In which two surprising students arrive in Buenos Aires

Guest Blog: authorised by the Foreign Office, London, United Kingdom

The Plaza Dorrego note dated 24 November
“Bond, the situation is grave, we are on the brink of war; they have managed to get vital information from the Argentine government. You must go to the rendezvous tomorrow, your local contact will meet you there as will Agent 012. Keep the girl handy, we have reason to believe she can be of use to us, but do not tell her more than she needs to know. Goodluck. M’’.

Foreign Office memo 26 November:
“Agent Moneypenny’s disclosure of the note in a public blog is highly regrettable. There is every possibility that it will be viewed as a credible leak. Our current situation and conflict with Russia following Salisbury is highly classified and should have remained confidential.”

What you may not know, dear reader, is the extent of ripples from ‘Brexit’. Until recently, the safety and security of the United Kingdom was little in doubt. To the west was ‘our special relationship’ with the USA (and Canada) under the steady, civilising leadership of Obama (and Trudeau). To the east was Europe (and Switzerland), a largely collaborative and affluent landmass, offering joint ventures for trade, defence planning and policing (with military protection to the Vatican). All of that was to change. Now, the Channel - a thin strip of murky water bearing ships and concealing submariners - is all that separates us from a hostile world.

The Foreign Office was fully aware of our risk of isolation. The ‘£350 million per week’ sign was hastily dropped from the Brexit Bus and replaced by ‘£100 billion loss by 2030’, according to the National Institute of Economic and Social Research. The Foreign Office needed to act quickly and decisively. And there was little point in turning to Merkel and Macron.

Worryingly with the Vatican falling into Argentine hands under Jorge Mario Bergoglio, and the US Supreme Court currently headed by Chief Justice John Roberts, supported by fellow catholics Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Sonia Sotomayor and now Brett Kavanaugh, the world order was changing in other ways. There were even beliefs that Prince Charles, on his accession to the throne, may convert to Catholicism, Islam (or both).

I know that it troubled you, dear reader - because you have asked why ‘M’ was sent to Buenos Aires, and with her, a collection of disparate, unusual agents. Predictably, the first to arrive was 007 Bond, meeting with ‘M’ in Recoleta cemetery. Then followed Sabrina, 009 Richard Hammond and his mysterious associate Paul. Even Mireille was to depart unexpectedly on the Hanjin Buenos Aires from which Cpt Nick Compton disappeared without trace. And who is the unknown Agent 012?

It is a matter of record that Theresa May, the British Prime Minister, arrived in Buenos Aires in the early hours of 30 November. Her itinerary was tight, but before meeting Argentine President Mauricio Macri, she had a prior appointment arranged personally by ‘M’. Whilst a Presidential car and escort greeted her at Ezeiza Airport, a switch was effected when the cars left Av 25 de Mayo, diverted back down Av San Juan to the junction with Salta. The cavalcade came to a stop at Parilla Nuevo Gogy where secretly Philip May was waiting with asado con frites and a glass of Malbec. Later three radio taxis carrying the Mays and British Secret Service left for Mariposita de San Telmo at Carlos Calvo 950, the May’s boutique hotel for their visit.


Within 30 minutes a 1960 Bentley S2 Continental Standard Sedan seen to be driven by chauffeur Raul Morgado from Palacio Haedo delivers Theresa and Philip May to Calle Balcarce. Whilst the British Secret Service keep watch from the first floor of the public garage across the road, the Mays are taken between the twin lanterns of 725 and the tall double mahogany doors into Taconeando.

“Hello, Prime Minister”. The voice is Argentine, but with almost flawless English diction. The owner of the voice is a slim, striking Argentine woman, her fascinating face framed by black hair. Alongside stands her husband, a short intruiging Irishman with shining pate and winning smile.

“Prime Minister, this is the famous La Flaca Lucia and her husband Gerry. M secured the best for you. I understand this is your first time in Buenos Aires, and indeed to be your first Argentine tango lesson?”.

Philip May smiles uncomfortably as he balances on one foot to tie his shoelace. Theresa places her handbag on a chair. “Take your time, Lucia”, Theresa May announces, “Mauricio Macri can wait; after all, our Falklands misunderstanding will not be resolved in a day”.

From their position of vantage, the officers of MI6 are able to see directly into the studio. And the agents witness the start of an important transition, from a gauche dance at the Conservative Party Conference - to tanguera. Whilst Philip struggles with the embrace, Theresa launches herself into the moment, arguably the most civilising event of the G20.

An hour later, the Bentley S2 pulls away from Balcarce 725, swinging via Plaza Dorrego into Defensa. Bond looks down from the roof at Defensa 784 as they pass, muttering “her next dance with Macri and Trump will make tango seem like a walk-in-the-park”.

In which Bond and Moneypenny encounter problems at Plaza Dorrego

Mr Bond

There are some days when Buenos Aires is so hot and humid that San Telmo streets hum with the sound of the air conditioners which deposit their contents into large plastic bottles, or drip across scorching footways. Today is one of those days. Fortunately for me, a hint of breeze brushes the terrace to cool the skin.

On Sundays the milonga at Plaza Dorrego creeps into life at 1800 hrs, but most dancers arrive after later just as it starts to cool. The organiser, ‘El Indio’ Pedro Benavente is tall, slim and athletic, with long indian hair tied back into a plait. Following him, a collection of young tangueras vie for his attention. Significant amongst the local milongueros that frequent Plaza Dorrego is Don Bernabe, the grand master of the milonga. His age, a closely guarded secret, does not prevent him from dancing, and occasionally performing to the delight of the crowds that gather there.

Now early evening, I stand on the terrace overlooking Defensa. A tiny figure wheels into view and the sound of a harmonica rises against the walls of Geza Eckstein Sanjon de Granados Sa. The apartment buzzer sounds but over the intercom I hear nothing but the noise of market traders packing away their wares. When I reach street level, the figure and his chair has evaporated amongst the crowds, but tucked close to the door is a package - a shoe box wrapped in brown paper.

Returning to the apartment I slip my Georgian silver and mother of pearl pen knife through the string to open the box. ‘Exactly right - the perfect Comme il Faut seduction’, I say to myself.

Wearing my old dance shoes, I descend again the fifty two stairs to street level and make my way across Independencia towards Plaza Dorrego. I have left everything behind, save for a handful of pesos in my pocket and my apartment key clipped to my belt - the Bremont and leather wallet stored safely at the apartment. Plaza Dorrego welcomes those that travel light, and after our exploits of last night I do not relish a repeat loss.

The square is already crowded with visitors. On Sunday evenings it acts as a magnet for tourists that line three of its four sides to watch the dancers and take photographs for their memories. El Indio has just finished his demonstration performance to Angel Villoldo’s El Choclo, his a youthful partner’s fishnets catching the light from a string of coloured bulbs that hang from a plaza tree.

Moneypenny arrives with a swirl of energy. “Bond, let’s dance right now - its Miguel Calo with Raul Iriarte”, she calls above Cuando Tallon los Recuerdos, and she pulls me from my seat on the low wall. With that, we slip into the pista and execute a fast giro whilst waiting for a knot of onlookers to retreat to the steps. Tonight, for the first time since our return to Buenos Aires, Moneypenny dances with a lightness, almost a shallow breath, her short blonde hair catching the lights.

At the cortina, we return to the wall; and from beneath a planter I retrieve the box. “Imagine that, Moneypenny, it seems someone has left a present for you”, ‘Size six if I am not mistaken”, I continue with mock surprise. Lifting the lid, she takes out the Comme il Faut bag and squeals with delight. “Oh James, how thoughtful.” “But what is this?”, she adds, a frown crossing her face as she opens a note that has been slipped inside.

“Bond, you had better read this”, she stutters. “What is it….how did this get here….what does it mean?”

I look down at the note as she holds it out in her hand. The paper bears an MI6 letterhead and below, writing in thick italic nib. I glance up with concern. As I do so, I notice a wheelchair disappear into the crowd. Simultaneously, Richard Hammond appears ominously from the other corner. The Hugo Diaz cortina dissolves into a new tanda of Pugliese. But now dancing is the last thing on my mind.


Richard ‘cabeceos’ me and before I can even react Bond says: “Go dance with him, be natural, don’t say anything, keep it casual and talk about the weather.” Richard and I embrace, the pugliese has already started so we don’t lose any time in idle chit-chat.  My dancing is horrid, I can’t hold my balance and as I go into my first ocho, my left shoe strap comes loose. I notice Bond across the pista reading the note, he seems worried but not surprised.

The first Pugliese of the tanda ends, “How nice to see you my dear, we did miss you at Casa Blanca in Sucre after you left”, Richard whispers in my ear.  “Yes, I had a lovely time as your guest, but I had to get back to Buenos Aires”, I respond as I break away from his embrace. His eyes are fixed on mine, “What a pity, but perhaps we will have another occasion to spend time together in the near future, I feel that we have much more to talk about Miss Moneypenny, in fact I’m rather sure we will see each other very soon”.  “It sure has been hot these past few days hasn’t it?” I suddenly utter not knowing what else to say; Richard ignored my sad attempt at changing the subject and whisks me back onto the pista. The tanda continues, ‘Una noche de Luna’ plays; Bond has picked up a slim blond and is circling around the dance floor as if nothing had happened.

The tanda ends and Richard disappears just as quickly as he had appeared; “Good job old girl”, Bond says to me. “If you say so, I’m not sure what happened there”, I answer as I try to get my strap to hook on; “He knows something, or there was something about the way he spoke to me.  I’m so fed up with all this mystery secrecy; what did the note say?” I ask Bond.

“See for yourself”, he responds and hands me the letter, a telegram more than a letter really, which reads:

‘Bond, the situation is grave, we are on the brink of war; they have managed to get vital information from the Argentine government. You must go to the rendez-vous point tomorrow, your local contact will meet you there as will agent 012. Keep the girl handy, we have reason to believe she can be of use to us, but do not tell her more than she needs to know. Goodluck. M ‘

“Why would you need me? This is absurd, I want no part of it”, I shout to Bond.  “Lower your voice Moneypenny, everything will be alright, you just need to play along”, he responds in a calm and contained voice. “We will dance after this milonga tanda”, he casually adds. However, before the end of the tanda, the music suddenly stops as the crowd, which was just seconds ago merrily twirling about the dance floor, falls into the deathening silence.  A man has collapsed, his partner kneeling over him trying to wake him.

“Alguien llame a una ambulancia!”, shouts a voice as everyone retreats to the side of the pista.  Before Bond can say anything, I grab the box of shoes and run off to Sabrina’s.

Just another day in San Telmo


“You’re sure you don’t want to join me tonight?”, shouts Sabrina while twirling in front of the large mirror ornamenting the entrance of her, and now my, apartment.

“You seem very preoccupied with how you look tonight, any special reason?”, I ask her with a smirk.

“I believe my question was about whether you wanted to join me or not.  If you’re so curious about my reasons for going, why don’t you join me?  You’ve been going out with that man non-stop this week, it’s time you spent your free time in better company”, she adds.

“I’d love to, but I’m tired and all I want to do with get into a hot tub, have some wine and just be alone” I tell her.

“Suit yourself, you have Damian’s number in case you change your mind”.

“And which part can Damian help me with? The alone part?  The hot bath part?” I respond mockingly. 

“You're too clever for your own good you know?  Damian can drive you to wherever you want to go if you need, for the rest, he's a grown man who can indeed be at your service if you need anything else..... Rest well my dear” she retorts with a smile. 

As she closes the door behind her, and seeing her all ready for dazzle and dancing tonight, I almost regret staying home; not to mention that I was dying to know where she was going, she had been so secretive all day, almost as if she had been trying to bait me.  I stare down at the box of ‘Comme il faut’ shoes, that were delivered earlier today and wonder if I shouldn’t just run after her, but something tells me I should stay put tonight after the day I’ve had.

I stare over at the clock, it’s just before midnight, still early by porteño standard, but for some reason I’m exhausted.  I let the tub fill with steaming water and  start soaking my tired feet and desperately try to make sense of the events that happened to me today.

I left Bond’s this morning, after making him my specialty breakfast: coffee and burnt toast, and rushed through the Sunday market.  I love Sundays in San Telmo but for some reason today nothing was quite like I wanted it to be; the fresh orange juice stand I usually go to, wasn’t there; the coffee from the market was too hot; my medialunas were too dry; it’s as if the day was trying to warn me to stay home.

I walked towards home and just before reaching the front door, I saw I Damian leaving Sabrina’s place; he no doubt spent the night here, a rare privilege for Sabrina’s lovers, they’re usually asked to leave just as quickly as they’re asked to come in, but not him.  I’m not quite sure what she sees in him, but I know better than to ask Sabrina about her nightly engagements.

When I got home, Sabrina handed me a package which had been delivered earlier today; a pair of 36 silver Comme il fauts, just like the ones I lost last night and a copy of my key.  The worst part was that I almost wasn’t surprised.  I feel as if I’ve had no control over my own life in the past few months, that it was only natural that last night’s pickpocketing had more to it than met the eye, but why?  Of what interest was I of all people to anyone?  Nothing seemed random, everything seemed all planned out, like a play and I was the only one who hadn’t gotten a copy of the script.

After a few hours of telling Sabrina what happened, I stepped out to Dorrego and that’s when I realised I should have listened to the events of the day and stayed home…..

In which Moneypenny spends the night with Bond

Mr Bond

Dawn comes and goes, apartment shutters keeping out the morning light. Below, sounds of the market meld with fragments of street song from performers who arrive with gusto and depart with pesos.

I turn, feeling the warmth of her back. An escaped shaft of light illuminates the curves of her shoulders, ending in a pinpoint on her calf. Her cropped hair appears translucent in suffused light. She turns. “Bond, is that you?”, she breathes with a serious expression, then smiles.

“What was wrong with the maid’s room?”, I inquire. “What was right with it?”, she retorts, “that bed is as thin as the tail of a La Boca dog, and I am sure you have put a pea under the mattress!”

“Well, that is clear then”, I reply, racking my memory for the moment that I felt a sheet turn, or noticed the softness of her breath on my neck.

“Put some coffee on, old girl”, I continue as I reach for the Bremont. “Gosh, it’s after 12 noon - how did that happen?”

“Time goes quickly when you are enjoying yourself”, she calls from the kitchen and I hear the tap run and the clink of coffee cups”. “Don’t fool yourself”, I reply, “at my age I simply don’t have the time for pleasure”.

Nevertheless, after our first night together at Palacio Haedo, when Moneypenny slept on the terrace, this feels totally different. Protectiveness, responsibility and intrigue compete together for my attention. Then I remember that I am in Buenos Aires, and it really does not need to be resolved. Instead, I close my eyes, listening to fragments of song as Moneypenny prepares breakfast.

An hour later, as I am reading yesterday’s newspaper on the terrace, Moneypenny approaches from behind, pulls back my forehead and supplants a lipstick kiss. “I am going to sort out a key. Plaza Dorrego tonight?”, she stipulates, turning quickly to leave before I can reply.

As her footsteps recede down the staircase, from my half unpacked chest, I take out some writing paper and my Parker fountain pen.

Dear Mireille,
Contact Hammond and Paul. Tell them to meet us tonight (Sunday) at 8pm in Plaza Dorrego. Tell Harmonica boy to collect the size 6 in gold from Comme il Faut, and bring your tango shoes.


I can’t sleep. How did I end up in his maid’s room anyway?  If he were any type of gentleman he would have given me his bed and, would himself, have slept in this sorry excuse for a room which is essentially his walk-in closet.  But it seems that 'gentlemanliness' was not on Bond’s new-post MI6 menu, or was there another reason he didn’t want me in his room?

I keep replaying the night in my head; it started off so promising, a true return to New Airs, and it ended with my losing my favorite shoes, my keys and my having to spend the night feeling like Bond’s hired help.  The odd thing is, I swear my shoe bag had gone missing earlier in the evening. Had someone put something in it?  Had they tried to recover it by taking my bag on the bus? Had we been followed out of Gricel?  Why did they reach for my shoe bag and not my purse, which I was also so evidently carrying? Or has all this secrecy and spying made me paranoid ?  Could this simply be nothing more than a common act of pickpocketing?  The kind that happen every day to everyone?

I get up to fetch a glass of water and try to think of something else.  I start looking around Bond’s new apartment: it’s much less luxurious than the last, but I’m quite fond of it.  It has a European art-nouveau ‘je ne sais quoi’ feel to it, the same type of ‘je ne sais quoi’ Buenos Aires has.  I walk around the apartment, if I didn’t know any better, I would think that Bond has been living here for years; portraits of famous Argentines ornate the walls in such a way that made it seems as if they were family.  At any moment Borges, Ernesto Sabado, Mussolini (ok not quite Argentine but with close ties),  the handsome Gardel and even Eva Peron herself could walk in for an afternoon coffee and medialunas.

The large bookshelf in the living room is filled with books and manuscripts on the history of Argentina, dating all the way back to independence in early 19th century; they all look as if they have been read dozens of times; it’s as if Bond has recreated himself as an old Argentine gentleman in the 4 days he's lived here, complete with a very influential family tree.  

I gaze at the brick walls and large windows around me; I walk about the room; the wooden floors cracks under my feet as I gently dance with the ballet of shadows cast by the swaying curtains and the moonlight peering in; I can’t quite tell if I’m dreaming or awake.

I can still smell my mysterious Porteño cologne on me, if I’m honest, it’s not really my missing shoe bag, nor my shoebox size room which are keeping me up tonight, it’s him.  I can feel the tips of his fingers running down my arm and around my waist; yet I know nothing of him and that’s how I wish it would remain…mysterious men have gotten me into enough trouble lately, yet I feel myself hopelessly drawn to him.

I want to dance, I should wake Bond and make him dance with me, after all I am his guest; but perhaps we’ve already exhausted all the tango this night could offer and asking more of it would only exacerbate things.  

I make my way up the staircase leading to his room and lay next to him in hopes that his deep slumber will somehow pull me along.

Moneypenny, the colectivo, and a stab in the dark

Mr Bond

I get the impression that Moneypenny thinks this is my first time - my virgin voyage. In the early days I introduced her to my maroon and cream Bentley Continental S2. She thinks that, and the radio taxi is all I know.

Since escaping the clutches of MI6, Raul has kept the Bentley hidden under dust covers beneath Palacio Haedo. There is also the little issue of my stipend. No sooner had I left London aboard the ‘Hanjin Buenos Aires’, than the ministry stopped my pay cheque.

The great thing about ‘el colectivo’ is the cost. When I first came to Buenos Aires I learned to say ‘ochenta’ as I boarded, receiving twenty centivos in change from my peso. Now I have one of those touch cards but with inflation am charged a resounding ten pesos.  

Moneypenny has already dashed to the back of the bus to claim two seats. It is approaching three in the morning, yet the atmosphere is carnival. Alongside, a group of revelers laugh and tease, ahead two lovers engage in a long kiss, whilst beyond grey clothed passengers, at the front sit two office cleaners and an eighty year old woman with her shopping trolley pulled into her side. What brings us here together on the colectivo?

We speed along Av San Juan towards San Telmo, shuttered shops and restaurants flashing past as we race the lights. Our bus driver has perfected the art - red-to-green as we approach without the slightest hint of braking, his progress only interrupted when forced to drop a passenger, after which he accelerates at break-neck speed to make up for lost time. At each stop we brace together to avoid sliding forward from shiny seats, and on departure bump our heads on the boarding behind.

Our colectivo swings left into Peru and heads down towards Independencia. The transition from bright San Juan to the dusky calles of San Telmo is stark. We alight between tall buildings that crowd both sides of the street. Recessed doorways lead to long passages, and further down to the hidden apartments of the bario. Two figures follow us, previously inconspicuously seated on opposite sides of the bus, unnoticed, but now walking quickly together.

I hear the sound of a blade, then of a snap. Before my hand can seize it, Moneypenny’s ‘Comme il Faut’ dance bag disappears into the darkness. “Oh my God”, she screams, but her voice is lost on the night air. We stand numbed in the moment. It was so sudden; so unexpected; we were so unprepared. 

“What was in the bag?”, I ask lamely, as if it could make a difference. “Just my shoes - fortunately not my best Katrinskis”, she adds. “But wait, I think my keys were there too”, she murmurs desperately checking her pockets. “They have gone”, she concludes, “and forty pesos which I saved from sharing your bottle of champagne”, she adds. 

“There is nothing to do now”, I reply peering forwards into a deserted street, “spend the night at Defensa - tomorrow is another day”, I continue, failing to account for the rising light in the east.

Moneypenny is pale, her normally lively face has become drawn. Without a word she reaches round to take my arm, snuggling close for comfort. Our footsteps tap in unison in empty streets as we walk in silence towards the lights.

Club Gricel - a fresh start, or the road to ruin?

Mr Bond

As soon as I uttered the words ‘Club Gricel’ to Moneypenny I regretted them. Sometime in the distant past presumably I had enjoyed an evening at Gricel, but now I struggle to recall when.

Club Gricel is at La Rioja 1180, way out through Constitucion along Humberto 1st over Av Jujuy. From the outside it is unauspicious, announced only by a couple of tangueras smoking by the pavement door. After paying the entry fee at the tiny desk, a curtain pulls to reveal the salon, beyond which is the bar that sports Gricel’s famous neon sign.

The problem with Gricel is the people. I hasten to add that I have nothing against the aged, but there are times when Gricel makes the former El Arranque look like a kindergarten. And then there are the tourists, dancing wildly with the old milongueros as they flirt with death. This is Gricel’s lethal cocktail.

A plump waitress escorts me to my table hidden away in the corner from which I may observe the pista. A couple of ancient milongueros nod in my direction but tonight I have not the will for the big showy embrace, so pass at speed.

It is after midnight and true to form, Moneypenny has not yet arrived. As the champagne appears, one of the grand dames of the milonga catches my eye with her skilled mirada. The orchestra is Fresedo, perfectly complimenting her invitation. We navigate the floor, avoiding the stumbling steps of the infirm and the lane-changing of the tourists. The freshness of arrival at Gricel has evaporated in a single tanda. Returning to my table I sip from my wine glass, feeling the consoling energy of bubbles against my nostrils.

Moneypenny’s arrival, when it comes, has the air of a car crash to the ¾ rhythm of a vals. Tonight she seems breathless, as if she has run from Av San Juan.

“Calm down old girl and put your shoes on”, I venture, noting her sharp reproaching stare as I speak. For what seems an age, Moneypenny fiddles with her shoe strap, giving up as the lights lift to announce a performance.

Professional tango dancers in Buenos Aires make their living from exhibitions. Within the entrance charge most milongas boast a midnight performance from aspiring dancers. Sometimes, by luck or judgment, you will catch famous dancers and may witness a seminal moment. But generally aspiring hopefuls struggle to create something new, or a new definition of something old. Perfection eludes them, and their performances end with polite applause. Tonight, I stifle a yawn and resist the temptation to check my Bremont.

With the performance complete Moneypenny still struggles with her shoes, so I rise to accept a Russian tanguera’s mirada. She combines Kseniya Sobchak’s beauty with Putin’s assassination skills - the perfect match for Gricel’s pista chaos.

Only later do I notice that Moneypenny is no longer at our table. I glance across the salon to see her in his embrace. Moneypenny is like a moth to a flame. ‘So much for her escape’, I whisper to myself, ‘It seems that Moneypenny is not through with espionage!’

Gricel continued


“So you do exist!  I’ve been looking for you at every milonga in town, I was beginning to think I had imagined that night at La Viruta!” He says in a tone of reproach.

“Wow, your English has improved!” I exclaim back, to which he responds smiling: “My English has always been good, only last time you weren’t so interested in my linguistic skills, not my English ones that is”.  I could feel the blood rushing to my head; I was blushing; he was right, I had only wanted one thing from him that night and it had little to do with whether he spoke English or not.

“You shouldn’t have left like that”, he adds.  “What did you want, a thank you note?” I fire back. “No but at least the chance to let me make you coffee and establish some possibility of seeing you again” , he responds. “It just wasn’t the right moment for that. Let’s dance”, I ask him, to which he responds with a cabeceo.

He takes my hand and we walk onto the dance floor; the first tango of the tanda is ending, it’s a D’Arienzo tanda.  We stand in front of each other in silence; he’s not looking at me but rather at my body as he slowly wraps his hands around my waist and gently pulls me towards him; I can feel his longing for me and feeling it so surely, only intensifies mine for him. He then grips my back with one hand and slowly slides his other hand down my right arm all way down to my impatient hand.  We move together into a close embrace, it's perfect, like two pieces of a puzzle coming together.

The second tango starts, another D’Arienzo: ‘Hasta siempre amor’, I love this tango.  We don’t move quite yet; he shifts his weight from left to right, pressing his body against mine, and  then, with one long first step we start dancing. I’m nervous, I’m shaking but I try to control it.  I close my eyes and try to focus on his lead and on my breathing which is getting heavier with every step.  I feel as if everyone is watching us, as if they all know, know what we're both thinking, both wanting; I relish a little in the attention we're getting. 

The tango ends, a slight shiver goes through my body and I pull away from him so that he won’t notice the effect he’s had on me.  “Never pull away so quickly, always hold the last position”, he says to me.  “I’m sorry, I thought the exhibition part of the night was over”, I manage to say, trying to sound indifferent to him.  “It’s not about exhibiting, it’s about etiquette, tango etiquette.” he smirks back. 

As we wait for the next tango to start, he lightly caresses the back of my arms, running the tip of fingers in circles around my elbows and shoulders; all I can think of is kissing him and running my hands through his thick hair.  We had kissed in the middle of a tanda at La Viruta, right there in front of everyone, a clear break of all tango etiquette; but it was La Viruta, very late on a Sunday night and everyone there had their own secrets to worry about. 

The following tango starts, D’Arienzo, El nene del abasto this time.  We dance and the more we dance, the more I feel like myself turning into putty in his arms.  I open my eyes to try to regain some control over myself, I look for Bond; he is dancing with a slim blond; he’s enjoying it, but it doesn’t prevent him from keeping a close watch on me; he knows exactly what's happening, I hate how transparent everything about me seems to be to him.

The tango ends, I hold the final position, just like he told me to do. “Thank you, that was lovely, I almost didn’t want it to end”, I manage to say to him.  “So don’t let it end, let’s go and dance the night away somewhere, anywhere you like”, he replies. “I’d love to but I can’t tonight”, I respond and look towards Bond, who is already sitting at our table.  “I see, you’re not alone tonight”, he responds staring directly into my eyes. “It’s complicated, it’s just not the right moment now” I manage to say.  “It’s complicated, yes, you seem to have perfected that concept.  Go then and hopefully the next time, it will not be so complicated” he says while I lean in to kiss his cheek and take one last opportunity tp press my body against his.

“That looked very ‘intense’ old girl, you seem flushed.  Will you be alright?” He says smiling his little smile.  “I’m fine”, I respond and add “You also seemed like you were in good hands”. “Indeed I was”, he responds looking in the direction of his tantalizing blonde.

Bond and I dance a few tandas and order another bottle of champagne to finish off the night.  “Right old girl, I think perhaps eachother the best either of us can do tonight”, he says to me while pointing towards the door where I notice my Viruta man going home with the newly famous Ginger, the one who had seduced us all during the exhibition.  I can't blame him; given the chance I might have gone home with her myself. 

Her equally enticing partner, the Fred Astaire to her Ginger Rogers, seems to be himself captivated with a young blonde he has been dancing with the entire night and Bond’s own blonde is nowhere in sight.

“I think you might be right Mr Bond, we have been left of our own devices it would seem.  Shall we make our way back to the lonely streets of  our San Telmo?” I ask him. “Right, I’ll send for a car”, he replies, for a second I'm reminded of how I got here and picture my handsome driver wrapped in Sabrina's arms. “No, don’t, let’s take the bus, like the ‘normal’ people of this city.  You do know what a bus is Mr Bond, don't you?” I tease him.  “Not only do I know, Miss Moneypenny,  I'll have you know that I have a bus card!” He exclaims back. “It’s just one amazement after another isn’t it!” I retort with a hint of irony.  

And so, like two regular porteños, we took the bus back to the empty, almost nostalgic, streets of San Telmo we both so identified with.

Bond and Moneypenny dancing again.... in Gricel


Part I

“You’re sure you don’t want to join me tonight?” I shout as I step out the front door.  “Bond will be there and I’m telling you he’s a new man!”

“I don’t go out on Sundays, and if I did it certainly would not be to Gricel!  And I have enough new men in my life, I don’t need an old-new man”,she replies with a chuckle. “Suit yourself!” I respond and hop into the limo she ordered for me; Sabrina has been insisting that this is how I have to move around now, or for now at least.

We drive off, down Carlos Calvo, passed 9 de Julio and down to Umberto Primo; “You can just leave me at the corner of La Rioja, no need to go around, por favor” I say to the driver, Damian.  “Perdon, pero no puedo, I have instructions”, he responds, as he gives me a little wink in the rear view mirror and detours around the corner. “Como quieras!” I respond.

As soon as the car stops, Damian gets out to open my door, extends his arm, and as I reach out for it, I can’t help but notice how incredibly fit and handsome he is (and incredibly yet another of Sabrina’s lovers, but she has a little weakness for this one I sense).  He has that typical Italian-Spanish-and something touch-look, dark hair, dark eyes, killer smile and just the right amount of English to seduce you; just the type of porteño you want to stay away from. 

“Message me when you want to leave, and I’ll come running back to you, any time…..any place….”, he says before rushing off to what I can only imagine is a night with Sabrina, no wonder she didn’t want to come to Gricel!

I stand on the sidewalk staring at the people walking into Gricel, the doors are wide open, I can hear the hum of the Milonga from across the street; it feels so nice to be back.  I walk in, take out my neatly prepared pesos to pay the entrance, when a man walks right up to me and says: “Bienvenida hermosa, I am Javier, the host of this milonga and you do not have to pay to join us.  It would be my pleasure to have you here". 

“I’m sorry, do I know you?” I ask intriguingly.

“You do not, but I hope to correct that as soon as possible”, he responds with a smile and adds “He is sitting at the far right corner; he’s been waiting for you”.  Of course, Bond, I should have known. “Gracias, please do join us for a drink when you have a minute”, I say and turn around to pay the entrance fee. 

“Very independent I see”, the host says “You’ll have to give me the opportunity to invite you some other night, a night of your choice”, he says and escorts me to Bond’s table.

With  it's velvet curtains ornating the entrance, a large wooden dance floor, dim lighting complemented with the red hue given off by the neon sign at the back of the dance floor; Gricel has a  rustic, almost brothel-like milonga feel to it.

Everyone is dressed up in formal tango wear: women in shockingly revealing-form fitted dresses, the men in suits with their hair gelled back, everything seems to be in place, except  for Bond who somehow always stands out despite all his efforts to the opposite; or maybe it's just that I can't help but notice him.

The tanda has just started, it’s a vals,  couples are twirling around the dance floor with skirts of every colour flying around, it almost looks like a proper Viennese waltz, only not so proper since this is tango.

Bond spots me immediately and starts to pour me a glass of bubbly.  “Right, I had almost given up on you old girl, you’re late!” he utters.  “Late?  How long have you been out of Buenos Aires, it’s barely midnight Mr Bond, things are just starting to get interesting.  But have no fear you will not have to finish that bottle all by your lonesome”, I retort.

“Be quiet and put your shoes on, so we can get one tanda before the exhibition starts”, he adds, just as the dance floor empties and the show is announced.  Bond gives me a look of reproach and hands me my glass.

It’s exhibition time!  The dancers walk onto the dance floor,. I’ve never heard of them before; V and J are their initials and are performing for the first time tonight, we are informed. They're both beautiful; her with her large brown eyes, dark hair and snow-white like complection has all the men gawking and the women red with envy; him with his assertive walk and penetrating eyes has all of us bewitched (and maybe a little in lust); together they are mesmerizing.

They dance to Pugliese, their dance is classic, no frills, no acrobatics, no excessive drama, just simple, genuine, divine dancing. His musicality is irreprochable; her feet complete his lead to perfection; it’s as if the music followed their dance and not the other way around.  The entire room is in silent awe, which, given the amount and level of tango in Buenos Aires is no easy feat. 

I stare over at Bond who seems transfixed by the dancing.  “She’s too young for you Bond”, I say teasingly.  “And he’s too young for you” he responds with a smirk.  “I am simply enjoying the tango’ I answer back to which he adds “As am I my dear, as am I”.

As they go into their final pose, everyone rises to their feet to give praise to this very promising couple, two stars are born tonight!  “And they’re not even sleeping together”, says the woman sitting at the table adjacent to ours.  I had forgotten what a small world tango is.  

As the night’s Fred and Ginger take their last bow, the young tangero and I cross glimpses, he gently smiles and gives me a little wink; I can’t help but smile back, he is afterall the celebrity of the night (and not to mention cute as hell).

I finally bend over to put on my shoes, the strap won’t quite hook on; Bond has lost patience and is already dancing with someone else.  When I at last get my shoes on, and reach out to take another sip of champagne, I notice him…. I had forgotten all about my last night in Buenos Aires at La Viruta and what I had done…..

In which Bond is back in San Telmo

Mr Bond

Dear reader, the two of us were standing together in the living room contemplating life in my rented apartment in Defensa, San Telmo, my Panama hat in its new home on an ancient brass hook, and about to unload my worldly possessions from my trunk; when the sound of the door buzzer breaks the spell.

“Bond, you are back”, a voice squeals. “And it seems, so are you Moneypenny”, I reply, pressing the intercom door release to street level.

After the ascent of fifty two stairs Moneypenny is a little out of breath. Since we last met so many weeks ago at Bar Laureles, Barracas, she has cropped her hair, it now forms a tiny golden halo around her head. She smiles.  “I understand that you have been a bad girl and disobeyed M, fleeing to Bolivia and meeting up with Richard Alvarez?”, I state with a grin.

“It’s really not for me, this cloak and dagger agent’s life”, she replies, “it’s far too stressful for I am never sure who is who, and on what side. I am done with it. From now on I propose to dedicate my time to tango. What about you, James? Sabrina said you were back, but then clammed up for some reason”.

“Well, if it is of any interest, I too have escaped the clutches of MI6 and just arrived under the radar on the cargo ship Hanjin”, I reply. “It seems that we are both fugitives”.

“Who, apart from Sabrina, and your friends Hammond and Paul knows we are in Buenos Aires?”, she inquires, frowning. “Only Nick Compton, captain of the Hanjin, and his little dog Simon”, I reply jovially.

With that, Moneypenny throws herself onto the sofa and stares at the ceiling. “James, are we safe here?”, she asks, “and what are you going to do now you are no longer working for the ministry?”

“Safe enough, I reckon. It is just a matter of time for them to recruit our replacements and then forget that we ever existed. It happens all the time. No-one is indispensable”, I add, regretting the words as soon as I said them. “Life is like a film; you’re in the action, then you’re on the cutting room floor”. “And I too am going to take this opportunity to dance Argentine tango”, I add. “Club Gricel tonight, do you reckon?”.

As I am crouching to unfasten the leather strap from the trunk that dominates the centre of the room, Moneypenny stretches out a long creamy leg and levers herself up from the sofa. Squatting alongside with her left hand across my shoulder, she whispers, “Dance with me now, James”.

We rise into a close embrace as she hums ‘La Cumparasita’. We dance. Sunlight glances through the open doors from the veranda. A light breeze disturbs the foliage of the lemon tree which taps rhythmically to her song. Her breath is warm and moist on my neck, and the fragrance of Lolita Lempicka drifts from her soft skin.

“So, James, are you pleased to be back?”, she questions. “Do you realise, Moneypenny - Buenos Aires is the only place in the world where you can dance proper tango and drink a decent cup of coffee?”, I retort, adding with a smile, “of course I am old girl, and it is great that we are together again as a tango team”.

Miss Moneypenny

I rush through Defensa, through the  Sunday Tam Tam players and the orange juice stands; through the shoes and bong sellers; pushing my way through the hoards of people who have made the pilgrimage to San Telmo’s market day; all the way to the corner of Independencia and stare up at the tall white building.

“Bond, it’s me!  I’m back! You’re back’, I utter into the buzzer.  “Yes I’m back and so are you it seems”, he replies with much less apparent enthusiasm; the British just don't do enthusiasm I remind myself.

Within the following 15 minutes, I find out Bond went back to London and has essentially left MI6, or so he says, and wants to devote himself completely to tango. “How ironic” I say to him.  “Ironic, why would you say that?” he asks me.  “Because I’ve decided that I’ve spent too much time stepping on cats in cemeteries and chasing after secret societies, while my tango shoes have been collecting dust” I reply.

“Yes we should get back on track with tango, plan a milonga soon” Bond answers back.  “Well there’s no time like the present, dance with me here!” I say.

With that, Bond puts a disk on gramophone, ‘La Cumparasita’, an odd choice for a living room tanda, I suspect he heard me humming it while I was stretched out on his sofa.  We embrace and sway left to right, it doesn’t feel like it did before; maybe we’re both a little rusty; or maybe we’re just not as comfortable with each other as we used to be.

Once the music dies down, I remove myself from his embrace, a little hastily perhaps, but I also remember that he is the reason I am in this mess in the first place.  He used tango before to get me to do what he wanted, how do I know it’s any different now?  Can anyone ever leave MI6?  What proof do I have except his word?

“Thank you for the tanda” I whisper in his ear as I lean in to kiss his cheek, “I’ll see you tonight.  I love Gricel” and make my way down the 52 stairs which had left Bond so out of breath on our way up.

In which Bond and Moneypenny return to Buenos Aires

Mr Bond

If you want to know about life on a transatlantic cargo ship, you will have to book a cabin and experience it for yourself - the solitary times when the hum of engines and the creaking of decks provide the only company, the monotony as a day slips towards evening, long views to a watery horizon, and the moment that a new dawn arrives in the east with the rising sun.

After leaving Dakar in Senegal, accompanied by Mireille’s lively French Canadian chatter, twenty days slipped past quicker than expected. We met for breakfast, joined by Simon the miniature schnauzer, and the occasional member of the Filipino crew. In the evening we would watch the sunset across the western horizon and dance tango to orchestras of the Golden Age on deck. On lazy afternoons schools of dolphins would gather alongside to race the ship whilst flying-fish tore ahead of the bow, and keen eyes could spot turtles, sea snakes and the illusive shark.

As we enter the busy shipping lane on our approach to Buenos Aires, I join Captain Nick Compton on the bridge, his greying beard matching that of his ageing schnauzer. His deep baritone voice booms instructions to the first mate. At the horizon the city shimmers in summer heat. Soon, we make out the tall towers of Puerto Madero just to the south of commercial dock Darsena D. None of the quiet, sleepy restraint of Tilbury - voices call out and figures dart amongst the moorings. Within moments the dock erupts with activity, overhead cranes grind out above our port side, ropes are thrown by the Filipino crew, whilst lines of huge Argentine transporter trucks await, their swarthy drivers leaning nonchalantly in the shade.  

Ahead of me, Compton addresses the migraciones officer in Castillano and nods in my direction. As I arrive at his desk he glances over half glasses momentarily before vigorously stamping my passport. “Bienvenido a Buenos Aires, Snr Bond. Tres meses”. Three months? Without the British government visa, it seems that I am now a tourist. It takes a moment to register. At first I sense a loss of status, ‘Cpt Bond’ it seems remaining somewhere on deck between London and Santos Itapoa. Then I realise what I have gained - the freedom to recover both life and identity from the department.

Mireille heads off to the leafy bario of Palermo, whilst my taxi takes me towards Recoleta for the last time, stopping in Santa Fe just short of the grace-and-favour MOD apartment on the roof of Palacio Haedo. Raul is waiting alongside a large trunk bound with a leather strap. “James, let me give you a hand with this”, he greets, ”I think that’s the lot”, adding, “mum’s the word, but you know what, I am going to miss you, old boy”.

Minutes later, a half-open boot tied down with rope, the taxi leaves Raul standing on the footway, his hand raised in a half-hearted wave; and heads out on 9 de Julio towards San Telmo, ten minutes later cutting down the cobbles of Estados Unidos to turn back north to Defensa and my new home in the city.

Eva, the housekeeper, is there to greet me. “Mr Bond, here are your keys - and a spare set just in case you have a visitor”, she announces. “The terrace is upstairs, and beyond, the roof has fine views. Enjoy your stay”. And with that, she descends the fifty two steps to the street and disappears into the crowds of Calle Defensa.

San Telmo is one of the oldest barios in the city. A fresh start. I hang my Panama hat on the brass hook and look around me. ‘Coffee, I think’, I say to myself as I start to open the trunk, but within moments the buzzer sounds and a light pitched voice calls over the intercom, “Bond, are you there yet?”.


‘Bienvenidos a Buenos Aires’, the signs say although there is nothing welcoming about crossing customs in Ezeiza Airport, they seem to consider everyone guilty until proven innocent, maybe they’re right now that I think of it.  As I step out the customs checkpoint, passed all the Tienda Leon ticket sellers, I notice Sabrina in the distance, she has come to pick me up. I won’t even ask how she knew I was arriving today.

“Welcome back, I’m glad to see you” she mutters nervously.  “Yes, I am back and don’t worry. If anything this trip has convinced me of one thing, there is no right or wrong side, the only thing I am sure of is that I want to go back to why I came here in the first place, for tango,” I say knowing it will reassure her, and at the same time not 100% convinced myself this was the end of everything else. Just as those creeped into my head I notice Richard Hammond and Paul in the distance walking to a taxi.

“Have you heard from James?”, I ask Sabrina.  “Yes I have,” she responds in a way that I know I had better not push for more information.

“Come, you must be tired, let’s go home. I’ve taken the liberty of moving your things from your apartment into my guest room; I’ve decided that you should live with me for a while.  You may come and go as you chose, no questions asked, but you will live with me,” she says affirmatively. “Alright, then I guess there isn’t much I can say then is there?,” I respond.

Sabrina’s hired limousine takes us to the streets of San Telmo where I would once again, start a new life.  The smell of Sabrina’s place was familiar and I unconsciously sigh with relief, feeling that I could give up the reigns to take time to breathe.  I make my way up to my room, when I notice a note near the telephone ‘Defensa 893 3C’. ’What could this mean’, I ask myself, but resolve to save that for later, for now all I wanted was a warm bath and a glass of Malbec.

“Everything is upstairs, go rest and we can chat later,” Sabrina says, adding as she hands me a glass of wine, “and I’ve missed you”.  

I open the doors to my new room. It was always ‘a little’ mine actually but now, dressed with all my possessions, it feels more official. As I open the closet I notice the red dress I had worn at Richard Alvarez’ party - along with all the other clothes from the Sucre suite. How had this happened?  Was I really out of all this? Bond! I knew I had to see him and said to myself ‘I must do it right now’.

In which Bond finds that he has company

Mr Bond

From the bunk in my cabin aboard the Hanjin Buenos Aires cargo ship, I pick up ‘The Quest for the Embrace’. Flicking to the flyleaf I discover a plain envelope inside, the flap tucked in but not sealed. As it rests in my hand I smell a recognisable perfume.

Turning it over I see the words ‘Mr Bond’ in a neat hand. Immediately I recognise the writing. And suddenly the perfume makes sense - ‘Lolita Lenpicka’ - worn by Moneypenny at milongas in Buenos Aires.

Inside, a sheaf of violet paper reads, “Bond, I hope this finds you well. I have escaped, in case you didn’t know. Your friends Hammond and Paul have arrived here in Bolivia. I said I will return to Argentina, but not with them, and not for MI6. I am too young for this game, and I sense you are too old. I will see you in Buenos Aires, old man. Let us dedicate our time to tango. Moneypenny”.

How on earth did Moneypenny know that I was here in a cargo ship heading towards the Atlantic ocean?

Moments later I hear an adjacent door slam and the rasp of a knock at my cabin. Opening the door my eyes focus on a silver key swinging from a tape with the sway of the ship. Mireille steps forward. “James, I fear that Paul’s pumpkin will have to take its, when do I get my first tango lesson?”

“Mireille, what on earth are you doing here?”, I stutter, “and how did you get this?”, I continue as I exchange the key for the envelope. “James, Moneypenny knew that I am the only person you really trust. The book is from me. You are not the only one who is not too old for an adventure, despite what Moneypenny may say”, she adds with her usual smile. “And with 20 more days at sea, I reckon I will become quite the tanguera under your tuition!”.

“Well, I wondered how I would survive on this dreadful ship”, I retort. “There is no time like the present. Your first tango lesson will be on deck at noon. Don’t be late”. With that, I usher Mireille from the cabin and sink into the brown leather chair.

‘So that’s three of us that have jumped ship - so to speak - me, Moneypenny and Mirelle’, I say to myself. I wonder who will be next?

Two hours later I climb the grey steel staircase leading to the aft deck. Mireille is already there, her blonde hair caught by a gentle breeze, her tango shoes glinting in the midday sunshine. Canaro’s ‘Poema’ drifts from the gramophone. “Shall we start with the embrace?”, I ask. “On that topic, your book has been really quite helpful”, I add as we start a tango walk towards the quarterdeck.

The journey home for Moneypenny


We arrived in Sucre late afternoon, where Richard took me on a tour on his elegant while mansion in the middle of the city, a few blocks from the central square.

“This house belonged to my great grandfather, he was part of the Bolivian elite who wanted to be freed from Spain’s tyrannical rule.  Bolivar himself had dinner at that very table”, he said pointing to the large Louis XIV style dining table, inside an even more Louis XIV-style dining room.  His grandfather was most likely one of those people who got rich off the backs of the slaves and natives working (and drying) in the mines; the same workers he is now trying to ‘save’ from the English; humans are such contradictory creatures I thought to myself.

“Now come this way and I’ll show you to your room”, he added as the went up the large marble stairs. The room was bright and very cheerful; floral patterns ornated the walls; bouquets of white roses filled the room with the sweet scent of spring; the windows gave onto the interior French garden; it was a little nirvana right here in the middle of the city.  “This was my mother’s room, I hope you find it comfortable.  You will be served dinner here at 9PM, for tonight’s party is not a dinner party, and guests will start arriving at 11PM.  You will find everything you need in this room, should you require anything else, please let me know”, and with that he was gone and I was left alone with his in this room which was a shrine to his mother; her portrait was everywhere; her perfumes, half empty, laid out on the dressing table; her clothes still filled the drawers and closets; clearly he loved her dearly. In the dressing area, aside old 1920’s dresses, hung dozens of Chanel and Dior dresses each with matching Manolo Blahniks; all one size, my size.  It made me think of Sabrina, and her very extensive wardrobe; was Richard the one providing her with all these luxuries or the British government?  Or better yet both?

I couldn’t quite think straight and the only thing I really wanted was a glass of wine and a hot, lavender scented bath; luckily Richard’s mansion could easily provide both…. Maybe this life isn’t so bad afterall!

After a long rest and a gourmet dinner, the time was nearing 11PM and Richard’s guests started arriving.  “My dear you look absolutely wonderful”, Richard said to me.  “Yes, it’s incredible how you knew my exact dress and shoe size; it’s almost as if you had inside information on me”, I responded. He paused and smiled, and then finally added, “Let’s just say I have a good eye for these things.  Come let me introduce you to two members of MI6 who have just arrived, Richard Hammond and Paul Savident, two of her majesty’s most eccentric, and efficient agents”.

“You know who the agents are?  Doesn’t that defy the point?” I asked in surprise. “Oh my dear, MI6 and us have been running after each other for the past 40 years, I know some of the agents better than I did my own brother, which they killed by the way.  Come I’m sure it’s you they are after anyhow, so let’s indulge them.”

“Hammond, Paul, you are welcome, but I have to say I don’t remember extending the invitation list to all of Mr Bond’s associates” he said in irony and continued with, “This, as I’m sure you know is the lovely miss Moneypenny. Do take her for a spin on the dance floor when the first tanda begins, I guarantee you won’t regret it!”  And as if he had pushed play himself, the orchestra began playing Troilo.

“Good evening Miss Moneypenny, I’m Paul and I am delighted to meet you.  Now we must absolutely speak to you about your being here with Richard Alvarez , we are very concerned”, he began saying when Hammond interjected “Come man this is a party, give the poor girl a chance to find her sea legs, not to mention a drink in her lovely hands.  Always ruining a good moment Paul with your ‘concerns’, now go fetch Miss Moneypenny a glass of Perignon whilst I try to remember my tangero days.”  Before I could reply, he took my hand and walked me towards the dance floor.

“Do forgive Paul, he’s had a stick up his rear end since I met him, some 40 years ago.  We are however concerned about you, not to mention how preoccupied James is, I don’t think I’ve ever seen him this way” he started telling me when I added “Why is everyone so concerned? Am I the long-lost heir to the British crown?  As far as I know, James, is a retired professional with too much time on his hands and too much imagination.  He doesn’t care about me, no one does, all they’re interested in is how they can use me and frankly I’m fed up, I didn’t ask for any of this!”

“I understand you perfectly my dear, but make no mistake, James does care about you and yes ‘we’ think you can be of great service to us” he responded.  “Well I’m not sure I want to be of service to anyone, for these past few months I've felt like everyone's puppet and quite frankly I'm done with it!  Now let’s dance” I said, a little harshly I admit. “I see what he sees in you now” he added with a smile.

His embrace was stiff, but his dancing had a playfulness to it that I couldn’t help but enjoy.  Richard Alvarez was watching us like a hawk; I wonder if this is how it happened for Sabrina?  I spent the rest of the night dancing and listening to advice from all sides. I went to bed as the sun was rising, certain of only one thing: that all wanted was to return to Buenos Aires and return to tango.

Moneypenny from Berlin to Buenos Aires Part I

Bond and Sabrina freeze and gaze at me in terror.  What happened? I feel lightheaded, everything is hazy; I feel as if I were floati...