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ENCHANTÉ – Tapping The Wire


Does anyone still remember Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers? When I started my career a few centuries ago,  I shared my office with a younger Fred, a guy in light brown shoes and a suit of an undisclosed color who used to tap dance in the office in his “free” time. Since we had a vinyl floor it sounded pretty good.

Looking out the windows, we saw birds sitting in rows on the telephone wire. “Hey Frank,” Fred said, “looks they’re tapping too!” “I’ll be damned,” I said. “They really do.”



“I wonder what they’re hearing,” Fred mused. “They’re chatting and seem to be laughing a lot.”

“I bet Security put listening devises on the chests of those pigeons,” I said. “You see how bloated they are? Then after the day’s over they fly back to their head office to be fed, and the guys in Security take those mini-recorders off and start listening to what we said over the telephone.”

“You better be careful when you call your bed friend across the corridor,” said Fred.

“Gee,” I said. “Is that why the Penguin (our Director) was looking that strangely at me the other day?”

“Could well be. You see, the party that’s not in power is doing everything to find dirt on us, and you in particular.”

“Why me? You spend most of the time tap dancing in the office, just like those birds, and get a huge salary for it.”

“Exactly! They don’t care about me. I just shuffle inboxes. But you, you deal with real secret stuff that the other party wants to know about, so they’ll do everything to find out. You have telephone wires near your apartment?”

“I look out on a few. Damn! Now you mention it. Every morning I wake up there’s a bunch of pigeons tapping on those wires. Sometimes they’re even tapping on the window sash.”

“Now you’re talking! I bet Penguin knows everything about you and Irene.”

“Irene feeds them every morning when she gets up. Hell, now I understand. Penguin wanted to sleep with her, that is, he tried, but she said he had ED and it didn’t work. So he’s jealous and sends these birds to spy on us.”

“You sure she doesn’t talk any secrets with you? Did you tell her anything? I saw Penguin shuffling in your drawers the other day. Are you hiding Viagra there?”

“Stupid, I don’t need that stuff. Wonder though what he was looking for. Snuff may be? Cannabis? It’s all gone. I thought the cleaners stole it.”

“Don’t you have an old kid rifle at home you shot birds with?” Fred wondered.

“Good idea. I’m seeing my mom in the country this weekend. I’ll look for it in the attic.”

The following Monday morning, after Irene and I had our fling, I got up and took my pellet gun to shoot at the pigeons out on the telephone wire.


It took a few shots before I finally got one. All my shots must’ve gone over and under and in between, because the only thing the pigeons did was looking aside at what passed by. None of them shifted one foot.


The unlucky pigeon fell on the drive way in front of my apartment house. I stood looking at it from the window when Irene, half-naked, came behind me wanting to know what I was doing. “I’m on a spy mission. That pigeon carries evidence on our intercourse (I used a different word but can’t print that here). “Get away from the window, you crazy!”

I came up with the dead pigeon. “You see what’s in there? A little tape like in voice mail! Let’s try it out on my tape recorder.” We inserted it and heard weird noises. “Sounds like you’re having your cummy,” I said.

“Not my voice. More like Jane’s. I know hers, she sits across from me. I think she’s faking it.”

Then we heard a groan at the end. “That’s Penguin!” Irene said.

“How do you know?”

“He groaned like that when I faked it with him.”

“You said he had ED.”

“We have our ways, you know.”

“Gee, you girls are right for the CIA. Did you know about these pigeons?”

“No. They only told us we’re for the birds if we don’t play along.”

“Did Penguin want to know something or tell you guys any secrets?” I asked.

“He wanted to know if you did it with any of those Russian girls, you know, those that advertise on the internet. I said I couldn’t tell one way or the other.”

“What? You didn’t defend me!”

“He also told me he had secret recordings of them doing it with you.”

“No! That’s pure fabrication!” I protested.

“They all say that.”

“Irene! Shame on you. I’ll take this straight to Penguin!”

“But Frank, you can’t….”

“I publicize this in the office paper,” I told him when I got there.

“That’s treason,” Penguin said, furious.

“What treason? Can I help it when a pigeon flies astray into my apartment?”

The news in the office leaked faster than publication of the paper.  I was summoned to the Director General and showed him the evidence. He laughed very hard. He was of the other party.  Penguin lied about it to the Director General and was fired. Irene and Jane were transferred back to the CIA. They forbade Irene to sleep with me, but she still does.

Back in my office, Fred asked, “You want to see some new steps? I got them over the weekend.”




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