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Authors: William Johnston

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Get Smart 9 - Max Smart and the Ghastly Ghost Affair

BOOK: Get Smart 9 - Max Smart and the Ghastly Ghost Affair
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MAX SMART
and the
GHASTLY
GHOST
AFFAIR

Assigned to trail KAOS’s top U.S. assassins to a secret seminar, Max and wife 99 board a train and start searching for the KAOS killer contingent. They are checking out passengers when lunch is announced. One by one all the passengers file into the dining car . . . and disappear! Rather than ignore the “drop-out” situation, Max and 99 report the curious incident to the conductor, who conducts them, at gunpoint, to the engineer—KAOS’s fast-acting, antiseptic assassin, Arbuthnot. The train speeds to Arbuthnot’s devilish destination—a ghost town with a small but spirited population: one ectoplasmic prospector and his immortal mule. Max manages to win the western wraith to the side of good. But can Max and his supernatural sidekicks stop Arbuthnot? And will Max ever find his Coolidge-head penny phone in time to summon the Chief and Control’s counter-attacking counter forces? As usual, Max’s blundering booboos and mindless maneuvers menace friend instead of foe!

Which all adds up to a ghastly ghost affair that’s really out-of-this-world entertainment.

GET SMART
novels
by William Johnston

Get Smart!
Sorry Chief . . .
Get Smart Once Again!
Max Smart and the Perilous Pellets
Missed It By That Much!
And Loving it!
Max Smart - The Spy Who Went Out to the Cold
Max Smart Loses Control
Max Smart and the Ghastly Ghost Affair

© 1969 TALENT ASSOCIATES—PARAMOUNT LTD.

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED, INCLUDING THE RIGHT
TO REPRODUCE IN WHOLE OR IN PART
IN ANY FORM

PUBLISHED SIMULTANEOUSLY IN CANADA

LIBRARY OF CONGRESS CATALOG CARD NUMBER
AC78-86678

A TEMPO BOOKS
Original

TEMPO BOOKS EDITION, 1969
FIRST PRINTING, September 1969

PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

CONTENTS

MAX SMART and the GHASTLY GHOST AFFAIR

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

MAX SMART
and the
GHASTLY
GHOST
AFFAIR
1.

M
AX
S
MART
, Agent 86 for Control, trotted down the steps from the upper floor of his apartment, then halted at the landing and glanced out the window. He was pleased to see that the sun was out and the sky was clear. So far, so good, he thought. He had been up for nearly a half-hour, and, as yet, nothing startling or disastrous had occurred. Perhaps one of those days unlike any other day was beginning. Maybe this Monday would go down in the annals of—

As Max started down the short flight of stairs that led to the foyer and the living room, he heard a noise from the direction of the kitchen. Quickly, trained to act without thinking, he flattened himself against a wall and whipped out his pistol. He heard the noise again. It sounded like pans rattling. Slowly, pistol at the ready, Max moved toward the kitchen.

As he reached the kitchen doorway, he heard the sound once more. Max took in a deep breath, then threw the door open—and found himself face to face with the intruder in his kitchen. She was a strikingly attractive young woman, with dark hair and soft dark eyes, and a particularly fetching smile.

“Good-morning, Max,” the young woman said, smiling fetchingly and pushing his pistol aside. “What would you like for breakfast?”

Max looked sheepish. “I’m sorry I keep doing that, 99,” he said to his wife, putting the gun away. “It’s just that it’s very difficult for me, in some ways, to get used to being married. Before, when I heard sounds in the morning in the kitchen, it was always a KAOS agent waiting to assassinate me. So, when I went in to put on breakfast, I’d draw first and plug in the coffee-maker second. Old habits are difficult to break.”

“Well, from now on, it will be me in the kitchen,” 99 said. “See? There are a lot of advantages to being married. Now, Max, what would you like for breakfast?”

“Oh, the same,” Max replied, “coffee and toast.” He headed toward the living room. “I’ll have it out here,” he said.

“Max, coffee and toast aren’t enough,” 99 said, following him. “You need more nourishment. After all, you lead a strenuous life.”

“All right,” Max said. “Instead of coffee and toast, I’ll have
potage bisque de homard, filet de boeuf à la façon des natues, puree de marrons
and
omelette Alaska.”

99
stared at him wide-eyed. “Max—what’s that?”

“Well, that’s lobster bisque, fillet of beef, chestnut puree and baked Alaska.”

“Max, I asked for a suggestion for breakfast, not for a banquet at the French consulate.”

“You said I need more nourishment, 99. You can’t say what I suggested wouldn’t be nourishing.”

“Would you settle for toast and coffee, Max?”

He nodded. “I’ll have toast and coffee, 99.”

“Right,” 99 said, heading back toward the kitchen.

“Toast and coffee for three.” She entered the kitchen and the door closed behind her.

Max frowned. Then, using his fingers, he added up the number of occupants in the apartment. It came to two. Yet, 99 had said ‘toast and coffee for
three.’
Obviously, they were going to have a visitor.

Max returned to the kitchen doorway and stood in the opening. “That was very cute, 99, the way you told me that,” he said. “I like the modern way best. In the old days, the wife used to let her husband discover the knitting. This is much better. Because the knitting might be around for years and I would never see it. I might discover the knitting
needles,
but the knitting itself, no. When are you due?”

99 had been dropping bread into the toaster but had stopped to turn to Max and look at him puzzledly. “Max, when am I due for what? What are you talking about?”

“I’m talking about the little visitor you’re expecting,” Max replied. “You just told me about it, in your cute little way, when you said ‘toast and coffee for three.’ ”

“Max, the visitor I’m expecting isn’t exactly little. It’s the Chief. He called while you were in the shower and said for us to wait here for him.”

“Oh,” Max replied, mildly disappointed. “Well, it’s probably just as well. If it was the other kind of visitor, I imagine he, she or it would be too young for toast and coffee.” He thought a moment, then said, “This is one of the advantages of being married that I’m really going to like,”

“What’s that, Max?”

“Having the Chief come here instead of us going to the office,” Max replied. “No more fighting that morning traffic. No more punching that time clock. This will be great!”

“Max, it’s only
this
morning that he’ll be coming here. Normally, well go to the office just as usual. He said he has a new assignment for us, and we’ll be able to leave from here just as well as from the office. I think it’s—”

The doorbell chimed.

“That’s probably the Chief, Max.”

“No, I think it was the doorbell, 99. The doorbell chimes. The Chief just sort of groans. You can tell the difference by listening to— Oh, yes, I see what you mean—”

Max left the kitchen and went to the door and disengaged the several locks, then opened the door a crack and peeked out. The Chief of Control was there.

“Hi, Chief,” Max said. “We don’t have a password here, so we’ll have to skip that part of our morning meeting.”

“Good, Max—just open the door.”

“How will I know if you’re friend or foe if we don’t have a password?” Max asked, keeping the door closed except for the crack. “You could be a KAOS agent disguised as the Chief, you know.”

The Chief was frowning, sniffing the air. “Max, I think the toast is burning,” he said.

Max opened the door. “That’s the password,” he said. Then, as the Chief entered, he called out to 99. “99, the password is burning!”

“I know!” 99 called back. “Don’t worry—I’m adding a little more water!”

“I guess it wasn’t the toast that was burning, it was the coffee,” Max said to the Chief.

The Chief looked perplexed. “Max, it’s toast that burns. I don’t think coffee ever burns.”

“Well, 99 is sort of new at this,” Max explained. “She probably doesn’t know that yet.” He motioned to a chair. “Have a seat, Chief. Breakfast is coming right up. How would you like ham and eggs and fried potatoes and toast and marmalade?”

The Chief beamed. “That sounds wonderful, Max!”

“Okay, we’ll go out to a restaurant,” Max said. “Just a minute—I’ll tell 99 we’re leaving.”

“No, Max! Don’t—”

The kitchen door opened at that moment, and 99 came out. She was carrying a large tray. On it was a stack of toast and a coffee urn and cups and saucers and sugar and cream.

“ ‘Morning, Chief,” 99 said, placing the tray on the low table in front of his chair. “I’m sorry I don’t have a bigger breakfast to offer you. But I sort of wasn’t expecting company.”

“That’s all right, 99—this looks fine,” the Chief said. “The
potage bisque de homard, filet de boeuf à la façon des natues, puree de marrons
and
omelette Alaska
I usually have for breakfast always leave me with a stuffed feeling, anyway.”

“What’s the assignment, Chief?” Max asked, as 99 poured the coffee.

“Well, Max—”

“Have some coffee, Chief,” 99 said.

“What? Oh . . . yes, all right.” He lifted the cup and sipped. Then, putting it down, he started to continue the reply to Max. “This assignment—”

“How was it, Chief?” 99 broke in.

The Chief looked a little uncomfortable. “Frankly, 99, it tasted a little burned,” he replied.

“I was afraid of that,” 99 said, annoyed.

“What was it you were saying about the assignment, Chief?” Max said.

“Oh . . . yes . . . Well, this assignment—”

“Try the toast, Chief,” 99 interrupted.

Resigned, the Chief picked up a slice of toast and tasted it. “I’m sorry, 99, but it’s a little weak,” he told her.

“I knew it!” she said. “I added too much water.”

“99, would you please let the Chief tell us about the assignment?” Max said.

BOOK: Get Smart 9 - Max Smart and the Ghastly Ghost Affair
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