My name – Madog - Agent MADOG 008 (Boxer). I’m a Brit and I belong to the British secret service. Niche Investigation, 6th district, more commonly known as NI-6.
There are some times when my superior, F for Fox (Fox Terrier), has given me a pretty dangerous mission, but this was more dangerous than most – to find the Golden Puppy stolen from the treasure chest of the Crown of England.
– Good morning F. I hope that the mission you want to entrust me is well worth the delightful little cocker I’ve just shamelessly had to leave up on a beach in the Bahamas !
– I should have known ! Now look, Madog, this is a mission of the utmost importance! The Golden Puppy has disappeared ! No signs of forced entry, no prints, he’s just simply disappeared.
– But why call on me, as the police would surely be in charge of this (dog) show ?
– The problem, Madog, is that over and above him being a valuable piece, he’s also a very powerful weapon which, in the hands of criminals, would clearly destroy a city the size of Manhattan Island !
– Does anyone have any idea who could have done it and why they’ve done it ?
– Well, you tell me, Agent Madog! Among our top secret files of the most dangerous criminals in the world, we could not find enough definite clues to guide us ! Put your best paw forward, Madog ! It is everyone’s security at stake. Oh ! Before leaving, go see K9 (a Belgian shepherd, American canine unit), he will give you the necessary equipment for this mission !
I took my leave and plunged myself into the depths of NI-6. I was hoping for a much cooler car than the last time ! Ah ! Speed ! The wind lifting my chops ! K9 did not skimp on resources ! I saw him coming from an adjoining room with a box no larger than a human shoebox. I was more and more amazed by the progress of science ! Getting a car in a shoebox !
– Here are your things for this mission, agent Madog !
K9 barked in his sort of stuck-up way. I liked him anyway, even though he always seemed to look at me, wondering if I was going to manage to break these things. .
– What, is that it ? And where's my super spy-car ?
I hoped that my naturally droopy puppy-dog eyes would melt him but it wasn’t to be.
– You have precisely what you need agent Madog ! A Frisbee drone, an exploding candy, a spy raincoat – just be careful when opening the pockets – and finally the ultimate in British technology, a pill that makes you drool and scratch !
– And how does that work exactly ? You’ve got the datasheets ?
– I don’t have time for that, I’m expected elsewhere, surely you’re the secret agent ?
I’m sure you’ll manage !
I stood there, shoebox between my paws, noting that K9 was more cranky than usual !
Armed with my new "weapons", I took the road to my swanky kennel-apartment, in the district of Whitechapel. Arriving in the deserted street, I saw a delicate paw in glossy hair appear in the rays of the moon.
– Agent M, I presume !
– You presume correctly, Agent Madog !
M for Mata Canina (an Afghan greyhound).
Mata Canina was wearing a sumptuous gown with beautifully bronzed tones matching her wonderful hazel eyes. And her Russian accent sounded like an hypnotic melody. I would have gladly invited her to one last lap of the day in my apartment. She pulled me out of my reverie by leaping on me, fangs forward, trying to pierce my throat like a needle to a balloon. The surprise over, I made her loosen her pincer jaws by biting her ear so hard that she gave a "yelp" of pain, and by the time she realised, I had gained the upper paw and held her under my firm grip.
Once home, having tied her up like a sausage by the butcher at the corner of the street, to whom I occasionally liked to make a little visit now and then, Mata Canina confessed, not without some annoyance, that she was in possession of some information that could prove useful to me.
Who are you working for ? I asked her, without once losing my droolsome composure...
–Are you sure you want to put your snout in there ? Even you, Secret agent Madog 008, might end up leaving fleas in there !
– I’ll take that risk ! What do you know about the theft of the Golden Puppy ?
– I know who gave the order !
I raised my left ear, showing Canina all my interest in her revelation.
– It’s Von Rugrats (a Dachshund) who is behind all this !
– Von Rugrats ! I should have known ! It’s been far too long since we heard anything about him in NI-6. So he's back! How do I find him ?
– Look inside my dress !
– Not that I'm not tempted by this offer, believe me, darling, but we simply don’t have the time, and with this case,...
– Stop yapping and slip your paw in the fold of my dress ! You will find a dog-tag ! snapped Mata Canina, annoyed. “You will find the digital chucky-ball on your furry self is registered with the exact location where the Golden Puppy is hidden. But I’m warning you, Von Rugrats is very dangerous and if he has the opportunity, he will not hesitate turning you into pussycat burgers !”
The prospect of being turned into pet food didn’t say anything worthwhile to me, but more the fact it was cat food, well, that in itself was provocation !
I entered the geographic data from this dog-tag immediately into the database of my Rintintin spy- watch. A small laserbeam burst from it and displayed a map right in front of me, like a magnetic screen, showing me the area, and after a few seconds, a red dot materialised where the digital chucky-ball was supposed to be.
Obviously, the coordinates would lead me to the Highlands in Scotland. For once I did not have to move around to the other side of the world ! Cargohold trips with other dogs were always rather tiresome ...
The map zoomed in on what appeared to be a large farm. It read "The Animal Shelter". I contacted K9 who clarified me that it was a restaurant serving organic food, run by a kind of a little hippie community. I wondered what the relationship was between them, the Golden Puppy and Von Rugrats.
The mystery was thickening more and more.
In the mountains of the Himalayas, another clan. A secret clan. A clan whose ancestral wisdom and magic were the watchwords. For millennia, in the shadows, he had ensured the peace and balance of the planet. The TAO clan.
Whole generations were handed the clan secrets to provide protection and longevity to the planet. Their wisdom and agility in battle made them warriors without equal. Ching (a small Chinese hairless dog), the Grand Master of the clairvoyant pool, drew a circle with his claw in the sacred water. The small vortex became a blur at first, then it became more and more clear. And what he saw did not reassure him.
The Golden Puppy was in the wrong paws ! He questioned the ancestors who revealed to him that the balance of the planet had become unstable.
He jumped, then pounced into a roll, sprang into the air by making a triple somersault with a twist on the last turn onto the sacred gong, and resounded it in the Temple of Tranquility. In the centre rose an altar dedicated to ancestors, and along the walls, rows of jars containing the spirits of demons exorcised by the Order of the Celestial Masters. The temple grounds provided protection for the outside world from these evil spirits.
Outside, the followers of the Tao clan, doggies of all sizes and of all kinds, were training as they did every day in the ancestral Sacred Martial Arts. Others worked the Sacred Magic of the Ancients. When they heard the sacred gong, they stopped their activities immediately. They headed for the Sacred Temple of Tranquility to hear what Ching had to tell them.
– This is serious, my little anklesnappers ! Madog, your spiritual brother, is in deep doggy doo-doo
– Ahhhh ! they exclaimed together.
They had to act without wasting time, but the temple door was violently thrown open in the blast of an explosion. The smoke vanished to reveal the flaming eyes of challenge from a group of guard dogs showing fangs, ready to pounce on the anklesnappers !
– No ! Not you ! How can you do such a thing ? The world is in danger, we must help Madog !
– Do you know him, Grand Master ? demanded Chang (chow chow), Ching’s deputy.
Ohh yes ! Ching knew that clan well, even more so than the one that was in his head ; he too was one of his former students, as was Madog ! But he had obviously turned to evil...
– Yes, my little anklesnapper ! It’s the clan of the Mathematimutts ! Scientists and magicians ! They are very powerful because they control reality and magic !
But I did not know you were at the head of the clan ! he addressed his adversary.
– Everything changes ! My job was seriously beginning to irritate me, and
von Rugrats offered me a very attractive alternative ! he said as he removed the lids of jars to release the evil spirits.
Ching and his followers, having been taken hostage, watched with horror at what was taking shape before them. The black curls danced off jars like snakes attracted to a charmer.
Ching turned his gaze to the Sacred Altar of the Ancients.
This was the end !
I approached the farm, advancing like a chameleon, hiding behind every tree, giving the impression that I was marking my territory, if you know what I mean! I approached on tip-paws. At a good distance, I saw some members of the community. Old English Sheepdogs in dreads ! Son of a gundog ! I absolutely had to blend into the scenery !
Not easy when you're a beautiful pedigree boxer in a shiny coat and, most importantly, so sophisticated !
But Madog 008 had more than one chew toy in his bag ! From the pocket of my spy’s raincoat (watch out, Mary Poppins), I pulled out a dreadlock wig, a natty long-haired zipup set of overalls and a full-length mirror.
I pulled on the shaggy one-piece, the wig, and admired myself in the mirror ! Something was wrong ! But what ?
Oh yes ! I wedged my lips against my gums. Here you are ! Perfect ! I was ready to infiltrate the community of Rasta Sheepdogs...
I proudly presented myself at the entrance. I was greeted by a beautiful young babe whose dreadlocks were held up by a pretty green bow. She smiled at me warmly with pristine canines.
– Would you like to have lunch ?
– Yesth pleasth, my thild ! I replied to her with difficulty.
I realised that speaking with my chops tucked in was a most dangerous exercise. So I contented myself by nodding my head as much as possible, avoiding making a fool of myself even further.
After a most complicated lunch - yep, as you’d guessed, the small problem of the lips - I pretended to find a nice tree to relieve myself. So I walked around the farm and found myself facing a door ajar. I entered, crossed a corridor, then descended a flight of stairs.
No-one. The way being free, I continued my exploration to arrive in the pantry. Boxes of dog meat ! And it says organic restaurant ? It smelled like the smelliest scam at full pong !
At the back of the room, another door - but locked this time. However, no door poses a problem to agent Madog. I pulled out a candy explosive from the pocket of my shaggy combo, and pushed it into the lock. I hoped that the detonation would be discreet !
But, erm, no...
I waited a few minutes. Still no-one came! Phew ! When I entered the room, though, I discovered tables covered in maps of several major cities like New York, Paris, Berlin and even London.
What was this demonic Von Rugrats up to ? On one wall, seven painted red letters dripped downwards : P.O.O.C.H.E.S. The renowned secret agent Madog 008 recoiled !
He had heard of the acronym but thought it was an urban legend, because nobody, including spies, had ever found proof of the existence of the Progressively Objective Old-English Clan of Hyperpowerful Ecological Supermutts. Son of a Chihuahua !
Not only did it exist, but it was preparing an attack of such a phenomenal magnitude under the very paradoxical pretext of protecting the environment. And there’s the connection !
POOCHES needed Von Rugrats to put its plan into action. A chain reaction whose detonator was none other than ... the Golden Puppy. And it was Von Rugrats who possessed ...
... that very same Golden Puppy.
– Keep your paws out of your pockets, Madog !
Before me, like a spectre rising from the depths of his kennel, snout forward, growling and ready to pounce on its prey, it was Von Rugrats ! If indeed he could pounce ! A dachshund, really!? But even if he was small, he was the guy who was snarling !
– What were you thinking of, Maddog ? What ? What is it that concerns you ?
– Errrmm... your thcarf ! Oh these damn chops ! Anyway I am unmasked ! I meant to say your scarf ! It drags along the ground and you walk all over it ! I started talking to relax my jowls !
– Are you stupid or what ? I am your enemy, I’m going to turn you into cat food and you, you care for my scarf ! No, there’s nothing good going on in your boxer’s head, is there ?! Did I tell you to pick up your chops for me ?
– I said that ? I’m saying nothing ! But a scarf of this quality, you ought to have it tailor made, if I may say so !
My diversion was perfect. While Von Rugrats made fun of me, accompanied by his two English Sheepdog bodyguards, I received a signal discreetly on my Rintintin spy-watch (yes I had sent my frisbee drone on a scouting mission when leaving the restaurant ! No, I didn’t tell you everything, what do you think I am ?), that the Golden Puppy wasn’t here, contrary to what the digital chucky- ball had told me. Someone had tricked me! And here, it was now starting to irritate me !
– Where is the Golden Puppy, Von Rugrats ?
– Ah ah ah ! Do you really think I’m more foolish than that ?! Ermmm, so what should I tell you then ? In short, what I mean is : You'll never find the Golden Puppy and I will use it to destroy the great capitals of the world ! he exclaimed in his usual resonant way.
I tried to jump at the throat of Von Rugrats but one of the two dreadlocked Sheepdogs stopped me by slipping a choke collar around my neck ! It now really was deep doggy doo-doo ! He left me my drooling-scratching pill, but there were three of them, and my awkward position no longer allowed me any movement at all.
– It's all over for you, Agent Madog 008 ! Your time has come! Bye bye fleabag, you can tighten his throat !
What a dog’s life ! Ending up like that with a rasta wig on your head and a shaggy-haired suit concealing my oh so beautiful muscles ! But more importantly, Von Rugrats would raze more world capitals to the ground through pure self-centeredness, and probably also because of his inferiority complex... He could never accept his size !
The Sheepdog tightened the collar more and more... a bright light began to dazzle me.
I was going to go to that great kennel in the sky.
But I was not about to kick the bucket !
The bright light was none other than the power of the Yang conveyed by only one person in this world: Ching the Tao Grand Master. He alone had transcended his earthly existence of dog to this day, giving him access to the finest and most positive energy of all the Tao Clan.
The surprise was released on old Fleabag, the Old English Sheepdog who was holding me prisoner. Both rastas, their mouths open in amazement, not realising that they swallowed the drooling- scratching pill I had luckily cut in half !
Yes - a secret agent needs to prepare for any eventuality !
But now they began to make funny faces, their lips twitching into a grotesque grin. I could not stop myself from laughing at the crazy picture in front of me : English Sheepdog rastas kicking in all directions, dreadlocks in their mouth, spitting, coughing, desperate to find a drink to get rid of this drooling and scratching...
All this left me free rein to take care of Von Rugrats, except that all the Tao clan was already there in the process of spinning round in all directions, eventually stringing up my nemesis, like a sausage appropriately enough.
– Master Ching, I'm glad to see you ! I blurted out in very real relief. What are you doing here, you and the anklesnappers ?
– I have always got an eye on you, you know ! Ching replied sympathetically.
– Will you help me find the Golden Puppy ? Because the only clue I had proved completely useless.
– Not only do I know where he is but the anklesnappers are taking care of recovering him right now !
– But where is he then ? I blurted out.
– At your home, young panda hound !
There and then the cat got my tongue, remarkable ! Who put the Golden Puppy in my house and why ?
Ching nodded to one of his disciples (Sharpei) and returned a few seconds later with a prisoner who was none other than :
– You ! K9 ! Son of a cat’s dinner ! But why ? For years you’ve worked for NI-6 !
– Yes, for years I let my talent waste away in this rubbish dump ! I'm not a scientist, I am a Mathematimutt ! My friends go far beyond you common mongrels. Von Rugrats convinced me to help and if we could have gone through with this project, I would have been able to oust him and take his place !
– But nooo ! railed Von Rugrats.
– We decided to hide it where you would never have gone to look for it ! In your kennel-apartment ! hissed K9.
– And if it had gone wrong, it could have made you take the blame ! concluded Ching.
– And so, what are we going to do with the Golden Puppy ?
– Take him back to safety, to the Temple of Tranquility ! With the express permission of NI-6, of course.. !
– Just one more question, Ching ? What makes the Golden Puppy tick ?
– He works like a detonator ! But the danger is even greater than Von Rugrats thought ! He did not have all the information in his possession, fortunately for us, and the consequences could have been even worse than he himself realised. But that's another story !
Ching and the Tao Clan then placed the Golden Puppy in safety in the Temple of Tranquility, under the great protection of the Ancients.
To be continued...