Boys Will Be Boys

 

 

It was a serious group that sat at the secluded table in O'Phelan's.

Mickey Kostmayer, Ginger Brock and four others were waiting somberly for Robert McCall, the team leader, to restart the meeting. The mission was one the Company was insisting McCall "play hero" for and lead the operation.

An ex-agent who was enjoying a reasonably quiet "retirement", McCall was loath to become involved in any more Company exploits. It had taken Control two days of cajoling and another day of full scale badgering before he agreed to head this latest operation. Robert had called the meeting that morning for a full review of the upcoming mission. It had taken longer than expected, lasting all day and was now continuing well into the evening.

In a moment of compassion, Robert had given in to the complaints about the suffocating room and lack of decent food and agreed to continue the meeting at the restaurant. Of course, he had called ahead to make sure it was relatively slow and they could be seated away from any other patrons.

The food orders were placed and drinks were delivered before Robert opened his folder to continue the review.

So intent on the problem at hand, no one noticed the group of four young men and women enter the restaurant.

 

 

Scott McCall waved to Jeremy as he entered the restaurant, indicating that he would seat himself as he led the group to a booth. Letting the women sit first, Scott and his friend Monty, the next Edgar Bergen, Scott's dad called him, slid in next to them.

"Hey, isn't that your dad?" Monty asked as they reached for the menus.

Craning his head around the back of the booth, he caught sight of his father, and a few other people, seated not far from them. He recognized Mickey Kostmayer immediately. A couple of others he knew casually, so he was relatively sure the meeting was agency related.

"Yeah, that's him all right." Scott replied, briefly entertaining the idea of going over and saying hi, before he thought better of it. He knew better than to interrupt an agency meeting.

"The distinguished looking one in the suit?" Asked Tracy, Monty's sister.

"Who else?" Scott scowled playfully. "The rest are barely old enough to be my brothers and sisters."

Friends for only a few months, Monty had somehow gotten it into his head that the younger McCall and his sister were perfectly matched. While Scott found the young woman attractive and fun to be with, he just didn't feel any romantic spark. Being with her was a lot like being with his own sister, Yvette. Since Tracy felt the same way, Monty had become resigned to them just being friends.

"So who's the babe sitting next to him?" She asked, her deep brown eyes sighting Mickey Kostmayer. The young musician smiled at the disapproving frown that sprang to her brother's face.

"Hey! That's not fair," protested Alyssa from beside her boyfriend Monty, and his frown deepened as he looked at her. "How can you see when I can't?" She asked Tracy.

"I can see them in the mirror," Tracy replied simply.

"Where?"

"There," she pointed. "Over the bar."

"Cool. We can watch them all we want and they won't even know it."

"Wait a minute!" Objected Monty. "You're not supposed to be checking out other guys. You're my girlfriend."

Tracy ignored the good-natured argument between the couple and fixed her attention completely on the blond man sitting next to her. "So can you hook me up?"

Scott almost missed the request as he was struck with a brilliant idea, a potentially lethal brilliant idea, but a brilliant idea nonetheless. It would be the perfect way to avenge a joke Kostmayer had played on him recently in front of his father and several of their agency friends. The only real problem was that it might anger his father. Oh well, his dad had been mad at him before and undoubtedly would be again. He'd get over it.

 

 

"All right," Robert was saying. "We will need to make sure that the explosives are set to go off precisely at twenty-one-hundred hours. They will be needed to div...."

"Help!"

Robert looked at the group. Not quite sure what the sound was or where it came from, or if he had even heard anything at all. No one else at the table gave any indication that anything was amiss. Must be hearing things, he thought.

Taking a breath he continued. "The explosions will be the covers for the ground unit. As soon...."

"Can't move, help me!"

The sound was clearer this time. It was definitely a voice. A little high pitched but a voice nonetheless. It sounded like it was coming from under the table. Mickey must have thought so too. Not too discreetly, his spoon clattered to the floor. Kostmayer bent to pick it up, giving the space underneath the table a complete examination. Nothing but legs and feet. Sitting back up he cast a puzzled look to the rest of the group.

Narrowing his eyes suspiciously McCall tried again. "The ground troops will have fifteen minutes after they enter the compound to...."

"Help me, please, dark."

Robert's head snapped up. This time the voice could not be denied. Nor that it was definitely coming from close to a very baffled Mickey Kostmayer.

"What the hell?" Mickey muttered

"My thoughts exactly," Robert retorted, removing his reading glasses and tapping them impatiently on the papers in front of him. "Do you have something to share with the rest of us Mr. Kostmayer?"

Mickey shook his mop of light brown hair in agitation, confusion clear on his face. "It's not me, McCall, I'm not doing anything," Kostmayer protested.

The older agent cocked his head to one side and stared at the younger man through narrowed eyes.

"It's not me," Mickey vowed solemnly.

 

 

Pete studied the four people seated in the booth. All were hunched over trying desperately to stifle their laughter. If Scott McCall thought the menu he held in front of his face was hiding him, he was sorely mistaken.

Wiping her hands on a towel, she walked over to the table. Not because their order needed to be taken, but because she wanted to find out what Robert's son was up to.

"All right young man, spill it," Pete stated bluntly as she came up to the group.

Peeking out from behind the menu, Scott smiled at Pete. "What d'ya mean?" He asked innocently.

"Come on Scott, the four of you are sitting here giggling like a bunch of ten-year-olds who just put a frog in their teacher's desk. What gives?" She countered.

Scott gave her a guilty look, then cast a quick glance at the mirror behind the bar. A look that was not missed by Pete. Sneaking a peek of her own in the same direction, she noticed the excellent view the mirror gave of her silent partner's table.

Crossing her arms in front of her chest, she said in a scolding voice, "Scott McCall, tell me what's going on right now or I'm going right over to your father's table." Pete O'Phelan was no fool. Whatever the younger McCall was up to, it had something to do with his dad.

"NO!" Scott grabbed her arm and begged in a low whisper. "Please Pete, we're just messing with Mickey a little. No one's going to get hurt."

"Except you," Pete replied, wagging a finger at the young man. "Now, what are you up to?"

"Nothing. Really."

Pete pursed her lips together and scowled disapprovingly at the young man.

"OK, it's just a little joke, I swear." Scott pleaded. When the look didn't change, he relented. "Monty," he nodded at the man across from him, "is a ventriloquist."

Well that explained.... nothing.

"He can make anything talk," Scott said, then glanced quickly at the bulge in his pants and smiled wickedly. "Anything," he repeated, giving Pete a conspiratorial wink and a huge smile.

Pete gave him a doubtful look, then looked casually back to mirror over the bar. This did have the makings for an excellent joke on one Michael Anthony Kostmayer. Pete knew from personal past experience that Mickey could mete out a joke. She'd never actually seen one played on him though.

This might be worth a few minutes after all.

 

 

"Now," Robert was saying after a few blissfully uninterrupted minutes. "Mickey will lead the team into...."

"Please, help me. Tight, too tight can't move."

This time there was no doubt. The voice was coming from Mickey Kostmayer.

"Kostmayer!" McCall declared in a low threatening tone, slamming on hand to the table in front of him. They really didn't have the time for practical jokes right now. Not if they were going to finish at any kind of decent hour.

"I don't know what's going on, McCall. I told you, it's not me," the agent swore adamantly. This time there was no pretense when he looked under the table. There was still nothing underneath to suggest where the elusive voice was coming from. Sitting back up, he cast a confused look toward each member of the group, letting his gaze end with McCall.

"It's you!" He said accusingly as he stared suspiciously back at the senior agent. "You're setting me up! You placed a mike here somewhere."

Robert glared at the younger man and snapped, "And just when and where would I have placed this mike? We still have a lot of work to get through, Mr. Kostmayer. We do not have time for this nonsense."

"Yeah, Mickey, some of us have homes to go to after this, and we'd like to do it sometime tonight," Ginger grumbled.

Placing his right hand on his heart and raising his left hand, Mickey abandoned the conspiracy theory, more confused now than ever. "I swear to God, McCall, I'm not doing anything. Someone's setting me up!"

Robert harrumphed, peered at Mickey over the top of his glasses, then fidgeted again with the papers in front of him, unsure as to what to believe. Mickey's protests were so sincere; he almost had the ex-agent convinced of his innocence. Still there was the voice and it was definitely coming from where Kostmayer sat.

A quick sweep of the restaurant revealed only Pete and the group she was conversing with. With one final glare at his protégé, he returned to the papers in front of him.

 

 

"Scott, you're going to make him mad," Pete warned as the group dissolved into another fit of giggles. The words were said sternly but lacked any real conviction as she fought down a chuckle or two of her own.

"That's OK. Dad never stays mad at me long," he said as a sly smile played at the corner of his mouth.

"I wasn't talking about your father. I was thinking more along the lines of Mickey." Pete bent over the end of the table, bracing her hands on the flat surface and leaned in close to the young man. "I suggest you get a head start. A large head start. A very, very large head start."

"Thanks a lot, Pete," Scott snorted and gave her an exaggerated roll of his eyes.

 

 

The meals arrived and the group dug in, momentarily forgetting mission briefings and elusive voices.

The large meal left the group a little lethargic. Mickey crossed his ankles, laced his fingers together, then stretched to his full length, rocking his chair back on two legs.

"Someone, please, let me out."

Everyone froze. Even Ginger, fork midway to her mouth with dessert, stopped as Mickey stared at the bulge in his pants just below his zipper.

"I can't breathe in here," came the next, near hysterical plea from his pants and Kostmayer sat upright in the chair, the front two legs falling back to the floor, his hands slamming onto the table top to keep him from ending up face first in his plate. The jolt from the impact upset his glass of ice water near the edge of the table, causing it to spill onto his lap.

"NO, COLD! Too cold, too cold, Let me out, let me OUT!!"

The voice screamed as Mickey stared down at the table, as if he could see through it, see through his pants to the invisible person now residing inside his jeans.

"Shit" Kostmayer exclaimed as the sensation of the ice cold water on bare skin made its way to his brain and he bolted to his feet, snatching a napkin on the way and frantically wiped at the water on the crotch of his jeans.

"NO - NO - NO! STOP!" His pants screamed.

Mickey froze in mid swipe and stared again at the place the voice was emanating from.

"I want Ginger to do that," the voice purred. Mickey's jaw dropped his eyes wide with shock.

"You bastard!" Ginger exploded, not at all amused to the butt of Kostmayer's joke. For a minute Mickey thought she was going to hit him.

"That is enough Mickey!" McCall yelled at the unfortunate agent.

The unmistakable sound of laughter reached them then. It only took a second to spot the four young people as they literally fell over themselves getting out of the booth. It surprised Robert that Pete was there too, nearly doubled over as she leaned against the railing. Even more surprising was the sight of his son trying to hide behind the woman as he backed toward the door. And Robert knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt he knew, that whatever had just gone down, this most precious part of himself was involved, and was sure to incur the wrath of the lethal agent. Sighting Monty, the ex-agent knew exactly what had just transpired. And while Mickey knew of Scott's newest friend, he had yet to meet him. McCall leaned back in his chair. If Scott wanted to play games with the "big boys", he was going to have to deal with the consequences on his own.

"Ah, Scott and his friends," Robert explained, almost unnecessarily, as the group of young people stopped to wave to their friend's father before heading for the door. "That," Robert said dramatically, pointing to the brunette young man, "is Monty. I've told you about him, Mickey, he's the ventriloquist."

The rest of the table needed no further explanation as their laughter joined that of the retreating prankster's.

Mickey glared at the departing group. His eyes swept over them, stopping long enough to note the two good looking women, then narrowed dangerously as they targeted the blond musician.

"Help me, it's dark," Scott mimicked the voice through another fit of giggles, taking two steps back. "Let me out, let me out."

"You little bastard. I'm going to kill you," Mickey growled as he lunged after McCall's son.

Robert tensed, ready to intervene despite his earlier resolve to stay out of the fray. Scott just wasn't a match for the agent and while Robert trusted Mickey, accident's did happen. For Scott's sake, the father hoped his son had a better plan than run and hide. The boy might get away temporarily, but Kostmayer had a memory like a bull elephant and sooner or later, undoubtedly sooner, would catch up to the young musician. McCall doubted that the scene would be a pretty one.

Kostmayer caught back of the musicians shirt just as he reached the door.

"You can't kill me," Scott laughed as Kostmayer spun him around and grabbed the front of his shirt solidly in his fists.

"Yeah? Give me one good reason why not," Mickey answered in his most menacing voice, the one guaranteed to scare the hell out of even the most experienced agents. Scott didn't even bat a lash. It exasperated Kostmayer that he couldn't intimidate the kid. Even though Scott knew just how lethal the man could be, the kid was certain beyond a shadow of a doubt that Mickey Kostmayer would never do any real harm to him and it drove the younger agent crazy.

"I know her number," Scott smiled wickedly.

"Huh?"

"The girl that just left, the one with the brown hair."

"Yeah, so."

"She has the hots for you. You kill me and you'll never get her number."

Mickey thought back to the group that had just left the restaurant, pulled up an image of the young woman with brown hair and a smile that seemed to consume her entire face. Staring hard at his captive, Kostmayer weighed the sheer joy of strangling Scott's neck against the potential joy of the good-looking young woman.

"She's a little young for me, don't you think," he argued.

"Oh for Christ's sake Mickey, she's twenty-four years old. That's old enough to go out with anyone she wants to. Even someone as old as you."

"Hey! I'm not that old!" Mickey protested with a sharp shake of the kid's shirt.

"Weeell?"

Scott's smile widened as the deadly grip loosened just a bit.

By now Pete had joined her friends at Robert's table as they watched the end of the show. It was hard to miss the smug self-satisfied smile on Scott's face, nor the half-hidden look of pride on his fathers. It seemed that Scott had actually out maneuvered the agent.

"Watch this," Ginger whispered evilly, then stood and quietly made her way to the still bickering duo.

Pete and Robert exchanged a bemused look knowing that this little scenario was not as close to being over as Scott thought it was.

"Fine. One date for your life." Kostmayer decided as he released the young man's shirt and smoothed it with exaggerated care. "I'll call as soon as I'm back in town and you better have her number."

Accepting the victory with only a small amount of graciousness, Scott tuned to leave. He had just grabbed the handle when an ice-cold voice from behind literally froze his hand to the knob.

"Not so fast."

Both men turned around and were surprised to see Ginger Brock a scant ten feet away. She stood ramrod straight, shoulders drawn back, arms crossed over her chest, giving the younger man a look of death that made even Kostmayer sit up and take notice. Scott's stomach did a nervous flip as, once again, he was backed up against the solid frame behind him. The victorious grin he wore moments earlier was replaced with one of wariness. It dawned on Scott that he had made a serious miscalculation. While Scott had been sure he had a way to deal with his father's friend, he had completely forgotten to take Ginger Brock's reaction into account. And from what he had heard, and seen, the woman was in the same league as Mickey Kostmayer.

Ginger moved toward Scott with slow deliberate steps, like a panther stalking its prey. While the look on her face was carefully neutral, it also hinted at her deadly intent.

The eyes, Scott realized. It was something in the cold, hard look she was casting.

Her advance was perfection and Scott reacted deliciously, like a helpless animal trapped with no where to escape.

As Mickey watched silently, he marveled at the look of doom the auburn haired agent cast on the young musician, at the effect it had on the kid as he squirmed uneasily under the unrelenting gaze. His earlier anger started to re-emerge as he realized she had accomplished something he had not.

"You're afraid of her?" Mickey growled in disbelief, his hand fisting back into the front of Scott's shirt. "You're not afraid of me but you're afraid of HER?"

"He should be," Ginger purred menacingly as she closed in on her victim. "I haven't dealt with him for including me in his little joke."

"I...I didn't...I mean..." Scott stammered, trying to find an acceptable apology. Nothing inspiring came to mind and the most he could do was offer a weak apologetic smile.

By the time Ginger reached Scott, he was pressed so solidly against the door, he couldn't back away any farther without becoming part of it. Scott swallowed hard against the heart in his throat, then held his breath as the female agent stopped directly in front of him. Before Scott could make another attempt at an apology, Ginger grabbed his face in her hands, pulled it to hers and kissed him hard. Letting his face go she gave an amused chuckle at the flush of bright red that covered the kid's face.

"Now we are even," She said smiling sweetly, then turned and sashayed her way back to the table, sat down, slowly crossed her legs and took a long sip of her drink. All to the applause of the others still sitting there.

Mickey stared after her almost missing the goofy look of awe that crept onto the younger mans face. A look that strongly boarded on mild infatuation. Scott's legs went weak with relief and Mickey used his grip on the kid's shirt to steady him.

"Gee Mickey, I really like her kind of revenge. She's better at this than you are. " Scott said glibly.

Kostmayer stabbed Scott with another glare. Reaching around the kid, he pulled open the door.

"Yeah, you think so? If I don't get a date with that girl when I get back, I'll do something with your lips and it won't be kissing them." Mickey threatened. Before Scott could come up with a smart-assed reply, Mickey shoved him outside and slammed the door shut behind him.

Slowly, slightly red faced, Kostmayer turned back toward his teammates.

"And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how you get even," Ginger said smugly, slowly swinging her dangling leg.

Mickey had no choice but to admit that he had been bested. With a gallant sweep of his right hand and a deep bow at the waist, he said humbly, "I bow before the master."

"Mr. Kostmayer," Robert requested in a droll English accent and an exaggerated wave of his hand. "Would you, and your 'friend', mind joining the rest of us at the table? That is, if you think you can control yourself."

The table broke up again as Mickey retook his seat.

 

 

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