Spies Like Us



We’ve always harbored a secret yearning for a career in espionage: to wear wigs and costumes, or maybe just a trench coat and a black beret; to speak many languages, or at least in many accents; to arrange clandestine meetings on foggy street corners; or just be able to make our way around strange cities without getting hopelessly lost.


  • Unmasked!


The other afternoon, we got our wish, sort of.

There we were in Subterranean Books , posing as a disaffected college student (one of our favorite disguises, as it only requires that we wear jeans, slouch, and scowl), when we noticed a display of postcards atop a bookshelf in the store’s loft and a sign featuring a display of seemingly random numbers which it invited us to decode.

It was a temptation impossible to resist. Within moments, we had seized one of the pencils and pieces of paper someone (but who?) had laid out for us and were gleefully decoding the first of the messages with the key we discovered on the postcard.

We crept stealthily around the store, following orders, cracking codes, melting into the rows of bookshelves when it appeared someone was looking our way. It was challenging enough to keep us from feeling bored, simple enough to convince us that perhaps we had erred in failing to complete our application to the CIA because we were afraid of the stringent physical fitness requirements.

Upon fulfilling our mission, we reassumed our identity as a reporter, only to discover that we had merely stumbled onto Enigma Machine, Matt Kindt’s latest secret art exhibition, which runs through September 9.

“Matt’s kind of into secret agent stuff,” says Jason, manning the front counter.

Our dream of spending future lunch hours on secret missions was dashed. Oh, please, please, Matt, won’t you set up another exhibit somewhere else, somewhere where we least expect it? Could you at least try to make a trip to Schnucks a little more exciting?


Riverfront Times works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of St. Louis and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep St. Louis' true free press free.