A Tale of Lives and Lies and Spies | Teen Ink

A Tale of Lives and Lies and Spies

November 4, 2012
By IfLifeGivesYouLemons PLATINUM, Sacramento, California
IfLifeGivesYouLemons PLATINUM, Sacramento, California
37 articles 0 photos 22 comments

Favorite Quote:
When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down 'happy'. They told me I didn't understand the assignment. I told them they didn't understand life

The bells above me tinkled 3 and a half times exactly as the clock stroke 12. I nodded towards the shop parallel to me while gesturing subtly from underneath my sleeve, then set off at 75 degrees from the silver side of the red lamppost with the flickering bulb. At a measure of 12 and one quarter paces I began humming a rendition of “Sleigh Bells” in minor key, until I came across a department store Santa Clause who made a subtle gesture at me from under his sleeve. Tipping my hat, I returned to my post just outside the store.

The mission was crucial. The components were tedious and exact. If a single piece went wrong, we would all fail. And it was vital for the sake of all we know and love that we not fail.

“Little late to be standing outside in the cold, isn’t it?”, asked a gentleman in a top hat and a monocle. I punched him in the face several times so that blood spurted from his nose, knocked his legs out from under him, elbowed him in the gut until his breath came out with a whooshe, and then stood and helped him up politely.

“Yes, yes it is, isn’t it?” I returned with a smile. Attempting to smirk back at me, the gentleman stumbled away. I brought out my cell phone and sent a text message:

Pastrami on rice bread with cheese and a dash of lemon

I leaned back against the lamp post and whistled the chorus of “Santa Claus is Coming To Town”, then struck up a cigarette. No one in the organization was allowed to smoke, but cigarettes made for easy, non-suspicious smoke signaling devices. I tapped it against the lamp post in a twisted morse code, then twirled it in the air with a flourish before quickly dropping it in the icy street and kicking snow over it. Presently, a fellow in casual faded jeans and a sweatshirt appeared.

“Cold out, isn’t it?”, he asked, and made a subtle gesture from underneath his sleeve.

“Quite, isn’t it?”, I replied, then walked away while focusing hard on translating the exact words on the Magna Carta into Mandarin.

I found the deserted allyway, sprinted back and forth across the width 3 times, walked exactly 1 and three quarters steps from the third chipped brick to the right, and hopped on the snow 3 and a half times. A passageway opened up and I dropped down it into headquarters.

The busy, bustling hallway of the headquarters entrance was filled with people pushing and shoving past each other, but they all immediately stopped and fell silent when the shoot cover opened. I made a subtle gesture from underneath my sleeve, and everyone moved on with their business. The operation we had going on involved more people than anyone really knew. Everyone was a part of a certain department that was in contact with certain other departments that were in contact with other departments. Every department was in charge of a certain portion of the operation. No one knew how many departments there were or what kinds of departments there were. All we knew was that they were linked very specifically so that if one department did something, found something, created something, decided something, or anything else, sooner or later every other department would know about it. Information was passed quickly through groups of department’s news feeds, so that no one potentially important was left ignorant.

My department was the spying department. They say that my department is one of the biggest, with thousands of people spread out at important locations across the globe. My job was to keep a lookout at wherever post they sent me, check up on certain people, watch out for certain people, and report absolutely anything I saw.

I went to my computer and quickly typed up a summary of what happened:

After flicking through the reports of others and finding nothing of consequence, I left headquarters and returned to my dwelling.

The next morning was Christmas Eve. I awake at 4:58 AM and dressed in 3 layers of coats, 2 layers of heavy pants, and thick fur-lined snow boots. More employees than we’ve kept track of had lost digits, arms, and lives in the bitterly freezing weather of this next post. Since the last one died, they had installed extreme heaters to replace the old skimpy ones, but even those failed to keep the temperature high enough for human safety. One simply had to dress warmly, keep moving, and hope the electricity didn’t short out.

I walked as casually as I could in 2-foot-thick layers of clothing to the “minivan” waiting outside my house. It appeared to be your average daily cheap wreck of a car used mostly for shopping trips and picking up kids from school, but underneath it had been enhanced with a three and a half thousand horsepower engine underneath the hood (don’t ask me how they did it – engineering is only loosely connected to the spying department).

“Good evening sir”, I remarked pleasantly to the gentleman in the driver’s seat, making a subtle gesture from underneath my sleeve. It was more difficult with the multiple sleeves to contend with, but I managed.

“As well to you, sir. Please, take a seat”. I did so. “I have some rather good news for you, agent. This will be the last mission.”


“The objective is nearly reached. This will be your last mission.”

I stared at him, not sure what to say. My last mission? This organization was my whole life. I had gone to a college hosted here by the education department. I had moved halfway across the world from my parents at age 21 for the organization. I had cut off contact with my high school friends, and I had never had a boyfriend. I was a 43 year old woman never once in a relationship – not even close to one. I hadn’t spoken to a single family member in a solid 20 years. And now he was telling me it was over? Gone?

“Sir…does that mean-”

“Yes. You will be provided with room and board until you can find yourself a suitable job. If this job has not been acquired within half a year, I’m afraid you will be evicted onto the streets. Within that time any necessary education will be provided. I’m sorry, agent. This is the end”.

“What if the mission fails”

“You know what happens then.”

I sat back in my chair. I did know what happened then. Before, if one or two missions failed we simply worked around it. But so close to reaching the objective, there was no room for failure. It hit me then – the last mission. Not just my last mission…the last mission. I would be the last to perform a duty for the organization. That meant that the objective would be fulfilled by none other than myself. The fate of our universe rested inside my hands.

We arrived at our destination within several hours with minimal difficulties from enemies. Most of those that bothered us were easy enough to shoot down. I stepped out onto the icy landscape. How many spies had walked this ground? Hundreds? Thousands? Trodden all over the snow and mud, never knowing what lay underneath.

The driver of the car handed me a small remote.

“You know what to do”, he said once before climbing into the car and driving away.

I did know what to do. I knew what I had to do. What I was supposed to do. What I must do. I didn’t know, however, if I had the courage to truly do so. In a span of 2 minutes I had gone from moderate-ranking-spy whom no one particularly cared about, to being in full charge of the fate of everything living and in existence. I sat down for a few minutes, just trying to take it all in.
Finally, I accepted the fact that it wouldn’t get easier with time. I needed to plunge straight in, or it would never get done. With a deep breath, I punched in the numbers, performed a series of gymnastics, uttered a few syllables, and hopped around on one foot a bit. Finally, while I panted from exertion, the cover of the cave opened up. I caught my breath; it was fantastical. It was the stuff of myth and legends, and all of the delicacies of fantasies and fairytales. I stood in awe for a moment, taking in all the beauty and wonder and mystery the wide, open cave possessed. And then, trying not to think about what was ahead of me, I took a deep breath and ventured inside.

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