DEUCE BIGALOW AND THE STATUE OF BALI

 "Global Manwhore Association. Mason McDaniel speaking." Truly, I was going to have to find another greeting. My greeting was dry as salt. Maybe something flashy, like..."GMA, McDaniel here," said in a brisk tone. Yes, I would try that greeting the next time I answered the phone.

"Morning," came the curt reply. A grin suffused my face. I knew that voice!

"Antoine! Top of the morning to you, mate!" I sat up straight and put a smile onto my face. "What can I do you for?"

 "Grrrr," came the reply. Uh, oh. Antoine must be in a bad mood. Since we rescued Deuce Bigalow from the Modsters--a group of young petty thieves--Antoine had been getting rather growly in the morning, perhaps as a result of the rainy English weather. The computer screen went blank and I made a mental note to adjust the timer of the computer screen.

 Then I remembered the last time Antoine had phoned me. Deuce Bigalow had been kidnapped! Antoine had discovered the plot and he had phoned me for help. After a hasty meeting, it had been decided to meet the ransom demands without going to the Yard. I had taken out a loan on a few pieces of jewelry that GMA owned. 

When Antoine and I had delivered the ransom money and had retrieved Deuce at the same time (at least the Modsters had some shred of honor; they returned Deuce--very drunk and very hungry--but return him they did), we had thought our run in with the Modsters to be over and our pounds 250,000 to be very well spent.  

Until a few days later when the news broke about a gem heist at the Millenium Dome. While watching a newscast and chatting with me, Antoine had spotted the canary yellow trenchcoat scrunched into a refuse basket behind the left shoulder of the news presenter (the lovely Lana...). Antoine had phoned me, and devilishly clever man that he is, Antoine had hatched a plan to catch the gem thieves.

 Turned out that not only did we, Deuce, Antoine and myself, catch the foursome (the same four who had kidnapped Deuce), Antoine also solved a series of perplexing antique jewelry heists that had plagued Inspectors at the Yard for several years. And in the process, we had received a sizeable reward.  

Now I shuddered. Was Deuce kidnapped again? 

"No, my friend," Antoine said. Apparently I had spoken my question aloud without realizing it. I would have to lay off the whiskey, I promised myself. And I would, too, just as soon as I finished my newly acquired stash.

 "But I have arranged for a boat ride!" he finished triumphantly. I smiled again and looked out the small window. As usual for this time of year, rain spattered against the pane glass window.

 "In this weather?" I inquired.

 "It is a lunch cruise."

 Now Antoine had my full attention. GMA paid a pittance; most of my fees came from its members when they needed my services. In the last year, I had run up some serious debt, requiring a goodish portion of my income to be remitted to my creditors each month. Until I had received my portion of the reward money, I had been surviving on a skimpy food budget.

 "And is this lunch including steak?" I asked, hope crawling into my voice.

 "It is a free lunch cruise, won from the radio again," was his reply. Antoine was certainly having a run of luck at winning freebies from the radio. I must ask his secret.

 "So I do not know the menu. But I heard it is good," Antoine happily continued. I smiled.

 "What time?" I inquired. Lunch was lunch and if I didn’t have to pay for it, so much the better.

 "1 pm. See you at the Millenium Dome." The phone clicked off. I leaned back in my chair and glanced at the clock.

 "Yikes!" It was nearly noon. Where ever did the time go? I had been sitting in GMA's London offices since 9.30 and I had not done a sliver of work, except to play Scrabble on the internet all morning. Then again, no GMA member had needed my services.

 -----------------

 I stood under the awning of the building housing GMA's offices. I made to place my rain hat on my head. Then I smiled.

 No more would I have to use my Vespa to get around London's streets; I had the option of taking a cab. Preferably one of London's black cabs. As if I had summoned a cab, one magically appeared through the London rain.

 I shoved my rain hat into my overcoat's pocket and strolled down to the curbside. The car door opened and I assisted the lady trying to extricate herself.  

"Thank you," she told me as she stood up. I tried to hide my surprise at her height. She was easily towering over me and I thought the lady would tower over even Antoine. She was well-dressed, wearing a belted, ankle length, mulberry-coloured trench coat (a requisite in rainy London) and wearing black riding boots.

 "My pleasure," I told her, trying to get a glance at her face but she brushed past me.

 "Ride?" the cabbie inquired amiably.

 "Yes," I replied and climbed into the cab. "To the Millenium Dome," I told the cabbie. As he pulled the auto away, I glanced back, hoping to get a glimpse of the tall mystery woman making her way into the office building. Sadly for me, I didn’t think more about her, until later.

 The cab deposited me down at the Millenium Dome. I paid the driver, got out and wandered over to where Antoine was standing rather forlornly under an umbrella.

 “Afternoon, Antoine,” I commented. At the mention of his name, Antoine looked around and smiled when he saw me. 

“Mason! Did Deuce find you?”

 I shook my head. “Isn’t he with you?”

“No. He went off to find you. For some reason, he thought you’d be purchasing a lottery ticket,” Antoine replied.

 “Likely story. It’s Deuce who wants to purchase a lottery ticket. He’s got lottery fever,” I told Antoine. “Perhaps he’ll buy us each a ticket,” I offered.

 “I told him to meet us at the boat,” Antoine said. “I found out the menu is buffet.”

 “Just my style. All you can eat?”

 Antoine nodded. “Deuce will like that. He’s still on the thin side. Let’s go. He knows where the boat is docked.”

 ****

 SHe breaks into GMA's offices and steals the data on Mason's computer...then uses the data to compute a financial swindle in GMA's name...thus causing an investigation.

 ****************

Later

"Deuce! You're looking better this time around!" I told Deuce. And truth be told, Deuce was looking smashing. His hair was still long, but he'd had it styled and colored to a honey blond. He wore a custom tailored suit.

 "Here," Antoine said, handing Deuce a plate of appetizers. "Eat! You look thin," Antoine told him, smiling hugely. I chuckled.

 "I can never eat too much," Deuce replied, taking the plate. "I do have to admit, Mason, that I really like how rich people live. Of course, there's nothing like earning your own cash," he finished.

 "Being rich has its drawbacks," I commented.

 "I noticed," Deuce replied thoughtfully. "Maybe if we could create some media repellent..." he trailed off, a sly smile on his face.

 The papparazzi had found other prey (I was thankful none our of happy trio had encountered the far worse stalkerazzi). Only wicked whispers went around about us now--and I was glad. After a week or so of cameras snapping in my face, I was glad to sink anonymously into the madding London crowds.

 As if he could sense my train of thought, Antoine snickered at the wrong time and inhaled a large quantity of his drink. His face turned bright red as he stoically tried to keep his composure. Deuce smiled and slapped him on the back. After a few moments, Antoine calmed down.  

"Now there's an idea. Media repellent," Antoine said.. He tossed his head, and his well tended curls bounced on his shoulders. "Mason? Any ideas of how we could corner the market on media repellent?"

 "GMA's Media Repellent. Guaranteed to scare away pesky paparazzi," Deuce intoned seriously.

 I nodded, and accepted a drink from a lovely, lovely lad. The lad moved away and I craned my neck catch a parting glimpse of him.

 "Let's think on this a moment," I intoned, hoping to hide what I thought was a blush coming to my cheeks. I motioned towards a table with a window seat. Antoine and Deuce followed, smiling into their drinks.

 We sat down at the small table. Rain still hammered at the window, obscuring our view. I sipped my drink. "Ahh. Pure whiskey. Just what I needed."

 Someone's phone shrilled to the tune of Beethoven's Fifth. All three of us scrambled for our phones; evidently the three of us had, at some time, decided to choose the same ring tone.

 "Mine!" Deuce commented. "H'lo?" he said. I grabbed an appetizer from Antoine's plate and munched on it. Cheese and spinach. Not bad.

 "And it's missing?" Deuce now asked, nervously glancing over at Antoine.

 Antoine twiddled his thumbs, perhaps wondering, I thought, what the deuce was going on. Speaking for myself, I would like to know what was going on. Antoine slid sideways in his seat and lounged there, catching many a woman's eye.

 Antoine's shoe somehow managed to slip off his foot. Grinning slyly, I wrinkled my nose and waved my hand in front of my nose as if there was a nasty smell in the room.

 Since the conversation seemed to be going nowhere, I risked a glance at Antoine. He chose to blind me with those white teeth of his. By the smile on his face, I knew he realized I was ribbing him.

 Deuce coughed and I turned my attention back to the one sided conversation.

 "Uh, well, I suppose you can count on me," Deuce replied slowly.

 "Good!" came the loud, jocular reply which caused Deuce to pull the phone away from his ear. He grimaced.. "I shall be expecting you at five!" the hearty voice sounded from the ear piece of Deuce's cell phone. And before Deuce could reply, the dial tone rang loud. Deuce over and clicked off the phone. He looked at Antoine and myself. Antoine raised an eyebrow.

"What mess have you gotten us involved in?" Antoine asked amiably. He bounced his foot up and down and I had to admit that I rather liked his bony foot, sheathed as it was in what looked like cashmere socks. 

 "It's not a mess. It's more of an...opportunity," Deuce replied. I could see his hesitation and I wondered why.

 "I hope," I commented, "that my services will not be needed."

Deuce looked startled at my comment. "No. No, of course not, Mason." He tried to sound reassuring but my antennae were raised where Deuce was concerned.

 "Deuce, my man! What went down?" I was, I hoped, sounding like a casual California surfer dude.

Now Antoine raised an eyebrow at me and Deuce glanced at me sharply. "Nothing. It's just some old friends phoning. They're here."

"Here?" I asked, surprised. Like Antoine. I looked around the boat's cabin. The large cabin of the dining boat was only partly filled with office types celebrating Mister Somebody's Retirement Party.

"Not here here," Deuce corrected. "Here. In London."

"And you will meet your friends?" Antoine congenially asked. He had slipped his shoe back on and now he turned around in his seat so that he was facing Deuce.

Now it was Deuce's turn to be surprised. "Well, yes. That's what friends are for, aren't they?"

 "I don't know about this Deuce," I commented. I watched him carefully so as to gauge his reaction. Deuce seemingly had recovered from his earlier nervousness and he confidently replied,

 "I've known them since high school, Mason. They're my buds."

 "Mmm, hmmm. And the last time you were phoned to "meet some friends", you ended up trussed and drunk in the tunnels underneath Edinburgh," I commented, choosing not to mince words.

 As I expected, Deuce looked away, his confidence drained in an instant. I couldn't blame my man Deuce for being nervous. Trussed up and drunk in those Edinburgh tunnels was not a very nice way of spending a few days.

 CHANGE THIS sentence:

"And the last time somebody phoned you, I ended up getting into an empty limo with only an envelope on the seat," Antoine put in. "Deuce! We'd like to meet these friends of yours." He smiled at Deuce. I nodded.

 "Yes. They would need a London city guide," I offered congenially. And who better than me to guide tourists around London?

 Antoine nodded, a huge grin suffusing his face. "And Mason's just the person!" he said. "I have another helicopter ride I can take them on."

 ((((((((

Maybe put these lines later on.

 Track B lines go here.

And do they know about your recent windfall?" I inquired, knowing the answer even as I asked the question.  I knew all too well the reaction of many people when one of their social circle suddenly came into a chunk of cash. Not all friends have cash registers for hearts when it comes to sudden money. But with sudden cash, there are always a few people who decide to shed their friendship like snake skins and who wanted 'help' in getting out of a tight financial spot.

 

As Deuce had discovered, news travels fast in this day and age of the internet. One of the tabloids had gotten wind of our financial windfall concerning the reward for the return of the gems from the Millenium Gem Show. That particular tab had mentioned the news in their column.

 

And now Deuce's friends were beginning to pop out of the woodwork. Most, like ___ and ___, heartily congratualted him (and Deuce was a deserving lad), but Deuce's nervousness with this phone call had me wondering.

 

"I...don't know," Deuce replied carefully. "I haven't seen them in a few years." He sipped his drink.

 

"We can meet your friends," Antoine offered, leaning back in the chair. We fell silent for a bit, watching the rain.beat against the window. With a bit of whiskey, I chased a bit of dry appetizer down my throat.

 

"It's beginning to get to me," Deuce said suddenly. I nodded, knowing what he meant. Even though I had been financially repositioning myself since being cut off from my father's money, I knew very well what Deuce meant.

 

"Quite common, I'm afraid. Even old money gets treated this way," I offered.

 

Do you want to do something about deuce being nervous because the last time someone asked him to meet them somewhere, he was kidnapped?

 

yes. this could be a better thing to do than '

 

how does she uncover the plot?

 

DEuce's friends have asked him to bail them out-----

She breaks into Mason's computer and steals the data there for GMA--then transfers all the money out of GMA's accounts.

****

 

When lunch was done and the skipper had docked his lady love, Deuce, Antoine and myself walked down the plank. Antoine looked at the murky water splashing against the dock pilings.

 

"Ugh," he commented, making a face. "Look at that trash."

 

I complied and immediately commented, "Ewww!" And this was definitely an ew moment. Either somebody's trash bin had been dumped into the Thames or Londoners are dirtier than I would want to admit. Disposable nappies, Beer cans, Big Mac wrappers, and a clump of...I bent down for a closer look.

 

"Oh, gads!" I commented, scrabbling backwards. I tripped over someone's shoe--Antoine's, I now saw--and sat on the ground, fanning my nose. Great. Now my suit would need to be sent to the cleaners. Fortunately, I was sitting on wood, not mud.

 

"What is it?" Antoine asked, extending a hand to help me up.

 

"A dead cat," I replied. "I thought it was a clump of fur."

 

"We

 

*******

Parting ways with Antoine and Deuce--both of whom elected spa services for the remainder of the afternoon until we were to meet Deuce's friends at their privately rented flat. I hailed one of London's famous black cabs and headed back to the office to close things up for the weekend.

 

I enjoyed the ride back through London's wet streets, people watching in silence instead of engaging in my usual chatter with the driver. Upon arrival at the small office building housing my small office, I tipped the driver with a fifty, feeling rather generous. He was, naturally, overjoyed at receiving such an excellent tip.

 

"Cheerio!" I called after the cab as I entered the building.

 

I strode down the hallway towards my office, whistling a happy tune. I stopped momentarily to straighten the brolly vase that had tipped over. Still whistling, I continued down to my office. The door was slightly ajar.

 

Funny. I swore I had locked the door, but there is a chance that I hadn't. I was, after all, a bit distracted over the thought of going to lunch. I have taken after my socially oriented mother, whose favorite hobby is organizing parties. Prior to the onset of the holidays, I spent hours in the kitchen with her and the kitchen staff, tasting the various dishes that were to be served.

 

Entering the office, I had the funny feeling that someone had been there. I thought I scented a whiff of perfume. I breathed deeply, trying to discern the scent. Was it my own scent?

 

I am a ___ kind of chap but the perfume I was detecting wasn't my own. I sniffed again, then decided that the floral scent was a woman's scent.

 

Immediately my mind wandered back to the statuesque blonde who had I had seen earlier in the day. Did she enter my office? Why?

 

I wandered around my small office, poking my head here and there. Nothing seemed out of place. Even my computer seemed to be in order, the screen displaying my favorite screensaver: a melange of beauties.

 

Sighing, I reached to shut the computer off. As I did so, my hand knocked the mouse to the floor. I bent down to pick it up and when I rose again, I got the shock of my life.

 

The computer screen was showing GMA's financial accounts. Now I knew that someone had been in my office, for I had been playing Scrabble online when Antoine had phoned to set up the lunch date.

 

With hot panic rising in my throat, I sat down and logged onto the internet. I tapped my foot impatiently as I waited an eternity for BT to decide whether or not to make the connection.

 

Finally deciding that I deserved access to the internet, BT logged me on, and I quickly accessed GMA's financial accounts at our brokerage. If GMA had indeed been robbed, the deed could have taken place while our happy trio was lunching on the Thames.

 

I scanned the accounts. All seemed to be in place. No transactions had been performed for the day. I breathed a sigh of relief. Then I phoned the brokerage and made arrangements for the accounts to be changed, just in case my unwelcome visitor was planning something later on.

 

Happy to accomodate my request, the brokerage assured me things would be taken care of shortly. I promised to drop by their offices at 4 to look over the new account numbers. (GET INFOR ON THIS).

 

Then I shut off he computer, closed up my office and decided to go to the Ritz for tea.

 

(SHE USES A COMPUTER WORM TO TRANSMIT THE PASSWORD INFORMATION TO HER COMPUTER) and she gains access to GMA's new account numbers and pulls off a swindle in GMA's name.

 

Scanning the financial

***

I have to admit, I was worried about Deuce,

 

I stood in my office, looking around care