Everyone loves a good spy story – here’s mine (and its 100% true!)
Peoples names, dates and some other aspects of this story have been deleted or changed in case I’m breaching National Security or something; although these events took place over 25 years ago.
image from www.bloomberg.com
It was a rainy Wednesday in Capital City. I was working at my desk on the 9th floor in one of the many tall Bank Head Offices which littered the CBD. I was in marketing and the grey skies and persistent rain meant work was a good excuse to stay inside. It was going to be bloody impossible to shift any Senior Citizen Banking packages today.
‘Roly,’ prompted Claire, our over efficient, stunningly beautiful, but oh so untouchable Receptionist/Administrator.
‘There’s someone here to see you.’
‘Do you know who it is Claire?’ I asked.
‘No,’ she replied, ‘but he looks creepy.’
‘Tell him I’ll be out in a minute, thanks Claire.’
I tidied my desk and slowly made my way out to the reception area.
Claire was right, he was a bit weird, tall, he was wearing a Tom Ford twelve -button double-breasted, knee-length black-grey herringbone wool greatcoat with flapped pockets and a black belted back. On his hands he wore tight black leather gloves and on his head was a Lock and Co coke coloured trilby.
This guy either had a serious interest in apparel or was a spook – perhaps both. He was also wet and smelt like a tobacconist shop, with old spice aftershave and pipe tobacco competing to overwhelm.
He had a non-descript face – I am usually very good with faces and all I can remember is that his complexion was almost as grey as the sallow Wednesday sky. His hair was grey also and it seemed to me he was well over 60. Apart from that my memory just can’t seem to focus on anything finer.
‘Gidday, I’m Roly Andrew’s,’ I announced enthusiastically walking forward with hand outstretched, ‘how can I help you?’
He didn’t take my hand, his face remained neutral. ‘Is there a place where we can go in private he asked?’ His voice soft but definitely restrained.
Of course, I answered and ushered him to one of the free meeting rooms that lined the outside of the 9th floor.
‘Please take a seat,’ gesturing politely with with my hand, ‘can I take your hat and coat?’
He didn’t answer, he sat, then removed his hat and gloves placing them upon the table in front of him.
Tea, coffee? I inquired.
He shook his head and started to speak. ‘I’m xxxxx xxxxxxx, and I’m with the New Zealand Security Intelligence Service.
Now I’m also good with names – but for the life of me I cannot remember this guys name. Its as though he sprayed me with Amnesia Spray before he left!
He showed me his card as well, but can’t remember a darn thing about it.
‘Do you know Peter Peters?’ (name has been changed) He asked.
‘Yes,’ I do I answered, ‘I know him well.’
‘Good, well Peter Peters has applied to become a member of the Diplomatic Protection Squad’ (DPS) (Government body guards). And I need to do some background checks on him.
Does he drink, your friend Peter Peters?
‘Yes Sir,’ I answered, we play in the same rugby team and we drink as much as any other rugby player.
The spook scratched some notes on a tiny note book, not looking up he then asked, ‘does he gamble?’
‘Yes Sir,’ I answered positively,’about once a month on a Saturday night the boys get together and have a bit of a poker night, we drink, gamble, talk a bit of bullshit, and have a bit of a laugh.’
‘Does he screw around on his wife,’ he asked, the tone becoming deeper and more menacing.
No Sir, definitely not, Peter Peters and Mary Mary are one of the most loved up couples I know, in fact, have ever met. It’s almost sickening sometimes how good they are together, they are high school sweethearts.’
‘Does Mary Mary cheat?’
‘Hell no Sir, she is one of the most dedicated and loyal people I know, she absolutely dotes on Peter Peters.’
Is Peter Peters homosexual, does he take drugs, is he violent, tell me about his politics, all these questions and many more were thrown at me over the next thirty minutes. It was pretty intense and I wondered whether I was giving him what he wanted.
Then without warning, the spook closed his notebook, picked up his hat and gloves, stood, thanked me for my time and walked out, leaving nothing but a small puddle of water on the table and a damp chair.
About a month later my good friend Peter Peters, told me he had been accepted into the DPS. He spent many years being part of the team which protected our Prime Minister before returning to his old occupation. He and Mary Mary are still married and very much in love.
And what do I make of it all, well being interviewed by the NZSIS was exciting, but it was just as exciting to me that spooks did actually dress like spooks. Whether they inspired Hollywood, or Hollywood inspired them, their dress style and sense are second to none.
‘Nice coat James, did you pick that up in NZ on you last mission?’ Asked M.
Kia Ora Roly