THE BRIEFCASE

Teddy, realizing that life was good enough for him, decided to begin a career in Washing Things. He was an ambitious sort of fellow so he soon climbed the ranks, gaining the privilege to wash whole hallways and even the tricky business of cleaning light fixtures.

He soon had a decent job working at the busiest airport in the country. The job had enough thinking involved for him to be content, but not too much that he couldn't fit in some fabulous day-dreaming on the side.

His day-dreaming normally drifted through the life and times of his imagined self, Jules Bold, the secret agent. Jules Bold had braved countless missions and succeeded in every one with wit, intelligence, and action hero style. The complex plots that surrounded this man of mystery could only be understood by Teddy, and those who had had the pleasure to read Teddy's stories, came away feeling dizzy.

Teddy loved his superhero inner self and always believed that one day his super powers would be revealed to the world. Just as soon as he finished mopping this hallway.

And then one day, something happened that would turn everything around...something that would either ruin Teddy, or unleash the magnificent Jules Bold.

It happened on a regular day. Well, not too regular; Teddy was actually cleaning a water fountain he had never cleaned before. It was on another janitor's turf, but Teddy liked to live dangerously. One day, he had even cleaned an entire row of seats on the Veteran's turf. Not a single janitor had forgotten that day. It had gone down in the history books. Teddy had been chosen as Rookie of the Year for the deed.

Now however, he was cleaning only a drinking fountain while his rival was in the washroom. It was a risk, yes, but Teddy would be out of there in seconds flat, the fountain shining with cleanliness and Jules Bold at his side, the bomb having been defused just in the nick of time. But just as Teddy was about to decide whether to move onto a second fountain, and just as Jules Bold was about to decide whether to cut the blue or the red wire, they were both simultaneously distracted. Teddy looked up. Jules Bold raised an eyebrow.

A suspicious character in a black suit had just walked by with an official looking briefcase. Teddy wondered if the man would notice how clean the place was. Jules Bold wondered if the man was carrying any illegal weapons in the briefcase.

Moving away from the fountain with a careful step, Teddy watched as the man disappeared into the thick of people. And then Jules spotted, between the sea of swinging feet and rolling bags, the briefcase. It was sitting on the floor, and the man was gone. Teddy's eyes widened and Jules Bold dashed forward into the thick of people. The man had left his briefcase!

Dodging and slipping between the people without touching a soul, Jules moved in on the abandoned briefcase while keeping an eye out for the man. Just as he reached the case, he thought he had spotted the back of the man's head, heading toward Gate C.

Swiping the case into a single graceful hand without a hint of suspicious movement, he made after the man with a confident stride. And then the decoy bomb exploded as Teddy's rival returned from the bathroom and discovered the cleaning agents of another janitor. Teddy faltered, but Jules pushed onwards. Being a janitor was only his cover! His number one priority was to return the briefcase. He'd waited long enough undercover; now it was time for a mission. None of the other janitors would ever have expected he was really Jules Bold, the secret agent!

But in that one faltering moment when his janitorial duties had distracted him from his mission, he'd lost his man! He slowed to a stop in the middle of the airport and turned slowly from side to side. Teddy's heart ran and hid. Jules surveyed the scene, noted every single security camera, and watched every suspicious movement from the corner of his eye.

And then, before Teddy could even cry out in fear, Jules had spotted the five men in straight jackets and began to move at the speed of thought. He navigated the crowds with cool efficiency, knowing every turn and route through the airport like the back of his hand. And then, rounding a corner, he burst into a run to lose his followers by passing silently into an employee corridor. But they were close behind him.

Once within the safety of a second-story lounge, Teddy finally voiced his fears. "I've abandoned my duties, I've got a customer's briefcase in my hand, and five scary men are chasing me...I think my daydream has gotten out of hand."

A sound came from the other side of the door. Teddy moved to the peep hole with shaking limbs. Then he peered fearfully through.

With curvy heads from the little lens, five frightening men stood in formation at the door, guns raised, and gray eyes staring the door to pieces.

Teddy jolted back in fear, nearly falling over if not for Jules' fine sense of balance. Then Jules moved to the window, threw it open, and hopped lightly onto the windowsill. "What day dream?" he asked, handling the mysterious briefcase with care. Then he dropped free from the airport.

The End

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