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“How many more interviews?” Agent Cooper complained. “Seriously, I get you’re media whores but you’re making my job a million times harder than it should be.”
“Perhaps you should find other employment,” Mr Metcalf joked as the Metcalf family got off the plane in New York.
“You call my client names again, Agent Cooper, and we’ll walk!” Gupta told him. “CNN is excellent coverage for Mark and his brand. If you have noticed, we DIDN’T swing via Chicago to talk to Howard Stern. A thank you perhaps?”
Cooper shook his head and pointed at the mini van waiting on the tarmac. “Get in!”
Mark sat opposite Connect the World hostess Becky Anderson as makeup and hair people buzzed around them. A stage hand with a head set held up five fingers as the dramatic music began to play.
“Nervous?” Becky asked Mark.
“No, should I be?”
Becky smiled as the lights came on and held on her. “A very warm welcome this evening, to a special edition of Connect The World with me, Becky Anderson. We’re here in New York with a most extraordinary young man, Mark Metcalf. Actor, god, super human, we’re here to find out. Hello Mark.”
Mark flopped down on the bed. “Man, I’m wiped!”
Agent Cooper rolled his eyes. “My superiors are waiting.”
“Well they can wait longer!” Gupta snapped shaking a finger at him. “Is there some dire emergency where Mark can help? No, I just checked and asides from some bad weather and no gun control the country shall sleep safe.”
Agent Cooper listened to his earpiece. “You have a seven am meeting with the Director of Homeland Security.”
Gupta’s phone erupted with a new itinerary. “This seems to be true. Hacking is still illegal even when done by the government.”
Agent Cooper held his hands up and shrugged. “I’m just here to tell you what is going on and to try and get this situation sorted.”
With that he left. Mark looked around the suite room at the Ritz-Carlton that had been arranged for them. “I can’t stay here.”
“Place is probably bugged. I bet they’re recording everything.” Mark looked behind the picture on the wall. “It feels like I’m being watched.”
“They’ve hacked your phone, so if you can get the parivaar to…” Mark grabbed the notepad beside the bed and scribbled a note. Gupta read it, folded it up and ate it. “Jesus, Gupta, you didn’t have to do that!”
“Yes, I did, these people are sneakier than real estate agents!” Gupta smiled. “I shall look after the parivaar. I shall speak to you later.”
Gupta left, and Mark went to the balcony looking at the view of New York at night. He could see Central Park. Mark moved some of the furniture out of the way as he paced back to the front door.
“What’s he doing?” asked an agent watching Mark from a CCTV.
“Exercise?” said the other.
“Did we get a look at that paper he handed Zardari?” asked their supervisor.
“No, sir but we’ll have housekeeping take the paper and we’ll do a pencil rubbing on the next page down and translate that.”
“Anything?” asked Agent Cooper as he entered the room.
Cooper watched as Mark paced from the balcony, the length of the room back to the front door and then back again. Like what tigers and lions did when in confinement.
“He’s up to something.” Cooper remarked. “I’m going to check on him.”
Mark crouched at the door and then sprinted across the room, leapt the balcony and jumped off into the night.
“HOLY $#!^! CODE RED! CODE RED!” Cooper yelled. “Secure the Metcalf’s!”
“They’re gone sir?” the agent responded as he tapped the monitor that showed their rooms empty.
Mark hit the ground with a thud, rolled and stood up without a scratch on him from leaping out of the 28th storey of a luxury hotel. “I honestly didn’t think that would work.”
He was near The Pond as he began jogging into the vast green space looking around. He spotted a couple walking hand in hand, each typing busily on their phones. Mark skidded to a halt in front of them.
“Hi, sorry to do this but I need your phones, please.”
The blonde woman went into a martial arts stance putting her partner behind her. “Go mug someone else if you know what’s good for you!”
Mark looked at her. “Lady, can I just have your phone for a moment.”
The woman behind looked at him. “Oh my god it’s Mark Metcalf! He’s on our list Samantha!”
“Wow it is him! Didn’t recognise you with your clothes on,” she purred.
“Can I please borrow a phone?” Mark pleaded. “I don’t really want to rob you, I just need to make a call without…god it sounds silly as I say it out loud, so the government can’t track me.”
“Carrie and I need something from you in return,” Samantha said as she handed over her phone.
Mark eyed the woman as she turned on the sexual charm. “Um, sure, can I make this call and we’ll talk.”
“I can’t believe we’re going to have a three-way with Mark Metcalf!” chirped Carrie. “This is insane!”
“It’s not everyday your celebrity crush tries to mug you,” Samantha replied as she grabbed her partner and kissed her. “I love you!”
“I love you too!”
Mark ignored their chatter as he searched the internet. He pulled up the website for Astro Lasso and smiled, they were playing gig in Brooklyn. He deleted the search history and looked up to see Samantha with her boobs out. “Ready?”
“Um, wow, like those look really nice for…um, you better catch me up on what’s going on here,” Mark stammered.
“Samantha and I are lovers and we want babies,” said Carrie. “We both have you on your list of the very few guys we’d have sex with and fate has led you to us. You’re going to impregnate us both and we’re going to have your super powered babies.”
Mark stood their aghast. “Say what?”
“You’re going to ^%$# us both and we’re going to have children with you,” Samantha said as she licked her lips. “We can start here or head back to our place, we don’t mind. We’ve seen you naked, whole world has.”
Mark crushed the phone to powder in his hand by accident, looked at the mess and bolted in the other direction.
“COME BACK!” They shrieked.
Mark stood in the back dock of Saint Vitus bar near the recycling bins as the band Astro Lasso headed out to their mini-van. Mark spotted who he needed to talk to.
“Psst, Cody Banks!”
Frankie Muniz stopped in his tracks and looked towards the voice from the shadows. “Excuse me a sec, guys. Mark? Holy $#@! Mark!” Frankie ran over and hugged his old friend. “What the hell are you doing here?”
“’I need a favour,” Mark said.
“Anything bro, let me pack the van for my band and hell yeah!” Frankie smiled. “Saw you on Ellen, man you still can’t dance.”
“Pack your van, Pizza Man!” Mark laughed
“Okay, you can have this as long as you like,” Frankie said as they stepped out of the freight elevator of 482 Park Avenue onto the 82nd floor and walked to a large door. “I sublet it off John Malkovich’s tennis coach, Ricky, who sublet’s it off John who co-owns it with Billy Joel. It’s big it’s private and nobody cares who you are because all your neighbours are hedge fund managers and stock brokers who eat cocaine like normal people breath air! I’m managing Astro Lasso and hardly ever here, except tonight because we’ve got a gig but from tomorrow we’re doing a road trip from here to Arizona, twelve stops in nine days.”
“So, being in a band better than acting?” Mark asked. “Whoa, this place is massive!”
“Acting’s fun but I’ve done it since I was like ten! Now I write, drive race cars, manage a band that MIGHT go somewhere. It’s cool. But you, you’re a ^%$#^ super hero!”
“I’d rather just act than answer the same questions repeatedly. Or get molested in a park by two cougars.”
“Nothing,” Mark said dismissively.
“Just enjoy it man, one day you’re Malcolm In the Middle, the next you’re…who are you again?” Frankie joked. “Okay, I’m gonna crash, do you need a rafter to hang upside down from or a coffin to sleep in?”
“Just asking man, you’re the one with the powers,” Frankie teased. “Mi casa, su casa, just don’t break anything especially the piano.”
Frankie went off to the bedroom as Mark looked out over the city. He was several blocks from where he’d run away from but in a city of around eight million that was enough cover for now. It was nice to relax for a moment.
“Explain to me Agent Cooper how you lose the most recognisable man in the world and his family and his agent in the space of an hour!” yelled Deputy Director of Homeland Security Brock Cissna into the face of Agent Cooper. “You’ve got thirty agents, plus the entire NYPD and somehow you lose them because, what’s that little Paki-rat called again?”
“YEAH HIM!” Brock yelled over the top. “He escapes down the service elevator with the Metcalf’s and Mark jumps OUT A WINDOW! It was a simple task, KYLE! Arrest the actor, take the family into custody, take them to Guantanamo and the whole thing is over! But no!”
“With all due respect sir, that’s a load!” Agent Cooper replied. “I have lost Mark for the time being but if you think its such an easy task arresting a man who can’t be hurt or moved, then you go right ahead and do it yourself, you balding jackass!”
“What did you say to me,” Brock instinctively ran his hand over his thinning wispy Trump-like hair.
“You want him arrested, then get the Super Bitch out of mothballs! Mark threw me across the room, lifted me into the air like I wasn’t there. He threw Agent Dale out of a house! He crushed a dozen submachine guns into a BALL with his bare hands and caught a bullet like he was picking a piece of fluff off a jacket! It’s like trying to arrest a whale with a whistle!” Cooper shouted. “I’m doing my job the best I can! I got him here to New York, but something spooked him, and he ran. He won’t go too far as we ghosted in to Zardari’s iPad and phones and we know he’s got an interview scheduled for tomorrow with Good Morning America. Yes, I accept responsibility for losing him, but I don’t deserve to be yelled at by some desk jockey who has no grasp on what’s really going on. SIR!”
Brock Cissna adjusted his tie as he processed Agent Kyle Cooper’s rant. “Very well, Agent Cooper. You will, um, resume looking for the Metcalf’s.”
“And Mark?” Cooper asked.
“I don’t know,” Cissna replied. “But something has to be done.”
“Where are we?” Amber asked as she looked around the very dark construction site.
“Webster Hall,” Gupta said. “First modern nightclub in the world and currently under renovations. But since I do the construction managers taxes, it also is our new hiding place until I can safely get you back to either Crescent City or somewhere where people in suits and guns won’t bother you. And they won’t look here because they’ll assume that the Metcalf’s are the All-American family of values and whiteness and wouldn’t be found in the East Village with its non-traditional ways.”
“Is Mark okay,” asked Mr Metcalf.
“Mark is fine, Barry, he’s hiding out in a friend’s penthouse and will be doing what he normally would do,” Gupta said. “He has press in the morning and Mark is and has always been very good at keeping appointments.”
“How’d you know about this place?” asked Mrs Metcalf.
“It was Mark’s idea. He wrote it down and had told me that this was the place where you, Diana, had your first…” Gupta made charades like he was doing marijuana.
“MOM!” Amber was shocked, Barry stifled a chuckle.
“That boy!” Mrs Metcalf went red.
“They finished the manager’s quarters where you’ll stay,” Gupta pointed up the stairs. “Amber, you’re on the stage.”