An international spy’s packing list

(An addendum to Why I’d make a kick-ass master criminal)

To be a kick-ass spy, you have to travel light in the extreme, making the most of what is on you or in front of you:

Everyday objects, hidden in plain sight, work the best.

‘Mr and Mrs Smith’ — giphy.com

Surprise is your ultimate weapon of choice.

Black Widow fighting a possessed Hawkeye — giphy.com

Closely followed by distraction.

‘The Long Kiss Goodnight’— giphy.com

Casing out your current location for the best source of weapons is also a valid option. If you do happen to have a one-off spy invention, it is very much worth holding on to, due to its uniqueness — in this case, the above-mentioned element of surprise is, in fact, worth the extra burden.

Q demonstrates new gadget — giphy.com

The absolutely perfect scenario, of course, is to use your opponents weapons against them — but this is a matter of luck rather than talent and so cannot be relied upon. Strictly for show-offs.

Bond, James Bond. Showing off again.
  • Identifying papers and currency

The last thing you need is to be caught with the wrong thing in your hand. The answer is stashes in several key locations around the globe for when you find yourself in a tricky spot. Use unofficial channels — that way, even if a government tries to shut you down, you can access other identities (kind of a major plot hole in many spy movies).

There is absolutely nothing wrong with performing a random mugging if you need money — just be careful not draw attention to yourself and to pick solely on undeserving, rich wankers.

It pays to kill two birds with one stone (not necessarily literally) and borrow the clothes of the people you incapacitate. Make sure to pause and measure them before you hit them over the head — there is nothing more annoying than concussing someone only to find their clothes don’t fit you. Hopefully, there will be a tape measure handy because you don’t really want to have to carry a tape measure (of all things) on you. Alternatively, if you have access to someone like Bond’s Q, you could ask them to make you a special pair of glasses that instantly tells you what size clothing someone wears.

‘Charlies Angels’ – giphy.com

Be wary of the following physical or personal baggage (it will only slow you down and leave you weak):

Try to avoid at all costs, especially silver briefcases — you might as well paint a target on your forehead.

‘The Simpsons’ — giphy.com

Avoid owning these. Instead, master the art of hacking so as to gain access via any computer you come across. Always remember to wipe your path clean behind you. Hot or burner phones only (and for the love of God, don’t use them to call your mom!).

Sarah, ‘Orphan Black’ – giphy.com
  • Persons of sentimental value

This is the hard part. Probably best not to have family — kill them off before your enemies do.

  • Objects of sentimental value

If you absolutely must hold onto keepsakes, stash them in a very safe place (along with your people of sentimental value, if you found yourself unable to top them). A vault or post box are risky (especially for storing living people). However, random places carry risk too.

The answer is: just don’t have one. Live in the places in between — the apartment being renovated, the unoccupied hotel room, a house whose owners are on holiday. Your BOSSES house while they’re away on holiday — that way you can enjoy the added perk of trashing it! If you find yourself having a mind blank regarding where to lay low, make a list of all the places you would normally think to go, burn the list, then go somewhere completely different and waaaaaay off the beaten track (hint: not a war zone. Another hint: preferably a tropical beach with hot babes, cos there’s no reason not to have fun while you’re hiding).

NO! Have you not been listening?? Unless you want them killed. Only stay in contact with people you don’t care that much about, so you’re not that fussed if they get offed. In which case, don’t tell them any secrets so they can’t spill their guts when their guts get spilled. Or only give them misinformation so their death counts for something (for you, at least).

Recreational only. Otherwise, your vulnerability to infiltration becomes incredibly high (ask Bond). Besides, constantly replacing significant others becomes terribly tedious after a while.

Baggage you absolutely do not want:

  • Tracking devices planted on (or in) your person.
  • Good looks — while it has its place, it draws way too much attention. Better to look like a mum picking her kids up from school — harmless and completely forgettable.
Villanelle from ‘Killing Eve’ — such a sweet face — giphy.com
  • Morals — completely unprofessional. Get rid of them.

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