Planes, Pains, and Automobiles
James Bond Short Story
as the hub of the aviation world, BAA’s
London Heathrow Airport is the biggest there is. Ninety airlines serve over
sixty million passengers, making Heathrow the busiest international airport in
Europe. Occupying over 65 hectares, Heathrow’s Cargocentre handles about 1.2
million tons of airfreight a year. For the UK, it’s a crucial port, annually
handling cargo worth £50 billion. It is linked directly to all four of Heathrow’s
passenger terminals to assist the fast clearance of belly-hold cargo from 170
aircraft stands. With visitors from around the globe, Heathrow, as compared to
Gatwick, has a lot more flavor. And, even in the midst of such activity, a
distinguished gentleman like James Bond, of Universal Exports LTD, can pass
through the four terminals with little residual presence.
And since Heathrow
is so big, boarding the tram to Concourse D is an event in itself. The ride can
last up to eight minutes and the individual cars are so packed that one can
feel the train slowing from the excess weight. Bond stood near the back,
bracing himself against the door, clutching the rail running from end to end.
Half the tram was fitted with seats, but all were filled, tired passengers
catching a few moments of solitude before facing one another’s in-laws.
From his vantage point Bond could see the First
Class ticket held by a striking woman standing before him. She was thin, about
5’8, her red hair flatteringly draped across her forehead, and a white tank top
neatly tucked into low-cut jeans. She was also standing, striking a seductive
pose, forcing Bond to catch a glance or two. Bond looked closely at her ticket:
it had Concourse information, in this case Concourse B, Flight info: TWA 114
and listings for First Class, Business Class, and Coach.
The conductor came over the PA then; announcing that
the train was coming up on the next stop, Concourse B. Bond took a last glance,
knowing this was the woman’s destination. An instruction appeared on the
electronic sigh above the passenger’s heads warning awareness as the tram
rolled to a stop. It flashed by, in four different languages: English, French,
German, and Spanish, one after another, all of which Bond could read. The car
finally lurched to a stop and the doors on each side slid quietly open,
allowing passenger departure. Bond, being next to the exit door, moved outside,
letting them exit the crowed train. They moved quickly, as if the door would
suddenly close and crush an unsuspecting tourist.
He allowed the
last of them off and headed back inside the tram. He watched the woman he had
been standing with: she was moving toward the door, but spotted Bond moving in
and abruptly took a now empty seat. Bond took a seat of his own. When he glanced
up at her, she suddenly turned away. Bond would have to keep an eye on that
After exiting the
train and coming through the customs desk, James Bond made his way to the phone
booth in Concourse D. He moved quickly making sure the mystery woman was gone.
She was; just a nervous passenger, Bond thought, on edge after a long and
A row of phone booths lined the
back wall; all were occupied accept the middle one. Bond slid the door open,
moved in and closed it again. He lifted the receiver and ringed LHR Chauffeur
Service, the only one he ever used. Bond was like that in many ways. The same
cigarettes: a specialty brand, scented with the finest aroma, a gold band
occupying the filter and a reduced tar content. The same drink: a vodka
martini, shaken with the finest of olives. The same characteristics in women:
head strong, determined, and beautiful.
Bond rang off and exited the
building, not noticing that attractive woman eyeing him from across the room.
He removed his stainless steel cigarette case and lighted one of the
specialties, inhaling the sweet smoke.
* * * *
Fifteen minutes later, an E-Class Mercedes-Benz pulled
up to London Heathrow. A tall, muscular man exited the car. He looked to be
about 200 hundred pounds, he was lean, his forearms built like two pieces of
lumber, which looked just as hard. The Australian man outstretched his hand,
his dirty-blonde hair curling down into his eyes; he brushed it away with his
free hand. Bond took the offer, returning the firm handshake.
“William Covington,” he said, motioning to the
Mercedes, “From LHR. Your mister...”
“Bond,” he said, “James Bond.”
“Ah, Mr. Bond. May I take your bag?”
Covington reached for the custom made Giuseppe Lava briefcase in Bond’s right
“No need,” Bond said, “I can manage.”
reached under the dashboard, flipping the lever and releasing the trunk. He
took the matching suitcase, with no objection from Bond, and placed it in the
House,” Bond said, after he was in the back seat, “No rush.”
“Ok, mate.” Covington said.
* * * *
Heathrow Airport is located 25
km from Greater London, so driving on the parkway would get them to MI6 HQ in a
little under 15 minuets. ‘M’ had called him earlier that morning, insisting it
was imperative to be in London by 10:00 A.M. Bond said he would, sensing a
slight edge on the woman’s voice. He paid it no mind; the new ‘M’ was under a
lot of stress now that Sir Miles Messervey retired. Trying to learn the ins and
outs of MI6 is no easy task, but, after some time together Bond and ‘M’ have
gained more than mutual respect. It was a kind of understanding; Bond is the
one who faces death, ‘M’ is the one who sends him there. She says she doesn’t
care, but deep down she fears for every double-o-agent under her command. Bond
checked his watch: 9:52 A.M. Eight minutes, he would just make it.
Covington flipped on the low
beams, they came to life, cutting through the overcast of September. It always
rained in September; it had been raining off and on since leaving for Hong Kong
three days ago. So, seeing the rain now was no surprise, it rained all the time
in London, going abroad helped him cope with the wetness.
Covington maneuvered through the
light traffic with surprising efficiency, making good time. It seemed that
people got places faster since London Heathrow got a ‘tube,’ or underground
subway system, a kind of ‘metro.’ The ‘tube’ had been a big help, now traffic
was mare flowing, direct. He remembered the traffic of New York, stop and go,
stop and go. That white ‘pimp’ mobile taking-out his driver seemed like only
yesterday, but Bond knew the ‘Mr. Big’ case was a thousand vodka martinis ago,
a hundred women ago, and more property destroyed then could ever be counted.
All that brought up painful memories anyway; his long time partner and friend
Felix Liter, loosing his leg and arm to the vicious Tiger sharks. James Bond
shook those thoughts away. He came back to reality. “Never go back,” he
thought. You can’t help the maimed...or the dead. His thoughts lingered on his
late wife, Tracy. Killed by Ernst Stavro Blofeld minutes after the wedding. He
remembered looking out the back window seconds before she was gunned down. He
looked out that window now, a forest green Audi 300i was there, the rain splashing
off its neoprene top.
“How long has that car been
there?” Bond said.
“Since Heathrow, why?” he replied.
“I think he, or she, may be following us,” Bond said.
“What-da-ya want me to do about it, mate?” Covington
“Let’s lose them, shall we?” Bond answered.
“Yes, sir!” William Covington said, stepping on the
The car sped forward, moving
now, putting distance between ‘forest green.’ Bond checked the window; the Audi
gained, weaving in and out of traffic. It clipped a black Saab, pushing 70,
making up the distance. It skidded around the turnpike. Bond could feel the
loss of traction as he opened the briefcase and removed his Walther PPK from
the x-ray proof compartment. Remarkably the car held the road; Covington
struggled with the wheel.
“Used to be a wheelman!” he
said, pulling a hard right, lightly tapping the brakes.
Bond couldn’t help but laugh, it
didn’t last long. Up ahead the road took a drastic change. If they were to keep
going straight the four-lane highway would gradually merge into a two-lane
road; the high-speed chase might cost lives.
“Take a left here, down the
embankment!” Bond commanded.
Covington cut left, sending the
car flying down the hilly median. The Mercedes cleared it; the front bumper
scraping the highway, spewing up sparks. Bond checked the back window again;
‘forest green’ tried the same move but the inexperienced driver turned too
early. The front tires disappeared in a ditch, then emerged again, the
mysterious driver losing control. The car went into a spin, rolling down the
embankment, throwing up dirt, mud, and shards of metal. It skid across the wet
pavement, the car finally stopping, wedging up against the highway guardrail.
Covington stopped the car,
climbing out, exclaiming “my god” as Bond exited, surveying the wreckage. He
approached the car assuming the worst. The site was a mass; the car was strewn
all over hell. Bond assumed the driver was too. He assumed wrong; a thin woman
leapt forth, grasping a Glock .45 Automatic. Bond recognized her: she was the
attractive woman from the tram. The woman raised her gun, Bond went for his,
driving his hand into his jacket. He palmed the gun there, loosely gripping the
butt, and, taking the weight in his hand James Bond 007 License to Kill spun
outward, the gun clearing his Navy Blue sport coat. He took a bead and
depressed the trigger, letting loose a 7.65mm round from the gun. It spun
forth, straight and true, ripping through the would-be assassins left temple,
rupturing the artery there, sending blood and brain mass through the
assailant’s right eye. She fell fast, and hard, the 145 pound thud of the woman
filling the air.
James Bond then holstered the Walther and kicked the
automatic pistol out of the dead woman’s left hand. It slid across the wet
grass and clattered against the guardrail.
“Road Rage.” Bond muttered,
kneeling down to check her vitals.
Sure enough, the mystery woman
had died fast, the bullet, a concentrated center floating in liquid Teflon,
destroyed the woman’s brain cavity, forcing all within to spill out the
bullet’s exit wound, leaving a pool of blood to form under her. In the same
situation, with a different man, the outcome would have been different but 007
was trained by the best.
started to rain then, lightly at first then it got heavy, coming down in
sheets. Bond retreated back to the Mercedes and forced the shocked Covington
into it. In the distance sirens could be heard; they screeched loudly, breaking
through the London fog. It was most likely the New Scotland Yard, Bond thought.
Covington started the engine and drove back up the embankment, taking a right
and heading toward MI6. ‘M’ had expected him a half-hour ago. He would have
some explaining to do.