Under Cover
Feature by Norman Levine

I’m not going to answer that call. It could be the Agency again. I told them I’m done being a double agent urban guerilla. I’ve infiltrated my last gang. I’m too all in to be outed. I can’t handle the prospect of having my cover blown. They’ll throw me off the bowling team. I’ll have to resign as president of the P.T.A. Everyone in Bible study group thinks I’m a mild-mannered pharmacist. I’ve seen friends disappear. In fact I vanished for eleven months in Tierra del Fuego at some penguin-ridden safe house. Those black and white birds aren’t cute after a few weeks.

When my kids played in the Little League pennant race I was impersonating an arms dealer in a Cappadocian cave. When they graduated from high school I was turning an election in Indonesia. Besides, my memory is faulty. I can’t remember why I helped overthrow the Ukrainian regime or which side I fought for in Guatemala. At one time I could lie in seven languages but couldn’t tell the truth in any of them. It’s all over now, those glory days. I have so many skeletons in my closet there's no room for the vacuum cleaner. I don’t remember if I have three kids with my second wife in Slovenia or two kids with third wife in Slovakia. I just flushed my cyanide pill down the toilet.

They won’t even let me write my memoir. I’m sworn to secrecy. No one would believe me anyway unless I set it on another planet with three-headed cockroaches running around taking over the world kitchen by kitchen.

When the Commander-in Chief is chummy with the Russian Mafia the jigs up. Them has become Us. We’re doomed. What’s happening in Washington smells like an equatorial swamp where bodies are buried, or like the coup I engineered in Chile. This is where I came in. The Banana Republic used to be a clothing store. Our Parliament, I mean Congress, have all cowered and gone mute. The High Court is rubber–stamping his edicts. The beast has been un-caged. Oh, that fearful symmetry. He is hungry for walls and parades. Money is being dropped off at all-night laundromats. He is writing pardons with both hands. I know a dictator when I smell one. I staged all that with rigged votes back in the day. He’s making me nostalgic but no, not here. It can’t happen here…..can it?

I’ll need a new face with new papers. Or I could put on a few pounds and become a bouncer at a salad bar. Or maybe pose as a Sherpa tribesman at low altitudes or a Talmudic scholar and spend my remaining days in disputation going from the man who knew too much to the guy who can never know enough.