Out in the cold

bottles-marie-gail-stratford ‘Did you get that, Hans?’ whispered Peter. ‘Yellow three, red two.’ Hans, hunched against the cold, squinted through the gloom at the coded lights flashing through coloured bottles in the tavern window opposite.

‘I did.’ Hans shivered. ‘But this must stop. We’ll be spotted and you know what that means.’

‘Yes,’ Peter sighed, ‘George would be exposed and they’d lock him away.’

‘Senile old fool,’ Hans snorted. ‘Why can’t he order his groceries online like everyone else? It’s time we all retired.’

Peter glanced at George’s sign swinging above the door: Smiley’s Tavern. It’s warm inside.

‘Come, my old comrade,’ he muttered. ‘Have some sympathy.’


For some profound and enduring thoughts from the pen of a master, read more here:


For an interesting article about the real-life George, read this one:


This  is my contribution to ‘Friday Fictioneers‘, a weekly challenge to write a 100 word story in response to a picture. Rochelle Wiseoff-Fields kindly hosts the event. This week’s colourful and inspiring photo is courtesy of Marie Gail Stratford.

26 thoughts on “Out in the cold

    • Thank you Rochelle. Originally I was just going to have them as anonymous characters, with no connection to the Le Carre stories, but I couldn’t resist. I hope the story is still meaningful for people who haven’t read them.



    • Dear Doug,
      I’m so happy you enloyed it – I had fun with it myself; although I was a bit worried that I might be committing some kind of literary sacrilege bringing the great George down to such a low point. I do appreciate your wonderful comment. Thank you.



  1. Your story got me going. It’s always nice to have a good read to get away from it all. You did it, Marg. I’m a big appreciator of the old-school spy stuff. I enjoyed it very much.

    Oh, that article … WOW! Great info! Thanks for this. I have never read a LeCarre novel but I am familiar with The Spy Who Came In From The Cold. I almost saw the movie with Richard Burton, though. 😀


    • I’m glad you enjoyed it. If you like spy stories you’d just love a LeCarre one. I’m intrigued about how you ‘almost’ saw the movie – I guess that’s a good first step. I thought the news article was interesting too. Thanks for your encouraging comment.


  2. A nicely witty use of a wonderful character 🙂 And it’s always good to see a reference to The Spy Who Came In From the Cold, which rekindled my interest in reading a few years ago, after a significant lapse.


    • It’s quite a classic. I think I’m overdue another LeCarre binge myself – his books are great, and doing my little story has rekindled my interest in him too. I’m so glad your reading lapse had an end. And thank you for your nice feedback.


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