John Barrow, Industrial Spy

The call from HQ came in about 3 AM, activating my special communicator. “The tech boys sure are weird,” I thought to myself. “It doesn’t look like a blackberry at all.” My mission was deceptively simple: PrintCo had blueprints of their new copy machine locked in their New York office. My job: to infiltrate the premises and steal, er, copies.

Bright and early I showed up at the office, my alias ready. “John Barrow, Industrial Sp-“ I caught myself just in time. No need to blow my cover so early. “-ecialist.” I deftly finished. The guard’s face told me that my deception was intact, though his suspicions may have been raised. I knew I shouldn’t have worn my “Agent Mike’s Online Industrial Espionage School… For Spies” tie.

I was in! The workplace was a whirl of activity. Men typing, women typing, people walking to the bathroom before coming back to start typing. I knew no one would notice me in the middle of such a hubbub. I lurked unobtrusively, observing my surroundings while waiting for a pigeon. The light was stark and inescapable, keeping all PrintCo’s henchmen in view. Across the hall was a foreboding door: “Mr. Sweetwater”, it read. Clearly the hideout of the madman behind all this.

Then I saw her. A secretary of some kind, in her own little office attached to the mysterious Sweetwater’s lair. I knew a little romance was all I needed to get her talking. I walked on in, suave as you please, and turned the charm up to eleven. Sure enough, within half an hour she was telling me all she knew. Curiously, most of it seemed to be about the company’s sexual-harassment policy. A code?

Before I could make sense of it all I was startled by a knock on the door. “Mr. Sweetwater would like to see you.” Damn! I was found out! I had no choice but to follow the messenger to the very heart of the operation. As we neared Sweetwater’s sanctum I weighed my options. Should I kill the man? Force him to reveal the location of the blueprints? Snitch on the guy in the break room huffing toner?My mind was awhirl as I entered the room.


“Sorry to keep you waiting, Mr. Barrow,” said the balding, bespectacled villain. “I just had a call to make before giving you these blueprints.” To my shock he produced the very items I had been sent to find. “I understand you’re an industrial spy, sent to steal these. The guard outside overheard your internal monologue.” Curses! Was I narrating to myself out loud the whole time?


“Yes, you were. Anyway, you can have the plans if you want them. I just don’t see why you would need blueprints of our new office copier, when we actually manufacture fingerprinting kits. Anyway, you can take these and go, provided you leave right now and quit mumbling at everyone.”

Another mission accomplished!

“Seriously, stop that.”