The mist was thickening in the hobo jungle outside the city, as the day began. A tall man in a dark suit walked through the woods, towards the lake. A strange hissing sound broke the silence of the woods, causing an owl to fly to a different tree, as the shadowy figure of the man vanished into the lake.
* * *
At 27 Lansdale Drive, Jims Bonds was looking over a note mysteriously pushed under the door. Don Watson, Bonds’ new partner, walked in and glanced over Bonds’ shoulder at the note.
“A note? Did a neighbor complain about one of our all night parties?”
“Did you say something?” mumbled Bonds.
“Never mind, what’s the note for? We did pay the rent?”
“Yes I paid the rent. In fact I used the money you had hidden in your false bottom Brute bottle.”
“Hey, that’s my retirement money!”
“You don’t think I’d use my money, besides you never retire from the service. Here, read the note.”
Watson read the note;
W.I.N.E.O. in trouble. Energy, enemy agent discovered.
Later disappeared. Still Missing.
Good luck, G
“Not again. The last time out, we had to put the Mayor in jail for murder and stealing the Peanut Diamond. We ruined his car and almost caused his sister-in-law to have a nervous breakdown. Now he wants us to catch a spy.” said Watson.
“Do you have any bubblegum?” asked Bonds.
“Bubblegum? Bubblegum? Is that all you can thinks about? We may not be so lucky this time. We barely escaped with our lives last time. Why us? Why not send someone else. We need a break.”
“We’ve only been on one assignment together, and you already scared,” joked Bonds.
“With number of partners you’ve been through, I should be scared. Okay, what do you want me to do?”
“Well, you could go and get me a pack of bubblegum.”
* * *
Bonds and Watson walked down busy 34th Street. The tall buildings creating shadows and wind tunnels; paper tornados swirled around them.
“Bonds what is WINEO?” inquired Watson.
“It’s a new energy organization. WINEO means, Worldwide Independent Nuclear Energy Organization. We’re going to visit the boss.” replied Bonds, as they walked into WINEO headquarters.
“Can I help you, Mister?” asked the secretary. She was a young blonde girl, weighing about 265 pounds. The young lady was chewing her gum with her mouth open and snapping bubbles.
“Yes,” said Watson, “chew your gum with your mouth shut.”
“Forgive him, he has this thing about bubblegum. Could you show us to Mr. Majors’ office?”
“Right this way, baby.” As Watson turned to leave the secretary blew a bubble in his face. Unfortunately, as it popped, it stuck to the end of Watson’s nose.
As they enter the room they were greeted by a tall, thin graying man.
“Hello. Please let me take your hats and coats. What have you found?”
“Not much,” began Bonds, “tell me how you know that man was a spy?”
“I found a ham radio in his locker. He also had picture that was ripped in half.”
“Can I see his locker, Mr. Majors?” asked Bonds.
“Yes you can see the locker. It’s number 35a.”
* * *
“What do you hope to find in the locker after the police have been through it?” asked Watson as they walked down the hall to a row of lockers.
“Don’t worry; I know what I am doing.”
When they reached the locker, Bonds, started to look for any clues that he could find. Suddenly he noticed a once chewed piece of bubblegum.
“Look Watson! See how this gum, look how it’s split in the middle.”
Bonds cautiously pulled apart the gum. Two little squares of film fell into Watson’s cupped hands.
“Amazing, disgusting, but amazing.” said Watson.
“Let’s get this to HQ. I think this will give us the lead we are looking for.” With that Bonds turned and left, Watson followed.
* * *
At HQ, Bonds and Watson were looking at the slides.
“A submarine and a map; where does the map lead too?” pondered Bonds.
“Probably to a bubblegum factory. It could be a secret advertising campaign for Submarine Bubblegum.” sarcastically answered Watson.
“That’s not funny, Watson.”
“I thought it was.”
“Well you think trying a mouse to a helium balloon and letting it go up about 200 feet and watching the people’s expressions in funny, too.”
“Well . . . I was conducting an experiment,” mumbled Watson.
“Wait a minute! There is a bubblegum factory in the area. We might as well go and check it out.”
“Do you think it will get us closer to solving this mystery?” asked Watson, excitedly.
“No, but I’m almost out of bubblegum.”
* * *
That evening, as they walked through the woods, they saw a great number of hobos sleeping against trees and under bushes.
“So this is a hobo jungle,” said Watson.
“If it isn’t a hobo jungle, there’s a strange type of wildlife around here,” replied Bonds, “Watson, do you hear a humming sound?”
“Yes, but I don’t want to talk about it. Hey, is that a submarine over there?” Watson said, pointing to the lake.
“I wonder how that got there?”
“I don’t know or care. What are we going to do?”
“Start chewing,” Bonds handed Watson fifty packs of bubblegum.
Five minutes later Bonds had swum out to the submarine with seven pounds of freshly chewed bubblegum. He put it on the submarine’s propeller. Watson, who was tired of waiting, swam out to join him.
“Watson, climb up on the sub and knock.”
“What? Are you trying to kill me?’
“Tell you what; I’ve picked a number between one and ten. Now if you can tell me that number, I’ll go and knock. Okay?”
“Sounds fair, uh, four.”
“Nope, seven, get going.”
“I always lose that game,” mumbled Watson.
Watson knocked twice, a sailor climbed out to see what the noise was.
“Hello, sailor,” said Watson, then he slammed the hatch in his face.
“Ouch, I’ll bet that left a mark,” groaned Bonds.
“Yes, but was that good enough?”
“Perfect, but what about the one behind you?” Watson whirled and punched the sailor in the stomach, sending him into the lake.
“Ouch, my hand, Bonds where are you? A little help please.”
As he said that Bonds jumped and knocked another sailor into the dark water. As they jumped through the hatch, into the submarine, two burly sailors block the way. Bonds pulled out a Playboy magazine and threw it over their heads. The two crew men, and the captain, fought for possession of the magazine.
“Well done, Bonds.”
“It was a gamble, but I could tell it was a long trip.”
“How often do you see a sailor in eye shadow?”
A man in a black coat ran out of the hatch. Bonds and Watson followed. The stranger jumped in the lake, but landed in the seven pound s of bubblegum, and struggled helplessly to get out.
“Amazing,” said Watson, flabbergasted.
“There is a lesson to be learned here,” said Bonds, as he slowly placed a stick of gum in his mouth.
“What?” asked Watson.
“Look before you leap.”