I hate Vietnam. In fact
I hate all of South East Asia, but I hate Vietnam more as that’s where I was
stuck at this precise moment in time. It’s not the food or the language or the
people – especially the women. There’s nothing wrong with the women and I’ve…
sampled enough to be sure of this fact.
It’s the weather. The humidity is simply dreadful. It makes my hair a nightmare to maintain and it’s murder on clothing. A man likes to give a good impression and a lovely white suit is the perfect start. A white suit with sweat stains on it by lunchtime is anything but attractive and gives off entirely the wrong impression. It may be perfectly alright for people like the fat businessman currently digging into his second bowl of phở in the restaurant I was running past, but it just wasn’t good enough for me.
Ah, yes. Introductions.
My name is John Cord and Her Majesty’s government is very lucky to have me in their employ. My job title is the wonderfully simple and yet perfectly accurate “Special Agent”. Emphasis very much on the “special” as I’m sure those aforementioned Vietnamese lovelies would agree.
However, even I find it difficult to feel special whilst wearing a dreadfully sweaty light cotton suit. Also while running along a busy Hanoi street slightly after midday in near 100% humidity. This kind of thing they certainly do not train you for as part of the Ministry’s schooling. Seventy-two hours on the frozen hills of Scotland hunting and humiliating those amateurs in the SAS? No problem. But sadly no training in avoiding mopeds seemingly ridden by drivers utilising sonar while running pell-mell through what feels like a very warm swimming pool.
Oh, running. Yes.
This was an unusual situation. Often, my job entails locating someone regarded as a threat and convincing them – gently, with the lowest-velocity of bullets – that they would rather not cause problems for the United Kingdom and her friends and allies.
Instead I was currently tasked with locating an individual carrying knowledge which could help us in our fight against the, for want of a better phrase, “bad guys”. The problems I was having were twofold.
First of all, he didn’t want to be located. And once he realised he had been, he decided to make himself un-located as swiftly as possible.
Secondly, I wasn’t the only one who regarded the contents of his cranium as valuable. Representatives of the opposition were right behind me, very much intent on getting their filthy mittens on my quarry.
Sadly for them, one thing stood in their way.