Playing To Your Strengths


“Chief, I know. It’s just that…”

“Taylor. Don’t talk. Listen.”

“All right.”

“What is the press going to say?”


“You can talk now.”

“The press will say what we tell them to say.”

“They’re not going to buy this, Taylor.”

“You always said that journalists were dumb, chief.”

“They may be dumb, but they aren’t stupid.”

“I’ve never really understood that phrase.”

“That’s because you’re dumb and stupid. I told you, at least thirty pounds.”

“It was.”

“It was 5 ounces.”

“Well, when you count the container…”

“Do you count the weight of your car on your driver’s license, Taylor?”

“Are you saying I’m fat?”

“You have put on a few pounds. But no. I am saying, you kinda fucked this one up.”


“Kinda a lot. What sort of container was that?”

“It was a tank. You know, like, an empty helium tank.”

“How come it had those bright colors, then?”

“I bought it off a circus clown.”


“I thought we wanted to call attention to it.”

“Taylor, have you ever heard of the world ‘verisimilitude’?”

“Is this about the spelling?”

“Well, no, but now that you mention it…”

“Here we go.”

“Did you really expect the president to call a press conference standing in front of a big photograph of a red, green and yellow-painted helium tank with ‘uranium’ spelled wrong on it?”

“It’s a hard word, chief.”

“I realize that.”

“Hard to spell.”

“Well, for future reference, it doesn’t have a Y in it.”


“Or an O.”


“Or another O.”


“What was in there, anyway?”

“Talcum powder.”

“Why…why did you think anyone would buy that?”

“They buy it when we sub it for cocaine. I figured people might think, you know, powdered uranium. Or something.”

“I think that we’re going to have to consider this mission an unqualified disaster, don’t you think, Taylor?”

“I guess.”

“Is there something you’d like to say, Taylor?”

“May I speak frankly, Chief?”

“Of course.”

“I didn’t join the Company because I’m a good speller, chief. And I’m not so good at P.R. and advertising.”

“I can see that.”

“But, damn it, I’m really good at what I do.”

“And…and what is that, Taylor?”


“What do you do? As an intelligence agent, you’re pretty much a wash.”

“Well…I’m an economist.”

“An economist.”

“Yeah. I majored in economic theory, with a concentration in two-sided matching models.”

“Why did you join the CIA, then?”

“I’m just paying off my student loans.”


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