After a sit down with very fresh coffee, Lady Chief and David went off from the living room to rooms unknown. David was clearly the brains of this team, I was taking the muscle downstairs with me, and Donald was the flab. Elizabeth stayed in the living room with Donald. I went downstairs with Emily, Ralph the Terminator, and Angela the Amazon. The security sat on the two cots they would be sleeping on, we sat on two folding chairs next to the washer and dryer.
I began, “This will be a little topsy turvey, Emily. Much of what you learn about running a safehouse has to wait for the hurried improvements to be in place. But our bodyguards are armed.” I looked at them. “You don’t print, but I made good enough guesses to lightly brush both of you in lunch conversation,” I smiled, looking straight at their eyes, “You’re armed.” And, once again, the PISS team looked a little non-plussed.
“Tie a knot in your handkerchief, Emily, this is your first lesson, a spy is a spy 24/7. Every time you entertain a new guest you must be totally clear that they are on the job, even on the toilet, and everything they do is motivated by the job. Most of it will probably be innocently motivated, but some of it might not, so you have to pay attention all the while you are serving them. If you suspect that something is wrong about them, go downstairs and quietly tell the babysitters so. They bunk down here so you can do that. Now, what do you see about what I just said?”
Emily said with a soft squeek, “Their location has a spy agenda and not just a hospitality agenda.”
“Very good, Emily! I think I’m going to enjoy working with you. Have you ever shot a gun? No? Have you ever handled a gun? Also, no.” I turned to the security, “Ralph, I’d like you to stand, draw your primary firearm very slowly and then put it on the cot.” Pushing the untucked tail of his shirt aside, out from his back came the Glock 17, a big gun which is easy to shoot straight, but small enough for a tall man like Ralph to wear concealed very easily. “Now show us your carry holster and return the gun to it.” He lifted his shirt higher and turned away from us. He sure had himself a six pack of abs, or, maybe at his size a twelve pack.
“Emily, he’s wearing a behind the back holster outside of his trousers. It’s cheated to his right, the dominant hand which will draw the gun and the gun looks upside down because that is the easiest position for him to grab the gun butt solidly and be fully in control of it throughout the draw. Now, Ralph, with your back to us, slowly draw the gun again. Note that the gun is pointed away from him and down, so he’s never “covered” by the barrel pointing at his body.”
“Ralph, why do you carry this way?”
His voice was deep and dark and bass, “I’m a big guy at 6′ 6″ with big hands so I like a gun with some grip and heft to it. I also shoot it better than anything else. I can wear a pique polo shirt one size too big, 5x Tall, which gives me enough room inside to keep the shirt away from my pants waistband, so I can wear the gun outside of it, which is far more comfortable to carry. I’ve had to stay armed with this as long as 36 hours straight. Comfort makes a real difference.”
“And what can you say about this, Emily?” I asked.
“This is what you call tradecraft, isn’t it? Ralph has to make these decisions by himself to do his job at his best. And it would be wrong for an employer to force everyone to carry the same gun in the same way.”
“You’re such a darling daffodil, Emily. These next few days are going to be fun.” I noted that she had relaxed enough to call Ralph by his name. Most people were probably too intimidated by him to do that, unless they were equal or above him in the hierarchy of his job. I also had confirmed that PISS was really good, so Lady Chief had buttonholed David to actually get something accomplished. Finally, there was a sharp stab in my heart thinking of a 24 year old apprentice spy, being put through the paces by her two favorite aunts.
“Ok, Ralph, where’s your backup gun?” He reached down slowly, without being told. PISS really was good. The gun was a pocket 9mm, same caliber as his Glock. I didn’t recognize the gun maker offhand, but it wasn’t a Glock 43 like mine. It looked like a kid’s toy in his huge right hand. He spoke without prompting, “An ankle holster isn’t ideal, since it’s so far away from my hand and it requires a much smaller gun. I tried the alternatives of inside the belt and of unholstered on my chest in a belly band, however, the gun felt much more controlled and controllable on my ankle. It’s not quite as comfortable as behind the back. But for long watches this tiny gun will fit a holster in my right front pocket. You didn’t say anything, but on the other side of my back are two more loaded 9mm magazines for my Glock. Between these and the two guns, I’m always carrying about 50 rounds of ammunition.”
I broke in, “I’ll amplify that. PISS security clearly always works in pairs. And Ralph is carrying enough extra ammunition for the both of them. I’ll bet Angela isn’t carrying nearly as much.”
“No, Sally, your right, I’m not.” She then removed the light, shoulder padded, and delicately paisley patterned over jacket to reveal a dark, wine colored, and very modest top, modest because her breasts were doing just fine on their own, thank you. It also revealed a shoulder harness with one gun, hanging butt down, under each armpit. “I’m genuinely ambidextrous and can draw either of these with equal ease.” She proceeded to do it smoothly and a little faster than Ralph. In addition, in an emergency I can draw from the same side that the gun is holstered on.” She reholstered the guns and showed us, right hand drawing right hand gun, left hand drawing the left. “But as you can see it’s not truly safe, I have to cover myself with the gun barrel at the beginning of my draw.”
Her guns were both Glock 43’s set up like mine with one shot magazine extenders, each holding 8 shots maximum, 7 in the magazine and one in the chamber. “You can see immediately why both my guns are butt down; I have to reach under my breasts for either one. Both are primary carry guns. Instead of more clips I’m carrying what we call a Big City Reload–a whole second gun. If I need a backup, I purse carry or fanny pack carry, usually the same type and size of gun I’m wearing. Extra magazines can go in these as necessary.” She had neither handbag with her today.
“My problem is somewhat different than Ralph’s. As a very tall man Ralph is unusual, but by dressing simply and casually with a darker polo shirt above and light tan chino pants below, he becomes less visible, and his gun is much easier to hide. As a tall woman at 6′ 1″, I stand out even more than Ralph. There are many fewer of us.” My mind flashed back to Cherry Hawkins. “Women’s clothes aren’t gun friendly, so on the job, I always have to wear a longer style, open front light jacket or sweater. I can tone down my size by wearing dark clothes under a brighter and patterned jacket, like this one, with the same effect as military camouflage, or a vivid top with a dark jacket, creating impromptu vertical color blocks. In addition, I carry this, which I don’t think you spotted Sally.” From the right front waistband of her black yoga pants with her left hand she drew an 8 inch blade fighting knife with two razor sharp edges.
“Your my kind of gal, Angela, no I didn’t spot it.” I said. “So what can you tell us now, Emily?”
“You have to know an awful lot of different things when spying,” she was much more confident now.
“You don’t know the half of it.” I added, “And you also have to know them very, very well. In our day job as whorehouse Madams, Elizabeth and I both made sure that we, AND all the girls, wore outdoors bespoke business dress made by Chicago’s best tailor, Zoltan Karoly. I’m wearing one of his suits right now. Zoltan taught us how to correctly measure the girls, we sent in the measurements and chose from a swatch book of fabric patterns. Then he sewed the jacket and skirt to our specifications.
“Elizabeth taught me that hand tailored clothes which flattered a woman’s curves, when worn by a whore on ordinary business outside of the house, was the best advertisement to attract new Johns, particularly where we were because all the Zone houses were legal and there was every incentive for the girls not to solicit on the street.
“Among the most powerful incentives was the fact that, if we found out they had, either Elizabeth or I would give them a thorough butt strapping, one that wouldn’t allow them to sit down or lie on their back for a full two weeks or more.
“We were taught to do this by the Zone’s FemDom prison guards. They call this type of beating a “gentle rebuke” and did quite a lot more of it than we did. As a whore for Elizabeth, she gave me two of these beatings. I have very fair skin and I was down for three weeks after each. When she retired and I became Madam, she passed on the same strap she beat me with, a three tailed Scottish tawse. She’d been using it for over 20 years. It was well broken in. In case you’re wondering, I still have the strap, but I don’t recommend you ask me for one of these beatings just for the fun of it.”
Angela and Emily both turned a little pale. I said we three spies had led a difficult life. But what I mean by that often goes over the heads of those I say it to. The imagining of one of these spys, now friends and lovers, giving another two horrible beatingswhile in cover finally made my point about our being tough crystal clear. Ralph was much more stoic about it all. Most guys his size in our business are.
I resumed, “The business dress also is highly useful to a spy as tradecraft, sending the message that you are a high-powered woman professional making a VERY good salary. The employees of fine hotels notice such things, as do those of upscale restaurants and bars. Here is the difference between a spy and a security officer: as a spy, I may want you to notice me but be misled about the role I actually have in life. We call this “cover”.
“There are levels of cover. As a business woman in a hotel, holding a genuine passport with my current name on it, my clothes, and how I act in the hotel are a “light” level of cover. This could transform into a long term stay with month to month rental of an apartment. Add a backstory of why I’m here and will be here for some time, a transfer to Portland by my company, as well as a satisfactory business routine during the day for the sake of someone like Ralph and Angela watching me, and you have “medium” cover.
“If I were to change names permanently to become a “citizen” of Pacifica with forged or stolen documents, then I would have an entire fake life history, in many, many pages to memorize that I would have to be letter perfect with, even if someone woke me in the middle of the night to ask about it. This is a “legend”. It takes at least a month of continuous daily work for long hours to get the legend letter perfect. I would then be in “deep cover” as I was in the Zone; at first a new prospect for “Elizabeth’s Secret”, which was the name of our house; later a trainee in how to do sex-for-hire exceptionally well, trained by my sisters in the house and, more importantly, by Elizabeth herself, who knew far more and how to do it all far better than my house sisters.
“Then I would be groomed by Elizabeth (including grooming with that strap) to become a High Class Tart, the cream of my profession. I’m still living that cover today. When I retired from the agency, Sally, my cover name, my Legend, and my official documentation in GLC became my permanent life and my permanent life story. No trace is left of any of the people that I once was, not my original name, not official records of that name, and not any known relatives associated with that name. When I went clandestine both my original parents knew nothing about me from that point forward, nor did they ever know. When I came back, they were both dead.”
I made a very long pause for the security and Emily to absorb this.
“Being a “real spy” is far more than a costume party, it is a personally scalding life commitment. So when I say “my country betrayed me”, the pain of that goes far deeper than any of you will know. At least I hope you won’t.”
I continued, “With a security officer like Angela or Ralph the less you notice them the better. Becoming a “gray man” is what we call this. This can sometimes have hilarious results. When Ralph, Angela, Donald, David, and the three of us met in the hotel lobby, the clash between our separate tradecrafts was very goofy. And if I were spying in the background, I would see a high possibility that we were three spys escorted by two, “security gorillas” as we spies would call them. My apologies, Ralph and Angela.” Oddly enough, the name did take them by surprise.