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Mistaken Identity

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As Mickey Kostmayer headed down the main street of Chinatown in Sloanville, he thought again about the shirt he was wearing and the possible consequences of being caught in the shirt. His boss, Control, had given him the shirt when he had needed to communicate to his Goddaughter to follow Mickey without a word being said. It featured a picture of Control and simply said `This is Mickey. Go with him.' Normally Mickey would not have worn the shirt. His having it was to him a sign of trust between him and a man who trusted almost no one. Control had asked about it once, and Mickey had jokingly asked what shirt he was referring to. The senior spook had given him a slight smile and let it drop. As far as Mickey knew no one else on the planet had a shirt like this, there was no way he was going to abuse it.

Twice since then Mickey had found the shirt useful in fulfilling jobs. Both times he had needed to get a contact of Control's to go with him quickly, and the shirt had worked. One time he had asked and received permission when he had explained his reasoning. The other he had had to move fast and only had time to call Control and tell him he was doing it. In a show of unbelievable trust, his boss had simply said thank you and asked that he tell him about it as soon as he had time. When he had explained the need, Control had agreed it was necessary. He had inadvertently packed it when he had come here on a fact-hunting trip for Mccall, normally it would have then stayed in his duffle bag, but he had been here long enough to have run out of clean shirts. Besides, no one in Sloanville knew Control. Did they?




"Tell me again, Peter, why we are sitting in a cold wet park freezing our asses off?" Kermit Griffin, mercenary turned cop, and lifelong computer hacker, looked askance at his lunch, "and eating some unknown meat that is trying to pass itself off as a hot dog?"

"Donny Double D's suppose to meet us here with a lead on that serial robbery case," Peter Caine explained, inhaling his lunch. "Since we're both working on that case I thought you might like to talk to him yourself, he's a little nervous about meeting you though, so try not to scare him mute."

"I promise to be at my diplomatic best," the ex-mercenary grinned like a shark behind his customary green shades.

Peter was about to express his thoughts about Kermit and his diplomacy when they saw a reddish-brown haired man walk past with a shirt showing a photo of Paul Blaisdell asking them to go with this guy. Both men had learned long ago not to question Paul's instructions, just follow them. Looking at one another, they got up and went after the man. Evidently, Paul was using this man to contact his detectives. Far stranger things had been known to occur, especially in this place.

The closer they got to the man the faster he seemed to go. If he was supposed to be meeting with them, this was a weird way to go about it. Finally, he ducked into one of the legions of blind and dead end alleys in the city. Peter charged in after the strange man just as Kermit went to put a restraining hand on him.

"Impatience they name is Peter," Kermit growled as he slowly entered the alley after his impetuous friend.

"What do you think you're doing?" The strange man was asking, a gun at the younger detective's face.

"Now really, do you think Paul would want you to shoot Peter, after he sent you to get us?" Kermit asked, approaching the man with his Dessert Eagle out and aimed.

"Paul?" The man in the t-shirt asked.

"Paul Blaisdell, the man whose picture is on your shirt," Peter snapped.

Mickey Kostmayer went white. Evidently Sloanville DID know Control, and now he knew the senior spy's real name. He was a walking corpse and when Control was done the job would be complete.

"I think what we have here, gentleman is a failure to communicate," Kermit offered with a hard smile.

"Yeah," Mickey responded with a sickly smile as he put his gun away and shrugged, palms up. "Sorry about that."

"Mistakes happen," Kermit answered, putting his own small cannon away. "Luckily this wasn't a permanent one."

Peter moved to swing at the stranger who had had him at gunpoint. A vise gripping his shoulder stopped him. He knew better than to risk Kermit ripping his arm off and beating him with it.

"Peter, Peter, Peter. Remember your manners, detective, or our new friend is going to think we don't like him. And he DID put the gun down," Kermit reminded him.

"Right," Peter muttered, not relaxing a bit.

"Detective?" Mickey asked. Just his luck to have threatened a detective. Mccall hadn't wanted it known that his friend was here.

"Detective Peter Caine from the 101st. And you are?"

"Mickey Kostmayer," the stranger identified himself, and then looked inquiringly toward the man in green shades. He was maybe five years younger than Mickey himself and was decidedly not a run of the mill cop, if he was a cop. With that dark suit and the shades Mickey would have guessed Fed; but there was something about the man that said he was far too familiar with smoke, shadow and gray areas to be a Fed.

"Kermit Griffin. Come with us, and we can clear up our little misunderstanding," the older of the two local men offered.

"Sounds like a plan," the brown haired man said, following his shaded host. The youngest man followed behind, still glaring at the newcomer.




"Hey, Partner, Donny double D was looking for you and Kermit," Mary Margaret Skellany called as the three men entered the detective's bullpen. Seeing Mickey's shirt, she went silent.

"I'll get to it in a minute," Peter called as he followed after the first two men.

"Detective Griffin, nice to see you out of your office," Chief of detectives Strenlich commented. On seeing the stranger's shirt he shook his head mumbled something incoherent and headed back to his own office.

"You're a detective, too?" Mickey asked the man next to him.

"Oh, Yeah," Kermit answered, rapping on the door they had stopped in front of. According to the writing on the door, a Captain Paul Blaisdell worked in there.

"Come," came a very familiar rumbling voice.

Mickey went white; this was just not his day. How on earth was Control a police captain here when he was the head spook in New York? Well, if anyone could do it, it would be him.

A lean, kind of rugged face looked up at the trio entering. Mickey cringed, he had faced this man too many times not to be a bit nervous when dealing with him. Long, dexterous fingers laced behind the man's head as he leaned back in his chair. He had a slight smile as he got a view of the shirt causing all of the commotion. He knew who was on the shirt, but he had to wonder why the man had given anyone such an item. The was sure be an interesting tale behind it.

"Peter, Kermit, I think I can handle it from here," Paul assured the two men. They recognized the tone as one of polite dismissal.

"Right, Come on kid, we still need to track down Donny," Kermit reminded his companion while steering him towards the door.

The shutting of the office door was followed by a rare sound in that office. Paul began laughing hysterically. He couldn't wait to hear how this guy had gotten a picture of his brother on his shirt. John was even more paranoid than Paul was; if that was possible.

Finally getting his laughter in hand, Paul looked at the man sitting across from him with an expression of surprise. "Can I assume, Mickey, that you have a last name?"

"Kostmayer, Mickey Kostmayer."

Nodding his thanks, Paul reached over and picked up the phone, and dialed a number he had memorized.

"Control," came the immediate response, in a voice that exactly matched his own

"I have a refugee here named Mickey Kostmayer. Would you care to claim him? You should see the shirt he's sporting, it's very spiffy," Paul chuckled.

"Kostmayer's there? Probably doing a job for McCall, but yes I'll claim him," Control chuckled, wondering what his favorite trouble shooter was doing in Sloanville and evidently wearing a t-shirt he had given him once with his picture on it.

"Good, I had a feeling he might have been one of yours," Paul replied, relived that his instincts had been right, as usual.

"How did he end up in your office, though? He's not in trouble is he?" Control groaned. While Mickey was the best at what he did, there were times that his boss was convinced that if Mickey was placed in a planet sized garden of Eden with only one hornet's nest the man would find it by putting his foot in it.

"No, he's not in any trouble. A couple of my detectives came by him and followed the directions that they thought I was giving them by following Mickey. When it was clear that Mr. Kostmayer didn't know me they brought him here to get things straightened out."

"Thanks for calling , let me talk to him and I'll get him out of your hair," Control offered, snorting in disbelief at the entire situation.

"Here, it's for you," the captain said holding the phone out to his guest.

Swallowing, Mickey took the phone. This was not going to be pretty.

"I can explain this," Mickey said first thing.

"I'm sure you can and I would love to hear it," Came a rumbling purr over the line. It was kind of like a lion playing with a cub.

"I was on a job for McCall and it took longer than I planned. I hadn't even realized that I packed this shirt."

"Kostmayer, thank Captain Blaisdell for the use of his phone, and then go out and do your laundry," Control instructed, chuckling.

"Right," Mickey said, handing the phone back to his host. "Thanks for letting me use your phone," he remarked as he headed for the door.

Paul nodded that the stranger could leave and took the phone; after the younger man had left the captain resumed his phone call. "Okay, John, now tell me what possessed you to give one of your men a shirt like that?"

"Well, it started when my goddaughter Yvette came to town for a visit....," began the other man. Both were laughing now over the absurdity of this entire comedy of errors.

Mickey went to the men's room and turned the shirt inside out before leaving. There was no way he was risking more mishaps on his way to the Laundromat.

As he passed the captain's office he could still hear the man laughing about it.

Kermit Griffin paused on his way back to his office with fresh coffee. Paul was in his office laughing. Mickey was leaving with his shirt inside out. Something was going on here.

Turning around he went back to the break room and got a second cup of coffee. Carrying both mugs he tapped on the captain's door and entered. A long and involved history with the older man had resulted in the detective having such privileges.

At Paul's motioning he took a seat after depositing the second mug on the desk and getting a nod of thanks.

Paul finished up his call, wiping a tear from his eye.

"What was that all about?" Kermit asked, in a tone that asked `Do I want to know and can you tell me?'

"Well ,I have a brother on the east coast that's in the business.," Paul began. "It seems that there was a situation when his god-daughter was in town. She was being watched and he had to get her to go with Mickey but she had never met him. He got her to go by sending Mickey over wearing a shirt with his picture on it to let her know that he was one of the good guys. he never asked for the shirt back and Mickey has never offered it. In fact a few times since then Mickey has found the shirt to be of help. Evidently Mickey didn't have any other clean shirts with him."

"And he wore it thinking that no one here knew your brother so there wouldn't be any damage done and the guy would never know about it?" Kermit asked, joining Paul in laughter.

Paul nodded his reply, laughing again about the odds of Mickey wearing it in the one city that would responded to the picture.

Looking up, Paul saw a mischievous glint in his friend's eye. "No you may not have one like that!" Paul got out, laughing again.

Kermit gave him a hurt look. "I don't even wear t-shirts, I was thinking Peter might like one."

"Definitely NOT!" Paul stated quickly and clearly. Peter was a good kid and he loved him dearly, but the kid could not keep a secret. "Well, maybe, but only if it has YOUR picture on it," Paul amended his earlier statement.

Kermit sputtered. "Maybe it's not such a good idea,"

"We've had our laugh, now I've got a meeting with the Mayor and you have a partner to go catch up with," Paul reminded him as Kermit got up and headed out and he returned to the papers on his desk.




Epilogue:

A beautiful, cultured voice came through the intercom box on Control's desk. "Mickey Kostmayer is here to see you, sir."

"Thanks China, send him in and hold my calls, please," he asked.

"Certainly, Jeffe," she responded.

A second later, Mickey entered, head up, but looking rather embarrassed. This was not something Control had ever seen on the younger man before, and it had all his flags going up. Mickey quietly put a freshly laundered and carefully folded shirt on Control's desk, with the familiar picture up.

"Kostmayer, since I'm not a laundry service and that shirt is clean, what is it doing on my desk?" Control asked.

"After this mess, I figured you would want it back," he explained, sitting as Control waved him to a couch.

Control thought a moment, and then moved from behind his desk to the other couch that was perpendicular to the one the younger man was on. He had given the shirt to Mickey when he had asked him for his help as a friend, and he would treat this discussion as one between friends, not as a boss to a subordinate.

"Mickey, the shirt's yours, keep it. Just use more care when you wear it in the future," he instructed. "I am curious though, to know why you had it with you if you didn't intend to wear it?"

"I didn't realize I had packed it until I reached for a clean shirt and realized that the only one I had left was that one. I would never wear it without your permission unless there was no other option and then I would tell you right away," Mickey assured him.

"I know, that's why I never asked for the shirt back and have never worried about you having it. I would never allow an agent to keep something like that, but I wouldn't worry about a friend having it" Control explained, hoping that Mickey understood what he was saying.

"Are you certain?" Mickey asked, looking at his supervisor.

"Yes, I'm certain, now take your shirt and get out of here. I believe that you have some other place to terrorize, like Panama," Control replied, mentioning an assignment the ex-seal had just received.

"Thanks," Mickey grinned taking the shirt back and heading out. He had understood perfectly. He had the shirt because Control considered him a friend and trusted him as a friend. Control still trusted him and so was not willing to take the sign of his friendship and trust back.

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