The Spy Who Loved Monty
Once Dale and Monty were checked over at the hospital, the Rangers started toward the treehouse. Agnes ran up and grabbed Chip’s arm. "Wait, mon guilleret! We must see someone first!"
"Who?" Chip asked.
Agnes started off. "No time to explain! Allez-y!"
Chip and the others shrugged their shoulders--all except Monty. He knew full well where Agnes was headed. After the boat landed at New York, a knock on a familiar door brought grumbling sounds from inside. Monty had to pinch himself to keep from shouting. Two eyes appeared at the slot in the door
Percival peered out. "Yes, yes? Who is it?"
"It’s me, Percival, Mate! Open up!" Monty said.
Agnes stepped up. "Yes, we are here as you requested...and I hope for the reason you suggested!"
The door opened quickly, and Percival embraced both of them. "Bully! Get in here and let’s have a palaver!"
Monty gave Percival a bear hug, lifting him off the ground. "Agnes ‘ere says that we owe all this to you, mate! If that be the case then we both owe you a debt so big that it can’t ever be repaid!"
Percival started to turn blue and Monty looked a bit sheepish as he put him down. Percy straightened his dressing-gown. "Well, you certainly know how to make a bloke feel wanted! It’s fortuitous that you two came now--you may owe me a debt, but I still know that I should have done something about Ramrod all that time ago."
Agnes gently hugged Percival. "The past is past and what is, is. You have brought Monzy and I back together and made our broken hearts whole once more. We shall never be alone again."
Monty hugged Agnes to make the circuit complete. "She’s right, mate. I’ve had a Agnes-shaped hole in me heart for all these years and thanks to you it’s been filled."
Percival smiled warmly at the couple, taking their hands. "I am glad to have finally rectified that moment of weakness. But come, I have something for you." Percy looked at Agnes with a glint in his eye. "I told you it was fortuitous you came today. Do you remember what day this is?"
"Well, It’s May...7th," Monty said blankly.
Percy smirked a bit. "Does that day not ring a bell? Perhaps a fifteen-year-old one?"
Monty looked sheepish. "I don’t rightly recall."
Agnes smiled and grabbed Monty and they began dancing the tango. "Does this help you to remember?" Moments later they stop dancing and kiss yet again.
Monty laughed softly. "Oh, yeah. Now I remember!"
Percival walked over to two paintings that hung on the wall, covered with drop cloths. "Something else happened that day, and now we can commemorate it properly. Voila!" Percival pulled back the cloths to reveal two canvases. One held the beautiful image of the young Agnes, the other the young Monty.
"Crikey! I sure was a handsome fella back then," Monty said. Agnes hugged him again. "Monzy, what do you mean "back then?" You are as handsome as the day I first met you."
Monty looked at the painting of the young Agnes, and marveled. "Agnes, you’re even more beautiful than you were then," he confessed.
"As they say in France, mon petit chou, wine and beauty get better with age," Agnes replied.
Percy put his hands on both their shoulders. "As does the bonds between old friends. Hear, hear!" Percival went to a nearby closet, and brings out a bottle of Cabernet and a wedge of cheese.
"And you have the wine for a toast!" Agnes said.
Percival brought out the glasses and everyone raised their own. "I rarely partake any more, but for old friends it’s too good an opportunity. To Monty and Agnes--may their love never fade, their friends remain faithful, and their lives be filled with adventures...."
Monty took the piece of cheese offered him, but he looked uneasily at it and set it down. "I think I’ll take a raincheck on the cheese, mate. I don’t feel quite hungry right now."
All the Rangers stared at Monty in utter astonishment. "Golly, I never thought I’d see the day you wouldn’t eat cheese, Monty!" Gadget said.
"Maybe he’s been replaced by Ditz," Dale said. "Uh, how about some urkburgles, Di...Monty?"
Percy looked at them all curiously. "What is this all about?"
Chip took off his fedora and scratched his head. "Well, for as long as we’ve known him, any time Monty’s around cheese he has these cheese attacks. He loses total control!"
"Not total control mate!" Monty countered. The Rangers stared him down. "Well.....most of it......all right, all of it! But it’s strange--it’s like the cheese doesn’t send me no more."
Agnes looked at Monty curiously. "Monzy, you did not go for the cheese much when I knew you...."
Chip snapped his fingers. "Of course! Mental association! Agnes, you dance when you’re around roses, right?"
Agnes blushed a bit. "Oui..."
Chip ran out the door and came back in a couple of minutes with a red rose. "For you, Agnes!"
Agnes held up a hand in panic. "No, Chip! I...it’s....it’s lovely!" Agnes smelled the flower and remained normal.
Chip had a look of great satisfaction on his face. "See? You two were traumatized by being apart! When you got back together, the mental association of the brie and the rose left!"
Monty was amazed at the revelation. "Crikey! All this time it was my longin’ for Agnes that made me eat so much cheese?" He patted his stomach.
Agnes hugged Monty tightly. "Never fear, Monzy, my love. There is all the more of you to love." They kissed again.
The Rangers laughed a little, but then each one came over and congratulated Monty and Agnes. Percival wrapped up the paintings in the cloths and prepared them for travel. Monty smiled at Percival. "One thing before we go, mate." Monty took Agnes’ hand and got down on one knee in front of her. "Agnes, I should have asked you this fifteen years ago, but will you marry me?"
Agnes looked at him with a whimsical smile. Dale was all gleeful inside. "Monzy, you do take your time asking a lady. Still, you know the answer. Oui, yes! Yes, my love!" Agnes cried. She leaned down and hugged Monty tightly.
Monty stood and lifted Agnes off the ground. "Agnes, you know how to make a fella feel good! Thanks, luv."
Percival was enjoying the entire thing and it was as if he was back in that quaint warehouse again, watching them wrestle. "Well, you two have plans to make and I have paintings to do. It has been a pleasure seeing both of you."
"Maybe we should move this party back to HQ. We got plans to make and people to call, we gotta get me mom and dad here," Monty said. The Aussie suddenly looked uncomfortable. "Me mom and dad, well, they may need some talkin’ too about this." Agnes looked slightly concerned but hid it instantly. She kissed Percival goodbye. "Let us go then! Bon soir, Percy!"
Percival kissed her on the cheek. "Farewell, Agnes!"
The trip to Ranger Headquarters went quickly. Gadget and Agnes did most of the talking--mainly wedding preparations. Dale elbowed Chip half the way there out of sheer pleasure. Instead of bonking him, Chip shifted to the other side of Foxy--he’d let him be happy...today. Soon headquarters was abuzz with activity
A few hours later, the three chipmunks and Gadget had gone out to prepare for the evening meal. Chip's parents, Roger and Jennifer Maplewood, had taken the kids to their home for the day to make things easier on the Rangers. Monty was sitting on the couch when he saw Dale come in with a load of snacks. He’d been waiting for just such a moment, and he didn’t know when it might come this opportunely again "Uh, comin’ ta watch the show, eh?"
Dale plopped down, spreading chips everywhere. "Oh yeah! Never miss an episode of "Misery Science Theater"!"
Monty fidgeted a bit. "Er, how’s yer arm mate?"
Dale held up the bandaged area. "The doc said it’s going to be fine. Good as new in a couple of weeks!"
Monty appeared slightly relieved. "Good, good. Uh, say Dale...would ya mind answerin’ a question fer me?"
Dale chomped away. "Sure Monty. What’s on your mind?"
Monty had never been good at leading up to things, but he still felt he shouldn’t just blurt things out to his friend. Dale was still unaware of Monty’s discomfort and was starting to get involved in the show "Uh, well, if ya had a friend...you know, a good friend and they did somethin’ that you thought was strange, would you go along with it if they had a good explanation?"
Dale was getting suspicious, Monty was starting to talk like him. He realized it must be serious. "Monty, is something wrong?"
Monty was very uncomfortable now. "Well, look! I don’t know how to say this, ‘cause I’m not the askin’ type. What I’m trying to say is...well, do you approve of yer aunt and me gettin’ married!"
Whatever Dale was expecting, it wasn’t that. "You’re asking for my blessing? Dale smiled. "Monty, I give this marriage my 100% endorsement! You two go together like chocolate and peanut butter. Like ice cream and a cone. Like...well, other things that go great together!"
Monty breathed out hard. "Whew, that’s a relief! I hadn’t felt so tied up inside since the finals of the kangaroo races back home! I didn’t know what you’d think, yer aunt marryin’ ol’ Monterey."
Dale leaned back and attacked the popcorn. "Monty, we’ve been through thick and thin together. You’re brave, loyal and heroic. Aunt Agnes couldn’t have found a better guy than you!"
"Lad, I’m right glad ya feel that way. I’ll treat her like the queen she is, now and always. Say, this means the Erskines and the Oakmonts’ll be related now!" Monty said. Monty’s words got him thinking, and suddenly a frown crossed his face
"What’s wrong?" Dale asked between bites.
Monty grabbed for a bite himself. "I just remembered--me parents. I’m not sure how they’ll take this. Dad’ll prob’ly be glad to see me hitchin’ up with someone at last. Me mum’s always been picky, though--I don’t know what she’ll think..."
Dale wasn’t worried. "Well, your mom and dad are great people. How could anyone not love Aunt Agnes?"
Monty had to admit he had a point. "I’m sure they will, mate. They’re both just set in their ways, though. I may have to explain about marryin’, well...."
"An Oakmont?" Dale asked.
"More general than that, pally. I think they always expected me to marry a mouse. This may take them off-guard a bit. But don’t misunderstand, Dale--I love her as the day is long. I jus’ don’t want ya takin’ it the wrong way if they are a bit…surprised at first," Monty said.
Dale gave him a thumbs-up. "Monty, don’t worry. I married a bat, remember? I’m sure mom and dad were surprised at first." Monty patted Dale on the shoulder. "Ye’ve got yer Aunt’s spunk all right, mate. It’ll be all right. I’m glad ta get a nephew like you."
"And it’s great to have you as an uncle—Uncle Monty!"
Monty got up, picked up Dale and bear hugged him, spilling the snacks everywhere.. The Rangers made it back an hour or so later, bringing back foodstuff for the night’s repast. To help with the celebration, Tammy cooked up a cheeseless meal and the others sat around the table too excited to do much of anything for the time being. Agnes stared at the silent mouse next to her. "Monzy, why did you look ill at ease when you spoke of your mama and papa?" Monty looked uneasy. "Well, I don’t rightly know how they’re gonna react when I tell ‘em I’m marryin’ a chipmunk, that’s all."
Agnes’ eyes narrowed a bit. She’d thought that might be it. "And what is wrong with marrying a chipmunk?"
Chip tried to change the conversation. "Well, all in all I think things turned out fine. After all you could have married Desiree..."Chip was sorry the moment he’d mentioned the name, but the looks exchanged between Monty and Agnes were all too clear
"Monzy, a word with you outside?" Agnes asked. Monty gave Chip a withering glance, then resigned himself to it. "Okay, Agnes, luv."
The two of them walked out and Dale raced to the door, concerned. "They’re gonna fight? Oh, don’t blow it Monty!"
Monty could think of a thousand cities and even more locales he’d like to be more than this one. Still, this conversation had to come sooner or later. "Agnes, about Desiree..."
Agnes’ face was a mixture of mild anger and hurt. "Monzy, you...you didn’t even try to contact me! And to find out you were marrying that..that two-timing tramp!" Monty cringed at her stinging remark. "Agnes, I thought I had killed the man you were gonna marry. I was devastated! How could I face you believin’ that? After I got back to Paris, I just continued my cheese tour. Only now I started havin’ my cheese attacks whenever I got a whiff of the stuff. Then along comes Desiree—she was beautiful, almost as beautiful as you. She had that beautiful accent, almost as beautiful as yours, she pretended to love me, not like the way you really loved me. I had lost the real thing, so I grabbed the closest thing I thought I’d ever find to the real thing. And my life very nearly came ta ruin because of it."
Agnes’ face changed from one of anger to one to sympathy. She came over and hugged him. "Oh, Monzy! We have both suffered so much!"
Dale breathed easy inside the door. "Whew! Thought things were going to get bad there.."
Agnes was quiet for a moment. "What is it, lass?" Monty asked. "Monzy, there’s one thing we have not finished discussing and it’s something I dearly want," she said.
Monty was lost. "What’s that?"
"Children," she said, looking at him again.
Monty was taken by surprise. The thought scared and excited him at the same time. "You..you sure you want kids, lass? After all, you’ve been a lone wolf all yer life..."
Agnes nodded. "Monty, we’ve both been lone wolves. Perhaps the time has come to settle down. Part of what drove us to be alone was our being separated all those years ago. If we had stayed together we might have settled down a long time ago. But now we can adopt and start a family. Just think Monzy, you’d be a dad rather than an uncle!"
Monty took Agnes in his arms. "I...I don’t know what to say, lass. I’ve been on me own for so long, and now the thought of you and little ones. It’s like...a bloomin’ miracle. Agnes touched his face. "Well, Dale told me that you described me as an angel from heaven walking among us."
Monty blushed a bright crimson. "Did he say that? I shoulda known he’d tell ya. Well ya are, Aggie, and there’s no denyin’ it. We’ll find a bit or two out there who need lovin’!"
Agnes hugged Monty. "That’s great, Monty! It’s been worth the wait to be with you again. Now I have everything I could ever want in life."
Monty held her close. "So do I, luv. So do I."
Agnes paused a moment. "So, what do you really think your parents have to say about all this?" Monty didn’t even want to think of it. "Well, dad will probably think I lost me mind, and mom, I can’t rightly say. I reckon that she’ll worry that you’re not good enough for me but she’d say that about any lady I know, so don’t take it personal."
Agnes took a seat on a lawn chair. "Hmm...sounds like my parents. Before I met you, there were several suitors for my hand at home and abroad. My folks were the ‘gatekeepers’ so to speak. I tell you what--you work on your mother and I will take on your father."
Agnes looked up at him and winked. Monty rolled his eyes. "Don’t say I didn’t warn ya’. He’s a handful and a half." Agnes’ smile grew wider. "He is the one that’s going to need help! I’m at least three handfuls!" Agnes was quiet for a moment and Monty saw that she was preoccupied
Monty guided his beloved back to the lawn chair and sat down with her. "We gotta track them two down first. No tellin’ where in the world they are right now. But don’t worry, I’m sure they’ll take a likin’ to you right quick. Who couldn’t love the likes o’ you?"
Agnes giggled a little. "Well, there was that bullfighter in Pamplona, but hopefully that won’t happen again. I suspect Jeff can track them down for us. He’s got contacts around the world."
Monty had liked Jeff in the brief time he’d met him. "Oh, yeah. We gotta invite him ta the weddin’ and all. Say, is yer friend Jeff married?" Agnes thought a moment. "Not the last I heard. Why? Are you thinking of adopting him?"
Monty gave her a sly smile. "No, but we have a lady friend who we could put next to him at the reception." Agnes could see the mischief in Monty’s eyes. "Playing the matchmaker, eh? Who’s the target?"
"She’s Tammy’s mom, Donna Chesnutt. It might be nice for her to meet someone and get outta the house for a while," Monty thought out loud.
Agnes tapped her index finger on her face. "If I know that old bushy-tail, he’s not going to want to meet anyone. But if we arrange it right...does this lady have a green dress?" Monty saw that she was as much a plotter as he was. "We’ll make sure she does. What have you got goin’ on in the beautiful and devious head of yours?"
"Jeff’s a sucker for a lady in a green dress. I do all my contract negotiations in one. He’ll never see it coming!" Agnes said. Monty laughed, holding his stomach. "Green it’ll be! If we’re goin’ to have a good time we might as well do what we can to share the wealth."
Agnes joined in the laughter. "And Jeff could use an interesting night out--I expect he still goes home at midnight and gets to the office at six. But will she go along with this? I mean, Jeff’s pretty handsome, but still it’s a blind date."
"She’s a dyed in the wool housewife. She needs the chance to get outta the kitchen. I think she’s lonely enough to take a chance on a blind date," Monty said. Agnes rubbed her hands. "Good! We’ll set it up then."
Suddenly, Agnes’ thoughts shifted and she walked to the edge of the large limb. Monty was getting used to her moods, and knew she was preoccupied. "What is it, luv?"
Agnes put her arms on the railing and looked out into the moonlight night. "I suddenly just realized--we’re talking about marriage. We’re changing our lives. Will you stay here with the Rangers? I’ve got more than enough years in for retirement now, thanks to my early days."
Monty didn’t have to think that one over. "I’d wanna stay with the Rangers and you can still be a writer. We might have to change our habits a little, but I don’t think it would be a hard adjustment. Would you wanna live here with us or would you like us to get a place of our own?"
Agnes took Monty’s hand and led him to the window where they could look in. The Rangers scattered when she saw them coming. The pretty chipmunk laughed softly as she and Monty watched them do their "chores".
"All my life I have missed two things--you and my family. Now I have you, and my little nez cerise and guilleret. I have missed so much of all your lives, but now I think I have found my place. We will stay and where adventure takes the Rangers, we will go," Agnes said.
Monty looked into that face, and found he never got tired of it. "Agnes, you gotta be a dream. A woman like you just can’t be! But if I’m dreamin’ I don’t want to ever wake up."
Agnes led him back to the railing. "All of life is a dream of some sort, Monzy. We can only hope that the other dreamers are as fortunate as you and I. Come, let’s tell the others--I’m sure they can’t wait to find out."
Monty opened the door for Agnes and Dale pitched down from his perch where he had his ear flat to the door. Monty smiled and put Dale back on his feet. "Well mates, it’s been decided. Agnes and me are gonna live here after we’re hitched. And maybe one day, all yer little ones will have some playmates."
"Hoooooray!!!! They’re gonna stay!" Dale shouted.
Gadget looked up from the tool she was making. "Golly, that’s great!"
Foxy came over and hugged them both. "Welcome home, to both of you!"
Zipper buzzed in happiness.
Chip walked up to the happy couple. "Agnes, we talked it over and we decided that if you were staying that we want you to be an official member of Rangers! Will you do it?" Agnes was flattered. "Well, perhaps. I still have much writing to do. But if duty calls, you’ll know where to find me."
Chip understood. "It’s still too soon I guess, but all your experiences and abilities would be a real asset to us! Plus it would keep Monty from getting lonely on cases!" Agnes pinched his cheek and Chip blushed as usual. "You are sweet as ever, guilleret. But first, we have a wedding to plan!" Agnes said with zest.
Chapter Three, Part One