The moment that the two morons gave him a polite hello, John Casey knew that today will not be a good day. He simply walked by the Nerd Herder desk, when they said hello to him. It was not the type of hello that buddies give to each other. It was not the type of hello that used only the word: Hey. It was the type of hello that was respectful, dignified, and calm. Any other time, John Casey would have loved it. Deep down, John Casey knew that this situation would not happen under normal circumstances. Something is going on. At this moment, the two morons are behind the Nerd Herd Desk with a fake smile on their faces. It is going to be a long day.
"What's going on?" asks John Casey. John is wearing his polo green shirt and khakis, the grand uniform of the Buy More store salesmen. Unlike most of his co- workers, he has a gun safely underneath his uniform.
"What do you mean, John?" replies Jeff Barnes. He always gave John Casey the creeps. Right now, he is just disturbing. Jeff Barnes' hair was actually combed. Any other day, his hair would be in several different directions. Jeff's hair was like Einstein without the brain. Being a military man, John Casey also noticed that the usual drunk was very sober and clean. His white shirt was ironed and tucked in. John resists the urge in looking at the man's shoes.
Lester was no different. His black hair was still slick back, but he has shaved. John Casey figured that Lester must have used a different razor, since he was clean shaved. His clothes are ironed and his name tag hung perfectly on his shirt.
The two morons were part of the Nerd Herder. They are supposed to be the brains of the operations. They are the tech support for anyone that comes in the store that has any possible questions to ask them. The fact that the two morons were trusted to provide accurate information to customers scares John Casey. He thanks God that they work at the Buy More and not the NSA.
John looks around. He was still in the Buy More in Burbank, California. There was the DVD racks and televisions. There were no new individuals working at the Buy More. He looks for any new cameras that may have been installed last night. Nothing. This was no prank. John let out a grunt of frustration.
"Don't make me ask that question again." Agent John Casey did not like his current assignment. Ever since a rogue agent stole the Intersect and sends it to his college buddy, who was too stupid in not opening the attachment, John's life has become a complicated mess. It did not help that the Intersect contained all of the nation's top secrets. To make matters worse, the stupid buddy somehow was able to absorb all the nation's top secrets in his head and process it in something useful. In the end, John Casey, the NSA agent with the best success rate in the agency, was assigned to protect the stupid buddy. Like birds, the stupid buddy worked with other stupid people at a Buy More. It was one of many aspects that he hated about this assignment.
"Mr. John Casey. We are dedicated worker at the Buy More. The one thing that we are not is mind readers." Lester kept his face in the serious mode even though sweat was now coming out of his pores. His words were clear and thought out, which meant that the man was not high. John Casey rubs his head. He can feel his headache coming back. John Casey never got any headaches in his past assignments. Now he seems to get headaches every other day.
"I am going to give you the count to one. You are going to tell me what is going on or I will show you the definition of pain." Both Nerd Herders' eyes widen as the prospect of having John Casey hurt them. They did not know much about the man named John Casey. They just know that John Casey was not like them. He did not like the same things that they love. He came into work and actually did work. Another thing that they know about John Casey is that he knows how to dish out the pain.
"They screwed up." said a female voice. Anna Wu came behind the two Nerd Herders which made both men hop. John did not even see her behind them. She looks at both Lester and Jeff with eyes that demand their blood. Even though they did not have much room behind the counter, both men step aside to give Anna room. Unlike the other two Nerd Herders, she was dress the same. She was wearing the uniform shirt and plaid skirt, but she still was wearing her small acts of rebellion on her. This gave John Casey some comfort.
"What did they do?" John Casey knows that Anna will answer his question. He likes Anna. She was the only one in the store that did not scream complete moron. Even the background search that John performed when he first started illustrated many faucets that she had not revealed during his time at the Buy More. John Casey often wondered what to make of Anna. For now, he settles for having her being a competent individual in a store filled with idiots. Of course, he chooses to ignore the fact that Anna was dating Morgan Grimes, the best friend of Chuck.
"That I don't know. All I know is the fact that Chuck got called in Big Mike's office and these two idiots quickly changed their clothes and started to behave like real people." John did not like this. The last time these two morons screwed up, they nearly lost Chuck's sister's engagement ring and nearly lost Chuck to Fulcrum, a spy organization that is looking for the Intersect. It did not help that Fulcrum sent out a spy disguised as the delivery girl at the local pita shop and she had a body that seduces most horny morons.
Their train of thoughts was disrupted by a door opening. Everyone at the Buy More looks away from their assignments and look straight at the office. It was not just the four individuals by the Nerd Herd desk; it was all the employees in the store. Chuck Bartowski walks out of the office, shaking his head in frustration. There was no smile on his face. There was not even a twinkle in his eyes. It had been a while since John Casey has seen Chuck in really bad mood especially in the Buy More. In fact, John can not even remember it. John was simply surprises that the frustration did not appear more often on Chuck's face.
Chuck Bartowski was the stupid idiot that had to read his email. Within twenty four hours, Chuck became the most valuable asset in the United States. Being assigned a NSA agent and CIA agent to protect him, Chuck also had to resign the fact that he had to work at the Buy More until the US government no longer needs his service. John Casey did not like that fact since he had to work with Chuck at the store.
While he thought of Chuck as a stupid idiot, there was one thing that John had to admit only to himself, Chuck was good at his job at the Buy More up to the point that he saved John Casey from hurting people. John had seen his own face as he reached his limit dealing with the customers. Chuck did the right thing and always took over. Chuck kept his composure when dealing with people. To see that same frustrated face on Chuck's face, it had to be bad.
Chuck approaches the Nerd Herder's desk with one purpose. Jeff and Lester did not bother hiding their fear. They swallow their spit in unison. Anna simply got away from the desk and went to John Casey's side.
Chuck grabs his name tag that hangs on his shirt pocket and slams it on the Nerd Herder's desk. The noise that the tag made both men jumps in fright.
"Look, Chuck we can explain…." explains Lester to Chuck.
"It's not as bad as you think." chimes in Jeff. Chuck points his finger at the two men. Both men stop talking. Both men felt their fear engulfing them. They did not dare anger Chuck with their explanation or reassurance. There was genuine fear in their eyes.
Chuck stares at the two men. John could see that Chuck was looking for the words to use at the two morons. Finally, Chuck gave up, shook his head in frustration, and he walks away without saying a word. Everyone at the store watch as Chuck walk out the store. Once the automatic doors closed behind Chuck, everyone look at Jeff and Lester. Both men look at everyone. They saw the anger and disappointment in their coworkers' faces.
"JEFF! LESTER! ANNA! JOHN!" All parties turn to Big Mike's office. The big man stood at the doorway of his office and he did not hide his displeasure. "GET IN HERE NOW!!!"
Anna waits as the two men walk out behind the Nerd Herder's desk before she follows them to Big Mike's office. John Casey already had his phone out and starts to text message Agent Sarah Walker about the situation.
"I DON'T HAVE ALL DAY, JOHN!"
"Sorry, sir. I just got to send a message to my girl. Don't want her to worry." Big Mike's face calm down a bit.
"That's awfully nice. I wish all of my employees had the same good manners that you have. Make it quick, this involves you." Big Mike walks back in his office.
John Casey could not help but growl. He sent the text to Agent Walker, Chuck's CIA handler. While John Casey became the next door neighbor and co worker to Chuck, Agent Sarah Walker had the assignment of pretending to be Chuck's girlfriend. Considering that she was a tall attractive blonde that look like she came out a Playboy Magazine, John was pretty sure that Chuck did not have any complaints about the arrangement. Since John can't watch Chuck now, she had to pick up the slack. Now, what John Casey wanted to know how the two morons got him involved?
John walks in Big Mike's small office. The two morons sat away from Big Mike as Anna stood beside Big Mike. Big Mike sit behind his desk with a rare intensity that John had not seen that did not involve food.
"Sit down, John." Big Mike was very calm. John has seen this before in other people and knows that this was not going to go well. He sits down on the chair beside the two morons. He turns to look at them and give them the look of anger. Jeff and Lester move their chair away from John.
"Do you know what I hate, John?" John turns his attention at the big guy. The man was big, but John figure that it hides what Big Mike is capable to do.
"I hate having my day disrupted. Guess what happened this morning?"
"Your day got disrupted."
"Yes, it did. The end result is the fact that I had to suspend Chuck for the week." John Casey had to hide his surprise and focus on the fact finding mission.
"What did Chuck do?"
"He did not do anything. It was these two." Big Mike looks at Lester and Jeff. The two men flinch. John Casey looks at the two men that just made his life harder.
"What did they do?"
"Let's just say that I had to pull a lot of strings to make this incident to stay quiet. So when I say that I can't tell you, I am legally obligated not to tell you." John did not bother holding back his growl. Whatever it was, he was going to do something about it.
"Alright. How am I involved?"
"Like I said, I had to do to suspend Chuck. He got the blame for the incident. But I know he didn't do it. He is one of my reliable employees. He is my rock. Beside he was not here when it happened."
Jeff and Lester look at Big Mike with a surprised look.
"Oh I know what happened. I just can't prove it. So, Chuck had to be the lamb in this sacrifice. But don't think you are getting away with this. Anna."
"Yes, Big Mike."
"You are in charge of these two. Make sure they behave and they become the model employees that they need to be."
"How do I do that?"
"Whatever means necessary." Anna smile at the thought.
"Yes, Big Mike."
"If you see that these two morons don't do what Anna wants, you step in."
John looks at them with cruel smile.
"Just don't leave any bruises."
"Not a problem." John crackles his knuckle for effect. It works as the Jeff and Lester start to sweat.
"All of you get back to work." Jeff and Lester did not bother waiting. They left Big Mike's office with speed only seen in the Olympics. John got up from his chair. He waits as Anna walk with purpose in her steps. John figures that she had something bad in her mind to inflect on the two men that were now under her command. He could not blame her. He did not have any happy thoughts in his mind.
"John." John Casey turns his attention back at Big Mike. "You live near Chuck?"
"I'm his next door neighbor."
"Tell him that this is not going on his record. I have to do all of this for show. If the customer came in while Chuck is working, everything would come out in the opening. I can't have that. Chuck is a good worker and I cover the good ones. Can you tell him that?" John could see that Big Mike like Chuck and meant every word he said.
"Another thing, John."
"I meant what I said: Don't leave any marks." John gave a grunt in agreement as he step out the office.
"YOU WILL NOW CALL ME, MASTER, NOW. KNEEL BEFORE ME!" The command that Anna yell out to Jeff and Lester sent chills up John's spine. It will be a long week at the Buy More.
Chuck did not bother getting in the Nerd Herder car. He did not want to be seen in it. As Chuck walk out of the Buy More, he took off his tie and shoves it in his pant's pocket. Chuck looks at his i-Phone and look at the menu. He found the song list that he wants to hear. He put the ear plug in and starts to listen to his songs. The way his day has been, Chuck wants some time alone and songs to drown out his thoughts.
Chuck knew that this was a bad idea. He knew that John and Sarah would tell him go back home. They would tell him not to run off alone. They would say that he is letting his emotion go wild. They always seem to have some sort of command for him at all hours of the day. Right now, Chuck just did not want to hear any of it. He just wants to be alone for now.
With his mind distracted by his thoughts and the past events of the day, Chuck did not notice his CIA handler following him. Considering the Porsche that she was driving, Sarah was surprise by this. Whatever happened at the Buy More, it had to be bad. Sarah Walker has seen most of Chuck's moods during her time protecting him. She has seen him happy, angry, depress, and everything in between. This was the first time that she has seen him this way. This was not typical Chuck Bartowski's behavior. The only reason she knew that he was in a bad mood was the fact that he passed by the Wienerlous and kept walking.
She was cleaning the tables at the second rate fast food joint when she received John's text message. All it said was Code blue. It only meant a change in plans and that she had to watch over Chuck. That was when she saw him passed by. Chuck did look angry and frustrated all wrapped up in a hard shell of disgusted. He made no effort to look for her. He just kept walking. Sarah did not bother in talking to the mean little man that was her boss at the Wienerlous. Besides, she is being paid by the CIA to protect Chuck, not to deep fry wieners. Sarah Walker simply tossed the towel off to the side and walked out of the fast food joint. She got in her car and followed at a distance.
After an hour, Chuck finally stops. He found himself in front of a coffee shop. Chuck looks at the small shop though the window. Sarah looks through her binoculars and smiles. Chuck's angry face was replaced with a small smile. He had the same frustrated face for an hour which worried her. She knew that it was not healthy especially for Chuck. This small smile was a good thing. He was getting out of his mood. After a minute of looking in the coffee shop, Chuck walks in. Sarah drives by the coffee shop looking for a parking space hoping that this hour- long walk calms Chuck down
For Chuck, the coffee with the caramel syrup lace in it was almost heaven. Chuck was pretty sure that he was missing other ingredients that help enhances the coffee beverage. He kept forgetting on getting the recipe every time he comes in. Chuck still did not care. It was a unique liquid concoction that he can only find in this specific shop. He found the small coffee shop by accident. It was before the Intersect and after being kicked out of Stanford. Chuck found himself lost looking for the installation location. He walked in the coffee shop looking for direction. He came out with a caffeine beverage that he instantly fell in love and directions that he needed. The first taste of the coffee made him fell in love with the coffee shop. It became one of his many places to go to when things were down. When his days became too bad, he found himself wondering back to this coffee shop that had muffins as big as his head. When he could not get rid of the dark cloud that followed over his head, Chuck went to the coffee shop. Today became one of those days.
Chuck was glad that he took that walk. He was tired enough not to pay attention to his frustrations. He just needed to simply replenish himself with a treat. Chuck approached the counter, ordered his drink and a muffin from the cute coffee girl with the pink hair. If Chuck did not deserve a muffin today, he did not know what did.
Chuck was sitting in the big chair that was beside the table and away from the entrance, took a bite out of the muffin and could taste the blueberries. He felt like himself after his first gulp of coffee. He felt like Chuck as opposed as the asset or Nerd Herder. He was pretty sure that Sarah and Casey knew about this place like they knew that he fell from a tree when he was eight. Chuck just simply did not care. This coffee shop was his place and it felt good that there was nothing here that reminded him about work or the Intersect. There were paintings on the wall of some starving artist. Each painting had a cornucopia of colors. Chuck figured the artist just simply flick the paint on the canvas and call it art. The chairs were big arm chairs that were so comfortable that Chuck was pretty sure that he would fall asleep in them if it was not for the caffeine. He was pretty sure that John Casey would hate this place.
Chuck took a sip from his coffee when he saw the blonde hair from the side of his vision. He sighs a bit. As much as he loves Sarah Walker, he really hopes to keep this place for himself. He had to have that place that was Chuck. It was one reason why he did not bring Sarah here. He loves how she smells when she wraps her arms around him. He loves her smile. Chuck even loves the fact that she gets angry when she burns the wieners in a deep fryer. He especially loves the fact that they can go to places as a couple like the movies, concerts, and restaurant. Deep down, he also knows all of that was temporary. Sooner or later, she will leave him and he would be by himself. He will have to do things without her. He would have to go to the movies without her. He would have to carry on his day without her. When that happens, he knows that he would be a mess for a while. That is why he kept this place away from her. He knows that he can come to this small coffee shop and nothing here will remind him of her.
Chuck prepared himself because he knew it had to happen sooner or later. His coffee haven would be invaded. At least it was not John Casey. Chuck took a better look at the blonde hair that was coming into the coffee shop to find out that he was wrong.
Chuck was relieved and disappointed that it was not Sarah. She was holding a small device in her hands which she was looking at with huge amount of focus. The blonde hair belongs to a smaller woman. She was way shorter than Sarah Walker and looks slightly younger than Sarah. She had a ponytail that kept her hair out of her eyes. She was paler than Sarah. She wore a military green t-shirt and black pants. She did have the same build as Sarah, which only meant that she would be able to kick his butt. In his mind, it was a cross between Sarah Walker and John Casey, the daughter that they will never have. Chuck figure that she was military because of her boots. What stuck Chuck odd was the fact that he did not flash on her. Having that military aura, Chuck thought for sure that he would. As Chuck took another sip from his coffee, the blonde woman looks around the coffee shop with confusion.
She looks at a strange device in her hand. It was small as an IPod but slightly thicker. She hit it a couple time and slowly walk further in the coffee shop. She walks up the counter. The girl behind the counter simply waits for strange woman to say something. Instead, the blonde woman walks away from it and approaches a painting. Once she was satisfied at looking both the painting and the device, she slowly back away from the painting. Chuck took another bite of his muffin when he realizes that every step that she took, she was coming closer to him. She was right in front of him when Chuck realize that he better worry about this strange woman.
She looks at her device.
She looks at Chuck.
She looks at her device
She looks at Chuck with confusion in her eyes.
"Excuse me." ask the blonde to Chuck.
"You are not some sort of energy converter?" There was a hint of an accent that Chuck could not place. Of course, the question confuses him a bit.
"No." It was the only answer that Chuck could come up with that made any sense to the question.
"Are you sure?" Chuck wonders where that question comes from. Chuck swallows his muffin. He starts to pat himself on various places on his body to emphasis the point to her.
"Yeah, I'm sure."
"Oh." She looks around and saw a chair in front of Chuck. She sat down in the seat in front of Chuck. Chuck saw that she was disappointed by this development. "I did not think you were. I just wanted to be sure."
"Sorry. Wish I can I can help." She looks around at the coffee shop disappointed. She then caught sight of the muffin.
"Well, can you give me a piece of that?" She point at the muffin.
"Sure." Chuck knew from experience that it was best that he did not antagonize a crazy person. She was obviously crazy because she thought he may be an energy converter. He grabs his muffin and split it in two. The moment that the muffin was in her hands, she took another look at it with a curious look. If Chuck did not know any better, he would have thought that she never seen a muffin. She bit into her muffin and smile.
"This is fantastic. What is it?" Her smile lit up the room. If she was crazy, she hides it behind the smile well.
"A muffin." Chuck could feel a smile on his face.
"I never had a muffin before. I must say that it is a wonderful thing." Chuck did not know what to make of this short blonde. She put the rest of the muffin in her mouth. She obviously misjudges the size of the muffin as she soon realizes that her mouth had no room to move. Chuck let out a small laugh as the blonde try to chew the muffin in her mouth. The face that she made was priceless. Even though it took a minute, she finally chews down the muffin. She smile at Chuck and extend her hand in front of him.
"Sorry. I was being rude. My name is Jenny." He took her hand and shakes it.
"My name is Chuck."
"Chuck." She was savoring his name. "Chuck. Chuck. Chhhhuuuccckkk. I like it." Her smile grew bigger to emphasize her statement.
"Thank you. I am pretty fond of it myself."
"Good. Do not ever change it. A name says a lot about a person. Trust me I have heard some pretty awful names in my time."
"Really?" Chuck could not help himself. He was curious where this train of thought was going.
"Trust me. I met a man that went by the name of Kiseelyffsuka."
"I know. Sweet guy. He had five wives and seventeen kids. But his name was awful."
"Did it mean anything?" Chuck never heard of it. Whatever country it was from, it did not cause a flash. No sense in not finding out more.
"Did it mean anything? Of course. It meant 'Fertile man." She was telling the truth. Chuck was pretty sure by it. Her face was very serious.
"Of course it did. Well, don't worry. I'm not planning on changing my name."
"Good." Jenny put her smile back on. He can tell that she was happy by that reassurance. "So, Chuck. What are you doing in a place like this?"
"Just simply getting away from it all." No sense in giving her too much info. If Chuck was not careful, she would be stalking him. Considering the consequence in that, that would not be a good thing for her. Of course, no sense in lying to her. Chuck hate to admit it, but he was getting better in omitting certain truths.
"Yep. Even if it is for a few minutes."
"Really." She smiles at what Chuck said. The door of the coffee shop opens. Chuck could not help but look at it. Training under the Buy More and being around spies did that to him. He just had to look. A man in a nice suit walks in and approaches the counter. The girl from behind the counter had not taken her eyes off of Jenny since she came in. Once the girl realizes that there was a customer, she let her attention go back to the job at hand.
"Hey. Hi. I called in an order about a half hour ago. I was hoping that you have it ready." The man in the nice suit sound familiar. Chuck did not know why.
"Sure. My name is Quentin Sanchez."
"What would you say…" Chuck knew that he was not going to hear what Jenny was about to ask. Chuck felt it. It was a tide of information that demands his attention. The man in the nice suit was causing his brain to process information. Chuck was hoping it was nothing.
A recording of the man's voice.
The man was standing beside a nuclear warhead.
The man's passport reveals his name was Quentin Sanchez.
\ A newspaper picture of the man arrest for weapon trafficking.
A name stating that he was the Black Jaguar.
Of course, Chuck was not going to get his wish.
Chuck blinks his eyes and shook his head. When he opens his eyes completely, Jenny was now five inch away from him with a big grin on her face.
"What was that?"
"It was something. What did you just do?" Her enthusiasm must have hit a high. Chuck can tell that she was barely containing herself from the enthusiasm.
"It was nothing."
"No, it was something. In fact, I have seen that somewhere. Give me a minute." Chuck felt his heart race. Where would this strange woman have seen what he just did? His mind screams at him. If she has seen what he just did before, it may not be a good thing to be here when she remembers. Besides, he really doubts that the man ordering the two dozen muffins was a good guy.
"Well, nice to meet you Jenny. You can have the rest of my muffin. I got to go." Chuck stands up and walks away. He was not going to wait for a good bye back from the woman named Jenny. He walks straight the door as Chuck over hears Quentin Sanchez ordering more coffee.
"Can you toss in some of those scones? They are the best thing I ever had with my coffee."
Chuck walks out the door. He turns to his right and walk a little faster. Whoever Jenny was, she was scaring Chuck. He took a glimpse inside the coffee shop and saw her face. Her eyes were wide as a saucer. Chuck was trying to decide it was the tea cup kind or UFO kind. It did not matter. It means the same thing to Chuck: The woman knew what he just did in the coffee shop. Chuck was so distracted by the possibility that he was found out that he bump into Sarah Walker.
"Sarah." He was a little shock that she was still wearing the Wienorlous uniform. It was not exactly subtle.
"Are you alright, Chuck?" It took a long time, but Chuck accepted a plain fact. Sarah did care and worry about him. It was no act or lie. It was the simple truth that Chuck can count on. Even though she will leave him one day, she will worry about him. She will be the one thing that he can count on in the spy world. It should not have been a surprise that she was here. John Casey must have told her about what had happened. She simply did what came natural. She went looking from him.
"We got to go right now." Chuck look at the two people in the coffee shop. He had time to tell Sarah one thing. He could tell her about the small blonde girl was bouncing on the comfy chair or about the man paying for his scones and coffee.
"Why? Did you flash?" It was becoming an instant response for Sarah. If something was wrong, it had to be a flash. Chuck really couldn't blame her for that. There was a good track record to support her.
"Yes." Her worry face turns into the classic CIA face. It was the pure business face that demand respect and obedience. Chuck prefers her face then to Casey's NSA face. Chuck heard the door open behind him. Chuck made a quick decision on what was the most important thing to worry about.
"The guy walking out behind us." He lowers his voice. Sarah smile at Chuck.
"We got to go honey. I need to get out of this horrible uniform and I need your help." Her voice went to that seductive tone that Chuck knew that to been used on many men before him. Chuck had heard it all coming out of Sarah's mouth. She can be flirty, sexy, and raunchy when she wanted to be. Still it always had the same effect on him.
"SURE!" The high pitch voice always comes out his mouth. Sarah wraps her arms around him and escorts him back to her car. If Chuck was observant, he would have notice that she was keeping an eye on Quentin Sanchez. By the time they got to her car, she had already memorizes the make and type of vehicle that Quentin Sanchez drove. As Quentin drove off in his car, Sarah Walker memorizes the license plate.
If Sarah Walker paid attention to Chuck, she would have seen the short blonde that had his attention. She would have notice his fright as the short blonde came out of the coffee shop. Chuck swallowed his spit as the small blonde wave at him. By the time they left the parking lot, Chuck brought his attention back to Sarah Walker, hoping that he made the right decision.