Life’s so boring…But is it?
That’s it, thought Nicole. How could he?
She had been sitting on the couch, staring into the front garden through the window, racking her brain for something to write about when her dad had plonked himself down next to her, interrupting her flow of thought. He opened his laptop and went straight to the online story club that both of them wrote to. Nicole glanced at him idly, until her vision went blurry. Then she gave a start.
‘What are you doing Daddy?’ she asked warily.
‘Why Nikki, I’m just sending my reply to a writer that’s asked for my advice about writing a…oh…’ he stopped when he saw the thunderous look on Nicole’s face.
‘You were giving advice to a writer in the club and you’ve never even read any of my stories!’ Nicole shrieked, her eyes brimming with angry tears.
‘Oh, it isn’t like that at all!’ began her father. ‘It’s just that being the club’s Most Valuable Writer and then giving my own daughter advice is…’
‘A sin against mankind, I know,’ seethed Nicole.
‘Yes. I mean no!’
But Nicole was already out the door and in the back garden with her writing book and pencil, ready to note down anything that caught her eye and might make a killer story. She heard laughter from next door, followed two dancing butterflies with her eyes and shrieked at a spider as it scurried across the lawn. Then she lay back and sighed wistfully, ‘Sunflower Hill is so dull. Nothing happens at all.’
Meanwhile, Nicole’s brother Rahul had gone over to his neighbours’. It was 5 o’ clock and time for the daily meeting of the BPOD (Be Polite Or Die), the gang that he belonged to along with Pamela and Samuel. They had a secret tent at the back garden with a password and everything a proper polite gang should have. Only, they weren’t just any proper polite gang…
They worked for the government and found out secrets from any suspected member of society. No one knew their secret identities; not even their own parents. The government used them because they were fast, sneaky and no one suspected children…right?
Rahul barely set foot in the tent when something in Pam’s sock vibrated. She reached down and pulled out a tiny device from it.
‘What is it?’ asked Sam anxiously. ‘Is someone in our neighbourhood up to something again?’
‘Yes,’ said Pam, looking up, her eyes shining. ‘It’s the man who lives opposite us.’
‘The one you hate cause of what he did to your favourite football?’ asked Sam.
‘Eh?’ asked Rahul, really confused.
‘Oh sorry,’ said Sam. ‘You know the man opposite us? The one with OCD? Yeah. He doesn’t like anyone kicking balls onto his front patch of lawn. The other day Pam sent her favourite football down there, quite by mistake of course. He came storming out, glared at her and took the ball in. That was the last we ever saw of it.’
‘And knowing that mean old miser, it’s probably lying inside his garbage bin in shreds,’ scowled Pam.
‘What do they suspect him of?’ asked Rahul.
‘Hold on one minute.’ Sam went to where a hammock hung in the middle of the tent and tugged at it three times hard. Instantly the entire inside of the tent flipped upside down. It was transformed from a cosy, fun looking play house to a serious, almost scary-looking, secret base. Sam sat himself down at one of the computers that had appeared and started typing at the speed of about 40 miles per hour. His fingers were nothing but a blur to Rahul’s eyes. Rahul peered over his shoulder as he typed and saw only some formulae that made no sense to him. He looked at Pam and she winced. ‘He’s the computer genius!’ she mouthed.
Sam finally hit the Enter key and looked around at his colleagues. ‘According to what I’ve got up on screen, he used to work for the government as a scientist. But then he got fired because of some miscalculation. I’ve heard that he was solving a calculation that was vital for the creation of a weapon that would help us defend the country. But he ended up with a decimal number. His Obsessive Compulsive Disorder kicked in and he rounded it off to the nearest whole number. This tiny space meant that the potassium nitrate would be present in larger amounts that the sulphur oxidizer in the gunpowder and…’
‘Leave out the details,’ snapped Pam. ‘Get on with Rahul’s question. What do they suspect him of?’
Sam turned back to his computer and started tapping in more formulae while Rahul and Pam looked at each other and sighed.
‘Ah ha!’ exclaimed Sam. ‘He is suspected for helping the enemy with their calculations and sums. He was one of the smartest scientists of our country. If he helps them, then we’re doomed. I think they suspect him because he was seen the other day talking to one of the people from the enemy side and the another day, when a helicopter flew over his house, they sampled the smoke coming out from his chimney and found that it was a waste product from the very experiment he was fired for messing up! ’
‘So what do we need to do?’ enquired Rahul.
Pam grinned, ‘Oh Rahul. This is going to be so new to you. I know you joined two years ago and helped us in many things but those didn’t include sneaking into peoples’ houses did it? Oh, if only Sal didn’t have to leave for University then this would have been much easier.’
‘Are you saying that I’m no good?’ asked Rahul, scowling at her fiercely. ‘I’m sure that Sal of yours would have been all clumsy and big and slow footed and…’
‘Stop it,’ snapped Pam. ‘She was as sly as the three of us put together. She’s gone into training to be a police officer now.’ She sighed. ‘We’ll have to leave soon, Sam and me. And then you’ll have to look after the two that replace us young man. So learn what you can!’
‘Hey!’ said Rahul, indignantly. ‘Just because you are three years older than me doesn’t mean you can call me “young man”.’
Ignoring Rahul, Pam slipped out of the chair she was sitting in and went to a cupboard that Rahul hadn’t noticed before that was situated right next to the computer that Sam was typing into. She pulled out three black cat suits and threw one each to both the boys.
‘Put these on. You can change here. I’ll go to the room opposite,’ she walked to a wall and placed her hand on it. Immediately a door opened where she had her hand and she walked through it into another room.
Soon enough, all three of them were in their cat suits and Sam was holding a package. ‘What’s that?’ asked Rahul, curiously.
‘It’s a package from the SSS,’ replied Sam. ‘The Secret Spy Service,’ he added before Rahul could ask what SSS was. ‘This thing will help us enter the house of Mr. OCD without any problem.’
Sam eagerly began to rip the parcel open. Rahul and Pam peeked over his shoulders. ‘A chest of drawers?’ asked Rahul, completely baffled.
‘There’s an instruction manual with it,’ pointed out Sam. He picked it up and flipped through quickly, nodding as he read. ‘Okay dokey. So this is how it works. Two of us will get into the second drawer while the third…’
‘Get into the drawer?’ spluttered Rahul. ‘You’re kidding right?’
‘I’ll explain later,’ said Sam. ‘Anyway, the third will wear the disguise that’s in the first drawer.’ He opened it and pulled out a postman’s costume. ‘Then the “delivery guy” will deliver two of us to Mr. OCD saying we’re for the next door neighbours but they’re out. That way he won’t open the parcel and discover us. Using the spy glasses we used in one of our previous missions, we will find a time when he gets out of the house. In that time we will search the house for any chemicals.’
‘Okay Captain Sam,’ saluted Pam, grinning. ‘I’ll be the postman. I’m good at disguising my voice and all. And I’ll be strong enough to carry the chest and you.’
She slipped the postman dress over her cat suit while Sam began to explain to Rahul about how they were going to fit into the drawer: ‘Basically, the drawer and the space in it may appear 3D but as soon as it makes contact with warmth, which we shall be supplying it with our bodies, the magnetic field around it is broken. After a subtle glow, we see this huge space where we shall be able to fit a hundred giants in. This is the benefit of technology. The only drawback is, if anyone is in the drawer and it is opened, the person is visible to all who may wish to peek in the drawer.’
‘Okay,’ said Rahul, while Sam stopped and gasped a gallon of air in. ‘I get it. So shall we go?’
‘Yes,’ said Pam, answering for her twin. ‘Get in the two of you. I’ll close the drawer, wrap the chest up, and smother it with postage stamps and addresses. You won’t suffocate because there’s loads of air in the drawer. Then you can…oh, don’t forget the spy glasses will you? Ok, see you later.’
She shut them in and was soon carrying a cardboard box that was completely wrapped with tape and stamps and addressed to the next door neighbour of Mr. OCD. Pam took a deep breath and pulling her cap right down, knocked on the door of his house. It was answered almost immediately.
‘Excuse me sir,’ began Pam, in a deep, husky voice. ‘This parcel is for your neighbours but they ain’t in. Could you please take this parcel and give it to ‘em when they arrive? Thank you. Here, sign this so that we know the parcel has been received.’ She pulled a fake receipt that had come along with her disguise and made him sign it. ‘Thanks sir,’ she said, touching the rip of her cap. And with that, she walked off jauntily.
Mr. OCD watched her disappear around the corner and, with a puzzled look on his face, lugged the parcel into his house.
Meanwhile, inside the box, Rahul and Sam were looking through their Spy glasses. They could see through the wood, box and packaging and saw themselves being handed to Mr. OCD and then, finally being put down. They kept their eyes on Mr. OCD, waiting for him to exit the room or even better, the house. But to their astonishment and horror, he began to tear the packaging apart.
‘Sam,’ whispered Rahul, urgently. ‘What shall we do? He’ll see us!’
‘I know,’ wailed Sam. ‘What I don’t understand is why he’s unwrapping us! Surely Pam told him that we were for the neighbours! If she made a slip, I’m going to skin her alive when I get back.’
‘If we get back at all!’ cried Rahul, getting really panicky now. Mr. OCD was almost through to the chest. ‘We’re doomed!’
‘I have an idea!’ squealed Sam, much to the surprise of Rahul. He pulled something out from his belt just as the drawer opened and Mr. OCD peered inside. Rahul was so scared that he didn’t look at what Sam had pulled out but Sam popped out of the drawer and did something he couldn’t see. All he heard was a bang, a groan and a thump. He popped his head out and saw Sam holding a gun that was pointing at Mr. OCD, who was now on the floor.
‘Sam!’ cried Rahul, horrified. ‘You’ve k…killed him!’
‘No silly,’ said Sam cheerfully. ‘It’s a tranquilliser dart gun. Children can’t be trusted with real guns even if they work for the government. Anyhow, that should give us half an hour or so to search the house.’
Rahul had recovered from his shock by now and said, ‘Right. I’ll go to the kitchen, you search the garage. The houses in this cul-de-sac are built by the government so they all have the same structure right?’
‘Yes,’ nodded Sam. ‘Can’t get lost when it’s like your own house!’
He rushed off to the garage leaving Rahul to the kitchen. There wasn’t really anything in the kitchen. Rahul soon went back to where Sam was doing a thorough garage raid. ‘There’s nothing out of the ordinary in the kitchen. The only odd thing was that there were rather a lot of weird shaped glasses that contained coloured water.’
Sam dropped the vase he was inspecting on his foot. ‘Ow,’ he yelled. ‘You ninny! Have you never had experiments at your science class?’
‘No,’ Rahul said, his arms folded over his chest. ‘I’m still in primary school, remember?’
‘Whatever. That “coloured water” is not water and food colouring but chemicals!’
‘Oh!’ gasped Rahul. ‘Good thing I didn’t touch anything. Well, now you’ve got your answer can we go?’
‘No you may not!’ And that was not Sam that spoke. They turned around slowly and found Mr. OCD staring at them from the doorway of the garage. He looked rather groggy and his left arm had a gash on it.
‘So much for half an hour,’ muttered Rahul to Sam.
‘What are you two doing here? And why are you after my concoctions again. I specifically told your head the other day that I wouldn’t give them her as it isn’t safe. She even looked a little frightened with I showed her a scar that I got from when acid spilled on me.’
Sam and Rahul looked at each other startled. Sam decided to go for it and be honest. ‘Our head’s not a woman. He’s a man. And what are you talking about, meeting up with him or her as you said. I don’t know what you’re talking about but I do know that our boss wouldn’t have sent us here to spy on you if he had already had a chat with you about the topic.’
It was Mr. OCD’s turn to look startled. ‘You are from the Cratzite Crones right?’
‘No,’ grinned Rahul. ‘We’re from the team you used to belong to before you got fired. Not the Cratzite Crones. They’re the ones we fight against.’
‘Wait,’ said Mr. OCD. ‘If you’re from my team, then why are you spying on me?’
‘Because you were seen talking to the Cratzite Crone’s leader though I see now that you were declining her offer and not accepting it,’ said Sam. ‘But why were you burning chemicals the other day?’
‘I was trying to rectify the mistake I made that got me fired. I want them to take me back.’
‘Oh,’ said Rahul, seeing it all now. ‘But one question. Why did you open the package that held us when it was for your neighbours? That’s extremely bad manners you know.’
‘I know it is,’ chuckled Mr. OCD. ‘But, Sam your sister isn’t very good at acting. And I knew for certain she was a fake when I saw that there wasn’t a delivery truck outside.’
‘Of course,’ said Sam. ‘Well, I’ll certainly report this to the HQ and just out of curiosity: did the calculation work?’
‘Yes,’ said Mr. OCD, positively beaming.
‘Right,’ said Rahul. ‘I’m sure the HQ will be delighted to have you back. So far no other scientist there has managed to solve the equation you set. See you!’
Sam and Rahul let themselves out of his house and trotted back to their own. ‘Looks like I won’t have to skin my twin after all! Bye Rahul!’ said Sam joyfully.
‘Bye!’ said Rahul, and went straight to his bedroom to change out of his cat suit. He jumped when he heard a groan coming from the back garden so he opened his curtain a chink and peered through. His sister, Nicole, was lying there on the lawn and staring up and the nearly cloudless, sighing, ‘Life’s so boring…’
Rahul chuckled away to himself behind the curtains and said, ‘But is it?’