Too perfect for spying

Posted July 12, 2010

Too perfect for spying

As the alleged undercover Russian spies settle back into life in their motherland we should all spare a thought for poor “Cynthia Murphy”. Up until a week ago, Cynthia was a happily married, mother of two living in New Jersey successfully juggling career, motherhood and espionage. Her neighbours knew she had a job in banking and they could see that she doted on her kids. But they had no inkling that she led a double life as a spy until the scandal broke.

Surely there must have been some indications. What about the glaring mismatch between her Russian accent and the Irish surname?  Maybe not – I remember years ago, on a trip to California, visiting an Irish Mexican restaurant called Carlos Murphy’s.  I had one of the best Irish stews there that I’ve ever tasted. If only they’d thought about it, the “Murphys” of New Jersey could have gone deeper under cover by opening an Irish Russian restaurant. Boris Murphy’s has a good ring to it. Cynthia, by all accounts, was a good cook and an even better baker.

With the benefit of massive FBI clues, the real giveaway, according to the neighbours, was Cynthia’s “too perfect” flower arranging. Ah yes of course! She obviously forgot to rein in her perfectionist Slavic floristry skills. Clearly the need for utilitarian order and discipline was buried deep in her Russian psyche. So, rigid shapes and structure were the order of the day, not the ‘loose’ arrangements apparently favoured by American suburbia.

Having spent so many years living the all-American dream, Cynthia’s new surroundings will undoubtedly come as a cultural shock to her. She may never get another opportunity to bake her cookies shaped like the Statue of Liberty or rustle up a mouth watering apple pie. Still, at least she has her superlative flower arranging skills and vodka to fall back on.

Does Carlos Murphy's still exist? Have you eaten there?

Image: 'I spy' Terri Kahrs, Flickr

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