I work with a very nice young woman that recently had a birthday. She gave herself two presents. One was a new pair of glasses; the other was a very nice haircut with red-purple highlights. It was almost as if a new person came to work. I gave her the nom de plume of Tanya.
I can’t reveal it for national security purposes. Although she works for our office, on an almost full time basis, her other job and career choice is as an international intelligence operative. In other words, she's a spy. A spook, a shadow of the night you hope to never notice on a dark street.
I also can't reveal which agency exactly for whom she works. I can't say if it's the FBI, DEA, CIA or NSA. I can’t say if it’s any the other three letter alphabet names the government uses for its agencies.
Suffice to say, in her short twenty-two years, she has gained a wealth of knowledge about international intrigue. We traded stories back and forth about our careers. Oh yeah, I can't tell you either what three letter agency employed me many years ago. If I did, I'd have to kill you.
One of her missions was in New York City, where she had to attend a diplomatic party and ingratiate herself to the son of the host. By doing that, she might access the private family rooms and get some highly classified information off the computer in the father's study.
She plied the son with many drinks and while he thought they were going upstairs for some "fun," she had other ideas. As soon as they reached the study, he finished his drink and out he went before he even could try to kiss her. Having ingested some super-secret knockout drug, didn't hurt either.
She locked the study door and contacted one of the computer geeks that guided her through the steps to extract the information from the laptop and then embed a secret program that would automatically erase the information the next time it opened and crash the entire computer.
All of that only took a few minutes and she exited the room, blowing a kiss as she backed out, just in case there was someone outside the door. She slowly walked down the stairs, got her coat and disappeared into the night. Another mission successfully completed!
Here's the story I gave in her in return. I was also twentysomething and feeling invincible, totally. Some three-letter agency, which thought my extraordinary interpersonal skills would come in handy in their line of work, had recruited me when I was in college. Who knew that being a disc jockey would turn into something more?
The agency gave me three months training, at their secret facility. I learned many things I never knew existed. I can't talk about them. After I left the company, I had nightmare for years afterward about some of the things I had seen and done.
They sent my partner and me on a mission to Sacramento, CA, to gather information about a counterfeiting ring that was printing US currency that looked so real, most people couldn't tell them from the real thing.
Through a lot of time and patience, we found the building where these fake bills were printed. We were in a crappy old car, which wouldn't stick out like a sore thumb in this area and waited until the building emptied out. We watched this building for a week to see what the schedule was, and no one worked in there at night.
Our bosses wanted that building taken care of, along with the people inside. Who were we to argue? We loved to blow things up. One night when the building was empty, we broke in and planted explosives with remote controls all around the inside where they would do the most damage.
It was a stand-alone building and we had to make it implode and not explode to the outside. The math involved didn't concern us. We only had to put the explosives where told and wait for the right moment.
That moment came the next day around 5 pm, when the area emptied out, but our building was still going strong. My partner and I set up the remote controls, pushed the buttons and BOOM!
First, the roof came down, which would contain the rest of the explosions, which we had set up to destroy all the machines and computers. Then we slowly drove away and went back to our "normal" lives.
The life of a spy can be very rewarding, and sometimes very boring. Tanya and I like the excitement.
Click here to read part two of Spies Like Us.
Matt Seinberg lives on Long Island, a few minutes east of New York City. He looks at everything around him and notices much. Somewhat less cynical than dyed in the wool New Yorkers, Seinberg believes those who don't see what he does like reading about what he sees and what it means to him. Seinberg columns revel in the silly little things of life and laughter as well as much well-directed anger at inept, foolish public officials. Mostly, Seinberg writes for those who laugh easily at their own foibles as well as those of others.
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