CIA, MI6, and MiB

I can’t find it.

This has never happened to me before in terms of writing. Ever. I’m a blogger, right? So I’ve hit post and never had to search through a directory tree in 20 years. The worst part is that I’m fluent in DOS and Linux, so I know how to do all the shit that would compare and contrast documents…. and it didn’t even occur to me to do that with my writing until right now.

I even have a pen pal that I’ve known since Jesus was a boy and I know to create different subject lines so that all our crap doesn’t mix together, like separating personal from professional (editing vs. friendship, really… not for this, for my books…. this is graffiti with punctuation [cracked me up in Contagion]).

Today I started with creative writing instead of memoir type stuff because every time I write about my life, blowback comes from somewhere. So, no more about that. I’ll write about things long enough in the past that they don’t matter anymore, or put up fiction. If I write about a decision that is currently being made, there are just so many, many people who have an opinion that is either stupid or invalid.

Let’s start with Daniel.

I would marry that boy like yesterday. I still feel that way even though right now he is acting like a jackass by being a doctor and a patient.

Now, why would I know what his motivations are?

If you have to wonder, you’re not my friend.

How do you know that I don’t have years and years of experience with addicts?

I’m a line cook. I’ve wondered if people relapsed to the point of wondering if they died and that’s why they didn’t show up today or give me a call.

I’m not laughing.

If you are, you’re not my friend.

How do you know that I’m building a family too fast?

My daughter is trans and 24. The reason I call her my daughter is not because she actually is. It’s that her biological mother is straight and I’m both bisexual and genderqueer. I get it, where her mom and dad are blind. I am giving her the relationship I should have gotten.

If you have to wonder, you’re not my friend.

None of you have ever asked if I had friends who I’ve married in terms of loyalty and confidentiality so I have people that hold me together. I have friends in multiple places who support me and I can reach out any time, day or night, because it might be 1100 there. My friend Suzanne is in Aberdeen. I wake up at 0400. I have coffee, she has tea.

Since I’ve never gotten asked that question, I feel like it’s necessary. I have friends who have supported me for years and years now. I don’t need a romantic partner. I want one, but I don’t have to have one to function.

And finally about this topic, if you know all of the above, than you’ll know that my absolute best friend at one point was a severe alcoholic and now she’s one of the most successful people I know. All of you who are so incredibly worried about me can stop now.

Even if Daniel broke up with me every day from here til kingdom come, I wouldn’t believe it until January 2024, which is the conservative estimate on how long it takes his brain to clear. Right now he’s finding out that life is rough without medication to control cravings and all that shit.

So if you think for one second that I thought this would be easy, that I’d have it made in the shade, or that I didn’t know exactly what I was doing. Daniel was in a bad place. I sold him a fantasy to give him the courage to get to rehab. He did. My work here is done. But that isn’t the whole story. The whole story is that I love him more than anyone on earth, including me. He just doesn’t know it, because his brain is dopamine-starved and using every trick in the book to try and get him to believe that he’s a worthless piece of shit.

Here’s the thing. I sold him a fantasy to get him to rehab. I want to make the fantasy real so we can be done with rehab and off to living in Fez, Cairo, Casablanca, wherever. I don’t care. Just anywhere to get us somewhere cheaper. The US is bananas. I didn’t fake him out. I didn’t do anything but promise him a fantasy that was doable if he would only get his shit together.

Every addict in the room is quietly nodding. They might not agree with what I did, but they will also tell you to do whatever you have to do to get your partner into rehab. WHATEVER. So I did. I got him there. Whether he comes home and still wants to marry me is up for grabs. But does it really matter?

I GOT HIM TO REHAB. I MADE SURE HE WAS GOING TO LIVE. I HELPED SAVE HIM.

The rest is totally up to him, and I’m going to let him figure out all that. He’s the one in therapy most of the day, so I think I can move on to something else. They’ve got him. I can rest until May.

And I will, because I’ve already got two best friends who love me enough to marry me, but not enough for the fun stuff. That is for the love of my life if he decides he wants it.

Again, none of this comes from a place of “he’s going to screw up.” Addicts, raise your hands. Who among you got through the last drunk and getting into rehab without fucking up some relationship or another?

I thought so. I can hear you choking with laughter from here.

Now that I have explained myself and hopefully shut the shit down (can I get a witness? HELL YEAH!), it’s time for today’s lesson on metaphor.

Men in Black II is a documentary.

K was a designation in the British system of intelligence. If you’ve seen the more recent Bond films, K has not been in use since WWII, I believe. However, it’s the rank above M, played by Ralph Fiennes and Judi Dench. You don’t see C in movies very often, but my biggest example of who C is comes from Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. I can’t remember whether C is the bad guy in that one or not. I’ve slept since then. No UK disrespect meant. The C I’m talking about is basically Stephen Fry in Doctor Who.

Q means quartermaster. In MiBII, this is like the scene where K says, “guess I’ll have to buy The White Album again.” That’s because Q is representative of an entire department of people. In the US, it’s called the Office of Technical Services. Back when it was OSS and CIA hadn’t started…… chefs and cooks, sit down. You’ll need it……. Julia Child worked for OTS. She developed shark repellant. Why case officers would need such a thing is where I draw the line in terms of research.

Z is probably also a rank somewhere, but to me it refers to the decryption of the Zimmerman Telegram in 1917. That was the first time in modern history that signals intelligence (SIGINT) was useful on the world stage. Interestingly enough, the guy that played Z (Zed) was in my grandfather’s class in high school.

In terms of rank, I’m not sure where Zed falls. My guess is that he’s C.

C was named for Sir Mansfield George Smith-Cumming. If I were to compare him to an American, it would be “Wild Bill” Donovan, because he’s the one that started OSS to begin with. Cumming managed to wrangle together MI6, which is why the head job is named after him. I’m honestly not sure who he would match in today’s CIA, because they don’t publish how they do things. For instance, are people like John Brennan C, or is C under cover and people like Brennan are just figureheads?

Damn, Gina.

If you got that joke, you can stay.

If you’re wondering whether I just like Bond and spy shit or if I have a direction with this, yes to the first and still working on the second.

People have no idea why I like spy stuff. At 18 I wanted to be a trumpet player in the Airmen of Note. I didn’t care that the Air Force was basically a group of people standing next to the military. I just wanted to play.

I didn’t get to, which began my lifelong obsession with books and movies where people fought each other without using violence.

And then CIA appeared on Doctor Who, and it was all over for me. Of course I can love Everett. Of course I can love The Doctor when Richard Nixon asks him how he’ll be remembered, and of course The Doctor can’t say SHIT, and just says, “Oh, Dickie. THey’ll never forget you.”

Of course I love MI6 and CIA. They’re basically the closest thing to magic we have on this earth, and as I was telling my friend Zac, “it’s like science fiction because they already know the new technology coming out, but they can’t tell us about it.” It’s real in the way that real magic occurs.

MiB training even reflects real life. Jonna and Tony Mendez both write beautifully about taking their subordinates to Georgetown and giving them a head start while they make everyone and no one makes them. Jonna was even the old guy….. Chief of Disguise gonna Chief of Disguise. Can you imagine being a case officer and finding out your boss was Tony Mendez, then stayed in long enough to have also had his wife as a boss? That’s magic.

Like taking an American and a British intelligence agency and filling it full of aliens and putting a Burger King in the lobby of the spaceport.

In terms of the actual training at MiB, case officers in VA had to lose themselves in Georgetown and try to pick out who was watching them. J shot a little girl alien because she was carrying a chemistry textbook that was way too advanced for her. It’s the difference between life and death, that noticing things.

Down to a Lay’s potato chip bag life and death.

That Burger King isn’t really a joke, either. If you look on CIA’s web site, they’ll tell you they have a Starbucks at Langley and it’s one of the busiest in the world.

I have also found a place for The Hot Sheets that’s really friggin’ funny. In my head, The Hot Sheets are the Presidential Daily Briefings.

I swear to Christ, you just cannot get photographic journalism better than this. Even Shane Harris couldn’t write something this good (teasing him because he’s the local National Security reporter at WaPo and has been on Maddow several times). I don’t stop hoping, though. Pro tip, Harris. Memorize it.

Zed, think about it. I could be Agent H………

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