How to be a spy


Have a code name
Cryptonyms are used by MI6, the CIA, FBI, KGB, etc to refer to agencies, persons, projects and operations all in secret codes. Cryptonym examples include AMLASH: the plan concocted to assassinate Fidel Castro associated with Rolando Cubela, and ODUNIT: the US Air Force. Examples of code names for people include Golfplatz (German for golf course). Think about what describes you without being too obvious. Do you like rain? Adopt the French word for rain: Pluie. You’re fast as lightning? Why not use the Swahili word for stormcloud: dhoruba wingu. Incorporate them into something recognizable. Now you are Harry Wingu. Good job.

Where to hang out

Remember the elegant Hotel Paza Athenee in Paris? The perfect Parisian spot. Tourists gather there to experience the breakfast, to savor the evening crowd of perfumed aristocrats, rich desserts and sparkling champagnes. You wouldn’t guess, probably, that this is also where spies meet, just a mere slight away from pulling a trigger and killing anyone in sight. Spies meet where everyone is having a good time and not paying a bit of attention to the guy in the peacoat waiting for a sign to murder, drink a white Russian and run.

What to wear

Wearing all black is mysterious but it may make you look suspiciously inconspicuous and ninjas will resent your gall to copy them. A true spy wears lots of black with splashes of color, particularly blue and silver. Think cool, fresh space man. On special occasions wear a tuxedo or a penguin suit, and for ladies a frame-forming gown and red lipstick. Think frosty fire.

Learn spy techniques

Attitude adjustment, intuition and pussy galore. If you’re a man, act like you have golden balls. Everyone wants to touch your golden balls. If you’re a woman pretend your pussy is the fountain of youth. Everyone wants to live forever. Literally charm the pants off of people and be intimate with what you need to know. You will somewhat successfully eavesdrop by pretending to walk a dog but more so by sleeping with the subject you’re studying, even if it’s an old bald man with ugly pants. Read lips while pretending to look at modern art. Learn the basics of nuclear fusion.

Be sketchy but in a good way

Master the art of lying and detecting lies. Steal gum and coffee. Learn to tail cars inconspicuously. Take information and important documents without being caught. Break locks. You can practice all of these criminal and deceitful acts with grace and sophistication from your neighborhood coffee shop to the enemy’s headquarters. With time you will be the courier of secret correspondence or the assassin of warrior demons.

Get a disguise

First you have to be the un-Googleable man. Leave this site immediately. Erase your name from social media. If you have to be online become someone else entirely – a loser from Indiana or a millennial “making it” in L.A. There are times when you could be pretending to be in cohorts with your enemy and you will need to speak, look and act as they expect and often just like them. Create an alternate biography. You’re a clever chameleon. You come and go, you come and go.

Study the greats

Like Somerset Maugham. Or Mata Hari, the German spy, who also was an exotic dancer and high-class prostitute in Paris. Sleep with the enemy and you will have his tail between his legs in no time. With his tail between his legs, you can intercept encoded radio signals or warn your boss about future schemes.

Prepare to die

It’s highly likely that, elegance and class aside, your life will end by assassination or execution. You may be buying a baguette on the street and shot in the back. You could be hanged in front of spitting sheep people. Maybe you’ll be executed by electric chair in a Sing Sing prison like American Communists, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. The end is inconsequential. It’s the journey that matters, and the things you did along the way, like paragliding into jungles or hiding secret messages in your skirt.

Keep it real

This is not a film. This is not a TV show. Once you’re a spy, you’ll spend most of your time doing boring things. You’ll never be as bored as your cousin working 9-to-5 in a cubicle in Kansas, but you will spend a great deal of time studying, drinking coffee, waiting and possibly even years just pretending to be something worthless, like a cashier. Once you accept these lulls as part of the job you are well on your way. Get binoculars and a gun. Find your own evil-empire nemesis. Get out there!
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