Screen 46: Operation Meadowhall
Agent J’s outline stood out against the bright lights of the fifty or so TV screens he was facing. His chiselled features and large green eyes made him look heroic next to the other agents. However, he was no different to the rest. Agent G stood behind him. About three foot taller and about the same in width, Agent G loomed over the back of Agent J’s chair.
“That’s them there, screen 46, the six girls, they’re the ones.”
His gruff voice shocked Agent J into life. He stood up and paced around his desk, every so often glancing at screen 46, at the six girls sitting in the Oasis. They were plain girls, nothing out of the ordinary. Well, almost plain. You see they had been specially chosen by Agent J, Agent H, Agent S, Agent G and the rest of the team to work for the Meadow-Agents, a secret team of spies that worked behind the scenes in the Meadowhall shopping complex, controlling the shop assistants and the security guards, making everything run smoothly, or like clockwork, you could say.
Not Quite an Oasis
“This orange juice tastes like crap!” Alice complained, as she and her friends walked through The Lanes and sat down at a table in the Oasis to talk.
“Go and take it back and complain then!” Linda suggested.
“What’s the point they’ll only turn me away.”
“Pass it here, I’ll take it for you”
Alice passed the drink to Linda and she set off walking towards McDonalds, head held high, fists clenched. She wasn’t going anywhere without a new drink or Alice’s money back. Arriving in McDonalds, she peeled back the lid on the plastic cup and glanced at what was inside. It looked juice like orange juice except it smelt like cheesy Wotsits.
“Eeeurgh,” she grimaced as she put the lid back on “I see what Alice means, probably a blitzed up chicken in there or something.”
Shaking her head in disgrace, she headed towards the till where a spotty boy in a hat gave her a look that was probably cave man code for “What?”
“’Scuse me, my friend bought this a minute ago, she wants her money back cos it tastes like crap”
The boy raised an eyebrow robotically.
“Her words not mine; look can I get her money back or something. This stuff really smells awful, here smell.”
She thrust the cup at his face and watched in amusement as he started spluttering.
“Ok, Ok, you can have your money back.”
He pressed a button on the till and the drawer shot open hitting him in the stomach. Linda laughed as, rubbing his stomach, he handed her the money. Suddenly, something hit the counter. It was his arm.
He grabbed it quickly and screwed it back in, his eyes twitched and his head shot up.
“You never saw that, Ok? You say a word and I’m reporting you!”
“Who to, the Daleks?”
A spark shot out of his finger as he raised his hand towards her neck.
“Fine, fine, I’ll not say a word. I promise!”
“Good, here, complementary Jungle Book toy, seeing as we’ve caused you so much trouble, thank you, come again”
Linda played with the toy on her way back to her table. She pressed a button on the back and the Baloo toy sang
“Look for the, bear necessities…..”
Sitting down at the table, she handed Alice the money and the toy.
“Complementary Jungle Book toy for you, seeing as they caused you so much trouble.”
They sat for a while, watching the toy spin around to the Disney song, until the batteries went dead and the bear fell over.
“Five minutes! The battery life of that thing was five minutes!” Vikki exclaimed.
Vikki was of below average height, with black painted nails, a side fringe and big blue eyes. She was a Goth, although with her blond hair, it was impossible to tell. “I mean, come on, those toys are meant to amuse five year olds!”
“Well I wouldn’t go back and complain if I were you.” Linda said.
“Erm, why exactly, it’s not like there’s a robot army back there, waiting to kill us!”
This was Vicki talking. She was a little taller than the other Vikki, but with mousy brown hair and blue eyes, rimmed with kohl.
Linda played with the Baloo toy for a minute. Little did Vicki know, she was right.
“Oh my god, I was right, wasn’t I?” said Vicki, sensing that something was wrong.
Linda, remembering that she couldn’t tell anyone, thought fast.
“No! Of course not, why would there be a robot army back there!”
Vicki looked long and hard at Linda, trying to work out what was wrong.
“Hmm, I suppose not…, anyway, are going to get some Christmas shopping done?”
“Yeah, I want to get Libby some rabbit treats anyway, and I’ve not got your presents yet either!” Leonie responded. Leonie was the smallest of the group. With her big blue eyes and long dark hair she looked like Bambi. She wore little make up and carried a small denim bag.
They all stood up, scraping their chairs on the floor and trailing bags from every arm. Tash led the way to the Disney shop as the rest followed. Tash was small with long brown hair, coffee brown eyes and an Ipod permanently fixed in her ears. Alice trailed behind, weighed down by bags. She was quite short, with dark blond hair and blue eyes covered with red framed glasses.
Linda hung even further behind. She was the tallest of the six. She had shoulder length, dark brown hair (dyed as always), blue eyes, heavily rimmed with kohl and black eyeshadow. Her long fringe hung down, covering one side of her pale face. As she plodded past McDonalds she caught the eye of the boy- robot behind the counter. He pulled the peak of his cap down over his face and clicked his arm firmly back into place. She shuddered as she continued onwards, catching up with her friends.
The girls headed past the Santa’s Grotto, towards the Disney shop. Fake snow was blasting out of a machine and falling over the queue of parents waiting with their excited children to see Santa.
“I can’t believe they’re actually buying that Santa rubbish, everyone knows he’s not real, why do parents have to lie to their kids about something like that? Come on people it’s Christmas! Save your money for the presents. ” Vikki began to rant.
Two children burst into tears as they’d heard Vikki and didn’t want to believe her. The children’s parents shot Vikki a look. Behind Vikki, Alice and Tash were in tears too, fake ones at least.
“Santa’s not real!” they ‘sobbed’.
“Yeah, real funny guys!” Vikki said.
“Come on Vikki, where’s your Christmas spirit? Goths like Christmas don’t they!! Hahahahaha!” Linda was beginning to liven up again, in fact all memories of that robot dude were slowly fading away.
They continued onwards, pulling ‘snow’ from their hair, through crowds of people. They were coming up to a billboard. It was one of those scrolling ones , which moves downwards and changes the picture. A man wearing dark glasses and a long black coat barged into them, sending Alice flying into the billboard. Her hand pressed onto on the red ‘half price sale’ circle on the billboard.
“Oi, watch it mister! You’ll rot in hell for that!” Vikki yelled after him.
Suddenly, the billboard picture moved downwards and so did the girls.
“What the…..?” Leonie yelled..
Alice called out, but no one heard her except the other five girls.
Linda gulped. She knew this had something to do with the robot boy. The last thing she saw was the man in the long coat, pulling down his glasses to reveal two big green eyes. He smiled to himself, feeling quite smug. He’d just found his six special agents.
Linda was the first of the girls to wake up. Her head felt heavy. The first people she saw were the man with the glasses and the boy from McDonalds.
“Oh for goodness sake, what do you want now!” she screamed at the robot boy.
“It’s ok he won’t harm you, he works for me, I’m Agent J and I believe you must be Linda?” Agent J smiled and held out his hand.
Linda took his hand and stood up, shivering.
“That’s right, I’m Linda, and erm ,that’s Vicki, Vikki, Alice, Tash and Leo, or Leonie to you.” For some reason his smile made her feel safe.
“Wait a minute, how do I know I can trust you, I mean you’re with that , that thing?”
She gestured towards the boy from McDonalds and then looked on in astonishment as he peeled back his face to reveal a nose, a mouth and two eyes which were all pretty human looking- and not spotty.
“Oh my god, you’re not really a robot!” she said, beginning to feel slightly flustered.
“Yeah, well spotted, I’m Agent H. And this is Agents G and S.” He gestured towards two other men, one extremely tall with a messy beard and the other wearing a hat that looked like a tea cosy.
“Erm, hi!”. She said.
Agent J stood up and headed towards a door labelled ‘refectory’.
“Right, first things first, I need to tell you something before your friends wake up, so lets go into the other room, would you like a drink of some sort?”
He pushed open the door and held it open for Linda.
“Erm, water would be great please.”
She advanced towards the open door, but then remembered her friends asleep on the long couch behind her. Hesitantly, she asked
“What about my friends, you can’t just leave them there?”
Agent J rubbed his stubbly chin and said
“Agent G will move them into a more comfortable room, now can we please sit down and talk?”
Linda nodded and continued into the room.
Linda sat down at a table and took in the refectory. The walls were a deep shade of red and there were long black curtains framing the windows. Dead pot plants were positioned in the centre of the clear glass tables. Feeling like she was trapped in a Homebase catalogue, Linda walked over to the windows to take in the view. Agent J joined her and handed her a plastic cup filled with water.
“I think you should know the whole truth, right from the start, this organisation is yours, well not yet, in a month it will be yours as you have to be 16 to run this place.”
Linda spluttered into her cup.
Agent J continued
“This whole organisation is yours, your great great grandfather was the original owner and he signed a document before he died that said this organisation would be passed onto his first born granddaughter as soon as she turns 16. That’s you!”
Linda’s jaw dropped as she took all this in. She owned her own company! And not only that they were a secret organisation!
Something didn’t add up though.
“If this place was left to me by my great great grandfather, how did he know I would be born? He died years before my parents were alive.”
Agent J drained the last drop of water from his cup.
“When he died he had three grandsons, one of which was your great grandfather, when your great grandfather died he had three grandsons, after your grandfather died he had three grandsons, one of which was your dad. Now, your dad had you, you’re the only grandchild who has been a girl.”
He crushed the cup in his hand and threw it in a bin.
That explained a lot. Linda had three brothers, two of them were older than her and the other younger, so they wouldn’t have inherited the company anyway.
One thing still wasn’t clear.
“Why have you brought my friends into this?”
Agent J began to pace.
“Part of the document says the closest five friends of the new owner will be trained as spies, their parents know everything and so do yours. Any more questions?”
“Yes, do I actually get to go home?”
Agent J hated this part.
“Actually, no, you and your friends have your own living quarters here, your parents sorted everything when you were born.”
At that moment, the room started spinning and Linda hit the floor. She’d fainted.
Story I wrote when I went shopping and I got inspired.