Wednesday, September 19, 2012

More Conundrum Enigma!

Here's another section from my friend and protegé Troy Cutcross's Masterpiece of Modern Suspense, The Conundrum Enigma, a Colonel Charlie "Doughnuts" Duncan Sexy Thriller by Troy Cutcross: A Novel. This is the thrilling end of Chapter Fifteen and the gripping start of Chapter Sixteen.

        Charlie had always wondered about the center of the Earth, because he had read as a little boy that it was full of molten lava that would burn you up instantly if you ever went there, just like the sun. He took that seriously, especially since a crew of his astronaut buddies had been burned to a crisp when the space agency made a terrible miscalculation about “how close was too close” on a risky solar mission to the sun a couple of years earlier. If “Doughnuts” hadn’t tranfered from the Astronaut Corps to the Agency to be a spy instead, he might have caught the miscalculation, because in addition to his other qualities he was an expert in math.
         But he had his own theories about the center of the earth, because frankly how did anyone know what was there if we’d never gone there? Just another bunch of pointy-headed scientist types sitting in their “ivory tower” and making educated guesses. Charlie’s hunch was that the earth was actually hollow, and that there was life down there. Not human life but some sort of giant insect, possibly, because insects are the only animals that live on all the continents except for birds, crabs and fish. The notion that they might have developed some sort of civilization seemed unlikely, but a hundred years ago so had the idea of radio or the internet, and two hundred years before that no one had even heard of a dumbwaiter or bifocals, which were invented by Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin!

         Charlie was listening to a tech guy explain how the machine worked that he’d be using to go down to the earth’s core. It was boring because he knew most of it already and was smarter than the guy explaining it, but he paid attention anyway, a habit he’d learned as a student at Eton, a fancy school in England where James Bond went.
         “We’ve adapted the ion technology that you developed for the spaceship and combined it with the new science we learned from the Russian’s spaceship that you so bravely commandeered, or stole,” the old technology chief said, his glasses slipping down over his egghead nose. “This will allow you to drill to the center of the earth in a relatively short time and prevent that bomb from detonating, or going off.”
         “Understood, Major Mallard,” said “Doughnuts,” because his name was Major Mallard. “Did you use the thrillium casing for the hull?”
         “Exactly!” the old codger spat, because his dentures didn’t fit exactly right and he was too busy with his experiments and such to get some new ones fitted. “Thrillium/Pentonium alloy, just as you suggested in your recent scientific paper to the International Conference of Vehicular Metalurgy!”
         It was funny but Charlie had forgotten he’d even written that paper, because so many things had happened since, and not just his makeout sessions with Tammi and Svetlana plus his temporary sex change. “I’m glad to know it served a purpose.”
         A large ribbon of snot started seeping out of the old man’s nostril, the result no doubt of a cold or some allergies, but Charlie was too respectful of his elders to laugh at it. Instead he ignored it and thought about the team they were putting together.
         “Besides myself, we’ll need someone young and plucky,” he opined thoughtfully, “someone who understands all the different layers of the earth before we get to the fiery center where Toborsky intends to plant his bomb.”
         “Yes,” replied Mallard. “Ideally a geologist, which is someone who studies that very subject. We have a very good one in the science department––Dr. Petulia Drake, Ph. D.”
         “Hold on––a lady scientist?”
         “She’s very good, ‘Doughnuts,’” countered the older man.
         “It’s not that, I’m sure she is,” because Charlie wasn’t the kind of spy who thought women were just playthings or “eye candy,” but rather competent specimens of spycraft who were every bit as capable as their man counterparts of killing with their bare hands. “It’s just––is she stacked?”
         “And how,” chuckled the Major devilishly while making the outline of a woman’s sexy body in the air with his hands in the universal man-code for “woman’s sexy body.” “Wait until you get a load of her….”
         “That’s the problem. Tammi’s out of commission, sex-wise. And I nearly got into a whole lot of trouble with Svetlana when we were in outer space. I just don’t want to get in any deeper than I already am.”
         “I’m sure she’ll be a consummate, or total, professional. Now you’ll also need a doctor along to treat the burns that come from the extreme heat of the earth’s core, and that doctor must also be a spy or else she wouldn’t have ‘clearance.’ Unfortunately for you, the only one available is also a very sexy woman.”
         Another string of snot was coming out of the Major’s other nostril and he looked so much like a walrus that this time Charlie had to laugh. Mallard was upset until Charlie explained it and then they had a good laugh.

         That night over a romantic candlelight dinner Duncan explained to Tammi that two of the crew to the center of the Earth would be sexy ladies, and she pouted but she already knew because she was the acting head of the agency and got “briefed” all the time about stuff. “Anyway this mission is super important now, because all the governments in the world today received blackmail threats from Toborsky warning them that unless they paid up the world would end.”
         “Good Lord,” Charlie said, so shocked that he blasphemed for the first time in a long time. “Why didn’t you tell me about this before?”
         She shrugged as though it wasn’t important. “I’m telling you now. Oh, there’s one more thing. He made one extra demand of the US government besides money.”
         “What’s that?”
         “He wants us to turn you over to him, unarmed!”


         Luckily for Colonel Charlie “Doughnuts” Duncan the President of the United States had rejected that as a stupid idea, although he didn’t tell the Cosmonaut that. Instead he told him he’d think about it.
         “Thank you, Mr. President,” Charlie said over the video phone on his wrist.
         “No, thank you, Colonel, for all your services to this, the greatest country in the world. We’re lucky to have a man of your caliber on our side. I recognize that, as the highest IQ ever recorded, you could have gone on and done other things, like research and the other things you do in your spare time, but you chose to devote your massive brain to national service. Did you ever hear that story about President Kennedy hosting a dinner for a bunch of smarties with Nobel Prizes and things, and he said ‘This is the greatest assembly of brain power this room has ever known, except for when Thomas Jefferson designed a time machine and had dinner with Galileo and Albert Einstein and Benjamin Franklin.’ That’s a classified story, by the way, Colonel.”
         “Call me ‘Doughnuts,’ Mr. President.”
         The President chuckled in his familiar way. “Then, ‘Doughnuts,’ you have to call me Newt.”
         “Roger, Newt, over and out,” he said, signifying that their conversation was over. He was a little misty-eyed at the great man’s refusal to sell him out to Toborsky just to save the world, but he shook it off and climbed aboard the Phantom Menace, which was named after another one of Charlie’s favorite movies. He met the rest of the crew, taking care not to look at their breasts except in the quickest and most polite manner, because he’d learned the hard way that breasts are not just playthings.
         “I’m Dr. Petulia Drake, Colonel,” the first sexy lady said, and as luck would have it the uniforms they were wearing were skintight and made of latex because of the incredible pressure underground which would put a terrible strain on ordinary clothing. She had long curly red hair and freckles and she reminded Duncan of his neighbor when he lived in a dorm in college and how she used to smile at him but he never got up the nerve to talk to her, which was funny now because he was so self-confident but since he had a girlfriend he couldn’t do anything about it.
         “And I’m Dr. Madge Trask, MD,” said the other gorgeous woman standing there in front of him. She was petite and also short, but her breasts were still large and round….and very attractive.
         “Damn it,” he cursed, though it was not his habit to do so in front of attractive ladies, or unattractive ones, for that matter, except that he had just realized something that might have jeopardized the very mission they were about to undertake! “I completely forgot to assign a Russian specialist to our crew. I could kick myself!”
         Dr. Madge Trask smiled a very sexy smile. “Don’t worry about it, tiger, I speak it like a native.”
         Charlie raised one eyebrow in a sardonic, or witty, way and delivered a witticism. “Funny, ‘Trask’ doesn’t sound like a Russian name.”
         Now Dr. Madge put her hands sexily on her hips and smirked in a seductive way. “It’s not! But I went to Junior Year abroad there. It’s not so hard, once you get the hang of that weird alphabet.”
         “All right. I’m going to settle into my cabin for a few minutes before we take off and look through my mail.” He held up the stack of missives and journals. “I just got my latest issue of ‘Gentleman,’ and there’s an article I want to read.”
         “Right,” Petulia chortled.
         “Sure,” Dr. Madge concurred. “You just read it for the articles, like everyone else!”
         He knew it was just good-natured ribbing but he had to “nip it in the bud,” or stop it right away, because he was the commander of the mission and they didn’t know him well enough to be making those kinds of friend-to-friend jokes yet.
         “As a matter of fact, ladies, I do read it for the articles. And the fiction, though I’ve no time now for short stories or such fripperies. And yes, the magazine is filled with pictures of ladies in their underpants and nothing else, but I skip right over those pictures because I have a girlfriend––one who happens to be head of this agency!”
         “We’re sorry, sir,” Dr. Madge apologized.
         “We were just trying to establish some of the camaraderie that goes so far toward establishing esprit de corps, or unit cohesion,” Petulia explained.
         “I know, girls,” Charlie said. “There’ll be time for that later, once we’ve defeated the evil Cosmonaut.”
         “Now that he’s at the center of the earth, isn’t Cosmonaut kind of the wrong nickname?” Petulia asked.
         “You’re right,” said Dr. Madge, “since it’s Russian for ‘Astronaut.’ How about ‘Comrade,’ which is Russian for ‘Fellow Communist?’ Or just ‘Ivan,’ which is Russian for ‘John’?”


  1. The story gets better and better and exciting and stuff.

  2. Dude knows how the "handle" the chix. We all could learn a lot from Charlie, that's my takeaway.

  3. F'tang F'tang DoolallyOctober 8, 2012 at 3:53 AM

    Geonaut vs. terranaut?