At the crack of dawn, young Samantha Hughes jumped out of bed and shook the mattress of her parents’ bed to rouse them.
“Mom, Dad! Wake up! Steve will be coming soon. Come on!”
Ed and Nicole Hughes moaned their irritation at being risen so early in the morning, but swallowed their annoyance for their daughter’s sake when they realized that today was Samantha’s grand tour of DisneyLand with her famous escort, Steve Austin. He had footed the bill for their luxurious accommodations at the Contemporary Hotel on the theme park premises.
Ed rolled over and kissed his wife. “Got to get ready for my job interview.”
“I’ll call room service for breakfast.”
“Order light, Honey. My stomach’s in knots. I’m a nervous wreck.”
“Meeting the CEO of DisneyLand can be nerve-wracking.”
“Got to thank Colonel Austin again for providing me with this golden opportunity.”
“He should be here in about two hours.”
“With two women and just one bathroom, I’ll never get there in time,” he ribbed at his wife who hurled a pillow at him.
Steve stepped out of the monorail and went to the elevators, unaware that two enemy agents had been shadowing him for quite sometime. They balked at the idea to follow him up to the Hughes’ hotel room for fear of blowing their cover.
“How are we going to nab him with all these people around?”
“The boss has something else planned. We were mainly instructed to report his every move. He apparently has an operative on site who will spring into action at the proper time and place.”
“Good, ‘cause I wasn’t too keen on the prospect of risking creating a scene front of all those witnesses.”
“Don’t worry. It’s not our job,”
“Did the boss say why he wanted Austin for?”
“No and I don’t care. I just want to get paid and flee to South America for a well-deserved retirement,” he said with a pleased smile.
Nicole was finishing braiding Samantha’s hair when Steve knocked on the door.
“It’s Steve!” Sam squealed with delight and dashed to the door. “Hi Steve!”
“Hello pretty lady.”
She clasped his hand to steer him inside.
“Good morning, Colonel.”
“Mrs. Hughes. Are the accommodations satisfactory?”
“They are. Thank you very much.”
“My pleasure, believe me.”
Sam tugged at Steve’s sleeve to have him squatted down to her height. “Are we going to see Goofy?”
“Absolutely!” he happily informed, squeezing her small waist.” Not only Goofy, but Mickey, Minnie, Snow White, Cinderella..”
“Cinderella too?” she gushed with sparkling eyes widened in wonder.
“Of course. We are going to meet them at the entrance of the Magic Kingdom. We even have a lunch date with them, just the two of us.”
“Oh, Steve!” Samantha flung her arms around Steve’s neck and strangled him in a tight clench. “Thank you.”
Steve’s heart pounded wildly at the little girl’s ebullient enthusiasm. He clapped her on the back “You’re welcomed, Sweets.”
“Mom, isn’t it wonderful?” Sam asked as she excitedly bounced up and down.
“Yes, it is.”
Steve stood upright. “Are you ready to go?”
“Just about. I need to go to the bathroom, but dad has been there for hours,” she complained huffily, making her annoyance known by stomping her foot. She sighed and rapped on the bathroom door. “Dad! Steve is here. I have to go to the bathroom before we go.”
“Just a few more seconds, Samantha. I’m almost finished,” came the voice behind the door.
“That’s what you said twenty minutes ago.” She looked at an amused Steve and exhaled in exasperation.
Ed opened the door and let Sam in.
“Colonel Austin.” Ed extended his arm to shake Steve’s hand. “I wanted to reiterate my gratitude for that job interview.”
“I merely made a phone call. The rest is up to you.”
“How do I look?” he asked his wife as he straightened his tie.
“Perfect. You’ll knock that Eisner fellow dead.”
He reached for his suit jacket spread on the bed. “I don’t want to kill him, just make a good solid impression,” he laughed. “Wish me luck.”
“Good luck!” Steve and Nicole chorused.
As Ed walked out the door, Sam came out of the bathroom. “Ready!”
“Alright, let’s go.” Steve took her hand and turned to Nicole. “Oh yes, I made dinner reservation at the Polynesian Hotel restaurant for seven tonight. If we’re not there yet, asked for Steve Austin’s table and they’ll sit you.”
“Thank you. Ed and I will be there. By the way, if you need to reach me I will be here.”
“You’re not going out? Explore the grounds?”
“It’s not really for me. Besides, I kind of look forward to this time alone. It’s good for the soul, not to mention the ears.”
“I know what you mean. See you tonight.”