Being things were going. Sometimes depending on the

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Being an international spy is no walk in the park. Death can
be waiting for you around the corner or around the world. However
when you’re only 17 years old, death is the furthest thing from
your mind. So here we were on a hot summers day playing
international espionage. Of course to six of us playing, it was
just another Saturday of playing spy.

Myself, Tim Wolfe, David Sullivan, Peter Shore, Jennifer
Strong (who was the only female to be amongst us) and Frank Robb
made up the group. At this age it was suppose to be above us to
play in these spy games.

We were going to be graduating in a year or so after all. Thus
keeping the game secret was good practice for all of us. It also
meant lying to a lot of people as to why we were always busy on
Saturdays. Mind you, we never considered it lying. We preferred to
refer to it as clouding the truth. Many of us wanted to become
employed in the intelligence area. So really, we though of it more
as an act of deception.


We took our game very seriously. In fact we never even
referred to is as a game. Mostly because we were working our
maneuvers on real people who didn’t know we were just a group of
teenagers pretending to be spies. Every week we’d have at least one
meeting at my house to talk about how things were going. Sometimes
depending on the case or goal we were pursuing, the meetings would
run on into the late of night.

I guess it could be said that I was leader of our group. The
meetings were held at my house, and I was the one who brought
together the present group of agents. In the theme of espionage,
we referred to everyone as an agent. Never as a friend. However we
preferred to think of our agency, which we had given the name of
the Renegades, as a collective. That is, everybody had a say in
what we did.

My bedroom was in the basement of our house, and I had the
entire basement at my disposal. Against the far wall was a room
with my bed, stereo, and the usual stuff you’d find a bedroom.

Perhaps the one difference being I had posters of famous spies on
my walls rather than sports heroes. Igor Grouzenko is a good
example. Outside my room was a large table where we held most, if
not all, of our meetings. Thanks to a door located in the cellar,
it made for easy access to the outside. In most cases my parents
never knew we held meetings on into the dead of night. The door
also made it easy to sneak out at night. Agents do their work best
under the cover of darkness you know.

Today our meeting was going to be a good one. Last Thursday
we had decided to draw up entire new names and careers for
ourselves. Agents usually have more aliases than friends, so we
decided to change ours every month. It was kind of hard juggling
school work and memorizing new alias information each month. Yet
when we were out in the ‘real world’ doing maneuvers it all seems
worth it.

The table was round, so there really was no one at the head
of it. From left to right there was Tim, David, Peter, Frank, Jen,
then myself. “I trust everyone had no problem coming up with a new
alias” I asked.

Everyone nodded in agreement. From there we went about the
table saying who we now were and what our profession was. My alias
was John Inglis, and I went to one of the local high schools. As
a part time job I supposedly worked for McDonald’s. Everybody’s
main story was that they went to high school. It helps give
credibility to your story. Perhaps the only thing that varied from
person to person was their name, and their part time job.

After some more talking, we decided on our next target. We
were going to find out how much money the local computer store
takes in on a daily basis. Naturally they would not divulge such
information to a bunch of teenagers. The way we go about gathering
our information is the basis for our intelligence game. Finding out
stuff about people and things which they’d rather have us not know.

Since many of us had a chemistry test next morning, we kept
the meeting short. We all agreed to meet back at my house tomorrow
– Friday – night to discuss our plan of action. As a parting word
I suggested that a cleaning of our guns during study breaks would
do us some good. Both to help us relax to study, and ensure the
guns worked properly. With that we said our good-nights.

When I mention gun, I’m not talking about the kind that carry
bullets and actually kill people. The guns we carry are of a much
less harming sort. We carried CO2 powered paint guns which fired
paint pellets. Although they could do some damage if they hit
someone in the eye, we always ensured that the enemy was hit on the
body. Preferable in the heart to ensure what would normally be
death.

We could carry the guns where-ever we wished, under one
condition. They must always be concealed. If your weapon could be
seen, it was considered that you were as good as dead. Personally,
I carried mine tucked into my pants behind my back.

After a few hours of studying, I didn’t think any more chem
would sink in. So, it was off to bed. Tomorrow I’d write the test,
and then get to thinking about our weekend of intelligence work.


* * * * *
The test went ok. It’s always hard to concentrate fully when
you know that you’re doing spy techniques the following day. With
that I went home around 3:30 and waited for my fellow agents to
arrive.

Eventually everyone showed up and we began to plan out what
we’d be doing tomorrow. The plan was to have Jen and Frank head
down to the store tomorrow with the front of wanting to buy a
computer. The rest of us would wait out in the car and watch who
went in and out of the store.

Saturday rolled around and Tim came by around 10am. Since Tim
was the only one who owned his own car, he ended up doing most of
the driving. It seems I was the last one to be picked up, as
everyone else was present and accounted for. By the time 10:30 had
rolled around, we were all down at Compu-Tech.

Jen and Frank left the car, leaving the rest of us to sit and
listen to the radio. Time drags slowly when you’re sitting and not
physically partaking in a mission. I mean aside from watching
whose coming and going, there wasn’t much else to do.

About half and hour later Jen and Frank emerged. Chit chatting
about what they had seen and what the salesman had told them. As
always we decided not to talk about anything concrete until we were
back at my place.

Arriving home, we descended into the basement and took our
usual seating. Jen started the meeting by telling everything and
everything about the store. Frank sat beside her and interjected
his opinion every now and then. By the time Jen had given us her
report we felt fairly comfortable with the information we had
heard. Yet we still didn’t know what their daily income was.

“One more thing” Jen said. “One of the sales people was Tammy
Contenda. Maybe she can give us the information were after”.

Tammy Contenda was a girl we all knew from high school.

Although she was fairly popular, none of us could be considered her
good friend. Acquaintances is perhaps a better word. None the less,
we had our lead. Now all we had to do was pump the information from
her. If she could tell us about Compu-Tech without any of us
entering the building ourselves, so much the better.

It was decided that myself and Dave would approach her. After
all, she may recognize Jen and Frank from the store if they decided
to talk to her. We spent the rest of our day figuring out step by
step what we would do in the following weeks. Many of our missions
took about a month to finish, sometimes even longer. So speed was
not of the essence.


* * * * *
“On Monday” I began “Dave and I will approach Tammy to see
what we can get find out about Compu-Tech. Chances are good that
she won’t volunteer the information readily. So, it may take some
time.”
“What, instead of waiting a week for this project to come to
a close we may end up waiting three or four?” This was Peter
talking. Pete always was in a rush to get our missions over and
done with. Were it not for the fact that he was an incredible
agent, and excellent at recruiting people, we might have let him
go. These factors alone were enough to keep him in the Renegades.

“Unfortunately it just might” I replied. “You know as well as
anyone else that having Tammy tell us how much money the store
brings in lessens the risk to us”.

“I know I know” said Pete. “I just wish it wouldn’t take so
long”.


Monday arrived before we knew what happened. Saturdays are
always dedicated to Renegade work. That means Sundays are left to
doing homework. At school, Dave approached Tammy under the guise
of needing help in Algebra. As luck would have it, her and Dave
were in the same class. Later on into the conversation, I happened
by and Dave introduced me to her. Bingo, contact had been made. The
group of us don’t hang around together at school, so there was
little chance of Tammy associating our intentions with Frank and
Jen. Still we decided to play it safe, so they ate lunch on the
other side of the cafeteria.

By Wednesday, Dave and Tammy had made arrangements for algebra
tutoring outside of class time. I had more or less fallen from the
picture as Dave had become good friends with her. Aside from a
guest appearance here and there, that was it for me. At our regular
Thursday meeting though, we found just how good a friends they
really had become!
“She what?” exclaimed Frank from across the table.

“She asked me to go to prom with her” repeated Dave.

A chorus of laughter could be heard coming from the rest of
us. The prom wasn’t for another two months, and tickets had just
gone on sale at the beginning of the week. Its a safe bet that none
of us had even thought of getting a prom date. Plus considering our
original plan was too just involve Tammy and then end it, this was
an interesting turn of events.

“Have you decided what you’re going to tell her?” Frank
continued to probe the issue. I couldn’t help but pick up a hint
of jealousy in his voice.

“Of course. I told her that I’d love to go with her”.

Silence echoed through my basement for what seemed like an
eternity. At last I asked “Have you found out anything about Compu-
Tech?” This seemed to throw everyone for a loop. We’d all been
wrapped up in the gossip concerning Dave’s life that we forgot
about Compu-Tech.

“Yeah, I’ve been able to find out a bit about the place.

Tammy’s told me about the establishment. It’s owned by a husband
and wife team Linda ; Jason Proton. Business seems to run in
spurts.”
“How long has Tammy been working there?” asked Jen. In this
shuffle of prom dates, everyone had forgotten to consider her
matters on the situation.

“She told me she’s been there for about a year and a half.

Business seems to come and go in spurts according to her. The
summer months including September along with Christmas time are
their peak times.”
“Any complaints with regards to her treatment from them?” Jen
continued.

“None really. Just the usual you know. More pay, not to work
on Friday nights…”
“Yeah yeah” I interjected. “Any word on what we’re after?”
“Nope, not yet. I plan on asking her Friday night.”
“Friday night?” we all seemed to ask in unison.

“Yeah, when we go to the movies together.”
Again, laugher could be hard all around the room.


* * * * *
Saturday’s meeting was relatively short one. Everyone was at
my place by 1pm, and the meeting begun. “How was your date last
night, stud man?” asked Frank. You could tell from the tone in his
voice that he was mocking Dave.

“Fine thanks” Dave replied, not lowering himself to reply with
any snide comments. “Incase you were wondering, I asked her about
the information we’re after.”
“Oh yeah, asked her between kisses I suppose eh?” quipped Frank.

Now listen…” Dave began. “My love life is none of your, or
for that matter anyones’ business, so if you don’t mind I’d…”
Dave’s voice was tensing as we could sense his anger.

“Ok, ok Dave. We understand your point” I stated. “Now, if you
will continue your report on what Tammy told you, I’m sure we’d
all be glad to hear it”.

“Well, according to her, Compu-Tech pulls in around $500,000
a year. Mind you, keep in mind that these figures are just coming
from the top of her head.”
“Would it possible for her to find out the exact amount of
money the store pulls in?” Jen inquired.

“I suppose she has access to that kind of information. Yet how
to propose I ask her? Wouldn’t you become a bit suspicious if
someone asked you to find out the exact financial position of the
business you worked for?”
“Well, I suppose I would” Jen continued. “What if you asked
her to take a look at one of their accounting programs, under the
guise that you wanted to buy a computer system. Then you could ask
her to use the real numbers from Compu-Tech’s income.”
“I suspect it might. Yet I don’t really don’t want to put
myself in such a position. It could jeopardize my relationship with
Tammy.”
“Mind you, it could be done, right?” I asked.

“Ok, ok. I’ll see about doing it. If I lose my prom date over
this though, you can count me out of the Renegades.”
“We’ll take that chance…” Tim commented.

After that comment, the meeting broke down. Jen and I stayed
back to do a bit of target practice in my back yard. The targets
we used were of cut-outs of people which we propped up. Ideally
we’d like to have them jump out at us; as in real target practice,
yet such a feat was not possible.

So, we stood about 40 feet back from the target and began to
take aim. We aimed for the heart area and the head. In real life
though, with a real gun, you’d aim for the person’s head. After
all, leaving any witnesses around was sealing your fate. However
with only paint pistols, we didn’t want to take any chances on
hitting someone in the eye. For that reason we concentrated our
shots to the person’s heart region.

Jen was a much better shot than me. Where 8 out of 10 shots
of mine would hit the proper area on the target, all 10 of Jen’s
would land perfectly. I was jealous yes, but there wasn’t much that
could be done. We worked on various techniques. Such as doing a
forward summer salt, standing up and shooting at the target.

Another one was to walk by the target unsuspiciously, the quickly
remove your gun and shoot.

The later was my strong area while Jen seemed to have mastered
them all. In a while, both targets were covered in red paint. A
quick hose down with water, and they looked as good as new.

“Nothing like an afternoon of target practice to relieve a bit
of stress eh?” I said.

“Yeah, now all we have to do is improve your aim.”
Thinking to myself, I decided that this would be a good time
and place. “Jen” I began. Already I could feel the sweat forming
in my palms. I mean I could pull of this spy stuff with no
problems. Yet when it came to asking a girl out, I was as weak as
they come. “Would you like to go the prom with me?” There, I’d said
it. Now all that was required was the word -yes- and everything
would be perfect.

“Well its really sweat of you to ask” oh oh, here it comes I
thought to myself. “Yet I’ve already said I’d go with Dan Scoff.

I hope you’ll understand.”
“Sure” I replied. Inside my heart dove to the bottom of my
stomach and began to be burned by its acid. Shot down again. Ah
well, that’s life.

Jen helped me put the targets away and I bid her good-bye.

Looking at my watch, I noted the time was close to 4pm. I decided
to head inside and help Mom with dinner. For a guy whose suppose
to feel great about his accomplishments, I sure never felt lower
in my life.


* * * * *
Sunday evening I found myself staring at my Physics book.

Nothing was sinking in. My mind seemed to race everywhere. School,
girls, Jen, the prom, the Renegades, everything. Suddenly the phone
rang.

“How soon can you get over to my place?” It was Dave. From the
sound of his voice something was up.

“If I can get the car, I’ll be over in about 5 minutes. Soon
enough for ya?”
“Perfect.” and with that Dave hung up. Usually Dave can go on
and talk your ear off. In fact the two of us usually sit around and
chat on the phone from time to time. Out of everyone in the group
I’d say I knew him the best.

Putting on my Levis and grabbing a baseball cap I proceeded
upstairs. A quick check with Dad that I could take the car, and I
found myself headed towards Dave’s place. In my rush to get out the
door, I didn’t bother phoning any of the other Renegades. No
matter, if Dave had wanted them at his place, he would have called
them himself.

Arriving at Dave’s I saw the familiar appearance of everyone’s
car with the exception of Pete. Since Tim and Pete live on the same
street, I assumed that Tim had brought Pete along with him. Parking
my car I walked up to the door and rung the bell. Within a matter
of seconds Dave was standing at the door.

“Quickly, come in, come in” Dave said closing the door behind
me. In all my years of being friends with Dave I’d never seen him
so pale. “Go on upstairs, everyone else has already arrived.”
“What’s up Dave?” I asked.

“Just get up stairs. I’ll tell you once we’re in my room.”
I climbed the stairs to Dave’s room, passing family portraits
of him and his brother growing up. The odd family portrait of the
four of them. Kind of makes me wonder why my parents stopped at one
child. Anyway, before I knew it I was walking into Dave’s room.

I walked past Jen and sat beside Tim. “What’s going on here?”
I asked him?
“Beats me. I just received a call telling me to get my butt
down here. Yourself?” replied Tim.

“Same.”
“Now, you’re probably asking yourselves why I called you here
at this time of night.” began Dave. “Well, its about Tammy. She…”
Pete cut in “She what? Found out you have frog lips?”
“No you monkey head.” howled Dave. “She’s been kidnapped!”
* * * * *
“Kidnapped!” I exclaimed. “Are you sure? Who told you this?
When did you find out?” The questions just seemed to roll off my
tongue.

“All I know is that when I called her tonight her Mom told me
that Tammy hadn’t come home from work on Saturday. She figured that
Tammy had gone out with me or was spending the night at a friends
house. Yet when I called at six tonight she still hadn’t come
home.” replied Dave.

We all sat silent for a few moments. Everyone seemed taken
back by this information. I was letting it sink in. Trying to find
some hole or something that I could say to indicate it may not have
been a kidnapping. Then Jen spoke up.

“Have you tried to contact the owners of Compu-Tech? Perhaps
they know what happened to her.”
“Mr & Mrs Contenda tried to contact them. Yet she doesn’t
have their home number written down. Besides, its an unlisted
number so information is out of the question. We have to do
something!!” exclaimed Dave. “This is what we’ve been training for
all these years. To actually get out and use our talents. Well,
now’s the time!”
“Hang on a sec here Dave” I began. “We’re not even sure that
some foul play has happened here. Why don’t we wait until Monday
and find out what the police have to say. Then we can take it from
there. Agreed?”
“Agreed” everyone said in unison, although Dave’s may have
been a bit less then enthusiastic.

Slowly we stumbled out of Dave’s house. On way out we mumbled
our “don’t worry, everything will work out” speech and what have
you. We had decided to hold a meeting tomorrow after school and get
organized. The original plan of finding out the income of Compu-
Tech seemed to be of minor concern in the recent news.

I was home and in bed in no time. Sleep though didn’t smile
upon me tonight. My mind was racing through the potential
kidnapping that Dave had dropped on our laps. Although I issued my
words of encouragement to Dave along with the others, I couldn’t
help but think Dave was on to something here.


* * * * *
School came and went. By 4:00pm everyone was assembled in my
basement, ready to figure out our next step.

“Tammy wasn’t in algebra today” Dave began. “I called her
place when I arrived home from school and still no luck. None of
her friends have seen her either.”
“Have the police been contacted yet?” asked Frank?
“Yeah, Mr. Contenda said he went down to the station this
morning and filled out a missing person report. The officer on duty
told him they’d be in touch if anything turned up.”
“Well, calculus was not the most exciting class today. So,
rather than pay attention I came up with a game plan of sorts. Do
you folks have any objection to hearing me out?” I said.

Everyone seemed to nod in agreement, so I proceeded.

“Now from the way I look at things Tammy was a good kid. The
only reason someone would want to have her kidnapped would be if
she found out something she shouldn’t have. As I understand it, the
Contenda’s are not the richest people in the world. So a possible
ransom reason may be hard to swallow.

For that reason this is what I propose. Jen and Dave head down
to the hall of records. Photocopy or write down everything you can
find on the owners of Compu-Tech Mr. & Mrs. Proton. Maybe they’ve
had some bad dealings or what ever.

I’ll head down to the police station and see if I can get a
look at the missing person report. I doubt they’ll just show it to
me, so I may have to push a few buttons if you will.

Pete, I’d like you to head down to Compu-Tech and see what you
can find out. Just kind of browse around and look and/or listen for
anything. If you’re approached talk like you want to purchase a
computer. In the small talk that ensues, ask about Tammy. You know,
as any nosey customer would. Anyone have any questions?”
“Yeah, what am I suppose to do?” asked Frank.

“You and Tim are in charge of coordinating all the information
we gather. Go over everything with, as the saying goes, a fine
tooth comb. Maybe you’ll be able to tie things together and make
some sense out of it.”
“Ah bummer man” said Tim. “How come we stuck with the loser
job while the rest of you get to rock and roll?” If we lived near
a beach, Tim would have been on the waves 24 hours a day. I
honestly think he should have been born in California rather than
Ontario. From the way he talks you’d think surfing was all he lived
for.

“Come on Tim, give it a break. Not everyone can have the
glamorous jobs you know?” I replied.

“Yeah yeah, I know dude. It’s just I’d rather be out rocken
and rollen with you cats”
We sat around for a while and talked about the specifics of
our assigned missions. Everyone seemed happy with their
assignments. Even Tim and Frank seemed pleased with what I had
assigned them, albeit they did grumble a bit.

“Dinner will be ready in 15 minutes” my Mom yelled down the
stairs. “Will your friends be staying with us tonight?”
I glanced around the room and everyone shook their heads. “No,
they have to be heading home.” I replied.

With that we decided to call the meeting to an end. We’d have
our usual meeting on Thursday when everyone could tell us what
they’d managed to find. I saw everyone out the door in the
basement, and reassured Dave as he left. As Jen approached the door
I turned away and half heartily said “see ya”. Ever since she’d
said no to me about the prom I’d been treating her coldly. Not
intentionally mind you. I just couldn’t relate to her anymore. I
felt like she’d ripped my heart out by saying no.

“Dave…” she began.

“Ah, look. Dinners almost ready otherwise I’d love to sit and
chat with you” I interjected.

“Yeah, right” Jen snapped back.

Tim was the last to leave, and he closed the door behind him.

I stood for a moment in silence and starred at the meeting table.

For about 1 year we had been doing our spy stuff. In all the time
we’d never actually tried a real case. I chuckled to myself in the
silence. Just to think of it. A group of kids calling themselves
The Renegades, was going to try and solve a possible kidnapping
crime. It all seemed a bit hard to believe.


* * * * *
I arrived home from school around quarter to four. Dad was
home, so I asked him for the car. I fabricated some excuse about
going to the library for research a school project. Telling him
that I was on my way to the police station would just result in a
bunch of questions which I was not in the mood to answer.

Before I left the house I gave Dave a call. I wanted to know
if he’d had the presence of mind to ask the Contenda’s if they knew
the officer’s name who took the missing person report. Dave told
me the name was Lublanski. I thanked him and hung up the phone. The
drive to the station was a relatively short one. In the area of
fifteen minutes at the most.

Parking the car, I walked up to the front desk and asked for
an Officer Lublanski.

“Over there” replied the desk Sergeant in a deep voice. I
thanked him and made my way over to the corner of the building.


Sitting at a desk with what mounds of paper folders everywhere
possible, was Officer Lublanski. She seemed like a fairly young
cop, fresh out of the academy. I guessed her age at 23 maybe 24.

A pen wedged behind he left ear indicated that she was a lefty.

Intelligence officers notice everything. Well, at least we had that
in common.

“Officer Lublanski?” I asked as I approached her desk.

“Yes” she replied. “What can I do for you?”
“Hi, my name is John Inglis” I began, giving her my alias
rather than my real name. “I was hoping you could give me some
information on a friend of mine. Her parents seem to have reported
her missing to you a couple of days ago.”
In reality they had filed the report only yesterday. I didn’t
plan on telling the cop any more than I had to though.

“Hmm, what’s the name?” she asked.

“Contenda, Tammy Contenda.”
The officer opened up a drawer and started flipping though a
few files. Before long she pulled out a file and placed in on her
desk. In the corner was written Contenda, Tammy K. K must have been
her middle name. I was beginning to wonder what it may be when I
was brought down to earth again by Lublanski’s voice.

“What interested do you have in this case?” she asked me. “Do
you have any information that can help us out?”
“Unfortunately I don’t” I began. Great. How was I going to
tell her I was interested with the case without looking like a
complete fool. Then, I remembered Tammy worked at a computer store,
I decided to go at it from that angle. “Tammy sold my Dad a
computer when she was working at Compu-Tech. The two of us struck
up a friendship for a while. When we moved I kept in touch with
her. My dad had to come to Toronto for business and I decided to
give her a call. When I found out she may be missing, well I
decided to come down and see what you people could tell me.”
The cop looked at me for a while. Trying to figure out if I
was for real I guess. None the less, she swallowed my story because
the next thing I know she handed me the file.

“So far, its all we’ve got. Do you have any idea of the number
of abductions we get on a daily basis. Then their man power cuts,
and what have you. It all makes for an increasing pile of work.”
I mumbled my “yeah, I can relate” reply, and poured myself
over the file. It contained the usually information such as age,
hair colour, address, etc. nothing out of the ordinary really. I
was just about to hand back and thank her when something caught my
eye. It seemed that the last reported citing of Tammy the police
had was one of in a red pick-up parked outside the local 7-eleven.

To our knowledge the last time anyone had seen Tammy was when she
was at work.

I handed back the file and asked “It says here the last time
she was seen was at 7-eleven.”
“Yeah. One of the workers saw her sitting in the passenger
seat of the truck. He thought it odd that the girl was sitting with
the windows up when it was such a hot day outside.”
Windows up eh? Could indicate the driver of the truck didn’t
want Tammy making a scene of anything. I’d tell my friends about
this info later.

“Thanks for all your help” I said. “Before I go, do you have
a business card I could have? I’ll be in town for a while longer
and if I find anything out I’ll give you a call”.

“Sure, here you go”.

“Thanks.”
“You’re quite welcome” she replied. From there she dove back
into the files piled up on her desk.


* * * * *
Jen and Dave arrived at the Hall of records shortly after
four. Upon entering the building, they noticed that was close to
empty.

“I guess not many people care about history” Dave remarked.

They made their way down the hall into a room containing the
computer catalogs. Dave having the more experience with computer
systems sat down. The main screen presented him with many choices.

“Let’s see” Dave began. “What do you say we pick name search.”
“Sounds good to me” replied Jen. The question was a rhetorical
one, although Jen must have felt compelled to answer.

Dave typed in “Proton” where it asked for last name and
pressed return. The next display on the screen contained a listing
of five people with the last name of Proton. Not know the first
name of the Proton’s who own Compu-Tech, Dave decided to print out
the information on all of them.

Returning to the main screen, the next choice was a business
inquiring. Dave typed in “Compu-Tech” and was greeted with a screen
showing all of the information about the business. A print-out of
this information was also obtained.

“Well, I guess that’s about it eh?” said Dave. “Should we find
out any thing else while we’re here?”
Na. We can always come back if we have to” replied Jen.


* * * * *
Pete walked in to Compu-Tech and walked around for a while.

Looking at the various IBM computers that were on display. After
a while, an older looking gentleman approached him. The name on the
clerks tag read “Rajiv”.

“May I help you” he asked.

“Yeah, I’m heading off to university next year and was
interested in buying a computer. What can you tell me about them?”
From there the man started spouting off information of
megahertz, memory, and everything under the Sun. Pete was quite
bored with the information being thrown at him. He already owned
a computer and knew everything the sales clerk was telling him.

None the less, he put up with it and let him finish.

“Ok, so this one here is a 386, right?” asked Pete.

“Correct” replied the salesman.

“Hmm, I’m kind of torn between the 386 and 486. A friend of
mine Tammy Contenda works here. Is she around? I love to hear what
she has to say on this issue” Pete said.

Looking a little flustered and nervous the man replied “Tammy
hasn’t been in to work since Saturday. I was under the impression
she had gone missing. Hadn’t you heard?”
“No, I hadn’t heard.” Replied Pete. “Do you know anything
about it?”
“Nothing. Now look. The police have already been in here
asking me questions and everything. Just what’s your connection to
her?” asked the clerk.

It was obvious form his reaction and tension that something
was bothering him. Pete decided to play it cool.

“Nothing, we’re just friends. Anyway, thanks for the
information on the computers. I’ll get back to you”.

With that he shook the clerks hand and left the store. Driving
home, Pete couldn’t help shake the feeling that the clerk knew
something which he wasn’t letting on to.


* * * * *
Thursday and our meeting came before I knew what had happened.

Suddenly everyone came running in to my basement. After the usual
round of pleasantries were sorted out, we sat down to business.

“Hey dudes, check this out” echoed Tim. “These cats, the
Protons’ are heavily into debt. Check out the mortgage the have on
their pad. There’s also this problemo of all the computer surplus
they have on hand at the stores”.

Whenever Tim started talking, I always had the shivers.

Something about his surfer persona bothered me. I think it was the
fact he actually look like a surfer. The long blonde hair, the air
headish attitude, everything. None the less, he was right.

“What are you suggesting then Tim? That the Proton’s kidnapped
Tammy for ransom?” asked Jen.

“Uh, no way dudette. I was just making a causal observation.

Chill out will ya?”
“I’d have to agree with Tim on this one” I began.

“So what do you propose then, McDuff?” asked Pete.

I sat in silence for a while trying to think. Things had
become so clouded all of a sudden. Issues with Jen and I were still
tense. “I think we should head down to Compu-Tech and see if we can
talk to the Proton’s. Maybe they’ll crack under pressure and say
more than they should. Comments?”
Everyone sat and nodded in silence. “Good, then its agreed.

I propose that Pete and Dave be the ones to go in the store and
talk with them. Dave is already known to be with Tammy, so the
owners will not be curious is Dave goes in there asking question.

Pete, I just want you to look for anything suspicious. Ok?”
Both Dave and Pete nodded. “Hey, I was talking with Tammy’s
folks last night” began Dave “and they told they found a computer
disk in her room when they were looking for clues as to where she
may have gone.”
“Well bring that sucker in here. It may have valuable stuff
on it!” I replied.

From here the meeting deteriorated. We decided to order in
some pizza and sit around & shoot the shit. I tended to keep my
distance from Jen as she did from me. It seems that when she shot
me down for the prom I was more hurt than I realized.


* * * * *
Monday afternoon we met at my place and went down to Compu-
Tech. After fifteen minutes Dave and Pete came out. Both had
defeated looks on their faces.

“Nothing they said” as they entered the car.

“What happened dudes? No wave action or what?” said Tim.

“Naw, the Protons have taken off for an unspecified amount of
time. It appears that this Rajiv guy is going to be running things
until they return.”
“Did he mentioned why they’d be returning?”
“Naw, the guy said nothing. Then he tried to sell us some
computer. Dave and I spent the entire fifteen minutes trying to
leave the bloody place.”
“Hey” said Dave. “I have that disk from Tammy’s place back at
my own. Why don’t we go get it and take it over to Pete’s. Maybe
there’s something on it we can use”.


Shortly the six of us were al crowded around Pete’s computer
as he drew up a directory on his disk drive.

“Nothing here but a bunch of lotus 1-2-3 files” said Pete.

“Dude, do you have Lotus” asked Tim.

“Yeah. I suppose I could load them in to the computer and see
what they’re all about.”
A few whirls of Pete’s hard disk brought up the Lotus program
and in a short while we were starring face to face with the Lotus
files from the disk dave obtained from Tammy’s folks.

“Hey, do you realize what this is” I screamed out.

“A bunch of meaningless numbers?”
“Naw, this is the financial report for the company. This is
the stuff we were original after. And look at this. Looking at
these files shows their company is making major bucks. Yet when we
looked at their government records, it showed they were loosing
money. My fellow Renegades, I think we’ve found what we were
after.”
* * * * *
I think everyone felt better now that we knew the Protons were
behind Tammy’s appearance. We all agreed that Tammy must have
discovered the Protons were taking money off the top of their
company and falsifying their tax records. Scared that Tammy would
expose them, they decided to get rid of her. This news did not sit
well with Dave. He was still pretty upset over her disappearance,
and knowing her life may be in danger did not quell his nerves.

However it was decided to call it night. Tomorrow we’d hold an
emergency meeting of the Renegades to figure out what to do.


At 4pm sharp everyone arrived at my place.

“Ok, we know the Proton’s are behind this” I began. “Now the
question is what to do from here. Ideas?”
“Like, lets take this to the police cat.” remarked Tim.

“And what? Tell them a bunch of 17 year olds know who
kidnapped Tammy Contenda. Do you honestly think they’d believe us?”
A chorus of “no’s” went around the room. Tim could be heard
letting out a muffled “bummer” in the background. Suddenly Jen
stood up. “I have a plan” she boldly said.

We listened to her idea, and after and hour of hammering out
the details, we knew exactly what we were going to do. The plan
went something like this.


I was to call Compu-Tech and tell them I knew all about their
plot involving Tammy. From there I’d tell them if they valued their
business, they should meet me Friday night behind the local A&P.

Even though Rajiv told us they were on vacation somewhere, we felt
that he was relaying messages to them somehow.

The next day when I arrived home from school the plan was set
in motion. Rajiv told asked me my name, which as all good spies do,
gave him a false one. I always warmed up to the name of Jim
Mackinnon, so that was the name I gave him. Rajiv told me he didn’t
know what I was talking about, but he’d try to get the message
across to the Proton’s. I thanked him an hung up.

Quick phone calls followed to my fellow Renegades telling them
the trap had been set. I think calling Jen was the hardest call in
my life. None the less, I made it.


* * * * *
Friday seemed to take for ever to arrive. However when it did,
everything was planned out. Jen being the crack shot, hid herself
behind a few milk crates. Derek was there with her hold a tape
recorder. Tim was nearby in a parked car ready to pick them up.

Over a bit closer to me were Dave and Frank. Again, the two of them
waiting in a parked car to get me. Everything was in place.

Suddenly, from across the parking lot, a pair of car lights came
at me (us). Slowing, the car eventually came to a stop. Out emerged
the Proton’s.


“Who are you Mr. Jim Mackinnon and what have I done against
you?”
“Slow down there Jason Proton” I started. “The only thing I
have against you is that you’re endangering the life of a friend
of mine. I want to see her returned.”
“What are you talking about? The police are handling the
Contenda investigation as a teen-age runaway. I have better things
to do with my time than stand here and be insulted by the likes of
some 18 year old”.

In reality I was only 17, but hey. Jason Proton thinks I’m
older, so much the better. Slowly, the two of them began to get
back in their cars.

“I know about the imbezeling” I screamed. That comment sure
stopped them in their tracks. Even from where I was standing I
could here his jaw hit the ground.

“What…What…Tammy had no right to tell you that.” the words
seemed not to flow so easily for Mr. Proton now.

“Oh it wasn’t Tammy. YOu see I have this little computer disk
here…” I said holding up a computer disk.

“You scum, that’s breaking and entering!!” he began to run
after me.


Dave’s car engine roared to life as I dove in the back seat.

Tim’s engine could be heard starting up as well. Then the noise of
a gun going off a few times was heard next. Not an ordinary gun
however. Jen’s CO2 powered gun. I looked up from the back seat of
to see Jason Proton’s shirt covered in paint. I honestly believe
he though he was shot.

“Argh!!” he screamed as he fell to the ground. I’m not sure
if he was playing up the effects for all they were worth of if
physiologically his mind told him a bullet had ripped through him.

Whatever the case, Jen and Derek jumped into’s Tim car and both
cars sped off into the night.


We met no more than ten minutes back at my place. Quickly I
pulled out officer Lublanski’s business card and called her at
home. Even though it was 12:30am, I still felt she should know what
he had found out. To say the least, she was not amused that I had
woken her up. She did however remember my name (luckily I
remembered the alias I had given her) and that she’d be glad to
hear what we had to say tomorrow morning. After begging and
pleading my case she finally relented to see us tonight.

Hurriedly I jotted down the directions to her house and within
10 minutes were at her house. With bed head and all, officer
Lublanski came to the door and welcomed us in. I didn’t even bother
introducing my companions.

“Tammy’s life is in great danger” I blurted out.

“What do mean?” she asked kind of sleepy like.

“We have proof that her employers may have done something with
her” spurted out Dave.

“Wait, who are these people?” she asked.

“These are fellow Renegades. Look, I don’t have time to
explain it all to you now. Please, just get a police car over to
the Contenda house hold. Please!!”
Officer Lublanski looked at us like we were nuts. However she
must have figured we had a good reason for being there. After all,
why else would we wake up a police officer at 12:30? “You guys had
better be right about this” she mumbled.

Stumbling off to the kitchen she invited us in to sit down and
relax. We looked “exhausted” as she put it. She was right to. The
six of us clasped in the furniture she had set about her living
room. In a few minutes she was on her way back over.

“Ok, a squad car is on its way over. Now, John do you care to
tell me what this is all about?”
With the mention of the name John, looked at me. They never
ever though I’d actually give a false name to a police officer.

“Well, its a long story I began. For starters, my real name
is not John…”
I guess the story didn’t take as long as I though, because
just as I was finished up with how we had met the Proton’s tonight,
her phone rang. After the usual “yeah’s” and “okay’s” she hung up
the phone.

“I don’t believe it” she was saying as she approached us. “I
just don’t believe it”.

We all jumped up as she came back. “Well, don’t keep us
hanging'” exclaimed Tim.

“I don’t know how to tell you this, but the police found Tammy
alive and well. It seems that when the Protons found out their
scheme was up, they didn’t bother going back home. Tammy had
managed to take off her gag and was screaming at the top of her
lungs for help. The police took her home. She’s going to be ok”.

The group of us let out a collective sigh of relief and sank
back into our chairs. “Speaking going home, I should be heading out
myself” said Derek. Everyone murmured their agreement and we stood
up to leave.

“I’d like to see you all down at the police station tomorrow
is you don’t mind” officer Lublanski began. “You know, to clear up
all the lose strings and stuff”.

“Sure, no problem. Good night” we more or less said in unison.


* * * * *
We agreed to meet as a group and head over to the station at
9am. When we arrived reporters and journalists were everywhere. The
police kept saying “no comment.” As we emerged from our car, they
all ran over to us. A tad intimidated with the rush of media types,
we ran at full tilt into the police station. Bursting though the
doors we found ourselves face to face with the Proton’s.

“You little scum bag. I don’t even know a Jim Mackinnon”
screamed Jason Proton.

Officer Lublanski was standing beside him and looked my way.

I just smiled and said “old habits are heard to break.”
“I bet they are” she replied. “We caught these two at the
airport. It seems they were making a run of Brazil. We arrived just
in time to foil their plot.”
At the moment Tammy came running into the room and ran up to
Dave giving him a huge hag. “Dave, it’s so nice to see you again.”
The rest of us turned away politely, not wanting to stare.

“If you don’t mind, I’d like all of you to come into my office
please.”
We looked over to our left and saw an older type man with gray
hair standing infront of an office. It didn’t take a genius to
figure out it was the chief of police. I can’t speak for the
others, but I was pretty scared. I mean we had interfered with a
police investigation. We had shot a firearm at someone. Technically
we could be in a lot of trouble.

Entering the office we noticed seven chairs infront of the
chief’s desk. “Pease, take a seat” he motioned us as he closed the
door behind him. Dave and Tammy sat together, holding hands. For
the first time since Jen shot me down I sat beside her. For some
strange reason it felt good to be beside her.


“I’d like to begin by saying that I’m very glad miss Contenda
is ok. The last thing we need in this area is another homicide. In
that respect I’d like to congratulate you group, the Renegades
isn’t it, on a job well done”. began the Chief. Whew, that wasn’t
so bad I thought. “But…” as yes, there’s always a but “what you
did was terribly dangerous. Shooting off a fire-arm without a
permit. Stealing personal information, endangering your lives,
interfering with police work…”
“Uh, sir” asked Tim. For me it was the first time I hadn’t
heard him talk like he was out at the beach. “Are we going to be
rockin’ and rollin’ in jail”. Ah there it was. Rockin’ and Rollin’.

I knew the surfer in Tim couldn’t stay hidden.

The Chief of Police let out a little chuckle. “No, you’re not
going to be rockin’ and rollin’ as you so put it. In fact I’m going
to honour you all with distinction medals. How does that sound?”
“Totally tubular” exclaimed Tim.

“I think our comrade speaks for all of us sir” said Derek.

“Great. Then lets go outside and give the press what they came
here for.” With that, we stood up and proceed to meet the media…


* * * * *
It was a dream come true. Although spies don’t want their
picture published on the front page of a daily paper, that didn’t
bother us. After all, its not every day a high school student helps
solve kidnapping cases.

The group of us decided to put Renegade activities on hold
until school was out for the summer. The prom turned out to be a
fun time for everyone. I ended up going stag, which wasn’t too bad.

Derek and I managed to share costs for a limo as he went stag as
well.

I had the front page of the newspaper in which we our picture
appeared framed. It now hangs at the head of my bed, reminding me
that all the hard work we’d done over the years finally amounted
to something. The six of us, Tim Wolfe, David Sullivan, Peter
Shore, Jennifer Strong, Frank Robb, and myself Edward Cohagen. No
more would we be embarrassed to tell our friends we were playing
spy. Although we were no longer a spy agency. Now we were “The
Renegades – Private Investigators for Hire”.

Categories: Accounting

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