The Poodle and Agent 36 In 1974

I tear a large piece of aluminum foil off its roll and carefully cover my just made, delicious smelling pan of chicken and biscuits. It’s a gift for the Three Fates. They live in the penthouse of my apartment building. Well, actually, the dish is a gift for McIntyre, the Fates’ butler. The Fates are all out of town in diverse locations. No one knows when they’ll be back. There’s trouble all around. And, as you may have heard, Chronos, the God of Time, is missing too. Just when we think he’s been found and is returning to his job, we learn that he’s not coming back after all. He’s given the searchers and agents the slip yet again. What a delinquent! I hope he’s punished somehow when he’s found. But then, he’s a God, so i’m not sure how that could happen.  Also, i should confess that this isn’t a gift for McIntyre. It’s a bribe. Chicken and biscuits are his favorite dish, and i make a mean rendition. I’m heading up to the penthouse in a few.

I’m Alexis Bex, by the way, or Agent Thirty Six as i’m known at the Agency. None of the Fates, Lena, Isabelle or Stephanie know who i work for. Neither does McIntyre. I saw him at Book Club night before last and decided that getting in good with him could get me into the penthouse.  Plus, i think when we discussed Difficult Loves by Italo Calvino, we both felt kind of a romantic spark. He’s pretty sexy, and it’s been a long time for me. Oops, getting off track there.

I tell my poodle, Doro, that i won’t be gone long, give her a few pats goodbye and head upstairs. I live on the ninth floor. The penthouse is floor twenty eight. This should be interesting. I’ve never been inside before, but I’ve heard the Sisters throw some wild parties when they’re home.

I think this is the longest it’s ever taken the elevator to reach this floor. Bizarre. Finally, it arrives, the doors open, and i board. It looks odd in here, like it’s altogether a different elevator. The walls look like they’re covered in gold foil. I just pushed the button for twenty eight, and it was the number twenty eight. Now i look, and the button says 1974. The buttons are all glowing purple. There are still twenty eight buttons, but they all have years printed on them. Instead of floor number nine, where i live, i see the year 1965. I look for the button to stop this thing, but there’s no longer a stop button.  I should have arrived at the penthouse floor by now, but this elevator won’t stop. It’s moving achingly slow, and i’m freaking out.  I hear a bark. I look down, and Doro is sitting at my feet on my right. I almost drop the chicken and biscuits when the elevator comes to a dead stop. It’s as if someone has pulled a rope to emergency stop a train. What the hell?! It seems an eternity, but the doors finally open. Doro barks again, and we quickly get off the elevator. There are a dozen people in what looks like a giant living room-library. They all look at us and smile, and one of them says, Alexis! Welcome! We’ve been waiting for you!  And you brought Doro! Wonderful!

I look around and think, i really am back in 1974, and i’m dressed all wrong for this party. Well, if it’s potluck.. at least i haven’t come empty handed!

M. Raynes



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