There’s at least one secret assassin living quietly and anonymously amongst us in Greyton. Also – an unassuming retired couple who used to be special agents. They say that they used to manage a shop in Northern Britain. Let’s call them Mr and Mrs Smith. How do I know all this? Mr S can be garrulous.
Recently their sleepy retirement was disturbed. They were pulled out of the Saturday market and volunteer work to deal with a ‘situation’ in Cape Town.
In these days of austerity, even within secret services, Mr and Mrs S were risk-assessed and found to be the cheapest. Their mission: to stake out and neutralise a target operating in Long Street.
Tuesday they set off. It was going to be Monday but, Monday is a bit too near the weekend.
Mrs assumes the driving role.
“I’ll drive.” She adjusts the mirror. “You navigate – set the SatNav for Long Street, Cape Town.”
“SATNAV? We know where Long Street is.” Mr is already at exasperation L2.
“They may have moved it since last month or, renamed it Zuma Straat.”
“Good point.” He acquiesces. “Now swing by Osman’s I need Ducktape, cable ties and a mini hack-saw.”
“Have you been reading that book? “
“Noooo.” Mr responds, a wee bit too quickly for Mrs; but hoping for a distraction adds “We may need to immobilise the target before neutralising, and I have to fix that gutter.”
“OK. Hey did you leave water for the dog?”
“No. But I left a note for Doreen –to feed him, give him a run and there’s a fair bit of ironing too.”
Mr disappears into Osman’s. Mrs keeps the motor running, checking for potential ‘situations’ from the four and a half way stop traffic of cars, horses, cows, carts and men of a certain age carrying baskets.
Mr pulls himself into the double cab.
“Abdul says good luck with the mission – just filled him in – he says park near the baths.”
Mrs moves off and then slide parks in the dirt outside the pharmacy.
“I need a bottle of water and some Grandpas.”
“Maybe a quick breakfast?” says Mr heading for Vias.
It’s another two hours before they are back on schedule with Mrs suddenly aware that progress is slow.
“Right. Now” she says with agent firmness. “Focus!” But then, with Greyton retired unfocussedness, adds. “Must stop at Dassies – we need pomegranate juice?”
“Pomegranate juice? More prostrate cures? AAARGH!”
Forty minutes; a litre of Pom J; an enamelled sign; an Australian peeler: a new pair of Crocs and a pie for the journey, later – Mr says:
“SatNav says go via Stellenbosch.”
“Nah – I need some shades – I left mine, so, must stop at Somerset West robots.”
“I’m sure I set it for fastest- avoiding Stellenbosch.”
“I need some shades. “
“Fancy an early lunch at Houw Hoek?”
“Focus -we are on a mission; and shades.”
“Peregrine for a pie?”
“No – Shades Somerset West.”
Eighty minutes later, most of it in silence, Mrs says:
“Did we really need the wire and bead licence holder and the shades? The beaded mini-hacksaw is rather nice though.
“umph .. it won’t stick to the windscreen – we need fuel –I forgot to fill up yesterday.”
“You forgot? And where were you for over forty minutes?”
“Well there was a queue – sooo I went in the shop for some cash; then I bumped in to Andre. Literally. I didn’t see him in magazines it’s the horizontal stripe – it sort of blends in. He gave me a couple of good tips on covert ops. Derek wanted to know if we were free Friday and Charlene spotted me in the pie section. I just forgot”
“Ok we’ll fill up at the Ultra City – and practice our getaway – it’s been ten years – how does it go? Seat belt; engage; handbrake; mirror; signal; manoeuvre; floor the accelerator.”
“Seatbelt? Seatbelt? We are licensed, temporarily until Wednesday, to” <voice rises> “Neutralise. And we have to wear seatbelts?” Exasperation now at L3.
Mrs ignores her falsetto husband.
“Did you print out the licence? NO? Doesn’t mention seatbelts does it? Just the k k neutralising bit? Hey? No mention that we are licensed NOT to wear seat belts – Oh No? Hah Huh? But hang on here we are – Long Street – we have arrived at our destination… parking fairy where are you? Nice lighting shop ..sunglasses … cell….”
Wiping the spittle from the TomTom screen Mr yells:
“Stop … Park there… here at Adult World. There’s always a space outside Adult Wor… , ..so I have been told .. or maybe overheard .. yes … maybe…….”
“Adult World? AND what do they do in Adult World MISTER Smith?”
“Tool and Plant Hire darling – an ideal front for our surveillance. Hah there’s a car guard person.”
Ten minutes later Mr returns. Mrs, adjusting her shoulder holster, says:
“Did you get a receipt? HQ won’t reimburse without a receipt. And where are the mission instructions, photos, stuff?”
“The printout is in the glove box.” Mr responds with a look of smugness.
Mrs, tears open the envelope marked ‘Mission Monday/Tuesday’ and speed reads:
“Doreen.. the usual plus… dust top of doors..feed dog … ironing… Huhh? Hey this is your note to err Doreen. And who’s that in the next car … wearing MY shades. DOREEN? AND isn’t that our dog in the passenger seat?”
“Goeiemôre Mevrou Missis. Target neutralised. Clean-up in progress – my sister came with? Now I must get back to Greyton … there’s a berg of ironing.”
Thursday morning: Mr and Mrs are at Abbey Rose. Mr is thumbing his Blackberry.
“London is very pleased with our sub-contractor – but they would like a receipted invoice.”
“Could we charge the beaded hacksaw?”
“They’d like to use CodeNameDusted again. Her rates are attractive and her clean-up was exceptional”
“It will have to be Wednesdays”