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Secret Identity

I long suspected she had a secret. Her frequent absences were a worry, her explanations unconvincing. Last night I learned the truth. My partner, who I thought was a nurse, is in fact a secret agent. Or, as she would have it, an international woman of mystery.

Her regular job in the A&E department of the Victoria Infirmary has been no more than a cover for her clandestine exploits in the world of counter intelligence. The government agency for which she works is so secret that not even the members of that agency know that they exist.

My shock was matched only by my envy. We have all mused about having a secret identity, about leading a double life, where friends, colleagues, family are unaware that the person they think they know is actually a skilled cat burglar and computer hacker.

A second life, the one you wish you’d chosen when you were young and saw that job vacancy in the civil service. The one you could have had if you hadn’t fallen in love or got a mortgage. The one that suggests glamour and danger and dead drops in an underground car park. The one that could have made you an enigma.

For enigmas don’t have to bother going the messages. Enigmas don’t get junk mail. Your average enigma is rarely seen hunting for their keys or getting chased by a dog.

I cannot name my girlfriend. To do so would endanger not only her, but many other international women of mystery scattered around the globe. The work they do on behalf of Her Majesty’s Government is clandestine and perilous, their only reward a fantastic collection of outfits, hats and sunglasses.

My girlfriend claims to know nothing about the death of bin Laden, but then, she would say that.

 

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