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April 14, 2011 / whirlingneedles

The Mole


Agent K sat in the black Cadillac and waited for the mole to show himself. It was dark inside the parking deck where they had arranged to meet, and the radio produced only static. Agent K wished she dared to turn on the interior light so she could see what she was knitting, but that might have tipped off anyone watching and scared off the mole. She’d have to stick to garter stitch for now. She had been waiting for hours now, trying to be patient. Agent K made a mental note to bring a mp3 player and headphones next time. Maybe she could listen to the latest knitting podcasts as she waited.

This meeting had been arranged in haste, after a frantic call to headquarters from the panicked mole. Agent K was missing Knit Night for this, and she didn’t miss Knit Night lightly.

Agent K wondered what vital intelligence the mole would have for her. The aliens had been relatively quiet lately. Either they had been too busy frolicking in the spring-like warm days or they were cooking up some mischief. Agent K would put good money against mischief. The Agency was on the case of every field agent, trying to get intel on what those slimy creatures were up to. Agent K sighed, thinking that it was a waste that she was sitting in a dark, dank parking deck when she could be sitting at an outdoor café enjoying the evening with her knitting buddies.

Squinting at her knitting, Agent K’s keen ears heard a rustling, scraping sort of noise. She lifted her head and peered into the gloom. She set her knitting on the passenger seat and rested her hand on the door handle, ready to jump out of the car. Just on the other side of a concrete pylon (labeled “K1” in orange paint) a small white square of fabric waved once, twice, three times. It was the signal Agent K had been waiting for.

She slowly eased the door open and slid out. Carefully shutting the door behind her as quietly as possible, she slinked towards the K1 column. She casually leaned her back against the cold, hard column.

“What do you have for me?” asked Agent K, sotto voice.

“I’ve been digging around at the alien headquarters,” replied a squeaky voice. “I think I have something the Agency will be interested in.”

“I hope it’s worth my time tonight,” Agent K said.

“Oh, it is, it is!” squeaked the voice. “But you have to promise to protect me from the aliens. If they find out I’m passing information to you I’ll be in big trouble.”

“You know we’ll protect you,” Agent K answered. “We have never let anything slip yet, have we?”

“The information I have for you tonight is big,” the mole sighed. “If you act on it, they’ll know it was me, and they’ll come after me with those awful tentacles. I don’t react well to tentacle-poking! You’ve got to promise to take me to The Farm.”

“The Farm?” asked Agent K innocently. “What’s that?”

“Don’t play dumb with me!” the mole said sharply. “I know all about The Farm, where you escorted that Merino not too long ago. If you don’t take me there, I’ll spill the beans when the aliens come at me tentacle-first!”

“Okay, okay,” said Agent K. “Don’t get so excited. We will protect you. We just want to make sure that it’s worth our while.”

“It is,” affirmed the mole. “You know that big yarn convention that the Agency is planning in a few months? The one that’s going to have all the big sheep farmers, spinners, dyers, and knitters?”

“How do you know about that?!?! That’s top-secret!” Agent K gasped. “Uh, I mean, what big convention with all the big sheep farmers, spinners, dyers, and knitters?”

“Don’t play dumb with me!” the mole repeated. “The aliens know all about it! They’ve infiltrated the catering company and implanted control devices in all the people’s brains. The aliens have been developing a special chemical that, once ingested, will render the victims allergic to lanolin. The catering company will serve a cheesecake that has been tainted with this chemical to all the attendees at the convention.”

Agent K sagged against the K1 column in shock. Not only did the aliens have the plans for the convention, but they had this dastardly, cowardly chemical attack orchestrated as well.

“Is, is there an antidote?” asked Agent K hopefully.

“Not yet. But I do have the formula for the chemical,” the mole said, sliding a piece of paper into Agent K’s hand. “Get it to the Agency’s chemist division – let’s pray that they can find a way to counteract it.”

Agent K glanced at the formula, but it had been years since she’d had a basic primer in alien chemicals at the Agency training academy. The Agency hired the best chemical geeks, though, so maybe there was something they could do. At the very least, the Agency could fire the catering company and change the plans for the convention, now that they knew the aliens were on to them.

“Thank you, I’ll get this straight back to Headquarters,” Agent K told the mole and started to head back to the Caddy.

“Wait, aren’t you going to take me to The Farm?” the mole squeaked, alarmed.

“First we have to confirm your intelligence,” replied Agent K. “Then we have to have you apply for asylum, put your application to a committee, discuss it over the water cooler, pin it to the wall and throw darts at it, read it at staff meeting for three consecutive weeks …  Aw, heck, that’s too much red tape. Come on, let’s go. I’ll take you there myself.”

Agent K led the mole back to the Caddy and opened the passenger side door. She bent down and boosted the mole into the seat. The mole snuffled with interest at Agent K’s garter stitch project, and picked it up with surprising delicacy, given the powerful digging claws on his front paws.

“Nice – baby blanket?” inquired the mole.

“Yep, my former Agency partner is having her third,” confirmed Agent K, getting into the driver’s seat. “You’d think …”

Agent K trailed off and glanced suspiciously at the van that had just entered the parking deck. It was moving slowly down the aisle. Agent K couldn’t see what was in it, but she motioned for the mole to get down and slid down in her seat as well. The mole shot a terrified look at her, but she put her finger to her lips to indicate they should be quiet.

The van rolled closer and closer to them. A squeak of poorly maintained brakes reverberated through the deck as the van stopped. Agent K held her breath, and looked up as a beam of light swept the car next to hers. She placed a calming hand on the mole’s sleek, furry back, and waited. Her car was next to be swept with light. The interior lit up as the beam was directed at it. Agent K was glad she had thought to take the stray skeins of yarn out of the back window just that morning. Maybe the aliens wouldn’t notice the Ravelry window cling on the rear driver’s side window.

After a moment, the light left her car, and the van moved slowly off. Agent K breathed a sigh of relief. She motioned to the mole to stay hidden, picked up her knitting, and put a few more rows on the blanket. The van did not return, so she covered the mole with the blanket, got back up into the driver’s seat, and headed for the parking deck exit, as if everything were completely normal.

Agent K pulled up to the parking attendant’s kiosk and rolled down her window to pay. One glance at the attendant, though, and she hit the gas, barreling through the wooden gate arm. The attendant had been green with an eyestalk. Probably NOT the normal attendant.

Agent K’s tires squealed as she made a break for it. She picked up the radio on the dashboard and radioed ahead.She wasn’t going to let the aliens get this mole.

The streets were starting to empty as people headed home for the night, and Agent K made the most of it. She roared through several red lights, all the while keeping a wary eye on her rearview mirror. She hadn’t yet spotted the van, but it was likely not far behind. After several blocks she slowed down. The last thing she wanted was to have to explain to a policeman what she was doing speeding and running red lights with a mole under a half-knitted baby blanket!

Her destination was just up ahead – the local yarn shop where knit night would have been moved to after the radio SOS. She’d radioed ahead so that the folks would expect trouble and move indoors. She hoped she’d lost the van, but a little extra cover from the knitters would be welcome.

She pulled into the LYS lot and hustled the mole inside. She waved distracted at the knitters, then between them Agent K and LYSO smuggled the mole into a dark room at the back. He’d be happy there until the Agency could process his application. After tonight, Agent K wasn’t going to risk escorting the mole to The Farm herself without the proper back-up.

Agent K looked out the LYS window and saw a van futilely parked across the street. She smiled and settled in to enjoy the rest of Knit Night.

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