- Vol. 10
- Chapter 09
She didn’t look like a spy, but that was sort of the point. Middle-aged woman with a handbag and umbrella, no threat there. She loved wearing her bright pink coat that clashed and complemented her orange brolly at the same time, they shouldn’t work together but they did. George, her handler, had told her off for being too bright on assignments.
“You don’t want to stick out in the crowd,” he would admonish her.
“Ah, but they see the coat and not the face,” she would reply. It was true, she had what she thought of as a ‘nobody’ face. It wasn’t pretty and it wasn’t ugly, it was plain and forgettable, which was perfect for her job. So, yes, someone might remember a woman in a fuchsia coat walking down the street, but they’d not recognize her if she queued alongside them in a coffee shop.
Today she was a vivid yet frumpy stranger asking for directions. She had a photographic memory, just one of her many talents, so while she looked in the driver’s window at the files on their lap, drinking in all the data, it looked perfectly innocuous. To anyone watching, she appeared in every practical sense to be a ditsy and irritating individual who didn’t know where she was going. Her hands were busy holding her props, so no-one would suspect a transfer of detailed information. They (if there was a ‘they’) would be looking out for men in suits, surreptitiously exchanging newspapers or briefcases on a park bench. Which was so last century!
She turned away from the car, pointed back up the road, and gushed thanks enthusiastically and loudly as if a newly directed tourist. Dodging puddles and pedestrians she made her way back to the Tube station, ready to jump a few trains in a random pattern, just in case anyone had been watching. The coat was reversible too, so what shone as a blushing rose on the street, quickly became a characterless beige as she walked around a corner.