The engine ticks over quietly as I run my eyes down the list.
I'm in the driver's seat, and the passenger door is open.
Somewhere behind me at the back of the car, my best friend iDifficult is having a hard time closing the trunk. A couple of dull slams are clearly unsuccessful; something is in the way. Out of the corner of my eye, I see him reach down to push something securely inside, and then he slams it down one final time.
A few seconds later he flops into the passenger seat.
Problems? I ask him, as I continue perusing the list.
Sorted! he replies brightly, brushing the enquiry aside. So, how are we doing?
Pretty good, I was just checking the list. I glance at the bag at his feet which contains at least some of our shopping. So, do we have... A mango?
He peeps into the bag and extracts a fine example of the green-orange fruit. Check. The part-time evil genius sniffs the mango speculatively. I tick the box.
Okay, next. A number plate?
He gingerly lifts the end of a yellow plate from the bag and lets it drop back into place. I wonder where the jam-stains on it came from.
Check. Tick. Next!
Manhole cover? I ask, remembering suddenly where we lifted it from. A lopsided smile creeps onto my face as I wonder how they'll explain its absence from Downing Street. England's finest madman jerks a thumb over his shoulder. On the back seat. Check.
It occurs to me that an oily metal disk might not be good for the upholstery.
Did you, um, put a plastic bag down? I enquire as casually as I can, ticking the box.
He seems shifty. I think so, he says, not meeting my eye. Next!
Again, 'Difficult rummages in the bag. Just a small one. My best work, even if I do say so myself. Makes CERN's look like a dog race. Check. Tick.
Okay, next. Neon restaurant sign? I notice a scribbled addendum. Must be operational.
Check. I notice the cable that runs from the bag, passing out through the window to the back end of the car. I've got it rigged up to the particle accelerator.
I decide to not ask if that's as dangerous as it sounds.
He looks sideways at me and deadpans without irony or reproach, You're driving it.
Oh. Right. Yes. Tick.
As I watch 'Difficult, a penny drops into place, and his eyes light up. Ooh, can we play with the siren? I stare at him blankly. I've always wanted to dash across town with the sirens blaring. He does a very passable impression of the event with howling and hand-waving. It'd be so cool to go visit a drive-through with the blue lights flashing!
Actually, that does sound like fun.
Later, I concede, we're incognito for now. He pouts slightly. Look, I remind him, we did well to shake the police off earlier.
He huffs, but knows I'm right. Next!
Suddenly, there's a thumping from the back of the car. We both glance back but see nothing there. Immediately, it's obvious that it must be coming from the trunk. It sounds like someone kicking.
And of course... I say, scanning down the list with my pencil.
Thump thump thump. An Anglican Archbishop! we chorus.
That one gets a big fat tick.
You know, reflects 'Difficult, we're doing really well today. And we may have just clinched the win. I'm lifted by this; a positive attitude is always good for team morale.
Oh? Do you think so?
Well, there can't be that many Archbishops, right?
Yes, that's true. The logic is, as always, impeccable.
And we've got the head man; the Archbishop of Canterbury.
And it is true. If there was an album of Panini collectible stickers for the Clergy of the United Kingdom 2010, he'd be the super-rare, holographic one.
I nod. He was surprisingly good-humoured about it, too.
My friend coughs and mumbles, Not after I shut his leg in the trunk, he wasn't.
I sigh. Well, I'm sure he's full of forgiveness.
Maybe the skunk he's in there with is less relaxed? muses 'Difficult.
Oooh, good point. I check down the list again. Skunk. Tick.
We both draw a long cautious breath and let it go. It's been a long day, though an exciting one, but we're not losing our heads.
So, what's next? asks 'Difficult, popping on his blue-and-red 3D prescription spectacles, and looking at his hand, fascinated.
I notice that there's just one unticked box on the list.
Final item; a national monument.
We sit and think for a moment.
I still have that equipment that accidentally grabbed the Eiffel Tower?
I chuckle; now that was an afternoon. I've never been in a police line-up before. Fun, but I'm not sure I'm in a hurry to do it again; they know my address now.
Hmmm, not sure. I think they might have meant an English one?
'Difficult rubs his chin. It rasps manfully. Such as?
Well... I pull a name from thin air and shrug, Tower Bridge?
Excitedly, my friend leaps out of open door of the car.
I'll go warm up the Sub! He whips out his cellphone and starts barking orders into it as I put the car into gear.
Such enthusiasm, but I can hardly blame him.
The Annual Evil Genius Scavenger Hunt is always good fun.
This blog entry is protected by copyright © Indigo Roth, 2010