It worked well enough in the lab, but when Peanut was hungry or sexually interested he ignored the electronic pulses, so they had to open him up again and run wires to different parts of his brain to override the impulses of hunger and romance. They used his tail as the antenna.
Now, I am not proposing we use a cat. All the effort and trouble to bring Peanut under military micro-control meant that Operation Acoustic Kitty cost more than $20-million in 1960s money, which would be considerably more today. I suggest we use less headstrong local subjects — a hadeda, for instance, would be less wilful than a cat and has a beak almost purpose-made for use as an aerial. Or we could just hollow out Andile Mngxitama, who has already shown that he has a willing propensity to be used as a puppet.
The big day for Peanut’s first field test was a bright spring morning in 1967. The CIA staked out the Soviet compound in Washington DC from a white panel van. They watched as two Russian diplomats emerged and crossed the street to the public park to smoke their Sobranies and finalise plans for the overthrow of the decadent West. This was Peanut’s moment.
With sex drive and appetite deactivated, he was let out of the van, and under remote control went obediently padding across Wisconsin Avenue. At which point he encountered another hazard we will have to carefully consider for our South African operation, because just, as Peanut reached the middle of the road, a taxi came speeding round the corner and killed him.