Outside, the TV van waited. The side door opened and Cliff stepped in. “What are we going to do now?”
Mrs. Flanagan turned in her seat. She had a confused look on her face. What do you mean?”
“What are we going to do without Fred?” Cliff stated, in a slow, plain voice.
Then Cliff heard Fred’s voice. “What did I do?” Fred wondered as he turned in the driver’s seat to look see Cliff’s response.
“What are you doing here?” Cliff demanded.
“Where else should I be?”
“The Man said that they had you. What are you working for them too?”
Mrs. Flanagan was getting annoyed. She stifled Fred’s response and asked “Cliff, you are not making any sense. Care to elaborate?”
“The Man said that they had Fred. They obviously don’t have him, so that can only mean that he is one of them.”
“Who is this Man, you keep babbling on about?”
“Big guy, said they were watching me and wouldn’t let anything go wrong. Said that they controlled everything. Seems to be quite the control freak. He can appear anywhere.”
Mrs. Flanagan looked at Fred. “Griffin?”
“Sounds like him,” Fred agreed.
“What is going on here,” Mrs. Flanagan demanded. “None of our intel said anything about Griffin showing up.”
“I’ll make a call,” Fred offered. He picked up his phone and started talking.
“Griffin,” Mrs. Flanagan started to tell Cliff, “is like the overlord of the Western intelligence community. What he wants done, gets done.”
“Great,” Cliff sighed. “Who does he work for?”
“Everyone and no one.”
“Uh huh, and what does that really mean.”
“It means that you stay on his good side or you get into trouble.”
“Well he doesn’t like me very much,” Cliff confided.
Mrs. Flanagan laughed. “Au contraire my dear boy. If he didn’t like you, you would be dead now. I would say he likes you a lot. You are still walking and talking.”
Cliff didn’t know what to say. He was trembling. Fred put down his phone. “Sounds like he is here.”
“Why?” Mrs. Flanagan demanded.
“They don’t seem to know. He just showed up this afternoon. This is bigger than we thought.”
“The bigger they are the harder they fall,” Mrs. Flanagan offered.
Fred smiled. “Well if we pull this off, there are going to be a lot of people going off the edge.”
“We will,” Mrs. Flanagan assured him. “We have Cliff.”
“Right, you have me. Mr. Wonderful. Everybody thinks I am great. Care to tell me what I am going to be so great at?” Cliff asked.
“Lets go,” Mrs. Flanagan said.
Fred pulled away and started out of the parking lot.
“Care to tell me why we keep driving every time we talk?”
“Simple, my dear boy,” Fred started. When we are moving we pipe music through the shell of the van. The vibrations throw off the listening equipment they use to eavesdrop.”
“They are listening to us?”
“All the time.”
“Well why not do it when we are stopped?”
“Lasers can target the skin and eliminate the background nosies. When we are moving the road noise and engine noise is random. They cannot lock on the lasers to one spot and the randomness is too hard to eliminate. Think of it as a sound-proof room.”
“Fine. I will forget what I don’t understand. Although, that is all starting to make sense. If we varied our speed that would make it more difficult wouldn’t it?” Cliff suggested.
“I think he is getting it,” Mrs. Flanagan said to Fred.
“Okay Cliff, here is the plan. Tonight we perform this charade of a Telethon…”
“Charade?!!” Cliff yelled.
Mrs. Flanagan stared at him. “Oh come on, you didn’t really think that this was all that we were going to do?”
Cliff felt embarrassed. “No I remember about stealing a kidney. Humour me.”
Mrs. Flanagan continued, “Tonight after the Telethon is a big success, we all go home and relax. Tomorrow is another day.”
Cliff interrupted again. “Dr. Bob said that Monica, may not be Monica during the Telethon.”
“He didn’t need to tell you that.”
“Well he did. What did he mean?”
“Nothing. We may need to do more tests on Monica tonight and as a result she may not be available on cue.”
“That’s it?” Cliff asked.
“That’s all you need to know for now,” Mrs. Flanagan said.
“As I was saying, before you rudely interrupted,” Mrs. Flanagan began again, “was that we were all going home to relax. Tomorrow morning, Mary will come to the hospital to check on Monica and the Telethon results and you will go to work. You will receive a shipment of a 1985 Lotus Esprit Turbo. Cecil will give it to Joe, but Joe will tell him that you are the one who should check it out. There will be a very special item in that Lotus.”
“Let me guess, a birthday cake?”
Mrs. Flangan ignored him. “Before you do anything you will have to check the vehicle’s identification number. It will be different from the original. If the numbers don’t match, we will abort. Somewhere along the line we had a breakdown and we will not risk lives on a misstep.”
“So, no pressure,” Cliff moaned.
“None for you. Well not much. Looking on the positive side, we will assume that everything matches. Once you confirm that this is the right “package” you will have to gain access to the intercooler. This model has the updated liquid intercooler.”
“I’m familiar with them.”
“Not this one,” Mrs. Flanagan interjected. “The coolant lines do not carry coolant. They are filled with liquid nitrogen.”
“Yes the intercooler is a tiny freezer. That is why you have been getting cold burns on your arms when you have been working on these cars lately.”
“Yes, and the key to this is you getting the package out of that intercooler without destroying it, setting off the alarms and getting it back together so that no one notices.”
“I see. For my next trick I will pull a rabbit out of my butt.”
“I would pay to see that,” Fred shouted.
“So would I,” Mrs. Flanagan agreed. “Instead you will perform this trick and leave work with the package in your lunch box. By the way, you lunch box at home has been modified. It looks the same, but no it can maintain a temperature of -225C.”
“No way,” Cliff was incredulous.
“Once you have the package, you need to get it in the lunch box as soon as possible. Cecil will be watching you like a hawk, but we have some help to distract him.”
“Someone on the inside.”
“Very good Cliff,” Mrs. Flanagan smiled. “Joe has been there to help you at any point. So far you have made his life easy. Tomorrow however, you will need his help.”
“Does Cecil know?”
“Does Cecil know about Joe?” Cliff said.
“Not that we are aware of,” Mrs. Flanagan assured. “To continue, once you have the package, you need to get out of the shop as soon as possible. Joe will let us know. You will receive a phone call from Mary saying that Monica is in distress and failing fast. Tell Cecil the car is done and walk. We will be outside. Joe can handle Cecil from there. Once in the van, you will exchange your “new” lunch box for the old one and we will drive you to the hospital. You and Fred and your lunch box will go into the hospital to Monica’s room. She will be prepped for surgery and Mary and she will head to the operating room in one elevator. Leave your lunch box in the room and you and Fred head up in the other. You will actually be going to the underground parking. A car will be waiting. Get in.”
“You think they are going to be fooled by my old lunch box?”
“No, but they will have to check it,” Mrs. Flanagan stated, “that takes some time.”
“Why aren’t I going to the operating room?”
“No one is going to the operating room,” Mrs. Flanagan conceded.
“Mary is going to be pissed.”
“Let us take care of her.”
“Good luck,” Cliff laughed.
“Where am I going”
Mrs. Flanagan started again, “You are going to the airport. A plane will be waiting. Get on and the rest of you questions will be answered there.”
“And Mary and Monica?”
“They will be on another plane.”
“Okay, lets get back to the package. How am I supposed to get into this intercooler?”
“It is a three step process,” Mrs. Flanagan explained. This system has two alarms. One for temperature and one for flow. In your “new” lunch box is a jumper for the temperature sensor. The system allows five seconds to retest any temperature fluctuations. Find the temperature sensor, unplug it and attach the jumper.”
“In five seconds?”
“In five seconds. We have tried it and it is possible. Next, this is a typical refrigeration system. Two lines, high pressure and low pressure. They both have quick connects. You have eight seconds to connect the bypass in your lunch box to these lines. Remember, low pressure first.”
“Then is gets harder. You have five minutes to open this thing up, get the package into the lunch box and close it back up with all the lines and sensors back in place.”
“I am really starting to sweat,” Cliff admitted.
Mrs. Flanagan chuckled, “Good. That means you know what we are asking. The access panel is supposed to be held in place by for bolts, head pattern, Torx 20. Remove that panel and the package will just pull out. As if I have to tell you, be careful, it will be cold. There will be a special set of welding gloves on your bench. Yell that the exhaust is hot and use those. It sounds stupid, but Cecil is not the sharpest knife in the drawer and this will distract him for a minute or two. Just grab the package and put it in your lunch box. It should fit easily.”
Cliff was trying to absorb all of this. “What is the number I am looking for?”
“It will be on a piece of paper in the lunch box so you don’t have to remember it now. The number is 1BHLACC9.”
“What does that mean?”
“It means,” Mrs. Flanagan stated, “that the kidney inside is a match for Monica.”