Chapter 11: Fired
Allison was speeding in an effort to keep up with Larry Burke’s car while simultaneously trying to remain out of sight. Miles figured he was heading to the hospital to meet with the coma guy again, so he called Drake in advance to follow him when he arrived. A few more minutes of careful surveillance followed until they arrived at the hospital parking lot.
Larry immediately stepped out of his car, almost forgetting to close the door behind him in his haste. Miles and Allison were quick to follow with Allison parking over three spaces in her haste. Larry jogged over to the entrance where Drake Sarkassian awaited him.
Allison stopped. “No. Drake's there. I'm not going in until he apologizes to me.”
“Can we please do this later?” Miles asked as he grabbed onto Allison’s arm, and dragged her down to the parking lot and into the conversation with Drake and Larry already in progress.
“I don't think you understood me, doctor,” Larry was saying. His voice was angry and distasteful of Drake's opposing attitude. Drake simply took the verbal abuse idly. “I'm here to take someone with me. The man in the coma on the third floor. I'm taking him home.”
“I know you were here yesterday,” Drake pointed out. “I don't think you stayed long enough, because I don’t think you noticed that the man is in a coma. He needs medical attention. Therefore, he is staying here.”
“You can't keep him here.”
“You can't take him. You don't even know his real name.”
“Of course he doesn't,” Miles joined in. “Steven Alley told us that CATS operatives don't know each other's name in an effort to protect secrecy. Larry Burke and the coma guy were coworkers in CATS. If I had to guess, the coma guy was sent as the first person to keep watch on Allison and I, and you were sent when he didn't report back, right?”
Larry looked at Miles. Miles couldn't quite put a name to the expression his face was saying, but Allison managed to put it into words. “Wait. That explanation doesn’t make sense, Miles. I didn't start the investigation until after I hit the coma guy with my car. He must have come to the Hyde's Park for a different reason.”
“And Larry Burke is just dying to tell us that reason. Aren't you Leisure Suit Larry?”
“Not here and not now,” Larry replied. “Tomorrow at school, meet me in Principal Ling's office during lunch.” Larry turned back around and returned to his car. He accidentally clipped Allison's bumper while driving out, but that was Allison's fault for faulty parking.
The next day came slowly with those intent on the mission. Allison and Miles both felt weary as they drudged on through their morning classes just waiting for lunch so Larry Burke could tell them what he knew about CATS. Meanwhile, Chuck was feeling gloomy as the day of Andrea Westin's arrival in Vienna had approached, and Donna Murphy was nowhere to be found. Chuck drove around Hyde's Park to no avail, and he even called Doug Danson to keep his eyes out for her. There were still no signs of the crafty woman, and Chuck fear that she may have skipped town.
Jamie went to work as always, but being Wednesday, she expected to see Drake waiting for her since he always worked the night shift on Tuesday night and went home at noon on Wednesday. Drake was nowhere to be found and upon questioning the janitor, she found out that he went home not long after Jamie herself left for home the day before. He hadn't been back since.
Jamie returned to her car before realizing she didn't know where Drake lived. “Who knows where he lives? Forget the employees. They hardly like him. I need someone who can help me find him.” Jamie always had a habit of looking through her cell phone if she ever needed help. Hopefully someone on her call list would be able to help her find him. “Richard. That's Chuck's friend. How'd his number get in my phone? Oh well. He seems to be the best choice right now.”
Lunch had finally arrived at Hyde's Park High School. Miles and Allison had pretty much tuned out the rest of their lives. Miles didn't even notice more oddities regarding Ashley's behavior in recent days. The two friends dashed from their classrooms and headed straight for Principal Ling's office. Miles didn't know that Ashley was waiting for Miles in the cafeteria.
Mary was at her desk as usual when Miles and Allison barged in. “You two really need to stop doing this. Your investigation. I know. It's important. Does it really need to be here? Does it really need to include me? I'm just trying to do my job here.”
“Don't blame them,” Larry protested as he joined the others in the room. Ling sighed heavily as a sign over her desperation. She wanted the two teens to leave her office, and instead a teacher joins them with an excuse for why they should be allowed to stay. “Okay. Whatever. I take it you know something of the Polar Shift, Mr. Burke. I really don't care. Have your conversation. I want no part of it.”
“This'll be fast,” Larry assured her. She chose to stay. “Stop this investigation right now. You're nothing but a bother for me.”
“For you? Isn't it your mission to be watching us? You really shouldn't be showing us your hand like this.”
“I was sent to watch you. That doesn't mean that's what I'm doing. I'm not working for CATS anymore. Well, I am. More like a double agent along with Professor Plum. Your coma guy is Plum, by the way. I'm Mr. Green.”
“Are you sure?” Allison interrupted. “I mean you are the teacher. That just screams Professor to me.”
“You should do more research, children. Professor Plum is a scientist, not a teacher. Our Plum is the same. I'm Mr. Green. He's the only character who's occupation changed with each version, which matches me because I have such a wide variety of skills and degrees that allow me to emulate almost any position. Yes, I have a valid teaching license. I hold a Master's Degree in History as well as a Master's Degree in English, Spanish, Physics, Chemistry, Engineering, and Computer Science. I can't actually do any of the things I know for the life of me, but I know almost everything there is to know about it.”
“Back to the main topic,” Miles said in an attempt to regain control of the conversation that was quickly becoming derailed onto the subject of the purpose of agent nicknames. Mary Ling had her head on her desk in anguish. This wasn't going fast enough for her. “We're not stopping, so you might as well tell us what you mean when you say you're not working for CATS anymore.”
“About a week before the shift went into effect, Plum tried to back out. He threatened Mr. Boddy my saying he would leave and take all of his research with him. Mr. Boddy turned the tables on Plum and told him that Ms. Peacock had saved the information on a back file without his knowledge. Ms. Peacock made a point to apologize to him for it. Mr. Boddy told him to tread lightly. The day before the Polar Shift, he came to me telling me that he contacted people who could help bring down CATS. He said he talked to someone who knew someone who knew something about Ms. Peacock's skill with technology. I wanted to help him. I felt the ends didn't justify the means. The problem is that his methods seemed arbitrary. I didn't feel like I could trust them. The next thing I know he's left town and Mr. Boddy sent Miss Scarlet to find and eliminate him. Then I find out that Allison Dreary hit him with her car. I volunteered to retrieve him, and failed to report back that two teenagers had started an investigation into the Polar Shift. Mr. Boddy mustn’t trust me, because he immediately sent Miss Scarlet to watch you guys instead of me. I'd consider myself 'off the clock' right now.”
“Mr. Boddy doesn't know that you sympathize with Plum,” Miles pointed out. “We can use that to our advantage. Now that we have someone on this inside on our side, we can do some real damage to CATS now. We can have a double agent feeding us the real information.”
“I don't think you heard me right,” Larry began. “Stop this investigation right now. Plum and I started this to end the Polar Shift. The information Mr. Boddy needs to sustain the shift is on Ms. Peacock's back file, and if I had someone like Steven Alley who knows how Ms. Peacock works, I'd be able to steal the back file and have the information removed.”
“How long do you think you can keep up the facade, Mr. Green?” Miles questioned him. “We're not stopping the investigation. You're to close to Mr. Boddy. He'll know if you're lying to him. You need to tell us about Miss Scarlet so we can keep an eye out for her.”
“You can't,” Larry replied. “The Miss Scarlet from the game is an actress and a seductress. Ours is the same. She’s a master of disguise. She arrived for meetings looking completely different every time. Sometimes she looked like a man. Only Mr. Boddy seemed to be able to tell the difference.”
“So she can disguise herself as any of my friends?”
“No. Her abilities are limited only to random features and clothes. She can't mimic a person. Your old friends are trustworthy, but I would beware of new friends.”
“We'll keep that in mind for our investigation, which we're not stopping by the way,” Miles retorted. He wasn't about to let Larry have the last word. He immediately turned around and grabbed Allison’s arm as they left Mary Ling's office. Mary sighed in relief, which was short-lived since Larry Burke was still in her office. “Am I fired?”
“You're going to quit, aren't you?”
“Yeah. Do you need that in writing, or not?”
“I think I can remember that.”
“Should I give you a two weeks notice or can I just leave?”
“Just leave, Mr. Burke.”
“Can I count on you as a reference?”
“Not a chance in Hell.”
The drama in Mary Ling's office was intense, but the students in the cafeteria were having their own level of drama. Specifically, Ashley Brock was busy thinking about everything that had gone down in the last few weeks. She joined the investigation on a whim. It was just to suffice Mr. James' sadistic class project. Ashley felt she owned the Devil a thank you, but she didn’t give it to him.
Why didn't she tell The Devil? He gave her information that greatly put her at an advantage in Mr. James' class. She owned him her part of the deal, but she didn't feel right giving him the information. She could see him with his friends at the other end of the cafeteria. Was he right? Was it because she really did like Miles?
“That can't be right,” she told herself. She was well aware that others seated around her could here her. She didn't really care. “I'm a lesbian. I'm sure of that. Am I? Yeah. I am. Well, it sounded right to me when I told him. So why do I feel like I need to keep his secret? Why the hell do I care so much?”
Miles and Allison had just left the principal's office and they were heading towards the parking lot. She could tell that Ross hadn't noticed, but she felt the urge to follow them instead of telling him like she promised she would do. Ashley pushed it out of her mind as the bell rung. She went to Mr. Burke's history class as usual, but Mr. James was at the front instead of Larry.
“He quit,” Mr. James pointed out. “Polar Shift.” The man was clearly disappointed. The last class of the day was usually his free period, which allowed him to leave school early. “Okay. I really don't care what you're doing in History. So I'm not actually going to teach you anything. I suppose that'll teach Mary to keep me here longer than I usually do.”
Ashley ignored everything he said. She was still thinking about Miles Westin.
Jamie Reese was sitting in her car on the corner of a street she had never been to before. She knew she wasn’t in Providence, but she didn’t feel like she was in Hyde's Park anymore, either. She spoke with Richard on the phone and asked if he could find out where Drake Sarkassian lived. He called back five minutes later with the address and told her he would meet her there. Jamie tried to call him off, but he was too gung-ho to listen.
Jamie could see Drake's house off to her side. It was a simple one-story house with shotty yellow paint and mismatched orange door. His Toyota Corolla was parked out front. Jamie wanted to approach the house, but she decided to wait for Richard. She wanted to keep an eye on him to make sure he didn't break anything.
The suburban neighborhood was quiet, so it came to no surprise that Richard, screeching down the street at forty miles per hour, was evident from almost a mile away. Jamie left her car parked on the curb as Richard carelessly parked his car in the middle of the street, facing the wrong way no less.
Richard came out of the driver's seat with a grin on his face. He clearly hadn't shaved since he had been at the Westin house a few days before, so his beard had grown a few inches since then. “You requested my services?”
“I requested your services you find his house. I didn't ask you to come,” Jamie pointed out. Richard remained silent. “Whatever. Since you're here, come with me. I want to keep you in my sight.” Jamie dragged Richard by his shirt sleeve, and came to the front door. Jamie knocked on the door, but there was no answer. Jamie tried again. “Drake! It's Jamie. Open the door!”
“I'm a bit preoccupied,” Drake called back. “Could you come back later?”
“There's no one running the hospital, Drake. That's your job.”
“My job is just an earthly desire. I have the ability to save lives with my visions. I need to learn how to control them.”
“He’s gone crazy,” Jamie told Richard. “Could you open the door for me?”
Richard's smile instantly returned to his face. His pulled the lock pick from his pocket and began to work his magic. Richard lightly pushed the door open and held his arm out as if to invite Jamie into the house. She was hardly impressed, but Richard sure seemed to impress himself.
Drake's living room had a brown couch facing a large flat screen television. There was an orange cat napping on the couch. Jamie and Richard followed the walls into a hallway that led to the kitchen. “Drake? Where are you?”
“I'm busy!” he repeated. Jamie and Richard followed the voice to a closed door at the end of the hallway. “I'm on the verge on a major breakthrough here!”
Richard took the lead away from Jamie and took his lock pick back out of his pocket. He began to move closer to the doorknob, but Jamie pushed his hand away. “The door doesn't have a lock,” Jamie said, pointing at the knob. Richard had a distracting smile on his face, but he didn't say anything. Jamie shrugged and opened the door.
Inside, Drake was holding another cat—this one was yellow—high up in the air. However, Richard and Jamie didn't notice that until after they noticed that he wasn't wearing any pants.
“Okay!” Richard yelled “I'm glad the man is wearing boxers, but I'd feel a lot better if he put some pants on it. Thank you!”
“Jamie! I'm in the middle of something here! Go away!”
“No you're not,” she told him. She approached Drake and easily took the cat away from him. She placed him gently on the floor and stared Drake right in the face. “I don’t know what you were doing with that cat, but I can assure you it does nothing to figure out how to control your visions.”
Drake had a despondent look in his eye. His brain was trying to process a snappy comeback, but it was clear he was drawing a blank. “I know,” he finally replied, defeated. “I don't know what I was doing. I just don't want my visions to control my life. I want to control them to I can save others.”
“Forget about your visions!” Jamie yelled. “Medical degree or not, you are a doctor. You save lives everyday. You don't need visions to do that-”
“I hate to interrupt,” Richard began, “but I'd really appreciate it if the dude put some pants on like I asked earlier. Thanks.”
Drake ignored him and Jamie continued her speech. “We'll work on your visions together, but you have to give it time. Until then, you need to focus on what you're good at. Whether they realize it or not, Hyde's Park General Hospital needs you.”
“You’re right. You know what? You're right. I am a doctor. I'm a damn good doctor, too! I don't need visions to save lives! I do that every day!”
“I have work to get to!” Drake enthusiastically hugged Jamie and ran passed Richard.
Richard interrupted again. “I'm glad everything is settled, but you should probably catch up to him before he gets too far. He's still not wearing any pants.”
Allison Dreary was singing while she drove to the hospital. She didn't have a magnificent voice, but Miles enjoying the lyrics, which were being sung to the tune of the Gilligan’s Island theme song: “Just sit right back and you'll here a tale, a tale of a fateful trip. That's started from this Podunk town inside this tiny car. Miles is a scrawny little genius and the skipper—yeah, that's me. With us and a handful of other guys, the mystery went off. The mystery went off. Larry Burke tried to stop us. Tried to stop the investigation. If not for the courage of the fearless team, the Polar Shift would win. The Polar Shift would win. The mystery set ground on this uncharted organization. With Allison. And Miles, too. Chuck Westin and his girl. The private investigator. The doctor and Gary.”
Miles enjoyed it. It didn't rhyme. It didn't follow the beat. He didn't care though. For the first time in a long time, Miles smiled out of happiness.
“New mission,” he told Allison as they stepped out of the car and onto the pavement of the hospital parking lot. “We follow Larry Burke We push him until he realizes he needs us, not the other way around. Principal Ling says he quit, so the only place we know he'll be is here. He's not going to leave his good friend Plum behind.” Miles noticed that Allison was walking slowly. “Oh will you just apologize to him already? Why do you find it so hard to believe that he yelled at you? He wouldn’t be the first person to do so, for the same reason no less.”
“Fine,” she replied, hopeful that she wouldn't have to. “I won't enjoy it, though.”
The two entered the front door of the hospital to see Drake talking with Jamie at the front desk. Drake noticed Allison standing at Miles’ side and immediately walked over to her.
“I'm sorry,” they both said in unison.
“Glad we got that over,” Jamie said from her desk.
“For once,” Miles added, “I agree with the blonde. Drake, I need you and Jamie to stay down here and watch the front door. We need you to tell us if Larry Burke is coming. Allison and I will be upstairs with the coma guy until he comes.”
“And if he doesn't come today?”
“We stay as long as necessary.” Miles and Allison took their leave and entered the elevators at the end of the hallway. They exited on the third floor and went immediately to the coma guy's room. “So you're Professor Plum,” Miles said to him. “Mr. Green won't tell me anything, and I don't have access to any other CATS operatives, so we're going to have a little conversation.”
“You guys won't give up, will you?” Larry's voice could be heard behind the teens. They turned to face him. He wasn’t looking very pleased. “You're not taking my advice very seriously. Miss Scarlet is a trained assassin. She will kill you, and you won't know it until you're dead. Stop this now.”
“If you insist.”
Miles and Allison watched intently as Larry Burke took out his cell phone and dialed a number. The teens stepped closer in hopes that they could hear the conversation. Larry tried to step away, but the teens kept coming closer. Larry relented and put the phone on speaker. “Talk to me,” the voice on the other end said. The voice seemed happy.
“It's Mr. Green. Miles Westin and Allison Dreary keep popping up were they're noses don't belong. They don't know anything important, but I'd appreciate it all the same if you'd ask Miss Scarlet to give them a good scare. Maybe that'll be enough to deter them from their investigation.”
“That’s awfully kind of you,” the voice, which could be inferred, was Mr. Boddy replied. “I've never seen you so compassionate for human life before. Whatever happened to the last person who showed compassion? That's right. He's in a coma. Well, you should know that. You're standing right next to him.”
Larry and Miles gave each other inquisiting looks. Miles was trying express a question through body language so Mr. Boddy wouldn't hear it. “How does he know where you are?”
“I don't know,” Larry replied through his own body language. Larry tried to convey something to Allison, but her grasp of body language wasn't at the level of the guys. Larry grabbed a sheet of paper and wrote a quick note and handed it to Allison, which read:
Tell that doctor not to let anyone leave that he doesn't recognize. Miss Scarlet must be disguised as an employee.
Allison left the room with her duty. Mr. Boddy resumed talking after his short pause. “If I remember correctly, it was you I sent to Hyde's Park to retrieve Professor Plum and keep an eye on Miles Westin and Allison Dreary. You've done neither. I learned about Plum from Miss Scarlet, and you're consorting with the teenagers right now as we speak.”
Miles and Larry stood in a state of shock. Mr. Boddy let them absorb that before he continued. “Mr. Green—I suppose I can call you Larry Burke now since I'm sure you told them your real name as well—consider yourself fired. Sleep lightly, Mr. Green. It won't take long for Miss Scarlet to detour right to you. Goodbye, Mr. Green.”
Hold on!” Miles yelled as he snatched the phone away from Larry. “You're Mr. Boddy. I bet you think you're clever. How clever do you think I am?”
“I think you none too bright if you continue to persist in this endeavor. You've endangered Larry Burke's life. Can you really consider it a success if he dies because of your investigation?” Miles took a quick second to glance over at Larry. His smile had faded and a sense of dread had taken its place. Larry had already signed his own death certificate.
“Pay very close attention to my words Miles Westin. I will only say them once. I have grown tired of you and your perky persistence. Like the clichéd villain I am, you'd want be to order my henchmen to capture you alive. My orders are more like, 'Bring him back alive if at all possible. If not, kill him.' Sentimentality isn't my weakness.”
“Are we done here? Leisure Suit Larry's life is on my shoulder, and I'm about to save it.”
“I'd like to see you tr-” Miles closed the cell phone before Mr. Body could finish. Miles reopened the phone and dialed a new number.
Larry felt the urge to question Miles' tactics. “What are you doing?”
“Saving your life. Don't question it.” The phone rang a few more times before Gary's voice answered the phone. “Do you have any idea what time it is?”
“It's like four in the afternoon.”
“I know. How about letting a guy get his beauty rest next time?”
“How about you prove your worth again, Mr. Derceto? Get to the hospital right now.”
Miles turned to Larry Burke as he answered Gary's question just to see the expression on his face. “I want you to arrest Larry Burke for conspiracy to commit genocide by purposely instigating the Polar Shift.” Larry's smile returned.