I'm Boris. I'll be your spook this evening
by Jock Stewart, Special Investigative Reporter
On the other side of midnight, I discovered that Lucinda's pet hamster Telemachus had busted out of his cage, leaving a trail of shredded newspaper across the living room toward the open back door. I ran outside in the dark and tripped over a body that hadn't been there earlier in the evening. It wasn't anyone I knew.
Inasmuch as the forest primaeval sits behind our house, three things were clear: (1) Anyone could have sneaked up to our door and dumped a body on the stoop, (2) Telemachus could be anywhere and might be a witness or an accessory to a crime, and (3) Lucinda would be ticked off when she got home from the newspaper office.
I considered calling 911. However, my experience with the local police department told me that Chief Kruller and his men would only track mud into the house before wasting all their time with the body while the hamster's life was in danger. The Feds would be faster.
I dialed the NSA hotline. The voice on the other end of the line sounded like a character out of an old spy movie.
"V gostyakh khorosho, a doma luchshe. Meenya zavoot Boris," he said.
After a calming shot of single-malt Scotch, I asked, "Do you speak English, or has my call been routed to the KGB?"
"Da to the English, nyet to the KGB," Mr. Stewart. "This is the National Spook Administration."
"How did you know it was me?"
"I was trained by the former KGB," said Boris. "It's my job to know it is you."
"That's reassuring," I said.
"Knowing it's you is part of the balanced approach the President talks about when people ask him why the government is invading your privacy," said Boris.
"Right, you balance what you can learn with what you can get away with."
"As my old mentor Vladimir always used to say, 'it's only when the borscht stinks, that it's really good for you.'"
"It's hard to beat logic like that," I said, taking another sip of Scotch. "Actually, I was calling about. . ."
"Telemachus," said Boris.
"Right," I said.
"The little dear is safe," said Boris. "He's hiding in your car until everything blows over."
"Thanks, Boris, Lucinda would be. . ."
"Ticked off if she got home and saw an empty cage. She's at the the Krispy Kreme playing poker with Chief Kruller but will be home in fifteen minutes since she has a full house and he only has two pair."
"What exactly needs to blow over?"
"I'm not authorized to speak to you about that."
"Does it have anything to do with the body?"
"Does it have anything to do with my anti-NSA editorial columns?"
"Boris, as my dear old Daddy used to say, 'the Feds know what they know but don't know that ignorance comes with the job."
"He got that right," said Boris. "I've got to ring off, Jock, Chief Kruller is calling on line 5,000 to tell me he can't find his gun."
"You've been very helpful, Boris. Spaseeba."
"Back at you."
When I went outside to my car, I saw that during the phone call, the body had been removed. Telemachus would be pleased. As I stared out into the wild forest where the eyes of the night and the NSA watched, I had to smile because they did not yet know Chief Kruller's gun was in Lucinda's purse--according to unnamed sources, of course.