He rang the bell. The door opened. Fiona stood there, dressed in a tight, shiny, garishly-coloured outfit. He reached under his jacket, pulled out a pistol and adopted what he hoped was a cool, confident stance.
‘My name is Bond. James Bond.’
‘Nigel, for heaven’s sake. It’s supposed to be fancy dress.’
‘This is fancy dress. I’m Bond. He always wears a dinner jacket.’
‘Yes, but it isn’t fancy, is it? I mean, that’s what you usually wear when you go out to dinner.’
‘I’ve got a gun.’
‘That’s not dress. That’s a prop.’
‘Well, what are you supposed to be? You don’t look much different from normal, either.’
Fiona replied with some emphasis: ‘I am supposed to be a tart.’
‘Yeah, well. Like I said…’
Fiona moved back inside.
‘ Right. Well, you’re not coming in till you’re in fancy dress, as specified.’
She slammed the door.
Nigel was non-plussed. He’d been quite pleased with his adopted persona. He decided that he’d always known that Fiona was a bitch. Then he shrugged his shoulders and set off down the street. Walking aimlessly, he turned a corner and found himself outside a small nightclub he didn’t recall seeing before. He went through the door. Inside, a plush lobby was impeccably furnished. A beautifully proportioned girl, with a mass of blonde curls, was behind a desk. She stood up as he walked past, and approached him.
‘Excuse me, sir. Are you a member?’
Nigel tilted up her chin with one hand and planted a firm, lingering kiss on her lips. With the other hand he took out his wallet and flashed a card at her.
The girl gasped, when she was able to, then returned to being business-like.
‘Oh, yes, of course, Mr. Bond. I do apologise, I should have recognised you.”
“Never mind. You will next time.”
Nigel shocked himself by slapping her bottom as she returned to the desk, where she pushed a button. A hidden door opened to one side and he walked through. On the surface he appeared calm, though his mind was struggling to catch up with events.
Behind the door a cosy, but elaborately decorated bar contained a scattering of people. On a small stage a girl who looked a little like Diana Ross was singing huskily into a microphone. A waiter bustled up with an obsequious smile and ushered Nigel to a table in a quiet corner.
‘Your usual, Mr. Bond?’
‘Yes, please. And make it a double.’
The waiter scurried away, returning with a drink which Nigel thought he didn’t recognise, despite apparently finding it perfectly familiar. He leaned back in his chair.
Suddenly strong clamps emerged from the chair, binding him to it. He felt himself descending through the floor, which closed above his head. A light snapped on and a pair of cold eyes focused on him from a smooth but grossly unattractive face.
‘So, Mr. Bond. You thought you could enter my lair unmolested?’
‘On the contrary, Blofeld. I was relying on this. I can now put paid to your schemes.’
Nigel found himself moving the tip of his tongue to a hollow tooth. He pressed the tiny button which he found there. The clamps which held him to the chair sprang back. He leaped forward, directly at the face, which recoiled. Instantly two large, bald-headed, sweaty weight-lifters (they looked like weightlifters to Nigel) threw themselves upon him from either side. He grabbed each of them by the neck and banged their bald pates together hard, taking care to ensure that Blofeld’s head was between them.
Leaving the three in a motionless heap, and feeling quite surprised, Nigel ran to a nearby door. Set in the wall beside it was a large red button marked ‘Denouement’. In an adjacent cupboard he discovered the wetsuit and aqualung he now realised he was looking for. Donning them, he opened the door and looked outside. A beach, edged by the sea, glistened in the moonlight. Responding to an urge Nigel pressed the red button, then he ran down to the sea and plunged into the water as the island behind him exploded in a massive ball of flame. Diving deep to avoid the flying lumps of rock which were plummeting into the sea all around, he swam to the other side of the strait, surfacing in a small deserted harbour. There he climbed the steps to the jetty, his flippers raising echoes as they slapped on the hard surface. Removing them, he began making his way along the nearest street. A little way along he came to a door he recognised.
He rang the bell. The door opened. Fiona stood there.
‘That’s better,’ she said. ‘ You can come in now.’
By John Emms