Feet propped at the edge of his desk, shirt button loosened and tie askew, Napoleon Solo negligently fingered the twin objects in his hand. Two highly prized, sought after, and extremely difficult to acquire tickets for the Russian Ballet. His agile Rind fleetingly skimmed over his possibilities.
These could really gain
Maureen, the dancer would be eternally grateful, he smiled wolfishly. Then again, she'd spend the entire evening explaining the significance of every movement on stage and heed be regaled with the entire history of dance.
Elaine would hang on him the entire night. Then she would call him every day for the rest of the week to express her his effusive gratitude. Napoleon Solo was never one to turn away the lavish rewards of a grateful woman. But, there was a limit to all good things.
Helene, certainly, he could count on to be available, willing and a number of other enticing adjectives, but, she would demand top flight, first class accoutrements. From an expensive orchid corsage, the ritziest restaurant in town, and champaign in the three digit category. Hmmm. It was the end of the month. He couldn't risk that kind of stress on any of his credit cards. And it could never be justified on his expense account.
April wasn't in town so that left her off the list.
He'd have to do some fancy footwork of his own just to get a companion to go with him to the ballet. All he asked was an amiable, companionable person with whom to spend a quiet, uneventful evening. Basically a gregarious and genial person, Solo felt life's experiences more treasured when shared.
He sought someone who could appreciate the cultural and intellectual stimulation of the ballet, as well as the esthetic beauty of the performance. A person who could maintain clever conversation over a good dinner and a fine wine -- and appreciate those subtleties, too. Maybe even sympathize with and understand how prized was this brief respite from the life and death gambles of his career. Wouldn't t hurt either if his companion could appreciate the pains he'd gone to just to get hold of these blasted tickets!
Did there exist an accomplice who could enjoy an easy, delightful, compatible, camaraderie one slightly weary and worn secret agent? Surely that wasn't too much to ask!
Suddenly, the perplexed countenance brightened, an easy grin played with amusement on the mobile face. He'd missed the forest for the trees! The answer was right a front of his eyes all the time.
Why hadn't he seen it before! Amiable, compatible, amusing comrade. All qualities synonymous with a very obvious choice: Who better to take along to the Russian ballet than a good Russian friend? After all, what were friends for?
He picked up the nearby phone and punched the button to an interoffice number. There warn a quick answer from the other end of the time.
"Illya, what are you doing tonight?"
"Oh, I have some free tickets to the Russian ballet. Know any Russians who might be interested?"
There was a smile in the reply. "I will probably regret this, but at what cost are these free tickets?"
"Well, maybe we could go backstage and you could introduce me to some of the ballerinas?"
Sign. "Why not? I have nothing better to do."
Solo hung up, smiling. No question he had made the right choice.