The question came from my six-year-old grandson and took me by surprise.
“Yes,” I replied.
“Do you kill people?”
“All the time. Why do you ask?”
“Well, gran says you have a dark and secret past, and I don’t know what that means but I thought maybe you are a spy.”
My grandson was a perceptive boy and my wife, and I had often noted he was a smart fellow with a vivid imagination. On his visits, he and his brothers would often play in the backyard using the old mulberry tree as a base from which to conduct their adventures as well as when in season having a good feed of the plentiful berries the tree produced.
“Who do you spy on?” he asked as he sat beside me on the veranda.
“Mostly bad guys,” I said.
“Is being a spy exciting?” he continued asking.
“Oh yes, I often go to exotic countries, engage the bad guys in gun battles and find out the most terrible secrets,” I told him as I sipped my morning coffee.
“But you don’t get killed, I mean you do all the killing,” he enquired.
“Oh, every time though sometimes I get a bit hurt, I’m a bit clumsy on my feet from time to time.”
I could see him thinking that one over.
“Gran says you’re a bit clumsy too. She said the other day you’d trip over your own feet if you weren’t watching,” he said giggling to himself.
“True I do trip myself up from time to time, but being a spy means you have to be careful when out in the field, you never know what sort of situation you might get yourself into.”
“Yes, I guess so, thanks Grandad, I’ll tell my friends next week at school, I have a grandad who’s a spy, that will impress them,” he announced sounding very pleased with himself.
“Best we keep this to ourselves,” I suggested, “Spies like to keep things top secret, you know hush-hush,” I added holding my index finger to my lips.
“Oh yes,” he replied, “Top secret. Wait till I tell mum.”
He ran off, and I knew that the next day I would get a call from my daughter telling me to stop telling her son such fanciful stories.