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    Spy Games – Creative Essay (8074 words)

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    Being an international spy is no walk in the park. Death canbe waiting for you around the corner or around the world. Howeverwhen you’re only 17 years old, death is the furthest thing fromyour mind. So here we were on a hot summers day playinginternational espionage.

    Of course to six of us playing, it wasjust another Saturday of playing spy. Myself, Tim Wolfe, David Sullivan, Peter Shore, JenniferStrong (who was the only female to be amongst us) and Frank Robbmade up the group. At this age it was suppose to be above us toplay in these spy games. We were going to be graduating in a year or so after all. Thuskeeping the game secret was good practice for all of us. It alsomeant lying to a lot of people as to why we were always busy onSaturdays.

    Mind you, we never considered it lying. We preferred torefer to it as clouding the truth. Many of us wanted to becomeemployed in the intelligence area. So really, we though of it moreas an act of deception.

    We took our game very seriously. In fact we never evenreferred to is as a game. Mostly because we were working ourmaneuvers on real people who didn’t know we were just a group ofteenagers pretending to be spies. Every week we’d have at least onemeeting at my house to talk about how things were going. Sometimesdepending on the case or goal we were pursuing, the meetings wouldrun on into the late of night.

    I guess it could be said that I was leader of our group. Themeetings were held at my house, and I was the one who broughttogether the present group of agents. In the theme of espionage,we referred to everyone as an agent. Never as a friend. However wepreferred to think of our agency, which we had given the name ofthe Renegades, as a collective. That is, everybody had a say inwhat we did.

    My bedroom was in the basement of our house, and I had theentire basement at my disposal. Against the far wall was a roomwith my bed, stereo, and the usual stuff you’d find a bedroom. Perhaps the one difference being I had posters of famous spies onmy walls rather than sports heroes. Igor Grouzenko is a goodexample. Outside my room was a large table where we held most, ifnot all, of our meetings.

    Thanks to a door located in the cellar,it made for easy access to the outside. In most cases my parentsnever knew we held meetings on into the dead of night. The dooralso made it easy to sneak out at night. Agents do their work bestunder the cover of darkness you know. Today our meeting was going to be a good one. Last Thursdaywe had decided to draw up entire new names and careers forourselves.

    Agents usually have more aliases than friends, so wedecided to change ours every month. It was kind of hard jugglingschool work and memorizing new alias information each month. Yetwhen we were out in the ‘real world’ doing maneuvers it all seemsworth it. The table was round, so there really was no one at the headof it.

    From left to right there was Tim, David, Peter, Frank, Jen,then myself. “I trust everyone had no problem coming up with a newalias” I asked. Everyone nodded in agreement. From there we went about thetable saying who we now were and what our profession was. My aliaswas John Inglis, and I went to one of the local high schools. Asa part time job I supposedly worked for McDonald’s.

    Everybody’smain story was that they went to high school. It helps givecredibility to your story. Perhaps the only thing that varied fromperson to person was their name, and their part time job. After some more talking, we decided on our next target. Wewere going to find out how much money the local computer storetakes in on a daily basis. Naturally they would not divulge suchinformation to a bunch of teenagers.

    The way we go about gatheringour information is the basis for our intelligence game. Finding outstuff about people and things which they’d rather have us not know. Since many of us had a chemistry test next morning, we keptthe meeting short. We all agreed to meet back at my house tomorrow- Friday – night to discuss our plan of action. As a parting wordI suggested that a cleaning of our guns during study breaks woulddo us some good.

    Both to help us relax to study, and ensure theguns worked properly. With that we said our good-nights. When I mention gun, I’m not talking about the kind that carrybullets and actually kill people. The guns we carry are of a muchless harming sort. We carried CO2 powered paint guns which firedpaint pellets.

    Although they could do some damage if they hitsomeone in the eye, we always ensured that the enemy was hit on thebody. Preferable in the heart to ensure what would normally bedeath. We could carry the guns where-ever we wished, under onecondition. They must always be concealed. If your weapon could beseen, it was considered that you were as good as dead.

    Personally,I carried mine tucked into my pants behind my back. After a few hours of studying, I didn’t think any more chemwould sink in. So, it was off to bed. Tomorrow I’d write the test,and then get to thinking about our weekend of intelligence work. * * * * *The test went ok.

    It’s always hard to concentrate fully whenyou know that you’re doing spy techniques the following day. Withthat I went home around 3:30 and waited for my fellow agents toarrive. Eventually everyone showed up and we began to plan out whatwe’d be doing tomorrow. The plan was to have Jen and Frank headdown to the store tomorrow with the front of wanting to buy acomputer. The rest of us would wait out in the car and watch whowent in and out of the store. Saturday rolled around and Tim came by around 10am.

    Since Timwas the only one who owned his own car, he ended up doing most ofthe driving. It seems I was the last one to be picked up, aseveryone else was present and accounted for. By the time 10:30 hadrolled around, we were all down at Compu-Tech. Jen and Frank left the car, leaving the rest of us to sit andlisten to the radio. Time drags slowly when you’re sitting and notphysically partaking in a mission. I mean aside from watchingwhose coming and going, there wasn’t much else to do.

    About half and hour later Jen and Frank emerged. Chit chattingabout what they had seen and what the salesman had told them. Asalways we decided not to talk about anything concrete until we wereback at my place. Arriving home, we descended into the basement and took ourusual seating.

    Jen started the meeting by telling everything andeverything about the store. Frank sat beside her and interjectedhis opinion every now and then. By the time Jen had given us herreport we felt fairly comfortable with the information we hadheard. Yet we still didn’t know what their daily income was. “One more thing” Jen said.

    “One of the sales people was TammyContenda. Maybe she can give us the information were after”. Tammy Contenda was a girl we all knew from high school. Although she was fairly popular, none of us could be considered hergood friend.

    Acquaintances is perhaps a better word. None the less,we had our lead. Now all we had to do was pump the information fromher. If she could tell us about Compu-Tech without any of usentering the building ourselves, so much the better. It was decided that myself and Dave would approach her.

    Afterall, she may recognize Jen and Frank from the store if they decidedto talk to her. We spent the rest of our day figuring out step bystep what we would do in the following weeks. Many of our missionstook about a month to finish, sometimes even longer. So speed wasnot of the essence.

    * * * * *”On Monday” I began “Dave and I will approach Tammy to seewhat we can get find out about Compu-Tech. Chances are good thatshe won’t volunteer the information readily. So, it may take sometime. “”What, instead of waiting a week for this project to come toa close we may end up waiting three or four?” This was Petertalking.

    Pete always was in a rush to get our missions over anddone with. Were it not for the fact that he was an incredibleagent, and excellent at recruiting people, we might have let himgo. These factors alone were enough to keep him in the Renegades. “Unfortunately it just might” I replied. “You know as well asanyone else that having Tammy tell us how much money the storebrings in lessens the risk to us”. “I know I know” said Pete.

    “I just wish it wouldn’t take solong”. Monday arrived before we knew what happened. Saturdays arealways dedicated to Renegade work. That means Sundays are left todoing homework. At school, Dave approached Tammy under the guiseof needing help in Algebra.

    As luck would have it, her and Davewere in the same class. Later on into the conversation, I happenedby and Dave introduced me to her. Bingo, contact had been made. Thegroup of us don’t hang around together at school, so there waslittle chance of Tammy associating our intentions with Frank andJen. Still we decided to play it safe, so they ate lunch on theother side of the cafeteria.

    By Wednesday, Dave and Tammy had made arrangements for algebratutoring outside of class time. I had more or less fallen from thepicture as Dave had become good friends with her. Aside from aguest appearance here and there, that was it for me. At our regularThursday meeting though, we found just how good a friends theyreally had become!”She what?” exclaimed Frank from across the table. “She asked me to go to prom with her” repeated Dave. A chorus of laughter could be heard coming from the rest ofus.

    The prom wasn’t for another two months, and tickets had justgone on sale at the beginning of the week. Its a safe bet that noneof us had even thought of getting a prom date. Plus considering ouroriginal plan was too just involve Tammy and then end it, this wasan interesting turn of events. “Have you decided what you’re going to tell her?” Frankcontinued to probe the issue. I couldn’t help but pick up a hintof jealousy in his voice. “Of course.

    I told her that I’d love to go with her”. Silence echoed through my basement for what seemed like aneternity. At last I asked “Have you found out anything about Compu-Tech?” This seemed to throw everyone for a loop. We’d all beenwrapped up in the gossip concerning Dave’s life that we forgotabout Compu-Tech. “Yeah, I’ve been able to find out a bit about the place.

    Tammy’s told me about the establishment. It’s owned by a husbandand wife team Linda ; Jason Proton. Business seems to run inspurts. “”How long has Tammy been working there?” asked Jen. In thisshuffle of prom dates, everyone had forgotten to consider hermatters on the situation. “She told me she’s been there for about a year and a half.

    Business seems to come and go in spurts according to her. Thesummer months including September along with Christmas time aretheir peak times. “”Any complaints with regards to her treatment from them?” Jencontinued. “None really.

    Just the usual you know. More pay, not to workon Friday nights. . . “”Yeah yeah” I interjected.

    “Any word on what we’re after?””Nope, not yet. I plan on asking her Friday night. “”Friday night?” we all seemed to ask in unison. “Yeah, when we go to the movies together. “Again, laugher could be hard all around the room. * * * * *Saturday’s meeting was relatively short one.

    Everyone was atmy place by 1pm, and the meeting begun. “How was your date lastnight, stud man?” asked Frank. You could tell from the tone in hisvoice that he was mocking Dave. “Fine thanks” Dave replied, not lowering himself to reply withany snide comments.

    “Incase you were wondering, I asked her aboutthe information we’re after. ” “Oh yeah, asked her between kisses I suppose eh?” quipped Frank. Now listen. . . ” Dave began.

    “My love life is none of your, orfor that matter anyones’ business, so if you don’t mind I’d. . . “Dave’s voice was tensing as we could sense his anger. “Ok, ok Dave. We understand your point” I stated.

    “Now, if youwill continue your report on what Tammy told you, I’m sure we’dall be glad to hear it”. “Well, according to her, Compu-Tech pulls in around $500,000a year. Mind you, keep in mind that these figures are just comingfrom the top of her head. “”Would it possible for her to find out the exact amount ofmoney the store pulls in?” Jen inquired.

    “I suppose she has access to that kind of information. Yet howto propose I ask her? Wouldn’t you become a bit suspicious ifsomeone asked you to find out the exact financial position of thebusiness you worked for?””Well, I suppose I would” Jen continued. “What if you askedher to take a look at one of their accounting programs, under theguise that you wanted to buy a computer system. Then you could askher to use the real numbers from Compu-Tech’s income. “”I suspect it might.

    Yet I don’t really don’t want to putmyself in such a position. It could jeopardize my relationship withTammy. “”Mind you, it could be done, right?” I asked. “Ok, ok. I’ll see about doing it. If I lose my prom date overthis though, you can count me out of the Renegades.

    “”We’ll take that chance. . . ” Tim commented. After that comment, the meeting broke down.

    Jen and I stayedback to do a bit of target practice in my back yard. The targetswe used were of cut-outs of people which we propped up. Ideallywe’d like to have them jump out at us; as in real target practice,yet such a feat was not possible. So, we stood about 40 feet back from the target and began totake aim. We aimed for the heart area and the head. In real lifethough, with a real gun, you’d aim for the person’s head.

    Afterall, leaving any witnesses around was sealing your fate. Howeverwith only paint pistols, we didn’t want to take any chances onhitting someone in the eye. For that reason we concentrated ourshots to the person’s heart region. Jen was a much better shot than me. Where 8 out of 10 shotsof mine would hit the proper area on the target, all 10 of Jen’swould land perfectly.

    I was jealous yes, but there wasn’t much thatcould be done. We worked on various techniques. Such as doing aforward summer salt, standing up and shooting at the target. Another one was to walk by the target unsuspiciously, the quicklyremove your gun and shoot. The later was my strong area while Jen seemed to have masteredthem all. In a while, both targets were covered in red paint.

    Aquick hose down with water, and they looked as good as new. “Nothing like an afternoon of target practice to relieve a bitof stress eh?” I said. “Yeah, now all we have to do is improve your aim. “Thinking to myself, I decided that this would be a good timeand place. “Jen” I began.

    Already I could feel the sweat formingin my palms. I mean I could pull of this spy stuff with noproblems. Yet when it came to asking a girl out, I was as weak asthey come. “Would you like to go the prom with me?” There, I’d saidit. Now all that was required was the word -yes- and everythingwould be perfect. “Well its really sweat of you to ask” oh oh, here it comes Ithought to myself.

    “Yet I’ve already said I’d go with Dan Scoff. I hope you’ll understand. “”Sure” I replied. Inside my heart dove to the bottom of mystomach and began to be burned by its acid. Shot down again. Ahwell, that’s life.

    Jen helped me put the targets away and I bid her good-bye. Looking at my watch, I noted the time was close to 4pm. I decidedto head inside and help Mom with dinner. For a guy whose supposeto feel great about his accomplishments, I sure never felt lowerin my life.

    * * * * *Sunday evening I found myself staring at my Physics book. Nothing was sinking in. My mind seemed to race everywhere. School,girls, Jen, the prom, the Renegades, everything. Suddenly the phonerang.

    “How soon can you get over to my place?” It was Dave. From thesound of his voice something was up. “If I can get the car, I’ll be over in about 5 minutes. Soonenough for ya?””Perfect. ” and with that Dave hung up.

    Usually Dave can go onand talk your ear off. In fact the two of us usually sit around andchat on the phone from time to time. Out of everyone in the groupI’d say I knew him the best. Putting on my Levis and grabbing a baseball cap I proceededupstairs. A quick check with Dad that I could take the car, and Ifound myself headed towards Dave’s place. In my rush to get out thedoor, I didn’t bother phoning any of the other Renegades.

    Nomatter, if Dave had wanted them at his place, he would have calledthem himself. Arriving at Dave’s I saw the familiar appearance of everyone’scar with the exception of Pete. Since Tim and Pete live on the samestreet, I assumed that Tim had brought Pete along with him. Parkingmy car I walked up to the door and rung the bell. Within a matterof seconds Dave was standing at the door. “Quickly, come in, come in” Dave said closing the door behindme.

    In all my years of being friends with Dave I’d never seen himso pale. “Go on upstairs, everyone else has already arrived. “”What’s up Dave?” I asked. “Just get up stairs.

    I’ll tell you once we’re in my room. “I climbed the stairs to Dave’s room, passing family portraitsof him and his brother growing up. The odd family portrait of thefour of them. Kind of makes me wonder why my parents stopped at onechild. Anyway, before I knew it I was walking into Dave’s room. I walked past Jen and sat beside Tim.

    “What’s going on here?”I asked him?”Beats me. I just received a call telling me to get my buttdown here. Yourself?” replied Tim. “Same.

    “”Now, you’re probably asking yourselves why I called you hereat this time of night. ” began Dave. “Well, its about Tammy. She.

    . . “Pete cut in “She what? Found out you have frog lips?””No you monkey head. ” howled Dave. “She’s been kidnapped!”* * * * *”Kidnapped!” I exclaimed.

    “Are you sure? Who told you this?When did you find out?” The questions just seemed to roll off mytongue. “All I know is that when I called her tonight her Mom told methat Tammy hadn’t come home from work on Saturday. She figured thatTammy had gone out with me or was spending the night at a friendshouse. Yet when I called at six tonight she still hadn’t comehome.

    ” replied Dave. We all sat silent for a few moments. Everyone seemed takenback by this information. I was letting it sink in. Trying to findsome hole or something that I could say to indicate it may not havebeen a kidnapping. Then Jen spoke up.

    “Have you tried to contact the owners of Compu-Tech? Perhapsthey know what happened to her. “”Mr & Mrs Contenda tried to contact them. Yet she doesn’thave their home number written down. Besides, its an unlistednumber so information is out of the question. We have to dosomething!!” exclaimed Dave.

    “This is what we’ve been training forall these years. To actually get out and use our talents. Well,now’s the time!””Hang on a sec here Dave” I began. “We’re not even sure thatsome foul play has happened here.

    Why don’t we wait until Mondayand find out what the police have to say. Then we can take it fromthere. Agreed?””Agreed” everyone said in unison, although Dave’s may havebeen a bit less then enthusiastic. Slowly we stumbled out of Dave’s house.

    On way out we mumbledour “don’t worry, everything will work out” speech and what haveyou. We had decided to hold a meeting tomorrow after school and getorganized. The original plan of finding out the income of Compu-Tech seemed to be of minor concern in the recent news. I was home and in bed in no time. Sleep though didn’t smileupon me tonight. My mind was racing through the potentialkidnapping that Dave had dropped on our laps.

    Although I issued mywords of encouragement to Dave along with the others, I couldn’thelp but think Dave was on to something here. * * * * *School came and went. By 4:00pm everyone was assembled in mybasement, ready to figure out our next step. “Tammy wasn’t in algebra today” Dave began.

    “I called herplace when I arrived home from school and still no luck. None ofher friends have seen her either. “”Have the police been contacted yet?” asked Frank?”Yeah, Mr. Contenda said he went down to the station thismorning and filled out a missing person report. The officer on dutytold him they’d be in touch if anything turned up. “”Well, calculus was not the most exciting class today.

    So,rather than pay attention I came up with a game plan of sorts. Doyou folks have any objection to hearing me out?” I said. Everyone seemed to nod in agreement, so I proceeded. “Now from the way I look at things Tammy was a good kid.

    Theonly reason someone would want to have her kidnapped would be ifshe found out something she shouldn’t have. As I understand it, theContenda’s are not the richest people in the world. So a possibleransom reason may be hard to swallow. For that reason this is what I propose. Jen and Dave head downto the hall of records.

    Photocopy or write down everything you canfind on the owners of Compu-Tech Mr. & Mrs. Proton. Maybe they’vehad some bad dealings or what ever. I’ll head down to the police station and see if I can get alook at the missing person report. I doubt they’ll just show it tome, so I may have to push a few buttons if you will.

    Pete, I’d like you to head down to Compu-Tech and see what youcan find out. Just kind of browse around and look and/or listen foranything. If you’re approached talk like you want to purchase acomputer. In the small talk that ensues, ask about Tammy.

    You know,as any nosey customer would. Anyone have any questions?””Yeah, what am I suppose to do?” asked Frank. “You and Tim are in charge of coordinating all the informationwe gather. Go over everything with, as the saying goes, a finetooth comb. Maybe you’ll be able to tie things together and makesome sense out of it.

    “”Ah bummer man” said Tim. “How come we stuck with the loserjob while the rest of you get to rock and roll?” If we lived neara beach, Tim would have been on the waves 24 hours a day. Ihonestly think he should have been born in California rather thanOntario. From the way he talks you’d think surfing was all he livedfor.

    “Come on Tim, give it a break. Not everyone can have theglamorous jobs you know?” I replied. “Yeah yeah, I know dude. It’s just I’d rather be out rockenand rollen with you cats”We sat around for a while and talked about the specifics ofour assigned missions. Everyone seemed happy with theirassignments.

    Even Tim and Frank seemed pleased with what I hadassigned them, albeit they did grumble a bit. “Dinner will be ready in 15 minutes” my Mom yelled down thestairs. “Will your friends be staying with us tonight?”I glanced around the room and everyone shook their heads. “No,they have to be heading home.

    ” I replied. With that we decided to call the meeting to an end. We’d haveour usual meeting on Thursday when everyone could tell us whatthey’d managed to find. I saw everyone out the door in thebasement, and reassured Dave as he left.

    As Jen approached the doorI turned away and half heartily said “see ya”. Ever since she’dsaid no to me about the prom I’d been treating her coldly. Notintentionally mind you. I just couldn’t relate to her anymore. Ifelt like she’d ripped my heart out by saying no. “Dave.

    . . ” she began. “Ah, look.

    Dinners almost ready otherwise I’d love to sit andchat with you” I interjected. “Yeah, right” Jen snapped back. Tim was the last to leave, and he closed the door behind him. I stood for a moment in silence and starred at the meeting table. For about 1 year we had been doing our spy stuff. In all the timewe’d never actually tried a real case.

    I chuckled to myself in thesilence. Just to think of it. A group of kids calling themselvesThe Renegades, was going to try and solve a possible kidnappingcrime. It all seemed a bit hard to believe. * * * * *I arrived home from school around quarter to four. Dad washome, so I asked him for the car.

    I fabricated some excuse aboutgoing to the library for research a school project. Telling himthat I was on my way to the police station would just result in abunch of questions which I was not in the mood to answer. Before I left the house I gave Dave a call. I wanted to knowif he’d had the presence of mind to ask the Contenda’s if they knewthe officer’s name who took the missing person report. Dave toldme the name was Lublanski. I thanked him and hung up the phone.

    Thedrive to the station was a relatively short one. In the area offifteen minutes at the most. Parking the car, I walked up to the front desk and asked foran Officer Lublanski. “Over there” replied the desk Sergeant in a deep voice.

    Ithanked him and made my way over to the corner of the building. Sitting at a desk with what mounds of paper folders everywherepossible, was Officer Lublanski. She seemed like a fairly youngcop, fresh out of the academy. I guessed her age at 23 maybe 24. A pen wedged behind he left ear indicated that she was a lefty. Intelligence officers notice everything.

    Well, at least we had thatin common. “Officer Lublanski?” I asked as I approached her desk. “Yes” she replied. “What can I do for you?””Hi, my name is John Inglis” I began, giving her my aliasrather than my real name.

    “I was hoping you could give me someinformation on a friend of mine. Her parents seem to have reportedher missing to you a couple of days ago. “In reality they had filed the report only yesterday. I didn’tplan on telling the cop any more than I had to though.

    “Hmm, what’s the name?” she asked. “Contenda, Tammy Contenda. “The officer opened up a drawer and started flipping though afew files. Before long she pulled out a file and placed in on herdesk.

    In the corner was written Contenda, Tammy K. K must have beenher middle name. I was beginning to wonder what it may be when Iwas brought down to earth again by Lublanski’s voice. “What interested do you have in this case?” she asked me.

    “Doyou have any information that can help us out?””Unfortunately I don’t” I began. Great. How was I going totell her I was interested with the case without looking like acomplete fool. Then, I remembered Tammy worked at a computer store,I decided to go at it from that angle. “Tammy sold my Dad acomputer when she was working at Compu-Tech. The two of us struckup a friendship for a while.

    When we moved I kept in touch withher. My dad had to come to Toronto for business and I decided togive her a call. When I found out she may be missing, well Idecided to come down and see what you people could tell me. “The cop looked at me for a while.

    Trying to figure out if Iwas for real I guess. None the less, she swallowed my story becausethe next thing I know she handed me the file. “So far, its all we’ve got. Do you have any idea of the numberof abductions we get on a daily basis. Then their man power cuts,and what have you. It all makes for an increasing pile of work.

    “I mumbled my “yeah, I can relate” reply, and poured myselfover the file. It contained the usually information such as age,hair colour, address, etc. nothing out of the ordinary really. Iwas just about to hand back and thank her when something caught myeye.

    It seemed that the last reported citing of Tammy the policehad was one of in a red pick-up parked outside the local 7-eleven. To our knowledge the last time anyone had seen Tammy was when shewas at work. I handed back the file and asked “It says here the last timeshe was seen was at 7-eleven. “”Yeah. One of the workers saw her sitting in the passengerseat of the truck.

    He thought it odd that the girl was sitting withthe windows up when it was such a hot day outside. “Windows up eh? Could indicate the driver of the truck didn’twant Tammy making a scene of anything. I’d tell my friends aboutthis info later. “Thanks for all your help” I said.

    “Before I go, do you havea business card I could have? I’ll be in town for a while longerand if I find anything out I’ll give you a call”. “Sure, here you go”. “Thanks. “”You’re quite welcome” she replied.

    From there she dove backinto the files piled up on her desk. * * * * *Jen and Dave arrived at the Hall of records shortly afterfour. Upon entering the building, they noticed that was close toempty. “I guess not many people care about history” Dave remarked.

    They made their way down the hall into a room containing thecomputer catalogs. Dave having the more experience with computersystems sat down. The main screen presented him with many choices. “Let’s see” Dave began.

    “What do you say we pick name search. “”Sounds good to me” replied Jen. The question was a rhetoricalone, although Jen must have felt compelled to answer. Dave typed in “Proton” where it asked for last name andpressed return. The next display on the screen contained a listingof five people with the last name of Proton. Not know the firstname of the Proton’s who own Compu-Tech, Dave decided to print outthe information on all of them.

    Returning to the main screen, the next choice was a businessinquiring. Dave typed in “Compu-Tech” and was greeted with a screenshowing all of the information about the business. A print-out ofthis information was also obtained. “Well, I guess that’s about it eh?” said Dave. “Should we findout any thing else while we’re here?”Na. We can always come back if we have to” replied Jen.

    * * * * *Pete walked in to Compu-Tech and walked around for a while. Looking at the various IBM computers that were on display. Aftera while, an older looking gentleman approached him. The name on theclerks tag read “Rajiv”.

    “May I help you” he asked. “Yeah, I’m heading off to university next year and wasinterested in buying a computer. What can you tell me about them?”From there the man started spouting off information ofmegahertz, memory, and everything under the Sun. Pete was quitebored with the information being thrown at him.

    He already owneda computer and knew everything the sales clerk was telling him. None the less, he put up with it and let him finish. “Ok, so this one here is a 386, right?” asked Pete. “Correct” replied the salesman. “Hmm, I’m kind of torn between the 386 and 486. A friend ofmine Tammy Contenda works here.

    Is she around? I love to hear whatshe has to say on this issue” Pete said. Looking a little flustered and nervous the man replied “Tammyhasn’t been in to work since Saturday. I was under the impressionshe had gone missing. Hadn’t you heard?””No, I hadn’t heard. ” Replied Pete. “Do you know anythingabout it?””Nothing.

    Now look. The police have already been in hereasking me questions and everything. Just what’s your connection toher?” asked the clerk. It was obvious form his reaction and tension that somethingwas bothering him. Pete decided to play it cool. “Nothing, we’re just friends.

    Anyway, thanks for theinformation on the computers. I’ll get back to you”. With that he shook the clerks hand and left the store. Drivinghome, Pete couldn’t help shake the feeling that the clerk knewsomething which he wasn’t letting on to. * * * * *Thursday and our meeting came before I knew what had happened.

    Suddenly everyone came running in to my basement. After the usualround of pleasantries were sorted out, we sat down to business. “Hey dudes, check this out” echoed Tim. “These cats, theProtons’ are heavily into debt.

    Check out the mortgage the have ontheir pad. There’s also this problemo of all the computer surplusthey have on hand at the stores”. Whenever Tim started talking, I always had the shivers. Something about his surfer persona bothered me.

    I think it was thefact he actually look like a surfer. The long blonde hair, the airheadish attitude, everything. None the less, he was right. “What are you suggesting then Tim? That the Proton’s kidnappedTammy for ransom?” asked Jen. “Uh, no way dudette. I was just making a causal observation.

    Chill out will ya?””I’d have to agree with Tim on this one” I began. “So what do you propose then, McDuff?” asked Pete. I sat in silence for a while trying to think. Things hadbecome so clouded all of a sudden. Issues with Jen and I were stilltense.

    “I think we should head down to Compu-Tech and see if we cantalk to the Proton’s. Maybe they’ll crack under pressure and saymore than they should. Comments?”Everyone sat and nodded in silence. “Good, then its agreed. I propose that Pete and Dave be the ones to go in the store andtalk with them.

    Dave is already known to be with Tammy, so theowners will not be curious is Dave goes in there asking question. Pete, I just want you to look for anything suspicious. Ok?”Both Dave and Pete nodded. “Hey, I was talking with Tammy’sfolks last night” began Dave “and they told they found a computerdisk in her room when they were looking for clues as to where shemay have gone.

    “”Well bring that sucker in here. It may have valuable stuffon it!” I replied. From here the meeting deteriorated. We decided to order insome pizza and sit around & shoot the shit. I tended to keep mydistance from Jen as she did from me. It seems that when she shotme down for the prom I was more hurt than I realized.

    * * * * *Monday afternoon we met at my place and went down to Compu-Tech. After fifteen minutes Dave and Pete came out. Both haddefeated looks on their faces. “Nothing they said” as they entered the car. “What happened dudes? No wave action or what?” said Tim. “Naw, the Protons have taken off for an unspecified amount oftime.

    It appears that this Rajiv guy is going to be running thingsuntil they return. “”Did he mentioned why they’d be returning?””Naw, the guy said nothing. Then he tried to sell us somecomputer. Dave and I spent the entire fifteen minutes trying toleave the bloody place. “”Hey” said Dave.

    “I have that disk from Tammy’s place back atmy own. Why don’t we go get it and take it over to Pete’s. Maybethere’s something on it we can use”. Shortly the six of us were al crowded around Pete’s computeras he drew up a directory on his disk drive.

    “Nothing here but a bunch of lotus 1-2-3 files” said Pete. “Dude, do you have Lotus” asked Tim. “Yeah. I suppose I could load them in to the computer and seewhat they’re all about.

    “A few whirls of Pete’s hard disk brought up the Lotus programand in a short while we were starring face to face with the Lotusfiles from the disk dave obtained from Tammy’s folks. “Hey, do you realize what this is” I screamed out. “A bunch of meaningless numbers?””Naw, this is the financial report for the company. This isthe stuff we were original after. And look at this.

    Looking atthese files shows their company is making major bucks. Yet when welooked at their government records, it showed they were loosingmoney. My fellow Renegades, I think we’ve found what we wereafter. “* * * * *I think everyone felt better now that we knew the Protons werebehind Tammy’s appearance.

    We all agreed that Tammy must havediscovered the Protons were taking money off the top of theircompany and falsifying their tax records. Scared that Tammy wouldexpose them, they decided to get rid of her. This news did not sitwell with Dave. He was still pretty upset over her disappearance,and knowing her life may be in danger did not quell his nerves. However it was decided to call it night. Tomorrow we’d hold anemergency meeting of the Renegades to figure out what to do.

    At 4pm sharp everyone arrived at my place. “Ok, we know the Proton’s are behind this” I began. “Now thequestion is what to do from here. Ideas?””Like, lets take this to the police cat.

    ” remarked Tim. “And what? Tell them a bunch of 17 year olds know whokidnapped Tammy Contenda. Do you honestly think they’d believe us?”A chorus of “no’s” went around the room. Tim could be heardletting out a muffled “bummer” in the background.

    Suddenly Jenstood up. “I have a plan” she boldly said. We listened to her idea, and after and hour of hammering outthe details, we knew exactly what we were going to do. The planwent something like this. I was to call Compu-Tech and tell them I knew all about theirplot involving Tammy.

    From there I’d tell them if they valued theirbusiness, they should meet me Friday night behind the local A&P. Even though Rajiv told us they were on vacation somewhere, we feltthat he was relaying messages to them somehow. The next day when I arrived home from school the plan was setin motion. Rajiv told asked me my name, which as all good spies do,gave him a false one. I always warmed up to the name of JimMackinnon, so that was the name I gave him. Rajiv told me he didn’tknow what I was talking about, but he’d try to get the messageacross to the Proton’s.

    I thanked him an hung up. Quick phone calls followed to my fellow Renegades telling themthe trap had been set. I think calling Jen was the hardest call inmy life. None the less, I made it. * * * * *Friday seemed to take for ever to arrive. However when it did,everything was planned out.

    Jen being the crack shot, hid herselfbehind a few milk crates. Derek was there with her hold a taperecorder. Tim was nearby in a parked car ready to pick them up. Over a bit closer to me were Dave and Frank.

    Again, the two of themwaiting in a parked car to get me. Everything was in place. Suddenly, from across the parking lot, a pair of car lights cameat me (us). Slowing, the car eventually came to a stop. Out emergedthe Proton’s. “Who are you Mr.

    Jim Mackinnon and what have I done againstyou?””Slow down there Jason Proton” I started. “The only thing Ihave against you is that you’re endangering the life of a friendof mine. I want to see her returned. “”What are you talking about? The police are handling theContenda investigation as a teen-age runaway. I have better thingsto do with my time than stand here and be insulted by the likes ofsome 18 year old”. In reality I was only 17, but hey.

    Jason Proton thinks I’molder, so much the better. Slowly, the two of them began to getback in their cars. “I know about the imbezeling” I screamed. That comment surestopped them in their tracks. Even from where I was standing Icould here his jaw hit the ground.”What…What…Tammy had no right to tell you that.” the wordsseemed not to flow so easily for Mr. Proton now.”Oh it wasn’t Tammy. YOu see I have this little computer diskhere…” I said holding up a computer disk.”You scum, that’s breaking and entering!!” he began to runafter me.Dave’s car engine roared to life as I dove in the back seat.Tim’s engine could be heard starting up as well. Then the noise ofa gun going off a few times was heard next. Not an ordinary gunhowever. Jen’s CO2 powered gun. I looked up from the back seat ofto see Jason Proton’s shirt covered in paint. I honestly believehe though he was shot.”Argh!!” he screamed as he fell to the ground. I’m not sureif he was playing up the effects for all they were worth of ifphysiologically his mind told him a bullet had ripped through him.Whatever the case, Jen and Derek jumped into’s Tim car and bothcars sped off into the night.We met no more than ten minutes back at my place. Quickly Ipulled out officer Lublanski’s business card and called her athome. Even though it was 12:30am, I still felt she should know whathe had found out. To say the least, she was not amused that I hadwoken her up. She did however remember my name (luckily Iremembered the alias I had given her) and that she’d be glad tohear what we had to say tomorrow morning. After begging andpleading my case she finally relented to see us tonight.Hurriedly I jotted down the directions to her house and within10 minutes were at her house. With bed head and all, officerLublanski came to the door and welcomed us in. I didn’t even botherintroducing my companions.”Tammy’s life is in great danger” I blurted out.”What do mean?” she asked kind of sleepy like.”We have proof that her employers may have done something withher” spurted out Dave.”Wait, who are these people?” she asked.”These are fellow Renegades. Look, I don’t have time toexplain it all to you now. Please, just get a police car over tothe Contenda house hold. Please!!”Officer Lublanski looked at us like we were nuts. However shemust have figured we had a good reason for being there. After all,why else would we wake up a police officer at 12:30? “You guys hadbetter be right about this” she mumbled.Stumbling off to the kitchen she invited us in to sit down andrelax. We looked “exhausted” as she put it. She was right to. Thesix of us clasped in the furniture she had set about her livingroom. In a few minutes she was on her way back over.”Ok, a squad car is on its way over. Now, John do you care totell me what this is all about?”With the mention of the name John, looked at me. They neverever though I’d actually give a false name to a police officer.”Well, its a long story I began. For starters, my real nameis not John…”I guess the story didn’t take as long as I though, becausejust as I was finished up with how we had met the Proton’s tonight,her phone rang. After the usual “yeah’s” and “okay’s” she hung upthe phone.”I don’t believe it” she was saying as she approached us. “Ijust don’t believe it”.We all jumped up as she came back. “Well, don’t keep ushanging'” exclaimed Tim.”I don’t know how to tell you this, but the police found Tammyalive and well. It seems that when the Protons found out theirscheme was up, they didn’t bother going back home. Tammy hadmanaged to take off her gag and was screaming at the top of herlungs for help. The police took her home. She’s going to be ok”.The group of us let out a collective sigh of relief and sankback into our chairs. “Speaking going home, I should be heading outmyself” said Derek. Everyone murmured their agreement and we stoodup to leave.”I’d like to see you all down at the police station tomorrowis you don’t mind” officer Lublanski began. “You know, to clear upall the lose strings and stuff”.”Sure, no problem. Good night” we more or less said in unison.* * * * *We agreed to meet as a group and head over to the station at9am. When we arrived reporters and journalists were everywhere. Thepolice kept saying “no comment.” As we emerged from our car, theyall ran over to us. A tad intimidated with the rush of media types,we ran at full tilt into the police station. Bursting though thedoors we found ourselves face to face with the Proton’s.”You little scum bag. I don’t even know a Jim Mackinnon”screamed Jason Proton.Officer Lublanski was standing beside him and looked my way.I just smiled and said “old habits are heard to break.””I bet they are” she replied. “We caught these two at theairport. It seems they were making a run of Brazil. We arrived justin time to foil their plot.”At the moment Tammy came running into the room and ran up toDave giving him a huge hag. “Dave, it’s so nice to see you again.”The rest of us turned away politely, not wanting to stare.”If you don’t mind, I’d like all of you to come into my officeplease.”We looked over to our left and saw an older type man with grayhair standing infront of an office. It didn’t take a genius tofigure out it was the chief of police. I can’t speak for theothers, but I was pretty scared. I mean we had interfered with apolice investigation. We had shot a firearm at someone. Technicallywe could be in a lot of trouble.Entering the office we noticed seven chairs infront of thechief’s desk. “Pease, take a seat” he motioned us as he closed thedoor behind him. Dave and Tammy sat together, holding hands. Forthe first time since Jen shot me down I sat beside her. For somestrange reason it felt good to be beside her.”I’d like to begin by saying that I’m very glad miss Contendais ok. The last thing we need in this area is another homicide. Inthat respect I’d like to congratulate you group, the Renegadesisn’t it, on a job well done”. began the Chief. Whew, that wasn’tso bad I thought. “But…” as yes, there’s always a but “what youdid was terribly dangerous. Shooting off a fire-arm without apermit. Stealing personal information, endangering your lives,interfering with police work…””Uh, sir” asked Tim. For me it was the first time I hadn’theard him talk like he was out at the beach. “Are we going to berockin’ and rollin’ in jail”. Ah there it was. Rockin’ and Rollin’.I knew the surfer in Tim couldn’t stay hidden.The Chief of Police let out a little chuckle. “No, you’re notgoing to be rockin’ and rollin’ as you so put it. In fact I’m goingto honour you all with distinction medals. How does that sound?””Totally tubular” exclaimed Tim.”I think our comrade speaks for all of us sir” said Derek.”Great. Then lets go outside and give the press what they camehere for.” With that, we stood up and proceed to meet the media…* * * * *It was a dream come true. Although spies don’t want theirpicture published on the front page of a daily paper, that didn’tbother us. After all, its not every day a high school student helpssolve kidnapping cases.The group of us decided to put Renegade activities on holduntil school was out for the summer. The prom turned out to be afun time for everyone. I ended up going stag, which wasn’t too bad.Derek and I managed to share costs for a limo as he went stag aswell.I had the front page of the newspaper in which we our pictureappeared framed. It now hangs at the head of my bed, reminding methat all the hard work we’d done over the years finally amountedto something. The six of us, Tim Wolfe, David Sullivan, PeterShore, Jennifer Strong, Frank Robb, and myself Edward Cohagen. Nomore would we be embarrassed to tell our friends we were playingspy. Although we were no longer a spy agency. Now we were “TheRenegades – Private Investigators for Hire”.

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