Red Lodge, Montana

Cody Quarterline part XVIII: Cody and the irate agent

The Cody Quarterline story began in April of 2005, as a spoof article. Since then, it’s been passed around from one volunteer tale-spinner to another. Each new author has freedom to do whatever he/she likes with Cody, and the tale has taken some strange twists over the years. We still don’t know what’s going on! We do know, however, that we’ve got some creative people in town with time on their hands and maybe a few too many Mickey Spillane movies under their belts.

by Ethan McDowell

Needless to say, Cody made it to Scarlet House in one piece. But now he was faced with two slightly larger problems: whether to take the truck or the Pinto to Billings, and how to get some clothing without attracting too much attention to himself. The former problem worked itself out when Cody turned to the news on the radio. “The forecast for the week ahead is snow, snow and more snow, shortly followed by a long warm spell sure to force the closure of several local winter activity centers. If you need to do some highway travel, vehicles with four-wheel-drive are a must as Highway 212 will be closed at Billings and Scarlet House to anything but four-wheel-drive vehicles,” the radio quickly spewed at him. “Well that answers that question, but leaves the more important one,” Cody muttered bitterly.

Just then an elderly man in a blue jumpsuit knocked on the window, asking in an overly loud voice, “Are you Witness number 2114583: codename Cody Quarterline?” Cody rolled down the window and replied with a shocked “Yes”.

“The name’s France, Nort France, I work for the Secret Service, I have very important information for you. But first, let’s get you some clothing, and maybe a coffee. You wait here,” The man said, matter-of-factly.

“That last part wasn’t really necessary. Where the hell else am I supposed to go?” Cody said softly.

After Cody spent a few minutes waiting and contemplating what he was going to tell his mother when he showed up at her door, Nort returned with a pair of plaid golf pants and an early 70′s low-neck shirt. “You’ll just have to keep the shoes for now; they were out of them at the senior center,” he said, quite happily. “Now, let’s get that coffee and I’ll tell you more about why I’m here.

They took a short stroll down the block to the local coffee shop, where the barista, Pam, took their orders with only a little bit of an amused look at Cody’s clothing, and dispensed the coffee from a large urn behind the counter. “Thanks for coming in, Nort!” she said with an overlarge smile of job satisfaction on her face. Nort just shrugged her off.

Nort jumped right into his story when they left the coffee shop, “I’ve been working undercover here for a long time now–can’t actually remember how long–rooting out subverters and crooks for the President. I chose this disguise because I can go anywhere in town with it. My main target is local writer, Haul Combusts. You’ve probably seen him around, he has a great bushy beard and hangs out at the coffee shop a lot. He may actually be an infamous diamond thief. That’s enough about me though; I was told to tell you that the government thinks the Leopard knows who and where you are, so be on the lookout for anything suspicious.”

“Well, that’s good to know,” Cody said with a small smirk. “It’s probably good that I’m on my way out of town today then.”

“Where are you headed?” Nort asked conversationally

Cody replied, “To see my mother. I’ll be gone about a week.”

“Well, I’d better get back to my job,” Nort said with a touch of a grin. “Bye,” he said before turning and walking briskly away.

“Thanks for the clothes,” Cody called after him. “Now, I’d better get to Billings before the weather gets any worse.”

Cody ran back towards the truck. He got in and took it to get fuel for the trip at the local station. After an uneventful fueling session he started for Billings. He made it about five miles before the snow really set in. The snow was coming down so hard he didn’t see the curve and continued straight into oncoming traffic. The elderly driver of the oncoming Jeep never saw him. They collided at well over fifty miles per hour. The icy road conditions sent both vehicles sliding off the roadway, luckily, because a large eighteen-wheeler had been following the driver of the Jeep. Cody climbed out of the twisted wreck of the truck with only a few bruises on his shoulder and legs. Cody pulled some flares from under the truck seat, lit them and threw them on the roadway. He then checked to see if the other driver was all right.

“Hey, you all right?” he called above the wind. There was no reply, so Cody went over to the Jeep and pounded on the door, yelling “Hello, are you all right,” to the man inside. Again there was no reply so Cody opened the door and found that the man had hit his head very hard on the steering wheel and was unconscious. Cody looked around for a phone, but couldn’t find one. Luckily enough a passing vehicle saw the road flares and stopped to see if everything was okay.

“Hey, are you okay; do you need to call an ambulance?” the people in the vehicle called.

“Yea, this guy hit his head really hard,” Cody called back. Then Cody heard the woman in the passenger seat talking on a phone for a bit.

“The ambulance is on its way, do you need any more help?” the woman called.

“No, we should be all right now, thanks for the help,” Cody replied. The vehicle drove off. “Well, this puts getting to Mom’s on hold. Why does this stuff always happen to me?”

Just then he heard a loud banging noise and the Jeep caught fire. “Why me?” Cody asked as he ran over to get the elderly driver out of his vehicle. He got the man to safety and returned to the truck to get his money from the envelope he had it in. He got the money, and turned around, facing away from the wreck, just in time for it to explode. Cody went flying into the ditch. Luckily enough for him, he found a soft patch to land on. Luckily enough for the softball sized chunk of asphalt kicked up by the wreck, it found a soft part of the back of Cody’s head to land on.

The last thing to go through Cody’s mildly-concussed mind before he blacked out was, “Why did the sky hit me?”

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