She was given an unenviable task. The one that nobody else wanted. One that might put a blemish on her unblemished record as an agent. Just beginning the assignment would put her at odds with many of her longtime friends and associates. Finding a mole in an organization is always difficult, people’s loyalties are divided in the best of circumstances, but identifying a double-agent in an environment where such things are life and death is another thing altogether.
When she was a girl she lived across from a large pasture. To get to that pasture required her to climb down a rather steep embankment that dropped off from the side of a dirt road. These days not many people have even driven on a true dirt road. The kind of road that kicks up dirt and dust and leaves a cloud behind the car.
The interesting, perhaps even unique thing about that embankment was that in the summer giant weeds would grow there. These days not many people have even seen weeds of this size. Five or even six feet high and thick as wheat. They stretched all the way down, some thirty feet, and all the way to the fencing outside the pasture, another thirty feet or so. Put those dimensions in your head and you’ll get an idea of the grade of the embankment we’re talking about.
Her first attempts at pushing through the weeds to get to the bottom met with little success. She knew how steep the drop-off was and she was afraid of losing her footing. Then one day she lost her footing and found that the dusty weeds caught her.
She was deposited on the ground with the same gentleness of a mother putting a baby into a crib. As she lay there she knew what she must do.
She scrambled back up to the top and looked down at the embankment. Then she took a few steps back, burst into a full run and launched herself into the air. Eyes closed. Arms outstretched. She felt herself ascend and then descend and then she felt the weeds rush up to cushion her and bring her unharmed to the ground.
It was the greatest feeling she’d even had. For however briefly, she knew what it was like to fly. Fearless. To be a bird. To be an angel.
Everyone within her department felt pretty sure that there was a mole, but after years of searching nobody had been able to determine who it was. There were just too many times where national security had been compromised, some vital piece of information leaked, for it to be a coincidence.
It couldn’t continue.
So the higher-ups sat her down and told her that he career and her spotless record now hung in the balance. This was the opportunity to prove herself. For God and country. She had never failed them before and they were confident she would root out the individual at any cost. Whatever it took. “Whatever it takes” she repeated.
She had never failed them and she knew she never would. Which is why she’d been dreading the assignment in the first place. It was the kind of assignment that kicked up dirt and dust.
The next day she called all of the department heads together and told them that she knew who the traitor was. “That was fast” they all said to themselves. The gathered in the conference room at the stated time, eager for the big reveal.
She’d been the mole all along.
She opened the door and stopped long enough to slip handcuffs on her wrists. She looked up at the assembled men and women seated around the table and said “I’m the mole.”
Then she took a few steps back, burst into a full run and launched herself into the air. Eyes closed. Arms outstretched.