THE SAME ROAD
WRITTEN BY ZARIUS
The Mark IV pulled up at the church in the stillness of a blackened post-midnight London sky, DM's fingers twitched anxiously as Penfold took his foot off the pedals.
"This is the last time I play designated driver, especially for someone who doesn't have the spine to actually drink" he uttered, Danger Mouse silently nodded in agreement, his face flushed, drained, a mouse apprehensively anticipating more bad news to follow him.
Penfold got out of the car, he zipped up his long grey overcoat and tried not to trip over its long tail, he ideally would have spent some cash on something closer to his size, but considering the chief had trodden on his glasses, which had dropped to the floor after he gave him an all too aggressive slap on the back, thus relegating him to shop with impaired vision, he wasn't exactly in a position to 'size up' the situation.
"Are you going to take the bus or call a cab?" DM asked, trying to make light hearted conversation ahead of the weight that was to press down on his shoulders. The weight of a world.
"Don't you worry about me, worry about the condition you'll be leaving our car in tomorrow"
"You have my solemn promise"
"Oh given how solemn you are right now, I don't doubt it"
"She would understand Chief, just like I do, you don't have to earn your keep this way, we could bail you out"
"No, no, you run along, this is business, although no one's made their mind up on whether or not it's the serious sort"
"Is that your way of saying 'it's not so bad, this road you're on?'"
"It's the same road that I'm on"
DM walked up the steps of the church, stared up at the stars, some of them went out as he stared intently at them, as if denying him their glory.
With a heavy sigh, DM stepped inside
He strolled through the church interior, surrounded by glass illustrations of serpent saints of old, a little ironic given their place in biblical history. It didn't quite match the reality DM found himself in, when all manner of god's creatures, great or small, could find their place in his company.
He sat down and waited.
He waited for the signal.
He checked his watch; the minute hands had just etched past the midnight mark. Now was the time, now where was the sign?
He spotted a veiled female gliding across the chamber, she took a seat next to him, she opened a bible and turned a few pages. Without looking at the passages, the veil still shrouding her face, the lady, her dress an enticing purple and black. Familiar garb, matched with an sensational and familiar scent of pettleflower perfume.
"Find anything interesting?" he asked.
"Yes, no, I only read what's in between"
"No genesis, no revelation, yeah that's the path a child walks down"
"Do I look like a child to you?"
"Hard to tell in that veil" DM said
He heard a giggle.
"I'm still his girl" she said to no one in particular.
"Mine or daddy?" he said.
"You'll know if we ever walk further down"
DM checked his watch
"He should be waiting for me now, you going to wait here? Get some practice?"
"You don't have to challenge him, he won't hurt you, all I need do is give the word"
"Yes, yes you will, because he's still your toy, I'm still your enemy, in his eyes, and in parts of yours too, you won't give the word if a percentage exists he could cause me a good amount of grief"
The woman clasped her hands together.
"I'll give this as good a go as I can get, do you think he'll hear me? Up there?"
"Your dad or someone higher up? Up where he is?"
"What if that one sees me as an affront? Say it's OK Mouse, I'd rather hear it from you than from the high and mighty, say it's OK"
"I'll do one better, I'll let you be yourself"
The girl released the veil from her face, and kissed DM on the left side of the cheek tenderly.
"I lov..." she began.
DM cut her lips off with the tip of his fingers, he danced them across the rim of her mouth delicately.
There was something quite different in the way she smiled.
"Plenty of love to leave in this hall for everyone don't you think?"
The girl smiled back at him, and placed the veil back across her face.
DM stood up and walked down the aisle towards the church entranceway.
Outside, he saw someone stare back at him, a toothpick coated in fur, he callously threw it away.
"You done praying?"
"Since you came on the scene, she never stops"
"She won't give the word you know, you can do as you will if you win, but if I reach the line first, consider your cash converted"
"Same with your assets, these lockdown recessions will be the making of me yet"
"It's not my time, I'm not gone"
"I will. In sixty seconds" Mr. Snuggles declared, and boarded a mammoth rig, his eyes fixated on the traffic lights as they turned red.
DM scrambled to the Mark IV, he looked back at Snuggles, who revved up his engine. DM revved up his in kind.
Sixty seconds passed.
The lights turned green.
The engines roared, the wheels left their print on the tarmac.
In this world, there's real and make believe.
And for the world's greatest secret agent, this was as real as it gets.
This would be how he finds where he belongs
All on the same road he was on.