The Fowlout

“Tell me what I want to know or you’ll never see the light of day again!” the man with the sunglasses shouted as he slammed his hands down on the table.

“What do you want to know?” Woodruff replied as he clung to Bob.

“Yeah, we’ll tell you anything,” Bob said.  “In the third grade, I cut a piece of Missy Stewarts hair off.  I told my friends it was because she had cooties but I secretly liked her.”

“That’s sweet,” the man abruptly removed his sunglasses.  “And kind of creepy.  Is that your thing?  Are you a creep?”

“No sir,” Bob said.  “I’m told I’m more of a clown.”

“Well then, clown,” the man slapped back on his sunglasses.  “How ‘bout you make me laugh?  Who’s your dealer?”

“Dealer?” Woodruff asked.  “We don’t have a dealer.”

“You don’t?” the man in the sunglasses asked.  He stood up straight and scratched the stubble on his chin.  “An accomplice?”

“Bob is my only accomplice.”

“Yeah, without Woodruff I would accomplish accompless.”

“A target?”

“Like a bull eyes?” Bob asked.

“Exactly,” the man in the sunglasses said.

Woodruff and Bob looked sheepishly at each other.

“In my defense, the taxidermist said I could take whatever I wanted,” Woodruff said.

“I told you that was wrong,” Bob said.

“Now we’re getting somewhere,” the man in the sunglasses said.  “What do we got.”

Bob nodded at Woodruff.  Woodruff reached into his pocket, pulled out his keychain and placed it on the table between them and the man in the sunglasses.  On the end of the keychain was a dark black ball.  The man in the sunglasses recoiled.

“Is that…?”

“Yep.”

“A bulls eye.”

The man in the sunglasses started to shiver and grin.

“That is disgusting,” he giggled.

Suddenly, he composed himself and adjusted his sunglasses.

“Put that disgusting awesome keychain away,” he ordered.  “That’s not what I’m after.”

“Well, what are you after?” Woodruff asked.

“Yeah, we don’t have a dealer, an accomplice, or a target,” Bob said.

“A conspirator, then?”

“Well, Bob is the conspiracist but never a conspirator.”

“Right,” Bob said.  “Was the moon landing faked?  Did Hoover order the assassination or JFK?  Why isn’t the McRib available year round?  McConspiracy.”

“You think this is a game?” the man in the sunglasses exploded.  He turned to the mirror at the far end of the room and adjusted the collar of his FBI jacket.  “Bert Macklin always gets his man.”

“Are you talking to yourself in the mirror?” Woodruff asked.

“I’m talking to the best darn agent the bureau has ever seen,” Bert responded, still looking at himself in the mirror.

“Yep, he’s definitely talking to himself,” Bob said.

“Tell me where you hid it and I’ll let you go,” Bert said, as he snapped his gaze back to them and abruptly removed his sunglasses again.

“Where we hid what?” Woodruff said.

“The merchandise,” Bert whispered.

“We didn’t hide any merchandise,” Bob replied.

“The contraband?”

“Nope.”

“The intel?”

Woodruff and Bob just shook their heads.

“The hostages?”

“We don’t have any hostages,” Woodruff replied.

“Well what did you guys do then?” Bert asked.  He threw his arms up in exasperation.  “This is so hard and I’m so hot in this jacket.”

Bert slipped off his FBI jacket and tossed it on the table.  Then he loosened his tie and pulled his, still button, shirt off over his head.

“We’re not sure why we’re here,” Bob said.  “You don’t know?”

The door to the tiny holding room opened and a tall man in a suit entered, carrying a clipboard and a cup of coffee.  The man nearly spilled his coffee where he caught sight of the shirtless agent.

“Andy!” the man shouted.  “What are you doing in here?”

“Hi Agent Gallagher,” Bert replied with a sheepish wave.

“His name is Andy?” Woodruff asked.  “He said his name is Bert.”

“Not Bert Macklin again,” Agent Gallagher replied.  “Andy, I told you, it’s a felony to impersonate a federal agent.”

“But they were about to crack,” Andy protested.

“He’s not an agent?” Bob exclaimed.

“No, he shines shoes in the lobby,” Agent Gallagher replied.

“I started to suspect something was amiss when he took off his shirt,” Woodruff said.

“I thought we were going to go swimming,” Bob replied.

“Can we?” Andy asked.  He looked hopefully at Agent Gallagher.  Bob’s eyes widened with anticipation as he too anxiously awaited a reply.

“No, you can’t go swimming,” Agent Gallagher said.

“Aw,” Bob and Andy replied in unison.

“Get out of here, right now,” Agent Gallagher ordered.

Andy slumped his shoulders and began to leave with Woodruff and Bob standing up to follow him.

“Not you!” Agent Gallagher yelled and pointed for Woodruff and Bob to sit back down.

They dutifully obeyed as the shirtless imposter paused at the door.

“Can I stay, please?” Andy begged.  “I gotta know what these guys did, or it’s gonna drive me crazy.”

“They have the right to privacy,” Agent Gallagher said.

“We don’t mind.”

“Really?”

“Not at all.”

“Fine,” Agent Gallagher said.  “But you’re going to sit in the corner and be quiet.”

“Quiet as a library rat,” Andy said and took a seat in the corner of the room.

“And put a shirt on,” Agent Gallagher ordered.

Agent Gallagher waited and watched as Andy wrestled his still buttoned shirt over his head.  When he had finished, the agent turned his attention back to Woodruff and Bob.

“Your background checks came back with some high unusual behavior,” Agent Gallagher began.  “Founding a professional Tic Tac Toe League, Public Burrito Jousting, Horse Dancing in Tiananmen Square…”

“It’s called Dressage,” Bob interrupted.  “And it’s not a crime.”

“No, but you know what is?  Poultry theft, illegally transporting livestock into international waters, operating a sea craft without a license, and assault and mischief with intent to wedgie.”

“Your honor, I can explain,” Woodruff began.  “We weren’t stealing those turkeys, we were saving their lives.”

“Yeah,” Bob chimed in.  “We were just keeping them from the annual state-sanctioned turkey massacre.  Plus, we returned them on Monday.”

“And according to the Massachusetts charter of 1787 a citizen may leave port without consent or prosecution when providing refuge, escape, or asylum to a being foreign or domestic whose life is endanger,” Woodruff said.

“Furthermore, by edict of the East Indian Trading Company 1655, a person or persons who thwarts, apprehends, or bamboozles a pirate is entitled to twenty pieces of eight, a portion of rice and barley, and either a goat, a chicken or a monkey,” Bob continued.

“Not only have we committed no crimes, but you owe us a monkey,” Woodruff concluded.

“Oh wow,” Andy chuckled.  “Argue with that.”

The frustrated agent put his head in his hands and groaned.  Andy raised his eyebrows at Woodruff and Bob and gave them a thumbs-up.

“Okay,” Agent Gallagher sighed.  “Since the turkeys and the ship were returned, and the hours it would take me to research all that nonsense would make me late to karaoke, I’m going to let you off with a warning.  But know this, we’ll be watching you.”

“Who’s the creep now,” Woodruff whispered.

“Thank you, your eminence,” Bob said, bowing to Agent Gallagher.

“Do you validate?” Woodruff asked.

“Get out of here before I change my mind,” Agent Gallagher said.  He pulled open the door and pointed to the hallway.

Woodruff and Bob walked around the metal table and through the open door.

“You hungry?” Bob asked.

“I could eat,” Woodruff replied.

“Me too,” Andy said, as he scurried out through the door and nearly ran into them.  “Can I come?”

“Sure,” Bob said.  “Know any good places to eat?”

“There’s a pretty good crab and waffle place around the corner,” Andy replied.

“Drawn Batter!” Bob yelped.  “I love that place.  They have the best…”

“Banana pudding,” Andy, Woodruff, and Bob sang together.

“Last one there pays,” Agent Gallagher shouted as he ran by them out the front door.  The trio laughed and chased after the agent, toward a building topped with a neon crab holding a waffle in its claw.

One thought on “The Fowlout

  1. I shudder to imagine the the imaginations you went through to create that dialogue! Where do you get that stuff? Oh I get it, you’re prepping for chapters of the next great book? Testing the waters!

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