(Cue Monty Norman’s iconic James Bond Theme.)
Even The Dear One is unaware of my Alter Ego. As a member of Military Intelligence, my code name is Treble Zero. Now and then I touch base with HQ in London where I am afforded the respect due a top field agent.
“Oh not you again!” says Miss Punnymenny, secretary to my Boss (Code Name F).
“Yes, Punnymenny, it’s me. Without agents like me, this country wouldn’t be what it is. Without agents like me, this——”
“Yes, yes,” rudely interrupts Miss Punnymenny. “What do you want? And how did you get past security?” Before either of us can say another word the intercom on her desk crackles into life.
“Is that Treble Zero?” a voice asks.
“Yes, F. I did try to get rid—-”
“Send him in.”
My lip curls into a sneer, totally lost on Miss Punnymenny, who sticks her tongue out at me.
“You can take that sneer off your face, Treble Zero,” says F. “You, of course, know this gentleman.” A statement, not a question. I stare at the well appointed personage.
“Sorry, F. Never laid eyes on him before in my life.” F gives me a long stare before slowly turning to her guest.
“Are you sure, Prime Minister (PM), that you want to work with this idiot? May I suggest Double Oh Seven instead?”
“Thank you, F, but no. I specifically asked for Treble Zero. Come along Treble Zero.” Now my sneer knows no bounds, encompassing F, Miss Punnymenny and even the street porter. I follow the PM to his chauffeur-driven limo. “Get in Treble Zero. I’ll brief you on the way.”
The PM begins without preamble. “Ever heard of a character called Joe Twead?”
I pause half a beat before answering. “Yes,” I say slowly, “I think I have, sir. A devilishly handsome man with a penchant for fast women, fast cars and gambling. Used as the model for that Bond fellow in the movies.”
“Not according to my information, Treble Zero. I’m told he is an idle, lazy, no-good layabout.”
I shift uncomfortably in my seat and scratch my nethers. “Surely not, sir. You must be mistaken.”
“I’m reliably informed,” says the PM, ignoring me, “that he lives in Spain with that phenomenal writer, Victoria Twead (VT).” He glances down at a document which has, in bright-red, ‘Ultra-Super-Top-Secret’ stamped on every page. “Yes,” he quotes, “lives as man and slave with VT.”
“I wouldn’t exactly call him a slave, sir, but—-”
“Miss Twead is obviously in his power, Treble Zero,” says the PM cutting me short. “Otherwise, why hasn’t she completed ‘Two Old Fools on a Camel’? The whole world, no, the whole universe! has been waiting for its appearance. More than a year has passed and still no ‘Camel’! I want you, Treble Zero, to infiltrate the household and neutralise that vile villain, Joe Twead. Either that or ensure the book appears before Christmas. Think you can do that for me, Treble Zero?”
I assure him that I will do my best.
“Ever read any of Miss Twead’s books?” Before I can answer, he continues. “My favourite is Morgan and the Martians”.
He retrieves a well-thumbed copy from his briefcase. “Morgan and the Martians ~ A Comedy Playscript for Children. The wife reads it to me every night. It’s my favourite bedtime story!”
“Oh gosh, mine too, sir!”
“And mine!” (The chauffeur.)
Thereafter, whilst en route to drop me off at the airport, the PM, the chauffeur, and I, sing lustily all the ‘Morgan’ singalongs. Why not join in too?
Nine years ago,
When I was born,
My mother said to Dad,
“We have a lovely baby boy,
A bonnie little lad.”
I didn’t like the sound of that,
In fact it made me mad,
So I decided there and then,
I wanted to be BAD!
Everyone thinks he’s good but he’s bad as bad can be,
He hates soppy kittens and he’s always late for tea,
He makes faces at old ladies and stamps on little ants,
He hides his father’s car-keys and he’ll NEVER change his pants!