My Mother, the Spy Part 1 of seriesJoy Bassetti-Kruger / Mystery & Detective
My Mother, the Spy
Part 1 of the series
By Joy Bassetti Kruger
My Mother, the Spy
Part 1 of the series
By Joy Bassetti Kruger
© Copyright Joy Bassetti Kruger 2013
This is a fictional story
All events, places and people portrayed in the story
are products of the author’s imagination
or have been used fictitiously.
MY MOTHER, THE SPY
By Joy Bassetti Kruger
Not too many women can boast that their mothers were once spies for MI6, or that they personally assisted in bringing down three ex Russian spies, many years after the Cold War was over, -but I certainly can.
Although I only played a small part in this venture, by sending off the encrypted emails to MI6, that alerted them to the fact that my mother was in trouble, I do believe that l played a big part in saving my mother from going deeper into the mental trauma that she suffered from -long after the dreaded episode was over.
I have to mention here that I was not always proud of what my mother did for her country, especially when I was very young. But now when I think back to how she must have risked her life, to help keep England safe, I’m in awe of this still amazing woman, whom I simply call, -mother.
When I was a child, my mother’s lengthy absences from home made me feel resentful, even though she tried to soften the blow by telling me fantastic stories about the exotic places she visited. I’m also sorry to say that I always threw a tantrum, minutes before she left home.
It didn’t help that my father also regularly worked away from home, but somehow his frequent comings and goings didn’t appear to affect me as much as hers did. Nana did her best to calm me down, after they’d both left home for sometimes weeks on end, but I still longed to be tucked in at night by my mother.
Not even all the fancy gifts she brought home for me made up for how much I missed her. But of course I didn’t know then that she was a spy. If I had, I might possibly have cut her some slack and not been such a nasty, demanding, little girl.
I only realized she’d been a spy recently, mainly because it had never previously occurred to me and she’d never mentioned it. At that time, I’d already been living in my own apartment for a quite a while and although we kept in touch, I’m ashamed to say that I didn’t know much about my mother’s life.
It therefore came as quite a shock to me, when I finally discovered that my mother had been a spy and it was then that all my previous bad behavior surfaced in my head. So I quickly made up my mind to try and be a good daughter to her from then onwards.
Soon after my tenth birthday, I learned that my father had abandoned us and gone off to live someplace else with another woman. It must have been around this time too, that my mother gave up being a spy, for after this we soon departed from London and went to live in a small village in Ireland, where we developed a much stronger bond.
Once we’d settled in, my mother stayed home for most of the time and baked cookies for me and my friends. She also knitted fantastic cable-knit cardigans, which she later sold at the local market.
This was a happy time in my life, mostly because I knew that my mother would always be there for me when I arrived back home from school.
We lived an idyllic lifestyle in the village for many years, but somehow, I think that deep down, we both knew that it wouldn’t last forever. This feeling was not something either of us could ever put a finger on. Rather, it was something spooky that kind of hung around us like an oppressive shadow.
Now that I’ve begun to think back to those times, I recall that my mother often told me she felt concerned for our safety. She also repeatedly told me not to talk to strangers and said that I must tell her immediately, -if anyone approached me. Of course, I thought she was just being an overprotective mother, but obviously there was a lot more to it than she let on.
Fortunately, nothing ever happened then to confirm her suspicions, but the day that I actually realized her worst fears had come home to roost, was when she phoned me one morning and said, -“I want you to come over to dinner tonight, Susan. We need to talk. I actually need to discuss a few important matters with you and also ask you to do something for me. Please also bring your laptop, as I need to set up a few e-mail messages on it, which can be kept permanently under ‘drafts,’ until they’re needed.”
As her words kind of spooked me, I said, -“Why mom, what’s wrong? Has something awful happened?”
I also tried to question her about what was going on in her life, but she just muttered something unintelligible about being afraid of something from her past, that I didn’t quite hear or even understand. Then she stalled me by saying, -“Please Susan, not now. Just come to dinner and I’ll tell you everything that you need to know.”
Of course, I became worried at this point and also started to blame myself for not playing a bigger role in her life, or taking better care of her. She’d become a bit of a recluse of late, but as far as I knew she still had a few good friends that she regularly met at the village coffee shop and I knew that she also did Karate and Tai-chi.
While I, on the other hand, was a gregarious person in those days. So I guess this is why I neglected her and only made the odd phone call to check up on her, instead of visiting her regularly.
I loved going to parties and also visiting the local pub on Friday nights for quiz night, which she thought was a waste of time. I also liked wearing fancy clothing and I wore terribly high heeled shoes and enjoyed doing lots of shopping.
While my mother hated shopping and did as little as possible and usually dressed in her old gardening gear, that most likely came from a thrift shop. Her official going out into the village gear, consisted mainly of khaki trousers and shirts, which she bought in the men’s department from the outdoor store on Main Street.
I actually found the way she dressed a bit embarrassing, especially since I was usually all dressed up to the nines. At the same time though, I was pretty pleased that she never wore the few ‘good’ dresses she still possessed, as they were all so old and out of date and around fifteen years old.
She used to often take me to task over the height of my heels and certainly didn’t approve of the amount of money I spent on clothing and food. Of course, I realize now that my behavior was childish and that it almost cost me my friendship with my mother.
She seemed to have enough money though, so this was not the issue. But she obviously never spent any of it on frivolous items or clothing. She also grew her own herbs and veggies and as she ate a lot of pulses and brown rice, so her food didn’t cost her much, either.
Mostly, she spent her money on a sophisticated alarm system and cameras, which were set up in and around her home and garden. I imagined that this was a type of throwback to earlier days during my childhood, when she’d always seemed alert and wide awake and even a little nervous. But even so, I did sometimes think she was just being paranoid, especially when I visited her and found her busy checking the electric fence and security system for defects.
However, after receiving her rather startling phone call, I had the strangest feeling that I was about to discover one of her darkest secrets and as it turned out, I was right on this account.
For shortly after her auspicious phone call and our dinner date, something happened that would change both our lives forever.
At dinner, she mentioned that she thought her life was in danger and also said that she would probably need my help at some point. This had startled me to begin with, but I tried to tell myself that her suspicions were probably all in her head.
Then later, after she’d set up the e-mail messages on my laptop and had given me strict instructions on what to do and how to react, if ever I received a certain sms from her, -prickles of fear began to play around the base of my neck. It was then that I began to realize that her fears were probably real and not just a fantasy going on inside of her head.
Even then, I didn’t realize that she was so dead serious about what was going on. -I just thought she was acting a little strangely, or possibly even overreacting. This meant that I was unprepared for the impact; her dire warnings would later have on my life.
The reason I hadn’t been too worried about her welfare, was mainly because she was usually totally self-reliant and had never asked for my help previously.
So because I was still thinking of her as this strong, hold-it-all-together type of person, I wasn’t ready for when her sms for help finally arrived one morning.
When the sms first arrived, I stood staring at the illuminated screen of my cell phone in total disbelief. Then I suddenly began to feel terribly guilty for not trusting my mother’s instincts.
Then trying to be a good daughter, and also because I loved my mother dearly, I responded right away, -in spite of my previous misgivings. As arranged, I immediately sent off the five encrypted e-mail messages to MI6 from my laptop. But even then, I didn’t fully realize the magnitude of the Pandora’s Box I