Smartphoney

After weeks of secret detective work, partners Barbara and Nolan are on the verge of cracking the case. They’ve been posing as employees at a high-profile financial firm named MoneyMakers LLC., trying to prove that the CEO named (fill in the blank) has been ripping customers off. After hearing him say incriminating things into the fake smartphone they swapped out for his, they have to retrieve it again without getting caught.

Post your response (500 words or fewer) in the comments below.

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48 thoughts on “Smartphoney

  1. Papa Troll

    The plan was simple. The idea illuminated the ebon morbidity that haunted any progress towards a redeemable solution. Words were exchange, bad words, incriminating words. Words that spelt doom for our debaucherously lecherous cantankerous bastard of a CEO. We’ll call him Bob since his name his Robert and he hates Bob.

    “Will this work?” Nolan was at the edge of his seat with anticipation. He wiped his mouth with the napkin to clean up the enthusiasm that dribbled down his chin when he was excited. He was a nervous salivator as she accused him. Barbara smiled secretly every time Nolan complained about how we got fleeced at his weekly poker game. She knew why he lost.

    She looked towards the restrooms. Bob had excused himself. “We don’t have to do anything, but enjoy our carpaccio and wait for our cappuccinos.”

    Nolan wiped his mouth again. There was no mystery why their chemistry never exceeded a detached level of professionalism. They were a great team though.

    “Right, cappuccinos,” he looked nervously towards the bathroom.

    “Be cool,” she scolded him. “We got to hold steady. Remember. Bumper is ready with his crew. So relax. Do you think you can handle that?”

    “Yeah, yeah,” Nolan babbled as he nodded emphatically. He ran his hand nervously through his thinning blond hair that stood end to end as if he’d been struck by electricity.

    “Honestly,” Barbara snapped. “I have no idea how we pulled it off with you here.”
    “What’s that mean?”

    “Look at you,” she snarled making a broad gesture with her hand to encompass Nolan’s entire being. “You are the equivalent of reckless abandon.”

    “Meaning?”

    Barbara gave him a long look. “Meaning you suck at this job.”

    “Testy,” Nolan commented with a disapproving frown. “You must be rocking that punctuation mark.”

    “Which one?”

    “The one at the end of a sentence,” Nolan grinned sardonically. He looked up suddenly, and wiped his mouth. “Chill, chill, he’s coming back.”

    Barbara bit back an acidic retort as she brightened her eyes, and her smile. Bob returned to the table.

    “I take it, you two are almost finished,” Bob said. “I’m afraid a situation has come up. I must return to the office.”

    “Yeah,” Barbara said nonchalantly, “We can Uber back.”

    “Okay,” Bob said. “Thanks for the birthday lunch. It’s not till next week, but I appreciate the initiative.”

    “Again,” Nolan explained. “I apologize. I have corrected the mistake in my calendar. Next year will be on time.”

    Bob laughed politely and said, “I barely remember mine, much less my family. I completely sympathize with your plight. The gesture is what counts. See you at the office.”

    He waved and left.

    Barbara sent a text, and look up. “The play is motion.”

    “You’re so cryptic,” Nolan complained. “I’m putting in for a transfer. It’s a tag and bag. Plain and simple.”

    “So we are on the verge of breaking one of the biggest cases, and you are complaining about semantics?”

    A waitress came by and dropped the cappuccinos in front of them.

    Nolan gingerly sipped his drink. “Not semantics, attitude. I’m putting in for a transfer.”

    “Fine,” Barbara grumbled. “Not going to sleep with you to change your mind.”

    “I was drunk,” Nolan said with a gasp of indignation. “You said you’d never bring that up again.”

    “You never…” she paused as she grabbed her phone and checked her message. “He got him. Let’s go get our prize.”

    “I’m still mad at you.”

    Barbara sighed, “You’ll get over it.”

    “Maybe,” Nolan said wiping his lip.

    Maybe indeed.

  2. FinnMacCoul22

    “But why do we need to switch the phones?” Barbara asked.

    “So he doesn’t know we have the evidence until we want him to.” Nolan watched Torgesen’s personal assistant over Barbara’s shoulder. Any second now…

    “No. I mean why didn’t you just make the thing upload his conversation to the cloud or something? You made a perfect clone of his phone, with invisible recording software, but instead of some kind of wireless setup you design it so we have to physically go in there and get it.”

    “Hmm. I guess I didn’t really think about it.”

    Barbara had follow up questions but she was also watching the Torgesen’s assistant in the reflection of some strategically held sunglasses, and the woman had just stood bolt upright. Her eyes were wide, as if she was held in some kind of trance, and she stiffly but quickly walked away from the desk.

    “What did you to her?”

    Nolan was giggling into the palm of his hand. “I brought her coffee a couple minutes ago. Let’s just say there’s a very real possibility she’s going to crap her pants.”

    “That’s disgusting.” Barbara adjusted the glasses, saw the PA shuffle rigidly around the corner.

    “It’s not that bad,” Nolan told her.

    “How do you know that?”

    Nolan held up a finger for silence as he stepped confidently toward the CEO’s now unattended office. Barbara held up a finger behind his back, not for silence. They quietly let themselves into the office. The old man was in the gym and everyone knew he never took his phone to the gym. He liked to focus on his weird old body when he was there.

    The office was the size of some living rooms and they split up to search. Barbara carefully searched the desk while Nolan ducked into Torgesen’s private restroom. He came out with the phone raised in triumph a moment later.

    “Great, let’s go,” Barbara said.

    “Gotta sync them up then make sure the recording is good.” Nolan pulled out the other phone and connected them with a short black cable.

    “Kind of in a hurry here, Nolan.”

    “He just started his gym hour. And the PA is going to be in there a very long time. Trust me.” Clearly he’d had a mishap in the past. He disconnected the phones and played the recording.

    “Hello?” Torgesen said.

    “Have the assets have been taken care of?” A gravely voice asked.

    “Yes. We were able to set aside 3% more than I estimated in the account Mr Kastovsky gave me.”

    “No names!” The line went dead.

    “That’s it?” Barbara asked.

    “There are other conversations to check, but that’s all we need. I mean he says Kastovsky’s name in it!”

    “Who’s Kastovsky?”

    “Russian gangster.”

    “WHAT?”

    Suddenly there were heavy footsteps outside. They looked at each other, then around the room for a hiding place. They scrambled into the washroom as someone entered the office.

    “God, he’s probably coming in here to take a shower. Put the phone where you found it and hide in the closet!” Barbara whispered.

    Nolan nodded and placed a phone next to the sink. Then he froze, and took that phone back and put the other one there. Then he took that one back and examined each of them. “Uhhhhh.”

    “I am going to kill you,” Barbara said as the door opened.

  3. pvenderley

    My décolletage plunged deeper than a kids’ hand in a candy bowl and the hemline felt higher than a Denver voter.

    “I don’t see why I have to dress like this, Nolan.”

    “ ‘They’re called boobs, Ed.’ ”

    “Is that seriously the only movie quote you know?” I tried pulling the skirt down an inch. My tattoo from that one Spring Break — the one my friends swore nobody would ever see — peeked over the belt line. I pulled the skirt back up. “At least you could say ‘Babs,’ instead of ‘Ed.”

    “Wouldn’t be a good quote then, would it?”

    “Not a good quote anyway.”

    “Just get in there and get the phone, willya?” Nolan was a sweet guy, but became gruff when a target was about to get away. In this case, the target was a smartphone we’d planted on a CEO suspected of colluding with several deplorable cartels.

    I’d gotten into the private detective business thinking it would be all about planting bugs under desks and staking out people in cars. Nolan disavowed me of that notion quick.

    “People don’t have their most incriminating conversations in conference rooms,” he’d said. “And the players are global, not some guy you can meet at your local Starbucks.” So I brushed up on my pickpocket skills, switching my marks’ smartphones with our own bugged models to record what they say while walking briskly between high-powered executive meetings or sitting on the executive toilet, and then back again.

    But these skills weren’t going to work today. We’d learned last night that our mark was planning on taking a private rooftop helicopter to a private jet to a private resort in a less than extradition-friendly country.

    “Bastard clients knew about this the whole time,” Ed had railed about this turn of events. We had to get our plant back today.

    I had already situated myself as a temp in the office, serving coffee and performing odd duties. None of them got me close to the CEO until his next-to-last meeting of the day, where I was assigned to refresh the coffee service table.

    The conversation droned as I walked in the room. I put one carafe on the counter, and pressed a button on my blouse.

    The CEO’s phone rang.

    “That should be on silent,” he said, picking up the phone. “There’s no number on this. It’s just ringing.”

    “Sir? Do you want me to have IT look at that for you?” I offered.

    “Yeah,” he said, but slid the phone down the table. “Ed. Have your boys figure this out. Before I leave today.”

    The company’s CIO picked up the phone and poked at the blank screen. I pressed my button to make the phone stop ringing. Ed furrowed his brow, frowned, and stepped out of the room.

    This meant trouble. I finished serving the coffee and left, following the CIO.

    “Sir?” I asked, breaking his concentrated study of the bugged phone. “I can take that down to IT if you want me to.”

    “No, er. Thank you.” He continued walking, staring at the phone in his hands.

    “It could be the logic board,” I said. He stopped just outside his office, hand on the door.

    “You know about phones?” he asked.

    “A little,” I said, stepping close to him. I traced the edge of the cell phone case with the tip of my fingernail, and let my lips open slightly to form a small pout. “Took a lot of electives in college.”

    The CIO’s eyes darted from my face to the phone, and back again.

    “What is this?” he asked. The way his eyes lingered on my chest made me strongly suspect he’d noticed that the cell phone I’d pushed into my bra, now peeking out over the top of my blouse, was oddly similar to the one in his hands.

    “They’re called boobs, Ed,” I said, and pushed him into his office.

  4. Sweet Gum Life

    After weeks of secret detective work, partners Barbara and Nolan are on the verge of cracking the case.
    They’ve been posing as employees at a high-profile financial firm named MoneyMakers LLC., trying to prove that the CEO, Sullivan Sweeney, has been ripping customers off. After hearing him say incriminating things into the fake smartphone they swapped out for his, they have to retrieve it again without getting caught.

    As in each campaign rally, Sweeney left his phone and his wallet behind with his trusted campaign advisor, Lana Abilene. Abilene stood stage left, clapping at each moronic and overused cliché that spouted from Sweeney’s mouth. As Sweeney’s speechwriter, Barbara stood to Abilene’s right. She breathed in slowly through her nose and exhaled through her mouth.

    “Would you stop that!” Abidene hissed at Barbara, maintaining the fake smile that she reserved for the network TV cameras. They never knew when the cameras would pan in their direction.

    Nolan had positioned himself with the other news media on a raised stand about fifty feet from where Sweeney cranked out his phony campaign promises.

    Midway through the speech, Nolan heard his wife whisper, “Now!”

    With a touch of a button on his fake Nikon, Nolan activated what seemed like a small explosion but, in reality was a smoke bomb, at the base of Sweeney’s podium. As smoke filled the stage and confusion ensued, Barbara easily slipped the fake smartphone from the crook of Abilene’s elbow and slid it into her purse.

    “Mr. Sweeney, Mr. Sweeney! Are you alright?” she cried as a slew of body guards stormed the stage.
    He was alright. But Barbara and Nolan had a private plane to catch. Tossing her wig into her purse, Barbara quickly hurried out to meet her husband.

    Brazil was waiting.

  5. ReathaThomasOakley

    After weeks of secret detective work, professional as well as private-life for nearly twenty years partners Barbara and Nolan are on the verge of cracking the case. They’ve been posing as employees at a high-profile financial firm named MoneyMakers LLC., trying to prove that the CEO named Phil N. D’Blank has been ripping customers off. After hearing him say incriminating things into the fake smartphone they swapped out for his, they have to retrieve it again without getting caught.

    “Tonight?”

    “Why not?”

    “Midnight?”

    “Perfect!”

    “Afraid?”

    “Just nervous.”

    “Piece of cake.”

    “I know, just…”

    “Yeah, always that chance…”

    “Like Toronto…”

    “Whoa, partner.”

    “Sorry, sorry.”

    “You gonna wear that?”

    “Uh, no.”

    “Where…”

    “Be right back.”

    “That loaded?”

    “Always.”

    ………………………………………………..

    “I’m too old for this.”

    “No, babe, you were great.”

    “Really?”

    “Really. Never better.”

    “Didn’t mean…”

    “I know, I know. Bad information.”

    “Not our fault.”

    “Just doing our job.”

    “Collateral damage.”

    “Yeah. Got the FoneyFone.”

    “Stupid name.”

    “English major faking it in marketing.”

    “Ha!”

    “Really great job, really, I mean perfect…”

    “No.”

    “What?”

    “Headache.”

    “Oh.”

      1. ReathaThomasOakley

        Kerry, you are correct about the mistake, but the other part? I think your thoughts go to, shall we say, unusual places.

        This was such a confining prompt, but after missing two weeks I needed to do something or I feared I’d stop writing. My time is extremely limited right now for writing, or commenting. Hopefully, soon…

  6. Jennifer Park

    [Also to Kerry Charlton’s revised prompt. While we are connecting all current events…]
    Barbara had never felt so frustrated. She had managed to slip away from the mingling portion of the Clifton Foundation gala and toward Mrs. Clifton’s bedroom, but the tracker pointed her into Mr. Clifton’s bedroom, and toward the headboard of his California-king-sized bed. Plausible scenario: contrary to the rumors to the contrary, they did occasionally have conjugal visits, and Mrs. Clifton’s phone had fallen behind the mattress. She was notoriously careless with her phone, despite the fact that twenty-three intelligence agencies world-wide, including some US agencies, have been actively trying to get their hands on it. Barbara could almost feel it with the tip of her fingers, but the slippery surface of the Galaxy Note 7 made it hard to grip in the confined space, as hard as she reached down.
    She decided to sit back up and take off her padded bra. She was sure the extra half inch would give her the…
    “Well, I see you and I are after the same thing!” said a gruesomely familiar voice.
    It was Mr. Drummond, former best friend to the Cliftons, now mortal frenemy, grudgingly attending the gala because his daughter was best friends with the Clifton heir. And they shared the same mob connections.
    Barbara shuddered to see that he was wearing his trademark slime on his face.
    She had to think quick. “To get into Mr. Clifton’s pants?” she ventured with a smile.
    Mr. Drummond made a face that said he would not have minded that at all. “That could work,” he wobbled his head mock-thoughtfully, “or we could make something work… without him.”
    Barbara tossed her bra with one hand, and let go of the hand that was holding the front of the blouse together. As unappetizing as Mr. Drummond was, how often did a low-ranking IRS investigator get to sleep with an alleged billionaire? Although, having seen his tax returns, Barbara knew that his net worth was only…
    “What’s that smell?”
    It was smoke. “Oh!” From behind her. From under the mattress. From where the phone was.
    “We gotta get outta here!” He didn’t bother to wait for her.
    Barbara sighed. Sweet times with a billionaire on a millionaire’s bed would have to wait… never mind the nine months of undercover work going up in smoke.

    1. Kerry Charlton

      I really got a awesome chuckle out of this. I loved every grisly word of it. Padded bra, only one half inch. In the fifties, they were call bumber bullets off the ’53 Cadillacs.

  7. thejim

    The general office was dark except for the red glow of three exit signs that gave enough light to pass in case of an emergency. Nolan followed Barbara to the corner office. Streaks of light escaped the drawn shades. All the employees at Moneymakers knew that every Thursday night Thomas Lerner worked and no one was to disturb him.

    This was the perfect time to retrieve the planted phone and get all the information from the device.

    “Shhh, all we have to do it wait till he comes out and we will sneak in and switch out the phones,” Barbara whispered.

    After only a few minutes of waiting, the door to Lerner’s office opened and Thomas walked out and headed for the washroom.

    “Now,” Nolan said, and they both quietly moved into the office. They moved to the desk looking for the phone Nolan looked at the charger unit plugged into the wall and traced back to the phone charging.

    “I got it lets get out of here.”

    Just then, Thomas Lerner walks in. “I should have expected this. You get the rope from my drawer and tie Nolan to the chair. Make sure it is good and tight.”

    Now come here. Barbara walks over to Thomas he presses his lips hard against hers as they fall to the floor and Thomas rips off her blouse…

    “I Need to get a new job,” Steve said, as he shut the door to editing bay number 2. I thought editing p0rn0 movies would be a good way to get into real movie business, but 8 years of this cr@p is making me sick.

    “Tell me about it, I have been only 3 years in and I am already burnt out. Jenkins is a jerk as well, every second he is looking over my shoulder and humiliating me, I would walk if I did need this job.”

    “CUT, CUT, CUT, Listen Matt you are fed up with your job and you are about to let Jack here know you are planning on robing your boss, I need more from you.”

    Allen walked away slowly from the set and looked up to the burnt out studio light, “Did I not ask someone to fix this light yesterday?” Forget it that’s a wrap people.”

    Allen headed out to his dark grey Beemer; the night was a bit cool for the Hills this time of year. He knew that the second crew was set to shoot on location for the next three days and he had just enough time to head out to the cabin.

    The highway was foggy the BMW sped around a sharp bend outside of Big Sur. Allen tried to slow down, but the brake pedal hit the floorboard no matter how many times he pumped them the car would not slow down. The front of the car it the rail and flipped over end and plummeted to the bottom of the cliff.

    It was such a shameless death, all because of a way to specific prompt.

  8. jhowe

    What in the hell did they think they were doing? Did they really think I wouldn’t notice the phone wasn’t mine? I speed dial my utility man and he answers before the first ring is complete.

    “Security, Gronky.” Sid always says ‘what’s up, Doc’ when I call. They got the speed dial right but they forgot to program the other phones. Nolan never was the sharpest chisel but I expected better from Barbara.

    “Sid, it’s me.”

    “Oh, what’s up, Doc? Your number came up as blocked.”

    “Hmm, must be a glitch at IT. I’ll look into it.” If they wanted intrigue, I’d give it to them. “Sid, I need you to put the kybosh on the Moneymaker deal.”

    “Me? Isn’t that Nolan’s baby?”

    “It is, yes. I’ve been trying to call him all afternoon but his number’s blocked. I’d better get in touch with IT right away.” There’s a quick knock at my door. “Sit tight, Sid. I’ll get with you soon.” Nolan sticks his head in.

    “You got a minute, boss?”

    “Sure, Nolan, come on in.” He looks pale, a little unsettled.

    Nolan sits and says, “I was hoping for an update on the Moneymaker acquisition.”

    “You tell me,” I say with raised eyebrows. Easy now, don’t give it away. “I thought Barbara was going to tell the bank to release the funds.”

    “She’s a little skittish about that. She thinks the call should come from you.”

    I’d already called the bank from a pay phone during lunch and told them to stall and I knew Barbara had been calling all afternoon. “If she’s worried about the acquisition, maybe we should wait a few days.”

    “Oh no, she’s not worried, just cautious.” He looks at his watch. “We’re running out of time on this, Paul.”

    I pick up my cell phone and wiggle it. “No, I think we’ll wait.” I push a button under the edge of my desk. “Sid will be here soon. I want you and Barbara to accompany him to you cars, immediately.”

    “You’re firing us?” He gets to his feet as Sid comes in the door. “You’re going to regret this, Paul!”

    I’m sitting in front of Ian Booker’s desk. Nolan and Barbara have been gone for 24 hours.

    “Paul, I recommended that the board accept Moneymaker’s offer.”

    “Offer! What offer?”

    “They’ve acquired a substantial amount of shares already. Nolan called me this morning and convinced me it’s the right move.”

    “Nolan? You can’t listen to him. This isn’t right. I’ll get an injunction!”

    “We anticipated you resistance, Paul, but the board is cooperating. There’s nothing you can do.”

    “I’ll sue your sorry asses, Ian! You won’t get away with this.”

    Sid walks in and touches my elbow. “Come on, Doc. It’s time to go.”

  9. Kerry Charlton

    A CASE FOR THE KEEPER

    [Based On My Revised Prompt]

    In the United States Treasury Department, under close raps, a department simply

    labeled ‘Twilight’, was unknown to the public, the President of the United States , the

    Attorney General, Secretary of State and the director of the CIA. In a close group of men

    and women, seventy percent were former snuff agents for various terrorist groups

    throughout the world.

    They had been reclaimed so to speak, by secret brain washing, to respond only to

    certain commands from the Secretary of the Treasury, the Secretary of Commerce and

    the newly appointed Secretary of World Trade. Kind of an economic police force, trained

    to kill upon notice. This concept loosened logjams of negotiations and allowed the three

    fore mentioned Secretary’s to control world commerce.

    Rod Thrust was one of the elite enforcers, his associate was a girl of great beauty

    who before being reclaimed had killed many men just for self pleasure. Her name was

    Trapper Jane to the elite band but moved in public as La-nore Wittington, a high price girl

    of the evening., operating in Washington.

    In a bunker far beneath the ground in Fairlington Virginia, a meeting between the

    Secretary of the Treasury, Karl Grossenoff, the Secretary of World Trade, Briana

    Wolfgang, Rod and Trapper Jane wore into the late night hours. The case in point was a

    world non profit, The Clifton Foundation, which had taken in over a billion dollars the last

    three years and disbursed less then ten percent of donations.

    The Treasury Department had stepped lightly as William Clifton III and Harriett

    Railstriker Clifton, both connected with the elite of Washington, had personas not to be

    messed with. Rod Thrust who looked like an affable business man and Trapper who could

    seduce any man on the planet were to gain employment with the Clifton‘s company, find

    out what made it so very successful in garnishing money.

    Beneath the outer shell of the Clifton Foundation, Karl Grossenoff and Briana

    Wolfgang suspected a front for a lobbying company, the power of which they thought

    immense. Posed as a non profit, the funds could be diverted out of the country as so many

    grants the foundation made from time to time.

    A very sophisticated company indeed, and Karl and Briana wanted their hands on

    the project to expand and pour funds out of America for their own personal wants. It

    might call for a snuff or two among the non responsive, thus the infiltration by Rod and

    Trapper..

    The conversations continued,

    “The funds diverted to Twilight will make for many more covert activities,” Karl

    said. “By expanding to Chicago and Los Angeles, we can triple our income. Do you

    know what this means for both of you.?”

    “Ah yes, the chance to kill, Trapper said.”

    “I had in mind more personal income for you.”

    “That’s nice also.” She grabbed Karl and put a fierce kiss on him. She wasn’t sure

    but she thought Karl and Briana might be an item, even though each seemed happily

    married.

    As suspected Brianna moved forward quickly, “And what was the kiss for?”

    “Just a thank you, would you rather I just shake hands.?.”

    .

  10. igonzales81

    Detective Nolan Pierce pushed through the door to O’Sullivan’s, careful to keep the collar of his trench coat turned up. He spotted Barbara immediately, despite the dim lighting and pall of cigarette smoke.

    “Agent Whithurst,” he said, sliding into the booth across from her, casting a look around the bar, wary for anyone paying more attention than they should. A mug of coffee sat on the table in front of him. He glanced at the glass of wine, half-empty, at Barbara’s elbow. She knew him so well.

    “Nolan,” she said, taking a deep drag on her Marlboro.

    Nolan could tell it was serious: Barbara only smoked when she was really on-edge. “What do you have for me?”

    She stabbed out the cigarette. “It’s done. We have what we need.”

    Nolan almost smiled. Sixteenth months, a little over a million in hard-won funding, and a lot of baggage, but they had their case. “Are you sure?”

    Barbara nodded. “Phone conversation with Senator Hicks. Everything came out.”

    “Great.” He lifted the mug, took a long sip. But something felt off, like there was something she wasn’t telling him. “Now drop the other shoe, Agent Whithurst.”

    She stared at him for a moment; there was something in her eyes, something that might almost be… fear. “I wasn’t able to retrieve the device.”

    Nolan felt himself go cold. If anyone found out how they got the evidence… he could see it all going up in the smoke that rose from the ashtray. “Why?”

    She shook her head. “It doesn’t matter. I just couldn’t get it.”

    Nolan felt a wash of emotions, anger foremost. “Agent Whithurst, we need that phone. You know as well as I do that we didn’t have a warrant for that tap.”

    “I know,” she hissed, darting a look about the room. “That’s why we’re meeting here.”

    “Do you have a plan?” Nolan raised the cup again, to cover his embarrassment. Of course she was ahead of him; Barbara was the best under-cover cop he’d ever worked with. He’d trusted her with his life more than once, and never had any reason to regret it. He’d even had reason to enjoy it.

    She gave him a quick, nervous grin. “I do. Though I can’t take all the credit for it.”

    What did she mean by that? Abruptly, Nolan felt a wave of light-headedness wash over him. A hot flush spread through his body, and he clutched the table to keep from falling out of his seat.

    Barbara slid away from him; there was no mistaking the fear in her eyes now. “I’m sorry, Nolan. I really am.”

    Nolan tried to force himself to his feet. He knew what had happened, knew what it felt like to be slipped a fast one. Things were going dark fast, and all Nolan could do was stare at Barbara’s face. This one hurt, but he had to admit he was impressed. Not many people could sneak one past him.

    He hoped she enjoyed it, because it would be the last.

    The senator wasn’t the only one with a tapped phone.

  11. Pete

    “Barb, I think we’ve got it.”

    “Got what?”

    “Everything. It’s all here, for the MoneyMakers case.”

    “Remind me again, that one?”

    “Jesus, Barb, what’s going on with you? And why are we meeting at this dive bar at six in the afternoon?”

    “Evening.”

    “Whatever. MoneyMakers, I’ve got it, now we just need—”

    “Moneymakers…Moneymakers…”

    “Are you serious right now? Chet Vanderbilk. That rich white guy ripping people off.”

    “He’s white?”

    “His name is Chet. Barb, what’s going on with you?”

    “Hang on one sec, yeah, another vodka tonic, can I get that in a pitcher? Thanks. Okay, Chet, evil white guy, Moneymakers. Yes, I remember—Mitt Romney looking guy.”

    “Barb, maybe you should take it easy with that.”

    “You ever feel like you married the wrong guy?”

    “I’m married to a woman. You know Nikki.”

    “No, no, I know. Forget it, let’s just…Okay, so yeah, what do you have on Moneymakers?”

    “Well, the smartphone we swapped, it’s—”

    “Shouldn’t we just say phone. I mean, I’m assuming a Mitt Romney CEO guy isn’t stringing together Campbell Soup Cans, you know?”

    “Uh, okay.”

    “No, I just…it’s like saying, ‘his portable phone’, right?”

    “Barb, stay with me here.”

    “Right. Romney. His advanced mobile phone system.”

    “Anywaaaaay. It turns out Mr. Vanderbilk is working with the Catalina Utilitarian Terror Entity. Come on Barb, you just spit all over me!”

    “It’s CUTE!”

    “Not hardly.”

    “No, I mean C.U.T.E. “

    “What is, I…oh wow…You know, I never put that together….baffling really, why would a terror organization…no, anyway, not important. Turns out our guy Chet, is importing.”

    “I wonder if they know their acronym is CUTE. Like, hey, we have a bomb, and we’re cute.”

    “Okay, what kind of accent was that?”

    “Was it cute?”

    “Barb. Look, I know you’re going through some stuff right now. With your divorce and your husband’s recent procedure…”

    “I don’t want to talk about it. I just want to have a drink with a coworker. Come on, Noah—”

    “Nolan.”

    “Nolan, really?”

    “Like you can talk, Barb.”

    “Jesus, what is this, 1953?”

    “Yes barb. It’s the cold war. Nukes. Spies. Two, down on their luck operatives.”

    “Wait, you’re not down on your luck, you’ve got Nikki.”

    “She moved out last week.”

    “Oh? “

    “Stop smiling.”

    “Sorry, I mean…Oh. Another pitcher?”

    “Why not, but let’s get back to Chet Vanderbilk.”

    “Bad Mitt Romney, right. Here, let me pour that for you.”

    “Yes. Wow, that’s actually pretty good.”

    “I know, right?”

    “Okay, so we’ve got clear evidence of this guy talking to the Catalina Te—”

    “Just say C.U.T.E., you know you want to.”

    “Fine, CUTE.”

    “You’re kinda cute when you smile, Colon.”

    “Nolan. Now, look. Back to the smartphone, remember?”

    “Phone. Grr!”

    “Fine, phone. Look, these are nasty people we’re talking about. We actually armed them during the crisis in…”

    “Did we give them fluffy spears? Glittery vests and wands?”

    “You’re impossible when you are drunk.”

    “You like it.”

    “That accent you did. Remember that night we went undercover, as the Kozlowski’s?”

    “The night you kissed me?”

    “Part of the job.”

    “Your tongue was on the job.”

    “It wasn’t the worst job I’ve ever had.”

    “Well then, to the Kozlowski’s.”

    “One more pitcher, Halina?”

    “Why yes, Victor.”

    1. Kerry Charlton

      I love this Pete. The banter is excellent, all the name stuff being wrong. The only thing she remembered is the tongue. They do come in handy. You really ripped this prompt up. I’m going back in and write a story based on my revision. Good guys, the feds, emails, dames thugs, mostly Italian, and damsels. Easy money Rusky style.

  12. Kerry Charlton

    SMARTPHONEY

    In a large apartment facing Central Park, a middle-aged couple have read the latest prompt from Writers Digest,

    “What kind of word is Smartphoney? Jason said.

    “Beats me, Jennifer replied, sipping the last ounce of a martini as she watched the shadows lengthen across the street. “Name the damn thing what it is, “A Case For The Keeper.”

    “I see the prompt has names.?”

    “Junk them, name the man Rod Thrust, I always wanted to do that.”

    “Typical Jen, we’ll name the girl Trapper Jane.”

    “Love it, another suggestion, high profile financial firm is dated, we’ll go with an
    international political non profit and call it the Clifton Foundation.”

    “Nice touch, now the CEO, any suggestion?”

    “Do you like William Clifton III and Harriet Railstriker Clifton?”

    “Well okay Jason but it sounds kind of familiar, but I just can‘t place it. Now what about the story.?”

    “You do it but put al least 30,000 emails that end up somewhere, maybe close to Harriet. And the scramble to destroy them before the feds get them.. Oh and jump in and add some pervy sending photos across the country of his ‘you know‘

    “Now where did you come up with that one? No one with a particle of a brain would try that“.

    “You want to bet a thousand on that, Jennifer?”

    “Okay, you made your point, but the idiot must have a drive shaft between his
    ears“

    “Probably, do you want to write it tonight?”

    “Not hardly, you have me all worked up. You better put the fire out before I start emailing my own parts.”
    “Buddy Holly said it Jen.”

    “What?”

    “ ‘That’ll Be The Day.’ ”

  13. Hiba Gardezi

    Read this one. The one below has too many grammatical errors.

    I run as fast as I can but I’m too slow.
    ‘Wait up!’ I shout-whisper to Nolan.
    We’re probably right above the factory right now and I can’t let anyone hear us.
    ‘Girls!’ Nolan lets out in exasperation. ‘You’re all so useless.’
    I feel pain in my side and I need to stop for air
    ‘Please…’ the word hurts as it comes out.
    He stops, crosses his arms and looks at me angrily.
    ‘Who do you think you are, Princess? You have five minutes. I’m not going to wait for you again. Your speed, your problem.’
    ‘Thank you,’ I tell him as I stop to catch my breath. He looks at me in disgust.
    But I need to say it. He won’t tell me anything.
    ‘Can I see the, map? Please tell me the plan. Maybe I can help you. Where are we going?
    He grunts, turns away and starts running again.
    Slowly this time.
    ‘We can’t waste time… I wonder why they put me with a girl.’
    ‘I get it. I’m a problem for you. Happy? Can you stop doing that?’
    ‘It’s their fault they sent me with you. Why’d you even sign up for this. What happened to giggly sleep overs and pink nail polish, huh?’
    I keep quiet.
    Finally I stop. I can’t run any more or I’ll just faint.
    ‘Well then stay here and die!’ He throws a shoe at me and runs off.
    I sit there in the darkness of the passage for a minute before I see it.
    I can’t help but smile.
    He’s forgotten something in his shoe.
    I pick it out and strain to see what’s written through the blurriness of the fuzzy darkness.
    It’s the question.
    Pretend to be a worker at Money Makers. We’ve swapped his phone for a fake that will record his messages. All you have to do now is prove he is a criminal.
    I work it out in my head. Were in a tunnel in the ceiling of the building. And he’s tracking the position above ‘his’ head so we can get proof against him.
    If only I had the tracker.
    So that’s it I think I’ll just do what he said.
    Stay here.
    He’s probably gone so far that I can’t catch him.
    He’s faster than I am.
    Then I hear a wonderful sound down below.
    It’s a man’s voice. Deep and angry.
    ‘I told you yesterday that I want the clients locked up in casement three.
    Casement three. I said casement three!’ a pause ‘you forgot. Oh, oh, I’m sorry Cory. It’s alright. We’re all human. We forget-ARE YOU TRYIN G TO RUIN ME!?’ another pause ‘where are they? On floor one. GO. GO there this minute, catch them and throw them in the torture chamber directly. I’m in no mood to be merciful today. Throw yesterday’s deposits in Casement 20 in as well. I really didn’t like that man.’
    Now, that’s information I bet Nolan didn’t get.
    I put on my glasses.
    Yes, he’s left his phone on the table and he’s walking out of the room.
    I tip toe ahead for about twenty minutes to be sure that when I first speak the man doesn’t her me. Then I fix my earpiece and whisper ‘Nolan’
    ‘Yes. You’re not dead, yet? I’m not coming back for you.’
    ‘I know the question now. You left it in the sh-’
    He sounds agitated ‘Oh, yay! Oh, yay. Are you going to conquer the world now?’
    ‘And I heard a man under me. I think it’s him. He locks his customers up, Nolan. And throws them in torture chambers.’
    ‘What should I do, then?’
    I can almost see him roll his eyes.
    ‘Come back and maybe we can get his phone.’
    He’s back in five minutes.
    ‘Let me do this.’ He has his glasses on. I throw them off his face.
    ‘What are you doing?’ He puts them back on.
    ‘The boss said no longer than three minutes in one go.’
    ‘And I’m gong to listen to him?’
    ‘Yes.’
    ‘No. I’m a pro. There, I see it.’
    Just then his glasses fall off and begin beeping. Red lights coming from the detective technology seem to consume the floor of the passage and it breaks up. There’s nothing below us now and we fall.
    When I hit the ground on my feet ad he falls on to his side on the table he shoots me a terrible glance.
    It says ‘Don’t you dare say you were right.’
    I pick up the phone just then an alarm blares and this time I have to drag Nolan off the table.

  14. Hiba Gardezi

    I run as fast as I can but I’m too slow.
    ‘Wait up!’ I shout-whisper to Nolan.
    We’re probably right above the factory right now and I can’t let anyone hear us.
    ‘Girls!’ Nolan lets out in exasperation. ‘You’re all so useless.’
    I feel pain in my side and I need to stop for air
    ‘Please…’ the word hurts as it comes out.
    He stops, crosses his arms and looks at me angrily.
    ‘Who do you think you are, Princess? You have five minutes. I’m not going to wait for you again. Your speed, your problem.’
    ‘Thank you,’ I tell him as I stop to catch my breath. He looks at me in disgust.
    But I need to say it. He won’t tell me anything.
    ‘Can I see the, map? Please tell me the plan. Maybe I can help you. Where are we going?
    He grunts, turns away and starts running again.
    Slowly this time.
    ‘We can’t waste time… I wonder why they put me with a girl.’
    ‘I get it. I’m a problem for you. Happy? Can you stop doing that?’
    ‘It’s their fault they sent me with you. Why’d you even sign up for this. What happened to giggly sleep overs and pink nail polish, huh?’
    I keep quiet.
    Finally I stop. I can’t run any more or I’ll just faint.
    ‘Well then stay here and die!’ He throws a shoe at me and runs off.
    I sit there in the darkness of the passage for a minute before I see it.
    I can’t help but smile.
    He’s forgotten something in his shoe.
    I pick it out and strain to see what’s written through the blurriness of the fuzzy darkness.
    It’s the question.
    Pretend to be a worker at Money Makers. We’ve swapped his phone for a fake that will record his messages. All you have to do now is prove he is a criminal.
    I work it out in my head. Were in a tunnel in the ceiling of the building. And he’s tracking the position above ‘his’ head so we can get proof against him.
    If only I had the tracker.
    So that’s it I think I’ll just do what he said.
    Stay here.
    He’s probably gone so ahead that I can’t catch him.
    He’s faster than I am.
    Then I hear a wonderful sound down below.
    It’s a man’s voice. Deep and angry.
    ‘I told you yesterday that I want the clients locked up in casement three.
    Casement three. I said casement three!’ a pause ‘you forgot. Oh, oh, I’m sorry Cory. It’s alright. We’re all human. We forget-ARE YOU TRYIN G TO RUIN ME!?’ another pause ‘where are they? On floor one. GO. GO there this minute, catch them and throw them in the torture chamber directly. I’m in no mood to be merciful today. Throw yesterday’s deposits in Casement 20 in as well. I really didn’t like that man.
    Now, that’s information I bet Nolan didn’t get.
    I put on my glasses. Yes, hes left his phone on the table and hes walking out of the room.
    I tip toe ahead for about twenty minutes to be sure that when I first speak the maan doesn’t her me. Then I fix my earpiece and whisper ‘Nolan’
    Yes. Your not dead yet. Im not coming back fo you
    I know the question now. Youleft it in the sh-
    He sounded agitated oh yay oh yay. Are you going to conquer the world now-
    And I heard a man under me. I think its him.
    He locks his customers up, Nolan. And throwd them in tortue chambers.
    What should I do then?
    I can almost see him roll his eyes.
    Come back and maybe we can get his phone.
    Hes back in five minutes.
    Let me do this. He has his glasses on. I thow them off his face. What are you doing,
    The boss said no longer than three minutes in one go.
    And im gong to listen to him?
    Yes
    No. I’m a pro. There, I see it.
    Just then his glasses fall off and begin beeping. Red lights coming from the detective technology seem to consume the floor of the passage and it breaks up. There’s nothing below us now and we fall.
    When I hit the ground on my feet ad he falls on to his side on the table he shoots me a terrible glance.
    It says ‘Don’t you dare say you were right.’
    I pick up the phone.
    Just then an alarm blares and this time I have to drag Nolan off the table.

  15. totalnoob

    Swapping the phone was the easy part. Barbara knew it was just a matter of doing exactly what she did the first time. Angela left her phone on her desk all the time. It’s not like she took it with her to the bathroom or anything. All Barbara had to do was listen carefully for Angela to head to the bathroom. And then swap the phone over. It would take a minute flat and if anyone walked in and noticed, she would simply state she was dropping off some paperwork (note to self – make sure you bring some paperwork with you).

    The biggest hurdle was creating a replica mobile. Phones these days are so personalised and filled with data, that is constantly being referred to. Not just with apps, but app settings and records, including text and email history.

    Luckily, Angela was not the most tech savvy CEO in existence. She was great at customer relations and management – but more than once in her short 3-week stint at MoneyMakers LLC, had Angela called Barbara into her office to help print a simple PDF document.

    Additionally, the organisation prided itself on being able to monitor all staff communications and movements on company issued tech – and that went for upper management tools as well. Of course, Barbara would never have been privy to such sensitive data. The position that Barbara had infiltrated at MoneyMakers LLC was simply data entry – and she was quite glad this case was almost at an end, because if she had to spend one more day entering numbers into a spreadsheet, Barbara would probably shoot the whole office and then herself.

    But I digress.

    Luckily for Barbara, she had Nolan. The IT Department of MoneyMakers LLC did not have a very high turnover. They were a tight team, and were treated well. However, they were not that great at their jobs. Nolan was a bit of a prodigy in the tech world, and these days, any private investigation outfit worth its money had a hacker genius on its books. Nolan could slip in and out of any network or device undetected, and that is exactly what he did with Angela’s phone, creating the perfect fake for Barbara to swap with. The only imperceptible difference was the phone call software he added, that ensured every call Angela made or received was recorded.

    It took mere days for Barbara and Nolan to glean all the evidence they needed to put Angela away. That phone was basically glued to Angela’s ear – in classic CEO fashion. The sad part was – Barbara had actually grown quite fond of Angela. It would be a shame to have to turn her over. Angela was exactly the sort of high powered, fast thinking, ambitious CEO Barbara herself would love to be – without, of course, the corruption.

    Patiently, Barbara sat at her desk, listening, carrying out her menial data entry work. When she heard the heavy heels head down the hallway, she made her move.

  16. Jennifer Park

    Nolan had to go to the bathroom yet again. He was sure it was from all the stress about how he was going to retrieve the bug from the phone. Putting it in was easy; Dr. Lake had a habit of leaving the phone on her desk when she went to meetings. She loved those big skirts, and they didn’t come with pockets. Today, however, she was wearing a pencil skirt and a jacket, which meant that the phone stayed in a pocket.

    This time, the men’s room was full of men who seemed to be similarly stressed, and he could not wait any longer. After some deliberation, he dashed into the gender-neutral bathroom. He hadn’t done that for a long time.

    Only when he was done and flushed did he realize that the toilet had been clogged. The water did not overflow, but it did fill up. After a deep, frustrated sigh, resisting the temptation to think of it as a metaphor for something, he decided to ignore it. He did think to put the post-wipe TP into the trash.

    He almost ran into Dr. Lake as he exited. “Oh… It’s… I’m afraid it’s clogged.”

    “Again?” She took off her coat, and handed it to Nolan. “Could you hold this?” She marched into the bathroom, reaching for the cabinet, and retrieving a plunger as the door closed itself.

    When the door opened back up a few minutes later, she was done with her business, and Nolan was done with his. With a thankful nod, she took back her jacket, and observed, “I should just use the girls’ room, but, after using that boys’ room for 12 years, it’s still awkward, you know?”

    Nolan knew what she meant. He hadn’t known that she was trans–what else had their research missed?–and had mixed feelings that, apparently, she had known that he was. That explained some of the things she had said when she had hired him. “Yeah.”

    When he returned to his desk, he handed the bugged battery to Barbara. “Do you want to just leave now?”

    Barbara put the battery in her purse. “You know, I actually like working here.”

    Nolan nodded with a smirk. “Me, too.”

  17. SargentBlaum

    Nolan activated his wristwatch walkie talkie and whispered into it: “Going for the phone now.” Weeks of toadying and bland menial clerical tasks, enduring the barely veiled insults and perpetual put-downs were about yield results. He took one last glance down the corridor, before pushing open the heavy oak, six-panelled door to Christine’s office, carrying with him the document that was ostensibly his reason for being there.

    The office was a grandiose affair with ostentatious affectation as the primary theme. Cat-like, Nolan tip-toed to the desk, emblazoned with “Christine Freeman” on a plaque at the front. The smartphone was left there beside the keyboard for the computer, screen blank, with a pink padded case to protect it from occasional knocks. Stealthily, Nolan swapped it out for the original and placed the document on the keyboard, the phone copy in his back pocket before he slithered away to the door.

    “Christine is on approach,” Barbara’s voice came over the wristwatch. Nolan nearly collided with her as he made his way out, feigning dissemblance as he gestured toward the desk.

    “Left the Sayers’ contract on your desk.”

    “Thanks Nolan,” Christine said with a smile, looking up to his face with bright blue eyes wide, tight lipped smile smacking of ingenuousness and her head tilting gently to the left. “Can you re-schedule my five o’clock for tomorrow? I need some me time.”

    “Sure thing Christine, I think you had an opening at three pm – that be okay?”

    “Of course,” she said, waving him on, as she proceeded within and closed the door behind her.

    “Way too easy,” Nolan mumbled to himself with a frown as he made his way to Barbara’s desk. “Here,” he said, sliding the phone towards her.

    Barbara picked up the phone and played back the messages: “Whoever you are, you are fired. Did you really believe I could not spot a fake? A GPS application has been activated and I am receiving a message giving me your location. The police will be informed..” Barbara turned the phone off and looked to Nolan, alarm etched into her expression.

    Nolan tweaked the case, removing a slim card from it, before returning case and phone to Barbara. Christine’s office door opened and she strode over with her real phone in her hand, each step pronouncing her triumphant displeasure. “Give it to me now,” she said with thin lips inverted, blue eyes alight with anger.

    “Mrs Freeman..”

    “Now.”

    Barbara turned over the fake phone and Christine gestured towards the exit. “Don’t let it hit you on your way out,” she instructed them as she marched back to her office, back stiff and nose in the air.

    Barbara and Nolan made their way out to their sedan, where Barbara turned the car on and Nolan inserted the backup card into the car’s mp3 player. The words that came out were uncensored and Barbara turned a wicked grin toward him. “Never fails,” she said, pulling out into traffic.

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