"No, seriously, what's going on?" my guest asks again. "How do you two know one another?"
"Stop being annoying!" I yell, louder than I mean to. The hazy man across from me leans back in his chair.
"Ma'am, let 'im aks 'is questions." The billowing smoke shifts slightly toward my unwanted associate, leaning forward almost enough to expose the face behind the cloud. "This liddle gal n' I met one day when I wus called to the scene of a crime. A toy dog, a liddle pup, had gone berserk an' attacked a boy. He wus only two, ye know. One 'o the worst tings I had ever seen. An this gal, the woman ye have beside ye, was standin' right outside o' the police tape, like nuttin was botherin' her inna world."
I blush, surprised that he remembered so well. "I am your biggest fan, sir."
"I know, gal, I know." He tossed the toy car casually onto the desk. "Now, waddaya need from me?"
"Well, sir," my associate began, "I seem to have lost something very important..."
I roll my eyes. "He lost a flock of robotic pigeons that are of national importance."
"Ah, I heard about 'em, from a friend o' mine."
"But," my associate spluttered, "this is top secret! Most of the people who invented the things don't know they're lost!"
"Mebbe, but the people I know're higher'n that..." The voice behind the cloud petered off into nothing, waiting for a response. I cover my face as much as I can, trying to hide my embarrassment for the man who unfortunately hired me.
My employer explained everything to the ball of smoke, and I let my eyes wander the room, bored. On every wall there seemed to be a book case dedicated to the technological trophies he had won or dismantled.
When the men were done talking, our host gathered a few odd looking things from around the room, giving them to me in a small bag. He told me that they were going to be instrumental in returning the secrets and the pigeons to Washington.
For a few minutes he marked on a map that he had grabbed from one drawer or another. The smoke once again obscured everything, and when he handed it to me it was folded into eighths.
"Now, don't you open that up 'till ye get outta this office. And keep the stuff in the bag hidden. I never wanna see any of it again. Not, both of you go an' don't come back here. Ever, whether you're successful or not. Do ye unnerstand?"
"Never?" I as kin disbelief. "But what if I want to talk to you? If I want to discuss methods of mechanical extermination?"
"Never!" the cloud said harshly.
I rose so abruptly that my chair screeched against the stone in the office. My associate followed after me, back into the dark city.