The Tangled Web of B.L.O.G.
She entered the Merry Mayhem Club in a black leather jacket, plain white tee shirt and torn jeans, her walk a confident saunter as she strode up to the mahogany bar. The effect she had on the men was like a diaphoretic hitting their skin – sweat immediately gleamed on every brow. He had to admit he could feel it, too. She was Venus walking barefoot across his senses.
He moved over and offered her his spot; his reward a tight smile and brief nod. Lifting his martini glass, he said, “Good evening. My name is Bonn, Wayne Bonn, at your service.”
Her lips lifted in a mocking smile and one eyebrow quirked, catching the pun of his code name. “I’m Jade, ‘Kid’ Jade, and I’ll have whatever that is.”
Bonn nodded. “Well, ‘Kid’ Jade, I’m honored. You’re new here?” He motioned to the barkeep, Gamester. “Another martini, shaken, not stirred.”
Jade turned her back to the bar, and him, without answering. She leaned against the wood, a casual pose her narrowed eyes gave lie to as she watched the entrance to the club. Bonn gently nudged her, offering her the drink, and asked, “Looking for someone?”
“Meeting a few friends. Thanks for the drink.” She left it untouched and strolled over to an empty booth in a dark corner. Gold letters on the back of her jacket read “Top B.L.O.G.”
Chilly condensation dripped through Bonn’s fingers as his smile slipped awry. “Ah, one of those,” he murmured, tamping down a hint of envy – someday, he would have an elite B.L.O.G. jacket…and more. Not one to waste liquor, Bonn placed the glass within easy reach for his next round and surreptitiously spied on Jade from his end of the bar.
She slipped off the jacket as a woman marched in, trailed by a man in a sleek black jumpsuit. “It was mine, you see, I won it fair and square. I’m allowed to keep it and wear it in public. We are, after all, the benevolent guardians of this city,” the lovely lady declared.
Ah-ha, Bonn thought, the plot thickens. He had seen these two at HQ, before the unfortunate karaoke incident at the Abattoir Bar & Grill last week.
The Falcon swept the wing-like folds of his black cape over his shoulders and tugged the hooded mask off his head. Since the club’s only patrons were B.L.O.G. agents, he could relax within and reveal his face. “I’m certain it is merely a misunderstanding, Lady O. I believe you, we all do at HQ, your work is exemplary and you earned the jacket. It is unfortunate that you brought it from your vault to wear today, but I assure you, we will–”
“—find it! We are the Tenacious Two, the Holmes at Home of Headquarters, fired up and good to go! There’s a plot afoot and criminals best be afraid, be very afraid!” The interruption was less startling than the person spouting it. She struggled through the door, having trouble with the weight of it, her outlandish garb more fitting for a nursing home than a swanky club.
She limped along behind the other two, her neon-green fuzzy bunny slippers having seen better days. The bright red pajamas she was wearing were at least two sizes too large and her tattered, faded yellow bathrobe did little to complement her attire. A frizzy mane of hair that looked akin to a demented poodle’s unfortunate encounter with a light socket shrouded her face. Bonn suspected the visage beneath was as unpleasant as the rest of her.
Falcon winced and hurried Lady O away from the entrance. “There is no escaping her. I used stealth-mode to come meet you, leaving the accouterments of my Sherlocking trade behind. Not that I believe a magnifying glass or pipe will aid me in this case–”
“—Aw, you don’t play the accouterment or bagpipes, Falcon!” The interruption brought another wince.
“That’s an accordion and I meant my marvelous Meerschaum smoking pipe, Talon, and no, I don’t play those instruments, I play the violin. Will you please do something about your appearance? You’re an embarrassment to the echelon – Marvin will never award you points to win a Top B.L.O.G. jacket when you step out in public like that.”
The odd-bit limped into Bonn’s vicinity and he shuddered away from the grimy fabric of her bathrobe at her next words. “I got rid of that embarrassing etch last month with Blue’s Bumbrulee Creme! And, gosh, Falcon, I’m incontinent, um, you know…”
Again the winged one winced and corrected his ditzy sidekick. “You’re incognito, in disguise, and I’d spank you for sneaking about after me if I could be sure you weren’t wearing Depends just to be truly authentic.”
Talon’s voice grew happier. “Gee, thanks, Falcon, and yes, you can depend on me, but my Insta-Change power didn’t make me really old – no twisting of the joints, so I don’t have authentic.”
“Arthritis!” The hiss contained the leashed rage of a raptor intent on ripping apart his prey.
Bonn thought it best to interject before the club found it necessary to change its name to that of the Abattoir Bar down the street. Quoting Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises, he told Talon, “’You’re not a moron. You’re a case of arrested development.’ And I do believe a spot more training might clear up your problem.”
Talon’s hands shot up to paw under her hair at her face. “I don’t have any spots! I used Emma’s Oxy-moron this morning, honest! She lemme borrow it and it’s legal, so you don’t have a case and can’t arrest me!” A tiny sob escaped her.
Bonn’s brow climbed up his forehead, but he didn’t bother mentioning her mangling of the acne product’s name. She was Falcon’s sidekick and it was the super-hero’s job to mend her misguided mind. He grinned at his winged friend and offered him Jade’s untouched martini. “I would say you need this more than I. Your patience is admirable, my good man.”
Falcon downed the drink in one gulp while Talon shuddered beside him. Bonn, looking concerned, tried to peek under the mass of tangled tresses without touching her. “Whatever is wrong with the woma-um-child?”
She shook all over, her clothes glowing, her skin decidedly as diaphoretic as the menfolk had been earlier at the sight of Jade. Rivulets of sweat poured off her body as she cried, “I’m tired of living the lie! I am not an old woman! I want to be young and pretty again!” There was a poof of damp fog, smelling of rancid body odor and rotting celery, and Falcon fanned it away with his cape.
Talon the Teen Terror was revealed in her garishly colored costume — red leotard, yellow cape and neon-green boots — Bonn blinked rapidly to clear his watering eyes. The girl sighed and checked the bar’s mirror for any stray wrinkles, or perhaps zits, on her face. “Ah, I’m feeling much better now! Gotta love that Insta-Change! Maybe Guppa can mix it up into a new product to go with her Migraine Mix!”
Falcon shook his head. “I’d like to ignore her, but she’s apt to get into more trouble if I do.”
Talon nodded. “I’m very adept with bubbles!”
Lady O frowned at the girl. “Er, Falcon, do you think she might have a hearing problem? It would explain the shouting and all.”
“Nearing Dublin out in the fall? No, I haven’t been to Ireland!” With that, Talon trotted off to the rest room.
“She’s exhausting, how do you do it?” Lady O asked.
“Valium is my friend, no, just kidding, her roommate, Emma, usually keeps her in line with duct tape and a hammer.”
“You don’t say? By the way, I have spotted a jacket much like yours, Lady O,” Bonn said. “The lethal lovely in the back booth–”
“Kid!” Lady O hurried over and the men followed. “You found my jacket?”
Kid Jade hushed them, her eyes hard. “No, this one’s mine, but I think I know who took yours, Lau-er-Lady. Why do you all insist on using your code names all the time?” No one answered, their eyes darting anywhere but her face. “Fine, whatever. I’m glad you agreed to meet me here – away from any curious ears at the compound. Sit down. I’ve been undercover to scope out a thief among us. Someone is playing a dangerous game. We need to be detectives and find out the truth.”
All eyes fastened on Bonn. “What? Spy, detective, sometimes light-fingered; that describes every B.L.O.G. agent. It isn’t me. I’ve been here all day, Gamester can vouch for me.”
Jade shook her head. “You’re already an excellent agent, no, this person is in the remedial agent program – poor showing across the board, you see – and jealous of the successful elite agents.” She absently caressed the soft leather of her award jacket. “I believe he or she is the one behind the theft. It’s why I was assigned to go undercover in the trainee dorm. The remedials didn’t know me.”
Bonn saw a slim opening. “Ah, so you were transferred here from the East Coast B.L.O.G. HG?”
Lady O spoiled his ploy. “Who could it be?” she moaned before Jade could reply to Bonn. “I can’t imagine one of our friends stealing it.”
“Now who’s hard of hearing? It isn’t someone from your elite branch. You know the kind of misfits they get in the remedial program…” Jade trailed off as Talon skipped out of the bathroom, waving a black leather jacket.
“I’m a happy wannabe Holmes, for-sleuth, lookit what I found behind the toilet!”
Falcon whispered to Lady O, “We’ll get it dry-cleaned.”
Talon handed the jacket over. With a happy sigh, Lady O used napkins to touch it as she bundled it into a to-go bag. From the corner of his eye, Bonn saw a slip of paper fall from the pocket. As the group stood up, chattering about how to break into the remedial agents’ dormitory to find evidence of covert operations, the double-secret agent palmed the tiny memo.
No need to share the intel just yet. If he could solve the case, he just might have a chance at a date with Jade, or, at the very least, a shot of nabbing a jacket of his own.