001 & 3/4 or Undercover Down Under by Trevor Plumbly

The Spy that Sleeps

Like Emily Smart and Kim Dotcom, I am convinced I am being monitored by the government and with good reason. With all the new technology and more permissive surveillance laws, they’re bound to come for me eventually, so I may as well cough up publically before they do. Truth is, I was sent here as what we refer to in the espionage game as a ‘sleeper’ by the British in 1972. I was never ‘woken’, so financial sweeteners and a new identity won’t be needed to turn me, and age has rendered the ‘honey trap’ useless. It’s been a thankless existence without so much as a discreet nod from Margaret Thatcher and Co. I haven’t had contact with my handler for years, presumably the old bugger’s conked it, leaving a grieving widow with a drawer-full of medals and a king-sized pension, while I’m stuck down here committed to seeking out sensitive secrets in a land where there aren’t any, except at line-out time on the rugby field or where the rudder shape of the Americas Cup yacht is concerned.

Keeping my Head Down (Under)

Unlike Mr Dotcom, I shall go quietly with British dignity despite knowing full well that I will crack. NZ doesn’t boast a Guantanamo Bay facility but it’s got lots of little towns where it would be painful to live for a long period and a few hours of “John Rowles’ Greatest Hits” would rival anything the Yanks could come up with in the way of torture. I am writing this in the hope that some kind soul will draw attention to my plight and alert the Human Rights Commission with a view to ensuring that I am treated decently. Perhaps Amnesty International could also be notified: you see, I haven’t committed a crime, I’ve just waited for the call that never came. But, the Security Service here has the law’s blessing to spy on everyone from infancy to senility, so looking over your shoulder is now a national pastime.

I am keeping a low profile, staying indoors a great deal; this isn’t difficult down here, outdoors is pretty much the same as indoors, just a bit lighter at times. I’m sure my phone is being tapped and my mail intercepted so they probably know all sorts of things about me. I’ve had strange visitors too: yesterday two dark suited young men clutching ‘The Book of Mormon’ called and I was instantly on guard (dark suits do that to me). Taking the initiative, I asked what the requirements for political asylum were in Salt Lake City; without answering they thrust the good book into my hand and fled. Obviously poorly trained operatives. The next visitor was a real pro, a hatchet faced woman around fifty with a road map complexion. Once again I was instantly suspicious; ‘Pussy Galore’ she wasn’t, but maybe, just maybe, it was a sort of ‘honey trap’ in reverse: you have to sleep with her if you don’t talk. She was supposedly canvassing votes for the Green Party; God forbid, if going green makes you look like that, roll on pollution! I brandished the Book of Mormon at her with quiet authority and said cryptically, “The true path is not a political one”. She seemed to take a moment to absorb this religious morsel before deciding that electronic spying was perhaps a safer, truer path and left.

Spying for the New Country rather than the Old

Oh Wondrous Morn! A child is born and everybody’s too busy being clucky to worry about losing basic freedoms and such. No ordinary child this, but not a new Messiah so the cherubim didn’t tootle though it was a close run thing. Slab-faced grannies visibly melted and front row forwards could be seen poring over ‘Woman’s Weekly’. Personally, I find it all a bit much; people have kids all the time and lots of them have lots of them. So it’s a boy? There are only two sorts for God’s sake! I’ve obviously been here too long and as there’s a bit of colonial cynicism creeping in, maybe I could change sides? Under the new surveillance act they must need oodles of dodgy people to spy on to justify the act’s existence and I could be just the chap to point them out. It can’t be that tough, you won’t really need to provide a lot of proof, just point a finger and they’ll do the rest. I am warming to this idea; as soon as I am accepted by the Kiwi spooks, a few people can expect pay-back in the form of total privacy invasion and in some cases even dawn raids. For a start there’s that traffic warden; shifty bugger, I reckon he’s got something to hide.

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