Agent Running in the Field by John le Carre EPUB & PDF – eBook Details Online
- Author: John le Carre
- Language: English
- Genre: International Mystery & Crime
- Format: PDF / EPUB
- Size: 2 MB
- Price: Free
Our meeting was not contrived. Not by me, not by Ed, not by any of
the hidden hands supposedly pulling at his strings. I was not targeted.
Ed was not put up to it. We were neither covertly nor aggressively
observed. He issued a sporting challenge. I accepted it. We played.
There was no contrivance, no conspiracy, no collusion. There are
events in my life – only a few these days, it’s true – that admit of one
version only. Our meeting is such an event. My telling of it never
wavered in all the times they made me repeat it.
It is a Saturday evening. I am sitting in the Athleticus Club in
Battersea, of which I am Honorary Secretary, a largely meaningless
title, in an upholstered deckchair beside the indoor swimming pool.
The clubroom is cavernous and high-raftered, part of a converted
brewery, with the pool at one end and a bar at the other, and a
passageway between the two that leads to the segregated changing
rooms and shower areas.
In facing the pool I am at an oblique angle to the bar. Beyond the bar
lies the entrance to the clubroom, then the lobby, then the doorway to
the street. I am thus not in a position to see who is entering the
clubroom or who is hanging around in the lobby reading notices,
booking courts or putting their names on the Club ladder. The bar is
doing brisk trade. Young girls and their swains splash and chatter.
I am wearing my badminton kit: shorts, sweatshirt and a new pair of
I bought them to fend off a niggling pain in my
left ankle incurred on a ramble in the forests of Estonia a month
previously. After prolonged back-to-back stints overseas I am
savouring a well-deserved spell of home leave. A cloud looms over my
professional life that I am doing my best to ignore. On Monday I
expect to be declared redundant. Well, so be it, I keep telling myself. I
am entering my forty-seventh year, I have had a good run, this was
always going to be the deal, so no complaints.
All the greater therefore the consolation of knowing that, despite the
advance of age and a troublesome ankle, I continue to reign supreme
as Club champion, having only last Saturday secured the singles title
against a talented younger field. Singles are generally regarded as the
exclusive preserve of fleet-footed twenty-somethings, but thus far I
have managed to hold my own.
Today, in accordance with Club
tradition, as newly crowned champion I have successfully acquitted
myself in a friendly match against the champion of our rival club
across the river in Chelsea. And here he is sitting beside me now in the
afterglow of our combat, pint in hand, an aspiring and sportsmanlike
young Indian barrister. I was hard pressed till the last few points,
when experience and a bit of luck turned the tables in my favour.
Perhaps these simple facts will go some way to explaining my
charitable disposition at the moment when Ed threw down his
challenge, and my feeling, however temporary, that there was life after
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