Oh, Happy Day!
Welcome, and have a nice day!
Major Jonathan Clack glared at the pile of paperwork on his desk for a moment before his eyes longingly touched the nearby liquor decanter.
And they say being at the top is easy, he mused. Makes me almost long for the days when I was back in the field. He glanced around the comfortable office and to the large office windows that lay to the world beyond.
Just then, a loud buzzing echoed throughout the room. The ISI Director punched the intercom button with a sharp jab.
"Yes?" he prompted.
"Mr. Greenspan is here to see you, Major," the tinny voice of his secretary responded. Clack groaned to himself.
I don't need this today.
Instead of replying, Clack leisurely finished signing the set of documents on his desk before he put his silver pen away. Once his blotter was cleared, he keyed the intercom again.
"Send him in," he ordered. A moment later, a balding man in his mid-40's stepped into the well-lit room. The rounded glasses he wore - along with the red bowtie - made him look slightly ridiculous.
And he certainly is!
"Greenspan," he said, his gruff voice somewhat civil. "What can I do for you?"
Translation: what the hell do you want?
"It's a wonderful day, isn't it Major?" the reedy, if not upbeat, voice of his visitor began. "Really, the sun is out-"
"Get to the point," Clack pointedly interrupted. To his surprise, the director of Miscellaneous Affairs pulled an envelope out of his inside jacket pocket before he laid the flat object on the Major's desk.
"I'm resigning as head of Miscellaneous Affairs, Major Clack," Melville's voice formally intoned. The older man blinked in surprise.
"What?" he said out loud even as his fingers reached for the letter.
"I said, I was resigning-"
"I know what you said, Melville," the Major interrupted again, sending the other director into an embarrassed silence. Clack opened the missive and read the contents:
TO: Major Jonathan Clack, Director of International Security and Intelligence
FROM: Melville Greenspan, Director, Department of Miscellaneous Affairs
I hereby resign my position as Director of Miscellaneous Affairs.
The Major carefully folded the letter back up before he looked at the soon to be departing department head. For a moment, he considered which of his rejects and never-do-well's he could send to replace the balding man that stood nervously in front of the desk.
I can't give it to Adderly, he reflected immediately. I know him too well. In a way, it would be like giving a con artist the keys to Fort Knox! A cunning smile then crossed his lined face. Then again, I could put Miss Ellerby in charge...
"Something wrong, Major?" Melville interrupted. Clack shook his head.
"No." His voice then turned surprisingly soft. "When do you plan on leaving?" he asked.
"In two weeks...Sir," he lamely added. "Major," he said, "I'd like to take this opportunity to thank you for appointing me as head of Miscellaneous Affairs. It's been an honor to run the department..."
Major Clack listened somewhat attentively as the long-winded director droned on and on before finally finishing his speech with a pump of his tiny fist.
Let the man have his due, he decided. And why not? It's the last time - or next to last time - I'll have to see him. For a moment, he inwardly groaned.
Now I'll have to have a party to send him off, the Major realized. I hate parties...
"So what exactly are you going to do from now on, Green...I mean, Melville," he casually asked.
"We're moving to Texas, sir," Greenspan replied. "Debbie and I are going to raise Alpacas."
Major Clack blinked again. For a moment, he wasn't sure if he had heard correctly.
"You're going to do what?" he barked.
"Raise...Alpacas..." the younger man stuttered. "Debbie's uncle has an Alpaca farm down there. We think it's a good investment..."
The ISI director opened his mouth once, then closed it. Instead, he rose up from his chair and walked around the desk before grasping Melville's hand in a solid embrace.
"Good, good," he intoned cheerfully. With a graceful motion, he put his arm around the other man's shoulders and steered him towards the door. "Sounds like a fine investment. You'll do well."
A fool and his money are soon parted...
Just then, the door opened. The Major could only think of two people who would open the door without knocking or going through his secretary. The first was his deputy; however, the man usually called first. The second was...
"Major," a familiar - too familiar, for my tastes! - barged into the room with a woman in tow.
"Hi, Major Clack," Mona Ellerby said weakly. The older man smiled at her for a brief moment before he turned his attention to the other new arrival.
"Adderly," he menacingly breathed. "What do you want?"
"Yes, Adderly!" Melville parroted. "What do you want?" Clack instantly turned his hard eyes on the department director.
"Greenspan," he growled. "This is my office. I'll ask the questions." He then switched back to the original - and, to his great annoyance, unperturbed - target. "Well?"
"We have something for you, Major" the ISI operative said cheerfully before turning to his companion. "Mona?" he queried. "You want to tell them the good news?"
A burst of joy lit up Mona Ellerby's eyes before she looked at her superiors. "We're getting married," she giggled.
This time, Clack failed to blink. Why am I not surprised?
In contrast, Melville Greenspan's mouth hung open like a gaping fish. For a idle moment, Clack wondered how many cigars he could stuff in the open orifice.
A dozen, at least, he decided. At least it'd finally be useful for something!
"We've been talking it over, Major," Adderly went on. "And we have something for you." With a flourish, he produced a envelope from his coat pocket. At the same time, Mona pulled a flat paper from her purse before they both handed the letters to the flabbergasted ISI director. He didn't have to look at them to know what they were.
"I'm..." For a moment, he hesitated before his stunned voice found footing once more. "You're both leaving ISI?"
"Let's face it, Major, " V.H. continued. "I'm not getting back into operations again, and I'm not getting any younger. So we're going to try something new." His eyes then flicked toward Mona; the secretary smoothly picked up the rest of the conversation.
"Adderly has a friend down in Florida that's willing to sell him half of his security business," her light voice echoed. "And well...I couldn't just let him go." She smiled happily at her new fiancé. "I don't have any family here except for a few aunts," Mona confessed. "And I'm a bit tired of all the snow, so..."
"Congratulations," Major Clack said firmly, meaning it. "I wish you a long marriage." He gave a warm handshake to the pair before he turned to their superior. "And what do you have to say, Greenspan?" he queried.
"I...congratulations, Adderly. Mona," Melville stuttered, a look of complete surprise still on his face. After a moment, he lamely shook their hands before he spoke again. "I mean...it's just so...unexpected..."
"Spur of the moment, Melville," the ISI operative intoned happily. "Spur of the moment." Beside him, Mona giggled softly before she leaned over to whisper something in the handsome man's ear.
"Oh, that's right," he said out loud. "I'm glad you're here, Melville. I have a favor to ask you. I'd..." For an instant, a fleeting look of hesitation appeared on Adderly's face before he continued. "I'd like for you to be my best man at the wedding," he casually finished.
At that moment, a paraphrased quote from history popped into Major Clack's mind.
In the words of General Anthony McAuliffe, he intoned silently, I have to ask this: are you nuts?
For his part, Greenspan was stunned. "I'd like that, Adderly," he said quietly. "I'd be honored. Thank you."
"There's something else, too," Mona added, her grin infectious. "We've talked it over, and...we'd like to name our first child after you-"
At that moment, Major Jonathan Clack woke up. His bleary eyes glanced toward the digital clock on his bedside: 2:34 A.M.
It was all a dream...
He quietly left the bed and walked toward the bathroom where he splashed some water on his craggy face. The director stood there and looked at himself in the mirror for a long moment.
Melville Adderly, he mused, mulling over the dream name. It even sounds wrong! He shuddered slightly before he snapped off the light and returned to bed; there were just some things that you should never think about. Ever.
At that moment, he remembered that his first appointment of the morning was with Greenspan and Adderly. A silent groan, followed by a muffled curse, echoed around the room before he closed his eyes.
And they say being at the top is easy...
With that final thought, he fell into a fitful sleep.
A/N: Ah, those pesky dreams:-)
General McAuliffe was the commander of American forces at Bastogne in World War II. At the time, the town was encircled by the Germans. When handed a proposal to surrender, he gave a one-word reply: Nuts!
Thanks for reading!