I had just returned from a secret assignment, one in which I saved the Organization’s petunias, and I was beginning to question my mission. After all these years, it never ceases to amaze me how challenging this job can be. Call me a crazy fool, but I’m always expecting more than just empty congratulatory lines like, “Well done, Spy.” I need some validation, appreciation, motivation! See, even Spies can get fatigued and burned out.
Sitting around, sulking and feeling sorry for myself, I suddenly perked up (like the manifestation of Pavlovian conditioning) when the phone rang. I seized upon the opportunity to plead my case and, maybe, receive a commendation or a raise.
Instead, The Chief flatly stated the assignment and locale: “Northern Virginia. Guitar amps.”
Always the pro, I momentarily jumped off my train of thought and got with the Spy program. “Ah, Virgin-I-A,” I said. “The state for lovers…amp lovers!”
“Are you prepared for your next mission, Spy?” The Chief, his usual deadpan self, asked.
Just to get under The Chief’s skin, I didn’t respond immediately, bringing about an awkward silence. I was hoping that this verbal game of chicken would force The Head Honcho to offer me some personal recognition. I waited. And waited. And waited some more. Then, willing to concede the game, I blurted out, rather appropriately, “I’ll wait.”
“You’ll wait for what?” The Chief fired back.
“What do you think?” I snorted rather smugly.
There was a pause, and then The Chief said, “Yes, OK, Spy. Thank you for a job well done. But listen to me: You’re only as good as your last mission. So, that means no goofing off and no unnecessary knob twiddling on this one. Got it?”
The Chief hung up. No goodbye. No nothing. That wasn’t exactly the response for which I was aiming, but, I reasoned, such is life. “I better pack my stuff and gas up the car: I’ve got a couple hours’ drive ahead of me,” I thought.
With HQ passing me over for a promotion…again…all I had to say was, “Come on, Virginny, give me a sign. Show me some love!” And away I went once again, out into the wild blue, hoping to be renewed and refreshed by another Spy mission.