Sunday, December 21, 2008


“Perpetua Titling MT,” Bugman offered with absolute certainty.

“Right again,” Spook #1 said to Spook #2 incredulously. “OK, Bugman, your run’s gotta end some time. Name this one, plus identify the one character that’s different.” He held up, with feigned confidence, page 78 of his morning briefing paper. “Desdemona and a single Haettenschweiler. Come on guys. Is that the best you can do?”

Bugman was a man on the top of his game. Well actually, it was the spy guys’ game. Every time they met the printing company’s only driver with a security clearance to sign for the weekly country reports, they challenged him to identify a type font in two seconds.

None of them could remember how this Friday diversion started. But, as Bugman proudly reminded them, “The streak is now officially 300 weeks. Or to put it another way, gents, Bugman 300, the CIA zero!”

As Bugman prepared to leave the loading dock area, #2 yelled after him, “If you ever get tired of driving that van, gimme a call. The Crypto crowd could take a guy with your talents and turn you into a real asset. And you’d make a few more bucks!”

That offer was made 10 years ago, and Bugman made the phone call that would change his life, and the agency, the very next day. Not even his Spooks could imagine the meteoric rise Bugman would achieve as he went on to become the star code-breaker and code-developer, push the encryption envelope beyond anyone’s imagination, and become a living legend at the Company.

Through all these years, Bugman has stayed in touch with his still-favorite Spooks. “Trebuchet MS, you numbskulls. And the score now stands at Bugman 750, you so-called spies approaching one.”