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 A Quantum of Imagination

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Hilly KCMG
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PostSubject: A Quantum of Imagination   Mon Dec 17, 2012 11:20 am

from the vaults of old MI6 something I wrote I think for Deadline Midnight Saturday. Not vintage but there we go.

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Roger Moore as James Bond 007 in

A Quantum of Imagination

“Merry Christmas to all.”
The glasses clinked against the other loudly sloshing the liquid. Outside huge snowflakes hit the window sometimes on their way down to the pavement outside. The five people by the desk smiled awkwardly yet it was a warm awkwardness. For one of the few times in SIS history there was a time to break for something other than work in M’s office.
“Impressive schnapps, sir,” said Loelia Ponsoby brightly. The former wren took another sip taking more than before. “Very nice.”
“Thank you Ms Ponsoby,” rasped M moving to head behind his desk. The admiral had a hint of red to his cheeks as he spoke to the secretary. “From Germany as it happens.”
“A fine brand,” James Bond studied his glass beaming at M. “Dusseldorf?”
“I beg your pardon, 007?” asked M wearily. Bill Tanner standing next to Miss Moneypenny cleared his throat shaking his head as if to warn Bond off.
“The schnapps, sir. It comes from Dusseldorf.”
“If you say so,” M finished his glass reaching for the bottle. He studied the label then snorted. “Munich, 007.”
“Close enough, James,” grinned Tanner finishing his glass. He went to put it on the desk dipping his head at M. “Thank you, sir. I’ll go finish up the Moonraker files.”
“Good, Tanner.”
As Tanner passed Moneypenny called. “Are you coming to James’ party tonight, Bill?”
“I’ll try ‘Penny. Midnight?”
“Midnight.” Bond confirmed. “I think it’s a nice round time to bother my neighbours. Wouldn’t you say, Loelia?”
Miss Ponsoby for her part blushed a little. “I wouldn’t know of your neighbours, James.”
“This is all very nice and all but if you could all clear out so I can do my work I’d be grateful,” M snapped gruffly. When Ponsoby wished him Merry Christmas the Old Man softened a fraction. “Merry Christmas, Miss Ponsoby.”
Bond hesitated. “Are you going to Quarterdeck for Christmas, sir?”
M did not look up the scratching of his fountain pen the only sound for a few seconds. “I would be, 007. And no, you’re not invited. I would like a quiet Christmas this year without any of the excitement of the past such as Operation Bedlam.”
Bond suspected M would still be here come tomorrow morning for today was of course, Christmas Eve. The world did not stop for Christmas Day especially for the SIS. If on Christmas Day many moons ago James Bond could stand in this same office trying to persuade M to let him go after Blofeld at Piz Gloria then it would see M continue his reports. The Double-O closed in on the desk holding his hands behind his back. “If I may be so bold, sir. You’re welcome to join my party tonight.”
“I don’t do your kind of parties 007,” M actually chuckled looking up resting his pen by the paper. “Thank you for the thought.”
“Sir, the offer will stand,” Bond left the office pausing at Moneypenny’s desk. “Bringing anyone to the party, Moneypenny?”
“I don’t believe so,” M’s secretary sighed. “Unless...”
“I’ll be your escort...in my house,” Bond smiled then headed off. Christmas in SIS was usually a damp squid. People worked in here regardless of what time of year. Bond went to his office seeing that Ponsoby had signed off early. She had left a note about last minute shopping on nearby Marylebone High Street. Bond sighed heading for the underground garage in the SIS Regent Park HQ. The British racing green Aston Martin DBS was a legacy of his past but also the fact that SIS could retain some of its own past for present use. Hence somewhere else in the garage the Lotus Esprit with rally tyres. A voice startled Bond as he neared his car.
“007, before you go.”
“Q, I’m in a bit of a hurry,” Bond said seeing something under Q’s arm. “Just what is that?”
“A parting gift before tomorrow.” Q handed Bond a pair of thick boots coloured white. “Q Branch can’t use them and we don’t have the budget to produce them.”
“Boots, Q?”
“Ski-boots. Press your heel hard into the sole and out shoot the skis,” Q backed up half a step expecting Bond to try it out there and then.
“Thank you Q, how...good of you,” Bond waited for Q to walk off before pressing a hand inside a shoe. A full length ski shot out from either end of the shoe. Bond arched an eyebrow shoving the blade back in. “Must take these to Biarritz.”
Once in his DBS he negotiated the slippery streets as far as his home in Chelsea. The weather was the worst it had been in London if not for almost twenty-six years than since the war almost forty years before. Three foot high snow banks at the side of the road in places and crashed vehicles including a red doubledeck bus that was perched on the curb by Fortnum and Mason like a beached, blistered whale.
His home was as he left it, quite empty. With an arched eyebrow Bond thanked God silently for his central heating timer. For a man who relied on gadgets, the greatest of all right now was his heater.
His thought faded as he saw the shape of someone in the doorway to his kitchen. Bond did not hesitate hurling one of Q’s boots into the shape. There was a grunt, a muttered curse as the figure crashed against the doorframe. Bond slammed his door shut sprinting to the intruder wrestling him to the ground. When the intruder fought back Bond simply tripped him over.
“James Bond is this how you treat friends who want to give you a gift?”
Bond frowned wiping some of his hair out of his eyes. “What?”
The figure stood resplendent in red and white trim with a full beard. He looked sternly at Bond whose eyebrow lifted once again.
“You must be joking.”
“I should know better than delivering to secret agents.” The...Santa rubbed at his hips. “I might just take you off the nice list.”
“Get out,” Bond said. “Whoever you are,” he began to herd the figure to the door.
“I’m Santa and I must say this treatment is shoddy, James. Don’t you want your presents?”
“The only present I want is Holly Goodhead whose dropping by soon, so mush,” Bond said shoving this Santa towards the door. Santa stopped turning hands on hips. “I am Santa and I am delivering your gifts. I was looking in the kitchen for a snack for the reindeer.”
Bond opened the door. “I don’t know how you got in but do get out before I call the police. Though I’m tempted to push you out all the same.”
“I’ll make a note of this. Mrs Claus was so fond of giving you a candy cane.”
“As I’m sure I would with her,” Bond felt like he had banged his head somewhere in the way here and was drowsy. “How did you get in, chimney I suppose?”
“Door. One of the elves developed this credit card thing to slide the door electronically.”
Bond studied Santa feeling the cold from outside scratch at his cheeks. He seemed the real deal...No, there was no Santa. Crying out loud he was a Double-O. If he believed in Santa he might as well retire to Shrublands permanently.
“I stopped believing in Santa before my parents died.”
“And for that first Christmas I gave you a teddy bear which you called Timmy and kept until you started Eton. Though some would say you kept it at Eton.”
Bond flushed red. How could he know that? “If you say so.”
Santa stepped outside slipping a little on the icy doorstep. “Merry Christmas, James.”
“You too,” Bond closed the door. “Make sure your sleigh isn’t double parked.”
He mused in the hallway wondering then swung open the door lunging outside. He collided with Holly Goodhead wearing a black cocktail dress who in turn slid backwards. He wrapped an arm around her holding her in place. “Sorry, Holly. You didn’t see someone in red did you?”
“I don’t think so,” the CIA agent said. She thrust something at Bond which he took. A small box wrapped exquisitely. “Just a little something.”
“Sounds like you’ve been talking to one of my old girlfriends,” Bond kissed her on the cheek showing her in. “You wouldn’t mind helping out would you? Everyone’s showing up soon.”
“No, I wouldn’t.”
As Bond firmly closed the door he heard a tinkling. Like a bell ringing faintly. Opening the door he stepped outside staring into the night sky mottled an orangey-black owing to London’s many lights. He thought he saw something fly across the sky in the direction of Fulham. Something small pulled by...
Bond closed the door hurriedly.
“I need a drink,” he said curtly. He went to make himself a stiff one from a bottle of Bell’s he had tucked away.
By midnight everyone invited had turned up. Moneypenny had given Bond a framed picture of the pair of them outside SIS not long after he started. He rested it on the mantelpiece by the picture of Tracy in her wedding dress. A photo which he hefted his glass to.
The party was half an hour old when the doorbell rang. Bond went to the door wondering who else it might be. Maybe an errant elf not happy with Bond’s treatment of his master. Instead it was Bond’s master. M greeted Bond with a gruff smile.
“Hello, James. Room at the inn?”
“Always, sir.”
When M got into the room there was a smattering of well-wishing from the crowd. Bond meanwhile hung back by the window staring up at the sky.
For a moment he was that young boy who clutched his dark teddy bear his thoughts black as he dealt with the death of his parents. Huddled under the stairs at the ancestral home in Glencoe. That was the night he started to become the man he was today.
Bond started when a hand touched his arm. “Drink James?”
Bond turned to M with a smile.
“Thank you, sir,” Bond took the glass. M squeezed his shoulder with a fatherly smile.
“Merry Christmas then, James.”
“And you too, sir.”
As he knocked back his drink Bond spied on the little table he had by the door for his address book and keys a black, slightly battered, teddy bear leant against the wall. Swallowing the drink Bond heard from outside the ringing of bells and a deep throaty roar in the sky.
Season’s greetings.

END
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