Still taking on the WordPress Photo Challenge, even though I’ve no camera…
James Bond was almost deafened by the noise as the machine moved forward inexorably, blades whirring round and round. He pulled at the flex coiled around him, then reached one hand forward and flicked a switch. The blades slowed and finally stopped.
Bond had finished cutting his grass.
He emptied the grass onto the compost heap in one corner of the garden and put away the lawnmower. He swept the leaves from the garden path, arms moving like lightning as if he were fighting stick to stick with some foreign agent. He tended his roses, beheading the dead ones, since beheading was something that he was very good at.
Not every day was spend fighting evil, seducing beautiful foreign spies and making bad puns.
The end of the Cold War had limited the number of his assignments, and the world-wide recession had affected even the finances of megalomaniacs, who could no longer afford massive headquarters and staff who couldn’t shoot straight.
Bond had more days off than on.
MI6 had made their own cuts too. They had had to close their cover corporation, Universal Exports, and were paying their agents on a per-job basis. Most of them had now taken other jobs. 004 taught languages. 009 had taken the infra-red lens from his camera and now had a thriving business as a Wedding Photographer. 002 ran an adult-shop in Muswell Hill, though that had nothing to do with his 00 skills, he was just into that kind of stuff. Even Q now had a second-job, inventing labour-saving devices that were sold only on the Shopping Channel, with the says-it-all tag-line “this offer is not available in shops”.
Bond was on the dole.
Today was his signing-on day. He left his house, stopping to put his cans into his green bin (he was very into re-cycling, there was no point in him continually saving the world if he was destroying it at the same time) and walked to the Labour Exchange. The man at the counter looked at him.
“My name is Bond. James Bond,” he said.
He received his payment and headed to Tesco, where he plodded the aisles behind a meandering supermarket trolley (Bond had driven an Aston Martin, could pilot a helicopter, and had even once evaded a heat-seeking missile while driving the Mont Blanc cable-car, but controlling a Tesco trolley was beyond even him). He bought some groceries and headed home. He opened a tin of beans with a spatula/can-opener invented by Q (he had bought 2 and received a free 19-CD set of 1920s silent-movie piano accompaniments), heated them and put them on toast.
After his lunch he went to his local and ordered a drink. The first time he went there he had asked for a martini, shaken not stirred, and the whole pub had laughed at him, so now he stuck to lager. He spent the afternoon watching horse-racing, listening to how the foreigners had taken all our jobs and being told by Jake, the pub drunk (and in that pub that was some achievement) that he was his beshtesht ever friend.
He went home and turned on his computer to see if he had any message from M. When she needed him she would contact him by commenting on his blog, Worth Doing Bondly. He looked at the comments on his most recent post, a factual and informative piece about pirates, and sure enough, there was a comment from an Emm, who said:
Why not write one tomorrow about, say, a guy who’s going to feed fertility drugs to rabbits and plans to corner the world lettuce market.
You could start at Heathrow at nine o’clock.
She was giving him an assignment. Over the next few days he would no doubt be shot at, betrayed, have scorpions or other deadly creatures sneaked into his clothing, and have to fight at least one person twice his size. When it was all over he would be thoroughly shagged.
He couldn’t wait. Everyday life was far more dangerous.
The boredom was killing him.