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 chance...now, 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.



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