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Down Mexico Way spacer Issue 4
Down Mexico Way - Life Down South
by Billy Guermantes in Dublin
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I was standing at the bar of a pub, idly watching the people enjoying a drink after work, when a tall man in a suit came up to me. 'Billy Guermantes, am I right?' I said he was. 'How do you think I know your name?' I said I had no idea. 'Frank Perry, American security service,' he said extending his hand, 'it's my business to know stuff. Whaddya think of the war?' I talked vaguely about how I had once known a woman from the United Nations but before I had said very much he started a long explanation of his government's foreign policy and the geopolitical forces at work, which in many cases involved places he had worked, before he came to the story of how he was in Dublin.
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'To be honest this is not a very active sector,' he said regretfully. 'You see the people in this room, half of them are secret service people. That's the Brits and the Germans, there's the French and the Swiss and d'you see the tall Scandinavian looking woman, that's the Chinese. The Chinese always employ tall blond women, kinda stupid don't you think.' I was about to speak in her defence when he asked me what it was I was doing in Dublin. I said I was seeing friends and mentioned vaguely that I contributed to a paper from time to time. As soon as I had said this he shushed me and told me to keep my voice down but in an instant three more people in suits had joined us and were talking to me in a very free and confidential manner.
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This went on for some time until their interest began to wane. Two women, Italian and Danish agents apparently, seemed dejected. 'It's not a very active sector really.' 'It's all beneath the surface.' 'It's simmering', I offered trying to be helpful. 'It is, it's simmering.' Frank however still wished to make an impression. 'You've gotta think like your enemy,' he said. 'What are you doing on Sunday morning? Going to church? That's not what your enemy will be doing, come to The Chip in Tallaght at 11 o'clock.'
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In the rather unrealistic hope that this rendezvous might lead to entrapment by a Chinese agent I made my way to The Chip in time for this appointment. I discovered an unassuming greasy spoon full with many of the people I had seen in the bar. Only now they were incongruously dressed in sheepskin jackets and short skirts. I was waved over to Frank's table where a conversation was taking place in hushed voices over an untouched egg and chips. 'We come here,' Frank explained, 'because this is a known Al Quaeda meeting point. We don't do anything, we watch, we keep them in our sights and then if we need to move we can move.'
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Suddenly all conversation stopped as a North African man walked into the room. He went straight up to the counter exchanged a few words and left with a small plastic bag. Conversation started again excitedly as soon as he had gone. Frank asked what he had said and a message came back from a table near the counter. 'He ordered a chip.' 'Just one chip?' said Frank thoughtfully. 'Interesting.' 'It's simmering,' I said. 'Perhaps. But we're ready.'
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