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Something that is Red

S.E.Linn

By S. E. LinnPublished 4 months ago Updated 4 months ago 11 min read

Sunday, January 21, 2024, 2:00pm

It was the final play of the AFC Conference Championship

between Kansas City and San Francisco. They were down to the wire. He

crouched, knuckles grazing the astro turf, head down, eyes

closed. He ignored the needles of freezing rain that stung his

face and willed himself to concentrate.

Three seconds left on the clock. The 49ers were ahead by five

points. Fourth down. Twenty yards to the end zone. The tight end

controlled the pounding of his heart and regulated his breath.

“Blue 42, blue 42 set hit!”

There’s the snap!

The tension in the air was palpable. He glanced over at the

quarterback and their eyes met. Mahomes’ look told him exactly

what he needed to know.

Go long.

Then amidst the chaos of crunching chest plates and flying

bodies Travis Kelce did just that. For a 6-foot 5-inch, 260-

pound tight end, he was speedy and surprisingly agile. As diving

bodies fell in his wake, Travis reached the end zone and leapt

high into the air. He turned in midair with his arms

outstretched and hugged the football into his chest before

coming down inbounds.

The catch was good! Touchdown!

The home stadium exploded into a sea of waving red flags and

kazoos. Crazed fans with painted faces unleashed guttural

screams of victory as though William Wallace had just led them

through battle. Travis turned and grinned. The ecstasy of

victory was pumping through his veins.

“Just like catching a baby, Big Yeti,” Mahomes laughed,

clapping Travis hard on the shoulder.

The Kansas City Chiefs were on their way to the Superbowl.

***

After the reporters had gone and the team’s locker room had

cleared out, Travis found himself with a rare moment of

solitude. The fluorescent lights overhead crackled and hummed.

He winked at the tall, ruggedly handsome man staring back at him

in the mirror.

He dressed and felt the loose-fitting pants pocket vibrate.

One new encoded message.

<<End locker, top shelf>>

Travis went to the end locker and looked inside. A sealed,

beige manila envelope was resting on the top shelf. Glancing

around, Travis opened the envelope and extracted an 8x10

photograph of a beautiful, blonde woman with red lips and rosy

cheeks, hair flying and a microphone headset on. He recognized

the signature red lipstick and girl-next-door vibe instantly.

Had something happened to Taylor Swift?

His cellphone vibrated again. This time the message said,

<<Agent Kelce they have kidnapped Americas National Treasure.

This a Code Red. You need to get her back for us, son.>>

***

Travis exited the stadium and hadn’t gone but a few paces

when a black Genesis G70 pulled up.

“Need a ride to the airport?” said good friend Patrick

Mahomes.

Travis nodded and hopped in.

When they arrived at the Kansas International Airport,

Mahomes dropped him off with a wave. Travis waited until he saw

the sports car’s taillights disappear before he ran to a B-2

Spirit parked on the tarmac and climbed aboard. Preparing for

takeoff, he effortlessly flicked several switches up and down,

checked the fuel gauge and tested the landing gear.

All systems go.

With a salute to the tower, the plane was in the air moments

later. One of Travis’ many skills as a Secret Agent was the

ability to fly pretty much anything. If all went smoothly in two

hours and seventeen minutes he would arrive at the Pentagon

where he would get debriefed for the mission at hand.

In the meantime, all Ms. Swift had to do was try to stay

alive.

***

Agent Kelce walked up to the doors of the Pentagon and

flashed both a wide smile and his identification badge for

security.

He pushed through the tall, bullet proof, revolving doors and

proceeded to the next military check point where a retina scan

was mandatory to obtain access to the top-secret briefing rooms.

His mentor and friend, Head Director Al Glass was quick to join

him.

“Follow me, Agent Kelce and we will get you debriefed and, on

your way,” he said. “You will have the highest security

clearance on this one.”

They walked down a long, grey, carpeted hallway lined with

sterile, glass interview rooms on either side, entered the last

one on the left and closed the door securely.

“The mission is called Operation Red Rose,” said the Director

handing Agent Kelce a file folder which he promptly began to

flip through. “Last night, January 23rd at approximately

twenty-two-hundred-hours, Ms. Swift was in the middle of a live

performance of her Eras tour at Madison Square Garden. At a

certain point during each performance, the stage floor slides

open and Ms. Swift dives into the hole in the stage and lands on

a fall matt below. Then she undergoes a costume change and

returns to the stage again for her next song. Only, on the night

in question, Ms. Swift simply failed to reappear.”

“She disappeared into thin air?” Agent Kelce asked, brow

furrowed. “I hate when that happens.”

The Director paused, “It would seem that Ms. Swift has been

carted off by anti-hero Nebula Nefarious and her partner in

crime Sleazy Yeezee!”

“How can we be sure?” Agent Travis asked.

“They took this selfie,” the Director said, handing it over.

Agent Travis’ blood froze. The brazen villains were well

known for kidnapping celebrities out of jealousy and extracting

their talents using “The Dehydrator.” A deadly machine that

drained the life essence out of people, drop by drop, until they

were left broken, flat, and talentless. He flipped through the

file and extracted a picture of villain, Nebula Nefarious. Her

long, silky black hair hung below her waist, and she had an

extremely voluptuous figure that was usually crammed into a

black spandex bodysuit stretched to max capacity. She was

exceedingly beautiful, a billionaire and mean as a snake. Her

partner in crime Sleazy Yeezee was equally as dangerous and

driven by jealousy and lust. After Nebula finished extracting

the talent from her victims, she would toss the deflated

remnants to Sleazy Yeezee to do with as he pleased.

“Uh oh,” Agent Travis sighed, “I’m afraid Ms. Swift has

gotten herself into hot water.”

“Yes, she has,” the Director nodded. “Now go get our National

Treasure Agent Kelce and bring her back alive. Without her the

United States economy will collapse and they will have to cancel

the Superbowl halftime show!”

“Not to mention there will be way too much rap music,” he

added.

“Good GOD no!” Agent Kelce exclaimed in horror. “I will not

let you down, sir. I’ll follow the rules to the letter!”

“God speed, Agent Kelce!” the Director said. “Every ‘Dad,

Brad and Chad’ in America is counting on you to bring our girl

home!”

***

Travis swapped out the jet for a Stealth Hawk Transport

Helicopter. He’d need less parking that way. Soon, Travis was

airborne and on his way to the Hidden Hills of California where

Nebula Nefarious had her 60-million-dollar designer den. His

gut told him that that’s where he’d find the pop starlet dead or

alive.

***

Nebula Nefarious admired her reflection in a massive wall

mirror framed with twenty-four carat gold. With a swish of her

waist-long, black hair, she smoothed the skintight black

bodysuit and smiled at her reflection. She was starting to feel

very thirsty.

Nebula was perfectly happy being an anti-hero these days. She

had planned to sip up Taylor Swift’s natural talent by the pool

as soon as she found a clean champagne glass.

In the distance, she heard the whirring of a helicopter.

Surprised, Nebula Nefarious auto activated the alarm systems

with her cell phone. Lights began flashing and air raid sirens

started wailing. The elevator door opened and Sleazy Yeezee

appeared dressed in a red velvet zoot suit and white running

shoes.

“We’ve got company,” he said.

“WELL DON’T JUST STAND THERE!” Nebula Nefarious shrieked.

“WHOEVER IT IS..KILL THEM!”

Peering into a retractable submarine telescope, Sleezy Yeezee

watched the helicopter approach. He walked to a numbered panel

in the center console of the room, punched in coordinates and

trained the weapon’s system on the advancing chopper.

“Fire!”

In his best Cuban accent Sleazy Yeezee said, “Say hello to my

little friend.”

***

Travis tried to hurry. Nebula Nefarious and Sleazy Yeezee

could be drinking in Taylor’s natural talent with every second

that passed! Plus he also really needed to get back to football

practice.

As he drew nearer to Nebula’s mansion, suddenly, Agent Kelce

saw something out of his peripheral vision.

“Is that a M20A1 rocket launcher with precision long range

guided missile capabilities?” he thought as he squinted into the

distance.

Bank right!

“Jeesus! That was just rude,” thought Agent Kelce as he

successfully outmaneuvered the speeding missile and circled

around again. “I guess that means no stocked bar in the Luxury

Box during Superbowl for you, jerk wads.”

***

While Sleazy Yeezy was busy trying to shoot down the chopper,

Nebula Nefarious was descending to the lavish celebrity dungeon

beneath her mansion on a secret elevator. Although she was an

evil antihero, she felt it was important to offer her prisoners

a surreal mix of luxury and captivity during their stay. Each

confinement suite was lavishly adorned with gold accents, plush

furnishings, and designer amenities. Each cell was uniquely

themed and had walls padded with a sticky, Velcro, velvet

material.

Nebula Nefarious had selected the Paparazzi Purgatory suite

for her talented nemesis. It had been designed to resemble red

carpet events with blinding camera flashes and pushy journalists

shoving microphones at you out of huge, flat screen televisions

on the walls. She had even brought in a life-sized wax figurine

of celebrity interviewer Bobby Bones with a green cookie in his

mouth for the occasion.

Nebula opened the cell door and found Taylor Swift sprawled

on a crushed red velvet day bed, eyes closed. She covered her

ears and groaned.

“Ugh. Make it stop.” Taylor whispered as the flashbulbs

popped.

“Ha! Who’s the nightmare dressed like a daydream now Taylor

Swift!?” Nebula said, throwing her head back and laughing

maniacally. Grabbing Taylor by the arm, the vivacious vixen

hauled her to her feet.

“Where are you taking me?” Taylor asked with alarm.

“Put it this way,” Nebula said with an evil smile, “where you

are going, you won’t need hair and makeup!”

“Uh oh, uh OH, uh OHHH,” Taylor said.

“What?” Nebula asked lifting an eyebrow. “Problem?”

“Well, yeah,” Taylor said, “Like, can you just not step on my

gown? You need to calm down. It’s vintage.”

“Oh, sorry,” Nebula said and as she was trying to get her

stiletto heel unhooked from Taylor’s dress hem, the pop star

sprang into action. With a loud shriek, Taylor lifted Nebula

Nefarious off her feet and body slammed her into the Velcro. Her

bodysuit stuck to the wall like a Kraft single.

Immobilized in Goddess pose, the vivacious villain let out a

howl of rage.

“You need to calm down. You’re being too loud,” Taylor told

her.

“For the love of GOD, will you JUST STOP saying everything in

song lyrics!” Nebula moaned.

Taylor ran to the door. There was one last thing to do. She

round housed the wax figurine in the face and its head flew off

and rolled across the suite floor.

“Eat that,” she said with disdain. “Those cookies were really

good!”

***

Night was beginning to fall. The sky was a canvas, painted

with hues of orange, pink, and purple as the sun began its

descent toward the horizon. Shadows started to lengthen,

casting long, bleeding silhouettes over the Hollywood Hills.

On approach, Agent Kelce could see something flashing on the

rooftop of the mansion. As he drew closer, he could see a

willowy blonde running for her life across the roof top in a

long blue, sequined dress. Her captor was right behind her and

gaining fast.

“Is that Taylor Swift being chased by a rogue pimp?” he

wondered, pushing up on the throttle. “I’d better hurry.”

***

The setting sun cast an orange glow across the sprawling

rooftop of the mansion. From here, a panoramic view unfolded,

revealing the twinkling of city lights in the distance. Evil-

looking stone gargoyles on the rooftop seemed to come to life in

the shadows.

Taylor glanced over her shoulder, eyes widening with a mix of

fear and determination. Sleazy Yeezee was gaining on her with

every step and the expansive rooftop, adorned with intricate

sculptures and surrounded by towering peaks, became a surreal,

moonlit murder stage against the backdrop of the Los Angeles

skyline. Reaching the edge, Taylor teetered, arms flailing to

regain her balance from that dizzying height. Desperately she

tried to find any means of escape. It was a moment suspended in

time, where fear, determination, and hope intertwined.

Suddenly, a helicopter materialized over the rooftop, rotors

whirring, its sleek silhouette emerging against the darkening

sky.

“Is that Travis Kelce from the Chiefs flying a helicopter?”

she thought, incredulously. “What are the odds?”

She saw the devilishly handsome hunk’s mouth moving through

the windshield. He was gesturing for her to get down and hold

on. Taylor sprinted to the nearest gargoyle and held on for dear

life.

The helicopter hovered over the rooftop and began to

vertically descend. The thumping of the rotor blades stirred up

a forceful downdraft that caught Sleazy Yeezee off balance and

blew him backwards off the roof. His howl of defeat was

swallowed up by the winds of destiny as he fell twisting to his

demise.

Agent Kelce put down the chopper and hopped out to open the

passenger door. The young woman now stood before him like an

ethereal vision, a moonlight silhouette. Her dress swirled

around her in chaotic patterns, her flowing blonde hair whipping

in the wind. Red lips parted in disbelief, she stared.

“Hi, I’m Travis,” he said with a devilish grin. “Sorry I’m

late. Hop in.”

“That’s okay,” Taylor said, taking his outstretched hand as

she climbed into the helicopter cockpit. “Please, call me Tay.

Uh, do you do this…sort of thing often?”

“Well, being a professional NFL football player is my cover,”

Travis explained as he prepared for takeoff. “I am actually a

Secret Agent, but I don’t let that define me. Oh! Before I

forget, I made you a friendship bracelet.”

“Oh! That’s so NICE!” Taylor exclaimed holding out her wrist.

“My pleasure, Tay,” Agent Kelce said, “Whaddya say we get the

hell out of here?”

“Sounds great to me!” Taylor laughed.

“Oh, almost forgot,” Travis said. Reaching behind his seat he

pulled out a single, long-stemmed red rose and offered it to the

beautiful lady beside him.

The helicopter rose into the moonlit night, a silhouette

against the starry sky and hovered momentarily. A suspended

moment between the earth and the heavens.

Travis looked at the angel sitting beside him and grinned,

“Bet you didn’t see that coming, hey?”

Taylor looked at him and smiled.

“Not in my wildest dreams.”

The End.

Mystery

About the Creator

S. E. Linn

Hi! I'm the owner of YAASSS! a copywriter, reviewer, editor, blogger, ghostwriter, poet, international teacher, published author, dog lover, sheet wadder, and proud mom of 2 amazing humans.

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    S. E. LinnWritten by S. E. Linn

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