Saturday, July 08, 2006


(Photo courtesy of bitmaskbitmask at

KILL-oh-me-ter? Kill-AH-muh-ter? How do you pronounce it? Previous investigation has yielded conflicting results. Some Canadians, particularly one safe house operator in Newfoundland, are adamant: “it’s KILL-oh-me-ter!”

Maybe it doesn’t matter. You say B’TAY-tuh; I say Puh-TAH-toe, right? But orders are orders.

Under the guise of vacation during an extended holiday weekend in Canada’s potato province, my mission was to extract valuable information about the true pronunciation of the metric system’s equivalent to .62 miles. Such an endeavour is more dangerous than you might believe.

The opposition has been sniffing my trail as I close in on the truth and is intent on ending my espionage career. Maybe you think I’m making up this stuff, but it’s true.

I exited the safe house early last Saturday morning, my iPod Shuffle blaring music to motivate me to push onward and upward. Richard Marx’s “Right Here Waiting” guided me up a slight hill, a sea breeze blowing in from the bay behind me. I strode up the red dirt road, the glistening bay water reflecting a pale blue sky unencumbered with clouds. On my right, daisies and lupines lined the road to greet me. Further to the right, cows grazed, seemingly disinterested in my passing.

I reached a paved road that led to the Atlantic Ocean. I wasn’t going that far; less than a kilometre later, I turned right onto a rutted and ruddy red road that was shaded by slender, leafy trees on either side. The Thompson Brothers’ “Back on the Farm” pulsed through my ears as the smell of bovine beasts and hay filled my nostrils. Starting to break a sweat but completely at ease, I all of a sudden sensed danger.

My spy training triggered my sixth sense, forcing my head to swivel—to see a combine rumbling down the darkened lane, its huge tires and grass-thrashing device gunning for my backside!

Run! My instincts propelled me to the end of the road quicker than you can say "hot potato." To dangle my nemesis, I ran to the right. I slowed to a walk as my would-be assailant turned left, presumably not wanting to maim me in broad daylight on a paved road. Too many potential witnesses.

Still, I couldn’t be too careful. The road ahead of me arched to my left, and I didn’t know what perils might await me there. I turned around to return to the safe house—wary of the danger lurking about on this seemingly peaceful potato paradise—to continue the mission.

To be continued…
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