The Atomizer - Mon Amour


In "A Relative Situation" (written by Joan Brooker and Nancy Eddo) Amanda asks to be reimbursed for some perfume, which was French and expensive, that she had to sacrifice so Lee could use the atomizer which contained said perfume. So, why did he need an atomizer, you ask. Well, maybe this is why . . . (AU- of course)

Scarecrow and Mrs. King belongs to Warner Bros. and Shoot The Moon Enterprises, Ltd.

Thanks to Buffy and randibaby for doing the boring beta on this. Any leftover mistakes are my fault --not theirs.


Amanda had barely got in the door of the Georgetown foyer. She certainly had not had time to exchange the usual pleasantries with Mrs. Marsten, when Lee ran up to her.

"Come on Amanda," he said, grabbing her hand.

"Where are we going in such a hurry?" Amanda was almost running to keep up.

They arrived at Lee's car and after helping Amanda into the passenger seat, Lee ran around to the drivers side and took off, tires squealing.

"I need to talk to an old contact. He's got some information about the hit on that senator that we've been hearing about."

"Oh. Who's the contact?"

"His name is Sam Diamond. He's a two-bit P.I. I met a few years ago."

"Sam Diamond? Are you kidding?"

"No. His real name is Sam Baldwin, but he thought Sam Diamond was kind of like Sam Spade. He thought it would help him get clients."

"The name sounds kind of flashy. So did it help?"

"I don't know. He isn't *flashy* at all. He's short, paunchy, balding, very ordinary, generally unobtrusive. He's almost perfect for undercover work."

"Almost perfect?"

"Yeah, well, he smokes those disgusting, cheap cigars. Fifteen minutes after he's left a room, you can still tell he'd been there!"

"Ooo, sounds pretty awful, Amanda said, wrinkling her nose. "So, how did you get involved with him?"

"He was following this guy, you know, the guy's wife thought he was foolin' around. Turns out--he worked at DOD--he was actually meeting with the KGB, selling government secrets. Anyway, I was investigating this guy too. I followed him to a meet with his KGB contact, a guy named Gorkey, and the Russian spotted Sam, but before he could take Sam out--I took out Gorkey and arrested Jamison. That was the traitor's name. Anyway, Sam was grateful and he's been giving me bits of information ever since."

"And he knows about this assassination plot against Senator Canady?"

"Yep. He meets a lot of people in his business. Some of them pretty unsavory. According to the note he left at our regular *mail-drop*, the mob is after the Senator. I'm not surprised that Sam has heard about this and who's behind it."

"Wow. Why would the mob be after a U.S. Senator I wonder?"

"A big time hood named Ribout approached Jack Canady when he was running for office. He had contacts in the intelligence community, and they told him about The Agency. Well, he contacted Blue Leader and asked his advice. Of course, he was recruited. So, Canady took money from the mob for his campaign. He pretended to work for them but he was really working with us. He tipped us off to several weapons and drug deals. Ribout and his friends must have found out."

"Gosh, and your friend Sam has vital information about this. I hope we can find him soon."

"We're on our way to his office right now."


Arriving in an old, rather seedy part of town, Lee parked in front of a rundown building.

"Come on," he said opening the car door and offering Amanda his hand. They entered the building and walked up to the second floor. A few doors down from the stairway was an office with the name *Sam Diamond, Private Investigator*, painted in fading letters. The door was locked.

"Locked," Lee said, as he pulled his lock picks from his jacket pocket. After a bit of jimmying, "OK, we're in."

"Oh my gosh, Lee, look at this place."

The office had obviously been searched by someone to whom *neat* was simply a four letter word. The placed was totally trashed - nothing was left on the top of the desk, drawers emptied out onto the floor, chairs tipped over, the few pictures that had been on the walls were now on the floor, glass broken, frames bent. Somebody had done a thorough job.

"Well, I wonder if they found what they were looking for and I wonder where the hell Sam is," Lee said, shaking his head as he surveyed the damage. Walking over to the window, he knelt down in front of the electric outlet. Using the flat end of one of his lock picks, he removed the screws. "Aha."

"What, aha?" Amanda asked.

"Sam showed this to me once. It's not really a plug - it's his mini safe. See," he held up a small, plastic object, I found an audio tape. I bet *this* is what they were looking for. Check in that cabinet over there and see if you can find Sam's tape player."

Amanda opened the door and rummaged around for a few moments. Then, "yeah, here you go." She brought the player and set it on the desk.

"OK, let's hear what he had to say." Lee inserted the tape into the machine and pushed Play. WHEERRRPPP. And then it clicked off. He tried again. Same result. "Oh great! The thing doesn't work."

"Maybe the mechanism is dirty," Amanda speculated. "Why don't you see if you can clean it."

"With what?"

She rummaged in her purse for a tissue. "Here, try this."

Lee removed the tape and swiped around the inside of the player. "This might just leave lint instead of picking up the dust or dirt." He put the tape back and again pressed the play button. After a millisecond, the machine stopped again. "Damn. We need one of those compressed air type cleaners, something that'll reach in far enough and really blow the thing out."

Amanda checked the contents of her purse again. "Maybe this'll work," she said holding up an atomizer, which contained her favorite perfume.

"A perfume bottle," Lee said skeptically.

"Yes. I can empty it out and what'll be left? Air, right?"

"Let's give it a try."



"I want you to know that this is *Mon Amour*, it's my favorite, it's French and it's pretty expensive."

"Amanda, your country appreciates your sacrifice."

"Very funny. What I want to know is, will The Agency reimburse me for it?"

"Yes. I'm sure Billy will OK this. But, if he won't, then *I* will buy you a new bottle of perfume. OK?" 'And,' he thought, 'if *my love* is what you want . . . No, that's not what I meant!'

"OK." Thus reassured, Amanda dumped out the fragrant liquid and handed the atomizer to Lee.

He inserted the nozzle into the tape player and squeezed the bulb a few times. They could hear the *whoosh* of air rushing into the player and over the play mechanism. "All right, let's try this again." He reinserted the tape and pushed Play. After a moment Sam's voice could be heard. *Lee, if you are listening to this - then I'm in a LOT of trouble.*

Sam quickly summarized what he had learned from a small time snitch named Gordie The Gimp, about the mob's plans to *get* Senator Canady. Apparently Ribout was bringing in some out-of-town muscle - a professional hitman known as "Cincinnati Sal". Gordie had not been seen since he talked to Sam and Sam feared the worst. *You might want to have the DC police drag the Potomac near the Key Bridge,* he suggested. Sam planned to make himself scare, somewhere away from DC-- way away from DC! There was silence for several minutes . . . .

"Well, I guess that's all," Lee stopped the machine and removed the tape.

"What do we do now?" Amanda asked. "How do we find Sam and help him?"

"We don't need to find Sam. He can take care of himself. Guys like him have great survival skills. We do need to get back to The Agency and check our list of known hitmen for a *Salvatore* or a *Salvador*, preferably one who works out of Cincinnati. This just might be easy."

Back at the Agency, a thorough check of the Inter-Agency Database turned up a dozen Salvatore and Salvadors, plus a half dozen others with the nickname of 'Sal'. There was only one who was born or based in Ohio--in Cleveland, actually, not Cincinnati.

Lee sent out inquiries to all the Agency offices located in or near the cities where the felons were last known to reside.

"That's about all we can do for today, Amanda. I see you back here in the morning?"

"Sure, I'll be here about nine-thirty, if that's OK."

"Great. Drive carefully."

"Yup. You too."


The next morning, Amanda's smile faded somewhat as she walked across the bullpen to the desk where a tired and unhappy looking Lee Stetson sat rubbing his temples.

"Not good news?" she asked.

"No. It's not going to be easy after all. No likely candidates. The Salvatore from Ohio is currently living in Kansas. Leavenworth, to be precise. All the others are accounted for and *none* of them is in DC. Well, I think we'd better go talk to the Senator - find out what his schedule is for the next week or two. Hope he has nothing planned for an open forum with a lot of trees and shrubbery surrounding it."



The Senator was tall, athletic looking, mid forties - a little gray at the temples and nice dimples. He exuded a kind of boyish charm that most women found irresistible. He was divorced, something his constituents obviously didn't hold against him. In fact, he seemed to maintain a good relationship with his ex-wife. Indeed, he was often photographed with his former wife and their two grown children.

Smiling broadly, the Senator shook hands with Lee and Amanda

"Mr. Stetson, Mrs. King, I'm delighted to meet you. Please, come into my private office and we can talk."

"Lee, why don't you go ahead. Thank you Senator, but I think I'll wait out here and just chat with your staff, if you don't mind," Amanda said, returning his smile.

"Not at all. Whatever you wish is fine with me. Mr. Stetson, shall we," Senator Canady said, gesturing towards the open door behind them.

Lee and the Senator spent the next half hour going over his schedule for the next two weeks.

Amanda spent the time talking with members of the staff, including a secretary who was not really part of the Senator's *family*. She was a hold-over from the tenure of the previous occupant of this office, Senator Jeffreys. Maryanne Thompson was short, plump; a pleasant woman who was fast approaching retirement. She was a little hesitant to discuss her boss at first, but, under Amanda's gentle probing, soon warmed to the subject. Jack Canady was, it seemed, a ladies man. Maryanne had seen many invoices for flowers, which were sent to a suite at the Hotel Mirabeau. It seems the Senator kept a suite there on the 17th floor . . . to entertain . . . important . . . constituents.

Having concluded their interviews, Lee and Amanda thanked the Senator and his staff members for their time and left the office.

The Senator had gone over all his public engagements with Lee. He thought about the *engagement* he had planned for this evening. It was private - purely private. No need to bring it up. No need to mention her. He had met Sarah Morgan a little over a week ago, at one of those endless, boring, Washington DC cocktail parties. At least it was boring until they had been introduced...'or had they just bumped into each other?' He couldn't quite remember. It didn't matter. She was beautiful. Tall, blonde with the most unusual light brown eyes he had ever seen. She had told him she was fashion model in New York City and was visiting friends in DC. They had gone to lunch once and dinner twice. And tonight she was coming up to his suite at the hotel for cocktails and . . . . 'Well, who knows.' The Senator smiled. It wasn't that Stetson wouldn't understand. After all, he had that lovely Mrs. King for an *associate*. Of course he would understand. He just didn't need to know.


On the way to the car Lee and Amanda each filled the other in as to what they had found out in the Senator's office. Amanda's information seemed the most interesting.

As they drove back to The Agency, both were lost in thought. Finally Amanda spoke . . . "Lee, do you think . . . is there any way . . . what if . . . "

"Oh, Amanda, just *say* it!"

"OK. Could this *Sal* be a girl?"

"Oh my gosh!" Lee grimaced. 'Oops.' Had he actually just said *that*?

"What did you just say?" Amanda asked, trying not to smile.

"Never mind. You may have something. We've struck out with any male would-be assassin. And there certainly are female *hit persons*. Sal could be a girl's name and the Senator does like girls. We need to do some checking."

"On what?"

"On the Senator's suite at the Hotel Mirabeau. Amanda, would you do me a favor and look in the glove compartment. There should be a small, white cardboard box in there."

"Sure." After a minute of digging through the contents, she found and held up a small white box. "Is this it?"

"Yeah. Here, I'll take it." Lee put the box in his pocket without further comment.


Arriving in the beautifully appointed lobby of the hotel, Lee flashed his Agency ID badge and asked to speak to the manager.

Mr. Clark emerged from an area of offices. He smiled faintly at the agents and asked how he might be of service.

"We'd like to take a look in Senator Canady's suite. We have reason to believe that his life may be in danger and we're checking into some possible leads."

Mr. Clark looked at Lee and shook his head--no. "Mr . . . Stetson, is it? We at the Mirabeau pride ourselves on two things in particular: elegance and discretion. Many of our guests are, ahh, highly placed individuals who maintain suites in our establishment so that they can have a few moments of privacy in their otherwise very public lives. You have no search warrant, I gather? Sir, I cannot accommodate you." With that, he turned on his heel and walked back towards his office.

Lee grabbed Amanda's hand and took off so fast, he almost pulled her out of her shoes!

"LEE, slow down. Where are we going?"

"Out the front door," he said angrily.


"And out to the car, then into the parking garage, so we can take the elevator up to the 17th floor."

"Why do the words *Breaking* and *Entering* come to mind."

Lee just smiled and kept walking.


Once inside suite 1704, Amanda asked, "what are we looking for?"

"Well, how about a note saying 'Jack -- I'll see you here at eight -- and signed Sal."

"I'll keep my eye open," Amanda responded in the same kidding tone of voice. "Hey, look at this - on the desk. It's a note accepting an invitation to meet Senator Canady here for drinks at eight o'clock tonight. But, it's signed *Sarah*, not Sal. Lee, what are you looking for?"

"The best place to plant this bug. I think here in this lamp shade will do very nicely."

"Lee, is that legal?"

Lee just rolled his eyes. "Come on, let's get out of here. We have to line up a listening post. This bug can only be heard fifty to a hundred feet away. We'll need to be in a suite fairly close by. I hope Billy can come up with the names of whoever rents the adjoining rooms."


This time they did get lucky. Not only could Billy come of with the names of those who rented the nearby suites, he found the person who rented suite 1706, right next door, and it happened to be a friend of Blue Leader's. A few phone calls and Lee and Amanda were all set to begin their evening's surveillance by seven o'clock. That is, Amanda would be all set after she went home, fixed dinner and told Dotty that she was going to the movies and probably wouldn't be home until 10:30 or 11:00 o'clock.


Senator Canady checked the room one last time. The lights were low, the champagne was chilling and the stereo was playing some very romantic music. 'Perfect,' he thought, smiling to himself, 'and my guest should be here any moment now.'

Lee sat at a desk, adjusting the dials on the receiver. Amanda paced the room nervously, feeling somewhat guilty about listening in on the Senators personal, private business. 'It's for his own good though,' she thought. Rationalizing this intrusion with the idea that what they might over-hear could save his life, made her feel just a little bit better about it.

At precisely 8:00PM, a light knock on the door could clearly be heard. The bug was working perfectly.


"Good evening, Sarah. You look wonderful. That shade of blue is perfect for you. Here, let me take your wrap."

"Thank you, Senator."

"Please, I thought we had settled that days ago. You promised to call me Jack. May I pour you some champagne?"

"Oh yes, thank you," she responded, with an enigmatic little smile.

As Jack Canady turned his attention to the wine he thought, 'that's a rather large purse for evening. I wonder if it doubles as an overnight case?' Yes indeed, things could get interesting. Turning back to his guest, he held out a crystal flute, now filled with his favorite beverage.

"Here's to us and a long, close friendship," he said suggestively.

"To us," Sarah responded, touching her glass to his.

"So, let's talk about you. I know you're a model and that you're on vacation here in our fair city. There is so much more . . . "

"Well, what would you like to know?"

"Let's start with something simple. Where are you from? Where were you born?"

"You know that now I'm *from* New York City but I was born in Ohio, Cincinnati. My name is Sarah, of course, but I bet you didn't know that a very old fashioned nickname for Sarah is *Sally*."

"No, I didn't know that. Fascinating," Jack said, mainly to be polite.

"Actually, my very good friends call me *Sal* and I would like very much for us to be very good friends. Oh, Jack, that piece that's playing - I love that song. Could you turn it up a bit."

As soon as Sarah had finished her little story about the nickname *Sally*, Lee was out the door, calling over his shoulder to Amanda, "Stay put!" Within a millisecond, he was in front of suite 1704, picking the lock as fast as he could.

As Jack moved across the room to the stereo, Sarah, a.k.a. Sal, reached into her purse and pulled out a pistol. She picked up a pillow from the sofa, holding it in front of the barrel of the gun, intending to somewhat muffle the report. Just as she was about to squeeze off a shot, the door burst open.

The Senator turned around quickly. It took a fraction of a second for him to process the scene. There was Sarah with a pillow in her hand, holding something in her other hand, which she had pressed into the pillow. In the doorway stood Lee Stetson, with a revolver in his hand, pointed at Sarah.

"All right, *Sal*, drop it," Lee commanded. "Come on, drop it or I'll drop you. DO IT!"

Sarah did as she was ordered.

The Senator was flabbergasted. His lovely, graceful, desirable companion for the evening had just let a 38 caliber pistol fall to the floor. "What's going on here, Stetson? I want some answers *now*!"

"Sure. Senator Jack Canady, meet Cincinnati Sal, paid assassin, hired by Paul Ribout to take you out-- permanently!"

The Senator looked a little pale. Amanda, who had stayed put for about two minutes, walked over and took him by the arm. "Here, sit down, Senator Canady. Can I get you a glass of water?"

"Amanda, would you call Billy and tell him to get a team over here right away? They can transport our friend here to The Agency for questioning. Senator, I suggest that you come down to the Agency also. We will need a statement from you."

"Certainly," the Senator said weakly. "I'll be there within the hour."



Lee came out of the interrogation room and smiled at the sight of Amanda, sitting at a desk, typing out her part of the report.

"Hey, It's getting late. Didn't you tell your mother you'd be home by 11:00?"

"Yeah. I was just about to leave. So what's going to happen with Sal - Cincinnati Sal?"

"She's already talkin' deal. She'll give us Ribout and then she wants to go into the *Witness Relocation Program*."


"They'll probably go for it."

"Well, at least that'll be two less crooks on the street. Lee . . . "


"What about Sam now?"

"What do you mean *what about Sam now*?"

"Well, don't you want to find him or try and get word to him that it's safe and he can come out of hiding?"

"Amanda, don't worry. This story will make the papers. The Senator will be a big hero. The Agency won't even be mentioned. Sam'll read it and come home. He'll be fine, really."


"Right. Come on. I'll walk you to the elevator. So, what are you doing tomorrow?"

"Oh, the boys have Little League but I do want to stop by and give Mr. Melrose my expense vouchers, including that perfume."

"Amanda - I told you not to worry about that."

"I know but you shouldn't have to pay for it. I mean, it *was* Agency business."

As the doors of the closet elevator opened Amanda entered and then turned around to face Lee. "I just want what's fair. You know that."

Lee took her hand and raised it to his lips. "Hey, *mon ami*--I will see that you get," he lowered his voice about half an octave, "*mon amour*. Trust me." With that he let go of her hand, smiled that wonderful smile of his and winked. That was the last thing she saw as the doors closed.

'Oh my gosh,' she thought.'Mon ami? Mon amour? Kissing my hand?' Amanda closed her eyes briefly and slowly shook her head from side to side. "Aww," she said aloud, "he's just kiddin' about the perfume, the French perfume. I don't care *what* his tone sounded like. It's just about replacing the perfume. Nothing *more* to it!"

The End