4: A Little Underwater Music

"I
remained
cool..."
Dak later wrote in his autobiography entitled "I Designed the Dollar."

"...something I'd learned, not in Tai Kow, but in Spy School. The first day in class, 35 other students and I sat listening to a boring lecture, when terrorists appeared with Uzi's, blasting the room with semi-automatic fire. This was literally par for the course, because the course was "Keeping Cool Under Fire." 8 Students were hospitalized (all were released within months), another eight went into permanent analysis, 14 decided to pursue a career in accounting, and the remaining few (if you'd been keeping track you'd know exactly how many) found the rest of the semester anticlimactic.

"Nothing really phased me, except bad typography-now that really got me steamed. But right now I wasn't wondering why an expensive car like this used Helvetica on the dash when Avenir, Eurostyle, Eras, Formata, Futura, Gill Sans, Kabel, (even under stress I thought in alphabetical order), Myriad, Optima, Stone Sans, or Univers really would have been more tasteful. I wasn't worrying at all. I was passing out from lack of oxygen.

"I knew I had to save my breath. I slowed my metabolism to half. I'd use less oxygen that way but would have to move more slowly. The operative in the car with me appeared to have been unconscious ever since the crash.

"I knew it was pointless to try to break bulletproof windows. There had to be some way out-it was far too early in the story for me to die. Normally I would have been able to remember what all the vague little international symbols around the steering wheel meant, but all those little icons didn't seem to make sense to my oxygen starved brain."

"The ejector seat," I thought, poking at the button with the throne one it, only to turn on the heater. As it got warmer in the stuffy car cum coffin, my only thought was to turn on the air conditioning, as if that would do anything under water.

"I jabbed at the snowflake icon, only to see an unsuspecting eel in front of the car evaporate after being hit with the laser canon. What about that circle and lightning bolt? Garth Brooks blared on the radio-that car had truly great radio reception.

"Even at half metabolism, I realized I only had about thirty seconds of air left. I wanted to sigh, but it would use too much oxygen. There was no way out, which left only one alternative: I had to self -destruct the car. It was the only way to keep enemy agents from finding the microfilm dots masquerading as studs on my tuxedo shirt.

"I reached out to double click on the shoe polish/self -destruct button when the operative's hand lunged out and grabbed my hand.

"No, no, wait." the operative mumbled, pressing a button under the dash. Two oxygen masks dropped from the headliner. All I could think of at that moment was a job I'd done some years back for Delta, I'd come up with a tag line: "We love to fly, it's the landings we don't like." They loved it, especially after I removed the part about the landings. They commissioned me to write an oxygen mask/life preserver speech that flight attendants could give without frightening the passengers. I choreographed the whole thing, right down to inflating the life jackets.

"The oxygen felt good in my lungs. I often had pure oxygen piped into my offices in LA to combat the smog and enhance creativity.

"How much air do we have?" I asked.

"Enough," the operative replied, opening a secret panel on the dash and punching a code into a keypad. "They're expecting us," the operative said. I heard noises under the seat and watched a silver wing-like contraption extend from the side of the car, then whirring sounds came from the rear.

"'It's all been a setup to keep the real Nutzi's off the track. Oh, that wacky Interpol, what will they think of next,' I thought as the operative flipped on the laser head lamps so they could see through the sludge and steer down the canal. At the end, I could see an underwater garage door. The car dived deeper, gliding just a few inches above the bottom, past baby shoes and hypodermic needles, Coke cans and something that look suspiciously like Jimmy Hoffa in cement overshoes.

"The engine was switched off, extinguishing the laser head lamps as we coasted into the dark garage. Safely inside, I could hear the giant garage door shut tight like a vault. The water quickly drained from the room and I reached over and shook the operative's hand.

"Good work!" I said, nodding, amazed at the complexity of the procedure.

"Don't sank me yet," the operative said, with a distinctly German accent.

"There was a click, and garage lights as bright as searchlights made the room white with light. So bright that for a second I couldn't see the 8 men with machine guns standing around the car, wearing Nutzi uniforms... (the men, not the car).


Next: Chapter 5: International House of Toast


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