Mr. Anderson

At the end of 1945, I was living in a rooming house in Brooklyn. It was a pleasant, well-furnished house held by two sisters. My room was the largest in the house and it was very cosy. It had padded chairs, polished wooden tables and a huge window which spread much light into the room. I really liked that place. It was the ideal location to receive my « friends » in discreet ways. Or, at least, that was what I had thought until I began noticing my strange neightbour. Mr. Anderson was living in the room next to mine, the smallest in the house. He was a tall middle-aged brown-haired man who always had a stern look. He wore glasses, dark suits and had a single freckle under his right eye. While I never had a real conversation with him, I knew exactly who and what he was. The way he stared at me in the corridor when he thought I wouldn't notice, the way he eavesdropped during the few seconds before my door closed when I had visitors, the lingering looks he gave me, ... He was just like me. A spook.

March 1946. I was under great restlessness. Thankfully, my nosy neightbour had moved out of the rooming house which, at least, removed one of my concerns. However, things weren't going very well for me. I couldn't say I was surprised, I had kind of foreseen it for a few months already. You see, my task there, in Brooklyn, was to coordinate a network of spies who worked for the USSR. I had to get the phone calls from Moscow, which mostly came in the middle of the night because of the time difference, and to pass on the instructions and give advices to my subordinates, as I was a far more experienced agent. To hide my true activity, I pretended to be a poor blind and disabled man who couldn't move without crutches and welcomed visitors in his room all day long to pass the time. Pretty thick, you would think, but it worked.

One of my network's remits was to track the city Mayor, Fiorello La Guardia, even more so as he had his sister living in Berlin. While intercepting his mail, we had noticed that she was very critical of the Soviet Union, which was preoccupying seeing the political influence she could have. Yet, the situation got even more complicated when November 1945 came. A new Mayor was elected : William O'Dwyer. He was a democrat, which should have been good for us. However, a little more than a month after he came into office, the « Long Telegram », written by George Kennan, the Deputy Chief of the Mission of the United States to the USSR, made its appearance. The document recommended a drastic switch in the US relations with the USSR based on more nationalism and hostility.

I was informed of it by other agents from Washington. Since then, the newly-elected Mayor got more and more suspicious and eventually caught two of my spies. Knowing that, if I kept it on, it would be only a matter of time until I got discovered, I decided to leave the city, with my superiors' agreement, and go back to Moscow. I fled quietly in the middle of the night, leaving all my belongings behind me so I wouldn't have to carry anything other than my professional documents and my passport. There went the crippled ! I made my way to a hotel where I spent the night before booking a ticket on the next plane to Moscow. Being a special agent had its advantages as I didn't need an official authorization to fly to the USSR.

When I arrived, I got many congratulations from my superiors and I was promoted to a high-level position.

Ten years pass.

I am sitting in the subway in Moscow on a December afternoon. There is a man about thirty feet away from me. He has been staring at me for a while now. He's a tall blond man with piercing grey eyes. He's dressed in a long coat on which I can see a badge with « Khrushchev » written on it, and light pants. Mr. Anderson still has his freckle under his right eye, though. I recognized him a long time ago but he, on the other hand, still seems confused by my change in appearance. It suits me very well because it gives me time to think of a way out. Suddenly, he looks about to stand up and walk up to me. Trying to keep on a straight face, I cross my finger behind my back. Fortunately, the train pulls into a station and, without even giving him the time to blink, I get up and rush out.