As this week went on, the challenge title seemed to be an apt description of my writing. The challenge was to write up to 800 words about someone struggling with decline.
Once more, my current reading (The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest from the Millenium Trilogy) influenced my choice of subject:
|At its Cold War heyday, MI5 was the premier counter-espionage and counter-terrorism machine. And we had top agents with a license to kill, for heaven’s sake — one of them was me!
About the time I was hired, fresh out of the military, we had agents everywhere. I signed on during the tail end of Hollis’ term (sorry, Sir Roger Hollis’ term) as the Director General, and let me tell you, we had clout, and we had the money to get things done. When I needed to wine-and-dine four couples at the poshest club in Stockholm while other agents searched through their homes, why, by golly, we just did it! I did acquire quite the taste for the flavour of caviar.
I can’t talk about anything specifically, you understand, but it was fascinating and sometimes dangerous work that took us to exotic places where we met up with some pretty nefarious characters. I loved it! And somehow in the middle of all this I managed to get married. Now, I’m no womanizer, but some of that goes with the job. I had ongoing relationships in Leningrad , Copenhagen , Mainz , Sao Paulo , uh, and Johannesburg . Ah, yes, Johannesburg …
I was able to reach the upper echelons of the espionage game in the mid 80’s, but things had begun to go downhill in a hurry by then. The defense initiative in the States became so big that countries like England didn’t even try to keep up. Budgets were slashed, and many of our younger agents in the Service were let go. The money was no doubt going to “more important” items, like The Bennie Hill Show on the Beeb. And the damn bureaucrats had us pushing paper so much, I barely had the opportunity to brandish my Walther PPK at all any more. I made my last covert overseas trip during this time, and I got to watch The Wall fall in Berlin …from the eastern side, ha ha.
In 1998, they took away our license to kill (and my Walther!), leaving us with only a license to lightly interrogate, at best. Bastards in Parliament had no clue the number of lives I’ve saved and state secrets I’ve secured, while they sat on their arses and debated the price of Earl Grey in Stropshire!. It was about this time that I slipped the disc in my back, probably due to inactivity, what with sitting behind a desk for so many hours a day. I could only work part-time then.
Finally, in 2003, MI5 disappeared completely. The whole Security Service organization was folded into the Parking Violations Division of the Metropolitan Police. All the old chaps were either dead or gone. My dear wife Mathilda had also recently died as well. I couldn’t take it any longer, and I finally retired.
The folks here running Elizabeth Lodge are okay, but damn stubborn about their No Alcohol policy, though. The next administration meeting will be my seventh attempt to get it overthrown.
I sure hope my daughter brings the grandkids next time she visits me.
While I let down Team SPOILER ALERT! this time around, on the strength of Colin & Shawn, we actually had the high score this week. RESULTS. The judges’ take:
K: Putting James Bond in an old folks home is a pretty swell idea, but I had to infer in was Bond solely from the “licence to kill” crack, and didn’t get it from the feeling of his narration. I wish he’d still come off as suave and smartly manipulative. 1
DK: I’m not going to be surprised if I’m on my own in assessing this way, but despite the quantity of great jokes here (“license to lightly interrogate” is a favorite) this feels a little more like a recap of someone’s history than a story in his present, struggling state. It’s good, but it lacks some of the narrative momentum that many of the others have. 1
The sad thing is, this wasn’t about James Bond, only some generic MI5 higher-up. As the team standings go, there was no decline to go with the struggling this week, as it turns out.