Cuthbert Rowlands had an IQ of 141, still has as far as I'm aware. His oldest friends all called him Tiny – after a well-known and somewhat unacceptable business man who had been in the headlines when he was at school. It was NOT, he sometimes emphasised when he was drunk, a reference to any part of his anatomy. His wife called him Bertie, maintaining that Cuthbert was a name that should have died out with Noah. He was one of those quiet civil servants that keep the country going. Not the ones who agree with whatever government is in power "Oh, brilliant, Mnister. Such a clever idea Minister. Can I lick your arse Minister?" No, he just did his job to the best of his ability, produced reports that were truly unbiased and implemented whichever crackpot government plans were in vogue for the next five minutes before some new minister came along. But he was good at doing that. He made steady, slow progression up the greasy ladder; and as UnderSecretary for SomethingOrOther at the Ministry of Trade and Business (as it was called for the duration of that current no-hope band of wankers in power) he was sent to the Lancaster Northern Trade Federation Conference to present a paper on "How Can Government Create the Climate for Business". He spoke for an hour on this when five minutes would have been more than enough to say "Lower taxes and reduce red tape"; but a 5 minute talk wasn't asked for, a one hour lecture was requested and so that's what he gave. He said it one way, then another, then a third. Then he said it the first way again with different words. And so on and on. He got a big round of applause at the end and no-one believed anything would change. Ending red tape is all very well, but it is always someone else's red tape that needs to be removed. And taxes will of course be lowered in the next government term if we are re-elected having achieved significant success in delivering on the promises which (luckily) you have mostly forgotten in the last five years.
At the reception that evening various people came up to congratulate him on his well-structured, logical arguments for delivering business success; including a wonderful woman named Pamela Anderson. "Not THE Pamela Anderson" she laughed. Though from his view point she looked to have similar bleach blonde hair and a well-structure upper upholstery that ought to require substantial support. Her bust was displayed to good effect in the almost obligatory female attire at these events – black skirt, white blouse. The blouse was stretched just a little, not in an unseemly way, more in a way that suggested it really didn't mind having to strain a little to encompass such delightful mammaries. Cuthbert found himself unable to stop wondering why he couldn't see a bra line when the blouse was so tight. Her skirt too clearly enjoyed gripping a tight, jiggling little arse, creating the effect of movement even after she stopped walking. She congratulated him and then walked to the bar for a drink; the crowds parted for her and then the eyes even of the female observers watched the swaying hips as they moved away. Something in her walk made him follow, that was probably her intention, she needed someone to pay for her drinks.
"So you enjoyed the talk. Can I get you a drink?"
"Thank you, yes, Scotch with Ginger please, I know, not a feminine drink, my father introduced me to it and I find it is an easy drink to nurse. Oh no, no ice thank you. Yes, I did enjoy the talk, stimulating food for thought"
"You agree with the plans?"
"Oh, no, totally misconceived. Your Stimulus Fund is hopelessly underfunded, and the removal of the North-West Subsidy Committee with cause several businesses to founder without their help"
That was an unexpected response, so far everybody had been obsequiously polite to the point of boredom "Are you sure? We planned the level of Stimulus Fund required in each region to match what is required"
"But that's the problem. It isn't what is required now that we need; we need double that to provide more than stopgap funding, to actually provide a stimulus worthy of the title" The reception was beginning to wind down "Look, do you have half an hour? We could discuss this further? My room is 101, a couple of colleagues will be delighted to meet you" He breathed a sigh of relief, others would be there, no problem. Civil Service rules prescribe that no civil servant should be alone with a member of the public – they were both frightened of bribery or murder of officials you see. So 11pm found him entering her room "The others will be along in a minute, another drink?"
"Are you allowed to raid the mini-bar? Our expenses won't cover that"
"Oh, you know, there are ways of covering up minor peccadillos if the aim is the right one"
After three more whiskies he found himself telling her more about himself than his government's plans; damn, she was a good listener. He barely noticed her topping up his 'last' drink so he never quite finished it. When she finally kissed him he was more than ready to reciprocate. Now he discovered why he couldn't see a bra line, as she undid her blouse he realised she didn't have a bra, and "oh my Lord"
"You like them?"
"They are magnificent"
"Thank you, and they are entirely real too. Feel, no bags inside, no scars under" She put his hand on her left breast – he came nowhere near covering it –and lifted the right one for him to look closely at. He found himself kissing it. "Why Cuthbert, I do believe you came here to seduce me, you beast" She laughed. He had had no thought of such a thing, right up even to that moment. It hadn't even occurred to him when she took her blouse off. He was very intelligent, but not bright in the ways of the world. If he had been he would have left the room 15 minutes earlier when it was obvious no-one else was coming. Now her comments (and his alcohol content) persuaded him he was really something of a Don Juan. He hugged her to him and then transferred his mouth to her left breast and kissed and then sucked (a voice at the back of his brain said 'they like that') her nipple. She moaned appreciatively and slid his hand down to her thigh. Five minutes later she moved his hand up her thigh to her panties. He was looking at an open door and it hadn't occurred to him to go in! Now he finally got the message.
Again, a background, analyst voice explained that that was why he hadn't seen any VPL, her panties when he pulled them down, consisted of what looked like a couple of pieces of ribbon – he would have been shocked to know that these two pieces of ribbon sown together costed £55, his wife's far more practical and adequate M&S undies cost less than half that for a pack of 5! But this lady's were from Dolce Vita, and that was precisely what she was offering him tonight. His resistance had been reduced to nothing, and his erotic nature – which even the mildest of men has somewhere buried howsoever deeply – came to the fore. It became obvious to him that she was up for anything and everything he suggested.
The oral escapades were a delight, the anal escapades were a revelation, and the virginal ones were simply mind blowing. Then they got serious. She invited him to take part in sex games he had never imagined, and she welcomed the chance to take part in ones that he had. When he fell asleep at 6am he was, briefly, the happiest man alive. When he awoke at 8:30am in someone else's room with housekeeping banging on the door, he wasn't quite so happy, but still pretty contented. When he got back to his room and found one of (he was assured) the many pictures taken waiting for him in an envelope on his bed he was significantly less happy. 'We'll be in touch' was written on the picture.
Two days of fretting came to an end when he got a call on his personal mobile phone "Hello?"
"Hello, is this 'Tiny'?" There was a snigger.
"Who is this?"
"You saw the pictures? Clearly Tiny is a misnomer"
"Tiny does not refer to ... nevermind! Now look, you've got the wrong person. I'm not rich. I have no money for blackmail"
"Relax, it isn't money we want. You are in the department looking at the latest plans for nuclear waste dumping. We simply want to know what order the shortlist is in"
"That's confidential, you know I couldn't..." He blustered, though he knew already that he would.
"That's why we need your help. Look it isn't like it's a state secret is it? The list is due to be made public at the end of the month; we simply want a little prior warning; where's the harm?"
Such small misdemeanours are what makes a good spy. It was true, the information was due to be made public in two weeks, it was the kind of low level information that plenty of people had access to. As a grey civil servant who hardly anybody noticed it was easy to casually glance at a copy of the report and memorise the salient features.
"Hello?" He rang the number he'd been given, a security risk perhaps, but they had taken precautions, the number was registered to a Miss Campbell-Bannerman of Lower Heights, New Jersey. "Hello, yes, I have the information you want. The list, in descending order, is Rockall, Flat Holm, Guernsey"
"Which is the most popular?"
"I've already told you, are you stupid? Rockall is preferred"
"No need to get uppity Tiny. Thanks, we'll be in touch"
"I'm not doing any more"
"We'll be in touch"
If the shares in Rockall Development traded slightly more than usual, it wasn't enough to raise warning flags. Certain people made a lot of money when the announcement was made, selling them sensibly before the government did yet another U-turn and announced a wide-ranging enquiry into the energy sector after the papers and Friends of The Earth began to report the disquiet at turning a barren rock in the Atlantic into a nuclear waste dump.
Inevitably another 'request' arrived, this time they wanted to know if the Prime Minister was supporting the trade deal with Chile. Again a small flurry of trading could be put down to careful market watching. Other questions followed. To his protests they responded that very often the information could be garnered from other sources anyway, it was just easier to get it through a government spy. They were, they assured him, loyal Brits simply wanting to make an honest profit (albeit by dishonest means) rather than any kind of foreign power spying on Britain. From the range of questions and occasional comments made, Cuthbert came to the conclusion that he was working for a commercial agency contracted to providing research information to various businesses. It actually eased his conscience a little as he began to think that perhaps he was giving a head start to some of Britain's businesses. Of course his conscience, good or bad, didn't really come into it; the pictures he was occasionally sent kept him on side with his blackmailers.
He did however occasionally look at the photos and wonder 'how is it possible I got to do that only once in my life. That particular thing may even be illegal, but I have to admit it was bloody good fun, and now I'm on the hook for it, for one single act' ('well, alright, ' he admitted to himself, 'a whole night of single acts)' It did seem unfair. But then blackmail is hardly meant to be fair.
"I'm sorry, you want to know WHAT?"
"We want to know if the Princess has a preferred underwear supplier"
"How the fuck would I know! I can hardly ask her can I? Go to hell!" He had been promoted and his duties now included liaising with the Royal Family, but he didn't think he was in a position to ask a princess which knickers she liked best.
"Calm down, for a civil servant you can be very emotional. It shouldn't be hard to find out, FOR EXAMPLE, if any new Royal Warrants are to be issued, and if any of them are to 'purveyors of female underwear'. Isn't that the phrase?" It was true, a new batch was due to come out soon. Could he find out? He tried to nonchalantly ask about the list.
"Sorry Mr Rowlands, that information is very strictly guarded. Her Majesty is very careful that this information isn't released early"
All other routes similarly hit a blank wall, so when 'La Tempestua' were given a Royal Warrant (The Sun : 'Princess's knickers give Royal Approval (and not just from the Prince)') 'the Company' as they called themselves, were not happy.
"Tiny, disappointing, 'La Tempestua' are worn next to the royal bottom and we are the last to know"
"I know, I tried, really. That list is guarded better than our nuclear launch codes" - which everybody in government knows are always changed to the present Prime Minister's credit card PIN code so he can remember it easily.
"Well, perhaps you are losing interest in working for us"
The phone rang off.