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.

No comments:

Post a Comment

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...