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Double Jeopardy

Chapter Four:

You Can Lead a Smart to Murder, But He’ll Never Escape

 

 

The scene was the same. Max laid on the cot, staring at the ceiling, while 99 paced up and down the cell. This was getting ridiculous. It had been three days already and not only did the Smarts not know what was going on the outside, but they were just as clueless as to what was going to happen to them.

“Max, this is crazy.” 99 declared, stopping in her tracks.

“Yes, I know.” Max replied, glancing at her and going back to counting the little bumps up above.

“So?” she asked. “What’re we going to do about it?”

Max blew out a breath and sat up. “I take it you don’t enjoy staying in the honeymoon suite anymore.” He replied, sarcastically.

“It’s just not up to my standards.” She retorted. If KAOS didn’t kill them, they would certainly kill each other.

“If you have a problem with me, 99,” Max stated. “Please feel free to tell me.”

“As much as I would love to do that, Mr. Smart,” she huffed. “I have more important things to attend to.”

“Such as?”

“Such as getting us out of here.”

“99…”

“What now, Max?” she asked, highly annoyed.

The two stared at each other, with a knowing look. When they started getting on each other’s nerves, it was a rotten situation indeed.

“Oh, Max,” 99 sighed, walking over and sitting down next to her husband.

“You don’t have to say it, 99.” Max replied, stopping her before she could say a word. “This room is driving us insane.”

99 sighed. “I wish there was a way for us to get out of here.” She said.

The door opened and Shtarker entered, closing the door behind him. “Well, you’ll be happy to know that we’ve decided on your fate.”

Max and 99 looked at each other and got huge, wicked smiles on their faces. They turned back to Shtarker and walked over to him.

“So you’ve figured out how to get rid of us, huh?” Max asked, smiling at the goon.

“Before you tell us, Shtarker, I have a feeling it’s not going to be good.” 99 surmised.

“You’re absolutely correct, Miss 99.” Shtarker admitted. “Conrad has decided we can not keep you in here any longer.”

Max and 99 exchanges worried glances. “I see,” Max replied, deep in thought. “And you’re the bringer of
bad news, huh?”

“You could say that.” Shtarker said, a goofy smile on his face.

“I just did.” Max said.

“Listen Shtarker,” 99 replied, getting a sudden idea. “Before you kill us, I’d just like one last request.”

“Now, you know we don’t grant last requests here, Miss 99.” Shtarker replied, folding his arms. “This is KAOS. But I guess I make the exception. What’s the request?”

“One last kiss.”

“99, that’s just disgusting!” Max exclaimed. The very thought of his wife kissing that big dope made him ill.

“Not him, Max,” 99 corrected. “You.”

“Oh, well that’s better then.” Max replied. The two got set to kiss, when 99 stopped.

“Hey wait a minute, Max.” She said, looking over at Shtarker. “That’s not such a bad idea.”

Both Shtarker and Max looked at the woman in confusion.

“Is this a trick?” Shtarker asked, eyeing the woman. He had always had a crush on the incredible Agent 99. Kissing her would not be a bad thing.

“It had better be.” Max growled, looking at 99. This had better be some colossal trick indeed.

“I’m serious, Max,” 99 said, sweetly, trying to calm down her jealous husband. She then turned her attention to Shtarker. “I mean, Shtarker’s a handsome man. Tall, dark, and sophisticated.”

Now Max knew this had to be a trick. It just had to be.

“You really mean that, Miss 99?” Shtarker asked, puffing out his chest.

“Of course, Shtarker.” The woman replied, smiling. She walked over to him, just as his grin got bigger.

“You know, Shtarker,” 99 replied, giving Shtarker a look. “Just between you and me, I’ve always been attracted to the bad boy, you know?”

This is ridiculous! Max thought. Obvious being stuck in this cell for three days had finally drove 99 to madness. He marched over to the two to try and hear the whispering that was going on.

“I can’t resist you, Shtarker.” 99 cooed.

Max had had it! Just as the two came in for kiss, Max punched Shtarker, causing the man to fall to the ground unconscious. 99 looked at Shtarker, then at Max.

“Why did you do that?” she asked.

Why did I do that?” Max asked, in confusion. “You mean besides the fact that he was leering at you and you were going to kiss him?!”

“I wasn’t going to kiss him, Max.” 99 said, sighing. As much as it was flattering when Max got jealous,
sometimes he just took it way too far.

“Huh?” Max asked.

“I was going to hit him, so we could escape.” 99 said. “Max, do you really think I would actually kiss Shtarker?”

Max shrugged his shoulders. “Well…mission accomplished, 99.” He said, trying to switch to a different subject. “Shtarker’s knocked out and we can escape now.”

99 rolled her eyes. She loved the man, no doubt. “Alright, Max.”

The two went to the door and Max opened it slowly and both peered out of it. The coast seemed to be clear and both walked out.

“Listen, 99,” Max whispered. “I think the best thing would be to split up.”

“No, Max,” 99 insisted, but was stopped by his finger.

“Look,” he said. “If we split up, we have a better chance of getting out of here. Just trust me, okay?”
99 nodded, knowing she couldn’t change his mind.

“You go that way and I’ll go this way. We should meet back up at some point.” The couple kissed before
going their separate ways.

 


 

Vance and Victoria Neil stood in front of Junior’s desk, smiling happily. “You guys did a marvelous job.” Junior replied, looking over files and pictures. “This plan may actually come off without a hitch. Now if only we don’t get a bad break.”

Just then, a guard rushed into the office. “I’m sorry to disturb you, sir,” the man said, obviously excited over something. “But the Smarts have escaped!”

“That’s it.” Junior said.

“That’s what, sir?” the guard asked.

“The bad break. Call all the men! Have them search the entire warehouse! The Smarts aren’t going to get away so easy.”

“I hate to intrude, Commander Siegfried,” Vance said, grinning. “But perhaps Vicki and I can take care
of your problem.”

Junior thought about it for a minute and called back the guard. “Henderson!”

“Yes, sir?” the guard asked. “Forget everything I just told you to do.” Junior replied, looking at the
Neils. “I think I have a much better solution.”

 


 

Max had only gone about five feet from his cell, when he ran into a KAOS agent. Max hit him and checked him for weapons. He didn’t find any, only a pack of gum and a candy bar, which he promptly took and placed in his pocket.

Max stood up and started looking around for some place to hide. He found a corner office and quickly ran inside. To his surprise, there was 99, seemingly waiting for him.

“99!” he cried in surprise. “What’re you doing here?”

“Oh, well, I was being chased by this KAOS agent and in order to escape, I ducked in here.” She replied.

“Well, it’s a good thing I found you.” Max said, taking the woman’s hand. “We’ll wait here for a little bit and then we’ll see if the coast is clear.”

“No rush.” 99 replied, running her finger along Max’s ear. The action caused Max’s heart to race. The gesture made Max slightly nervous though. Didn’t the woman realize the danger they were in? This really wasn’t the time nor the place.

“Come on, 99,” Max said, clearing his throat. “Let’s get out of here.”

“Wait a minute, Daddy.” She cooed, in her best Marilyn Monroe.

Max looked at the woman in surprise and slight shock. “Daddy?” he asked, surprised. “99, you’ve never called me Daddy before.”

“There’s a first time for everything.” 99 put her arms around his neck and started to plant kisses over his face.

Max would have loved to enjoy this…if they weren’t in a considerable mess of trouble. “99, this really isn’t the time for this.” Max replied, trying to push the woman off of him.

“Come on, Max,” 99 cooed, that come hither look in her eyes. “I think we’ve put this off long enough.”

“It’s amazing what danger does to you, 99.” Max replied, chuckling nervously.

“Come off it, Max.” 99 replied. “Don’t tell me this isn’t doing anything to you.”

“In truth, it is.” Max admitted.

“Told you.”

“It’s making me incredibly uncomfortable and terribly worried.” Max once again tired to push 99 off of him, with little success. “99, please!” Max exclaimed, feeling like one of those gorgeous looking cartoon women who were always being chased by the wolf.

“Woman, control yourself!” I never thought I’d say this, Max thought. But I wish she would leave me alone.

 


 

99 walked down the hallway and saw a number of agents coming towards her. She quickly ducked into a nearby office. She listened at the door, as the agents went past. She knew that she and Max were trouble in now.

Those agents were probably looking for them as she sat there. She wondered where Max could be. 99 moved away from the door and started to look around the office. She was hoping she could find a window or a secret entrance of some sort. Nothing. Just then, the door opened and a figure rushed in.

“Max!” she cried, happy to see him in one piece.

“Hello, my celestial fantasy.” He replied, shutting the door behind him. He flashed a debonair smile before walking over to her.

“Okay, what’s going on?” 99 asked, fully aware something was not right.

“What do you mean?” Max asked, puzzled. “I saw you come in here and wanted to make sure you were okay. You are okay, aren’t you? I’d feel just awful if something happened to you. The moon, the stars, and the sun would never rise in the sky if you weren’t on this planet by my side.” Max was rubbing her arms and staring deep into her eyes. 99 smiled at the compliments.

“No really.” She said, calmly. “Who are you?”

Max took her hands into his. “Why are you so suspicious?” he asked, ultimately confused by her behavior.

“Max,” she said, pushing the man away. “I’ve been married to you for almost 30 years and in that time,
you’ve never called me anything remotely close to celestial fantasy. You could barely pronounce it, more less say it.”

Max made another advance towards her, by taking her in his arms. “We’re in a horrible situation right now. We could be killed.” He went in for a kiss. “I’m just making up for lost time.”

99 moved out of his oncoming kiss and replied, rather smugly, “I bet you are.” Max looked at 99.

“99,” he said. “I get the feeling you don’t trust me.”

“You’re a bright boy, Mr. Smart.” She replied.

 


 

“I don’t get it, girls.”

Zach, Maxine, and 66 were sitting in Max’s office, going through his files. Nothing seemed to be out of order, but things were just odd.

“If I didn’t know any better, I’d say he was going through these files.” 66 replied, going over five file folders.

“But why?” Maxine asked. “No doubt these are very important files, but exactly what did Dad want with
them?”

Agent 22 walked in and handed Zach a memo. “How was lunch, 22?” Maxine asked in annoyance. The question
caught 22 off guard. Did she perhaps know the truth? Did they all know?

“It was great.” He said, nervously. “Great. Just great. Is that all, Max?”

“Yes,” Zach answered, sarcastically. “This is something of importance, which means you shouldn’t even be in the vicinity.”

“Oh, you think you’re so smug, Zachary Smart.” 22 replied, a wicked grin on his face. He would have the
absolute pleasure of making Zach call him Dad.

“You just wait. When you least suspect it, you’re going to view me in a different light. And when that happens, I will use my power to gloat over your demise.”

The two men were locked in a stare. Finally, 22 gave a laugh and left the office.

“Can you believe that guy?” Zach asked, as soon as 22 was gone.

The girls gave each other a knowing glance. Heaven forbid Max and 99’s marriage was on the rocks and heaven help them if 22 was the new guy in her life. Someone would die and the odds were against 22. The three went back to going through the files, when the phone rang.

“CONTROL headquarters, Chief’s office.” Maxine answered. “Oh hello, Admiral Meira. What can I help you with?” There was a slight pause, where Maxine’s eyes grew wide.

“It’s what?” she exclaimed. “Wait. Are you sure? Yes, sir, when she comes in, I’ll have her call you.” Maxine hung up and was immediately bombarded with questions.

“What was that about?” 66 asked.

“That was Adm. Meira at the Pentagon.” Maxine started. “Apparently, some important files are missing from various offices and holding chambers. The last person who seen in the vicinity was…” she paused, thinking about the implications that would arise.

“Was who?” Zach asked, impatiently.

“Mrs. Maxwell Smart.”

 


 

Shtarker rushed into Junior’s office, breathing heavily. “They’ve escaped, sir.” He wheezed.

“I know, Shtarker.” Junior replied, pouring himself a glass of lemonade. “I wanted to see you to congratulate you. The plan went perfectly. Vance and Vicki are on their way now to the Smart home to hopefully finish our project.”

Junior saw his lackey trying to catch his breath and throwing himself into a chair. He got another glass and poured lemonade into it. He went over and handed it to Shtarker.

“Geez, Shtarker, you really should work out more.” Junior replied. “You’re like a big tub of lard.”

Shtarker gave him a look before taking a sip of lemonade. “What’s the plan now, Siegfried?” he asked.

“Well, from this end, we just sit and wait.” Junior said. “Everything is up to the Neils.”

“What about the Smarts?”

“I’ve heard they’re still here, probably trying to find each other.” The two laughed at the very thought.

 


 

In reality, Max and 99 were very close to each other. They were about to come to the same corner, when they decided to watch for agents behind them. They both turned and came around the corner backwards, just to run into each other. They both spun around and looked at each other.

“99?” Max asked, suspiciously.

“Max?” 99 asked, suspiciously.

“99, call me Daddy.” Max requested.

“No!” 99 exclaimed in disgust. She then started to think about something. “Max,” she said. “Come over here for a minute. I want to show you something.”

Max looked at her for a minute and then proceeded to her request. She was holding up her hand, trying to show him something. When he walked over to her, she tripped him, causing him to fall on his face to the floor. He turned over, rubbing his sore nose.

“Max!” 99 cried, in elation.

“99!” Max exclaimed, as she helped him to his feet. “Boy, I am so glad to see you.” Thinking, he asked, “Did you just trip me?”

“I had to make sure you were you,” she replied.

“I’m sure there could have been a less painful way of doing that.”

“Probably,” she agreed. “But we are a little short on time.” Max had to agree with her on that. “Now that we’ve found each other, how’re we going to get out here?”

“That’s why I’m glad I found you, 99,” Max said. “I found an office with a window and it leads straight
into the parking lot we’re parked in. Come on, before anyone else spots us.”

The two hurried to the office Max had found and quickly made their exit out of the window. From a window elsewhere, a pair of binoculars is witnessing the Smarts running to their cars.

“Shtarker, get away from that window!” Junior screamed, causing the toady to jump in alarm. “What’s the point of letting them get away if you’re staring at them through binoculars?” Junior asked, taking the object from him.

“I’m sorry, Siegfried.” Shtarker replied, bowing his head in shame. “I just thought…”

“Exactly.” Junior said, pointedly. “You thought. I’m the brains of this organization, Shtarker. Now, with any luck, Vance and Vicki have taken care of the junior Smarts and when Max and 99 walk through their door, they’ll be arrested on the spot.”

 


 

That night, Zach and Maxine decided to confront their parents on what they knew and had found out. They would get the drop on them at home, a happy place for the family of four. At exactly at seven fifteen, Max and 99 walked through the door and weren’t shocked to see their children waiting for them.

“What a pleasant surprise.” 99 replied.

She figured she and Vance would have to call them in order to get them here, but to see those Smart brats waiting for them was certainly a refreshing change of pace.

“We need to talk to you.” Maxine said, folding her arms. “Right now.”

“I bet this has to deal with our recent…odd behavior.” Max surmised.

“Yeah, it does.” Zach replied. “Now, we know something is going on at work. You’re both taking or copying classified information from CONTROL and the Pentagon.”

“Interesting.” Max said, grinning. They were well deserving of their name, he’d admit to that.

“And, as sad and sick as it may be, we know that Mom is having an affair with CONTROL Agent 22.” Maxine said.

Zach turned to look at his sister in horror. “We never discussed that!” he exclaimed.

“Tracie and I did.” Maxine admitted. “We just couldn’t tell you. We knew it would break your heart.”

“Look, sweetie,” 99 replied, pointing at Zach. “You can actually pinpoint the exact moment where his heart did break.”

Both laughed evilly, much to Maxine’s shock.

“I don’t believe you guys!” she exclaimed, in alarm. “That’s the most horrific thing I’ve ever heard you two say!”

“Well, if you think that’s bad,” Max replied, reaching into his jacket. “You’re gonna hate what we’re going to do next.”

Both he and 99 removed their guns and pointed them at the twins.

“This is the part where we say you both know too much and we’ll have to kill you.” 99 replied.

“Surprising development, isn’t it?” Max joked.

“Now listen,” Maxine said, nervously. “I don’t have a problem with Mom having the affair with Agent 22. I believe you’re a grown woman who can do whatever you want, despite the fact that, yes this would most certainly break my heart, but again, grown woman. He’s the one with the problem.” She pointed at Zach, who just glared at her.

“Sell-out.” He muttered.

“Goodbye, kids.” Max and 99 raised their guns.

The door opened wide and a familiar voice cried, “Drop it!”

Max turned briefly, not really surprised at the entrance. Max and 99 walked over to Max and 99, guns in hand. “I said, drop it.” Max declared.

“You drop it.” Max replied, gun still pointed at the twins.

“Mom! Dad!” Maxine exclaimed, looking at the couple who had just arrived.

“Mom? Dad?” Zach questioned, staring at the couple who was holding them hostage.

“Zach, don’t you get it?” Maxine asked, seeing the look on her brother’s face. “The Mom and Dad holding the guns are impostors!”

“Yeah, but both sets of Mom and Dad are holding guns.” Zach said, still confused. “Okay, listen up!” He demanded. “Nobody moves until we know which one of you are the real yous, so…drop your weapons. All of you!”

Maxine rolled her eyes. He just had to have the last word in the situation.

“They’re the impostors.” Max said, gesturing his gun towards Max and 99.

“We are not!” Max proclaimed. “You’re the impostors!”

“If we were the impostors, would we drop our guns like this?” 99 asked coolly, dropping her gun to the floor. Max realized her plan and also dropped his gun.

“Great!” Max replied, raising his gun. “Now 99 and I can kill you.”

“They’re the impostors.” Max said, gesturing towards Max and 99, again.

“We are not, so stop saying that!” 99 said, having just about enough of this. She then turned to her children. Surely they could see who the impostors were.

“Kids, it’s me.” She said, hoping they would see the light.

“Me, too.” Max agreed.

With the two temporarily distracted, Max and 99 made their move. Both went for the guns in the Smarts’ hands, Max tackling Max into the wall and 99 just grabbing the gun.

A shot went off and Max clutched his chest before falling to the floor dead. Another shot rang out, as 99 was pushed to the stairs. Her bullet hit 99 in the shoulder.

“I certainly hope you hit the right set of parents.” Zach replied, looking between the dead Max on the floor and the wounded 99, was clutching her arm and leaning against the front door.

“99, are you alright?” Max asked, helping his wife to her feet.

“I think so, Max.” she replied. The two walked over to Zach and Maxine. “Are the two of you alright?” 99 asked.

“Depends,” Maxine said, folding her arms. If these people weren’t her parents, they’d certainly have hell to pay.

“On what?” Max asked, insulted.

“How many trophies did I win being on the soccer team?” Zach asked.

“Four.” Max answered, annoyed his son would even ask a question like that.

“How much did Zach weigh when he was seven years old?” Maxine asked.

“76 pounds and 9 ounces.” 99 answered.

“Did you?” Maxine asked, looking at Zach.

“How should I know?” Zach answered. “That’s a useless fact and the only people who go around memorizing those types of useless facts are…”

“Mom!” both twins cried, outstretching their arms.

“In this case, be happy I know all those useless facts.” 99 replied, sarcastically. It didn’t stop her from hugging and kissing both twins.

“You have no idea how worried we’ve been.” Maxine said. “Those people were doing so many things that just aren’t you.”

“It was horrible.” Zach sniffed, his head resting on 99’s shoulder. “They made me eat carrots, Mom.”

“But you don’t like carrots.” 99 said.

“I know!” Zach gave his mother a squeeze.

“Oh you poor baby.” 99 soothed. Her son was as big a baby as her husband, but she enjoyed all of it.

After all, a couple of strangers had attempted to not only destroy them, but break up their family in the worst way possible. She was glad everything would be back to normal soon.

 

 

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