Short Stories

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For Two Pins!

Luke Luvvy introduced himself as being the head of the spy-ring and asked his newest member the question he always asked to make sure the men or women knew what it meant to say yes to this commitment, bearing in mind he knew the real identity of the person standing in front of him.

‘You want to be a member of the Secret Service?’

‘Yes sir!’

‘We have stringent tests and the training is very hard.  Are you sure?’

‘Yes sir!’

He had to make do with becoming a member of a secret organisation not known in the United Kingdom.  It wasn’t established as being bona fide and the way they recruited new prospective clients as they called them was by advertising in the press.  Unbeknown to Peter, people used to go in, but nobody had ever come out, well not alive anyway.

Peter followed Luvvy down a long corridor who was talking all the time and Peter caught a few words that made him stop in his tracks.  The man turned and said, ‘What’s the matter?’

‘You didn’t say anything about having to stay here, my gran is expecting me home for tea.’

‘Sorry luv, you’ve got to stay here, we can’t have you roaming the streets telling everybody about us.’

‘I wasn’t going to, I was just going home for tea.’

‘Never mind, she’ll understand.’

‘She won’t know will she.’

‘That’s a good point young man, she won’t, will she.  I can see we have a promising James Bond.’

‘Just follow me luv.’  Peter followed listening to all the instructions that were coming out of the mouth of the man in front.  Peter was not dim by any means and he had not informed the welcome committee that he had learnt how to kill people with ju jitsu and had other academic skills to hand.  In most of his subjects he had first degrees, in fact he was the kind of person who was skilled in Martial Arts and was able to put people under by just touching them.

The man opened the door to a long room with a counter.  He said, ‘Get a basket and go and collect your uniform.’

‘Uniform?’ said Peter, ‘Why a uniform?’

‘You ask a lot of questions, don’t you!’

‘Helps me stay alive’ murmured Peter.

‘What was that you said?’ said the man.

‘Nothing, said Peter. He wasn’t going to give away his own secrets.  Peter dressed in the uniform they had provided and it looked familiar to him as being a Dissident or maybe a Russian soldier’s uniform and he guessed he was on the opposing team.  He met up with a few other men and women and they had a brief chat about who they were, but Peter was not going to play ball by giving much information about himself.

There first test was to write down their names and addresses and what experiences they had during their life time.  Peter gave his name as Peter Ex.  His address he had written as “not applicable” Hobbies: not applicable. Interests: not applicable. Sex: Sometimes.

There followed questions and Peter was able to answer all of them and he guessed that most of the new intake would have answered them without any problem, they were too easy to be taken as serious for the job.

He handed in his paper and the man frowned.  ‘You haven’t filled in your form properly?’

‘Sorry!’ said Peter, ‘But I couldn’t see the point of giving you information that has no bearing with the job. You’ve tried so very hard in other ways, but as the test questions were so easy, I just wondered what your game was?’

‘We need to know your background, where were you born and your home address and the name of your parents and your name?’

‘I gave you my name, it is Peter Ex.  I was born in Dagenham.  My parents are dead, they were killed in a road accident, I was the only one to survive.  My Gran took over as my parent, she is 85 years of age and that is why I have not given you her address and I don’t see why an innocent person should suffer under your hands.’

‘What on earth are you talking about, we don’t kill innocent people, we train people in the art of being a spy.’

‘Perhaps I would have believed you had I not been dressed as a Russian soldier.’  The man coughed and said, ‘Another test paper tomorrow and the next two weeks and then, my friend the real training will begin.’

Peter sailed through each question paper, there were four each day.  Some were odd questions and some those who set the papers were trying to blind you with science and other test papers were verging on personal details about your habits and there was one question that should someone try to murder one of your family, where would you hide them.  Peter immediately saw through the question and just as well as speaking to other pupils, no-one had this question in their test papers.  He had answered, ‘I wouldn’t have taken my Gran anywhere, I would leave her at home as nobody knows where she lives – not even you.’

Peter only assumed that if he had mentioned the name of a place, they would cotton onto where his Gran lived and it would be just a matter of time when she would be located.  It was sort of a guarantee that in case he didn’t survive, the one living family member would hand over a letter he had left her to the real authorities if he should become a victim.

Peter had not placed all his cards on the table, in fact he worked for the British Government as a spy and he was sent on this mission to worm out this secret organisation that pretended to be part of a Government Department that trained men and women to become spies, but not British spies.  Apparently these people had rumbled Peter’s persona or had an inkling of what he really was and he was not treated as an ordinary person like the others.

The day came when the first field test was to be held and Peter was chosen.  He was told that he was to be tied up, blindfolded and dumped twenty miles away in a field and he had to get back to the vehicle at the starting point before midnight.  He was roughly manhandled and placed in the back of a car and before the end of the journey, his hands were tied behind his back and a blindfold was placed over his eyes.  He guessed that three men had chucked him over a hedge and into a field and into a patch of stinging nettles.

He stood up and walked for about a half hour. He could hear the swishing of his legs as he walked through tall grass towards what he hoped was a fence and his senses were accurate.  He felt with his body the height of the fence and without thinking what might be on the other side stood on tip-toe and leaned across.  He remembered what his Martial Arts Master had said to him once. ‘If you have to lean over an obstacle to escape from something, when the body swings, your feet will follow, but make sure you roll yourself into a ball, you won’t hurt yourself as much.’  Peter grinned as he went over the fence.  Once over, It was easy for him to get his hands to the front and take off the blindfold.  He was incredibly lucky not to have been run over, if it hadn’t been for temporary traffic lights at both ends because of road works, he could easily have become a victim in a road accident.  Several workmen were working opposite and all stared at Peter who raised his hands in the air and one of the men came over and released him from his bonds. He explained that he had been the victim of a mugging and the perpetrators had tied his hands and blindfolded him and chucked him over a hedge.

He had been placed, he assumed in the usual place where other victims had been left, because it was a quiet side road with hardly any traffic.  Peter had walked at right angles and had ended up on the corresponding fence where the main road was.

He was invited to the makeshift hut where they made him a cup of tea and gave him a plate of chocolate digestives.  He asked if one of their trucks would be going near to Swivelstone as it was the nearest Police Station he knew of and asked if they could take him about two miles from the town.  He asked if they had any spare clothes and one workman who was about Peter’s size said he had and that he usually changed before going home. Peter gave the workman his uniform.

Their lorry would be leaving at mid-day to a quarry outside the town and they would drop him off at the nearest roundabout.  They explained that because of dust and weight of their lorries being more than the road weight allowed they were obliged to travel outside the Town Centre.

Peter had intended to visit the Police Station, but was wary when a policeman passed him in the street who he had seen at the organisation’s HQ.  So it was evident that infiltration had taken place and Peter could see by some photographs that he had viewed before this mission that this man looked exactly like one of his colleagues.

It clicked in Peter’s mind that every new recruit was picked, not for their intelligence but their appearance.  Those that they were not sure of or knew to be someone they didn’t want were killed off in the field training and Peter suspected that these persons that had been trained to kill were all around the town in some sort of guise, ready to pounce on their intended victim.  They could be any number of people, a postman, a milkman and the one Peter saw, a policeman.

Peter did have one advantage, no-one knew about his change of clothing.  All the killers would be looking for someone in uniform.  It was time to contact M I 5. It was in the form of a capsule that he had sewn in the uniform lapel and had transferred to the new clothing when he exchanged with the workman.  He fished it out of his pocket and swallowed it.  Once it dissolved it sent out a high frequency signal and M I 5 signalling and radio section would pick up a pre-recorded message.

Soon British Agents would be knocking on the door of the once secret HQ of a spy ring that the British Government had been trying to locate for more than an embarrassing three year term.

Peter’s job was to eliminate those that were out looking for him, so the hunted was going to be the hunter.  Peter knew the six men that needed to be stopped.  The seventh he didn’t have to worry about.  He knew he was being detained at Swivelstone police station.

He saw the vehicle he had been bundled into on his outward journey. It wasn’t cleverly hidden and he saw it when he entered into an area of trees and bushes.  It was going to be a cat and mouse sort of situation and Peter found the three men who had chucked him over the hedge sitting and playing cards around a tree stump. It was going to be awkward trying to kill one of them with the other two looking on.  Peter waited for the right opportunity when one of the men got up to go for a pee.  Peter allowed the man to experience his last bit of ecstasy. He crept up behind him and held his head in a simple head lock and effortless he turned his head sharply to the right.  It was like a footstep on some undergrowth, there was a loud click and the man fell limp and Peter dragged him into the bushes.  The second of the three came looking for his mate and received the same treatment.

The third man never came, he was still by the tree stump but he was not moving.  Peter touched him on the shoulder and the man fell backwards, he had a bullet hole in the middle of his forehead.  Peter heard a noise and dropped as if he had been pole-axed. He recognised the sound of an assassin’s rifle shooting in his direction.  The rifle must have been fitted with a silencer because of a light thud as if someone was plumping up a cushion.

Peter decided to play dead, his right arm felt funny and he realised he had been nicked by the second bullet which had scored a slight groove in his arm. He was bleeding.  Unfortunately the grass where he had fallen was not enough to hide himself from the sniper.  He decided to crawl on his back towards some trees.  It was a difficult thing to do as bending his knee to assist himself backwards would have exposed his position.  He slid one side of his body and then the other side until he finally found sufficient cover behind a large tree.  He bandaged his arm with his handkerchief and climbed the tree.  He needed to be in a place that the assassin would not have guessed he’d be in and waited.  Peter waited two hours and eventually the sniper, suitably covered with greenery came into the open.  Peter knew he would look up, but it was too late for the man as Peter landed on his back feet first.  This only stunned the man who was up on his feet instantly but without his rifle, but Peter saw the glint of a blade flash in the light of a fading moon.  The man was no amateur and stood in a commando stance, with knife poised in one hand and the other hand beckoning Peter forward and mouthing the words ‘try and take me.’  He had hardly finished saying the words when Peter lunged forward taking the man by surprise, he wrapped his arm round his neck and lifted him upwards off his feet.  Peter heard the crack of his neck and his hunter fell to the ground.  ‘Two to go.’ Peter murmured.  Peter sat on the ground and exhaustion briefly took over from the adrenalin he had mustered up from nowhere.

He emptied the rifle and pocketed the shells and he smashed the gun butt against a tree.  He picked up the knife.  He didn’t have time to move the body out of sight. He froze as he heard another noise. He wasn’t going to hang around to find out.  He ran silently away from the scene.

*                             *                             *

George Grant, the look a like of the M.I.5 boss spoke to Luke Luvvy ‘I sent you Peter Ex to get rid of and you muffed it.  He’s out there waiting for us.’ ‘We’ll get him, I have several men looking for him.  I sent him on that field test and my men were all around that area like a rash.  We know that he changed clothes with one of the workmen, unfortunately he wasn’t one of our men.  Pity really, he was mistaken for Peter Ex and was killed on the way home.  I thought it was too easy when one of the agents reported in.’

‘You don’t know Peter Ex, he wasn’t trained by M I 5, he doesn’t play by the rules of fair play.  He looks after number one.’

‘Come on, he can’t be that good.  You make him sound superhuman.’

‘When you sent me to replace the top man in M I 5 he knew I was an imposter, he didn’t tell me to my face, he just said I smelt different.’

‘Smelt different, what did he mean, how can you tell by how somebody is different from the way he smells?’

‘Peter Ex can.’

‘I don’t really believe all this.   You look exactly like the head of M I 5, I wouldn’t have sent you, had you not been ready to take over.  You could have been twins.’

‘Have you got rid of our prisoner yet?’

‘No.  I’ve been saving him for a rainy day and it looks like rain.’

‘What are going to do?’

‘Release him and see what happens.’

‘Is that it?’

‘Of course you must be with him.’

‘Me! Why for heavens sake?’

‘I have a plan for two identical men to meet Peter Ex out there.’

‘I won’t do it.’

‘You’ll do as you are told!’

Luvvy was pointing a gun at Max. ‘You can either meet up with Peter Ex or I’ll kill you now.  You are expendable, I have another model waiting in the wings.’

Max sighs ‘Okay, okay, don’t shoot I’ll do it.’

‘Don’t worry Max, I’ll be there, waiting.’

Max prepared himself for the ordeal.  He had a contraption whereby he had hidden a very small gun up his sleeve and by flexing his wrist it appeared as if by magic.

Luvvy released George Grant head of M I 5.  He is bewildered by the sudden change in direction, he thought it was definitely on the cards that he would be killed.  He was blindfolded and bundled into a car. Graham sensed that there were two other passengers.  It was a short journey.  Still blindfolded he heard one of them whisper instructions and guessed it was head man.  He heard noises as someone moved off into the bushes.

It wasn’t Luvvy who took off George’s blindfold, it was his double.  George blinked and wondered what was in store for him.  Max seemed nervous.  He had been instructed to walk into the next clearing and just wait.  Max ushered George to do the same and they walked in line, a gap of five feet between them until they reached the clearing.  It was quiet apart from the beginning of the dawn chorus in the distance.  Peter Ex looked through his miniature binoculars that folded up and replaced them in his pocket.  He sensed a trap as he viewed both men.  He needed to get closer and crawled along beside one of the trees nearest the outer edge of the clearing.  He got out his binoculars again and saw what he wanted to see.  It was the tiniest identification of who was Peter Ex’s real chief.  Peter stood up, he was exposed and he threw the knife and it found it’s mark as it hit the man in the chest.  As the man fell he twisted to the right and a gun appeared in his hand and he fired.  Peter heard a groan to the left of him.  The tree had saved Peter from being hit by an assassin’s bullet.  As soon as the knife hit his double George fell to the ground as he had been trained to do in his youth.

The small calibre bullet had caught Luvvy in the armpit and he was trying to reach his rifle when Peter stood over him and kicked the rifle away from his fingers.  There was a pained expression on Luvvy’s face as he knew his moment had come.

‘One thing,’ said Luvvy, ‘How did you know which one was the real M I 5 chief?’

‘That’s easy.’ said Peter, ‘My chief has the habit of inserting one pin in each lapel of his jacket.  You seemed to have overlooked that.’

Luvvy said, ‘I only spotted one.’  Luvvy crunched on something he had in his mouth and died instantly.

Once back in the offices of M I 5, Peter Ex asked his chief who Luvvy was as he appeared to know his face from somewhere.

George Grant said, ‘You should know, he used to be the cheerful chap who used to bring the tea trolley round every morning and afternoon.’

Peter thought for a moment, ‘It would have been easier for him to have poisoned us.’

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