[Estimated time to read: 3 minutes]
A different kind of Bond villain.
'The name's Bond... James Bond.' He smiles tightly, lifts a glass of something smoky, and does the crinkly-eyed thing that used to make Miss Moneypenny flush with excitement.
The director shouts 'cut'. Bond grimaces. But he thinks of the mortgage, and gets ready for the money shot - not his greatest moment, and he'll take some punishment from the chaps at Vauxhall Cross. But a man has to make a living, and after all, marketing dentures is a way of helping people as well as a way of earning some cash.
How did Britain's legendary secret operative come to this? What went wrong, and what might have he done differently? What dastardly foe reduced him to hawking bits of pink plastic, when SMERSH, Blofeld and any number of large white pussy cats tried and failed to bring him down?
Did Xenia Onatopp have a pension?
The tragic truth is that Commander Bond made some basic mistakes. The training teams at Fort Monckton told him all about shape, shine and silhouette - but it wasn't a SCEPTRE sniper who nailed him; and his Krav Maga instructor coached (or beat) him out of his weak throat technique, so he wasn't taken by Oddjob in a dastardly ambush; and his animal cunning never deserted him, so he took Xenia Onatopp on his own terms…
Bond's mistakes were about money. More precisely, about pensions. As he sat waiting for the next take, he took another sip. He pulled out his cigarette case, his eyes tracking the girl with the clipboard, trailing the director. 'Dirty' he thought. He flicked his lighter and drew heavily. He thought back to the meeting in Carlton Gardens where he made two very simple, and pretty serious, mistakes.
It had been about pensions. Yawn.
The chap who came to see him had no real field experience - never lurked under a bridge in Vienna, fought to a standstill on the Orient Express or seduced a Soviet cosmonaut in zero gravity. What could he know? He banged on about critical yield, SIPPS and QROPS. Bond chuckled as he remembered his ripostes - parabellum, PPK, MP5 and SVD. He'd help win the Cold War, he'd certainly nail the acronym war.
Bond knew the odds of an officer from Six making it to retirement age were pretty slim. He'd take his chances, and see what happened.
Bond snorted. He shook his head slowly. How wrong he'd been. He took another warming sip. He clocked the brunette, bent over her camera. Her hair glowed under the lights. Serious, professional, artistic. He knew the type, and he liked it.
Who wouldn't have kept the Aston?
When he finally hung up his Walther and moved to Cyprus with Moneypenny, his plans seemed simple. But his hips and knees were shot, and life was more expensive than he'd thought. He'd kept the Aston - who wouldn't - and the running costs ate a mighty hole in his monthly pension.
He'd never given much thought to bank accounts - more fool, he snorted. He bought the villa, no mortgage, felt pretty damned flush. Then the crisis hit and his money, all of it in a local bank, was frozen along with the Russians' and, no doubt, many of his former foes'.
Moneypenny carried them both through some pretty dark days. She was a super girl, and he knew he was lucky.
Problem was, Bond never expected to grow old. Yet here he was. 'Never thought I'd say this,' he thought to himself and, standing, he took a last draw as the Director shouted instructions and the set sprang to life. 'Wish I'd read that guide to Offshore Banking. And that one on Pensions.'
Image credit: Raoul Luoar, Flickr