Danger at the Opera
Agent K adjusted her long formal gown, smoothed her elbow-length gloves, and nervously checked her sequined clutch to make sure her dpns weren’t poking through. Taking a deep breath, she swept grandly into the opera house. She tried not to gape too obviously at the opulent surroundings, remnants of a by-gone gilded era. Consulting her ticket, she made her way to her luxury balcony in a prime location of the house as the squeaks and squawks of the orchestra warming up filled the air.
Agent K mentally reviewed her assignment while scanning the crowd. She was here to make contact with an undercover agent, known as Agent M. The agent’s cover was in danger of being blown due to the betrayal of the agent by her nemeses. An important part of Agent M’s cover was a knitting podcast on which the agent protested strongly against the spread of knitting (and even more vehemently against crocheting) while secretly passing messages and promoting knitting culture. Sadly, the knitting world is not without jealousies, and this agent had drawn the ire of a rival group of podcasters, the Multi-Generational Gang. Agent M’s nemeses, expert fiber crafters in their own rights, had grown tired of the attention paid to one who was so vocally anti-knitting, without realizing how vitally important the agent’s work was to the knitting community. A devilish plan had been hatched to eliminate the secret agent and her anti-knitting podcast and allow the Multi-Generationals total control over the knitting podcast realm.
As an internationally famous opera star, the secret agent was a perfect courier for the Agency, and Agent K had been sent to warn her about the danger in which she stood. The details of the plot against Agent M were unknown, but Agent K knew she would have to act fast to prevent disaster. Accordingly, Agent K had hurried to the next performance, armed to the teeth with the latest in Agency tech. Perhaps she might finally get to try out the vool and vine auto-grow trap-o-magic that the geeks down in R&D had developed.
The orchestral cacophony died down and the house lights dimmed as the conductor mounted the stage. A hush fell over the crowd, then a discretely enthusiastic clapping greeted Agent M’s entrance to the stage. Several besotted young and handsome men jockeyed to throw roses at her feet, eying each other in hostility. An usher quickly moved them away from the stage, and the music began.
The beautiful strains of a classical aria filled the hall. Agent K scanned the audience and the stage carefully, but soon was caught up in the music and lost in the emotion. The crowd was breathless in admiration of the music. Agent K almost forgot why she was there, so caught up in the moment as she was.
That was nearly a fatal mistake.
Halfway through the second piece, the peace was shattered by a loud BANG! The acrid smell of smoke filled the hall, and Agent M disappeared under a tastefully knit black lace pi shawl adorned with a multitude of sparkling beads. Three people had appeared on stage wearing expertly knitted sweaters with brightly colored balaclavas over their faces. But Agent K didn’t need to see their faces to know who they were.
The house was in chaos, and Agent K had to get to Agent M quickly before the Multi-Generationals succeeded in getting her off the stage. Agent K leaned over the balcony and looked for a way down. The opera crowd was in full panic mode – elderly ladies ran in circles like over-dressed and over-jeweled headless chickens. Handsome young male opera groupies lay fainting in their seats. The aisles were choked with fleeing patrons and struggling ushers. Agent K shook her head. She’d never make it to the stage fighting through that crowd. She’d have to go over them.
Agent K moved quickly to zip off her long, elegant skirt, revealing tactical pants underneath. She pulled a utility belt out of her elegant sequined clutch and buckled it around her waist. Pulling out the grappling hook, she swirled it around her head and cast it into the rafters above the stage where Agent M was putting up a valiant fight against Gi, Jazz, and Danger Mouse, the Multi-Generationals Gang members. Agent K tugged at the grappling hook to ensure that it was stuck fast, climbed over the edge of the balcony, and swung across the hall on the stainless steel-reinforced yarn line.
She slammed hard into the midst of the group struggling in the center of the stage, knocking all four people to the ground like bowling pins. Agent K sprung to her feet and pulled out the vool and vine auto-grow trapomatic and pointed it at Gi and Jazz.
"Freeze!" she cried. "You’re under arrest!"
"Are we?" sneered Gi. "Arrest yourself! You’re committing a crime against sewing with that poorly-constructed zippered skirt. Don’t you know you’re supposed to press fabric before sewing?"
"Well, I didn’t make it myself," replied Agent K, thrown off momentarily. "OW!"
Agent K made the mistake of looking down at her ankle, where Danger Mouse, sneaking unobserved past Agent K’s guard, had just whacked her with a spindle. While her attention was distracted, Jazz launched herself at Agent K and they fell in a heap on the stage, rolling about, each trying to get the upper hand. A mad scramble ensued, with yarn and needles flying in all directions. Agent K managed to get her hand into her sequined clutch and attempted to tie Jazz’s hands together with a retractable tape measure. Gi kicked the tape measure out of Agent K’s hand, and it skittered uselessly across the stage. Danger Mouse squealed in the delight as she slid a steel-reinforced spindle to Jazz, who snatched it up and was trying to spin Agent K’s hair painfully into a single. Meanwhile, Agent M had managed to free herself from the enveloping pi shawl and pulled a circular needle from a hidden pocket in her operatic costume. She whirled it over her head and flung it with a piercing battle cry at Gi, who fell to the floor with a thud when the needle wrapped itself around her ankles.
Just as the battle seemed to reach a stalemate with Agent K taking on Jazz and Danger Mouse and Agent M grappling with Gi, a new figure launched herself into the fray. Agent K breathed a sigh of relief as she recognized Agent M’s partner, Agent D. With reinforcements at hand, the Multi-Generational gang was quickly overwhelmed and in a very short space of time sitting in a row on the stage, bound with their own yarn.
"Just in time, Agent D," panted Agent K.
"Sorry I was late to the concert," replied Agent D. "I got hung up in the Gobi Desert fighting a gang of yak smugglers. Those smugglers won’t be smuggling yaks anytime soon. Oh, and I picked up some yak fiber from the grateful farmers. It should spin up nicely."
"Spinning wules!" squeaked Danger Mouse.
Agent M shook her head. "Poor kid. She’s being sucked into a life of yarn and knitting." She turned to Agent K. "What are you going to do with the Multi-Generational Gang?"
"They’ll be taken to an Agency facility," replied Agent K. "They just need a refresher course in not being evil and sharing the airwaves. If they knew how valuable the work you and Agent D were doing for the knitting community is, they could be your biggest supporters." She turned to the Multi-Generational Gang. "The fiber community supports one another – that’s what makes us great. A few weeks at the Elizabeth Zimmermann Memorial Don’t Be Evil Center and you’ll be right as rain."
As the Gang was carted off by the Agency cleanup squad, Agent M turned to Agent K and asked, "Do we have to support the crocheters too?"
Agents K and D looked at each other and laughed.
"Let’s finish the concert," chuckled Agent D, "And then I know a great little yarn shop right around the corner…"