Spy with Digestive Difficulties

Spy moves nonchalantly through the hotel lobby, pursuing the target, a smartly dressed man in oversized glasses. He follows the target into an elevator. He taps the button for a floor three higher than the target. Nonchalant.

His stomach gurgles loudly.

The target looks over at him. The spy acknowledges the man with a slight nod of the head.

His stomach gurgles again, loudly.

The spy turns pale. He grips the brass railing on the wall of the elevator, presses his head into the oak panel.

The elevator reaches the target’s floor. The door closes behind the target. The spy lunges for the button for the very next floor.

Spy (breathlessly): Hurry, hurry, hurry.

The door opens. He rushes into the hallway, and uses a tiny laser emitted by his phone to burn out the lock on the first room he comes to. He dashes into the bathroom.


Spy is locked in hand-to-hand combat with a henchman whose scarred lips turn up in an eternal sneer. His distinctive injuries have earned him the name “Grimace”, a name which he does not realize infringes on a copyright held by MacDonald’s. Grimace knees the spy in the stomach.

Spy: Holy jeez. I’m about to explode. Do not do that again. We’ll both regret it. Honestly.

Grimace nods and goes back to choking the spy. Spy looks relieved.


Explaining his situation to a newfound accomplice.

Spy: At this altitude I can stagger to a toilet 3 steps at a time  flat out before my legs start shaking.


The spy, in a crowded banquet hall, flirts with an attractive woman whose locket contains the launch codes.

Spy: Oh, good. I was hoping to get a nibble.

Woman: How about a bite?

The spy grabs an elaborate shrimp hors d’oeuvre from a passing waiter and offers it to the woman.

Spy: You first.

Woman: That’s how I like it.

He feeds her the morsel. She grabs an hors d’oeuvre from another plate. Holds it out to him.

Woman: Now you.

Spy (scrutinizing the contents of the cracker): Oooh. Cheese. I’ve got a whole history with dairy, and it will not be good. Is there another one of those shrimp ones? That looked good. Seriously. I’ll be . . . occupied for quite a while.

Woman looks disgusted. Spy shrugs.


Spy (talking to someone over his ear-piece): I’m worried that it might be physiological, or some kind of chronic disease. Just because it’s been so consistent. And I have various pains in my stomach and abdomen.

But then I think, what if it’s psychological? I’m under kind of a lot of stress. And previously it was my body saying, get this out of me, and that seems fear based. Like fight or flight.

But now I’m having a hard time making it happen. So it’s gone the other way. And that seems like, I don’t know, like I’m psychologically clenching and holding on to it. I do a lot of holding things in and pretending, and I wonder if my body is responding to that. My body is getting the message and doesn’t want to let go. Does this make any sense?

T (the technical advisor): I called to explain how the embeddable nano-tracker worked.

Spy: Right, but I thought we had a deeper relationship than that.

T: Do you want to know how it works?

Spy: Fine.

Spy makes faces mocking him during the explanation, and ends the call curtly as soon as T is finished.


Spy, on the toilet, finds and then texts a picture of the MacDonald’s character “Grimace” to the henchman. The spy shakes his head, smirks.


Spy enters the grocery store and approaches a clerk.

Spy: Do you guys carry really strong laxatives?

Clerk: Aisle 9.

Spy: Thanks, my wife is really constipated.

Clerk does not seem to realize laxatives are for the spy’s personal constipation. Spy suppresses a smug smile. He’s at the top of his game.

Spy with Digestive Difficulties

Flesh on a Mechanical Interface

The spy walks down the street. He moves as though in a gauze of secrecy, except that if he moved in actual gauze his steps would be somewhat encumbered and he’d draw attention to himself. The gauze of secrecy does not make itself known. He looks like he’s just a guy walking down the street. The gauze of secrecy is in his mind, where it does not entangle his feet.

But even there, in his mind, it is taking a toll.

The spy looks at a store window. He knows just where to strike it, with how much force, to break and clear the glass. He would incur zero injuries, and duck safe inside the store. The rules of the physical world are less than solid for our spy.

In the grassy churchyard coming up on the right the man spots Amanita phalloides, the death cap mushroom. It is the third naturally occurring poison he’s spotted in the past block. With five minutes and minimal effort, he could fatally poison up to twenty humans, just using organic material found accessible in the past thirty steps. To the spy, the world appears infinitely fatal.

An attractive woman approaches him, walking the other way. He observes her demeanor (hips slightly overswung), her manner of dress (fabric greatly overtight), the confidence of her step in high-heels (a firm C-), and deduces the words, touches, and minutes it would take to seduce her (minutes, twenty). Our spy is a decent man, and does not exercise this power without just cause (nuclear launch codes, infiltration of radical Islamo-Feminist terror cells), but he sees woman, and humans at large, as flesh on a mechanical interface. The spy knows the code. Humanity is imminently susceptible to un-encryption and exploitation.

Like all spies, this one knows that at this altitude he can sprint for a half mile. That’s an easy one. All factors of his physiognomy are known to him.

All except one. As the spy walks the street, his mind gauzy with secrecy, his manner transparently opaque, the spy suffers from a near incapacitating case of constipation.

All cures have failed. The spy has ransacked his vast medical knowledge. He’s stopped eating. He lives on laxatives, and to no avail.

If he were to follow certain paths of thought, he might consider that he has grown to believe only in control. He has come to believe in holding in. He believes in hiding. He holds these beliefs tight in his mind.

Two possibilities: (1) his mind has taught his body these beliefs, or (2) his body is a trickster and a teacher, and smiles as it tightens and holds and hides and controls.

Flesh on a Mechanical Interface