I wanted to be a spy growing up. Which makes it seem odd that I never liked James Bond. In fact I don’t think I ever watched anything spy related come to think of it. The only thing that even came close was Inspector Gadget so Christ knows what I got the notion to be a spy from, probably the Milk Tray adverts.
Looking back I was a bit creepy. I’d look out my bedroom window spying on the neighbours or passers by and make notes on what they were doing as if they were linked to the KGB or what would later turn out to be ISIS.
It actually came in handy one day as there was an Ice Cream Van parked across the road for an unusually long time. My Nan decided it was too long (we’re talking hours here and he wasn’t selling) so she decided to report him but as she did he drove off. Couldn’t report him then could she? Oh yes she could because some freaky little bastard upstairs had jotted down his registration in the hopes that one day, being the brains behind nailing Mr Whippy would get him into MI5.
During playtimes or lunchbreaks at school I used to creep back in to the building and hide, dodging the teachers. I wasn’t bad at it but remember getting caught a couple of times where I would be tied up and tortured for intel on where the fat kid hid all the plasticine until my mum came to pick me up.
Much like my dream of being a Ghostbuster my willingness to be a Spy waned over the years and was superseded by a nightmare working in an office like every other lazy bellend out there.
But one day, when I was 30, I was presented with an opportunity.
And for the life of me I cannot remember how it came about. All I know is the following..
I had to meet some moustachioed bloke in McDonalds, all pre-arranged, for him to teach me how to apply trackers to vehicles. Not like official trackers companies put on their delivery vehicles so they know their drivers aren’t rubbing one out in a layby, no, these were dirty trackers. The sort people don’t know are there.
I was excited.
It was a bit of a leap for me to meet this bloke. The days of me meeting strangers with facial hair for a drink came and went during an experimental period in 1998. I had no idea who he was other than he was in the surveillance game. He told me he’d been in some hairy situations in warzones as a cameraman and doing Dom Littlewood type stuff over here.
He was friendly, if a little intimidating. We chatted for a while, had some coffee, and then my training began. And I use the word training loosely.
He showed me a weighty box about the size of a block of butter (they’re smaller now) with two strong magnets on it. We went into the car park and he pointed to a van smack in the middle of it and told me to “Go over to that van and stick the tracker underneath it”.
Simple. Not like its broad daylight or anything is it? Actually I should probably state it WAS broad daylight and in full view of a packed McDonalds.
I strolled over to the vehicle with device in hand (oo-er), stopped alongside it and dropped to one knee. Then I pretended to do my laces up which isn’t easy when you’re wearing slip-ons. Either way I managed to use this clever tactic to stick the block to the underside of the van first time, far enough back that it wasn’t visible.
I’D DONE IT!
I was truly a man.
I head back to the international man of mystery inwardly cock-a-hoop that I’d succeeded. He wasn’t too fussed, just told me to go and get it back!
I went through the fake laces charade again and returned triumphant and fully trained.
He congratulated me and said he’d be in touch. We went our separate ways and I eagerly awaited my first assignment.
I don’t know how long I had to wait but it wasn’t long, maybe a few days.
The phone rang.
A voice said “Hammy I’ve got a job for you”*
But little did I know my first task would be in another country.
To Be Continued…
*To be clear he didn’t call me Hammy as that’s not my real name. If he did that’d be mental.