I’m writing this latest post beneath gently swaying palms and an azure-blue sky. I have temporarily left behind the green fields and fine pastries of Denmark to visit my family in sunny Spain.
Relaxing on my sun lounger and sipping a cold beer, I recalled the strange events that had led us all to be here today. No not abiogenesis and evolution, I already covered that. These were rather more recent happenings..
It all began back in 2000, when my parents decided to head off to a well-earned retirement in a climate more conducive to health and longevity on the Costa Blanca. It was not long afterwards that my two brothers followed suit, although both a long way from retirement age themselves.
Nothing seemed amiss, until a representative from MI5 showed up one day, wanting to ask me questions about said family members. This was probably the first indication something was not right.
The second thing that alerted my keen sense of curiosity was the difficulty I had in tracking my family down. Thanks to months of dogged sleuthing by former Scotland Yard detective turned PI, Harry Herring, I finally discovered their location. But there was a surprise in store..
It seemed my parents had undergone a change of identity and had had extensive plastic surgery. Now going by the names Kermit and Dolly Rodriguez, they had cunningly joined a traveling circus as a trapeze act, no mean feat for people in their seventies with no previous experience.
My brothers had also assumed new identities: no longer Robert and Damon but now Roberto Vasquez and The Great Diamondo: a knife-throwing act and magician in the same circus. The plot thickened like a sauce with too much cornflour.
I began to suspect they were trying to get away from me. Could it have been my fondness for cooking with garlic, or was there a more sinister reason for their evasive manoeuvres?
I soon set sail for Spanish waters, determined to get to the bottom of it. I didn’t get very far when I remembered I didn’t know how to sail, and that Spain was a fecking long way from Scandinavia. So I took a plane.
On arrival I soon tracked down the Circus con Leche, and one evening, after their performance, I confronted my parents outside the trailer they now called casa. ‘Found you at last!’ I said triumphantly, leaping out of the shadows. ‘Now, spill the beans!’ After dropping their modest evening meal on the ground, they took me inside and sat me down to confess all.
It seems that way back in the 1980s, a strange guest had stayed at the small hotel my parents ran in Bournemouth, on the south coast of England. This decidedly odd gentleman had worn a single glove, claiming he had an artificial hand due to a radiation accident. He said he had worked as a physicist, and was certainly intelligent, if rather eccentric.
Apparently MI5 had been tracking him for some time, suspecting he was spying for the Russians and using small south-coast hotels as dead-letter drops for secret documents. Undercover operatives, posing as prostitutes, tried to lure him into giving away vital details, but just when they seemed to have him cornered, he vanished one evening without trace. In his room my parents found his payment, along with the single glove and a note that said simply:
Had to dash, thanks for a lovely stay. Simon. xx
MI5 became convinced that this was a secret code, or that the glove contained some hidden clues as to his plans. My parents were interrogated for several days in a maximum security facility, disguised as an ice cream van.
Unable to find anything to tie them to their man, they reluctantly released them with a warning to stay in the country. And so they did until finally, some seventeen years later, when by an amazing coincidence, they encountered the mysterious physicist while ordering a tapas meal from a restaurant in Romford, Essex. Their waiter looked strangely familiar, and when they came to pay their bill, he left a cryptic note along with a couple of mints.
Get these mints to Murcia, Spain pronto. The fate of the free world depends on it. Simon xx
To cut a long story short, the mint wrappers contained a cleverly concealed series of microdots, full of highly classified secrets. The British government had conspired with American right wing interests to crush the remnants of trade unions and discredit prominent civil rights activists and left-wing politicians. They also revealed a dastardly plan to sell off the nation’s national treasures to a wealthy cabal of industrialists and to ban the sale of ice cream and crisps. It was monstrous. Selling off national treasures was one thing, but banning ice cream and crisps was simply going too far.
Risking everything, they sold up and headed for Spain, but in their haste to leave, accidentally forgot to mention their plans to me. An easy mistake.
Once I’d tracked them down and heard the full story, I could understand their reluctance to use their old identities. I forgave them for being so forgetful and not writing, and when they eventually left the circus and settled down among a host of fellow Brits in the balmy climate of this popular costa, I became a regular visitor. Of course I have to don a disguise each time, and use a different means of transport. On this occasion I travelled as Dong Sing Tao, an orthodontist from Taipei, and was smuggled into the country in a large wooden crate. It was a little hot and cramped, although considerably more comfortable than economy class on Ryan Air flights.
The disguise is a bit of a nuisance and the moustache keeps on coming off in the pool, but we all have to make sacrifices.
It’s been rather a hot day and I have perhaps been out in the sun a little too long. Maybe tomorrow I will buy a hat.
Postscript: Some of this post is true, but to reveal which parts could put lives in jeopardy. For all our sakes, that will have to remain a secret.
© Copyright J.Lennick 2016. All rights reserved.