Thursday, June 9, 2011

Getting And Receiving

I had been planning a dinner party for the new Mayor (one who believes in reason and accountability) and to this end spent the morning with Henri, my cook, reviewing menu options. Upon leaving the kitchen, I encountered my IT specialist, Rachel. She had obviously been waiting for me to emerge.

This was odd. Rachel never surfaces much before 1:00 AM, in that she was usually up to all hours with her computers. As she had explained once, Europe and Asia were easier to access during the middle of the night. I couldn't dispute her reasoning, especially when the stuff she gave me access to was often priceless. There is, for instance, information on those paragons of leadership, the Kims of North Korea, that has astounded both the U.S. and the U.K. Sir Harry was delighted, and Hillary even sent me a gracious thank you note. As to the nature of the information, well, perhaps on another day. Although the stuff about the Barbie dolls...but enough said.

In any event, I was curious to find out what had got Rachel out and about at what would have been to her an unearthly hour.

"I need a favour," she said. Rachel was not one for social niceties.

"And what would that be?" I asked.

"I want you to give a person this memory stick. You will receive a similar one in return."

"And just why, Rachel, wouldn't you --"

"Because it's still too dangerous. I know that I have been traced to Toronto, and certain feelers have been put out. The opposition after all is not stupid, just bureaucratic."

Readers of past entries will know that Rachel committed an act very close to treason in Israel, by fleeing with the WRAITH software. And while she had her supporters there, she also had her enemies.

"Well, Rachel, I will have to know a little bit about what this is all about. If for nothing else, my own safety."

"Your minder, Irving, can go with you."

"You haven't answered my question."

Rachel took her time before responding. Finally she said, "There is a very very secret negotiation going on between certain Israelis and certain Palestinians. If word should leak out...."

"I get the picture. Give me the thing."

"Oh, Rachel added, "You should wear this." she handed me a T-shirt, the front of which stated I REMEMBER THE INK SPOTS.

"But I don't remember the Ink Spots, although I do recall there was a quartet --"

"Doesn't matter. And here are the code words. Now all this is to take place at a musical rehearsal for a charity gala. Here is your observer pass. And Lady Simone, this is important."

"I will do my best."

And so it was that I found myself backstage, amid a slew of electrical wires, amplifiers, microphones, spotlights -- all the paraphernalia of a modern concert. And various singers were there. Avril looking forward to the weekend, Sarah McLachian remembering, Neil Young imagining, well, it went on.

I had been there for about an hour when a hand touched my elbow. I turned, about to launch Swallows In The Sunset (a maiming blow) but stopped when this extremely thin, even gaunt, man, said the right words: "Whispering grass will tell the trees."

I replied, "And the trees will tell the birds and bees."

He gave me a memory stick, I reciprocated, and that was that. Easy peasy.

I stayed for a bit after, much to Irving's chagrin, but was intrigued by one Lady Gaga and her portrayal of a bad romance. Goodness, but the girl did well. Her dancing might not recall Anna Pavlova, and her singing was some distance away from Renee Fleming, but the combination was impressive.

How does Lady Gaga do it? I didn't know. Perhaps she was born that way.

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