Today's Topic:

I was talking to a friend about the international network of spies that I run in my spare time. When discussing the technical details and how we transmit coded messages, I stumbled over my words, and instead of saying, "invisible ink," I said, "indivisible ink."

Anxious that my friend might catch the error and lose respect for me, I quickly covered up the error by explaining that indivisible ink is a special kind of ink that can't be split up. Only the very tippy-top (the toppiest) spies have access to indivisible ink, and it is only used in very special situations. Sometimes, for example, it is used for communicating messages about the mathematical formulas of special chemical compounds (such as the recipe for super-bouncy spy shoes). In such cases, spies use indivisible ink in their messages alongside regular "divisible" ink to indicate that while an equation that involves division is written on the paper, it shouldn't actually be divided.

It was at this point that my friend's eyes glazed over. He did not seem interested in such micro-details of spy work, so I quickly changed the subject. "Spies also get ultra-hot women," I added. His eyes unglazed like a donut that someone has taken the glaze off of.

"If you see an ultra-hot babe walking down the street," I explained, "chances are that she knows a spy, is a spy, has once been in the company of a spy, or has at least seen one movie that involves a spy."

My friend seemed impressed, but then, I don't think he was listening all that closely.

He could have listened better if he possessed a super spy earring device. An earring device is like a hearing device, except you pronounce it without an "h" and doesn't have as many r's in it. There is another, more important difference, though. An earring device not only doubles your hearing capability, it also doubles your attention span. Plus it makes you look very fashionable.

If, at this very moment, you were wearing an earring device and someone read this column to you, you would be completely absorbed in what I have written. Otherwise, not so much.

Speaking of being completely absorbed, another super secret tool used in the espionage world is the spy sponge. I know, you've never heard of it. That's because it's super secret. It's so super secret that I can't tell you what it does, but I can tell you this: it's sucksational! I can't say anything more without being in grave danger, which is entirely different from being in gravy danger—a problem that, coincidentally, can be solved with the spy sponge.

I told all of this to my friend, whose eyes began to fill with suspicion. I realized that he had begun to doubt that I was a spy at all. Perhaps he thought I was just making things up as I went. Maybe I was simply playing with words and seeing where it went, all within the context of some weird spy fantasy that had nothing to do with reality.

"Here," I said. "Use some of this." I handed him a bottle of spywash, which will get just about anything out of your eyes, including pollen, suspicion, and bullets. I once saw an agent remove an axe from his eye using spywash. Needless to say, I was quite impressed. But in this instance, all I needed to do was get the suspicion out of my friend's eyes.

My friend held the bottle in his hand, but didn't use it. Gaze unflinching, he said, "Are you playing mind grains with me?"

"Mind grains?" I asked, feigning innocence. "What's that?"

"Mind grains are a combination of mind games and migraines. It's when you're so tricky with your psychological manipulations that you give yourself a headache, and then you have the sudden urge to eat cereal."

Wow. Only an agent could have known that. He was good, and I realized now that I had been bested at my own game. He didn't even give me time to recuperate. "Gotta go," he said. "I have to fly to Paris where I have a meeting with the real leaders of the world in a high-tech facility hidden under the Louvre."

He left me standing there. I twisted my wedding band, and a thin laser beam shot from one of the diamonds, transmitting a message to a satellite that would relay the information to headquarters. The ring is designed to read my subconscious and converts my thoughts to a coded message. In the business, it's called a "phoney ring." Not very catchy, I have to admit, but it does the job.

The message said this: "Screwed up again. Not sure what's real anymore. Search Louvre for underground lair."

Just then my phone rang. I tried to answer my wedding ring, but couldn't hear a thing. "Oh yeah," I said, taking my cell phone out of my pocket.

"Honey, where are you?" my wife asked. "What do you want to do for dinner?"

I turned around on the sidewalk and headed back toward the house. "I know this might sound weird," I said, "but I'm kinda in the mood for cereal."