In which Moneypenny begins to execute her plan


The taxi swings into Caballito, one of the few places in Buenos Aires that remains relatively tourist free, where the everyday PorteƱo can still afford to live. It is far cry from Bond’s fashionable Recoleta.

“Top floor, hermosa”, he breathes into my ear”, “let’s take some wine on my terrace”. The elevator doors slide open. Inside is cramped, enabling him to slide his arms around my waist. The elevator pings at each floor, increasing my anxiety as we ascend into the darkness.  

I’m so nervous. I feel a smudge of his hair gel on my face. I struggle not to touch it. I hadn’t expected it would happen like this. I hadn’t thought this through. I had not anticipated how I would feel.  He is wearing a divine cologne and looks elegant. There would have been a time when this was exactly what I would have wanted, and where I would have wanted to be. But now the only thing on my mind is to accomplish my task, and to dash to the safety of Bond.

“Estamos hermosa!”, he invites as he unlocks the door to his apartment. It’s larger and more sophisticated than I had expected. I guess tango, and it’s extra-curricular activities can pay off after all. After the dingy elevator I notice how fashionable his room is, with black leather sofa and large television. Yet it is so obviously a shrine to him. On each wall is a picture of Alvero dancing tango, taken in a way that his partners are barely discernible, just ornaments of tango like his shoes and fancy vintage suit.

“Your apartment is quite interesting”, I manage to say as I stare around the room.  “Si, it’s my palace. Come upstairs”.

From behind me his hand guides me up the staircase, descending to my lower back as he directs me towards huge lounge chairs on the terrace.  We don’t speak. I smile a lame smile. He pours two glasses of chilled white wine - the perfect catalyst to a hot and humid summer night. 

Whilst he fetches another bottle of Sauvignon blanc, I top up his glass. On his return, we toast to a life of tango and dreams.

Within moments he takes my glass from my hand, places it on the table and reaches out towards my bare legs.  He leans in to kiss me. It feels rehearsed. I realise I’m not the first extra for the role of ‘Alvaro’s lover’.

“Take me to bed”, I whisper to him. “Si, vamos hermosa”, he breathes in response. 

Leading me towards his bedroom he flicks his cigarette lighter against the candles positioned strategically around his bed. Here are more self portraits ornating the bedroom - Alvaro in Paris, Alvaro in Rome, Alvaro in Vegas…..every picture, the same smile, the same piercing gaze. 

Silk sheets are cool against my back. He unbuttons his shirt to expose a hairless, muscular chest. He kisses the back of my neck and up towards my ears. With goosebumps I feel a tinge of regret about slipping Sabrina’s sleep inducing drug into his glass minutes earlier. It will take effect any moment now. But what if I could enjoy him a little longer? 

“You are so beautiful you make my head spin,” he slurs, then passes out, his arm flopping over the side of the bed.  I roll him over to remove his clothes.

Extinguishing the candles I leave the apartment by the stairs.  He’ll be sleeping like a baby by the time I get back. 

From the taxi, I run up the stairs of Club Armenia, throwing peso notes towards the cashier but not waiting for a ticket. I scan the salon for Bond and spy him tucked away in the far left corner from which the media lunas will be served within the hour.

“Good evening, or more like good morning old girl”, he quips as he glances at me.

“Bond, I have just come from Alvero’s and I know just how we’re going to do this”, I gasp.

“Very well old girl, tell me everything. But before you, do how about us taking those red Katrinsky’s for a tanda of Fresedo?”.

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