Frascati, Italy. 11 March 2040.
Parvaneh Peykan lived and died for poetry. That love was how we kidnapped the scumbag so easily.
She had come out of a poetry reading at the Duke of York’s pub in Brighton. Dead chuffed, she was, and a little worse for drink. That lot cannot hold it – they don’t get the practice. This one had been reading her own verses, and they had gone down a treat among the pinkos.
We waited till she had moved away from the people she had come out of the pub with, an independent woman striding off on her own, then I came up behind her, called her name and waved a book of her poems. I asked her if she would be kind enough to autograph it. She agreed, of course, and when all her attention was on writing the curlicues of her name, the other agents came and crowded around with feigned interest. As soon as Carlo brought up the white van, we bundled her in, before she realised what was going on. None of those arty types from the pub had cars of their own, so we were well away before anyone raised the alarm. A few days later, we were back home in Italy and she was back home in Iran, in slightly less comfortable surroundings, no doubt.
What do you mean, what had she done? She was a dissident, wasn’t she? Blimey, a Muslim fundamentalist Iran was bad enough; a secular Iran was unthinkable. Look at all the trouble Turkey has caused us. In return for the poet, we got the ayatollahs’ backing for a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council. Plus the regime leant on its Shia buddies in Iraq next door, where there was a war going on, to release the Italian soldiers or journalists who fell into their hands from time to time. It was a good deal, and it seemed like a job well done. But some of our team had not been careful.