With regard to Monday's all-points bulletin about Maurice Dancer and his nefarious flowery-frocked gang of musical mayhemers*: No sooner did the word get put out there then the calls came ring-a-ting-tinging into the Unbelieva-Base.
I was munching on a sandwich, coming 'round the corner into one of our offices where Clark and Jeff were deep in conversation. I heard the phone clack into its cradle ...
"Well, that makes about half a dozen alerts already from the good public, all of them noting Dancer's shenanigans have become a bigger problem than originally thought. Once folks get a pint or two in them they're basically putty to his suggestions. People are throwing their hard-earned cash left and right into his minions charity boxes. They go home, come out of their stupors and realize they don't have enough cash to go grocery shopping. Something has to be done ..."
My ears automatically pricked up.
"'Pints' ... as in beer?" I asked. "Boom, I'm there! Sign me up! I'll go undercover and infiltrate Maurice's gang - concentrating on his right hand woman Mrs. Big - and quash the lot of them chop chop!" I offered.
Jeff stated the obvious: "Well, we know you like beer."
"Duh" I responded.
"You'd have to go deep undercover. You'd have to use one of our most clandestine alter-egos," Clark noted.
"Hold that thought," I told Clark. I left and came back in 5 minutes with one of my disguises:
Can I cook or can't I?
Clark looked at Jeff. "He's good, I'll give him that." Jeff nodded in agreement.
"Your passport is up to date, right?" Jeff asked.
I looked at him sideways. He knew my passport was current.
"Plus ... you'd have to wear pants," Clark pointed out.
"I can suck it up and take one for the team as circumstances dictate," I replied.
Jeff had a few last considerations. "Are you sure you're going to be able to sidle up to Mrs. Big? She doesn't wear make-up, she's got zero fashion fashion sense making her unattractive ... and have you seen the lower lip on that woman?"
Jeff had a point. That's one ugly woman ...
"It's going to be rough ... but that's where the beer will come in handy," I countered.
"It's settled, then," Clark concluded. "Michael will edge into Maurice's little party and crack'em like an egg. You'll call us when you have something."
"Righty-O," I verified. "It might take me a bit to win their confidences but I'll work out any kinks. Trust me."
Jeff and Clark saw me off at the airport the next day ...
... and that's the last they heard of me for 2 weeks.
"You know ... we haven't heard hide nor hair of Michael for 2 whole weeks," Clark mentioned to Jeff.
"No worries ... we just got a post from him. Let me open it ..."
As Jeff scanned through the photos sent to the guys, he exchanged a worried look with Clark:
I was deep undercover in this candid photo,
working my way seemlessly into the case as shown ...
Yes ... there were "perks" with the case. Obviously.
This might have been me. Or it might not have been.
Hard to tell if it's actually me in disguise ...
Maurice Dancer's throngs are many and varied ...
Jeff stated the obvious: "We might have a problem ..."
*Note: Because of the sensitive nature of this particular case, the events herein actually happened several months ago. Offered in real time, this case may have gone sideways, compromising not only the integrity of the mission but the clandestine nature with which we worked it.