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Thanks to Hollywood (and general assumption), we can imagine our city as one full of secrets: In Washington, D.C., X marks not the treasure spot, but—when placed in the corner of a window or on the leg of a mailbox—maybe a dead drop or a money exchange. This reputation is probably somewhat deserved, but let’s face it, does life ever work like the movies? Jerrold Schecter could probably tell you—at least the unclassified stuff: He served in the Carter administration as a member of the National Security Council, and anyone who worked for the government during the Cold War must have some pretty good stories. Schecter will talk about American spy and Soviet Col. Oleg Penkovsky, and the Cuban Missile Crisis at 6:30 p.m. at the International Spy Museum, 800 F St. NW. $25. For reservations call (202) 393-7798. (Mike Kanin)