Thursday, September 1, 2011

Cat's Eyes


I thought I'd drag out a post I did a while back when I was a guest at another blog. It has never been posted on my site before, but some of my original followers may recognize it from that guest appearance. I hope you enjoy the information.

 ***

You're running late, and in your panic you take the wrong exit off the highway. Now you're lost. The road is narrow, and there are no easy places to turn around. You're trapped on a strange road and going the wrong direction -- traveling at night into unfamiliar territory. The minutes are stacking up, and there is still no exit in sight. You glance repeatedly at your wristwatch and fumble for your phone, but it's not where you normally keep it. You check your pockets. It's not there either! Now you're really frantic. Did you leave it on the kitchen counter in your mad rush to be out the door?

The road narrows even more and drops abruptly. Now you're driving over loose gravel, surrounded by abandoned cornfields, and storm clouds are moving in. This is not someplace you want to break down, and it's definitely not someplace you want to get stuck either. The first fat splashes of rain hit your windshield and lightning streaks the sky. A sudden thunderous crash nearly sends your head through the roof as you jump, and the storm lets loose with a torrential downpour. You round a sharp bend and two green eyes peer at you from the side of the road. You brake abruptly, fearing the worst, but there is no cat in sight.

There never was a cat. You just stumbled upon a pickup location.

A reflection of cat's eyes is commonplace at night. I'm sure your headlights have illuminated them at some point in your life. Two glowing eyes in the dark. But sometimes, they're not quite what they appear to be. Cat's Eyes are a device used in spycraft. They make for a great 'pick up' or 'drop off' signal.

Let's say an operative wants to be picked up at an undisclosed location for security purposes, but she is deep in the country, and there are no local pubs or restaurants available. She has told her desk operator that she will be somewhere between spot code orange 7 and blue 13, but that stretch of road is long and lonely. This is where the Cat's Eyes come in. The operator takes a simple sheet of plywood, paints it black, and uses glass beads backed with silver foil for the Cat's Eyes. She plants it next to the road, hides out of sight, and waits for her pickup. Her pickup will know what those two glowing eyes mean, but anyone else will merely pass them by without a second glance.

Next time you're traveling along a deserted highway at night, and you see two glowing eyes on the side of the road, don't assume it's a cat.

... especially if you see a shadowy figure waiting in the dark.

And don't try to dig up that sheet of plywood. It's extremely dangerous.

If you'd like to spend more time in the company of spies, I hope you will read my book Sleeping with Skeletons. You can find out more information on that at my website. 

http://doralynn.net/skeletons.html

30 comments:

L. Diane Wolfe said...

It's like gas prices - I can never figure out why they suddenly jump for no reason.

L.G.Smith said...

That's such a cool detail about the "cat's eyes." Never saw that in a Bourne movie. :)

Doralynn Kennedy said...

Hi L. Diane Wolfe... yes, gas prices are a mystery.

Doralynn Kennedy said...

Hi L.G., I'm glad you enjoyed the tidbit. Low tech gadgets are sometimes as interesting as the high tech ones.

Laila Knight said...

I hope I'm never stuck in the middle of nowhere like that. I never heard that bit on cat eyes. That's rather ingenious. I'll bet your espionage book rocks. You clearly have the knack for writing suspenseful stories. :)

The price of gas is what keeps me from buying ans suv.

Doralynn Kennedy said...

Hi Laila, the book I'm currently trying to find a home for has a scene similar to that -- well, without the spies. Thanks for the kind comments. I'm glad you enjoyed that!

My niece just bought an SUV. The only time she regrets it is whenever she makes a stop at the gas station.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Never heard of the Cat's Eyes trick before - clever!

Doralynn Kennedy said...

Hi Alex, thanks! That's one of my favorite espionage tidbits... that and the "Doo Radio Transmitter", the homing device camouflaged as dog or monkey droppings.

Cynthia said...

Okay you got me now where can I get a copy?

Doralynn Kennedy said...

Hi Cynthia, wow... thanks! It's at B&N... both print and Nook. It's at Amazon... both print and Kindle -- AND, it's on sale there. It's also available at my publisher's website. There are links to all those from my main website, which is www.doralynn.net. Thanks again! I hope you enjoy it. :-)

DEZMOND said...

you've revealed awfully lot of info on us spies, here, sister. Watch you back, we can't have people revealing things about us like this :PPP

Doralynn Kennedy said...

tee hee... oops... sorry about that Dezzy.

Maeve Frazier said...

Great tidbit! This is what I call a Tease and a Tremor. Enough information to pull you in, leave you wanting more, yet excited about the outcome. Love it Doralynn!

Arlee Bird said...

I've given up trying to outguess gas prices. Then again since I've been unemployed I rarely drive and only fill up once every month or two. My wife on the other hand has a long commute and has no choice but to fill up on a regular basis. I wish we could get rid of our dependence on petroleum as fuel.

Lee
Tossing It Out

Doralynn Kennedy said...

Hi Maeve, nice to see you again. Glad you enjoyed the info. And I'm especially glad that you weathered Irene!

Doralynn Kennedy said...

Hi Lee, pleasure to see you on my blog. I'm always looking into the claims of converting engines to run on water... and such things. I'm afraid it may be akin to turning lead into gold, though my son says it's possible -- and he's much smarter than I am. But gas and energy prices are really getting out of control. I'm slowly converting over to solar, and have a backup generator, but there are so many issues that crop up.

Michelle Moloney said...

Ha!! Love that about the cat's eyes, never heard about that before.

Michelle

Doralynn Kennedy said...

Hi Michelle, glad you enjoyed the espionage trivia. Thanks!

Julie said...

Hi Doralynn! Thanks for coming by my blog. The Cat's Eyes trick is so interesting, I never heard of that before! Glad to have found your blog, and I'm looking forward to seeing you on the Campaign. :)

Doralynn Kennedy said...

Thanks Julie... glad I found you as well!

Nancy Thompson said...

Hi Doralynn! How could we have so many follower friends in common and I've never seen you before? Strange!

Anyway, I'm a follower now. I found you through my BFF Lisa Regan's blog. She's in the thrillers group for the platform building campaign.

I, however, was on vacation and missed the deadline, though I, too, write thrillers. I love finding new thriller writers, especially since we seem to be so far and few between.

Doralynn Kennedy said...

Hi Nancy, it's so nice to meet you. That is strange - especially since we both write the same genre! At least we've finally met.

Sounds like you had quite a vacation!

Linda Gray said...

Hi Doralynne. This is fascinating stuff. I never heard of Cats Eyes as an espionage operative signal. Love it! Thanks for dropping by Critique Sisters Corner. So nice to meet fellow Campaigners.

Jolene Perry said...

Love your writing voice - way fun :D

Doralynn Kennedy said...

Hi Linda. I'm glad you enjoyed that bit of trivia. Nice to meet you as well. Glad I found your blog!

Doralynn Kennedy said...

Hi Jolene... we must have been posting at the same time! I was leaving a comment for Linda at the same time you were leaving one for me.

Thanks so much! As writers, I think we all want to hear someone likes our 'voice'!

Tracy Krauss said...

I'm following you now Doralynn - as a fellow campaigner it's cool to see all the different people I'm connecting with that I normally would not have come across. I'm intrigued with your police background. You should be able to write from a place of authenticity when it comes to the 'crime scenes' etc.

Tess Grant said...

Yikes, Doralynn! I live on a deserted country road--your cat's eyes kind of freak me out. I see those sorts of things all the time.

Doralynn Kennedy said...

Hi Tracy, thanks for the follow. This campaign has just started, and I'm already enjoying it. It's nice to meet you. Thanks for the comments!

Doralynn Kennedy said...

Hi Tess... your comment made me laugh out loud. I bet you'll never look at glowing eyes in your headlights the same way again! Sorry to freak you out though!