Thanks to a certain vermouth-swilling international incident on legs, spies get all of the glory. Which is great! We private detectives get to enjoy sneaking around too, but at least we get to advertise our services.
And, ever since some trendy new “gig economy” app had made everyone think that, yes, they could be a P.I. too – I’d found quite a profitable sideline in being a consulting detective for those who found themselves out of their depth. Which was pretty much all of them.
And that is never a good thing. Case in point, my latest client.
With a crisp handshake, he introduced himself as ‘Maximilian Redfort-Lowbury‘ before plucking a shiny new smartphone from the pocket of his designer jacket.
Tapping the screen twice, he said: ‘I signed up to GUMS4U as a bit of a lark. But, this latest case has got me stumped. Someone wants me to get hold of some documents from an encrypted government mainframe in Berlin. Within the week too.‘
I shrugged: ‘That’s illegal. Refuse the job. I’m sure there’s an option on the app for that.‘
‘Oh, come on!‘ He said ‘Where’s your sense of adventure? If you don’t help me out, I’ll be the laughing stock of… the office Christmas party.‘
‘Adventure? Do you know how busy the airports are at this time of year? Plus, I don’t sprechen sie Deutsch.‘ I sighed.
‘But, you just did. Just then. Your grammar was a bit off though.‘
‘Which just goes to prove my point.‘ I said.
‘Ah!‘ He said, as if he’d suddenly discovered the meaning of life ‘But you won’t really be talking to anyone! Surely you can just sneak in there and do whatever computer wizardry you detectives do. In fact…‘ He gestured at my computer ‘You could probably hack in from here, right?‘
‘That old thing? It’s been on a ten-year go slow protest. I can’t even log on to my e-mail without waiting five minutes. I think it wants me to oil it or something. I don’t speak computer either‘.
‘So, you’re useless?‘ He sighed sharply. ‘You know, I could have you investigated for false advertising. My friends could make your life..‘
‘Very easy if you walk out of the door right now.‘ I said ‘What would they think about you hiring a private detective so that you could bunk off for an unofficial Christmas holiday? And.. Maximilian Redfort-Lowbury… A word to the wise, false names work best when they don’t stand out a mile away.‘
After he stormed off in a huff, I poured myself a large scotch and watched the snow falling outside my office window. That’s the other problem with spies, they’re all a bit too taken with the idea of casinos, beautiful lovers and fancy hotels. Again, I blame the movies.