Here’s a little bit of fun I wrote at Holmfirth Writers the other week. The perils of multiple identities ….
“Mr Rose, it’s great to see you again!” A Korean diplomat made a beeline for me from the far side of the room.
“But I’m not … “ The words were forming on my lips, but I managed to keep them in as the man pressed a drink into my hand. I vaguely recognised him. Some UN Arms Control committee, maybe? They blur into each other after a while.
But this was the G20, and today I was most definitely NOT William Rose, protocol attache to a junior foreign office minister. I was Angus McRea, Professor of Economics. And I was meant to be introducing myself to a potentially turn-able Chinese academic, not ligging with some joker I’d exchanged small talk with on a previous job.
I put on my best all-purpose grin and firmly grasped the hand that had given me the drink. I took a gulp and almost gagged. Oh God, Rose was supposed to like gin and tonic – vile stuff! It was all coming back to me now. Give me McRea’s single malt any day.
“So, how are you doing, Mr … Jong.” Thank God for name tags. Mercifully, a waiter bearing canapes bumped into Jong from behind, distracting him for the three seconds I needed to pour the rest of my drink into an empty glass on the table.
“I’m great, thanks, but what happened to you, Bill? Your hair’s gone white since I last saw you. Where did that flowing blond mane go? And what’s with the limp?”
I had to think fast. “Oh, it’s a long story. Car accident. It really hit me hard both physically and mentally. I was off work for a few months. But I’m fine now.”
Jong looked at me sympathetically. “Sorry to hear about your troubles, Bill. Glad you’re on the mend. But it seems to me you’ve got a condition that needs a lot of gin to keep it under control. I see you’ve already taken your medication.” He nodded at my empty glass and winked. “Let me get you another.”
This was turning into a disaster. Thank God he hadn’t picked up the Scottish accent yet!
“That would be great. But if you’ll excuse me for a minute, I’ve just got to go to the men’s room.
I gave him the sort of smile that was meant to say I’d be back in a couple of minutes, and mimed downing another G&T, then I legged it to the door and kept going. On the fire escape I spoke into my watch mike.
“This is Market Trader. Mission is compromised. I have been recognised. Am aborting.”
There was complete silence in my earpiece. What was wrong?
“This is Market Trader. Please acknowledge. This is Market Tr … oh shit, that was last week! Correction: this is Ivory Tower. Mission is compromised, repeat, mission is compromised.”
A pause. “Acknowledged, Ivory Tower. Proceed to location 451 where the extraction team will arrive in 45 minutes. Advise wearing protective arm pads.”
“Protective arm pads? Why?”
“Because when the Chief finds out you’ve cocked up again, you can expect a severe kick up the elbow. Correction ….”
picture (c) cyclonebill 2010