We Tap Any Phone by Chris Green
There was a thick layer of dust on the car again this morning. It was more than just a sprinkling this time. I only took it to the car wash last Thursday. This wasn’t a dust storm coming in from the Sahara; it was an ash deposit coming from the spy base three hundred yards away. Several times a month, they burn their confidential waste and if the wind is in the right direction the residue is deposited in the vicinity of my house. Late in the evening, a big plume of smoke rises up to the sky, like a mini 9/11. You would think that with all the sophistication of their kit these days they would be able to find a better way of getting rid of their secret papers. What is wrong with shredding? You must be able to get industrial scale shredders.
The base’s activities are really starting to get to me. I haven’t been able to pick up a single TV channel since they installed their new equipment. And my phone only seems to work on Sundays. BT say they cannot do anything about it. And the mobile is no use. There’s just no signal once you get close to the site. The people at the base don’t appear to work on Sundays; the car park is always empty when I walk Rolf, after lunch at The Whistle Blower. There is definitely a connection (or not, lol). The white radome that recently appeared behind the razor wire fence may look like a golf ball but beneath it I am told is a giant satellite dish. Merv is not a conspiracy theorist, he knows his stuff. He used to work for Department Ж. If he says there is a ninety-foot dish, then there is a ninety-foot dish.
I’ve had an idea. Street art, a mural! Of the dish. Decorated with of dozens of mobile phones. Or a phone and a tap. Maybe a sniper or two. I’m going to go out and buy the things later. I’ve been reading up on how to cut stencils and I saw a handy looking builder’s tarpaulin with a support frame in the DIY store when I went to buy the extension pole to clean the residue off the upstairs windows. I can buy the spray paints at the same time. B and Q has a good selection of colours. All I need is to think of some way of avoiding the banks of cameras around the base. Even the street lights are cameras.
I’ve found the perfect place. There is a blind spot on the cameras. I noticed it while I was walking Rolf earlier. I approached it from both directions to make sure. There is a row of half a dozen older style terraced houses with the end of one of them facing the base. There are not even any street lights. It’s also one of the few places around there without double yellow lines. I can hire a white van and park it up.
I cut the stencils out this morning. The process is quite time consuming, but it is easier than you would imagine if you do drawings first. I used to go to art classes at the community centre, so this part was not too hard. I spent the afternoon watching YouTube videos on spray can art technique. Short sharp bursts from each can from about eight inches seems to be the key and you can smudge it and make shapes and patterns applying newspaper to the paint before it dries. You have to be quick, but it seems to work. I have hired the van, loaded up and now I am ready. Davy is going to help. Davy might not be the sharpest tool in the shed, but he is keen and he doesn’t argue. I’m picking him up at 1 a.m.
It went like a dream last night. We fixed the tarpaulin around the side of the house and got cracking. It was a quiet night. Only once or twice did we hear voices. When we did we crouched down and kept quiet. Passers-by just assumed that our tarpaulin was a sign that routine work was being carried out. The base often had the pavement dug up for workmen to lay cables, so our lean-to tarpaulin did not seem suspicious. We finished just as the dawn was breaking. The mural of the radome with the sniper standing on top looked quite professional, I thought, for a first attempt. The radome was made up of dozens of stencilled mobile phones in day-glo colours. I finished it off with WE TAP ANY PHONE, in large caps. The finished work looked good. I dropped Davy off and took the van back. I was dog tired. I slept all day. Rolf has been barking a lot. I think he wants a walk, but I’d better leave it until tomorrow.
There was a helicopter hovering overhead all of last night. They are waiting for me to break cover. My stencil street art really seems to have upset them. Davy phoned me to say it was on the front of the local paper and was on the TV news. I hoped I’d remain anonymous – at least for a while. Banksy has managed it for twenty years. No-one knows who Banksy is. Banksy probably doesn’t know who Banksy is. I have a suspicion that Davy might have tipped the papers off, and the TV people. I can’t watch it on TV of course and my internet seems to have been cut off. And, although it is Sunday and the phone is working, every time I pick it up I hear a high pitched humming sound. Merv is coming round later with his sound bandwidth sensor. He says if he sets it to a low frequency and the bandwidth indicator pops a couple of times per minute then my phone is tapped. I imagine it is tapped. It would be remiss of them not to.
© Chris Green 2014: All rights reserved