See if you can tell which of these exchanges are between two bird enthusiasts on an awkward first date and which are between two cold war era spies!

  1. The weather is nice in Albany this time of year no? – Yes. The swallows have returned and I plan on visiting soon to observe them.

  1. You must be Jennifer. I’m Jack. Wow, you look exactly like your profile picture. – Oh stop, that picture’s from so long ago. I can’t believe we both work for the park service.

  1. The male finch is a bird of great beauty though the female remains as gray as the long long bird-less winter days in Albany no? – Yes. The codes and photographs are nearby.

  1. I think I’ll have a glass of the house red, thanks. So Jennifer how long have you been birding? – Since I was a kid really. It’s so rare that I meet someone else interested though. Definitely a dying art form.

  1. The train arrives in Albany frequently when the tracks are clear of snow. Where are the codes and photographs? – I enjoy cardinals. The codes and photographs are in a briefcase behind a trash receptacle merely 20 yards from this bench.

  1. Is that how you ended up an environmental researcher for the National Park Service? Is that what your degree is in? – No. Sadly you can’t get a degree in birding. Haha. My degree is in marine biology. What about you?

  1. Come, let us go to the trash receptacle so you can prove to me the existence of this brief case of important codes and photographs or, as sure as the mighty heron flies over upstate New York, I will kill you. – Very well.

  1. My degree was in economics actually. Birding is just a hobby of mine. I spend most of my day in an office two blocks from here balancing the park service’s budget. But I guess you would know a bit about that too seeing as your father’s an economics professor and everything. – How did you know my father was an economics professor?

  1. Comrade. Open the briefcase. – Of course. Here are the photographs and codes just as I promised.

  1. You must have said so earlier. – I didn’t say anything about my father.

  1. Just as we agreed. The personal collection of photographs you have taken of rare birds and a list of the best zip codes in the contiguous united states for bird watching. – Yes. We should go go on a second date and perhaps bird watch together in one of these places, no?

  1. Lucky guess I suppose. You haven’t had any of your wine. Do you not like it? – I never drink house wines. I have better taste than that. But I trusted your taste for wine would be less refined than mine. That’s why I poisoned the bottle before you even arrived.

  1. I would love to go with you on a second bird watching date as this first one was fantastic, no? – Yes, our mutual enthusiasm for birding has made it enjoyable.

  1. You don’t work for the park service at all do you? – I work for them as diligently as you do “Jack”. Funny they should let a notorious KGB war criminal balance their books though.

  1. Blue finch. – The heron flies south.

  1. *Cough* Capitalist pig. *Cough* Even in death I will bring my country honor. The cold war rages on. America will fall still. – Your war was lost 30 years ago Dimitri. They should’ve never re-activated you. Sleep now. Your fight is over. Tell Stalin Uncle Sam says hello one last time.

  1. I will now button up my trench coat and leave you here alone in this park after a successful date. Where shall we meet for our lovely second date? – Perhaps Albany. The weather is great this time of year and there are many young swallows to observe.

Cold War Espionage: 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16
Awkward First Date Exchange Between Two Birding Enthusiasts: 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, 15, 17

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