste any more time. He figured she couldn’t have left Hyde's Park yet, so Chuck drove around town—with Jamie having to take the bus yet again—in search of Donna’s car. It took almost two hours, but her familiar Dodge was finally found parked in a closed McDonald's parking lot. Sure enough, Donna Murphy was in the driver's seat napping.
Chuck approached the car with his emotions still racing. He wasn’t entirely sure what he was going to say so he decided he would say on impulse as he knocked on the window. Slowly, Donna opened her left eye to see who was waking her up. She didn't like what she saw, and she immediately turned over to avoid looking at Chuck. “Donna! Open the window!” Donna refused even to grunt at his suggestion.
Chuck shook his head in disappointment and quickly ran back to his car. Donna peeked out with one eye to watch as he came back with the lock pick Richard had given him so many years ago. The pick worked well with home locks, but car locks were made differently. Chuck wasn't called a genius for nothing, however, as he found out a way to pop the lock open. He reached for the door handle, but saw that Donna had manually locked the door before he could reach it. Chuck did the same thing, but Donna still proved to be faster than him. “Open the door! If you don't open the door, I'll tell the police that you've been scamming people.”
“I am not scared of Gary Derceto, and I'm certainly not scared of the Providence Police Department.”
“I'll tell your daughter.”
Donna was now looking straight at Chuck. She rolled her eyes and unlocked the door. Chuck slid into the passenger seat. “I want you to tell me the truth. I don't want to hear any more lies.”
“I assume that Doug told you everything that needs to be said, Mr. Westin.”
“I don't believe he knows the real you. I want to hear it from you, Donna. Are you still lying to me? Are you really a private investigator?”
“I am not lying to you, Mr. Westin,” she insisted. “I really do work for the private investigation agency that you called.”
“You're good with words. You didn't answer my question. Are you a private investigator?”
“No,” she replied. “I got a job a secretary there the day before the Polar Shift was discovered. They sent me to tell you that they would not be sending anyone to search for your mother. I was going to do my job, but I kept thinking what Paige would think. What if I suddenly stopped visiting my own daughter? What if she called for help and no one helped her?”
“I want a yes or a no for this question. Have you honestly been searching for my mother?”
“Yes I have. I can guarantee you that I have been searching for Andrea Westin on my own accord.”
“How? You have no money. You have no job. How could you even afford the plane ticket?”
“In my life, I have learned how to manipulate the system. I have gotten many things I need free of cost, even if my means are somewhat illegal.”
“One more question. What do you think of Doug Danson?”
Donna was seemingly torn by the last question. “I believe that he sees me as an investment. No one thought I could survive on my own out of high school. I was always dependent on others, especially Doug. He spent so much money on me in an effort to teach me how to survive in the real world on my own, but I failed. The only reason I believe he continues to bail me out of trouble is because my failure would prove that he wasted money on me.”
“You know what I think?” Chuck said slyly. “I think Doug still loves you. He won't say it because he doesn't think you're a good mother. Prove to him you know what it feels to be a mother.”
“Find mine.” With that, Chuck returned to his car and drove off.
Things were not in higher spirits at Hyde’s Park General Hospital. Jamie Reese found herself doing the job of five nurses and most of Drake's duties. The dean of medicine was busing himself with another project and Jamie was trying to find time to question it. Finally, after hours of running up and down the stairs, she managed to convince the janitor to help so she could talk to Drake, who was in his office on the forth floor.
“What are you doing?”
“I’ve realized something,” Drake said. He had a broad smile on his face the lengths of which Jamie had never seen before. No one had even seen Drake this happy, and from a discovery that most people would find mundane under the circumstances. Drake was ecstatic. “I realized something when I yelled at Allison. I came up with the possibility that my vision may not be connected with the Polar Shift at all. What if my powers were innate? The world is full of people who have claimed to have visions, many of which are later proven to be true.”
“Okay. Let's say you're right. I don't see the point of hiding in your office with that stupid grin on your face. Wipe that grin of your face, please. You remind me of Gary.”
“I'm getting to the most important part. Whether it has nothing to do with the Polar Shift or everything to do with the Polar Shift, they were vastly different strategy. The first one was a perception of the future while the second was a vision of the past. Either way, they were both shown to me when a person was in mortal danger: Allison from the lighting and Gary from the cut brakes.”
“Are you sure?” Jamie question. “Think about it. Dying people everyday surround you. You've never had a vision about them. Five bucks says someone just died on the second floor while I was saying that sentence.”
“You make a good point. I need to make more observations. I need to know what’s causing it and more importantly, how I can control it for the greater good.”
Jamie rolled your eyes. “You're just as crazy as Chuck now.”
Lunchtime hit the high school and Miles was more than ready to get to the bottom of the long-lingering mystery. Unexpectantly, Miles found himself recording clues in Mr. James' class rather than taking notes on his lecture. Aaron James took notice, but choose not to call Miles out. Miles noticed him noticing, but decided only to record that on the margin of his paper. Mr. James noticed that he noticed the fact that he noticed him, but not that fact that his noticing was only recoded on the margin. In which case, Aaron simply put it aside. Miles didn't notice that.
On the other hand, Miles did notice oddities involving Ashley Brock and Michael David Ross. Mr. James called Miles' name. He noticed that Ashley quickly glanced at him when he did that. She never did that. She always ignored him. On top of that, every time she glanced at him, the Devil would glance at one of his friends, who would quickly glance at Ashley while she glanced at Miles.
When Mr. James called Ashley name, Miles glanced at her. She instinctively glanced at Miles until she realized he was looking at her. In which case, she turned to Michael Ross, who pointed slyly at Miles.
When Mr. James called on Michael, both Miles and Ashley looked at him for longer than a glance. Ashley glanced at Miles while he was preoccupied at looking at The Devil, so that wasn't recorded.
Miles was looking over his notes while Allison joined him at the table. “You're actually eating here? You never eat here, at lest not anymore.”
“I usually loot whatever's left at McDonald's, but now some homeless woman is living in the parking lot in her car. I didn't bother parking. How's your investigation coming?”
“Something is going on between Ashley and The Devil. Ross, not the actual Devil. They know something, and it involves me. I think Ross is holding it over Ashley. I think Ross told Ashley that Gary knew about the investigation in hopes that Ashley would turn around and tell him. I think she didn't, and now he's trying to embarrass her with some knowledge about me. What could it be?”
“You're an idiot, you know that?!” Ashley yelled as she spontaneously passed by the two. “Honestly, I don't even know why I bother with you.” Ashley quickly departed before Miles could reply. He wouldn't have said anything, anyways.
“So, did Mr. Burke reveal anything?”
“I wouldn't know,” Allison explained. “Most people would get tired of having the same teacher for five periods. I got tired of that man after five minutes. Needless to say, I didn't learn anything about him or any connection to CATS. If he is with them, then he's really good at hiding it.”
Miles mused on her words as well as the notes in his notebook. Something caused Miles to suddenly look up. Out of the corner of his eye, Miles glanced Larry Burke walking towards the faculty parking lot. “Leisure Suit Larry is leaving again. Right before sixth period just like yesterday. We follow?”
“We follow. Reminds me of the espionage tactics exhibited by Benedict Arnold during the Revolutionary War.” Miles stared at Allison. “Damn. I can't believe I just said that. Let's get out of here before I accidentally learn something else.”