Flash Friday 18/01/2013: Pie for a Spy
If you asked, in relation to her job, if Judy made ‘a lot of dough’ in her workplace, she’d give a very disappointing smile.
She had heard them all. Nobody can work at a bakery without hearing all of ‘the usuals’. Judy, however, was bubbly enough to put cola to shame, and it leaked into everything she did. The pastries she made even tasted of joy.
She had more reason to be happy this day, however, due to her take-out business being more of a success than usual. She’d receive all sorts of calls from her loyal customers, asking for their produce to be made before they come into the store. Judy was more than happy to oblige to fill a person’s request for fresh food. If there was one thing Judy hated, it’s staleness — even if she didn’t know exactly what caused it.
The phone on the counter rang, rattling the plastic see-through cover. Time to make someone else’s day.
“Judy speaking,” she said, the phone to her ear. “Can I take your order?”
“Yes.” The voice on the other end was deep and rough, as if the owner’s throat was in a permanent state of being sore. “Scratch the previous plan, we’re executing operation thirty-two now. The General has been spotted driving into the town, and I can confirm at least a small military presence in the area. Make sure to get a delivery to me ASAP. A matter of small urgency.”
“Well,” she said, looking up at the menu. “The quickest delivery I can make is a simple cheese pasty. Would you like one of those?”
The sound of a shocked gasp was heard. “A cheese pasty? Are you sure you want to make that the payload?”
“Can’t see why not.” She shrugged to herself. “Everyone loves ’em round here.”
“You do realise that ‘cheese pasty’ is the codeword for a thermonuclear missile? This is only a small town, we have no need for such heavy weaponry.”
“Oh.” It dawned on Judy that two conversations were going on at once. “You’ve got the wrong number.”
“‘The wrong number’?” the man said with high alarm. “You’re saying the launch codes are faulty? Get HQ to give new ones immediately, and for god’s sake don’t fire the cheese pasties. Too many innocent lives are at stake.”
“Look sir, I think you’re barking up the wrong tree.”
“But the plan specifically stated I scouted from this tree. Am I to relocate?”
“Because if I should, you should probably say where before a bloody nuke hits a shanty town in a desert.”
“It’s a General, for crissakes. All I need is a standard missile strike and we’ll be fine.”
“Alright, you listen here, lad,” Judy said with her best ‘finding kid stealing from parent’s money stash’ voice. “And listen good. No secret codewords, no references to your status, nothing. I am saying that you’ve gone and dialled the wrong number into your phone, and you’re taking to a baker in a small town with no bloody nukes in it. Do I make myself clear?”
Silence. A nervous clearing of the throat. The sound of someone going through a hefty book of lexicon and codewords. “I see,” the man finally said. “I appear to have made a grave error.”
“Right you have, sir.”
“I have given top-secret information to a baker. Lord, oh lord.” A heavy sigh. “What am I going to do now?”
“You could order a pasty, if you like,” Judy said, reaching to the pen and paper entirely due to reflex. “Though I dunno where the hell you are.”
“No no, that’s alright. Just…try to pretend this never happened.” A gulp. “Please.”
“Pretend what happened?”
“The little chat we just had, about the–oh, I see what you’re doing,” the spy said, sounding unimpressed. “Clever.”
“Innit?” Judy smiled. “Secret’s safe with me, don’t you worry, love. I’ve guarded pastry recipes more valuable than some sodding government paperwork, I’ll tell you that now.”
“Good. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to recheck the number and try again. Should any other secret agents try to phone you, just pretend to be an ex-lover of theirs that they ditched on a previous mission.” Judy could hear the painful experiences coming down the phone. “Usually does the trick.”
“Will do, love. You go and be James Bond or whatever you lads do. Just don’t make my phone self-destruct in five seconds, and we’ll call it fair.”
“Right-o. See you then.”
“Bye,” Judy said, putting the phone down. While other people would be mildly amused or even rattled at what just occurred, Judy couldn’t help but feel disappointed that she couldn’t whisk a ham and cheese pasty to his undoubtedly-hungry person.