Bond sat sipping rather bitter coffee looking across at Mr Lipton, who was his liaison on this particular assignment. Lipton knew the area well, and had arranged a meeting at the best restaurant in town, which served excellent food, but terrible coffee.
This was Bond's first assignment in a good while that didn't take him abroad- Unless it transpired to be bigger than anyone had thought- And had been glad to be somewhere where he wouldn't have to affect an accent or make use on an unfamiliar language. Well that's what he thought at first, when he was ushered into M's office two days ago.
"You're looking better, 007." Said M, reclining in her chair.
"That's more than I can say for the department, M." Said Bond, referring to the mess of papers and files that he had had to wade through to get to the office.
"Oh yes. We finally got the money through from the treasury to reorganise our filing system. It's going to take months, I'll wager. We could do just as well without it, but we have to keep the pace I suppose... Anyway your assignment. What do you know so far?"
"Just that I won't have to go abroad."
"In a sense you will. It's not your turf at all- But we thought it might be good to let you back into the job lightly after all the time you've had off recovering from that leg injury. Do you speak any Yiddish?"
"Not at the moment."
"Good attitude- You'll have to learn a bit. This shouldn't take you more than a few days or so. You see, we've had a request from another department to case two major players in the smuggling game. They both operate from the same area of London, and in heavy competition with each other. The department I mentioned wants to make a deal with one of them to help ship certain goods from illicit British enterprises abroad-"
"You mean like all those drug raids the police carry out when they seize ten tons of narcotics and report five?"
"Those are the ones- They're what pays for the carpet you're standing on. The days when no one was above the law are long gone, 007. Anyway- Your assignment. We're sending you to London- I want you to dig up as much information on these two men as you can- I believe their names are Hesky and Newton- And report back as to which one you think would be the most trustworthy. Try to arrange personal meetings if you can." The phone rang at that point and M picked it up a listened for and while to a manic voice before placing it back on the receiver.
"Now if you'll excuse 007 me I have something of a crisis on my hands- I've just heard that they accidentally sent an important government document to the Prime Minister- Do you think there could be a bigger balls-up as a result of all this damn reorganisation? I don't think so!"
She stormed out of the office and began shouting at some unseen subordinate, then returned and handed Bond a brown envelope containing his assignment details. As Bond left the office she was back on the phone trying to convince some official that the Prime Minister wouldn't be receiving any more facts about the running of the country.
So now here Bond was- At this delightful back street restaurant discussing his assignment with the good Mr Lipton.
"I can't tell you much about the two men you're talking about, " Said Lipton, "What I can say is that Hesky is definitely the more aggressive of the pair. A few years back he very badly messed up on a drugs trafficking deal- For a while everyone called him "Schlemiel Hesky". You know, like the footballer?"
"I'm not really into football."
"Fair enough- They're not really into football here either. Tottenham supporters mostly. Anyway, Hesky's been bitter ever since and has been known to get extremely violent. He killed around five men last year- Personally, I mean, and they say he was involved in those slasher murders in Essex last year-"
"I happen to know he wasn't."
"Really? You're pretty informed, you Scotland Yard guys." (Lipton hadn't been told anything he didn't need to know). "Anyway, Hesky owns a club on Jay Street- He's always seen with a woman- I think her name is Eva Stetsky- Very odd bird. They say she's a little "Not only, but also", if you know what I mean."
"I get it. What about Newton?"
"I know less about him- I think he's orthodox, I've met a few people who've dealt with him and they say he's pretty friendly, but don't rub him up the wrong way. Owns a warehouse over by Kalibier Avenue.
"I think I'll start there then. Thank you for your help Mr Lipton. It's been a pleasure talking to you."
"You're welcome Mr Bond- I'd better give you those addresses, wait a moment." Lipton produced a pen and note pad. He scribbled the addresses of the club and the warehouse then tore off the page and handed it to Bond. When Bond looked at it he saw that the paper was headed with the badge and motto of the Arsenal Football Club Fans Association.
Lipton smiled "Mazel tov Mr Bond- Good luck, you know?"
The warehouse was a big orange brick building with yellow shutters and a small door to one side. It was about eleven o'clock when Bond got there. He sat around in his car for a while to see if anyone went in or out and eventually got bored and decided to simply break in and nose around for a while. It was an unbelievably simple matter to pick the lock, and he found himself in a small, dark room filled with cardboard boxes. They were all marked with the names of cosmetics brands- Shampoos, conditioners etc, but were all empty. He stepped through another door into the main bulk of the warehouse- Huge pallets of cosmetics were arranged in rows down the room, and there was a chemical smell in the air.
On the other side of the room facing bond was a flight of stairs leading to a bright yellow door. Bond approached this with caution, he didn't want to run into anyone who for whatever reason had stayed late at work.
Just as he reached the first step he heard a noise behind him and he turned to investigate. As he did so the yellow door opened and a heavy book came flying out and hit Bond on the head, knocking him out cold. Two men then emerged from the door.
"Hey- You really threw the book at him Mr Newton!" Said one.
"You're not funny Sidney." Said the other.
Bond awoke in a white room, held down to a chair by two firm hands. One wall of the room was covered by boxes as he had seen earlier in the warehouse and in front of the boxes was a table behind a table sat a large man. At his elbow stood a thinner man in a long black coat.
"Mister Newton, I presume?" Said Bond, addressing the large man.
The man shook his head. "No, actually he's Mr Newton-" He pointed to the man at his shoulder and turned to him, "Hey! Really you should be sitting down here boss!"
"Think of your back, Sidney. I don't want to be responsible for you not following doctor's orders." Newton turned to Bond. "Now, as for you, I must apologise for the headache you are no doubt currently suffering from but I do get pretty annoyed at people who sneak around my property. I think you should know- If you were trying to steal I would take up another profession if I were you- You walked straight past the office with the safe in without even checking. I saw you on the security camera."
Bond mentally kicked himself- He had presumed low grade operators like this wouldn't have such advanced security measures. Newton continued-
"Now I, as any of my associates will gladly inform you, am a reasonable man. But I do come down hard on petty theft- If you're gonna steal, I like to say, steal from those who can afford to be stolen from- Big companies, banks, supermarkets, estate agents, people like that. Not small independent businessmen like myself- It's just not right. Also, looking at you, I'd say you weren't exactly a man in desperate need of financial assistance, so why you should want to steal at all is quite beyond me. Maybe you're sick, a kleptomaniac or something of the kind, but still, I can't easily excuse you.
"So, what are we going to do with you? I have debated with my colleagues here, and we have decided after much careful deliberation to throw you out of the window. We're not that high up- You'll break a few limbs and that's all. We'll call you an ambulance too as soon as you've hit the ground. And after a couple of months in hospital I'm sure you'll feel better about yourself. Allright?"
"I should tell you now, " Bond began quickly, "I represent the police..." But he was then grabbed by two unseen men behind him pulled out of the chair. Then suddenly Newton said-
"Stop! We can't just chuck him out when we want! Extend a little courtesy won't you fellas? Eh?" Bond was pushed back into the chair and Newton reached under the table, bringing out a packet of digestive biscuits. "Will you have a biscuit? Go on, they're digestives- Go down a treat."
"No, thank you." Said Bond, with more than a little anger in his voice. Newton pulled the packet of biscuits open.
"Go on, " He said, "I've opened them now- They'll only get hard."
"No, thank you!"
"How about a drink then? I've got a few Cokes somewhere-" He walked to the boxes against the wall, opened one and picked out a red can. "Where's the ice Louie?"
"I don't think there's any left boss." Said the large man holding Bond down.
"Oy vey, how many bloody times have I asked you to fill the icebags? If it was just for me I wouldn't mind- But will you please think of our guest?"
"Don't say sorry to me- Say sorry to poor mister whoever he is here- He's the one we're about to send to hospital without a decent drink inside him. Go on- Say sorry to our guest."
"Sorry mate." Said Louie.
"Mate?" Said Newton, "A bit informal aren't we? You've never met the poor bugger before in your life. Say sorry sir Louie. Sign of respect, that is."
"But I don't respect him-"
"I don't give a monkeys weather you respect him or he's your worst enemy! Just say bloody sorry!"
"Yes boss... Sorry sir."
"That's better. Now throw him out the of window."
The window in question was in another room in the warehouse- He was dragged there by Louie and Mr Newton came along.
"Sorry about this again," Said Newton, "But it's justice, you know?"
As Bond struggled against being pushed out of the window something fell from his pocket. Newton bent down and picked it up.
"Hey! Louie, stop!" Louie stopped forcing Bond through the window.
Newton walked closer to the agent, smiled and suddenly let out the almost animal cry-
Bond was needless to say a little shocked, but Louie seemed to understand, and he pulled Bond back in from the window.
"You stupid schlep! You should have mentioned you were a gooner!" Said Newton, laughing as he held up the thing that had fallen from bonds pocket- The piece of paper Lipton had given him with the Arsenal Football Club Fans Association heading on it.
"Arsenal supporters have a slightly different place in the scheme of things, if you know what I mean," Said Newton, "Come on- We'll have a good chat..."
Three hours later, clutching a complementary pyramid shaped radio from Gillette, Bond hailed a black cab to take him back to his hotel room. It had been a great tribute to Bond's skills as a spy that he had managed to get through over two hours of conversation about the expectations for Arsenal's next season without once letting slip to Mr Newton his ignorance on the whole subject. He felt rather pleased with himself- But still tired and in need of some peace and quiet. When he got back to the hotel it was about three o'clock in the morning, and he collapsed on the bed, and quickly fell asleep shortly afterwards.
The next day Bond steadied himself for the task ahead- He had met Mr Newton, and come to the conclusion that while he wasn't exactly in line for a Nobel peace prize, he was a good man in the end, and now it was time to attempt a confrontation with Mr Hesky.
That evening he went down to Hesky's club on Jay street, and sat at a table near the stage sipping a white Russian (he'd taken a girl to a film in which the main character had sworn by them, and had wanted to try one ever since). The club was a pretty classy affair- The room was a pinkish red with gold trimmings, pretty big, about half the size of Newton's warehouse. The central stage was round with steps leading to a large door, also round.
The other people in the club were made up of businessmen types, all of whom had mobile phones, into which they constantly blabbered.
"God, I hate those things, " Said Bond to himself. Then he called over the waiter.
"What time does the show start?" He asked.
"Pretty soon- Just a few minutes." Said the waiter. As he turned to leave, Bond said-
"By the way, what can you tell me about the man who owns this place, Mr Hesky?"
The waiter shuddered slightly. "What kind of thing would you want to know?"
"Just a few facts- I might want to negotiate a deal with him..."
The waiter told Bond he'd be back in a moment, and scurried off.
As he waited for the man to return the lights dimmed ant the show began- There were about five girls, reasonably attractive, who appeared on the stage in very little clothing and continued to remove more. Bond was quite enjoying it when two large men (they seemed a common breed in these parts) approached the table, and asked him to come along with them. He moved reluctantly, and was taken to the back of the stage and through a door leading down some steps into a sub basement. He recognised the set-up of the room- The chair, a desk this time instead of a table, and a man in another chair behind a desk. It was a swivel chair, and Bond was disconcerted to see that the occupant was spinning around on it gently murmuring "Wheee!" To himself. There was also a very attractive young woman in the room- Very tall, (possibly Nordic Bond thought) and wearing a sparkling black gown which matched her hair. She smiled at Bond, eyeing him up, and pointed a painted nail at the empty chair. Bond sat obediently, and the swivel chair, now facing him, stopped turning.
The very first moment that Bind looked into Hesky's eyes he knew the man was absolutely insane. He'd seen eyes like that before- And it had been a very painful experience indeed.
As for the rest of him, Hesky was thinning with black hair and a slightly greyish tinge to his skin. It took him a few moments to get over his disiness and then he spoke-
"You are Mr Bond! Bond Bond Bond! Ha! What a name!" The voice was uneven- Sometimes low, sometimes high.
"I know that because I am have telepathic powers that tell me such things. I also have men watching the activities of Mr Lipton and his ilk and your meeting yesterday was reported to me. I also know that you are in the employ of Scotland yard. So there!" He sat back beaming. "Now, you must have a reason for being here, so I had better persuade you to tell me it by ingenious means! Maybe my beautiful assistant here can assist me." He motioned to the woman.
She slinked over to Bond, brought her face down to his and licked him on the chin. He moved back but was restrained by the hands of one of the large men who had brought him down. The woman straightened up and licked her lips.
"How about a threesome?" She suggested.
"It would depend who got to go in the middle." Said Hesky, "But no, I don't think so. I think we're in the market for a bit of that old time extremely painful torture type stuff. We could pull his proboscis off, mince his meat or curry his... his... err..."
"Colon?" Suggested the woman.
"It'll do." Hesky reached under the desk and pulled out a large butchers knife.
"Do you know what a schmakel is, Mr Bond?"
"Doesn't he play for Manchester United?" Said Bond, recalling from last nights conversation.
"That's something else. A shmakel is the vital organ of yours that I am about to cut of." Hesky stood up, brandishing the knife.
Suddenly there was a knock at the door.
"Go away!" Growled Hesky.
"It's shomething off an hemergancy..." Said a drunken voice behind the door, "You shee I can't find the lav... lavi... the thing." To Bond the voice sounded vaguely familiar.
"It's the by the main doors." Said Hesky.
"I'm not honeshtly sure I could get there on time..." Said the drunk.
Hesky motioned to one of his thugs to open the door. Bond turned his head and saw the owner of the voice almost fall through the door as it was opened.
"My god! Q!" Said Bond, automatically in spite of himself.
"Oh dear..." Said the Secret Service's quartermaster. "You're not supposed to... Wait a moment, I'll sort it out..." He staggered up to Hesky and virtually shouted. "I have never sheen this man in my life!" Q turned back to Bond. "How's the leg by the way?"
Luckily Hesky wasn't really listening, and just said, "Look, will you get out of my office you stupid old duffer?! I'm rather busy."
"Thash fine by me... I'll just have a quick nap and be on my way." He knelt down under Hesky's desk.
"Get out of it!" Shouted Hesky, aiming a kick at the old man, but missing and falling, dropping the knife as he went down.
That was the only chance Bond needed. Like lightening he grabbed up the knife from the desk and stabbed the nearest thug just under the rib cage. The man fell screaming to the ground in a quickly growing pool of blood, and a colleague of his went for Bond from the back. But 007 was to quick and he turned and slashed at the big man's throat.
Out of the corner of his eye Bond spotted the woman in the black dress drawing out and handgun. He jumped and punched he on the forehead, knocking her to the ground.
"You hit a woman, 007." Mumbled Q from under the desk.
"It was a blow for sexual equality." Replied Bond. "Where did Hesky go?"
"Ran out the back. I suggest we leave- I don't think I have money for the check anyway."
Q slowly picked himself up and they walked to the back door which Q had indicated Hesky had escaped through.
The street outside was almost empty- No sign of Hesky or any of his minions, and Bond helped Q across the road to his car. The got in and just as Bond started the engine he spotted a figure running towards them clutching a shot-gun.
"Hesky!" Cried Bond. "Get down Q!"
Hesky aimed at the car.
"Come on out Bond! I'll give you a fight! mano a mano! A mano! A mano!" He waved the gun around.
"Come on out- Or are you a coward?!"
But Bond had already had enough of the raving lunatic gangster that day, so he simply ran him over.
On the road back to headquarters Bond turned to Q.
"Have you got a phone by any chance?" He asked. Q fished in his jacket and produced a mobile. He handed it to Bond, who dialled a number.
"Hello? Universal exports? Put me through to the manager please. Hello? It's James. I checked out the two potential exporters. Had to rule out Hesky- He's mad, as well as very probably dead- I didn't look. It'll have to be Newton- He's a good man, but don't get him talking about football... That should do. Thanks. Goodbye." He turned off the phone and handed it back to his companion.
"So Q," Said Bond with a wry smile, "Now I know what you do on your day off."
"Oh shut up 007."
"Very well. By the way, you wouldn't know a twenty-four hour carwash who do bloodstains, would you?"