BRIDGET"S GALLERY OF GIRL SPIES THROUGH THE AGES

  • WHO'S WHO IN THE BRIDGET WILDER UNIVERSE? PART TWO!

    THE A-Z OF THE B.W.U CONTINUES!

    And now let's return to our vast and teeming cast of characters.

    R

    Rolf

    Spoiler alert: Rolf is the operative deployed by the evil secret agency Section 23 to pass as Bridget's superspy father, Carter Strike. Rolf played the part of a dream biological father. He's movie star good-looking, caring, sincere and he's so set on being included in his daughter's life that he supplies her with a bag filled with spy gadgets so that she can join the family business. Once he no longer needs to masquerade as Carter Strike, Rolf is revealed as a cold, heartless creep who deserves everything that's coming to him.

    S

    Tom Scattering

    Vice-Principal of Reindeer Crescent Middle School. The man who replaced the Friendly Red snack dispenser with the reviled Big Green Machine. Scattering loves the Big Green Machine and is wounded by the disdain with which it's presence is greeted by the students. He's even more wounded when a spy satellite takes control of Big Green, using it to pelt him with yogurt and water bottles.

    Section 23

    A covert agency buried deep beneath the bowels of the CIA. Few know it exists, even fewer know what it does--here's a clue: it's the dirty stuff no one else wants to do. Section 23 is run by a power-hungry madman with a gift for manipulation who will stop at nothing to get what he wants.

    Nate Spar

    A lazy, cynical teacher at Reindeer Crescent Middle School who smirks at Bridget's carrot cake, plays games on his phone when in charge of detention thus enabling Bridget to fill his classroom with smoke, and shirks his reponsibility when called upon to help erase the Doom Patrol graffitti from the school walls.

    Brian Spool

    The bad guy. Spool enters Bridget's life passing himself off as Carter Strike's go-between, an earnest bumbling employee unused to dealing with young people, but tasked with explaining to Bridget about her biological father, the nature of his business and the capabilities of her bag of gadgets. This is all a ruse constructed to gain Bridget's trust. In reality, Brian Spool is the ruthless head of Section 23 who has no qualms about using Bridget to get to Carter Strike, or abducting nd drugging Brudget's younger sister.

    Carter Strike

    Legendary superspy. Bridget's biological father. Burned-out agent for Section 23 who decides to find another line of work. Which is something Brian Spool is not about to let happen. Strike knows all Spool's secrets. He literally knows where the bodies are buried. He also knows that Strike has a daughter, a fact of which the legendary superspy was unaware. Even when he became aware, Strike didn't entirely believe it. So he went undercover as a bumbling, chubby, awkward substitute teacher at Bridget's school in order to monitor her. This wasn't particularly deep cover for Strike who IS a chubby, awkward, bumbling figure. But he's also capable of snapping wrists, firing guns with deadly accuracy and riding a motorcycle backwards through a firestorm, often at the same time. Strike may not be the biological father of Bridget's dreams but he turns out to be the one she can count on in times of dire need.

    T

    Dale Tookey

    The boy who, Bridget thinks, once smiled in her direction. The victim she saved from being bullied by Doom Patrol who was then completely ungrateful. The guy who stood up for her in the face of Brendan Chew's comedic abuse. The guy she sprung from detention who was again completely ungrateful. The guy she met outside Kelly Beach's party who was a litte bit annoying, a little bit intriguing. The Section 23 agent who accompanied Rolf as he rolled her on a gurney towards an operating theater where she was going to become a mindless puppet of Brian Spool. The boy who turned out to be a double agent secretly working with Carter Strike. The genius computer hacker who took control of Bridget's self-driving car. The boy she kissed. There's a lot going on with Dale Tookey.

    Mrs. Telk

    Ancient neighbor of Bridget's tortured by Spool when he shows off the strength of his spy satellite by using it to switch the traffic lights on and off thus forcing Telk to wobble her way back to the curb every time the green light vanishes after several seconds.

    U

    V

    W

    Bridget Wilder

    Adopted middle child of the Wilder family. Feels invisible both at home and at school. The last person in the world anyone would suspect of being the daughter of a legendary superspy. The last person in the universe anyone would suspect of possessing superspy potential herself. Nevertheless, Bridget adapts quickly and successfully to wearing nanosneakers that allow her to run like the wind, and a nanotracksuit that give her the ability to execute somersaults while kicking her enemies into the dirt. She becomes smart, resourceful and fearless. She also finds that she has a secret new life she has to keep hidden from her family and her one friend, all of whom continue to take her for granted.

    Jeff Wilder

    Bridget's father. Manages a local Pottery Barn. Likes sitting in his leather seat watchng Law & Order marathons. When Brudget despairs that no one pays any attention to her, her father generally proves her wrong.

    Nancy Wilder

    Bridget's mother. CEO of her own courier company. The lying required by Bridget's new double life brings her into the most conflict with her mother.

    Natalie Wilder

    Bridget's younger sister. Her miracle sister. When medical science declared that Nancy Wilder could not have a second child, the Wilders adopted Bridget. And then it turned out, she could get pregnant. Natalie turned out not only to be a miracle, she also turned out to be the most perfect child ever born in Reindeer Crescent or anywhere else in the world. She's popular, talented, caring, compassionate, hardworking, loyal, smart and always in a good mood. Can someone this perfect have a dark side? It turns out that Natalie does...

    Ryan Wilder

    The bad boy to Natalie's good girl. Ryan stays out all night, sneaks in first thing in the morning, steals animals from the zoo, gets in fights, does 43 minutes of jail time, joins Doom Patrol to wreak havoc in the streets of Reindeer Crescent. But, despite the bad reputation he goes to such trouble to maintainn, Ryan is a nicer, more sensitive guy than he at first lets on.

    X

    Xan

    Beauteous, stauesque Section 23 agent used by Brian Spool to lure Bridget into his web of lies and deceit. Defeating Xan allows Bridget and Joanna to mend their dysfunctional realtionship and become real friends for the first time.

    Young Gazelle

    Bridget's nickname for herself.

    Z

    There is no Z in the Bridget Wilder Universe. Yet.

  • WHO'S WHO IN THE BRIDGET WILDER UNIVERSE?

    THE A-Z OF THE B.W.U

    The Bridget Wilder Universe is a chaotic place filled with characters hiding their true identities and other characters who are oblivious to the spy action going on all around them. Let's get to know these people in alphabetical order.

    A

    There are no A's in the Bridget Wilder Universe

    B

    Kelly Beach

    One of the trio of slim, pretty, popular girls who who attend Reindeer Crescent Middle School with Bridget but had no idea she existed. If a slim, pretty, popular girl who lives in a huge house with a tennis court and has a software tycoon as a stepfather can be described as an underdog, Kelly is the underestimated member of her trio. Deep down, she fears her thoughts, beliefs and statements are not valued by her friends. This fear is exploited by Bridget when she needs to gain access to Kelly's stepfather's home to steal a USB containing vital intel. Bridget will find that she also underestimated Kelly Beach. 

    Big Green Machine

    The hated dispenser of vegetable snacks, protein bars and mineral water which replaced Reindeer Crescent Middle School's much-loved vending machine, dispenser of far less healthy snacks. Students show their feelings for the new machine by kicking, punching and scratching it's body as they pass.

    Big Log

    The grandmother and sole guardian of Bridget's friend, Joanna Conquest. Neither of them are thrilled by the situation.

    Casey Breakbush

    The unofficial leader of the trio of slim, pretty, popular girls. Casey makes the decision to acknowledge Bridget and extend her the perfectly manicured hand of friendship. Casey is the aribter of what her friends think, say, wear, watch and eat.

    Mrs. Breakbush

    Casey's long-suffering mom. She has the thankless task of chauffering the three girls to and from school. On the rare occasions she opens her mouth to offer an opinion, Casey shuts her down with a mortified eye-roll or a heavy sigh. Mrs. Breakbush was also left choking in the dust when, on an evening run, Bridget sped past her, powered by superfast nanosneakers.

    C

    Car

    Bridget's biological father, superspy Carter Strike, gifted his newly discovered daughter with a vast cache of spy gadgets, the most extravagant being a self-driving car with a windshield that displays the image of an adult driver. The car also features a speech chip that mocks, insults and laughs at Bridget in her own voice, which is incredibly annoying. As they spend more time together, the car shows Bridget some grudging respect.

    Brendan Chew

    Bridget's middle-school nemesis. Self-styled class clown Brendan Chew's idea of comedy is to address Bridget as Midget Wilder. Everyone at school thinks he's hilarious. Everytime he says it--and he says it everytime he sees her--people fall on he floor clutching their sides.

    Joanna Conquest

    Bridget's best and only friend. It's a friendship that only exists because neither of them want to deal with the fact that they hang out because they've been hanging out since Bridget's mother and Joanna's mother made them sit together at a Christmas party when they were six. In Bridget's mind, she's been stuck in a bad playdate ever since. Joanna is mean, resentful and undermining. And that's her on a good day. Her entire being is tied up in a Tumblr called The Conquest Report in which she gossips, insults and attacks everyone who annoys her at Reindeer Crescent Middle School. Which is to say, everyone. Bridget suspects that, deep deeep deeep down, Joanna craves affection and wishes she was noticed and included in the social life of the school. But, knowing that will never happen, she attacks all those around her before they ever get the opportunity to hurt her. When Bridget becomes a spy-in-training, she also becomes one of the enemies who exclude Joanna. 

    D

    Nick Deck

    Kelly Beach's software tycoon stepfather. Bridget manipulates Kelly into throwing a party to show her independence from Casey Breakbush. Bridget's secret agenda is ti gain access to Nick Deck's computer.

    Doom Patrol

    A gang of not-very scary teenage sort-of thugs who roam the streets of Reindeer Crescent shouting their name and bullying defenseless middle-schoolers. They come up against Bridget on two occasions and, both times, limp away licking their wounds.

    E

    F

    Friendly Red

    The much-missed vending machine that provided Reindeer Crescent Middle School students with their daily supply of soda, gum, popcorn and chips.

    G

    Glasses Of Truth

    Specially modified spectacles allowing Bridget to detect lies in the faces of others. Sometimes the glasses direct Bridget to a tell-tale rise in temperature, sometimes it shows her a giveaway twitch or a slght rise in volume. While she's wearing this gift from Carter Strike, no one can put anything past her. Which is ironic...

    H

    Helena Hartsock

    Bridget's soft-hearted Social Studies teacher. Ms H accepts the gift of  the horrible carrot cake Bridget claimed was left over from her birthday, unaware that what she was really doing was giving Bridget access to the teacher's lounge so she could plant tiny surveillance cameras n the room.

    I

    J

    K

    L

    M

    Nola Milligan

    The third of Reindeer Crescent Middle School's group of slim, pretty, popular girls. If Casey is the unoffical leader, and Kelly is the underestimated one, Nola Milligan is the smart, cool one. She can be mean, she thinks she's funny and she makes little pretence about the fact that she does not particularly like ot trust Bridget.

    N

    Nanosneakers

    Another gift to Bridget from Carter Strike. Sneakers powered by nanotechnology that allow Bridget to run like the wind.

    Nash Nixon

    Reindeer Crescent Middle School custodian. He has to clear up the wreckage of the  Big Green Machine after a spy satellite takes control causing it to shoot yogurts and water bottles at the vice principal, until Bridget destroys it with a few high-powered kicks.

    O

    P

    Q

    Pru Quarles

    Reindeer Crescent's track star and athletic all-rounder. She takes special delight in Bridget's destruction of the Big Green Machine.

    More To Come!

  • AND NOW...BRIDGET'S LIST OF FAMOUS PEOPLE YOU DIDN'T KNOW WERE SECRETLY SPIES!

    BRIDGET'S LIST OF FAMOUS PEOPLE YOU DIDN'T KNOW WERE SECRETLY SPIES

    Spies lurk in the shadows, trading secrets and lying about their true identities. And sometimes their true identities are surprising.

    FRANK SINATRA

    America’s king of swing and ballads for the broken-hearted was a secret operative for the CIA.  The CIA paid Sinatra to work for them as a courier, using his private jets to transport sensitive information— and people the agency wanted kept under wraps— across the world.

     

  • BRIDGET WILDER'S THEME SONG!

    To commemorate the publication of Bridget Wilder: Spy To The Rescue,  allow to to debut the book's very own theme tune. It's a moody synth-pop ballad called Who's Going To Rescue You Now, and it's written by myself and the super-talented vocalist and arranger, Lola G from the band DTCV.

    Enjoy!

     

  • BRIDGET WILDER: BOYS DON'T SPY. CHAPTER TWELVE.

    Last Time On Bridget Wilder: Boys Don't Spy. Bridget was taken prisoner by evil sneaker manufacturer Galton Bird. She outwitted him and left him trapped under a chair that bore the weight of her biological father, Carter Strike.

    Now--and for the last time-- read on!

    12) Old Habits

    ”We didn’t lose a friend,” says Joanna. “We gained a boring girl from Boston who thinks we care about

    figure-skating.”

        It’s been two weeks since Emily and her mother moved back to Boston to be reunited with former

    Captain Ben Barnicle and start a new life following the disappearance of Bird Galton. It’s been two

    minutes since Emily’s bi-weekly Face-Time session during which she talks to Joanna and I in great

    detail about her enduring passion for figure-skating. I nodded and smiled a lot, and Joanna openly

    yawned. I think this might be one of those long-distance friendships that has run it’s course.

        Back at school, Brendan Chew has taken to calling me Widget Wilder.

        “Everyone likes widgets,” I tell him.”They’re useful.”

        “Not you,” he smirks. “You’re the one that gets downloaded by accident and it fills your computer

    with bugs and corrupts every file. Bad Widget!”

        Arguing with a specimen like Chew is futile. I mentally prepare myself for many weeks of “Bad

    Widget!” chants, until he replaces it with something equally puerile. I content myself by remembering

    the brief moment in time when we were muffin buddies. Chew will never remember but I know that

    somewhere buried deep down in his subconscious, he has the capacity to be nice and thoughtful. Maybe

    someday waaaaaay into the future, someone will meet the nice, thoughtful version.

        All Caps is racking up Instagram views with his new prank, You Dropped A Quarter. This is how it

    works. He tells an unsuspecting victim they dropped a quarter. When he or she bends over to pick it up,

    All Caps pushes them over, and films the result.  Yes, that’s it.  And, yes, people love it.    Drowsy P was

    a big hit in his drama school’s production of Grease, until one of the backup dancers he’d dated and the

    dumped without telling her, attacked him on stage. The ensuing publicity got him a part on a  science-

    fiction high school TV show, where he plays an alien who can only survive on Earth if he kisses a girl

    every half-hour.

        “It’s a pretty good show,” concludes Joanna, after we’d spent a fun Saturday night in my room

    watching six consecutive episodes. 

        Should Drowsy P be rewarded for his bad behavior? Should All Caps be applauded? Should all the

    selfish, dumb, thoughtless boys we know get away with treating us the way we do? I had a chance to

    change the behavior of an entire species, and I didn’t do it. I chickened out. Or I had an attack of

    conscience. So I can’t complain.

        There’s a knock on my bedroom door. Ryan enters my bedroom, carrying a tray.

        “Hey Bridget. Hey Joanna. I figured you girls would be getting hungry, so I brought you an ice-cream

    cake and a couple of sodas.”

        Joanna stares at me and then at Ryan. “Uh, thanks?”, she manages to say.

        “No problem.” He peers at the screen. “That the kissing alien show? I hear it’s a lot of fun. Okay, if I

    put the tray on your bed, Bridget? Or do you want it on the floor?

        “Bed’s fine, Ryan, thanks,” I smile at him.

        “Enjoy your night, guys, “ he says. “Holler if you need anything.”

        And then my brother leaves the room, closing the door behind him.

       “See,” I tell the incredulous Joanna. “Not all guys are mean.”

        I don’t tell her I replaced the sneakers I stole out of Ryan’s closet with Cromatos I took from Bird’s

    warehouse.

       I said I had an attack of conscience. I never claimed I was a saint.

    The End

        

        

        

        

       

  • BRIDGET WILDER: BOYS DON'T SPY. CHAPTER ELEVEN.

    Last time on Bridget Wilder:Boys Don't Spy , Bridget confronted sneaker manufacturer Galton Bird about making shoes that brainwashed the boys who wear them. They had a spirited exchange of views and then Bridget fell through a trapdoor in his office.

    Now read on...

    11) World’s Greatest Dad

    “There such a thing as being too clever for your own good,” says Bird.

        He’s standing a few feet away from me. As far as I can tell, I’m in a warehouse filled with endless

    aisles of shelves containing Cromato shoeboxes. 

        The last thing I remember was falling through a hole that suddenly appeared in Bird’s floor. Now I’m

    sitting on a metal chair in the warehouse with my hands and feet chained.  Something happened in-

    between. Something bad.

         “You know too much, B-Dubs,” Bird tells me, as he bounces his basketball off the concrete floor.

    “You’d have snitched on me to your friends, or your dads, or the cops.”

        I try to stay calm. “Why do you have a trapdoor in your office, Bird?”

       He spins the ball on his index finger. “Industrial espionage,” he says. “The sportswear world is hella

    competitive. Rivals always out to steal ideas and, as you know, I’ve got awesome ideas.”

        “I’m not trying to steal your ideas,” I inform him. “I just wanted you to stop messing with boys’

    minds.”

        “And I am,” he smiles. “Now I’m going mess with a girl’s mind.”

        Bird points at an aisle of shelves. He puts a hand to his ear, and a finger to his lips. “You hear that?”

    he stage-whispers.

        I hear the faint sound of footsteps. They get increasingly louder.

        “That’s your shoes,” grins Bird.

        “That’s my shoes?” I repeat, confused. “Do you mean there’s a pair of shoes walking on their own?”

        Bird pretends to throw the ball at me. “Your custom-made shoes. During the time you were under

    sedation—and don’t worry, I called your parents to let you know you were here and that I’ll be giving

    you a ride home—I put the finishing touches to a shoe in your size that will wipe all your theories about

    me and about what I do here out of your mind.”

        I start to struggle in the chair. The footsteps get louder. Bird bounces the ball in time to the

    footsteps.

        A young man, late teens, I think, tall and athletic, with a thick gold chain around his neck, emerges

    from between the aisles carrying a shoebox. He walks towards Bird.

        “No!” I shout. “Don’t do this. I won’t say anything. You can trust me.”

        “I don’t know if I can, is the thing,” he says. “Secrets are hard things to keep, and this is a big secret.”

        I kick and tug at the chains. It does nothing. I rock the chair from side to side.

        “Can you do something about that?” Bird says to Gold Chain. The guy comes up to me and puts his b

    ig hands firmly on top of my small hands which are gripping the arms of the chair.

        I am unable to rock.

        But I can whisper.

        I softly mumble mmmnnmmmnnnmmmnn  to the Gold Chain guy. He sees the fear and confusion on

    my face. He sees my trembling lips and wide innocent eyes. I whisper mmmnnnmmmnn again, this time

    even more tremulously. I see a little sympathy in his face. He leans towards me, putting an ear close to

    my mouth to catch my shy girlish whisper.

        I bite his ear. Hard.

       He screams something like AAAAYYYYYYYAAAAARRRRRRGGGHH!

        I lift my chained legs and kick out, catching Gold Chain in the chest. My plan is not to hurt hm—

    although that’s an added bonus—I need a hard surface to propel me backwards.

        The chair tips over. I try to lift my head so it doesn’t bang off the concrete floor, but it still hurts.

        Bird yells, “Grab her feet!”

        I feel Gold Chain’s hands pull my sneakers off and pinch the toes of my sock-clad feet with enough

    pressure to stop me kicking.

         “You’re a bad influence on Emily,” says Bird.

        I look up and see his face looming over me. He brandishes a Cromato, holding it inches from my

    face. It has that new shoe smell.

        “This is going to make you a good influence.”

        He starts to push the sneaker on to my left foot. I wiggle, struggle and kick as much as I can.

        Gold Chain grabs my foot and squeezes it so hard I think he’s going to snap it off at the ankle.

        “Okayokayowstop!” I screech.

        While he holds me still, Bird shoves the shoe on to my foot.

        I feel it immediately. I feel the sensations running across my sole, between my toes and up my ankle.

    I feel warm and sleepy.

        Gold Chain grabs my other foot and squeezes but I’m offering no resistance. Bird holds the second

    shoe over my face.

        “You gave me the idea for these shoes, Bridget,” he says. “They exist because of you.”

        “So it’s only right that I’m the one who gets rid of them,” I reply.

        Bird’s hand suddenly clutches air. The shoe is now hundreds of fragments. Tiny bits of rubber and

    lace which fall in my eyes and mouth.

        I hear Bird stammer, “What…how…but…” I feel Gold Chain lessen his grip on my right foot. I use it to

    push the sneaker off my left foot. The sensations fade away. 

        Bird keeps gasping, “Where did…how did… what did…”

       I could answer all these questions. I could tell him, “My biological father’s a spy. When I hugged him

    goodbye before I came down here, I stole his laser toothpick. When I pushed the chair backwards, the

    toothpick rolled out of my t-shirt pocket up into my mouth. I managed to spit it between my fingers

    while you two guys were squeezing my feet, and that’s how I vaporized your evil shoe. And now I’m

    going to melt these chains.”

        I don’t tell him any of those things. I squeeze the toothpick and pray I don’t melt a couple of toes in

    the process.

        I feel a lightness around my ankles and hear the clank of the chains hitting the concrete.

        “Hold her,” shouts Bird. “I’ll sedate her.”

        I was going to try to free my hands but the words I’ll sedate her  call for immediate action.

        I summon up all the strength at my disposal and flip up onto my feet. My hands are still chained to

    the chair which is inconvenient, but now I can run, albeit in my pink, banana-pattern socks. Bird

    charges at me with a syringe in his hand. I spin around and reverse into him, driving the legs of the

    chair into, what I’m guessing are his stomach and thighs. I hear him groan in pain. I spin again and

    jump, shoving the chair legs into his wrists. He drops his syringe and I kick it away.

        “Get her!” he commands Gold Chain.

        “Don’t make me hurt you,” I warn him, and point my hand at him.

        “With what?” snorts Gold Chain.

        Oh. I was hoping there was a laser toothpick in my hand when I pointed it. 

        I look down at the concrete ground. The toothpick lies between me and Gold Chain. He looks at it

    and back at me. I make a dive for it. He kicks it out of the way and then, like the athlete he is, swoops

    down, snatches it up and fires.

        I run as fast as a girl with a chair dragging  a chair chained to her hands is able to run. Behind me, I

    hear a loud scream of shock and horror.

        “My chain!”

         I glance around. Bird’s guy is staring at the huddle of melted gold on the ground. He was holding the

    laser the wrong way around!  I could hang around long enough for him to figure this out. Instead, I

    watch him drop to the ground and try to scoop up the molten remains of his chain. Then I hurry

    towards the nearest aisle.

        “Bridget,” I hear Bird’s voice. “Bridge! B-Dubs! Stop! Things got out of hand. We’re both at fault. Let’s

    go back to my office and talk this over, what do you say?”

        Yeah, I can’t wait to go back to your office with its hidden trapdoors. 

        I drag my chair down the length of the aisle. I  can hear Bird coming after me.

        “I misjudged you, B. I see that now.  Let me take you home.”

        I turn to my right and run past a couple of aisles. They’re all the same. Endless shelves of shoeboxes,

    with the occasional empty bottom shelf. If I wasn't chained to this chair, I could wedge myself inside one

    of the empty shelves. That would buy me some time.

        I creep up an aisle and  I feel a chair leg bang against a shelf. 

        “I used to work down here, B,” I hear him shout. “I know every inch of this warehouse. You’re not

    going to hide from me. So why don’t you come out?”

        “Because you’re a psychopath,” I yell back.

        “I’m a good dad. Or, at least, I’m trying to be,” he responds, sounding hurt.

        Halfway up the aisle, I see a mountain. A triangular pile of shoeboxes that have yet to be shelved. I

    have an…I hesitate to call it an idea, but it’s something.

        I step on the first shoebox and, carefully, raise my foot and climb up to the next box. I keep climbing

    until I’m able to reach out and stand on the top shelf. 

        I hear grunting and creaking beneath me. Someone else is scaling the shoebox mountain.

        “Come down from there, Bridget,” wheezes Bird. “You could fall and break your neck.”

        I look to my left. The next aisle is maybe five feet away. Can I jump from from I’m standing to the

    next top shelf? With my chair and my chains? If I fall, I very likely will break a bunch of bones. But if I

    just stand here…

        “That’s right,” Bird calls out. “Just wait there. I’m coming to help you.”

        He reaches out a hand. I feel it circle around my ankle.

        I shake my foot loose, and stamp down hard on his hand. 

        And then I jump.

        I land on on the top shelf of the next aisle and feel myself swaying from side to side. 

        Balance, Bridget I tell myself.

        “This is fun,” Bird shouts.

        I glance behind me. He’s perched on the top shelf of the aisle I just left.  “You’re an intruder on

    private property,” he says. “If you get injured, it’s your own fault.”

        He sways backwards and then leaps. “And you’re going to get injured!” he roars, as he springs off the

    shelf towards me.

        I let out a squeal of fright and jump from my shelf.

        Once again, I land on the next shelf and scramble to maintain my balance.

        There are endless aisles ahead of me. I can’t keep doing this. The chair is weighing me down. I just

    barely managed to jump from one shelf to the next without crashing down onto the concrete below. The

    next jump, or the one after that, is going to be the one I miss.

        “I can do this all day,” I hear Bird laugh behind me. “It’s a great work-out for me. But you? Dragging

    that chair and those chains around your hands? You must be scared to death. If you fall—and you will—

    it’s going to leave a mark.”

        Once upon a time, I had nano sneakers that made me fly like the wind and a special track suit that

    allowed me to wreak martial arts mayhem. Now, I’m standing in my socks, chained to a chair, with no

    means of escape.

        My enemy is smarter and stronger than me. I’m in his territory, playing his game. This kind, caring

    father figure who wanted to save girls from being tormented and terrorized by boys is the meanest,

    scariest guy of them all!

        I laugh at the irony. Bird echoes my laugh.

        I jump from the shelf.

        I hear Bird jump after me.

        I land precariously on the next shelf.

        But I don’t wait to try and get my balance.

        I lean forward so the legs of the chair are sticking straight out and I hurl myself backwards off the

    shelf.

        I hear a loud, panicked gasp of surprise as Bird collides with the legs of the chair, I feel him try to

    grab on to me for support. His fingers claw into my arms.

        Too late.

        He hits the ground. 

        My chair, miraculously, falls right side up.

        The impact rattles my teeth and blurs my vision but I am, amazingly, unharmed.

        I feel Bird’s fists pounding on the bottom of the chair. I landed over him. He’s stuck under me.

        I feel him wriggling and struggling beneath the chair.

        “We’re done playing games,” he breathlessly threatens me. “Once I get out of here…”

        “Things are going to get a lot worse,” says a voice I am very happy to hear.

        Strike.

        He walks up the aisle, shaking his head at the ridiculous sight of me chained to my chair, pinning a

    furious Bird to the ground.

        “You knew I’d be here,” I smile at him. “You knew I took the laser toothpick.”

        “It’s what I would have done,” he says.

        Strike pulls another toothpick from his jacket pocket and aims it at my wrists. The chains fall away

    like pieces of paper in the wind.

        “Let’s make a deal,” he says. “We lie to a lot of people. How about we don’t lie to each other from now

    on?”

       He holds out his hand. I take it. He pulls me to my feet.

        Bird sighs with relief. He starts to pull himself out from under the chair.

        Strike sits down. The bottom of the chair sags, almost touching Bird’s face. There’s no way he’s

    escaping with that amount of weight pushing down on him.

        “I’m going to have a short but meaningful conversation with Mr. Bird,” Strike tells me. “You should

    probably head home.”

        “You’re going to miss me,” I say.

        “I know, “Strike agrees.

        “I was talking to Bird.”

        With that, I walk up the aisle and leave Bird to his fate which I can’t imagine being very pleasant.

        “Hey,” Strike calls after me. “You socked it to him.”

        “Huh?” I turn back to shrug at Strike. ”Don’t get it.”

        “Socked,” he says. “You’re wearing socks and you put him on the ground. It’s a good quip.”

        “Not really,” I argue. “Now, if you were to say, `Hey, Bridget, what did you get out of your visit to

    Cromato?’ I would say, `Kicks.’ As in, sneakers, and I kicked Bird a few times. That’s  a good quip.”

        I toss Strike a parting salute and make my way out of the warehouse, happy at the sound of Bird

    pleading for mercy.

    More Next Week!