Raymond and the Three CI5 Agents
Once upon a time, there lived a young man named Raymond Doyle, but everyone just called him Ray. They called him that because he was a true Ray of Sunshine to all he met, with his sweet smile and perpetually sunny nature.
Early one spring morning, Ray's mother, Marge, said to him, "Now, Ray, I want you to go down to Auntie Betty's and help her with her gardening. Her bad knee is acting up and she shouldn't be kneeling on it so much."
Now, Ray had already made plans with his friend, Jax, to visit the Science Museum that day. Instead of getting angry, however, he just smiled agreeably (For, after all, this was a much better thing to do than waste time with his friends), and shrugged.
"Sure thing, Mum."
Mrs. Doyle fixed him a nice, nutritious breakfast of muesli and yogurt before he had to leave. As Ray was getting in his motor, however, she frowned worriedly. It's so far to Auntie Betty's and one did hear of truly dreadful things happening nowadays... Everyone knew how beautiful Ray was with his curly mahogany hair, big jade eyes, exotic right cheekbone, and slender physique. Calling to him, she waited until he had obediently rolled down the Capri's driver side window before instructing him sternly, "Don't stop for any strangers, Ray, and be careful. Remember, there are louts everywhere!"
"Don't worry so, Mum," Ray reassured her. "I'll be very careful. See you at dinner tonight." And he sedately drove off.
Sometime later, as Ray was driving along the quiet country lane that led to his Auntie Betty's village, he was startled to hear a loud `pop' come from under the bonnet of the Capri and to see smoke pouring out. Bringing the shuddering vehicle to a halt along the grassy verge, Ray sat there a moment, brow furrowed with vexation. While it was a fact that he was uncommonly gifted with his hands, Ray was not all that knowledgeable about car engines and so was at a complete loss.
Now, a lesser man might have begun swearing loudly at this point, but Ray was a gently-reared lad and would never have dreamt of blaspheming. So, giving thanks that it was a warm day with the sun shining brightly, Ray decided to walk the ten miles to the village. Setting off across a verdant pasture, he was very careful to watch where he put his feet; his trainers were brand new, you see.
An hour later, Ray was glad to hear the restful babble of a brook nearby, for he was hot, hungry, and thirsty. Bending over to get a drink, Ray lost his footing and fell head first into the merrily burbling stream. Quickly righting himself, he brushed the waterlogged curls out of his eyes and fumed. Taking a deep breath, he remembered to count to ten--just as his mum had always told him to do--and crawled out of the stream. Looking ruefully down at his dripping jeans and tee-shirt, Ray just shook his head and continued on his way.
A few minutes later, Ray stumbled into a clearing and was gratified to see a small, white-washed cottage standing there. Surely the inhabitants would take pity on him, let him in to dry off and give him something to eat.
Brightening, Ray hurried up to the door and knocked. When there was no reply, he knocked a second time. Once again, there was no answer. Hoping he wasn't intruding, Ray tried the door. It opened easily and quietly swung inward.
"Hello? Anybody home?" Ray called politely. He stuck his head around the door frame, but saw no one. Tentatively stepping into the small entryway, he took a quick look around. "Is anybody home?"
Only silence answered him.
Disappointed, Ray was turning to leave when he stopped dead and sniffed the air. Weet-Bix!
Accompanied by the growling of his stomach, he followed his nose into the small dining room. A round, wooden table sat in the middle of the cheerful room; upon the table were three place settings. Looking around, Ray sighed. Surely no one would mind if he helped himself? He'd leave them a fiver to pay for his meal.
He sat down in the first chair and picked up the spoon. Chewing his first bite, Ray suddenly forgot his party manners and spit the mouthful back into the bowl.
"This Weet-Bix has cigar ashes in it!" he cried, outraged.
Pushing that bowl aside, Ray got up and sat in the second chair. Pleased when he saw there were no ashes in this bowl, Ray took a big bite...which he promptly sprayed all over the table.
"There's no cereal in this bowl! It's all Cow's milk!" he yelled.
Grumbling, he went to sit in the third chair. Suspiciously inspecting that bowl and its contents, Ray took a cautious sniff. Well, there were no ashes in the bowl and there was at least some cereal present.
Hesitantly, he took a small bite and as he chewed, a huge smile broke over his face. This bowl was just right! Grinning happily, Ray finished the rest of the cereal.
Pushing back from the table, Ray became aware of how cold and uncomfortable he was. Finding a small clothes dryer in a room off the kitchen, Ray sighed wistfully. It would be so much better, he thought, not to have to wear wet jeans. So much more comfortable--he was already starting to chafe.
First, he moved the big box of cigars off the dryer so he could open it. Then, he stripped and threw his clothes inside. Mindful not to get the floor wet, Ray made sure he stayed on the rug and left his trainers there, also. Finally, he set the dryer to its highest setting (not seeing the dark trousers already in the machine) and turned it on.
That done, he stood in the kitchen for a few minutes, indecisive.
It really wouldn't do for the homeowner to catch him like this; for, while his intentions were honest, Ray had discovered that most people tended to become quite upset when faced with a strange, naked man in their kitchen. Musing on this conundrum thoughtfully, Ray went upstairs to see if he could find a toweling robe. He peeked through the first door at the top of the stairs and saw three beds. A look of longing came over his face. He was so tired...a quick nap while his clothes were drying couldn't hurt, could it?
Ray climbed into the first bed, stretched out, and yelped as his big toe connected with something hot. Jumping out of the bed, he drew back the duvet and glared down at the sheets.
"There's a lit cigar in this bed!"
Ray was shocked; didn't the homeowner realise that most home fires were caused by careless smoking? He put the glowing cigar out.
Shaking his head, Ray got into the second bed and pulled up the covers. Reaching to adjust the pillow, he sniffed at an obtrusive odour.
"It smells like a Cow's been sleeping in this bed!"
Climbing out of the bed, he flinched as he dislodged the tiny glass beads under the pillow. They fell to the floor, clanging musically.
Heaving a weary, unhappy sigh, Ray crawled into the third bed. Ahh...just right! Not too hard, not too soft...and the pillow gave off an elusive, though pleasing, scent of aftershave and masculine sweat. Happily breathing in the heady mixture, Ray closed his eyes and fell asleep.
Thirty minutes later, the stillness of the beautiful Spring day was broken by the slamming of two car doors and raised voices.
"Bloody hell, Anson, don't you ever stop smoking those soddin' things!?" yelled a gorgeous, dark-haired man. His beautiful cobalt eyes glinted dangerously.
The blond just puffed peaceably away as a tall, handsome man stepped between the combatants.
"We're all tired, Bodie," he said to the angry man. "Let's just get inside the safe house and finish our breakfast, all right?"
Subsiding, Bodie gave in with poor grace. "Sure, Murph."
Acrimonious argument broke out once more when the unlocked door was discovered. Rapidly tiring of the accusations and denials flying about, Bodie bared his teeth in a snarl and stalked through the door. Shrugging, the other two followed. Once inside, the three agents headed for the dining room and their interrupted meal.
"Someone's been eating my Weet-Bix!" announced Anson in a surprised voice. "Look, there's no ash in it!"
"Someone's been eating my Weet-Bix!" echoed Murphy, startled. "Look, he ate some of the Cow's milk!"
"Someone's been eating my Weet-Bix!" roared Bodie. "He ate it all up!" He threw the bowl across the room.
Becoming aware of a strange noise, the agents pulled out their weapons and cautiously entered the kitchen. After checking the room over, they moved on. A look of bafflement came over Anson's face.
"Someone's been in my laundry room," he reported, perturbed. "Hey, he's moved my jumbo-size box of cigars!"
"Someone's been in my laundry room!" Murphy was incensed, claiming the single laundry room for his own. "Oi, he left his wet trainers on my Cow-skin rug!"
Bodie was even more displeased, knowing he used the room the most, therefore it was his. "Someone's been in my laundry room!" he bellowed. "Look, he turned the dryer up to its highest setting and my best cords are in there!"
Keeping their guns drawn, the three agitated agents carefully searched the ground floor for the intruder, then climbed the stairs to the first floor.
Slowly opening the bedroom door, Anson peered in, swore, and then marched over to his bed.
"Someone's been sleeping in my bed!" he ground out. "He put out the cigar I was saving for later!"
"Someone's been sleeping in my bed!" hissed Murphy. "Look, he's tinkled the Cow's bells!"
In a defensive crouch, Bodie moved over to his own bed. Seeing the lump under the bedclothes, he threw back the duvet, gun fixed menacingly. He gave a startled jump and then stared fixedly at the wall.
"Look, whoever it was, he isn't here now. You two can go file a report if you want. I'm knackered--I'm going to bed and cuddle my golli."
Rapidly shedding his clothes, Bodie then hopped into bed in double-quick time and pulled the duvet over his head.
Puzzling over their intruder, arguing amongst themselves just who had left the door open in the first place, both refusing to be the one to tell their superior, neither Anson nor Murphy noticed the pleasured gasps and sighs emanating from Bodie's golli.
-- THE END --
Originally published in Chalk and Cheese 15, Whatever You Do, Don't Press! (Agent with Style), 1996