Talking Drums

The West African News Magazine

A Mole In The Home

A Touch of Nokoko by Kofi Akumanyi

Yet another man has been accused of spying and put before court in London. Almost every week, the Americans and Soviet governments expel diplomats for "engaging in activities incompatible with their status". It has become a permanent feature to liven up the humdrum business of international politics.

I would normally not even bother to read such stories but for the fact that these frequent reports of exposure of spies in high diplomatic circles, the 'treachery' of the supergrass in other places and double agents all over the place tend to have a rather unwholesome repercussion in some totally unexpected places like my own home.

I have read enough spy thrillers (including the escapades of the indomitable James Bond, Agent 007) to know that in spite of their high and fast life of spies that we are made to believe in films, it is a real jungle out there for them. The undercover agent must be all things to all men he comes into contact with in the course of his job. Apart from the absolute necessity of having at his finger-tip the basic tools of espionage, he must also be suave, have poise and a sixth sense to enable him to get out of tricky situations.

That is why people employed in the espionage business are so rigorously vetted. It is a high risk business with serious occupational hazards.

It is therefore always a shock when a member of the firm is exposed for spying for the other side. Almost invariably, the enquiries into the background of the fallen member attempt to find out whether he had any weakness of character which could make him commit such a crime against his country.

These thoughts were passing through my mind as I called a family round-table conference (which I do when an issue affecting the survival of the establishment crops up) to find out who has been leaking out vital information to outsiders.

"There is a mole in this house - a very serious state of affairs, indeed. I have called this emergency to expose that treachery" I said, breathing out fire.

"It isn't possible," my wife said, "it isn't bloody likely! I can say without fear of contradiction that the three member staff of this firm are loyal and committed." "Loyal and committed, maybe, but someone has been grassing on us. Who is it?"

"You better look somewhere else for the culprit. Have you checked the telephone for wire-tapping?" she asked. "You know that these three children went through thorough vetting before they were born.

"How can I forget?." Memories of over two decades came flooding back. "I still maintain that in spite of the fact that those who didn't satisfy the requirements terminated, who changed the rules on payment of bills?

"Nothing has changed. It is still - The Cheque is in the mail ..... when creditors call," she said.

"Sure? How come, all the creditors have lately been calling at a time when according to the firm's regulations. I'm supposed to be out of town?" "Simple. They're getting wise to the firm's tricks," she said.

"If you're sure of this then we have to change to code of operations immediately."

"Daddy, I think I know who has been exposing the firm," Tommy, my eldest son suddenly spoke out.

"Who?" we all asked in unison. All eyes zoomed in on him and locked on his face fearing that a mole was about to be exposed.

"The man in trenchcoat with raised collar."

"Now, take your time and tell me all about it," I said, "The security of the firm is in serious danger."

"Sometime ago, when I was coming home from school, I saw a man peering through the front door key hole," Tommy said.

"How, just wait a minute. He could have been an ordinary thief, you know".

"That's what I thought until I realised that instead of scurrying away as a thief would do, he asked me to confirm the family name written on a paper, where my daddy works......."

"Stop right there! You mean you stood there answering questions from someone you didn't know?" I asked, shaking with anger.

"He didn't just stand there daddy, what he did next really surprised me"

"What did he do?"

"He walked over to our dustbin in the front garden and poured the contents out."

"Oh, I see. He was probably the dustman," observed, six-year-old Julie.

"Then why did he poke through the rubbish with a stick and jot down observations in his note-book?," demanded Tommy.

At this juncture, I hit the gavel hard on the table forgetting that it is glass topped. The shattering sound brought the seriousness of the situation forcefully home to the meeting.

"I have got the picture now - that is if Tommy is sure about what he is saying" I said. "He was gathering vital information about this organisation which our enemies cannot get through official channels."

"That's why they are looking and eavesdropping through key-holes."

"What about the dustbin? What was he looking for?" Little Eddie spoke for the first time.

"Checking up on our life-style, that's what he was doing. They want to know what we eat and how much of it. From that they can have a fairly accurate assessment of our real income."

"This is really terrible," my wife said, "but I'm happy that we don't have a mole here. It is obviously an outside job. What are we going to do to stop further encroachment on our privacy?"

"Plug the key-holes and burn all our rubbish."

talking drums 1983-10-03 page 24 a mole in the home - A Touch of Nokoko by Kofi Akumanyi

talking drums 1983-10-03 Hunger is a desperate reality for Ghana's 14 million people