The Chief hadn’t called me in a while, and I was beginning to get suspicious. I had been running with a pretty rough crowd: attorneys; lobbyists; the IRS…you know the type. I wondered whether The Chief might have found himself a new sleuth, one a little more strait-laced and less apt to wander into dangerous situations in search of adventure, romance, thrills and effects pedals. It was then that I started to hear a rather faint ringing…a ring that I’d never heard before.
I looked at my cell phone but, no, that wasn’t it. I’d long ago given up my landline, so I knew it couldn’t be a home phone, either. I looked down at the right-hand side of my desk and saw lights flashing on my pocket calculator. Puzzled, I picked it up.
“Hello?” I said quizzically, after having pressed the “7” button.
“Spy, it’s The Chief,” I heard, his gruff voice proof positive that it was him.
“Chief, do you realize that you’re calling me on a pocket calculator?” I asked. “First of all, why are you doing that? Secondly…ahem…how are you doing that anyway?”
“Never mind, Spy,” The Chief barked. “No wonder sales clerks ignore you at some of these stores. You and your damn questions! Now, I have an assignment for you. Do you want it or not?” Clearly, The Chief was in a rare mood on this day.
“Yes, I’ll take the assignment, Chief,” I replied. “Where am I going?”
“Go to Los Angeles,” he said. “Your cover is you play blues bass guitar and want to buy another one.”
“Good deal, Chief,” I said, not wanting to tempt fate with any back talk. “I’m on my way.” I pressed the “9” button to hang up and, with that, I took off to the city of angels. I opted for an elaborate, almost costume-like, disguise to ensure that none of my L.A. contacts in the music biz would recognize me. (I’ve been known to frequent the L.A. music scene a lot.) Anything for objectivity, that’s what I say!