“What…is…this?” I’d seen a lot of crazy things recently- animals being murdered, kidnapped, encounters with said murderers and kidnappers and yet somehow this was the weirdest thing that had happened recently. A building being built within five miles of FunJungle. Sure it wasn’t illegal, but everyone knew this was JJ land thirty miles in every direction. You’ve probably heard of the zoo I live in- FunJungle- JJ’s pride and joy, when of course his animals weren’t being killed or stolen. JJ McCracken figured that, to make sure nobody tried to build a hotel anywhere near here that wasn’t his, he was going to buy up all the land until it basically turned into San Antonio. He bought up nearly 200 miles worth of land and proclaimed that nobody would ever build anything ear FunJungle and yet- here was a building going up.
“Relax, Teddy- my father’s in on it. They paid him a lot of money- we’re talking 8, 9 figures for an otherwise useless patch of land” Summer walked up and grabbed my hand. Summer- JJ’s daughter and was so pretty it made my eyes hurt- had for some reason, over the other million guys who looked like movie stars and clamored for her- had chosen to go out with me. Well-,we weren’t really dating but around here- treating a girl to McDonalds when she could be flying you to Paris and buying you whatever you wanted was good enough to call a date. We hadn’t really kissed since the one day I basically saved her from getting eaten by crocodiles (it’s…complicated) but we always hold hands when we go to the mall and her hugs are awesome.
“Tens of millions for a piece of land I could have afforded? Sounds suspicious huh?”
“Well, it’s some shoe store who’d lost their other space and now they’re scrambling. They figured if they put up a big sign on this road it’d be good advertisement so they basically emptied their net worth to daddy. He said and I quote ‘I would’ve done it for a hundred times less. You got a deal’”
“Are you sure? Last time you said things would be fine we almost got killed” I was referring to the incident with Hondo, her former bodyguard, where he’d try to take Rhonda rhino’s horn and sell it n the Black Market for a lot of cash.
She slugged my arm, half playfully, half annoyed I’d brought that up. “Relax Teddy. We did a background check on these guys and their tracks are cleared. No cover up or anything. They’re all legit”
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I started to argue again but she had to go, but not before she hugged me goodbye.
“See this is what I was telling your mom. You need to get out more with her Teddy” my dad said.
My dad came out of the shadows seemingly every time I meet with Summer. “We’re just friends dad. Jeez we went out like once”
“Right. Friends.” My dad said with as much sarcasm as he could manage.
That happened back in April more than 7 months ago and just two weeks before Christmas they finally finished. We drove by and I have to say- what a shoe company. I mean, it’s got a nice central skyscraper which goes up around ten stories but over the fence which I’m assuming held the various wild animals out, there were lots of two story buildings- almost as if this were a college. I knew I saw at least three different construction companies but I can’t believe how fast they got everything up. Also the landscape was beautiful- they’d managed to get green grass growing and they’d planted numerous trees as well as pathways which led from building to building but were like walking
through a park.
“Summer says a shoe company owns that building” I told my dad as he was driving me for my last day of school before break. “You know which?”
“Oh I don’t know. I mean what company doesn’t have enough money to pay for a building and loses is it but suddenly plunks down a hundred mil to build this thing?”
It all seemed suspicious but I had to trust Summer. People were just beginning to move in today, but something was off around them. How many computers do you need in a normal workspace? Why so much camera equipment? Why would they bring it equipment more suitable for a gun range? My mind bounced around but I let it all slide. It was Christmas after all- nothing was going to happen. Just two weeks of walking around the park watching the animals, hopefully with Summer hand in hand. It was going to be great.
When our bulletproof van pulled up to an Embassy Suites our van sounded like a football game- loud and crazy. Embassy Suites was a Ritz-Carlton compared to the miniscule claustrophobic “dorms” back at Spy School. Plus the free breakfast is edible. We were practically banging on the elevator to lead us to our room (except for Erica, still nose deep into the ancient art of disabling enemy agents with nothing but a shoestring and a paperclip) which is when we realized there were only two rooms assigned to us “due to budget cuts” Cyrus had told us. We were so exhausted that we really didn’t care if we had one bed or if we had four (thank the lord though that we had the latter of which) we just found an empty bed and went to sleep.
At Spy School, they wake you up with a wailing interior morning bell which you get used to- seeing that you don’t get any sleep on the mattresses older than Cyrus Hale himself. It took until 11 in the morning until everyone was finally awake (Nefarious had just gotten up and by then we’d all gone down and eaten breakfast). He didn’t care though; he just whipped out a bag of cheetos and started munching. We gathered into Cyrus’s/Alexander’s room to plan the day out.
“We’re going to find out where in the heck SPYDER is hiding out. Last time, we had a mole” Cyrus paused and glanced at me before resuming. “This time we know one thing: he’s here somewhere. It’s a Saturday, all the kids just got out of school the town is going to be hectic. Not like San Antonio is already massive in size, but it’s going to be harder with the interstate jammed with everyone trying to get to FunJungle.”
We didn’t know where he was going but suddenly Alexander stepped in.
“I know I’m trying to get past this tactic but it’s worked once. Ben. Erica. Any of you guys- do you have any idea where SPYDER would be?”
Cyrus started to yell at him- he felt the worst about Alexander’s old way of trying to be a spy –, but then, Warren jumped in.
“I got it!” he exclaimed causing everyone to jump. “I bet you they’re downtown. Everyone will be busy so they could pose as a store and simply set up a temporary headquarters”
I thought about it and it made sense. It’d be pretty easy to hide as a store- selling souvenirs or food or whatever. We’re in the second biggest city in Texas. During Christmastime people flock to the Alamo and such to see the building and there are stores lining the streets near there. They could be anywhere, disguised by other buildings and being covered by the masses of people. Soon, everyone caught on with my thinking, backing up warren’s idea. Warren beamed with joy. Even Erica sided with him.
“My research last night does show a new store- Sal’s Souvenirs and Stuff- that opened just a week ago, in fact the same day we got the tip. It’s possible that they’re located there…
“Let’s go!” Alexander exclaimed and suddenly everyone rushed out of the room antsy to head out and do some work while I lagged behind for Erica.
“You really think SPYDER’s there?”
“It’s a long shot but what else do we have. We got to at least try it” She stopped by her shared room with Zoe, picked up her laptop and sprinted down the stairs. I picked up the local paper down at the lobby which was complimentary to guests and figured I could make the jammed interstate feel faster by skimming through the news. I hopped on the van and we headed out into the city.
More to come on Friday! Tell your friends people, the more views, the more I plan on releasing!