Daily Archives: May 11, 2024


M heard a knock on his office door. A knock followed by a short pause, then two brief staccato taps of a knuckle.

“Come in, 007!” M called. “Just the man I wanted to see.”

James Bond walked in and gingerly stepped up to the leather chair in front of M’s desk, slowly lowering his handsome, well-dressed 6 foot, two inch frame onto the well-padded seat.

“You know, sir,” Bond, half-apologetic, started to say, “I was scheduled to begin a two-week holiday today…” 

M abruptly cut him off. “Sorry 007, but no holiday for you this week. Nor for anyone. That sound you cannot hear—because this is His Majesty’s Secret Service, after all—would be alarm bells sounding ‘All hands on deck, battle stations!’ 

Rubbing his weary face with both hands, M continued, “I’m sorry to inform you all leaves and holidays have been cancelled, because quite seriously the fate of Western Civilization is hanging in the balance, once again. And your bloody holiday will just have to wait.”

“Understood, sir,” Bond said, softly backing away from any hint of annoyance. “But, please, M, tell me what is going on?” he probed delicately, “Not the Russians again?” 

“Nail on the head, 007!” M answered. “Bloody Putin has set loose the most devastating of all known modern weapons, and the entire Western Alliance is under threat.”

“Virus?” Bond queried.

“No, far more deadly than that, if you can imagine.”

“Anthrax?” Bond continued to probe. “Nuclear radiation? Space lasers? Killer Bees?”

“Stupidity!” M finally offered. “Stupidity fueled by greed, petulance, narcissism, racism and self-aggrandizement on a scale that hasn’t been seen since the days of Adolph Hitler.”

“You mean…” Bond gasped, the answer rising to the surface of his consciousness.

“Yes,” M answered with bitter distaste, “Orangefinger!”

Orangefinger, the name given by the British Secret Service to the arch fool and blundering former American president, Donald J. Trump. Long suspected by Western intelligence services of being a Russian stooge, President Trump had wrecked havoc within the Western Alliance in his historically chaotic term as the 45th American president. If not a Putin plant, then a useful idiot, as the Russians like to call them; a man so inept and self-absorbed that, when placed in a position of power, he automatically made the worst decisions, focused as he usually was on his own best interests and inclinations rather than the need of the moment. 

“Yes, but after one disastrous Trump term wouldn’t the Americans see Orangefinger for exactly what he is?” Bond asked. “A liar, a thief, a traitor, a serial sexual predator? After all that, how much damage can one man do?”

“Heaps!” M grimaced, with his briar pipe clenched in his teeth, and a gold-plated butane lighter poised to ignite it. “More damage than we can afford,” he added, firing the bowl while sucking in lungs full of his custom blended Amphora Gold and Brown pipe tobacco, available exclusively at Harrod’s.

Poking the air with the stem of his pipe, M pressed the point. “Recall how quickly Orangefinger disabled the Paris Accords and quashed the nuclear agreement with Iran,” he reminded Bond. 

“Within months of taking office,” M. continued, “by those two acts alone, Orangefinger inflamed global warming and set back the control of nuclear weapons by a full generation at least. 

“God only knows what mischief he’ll create should he win back the Oval Office.” M concluded. “He’s already talking about suspending the American Constitution, arresting political enemies, replacing federal employees with political sycophants, erecting concentration camps… And, if he’s a really useful idiot to Putin, he’ll act on his threat to shut down NATO, and thereby de-stabilize the entire Western Alliance.

“Make no mistake, 007, the world can ill-afford a second Orangefinger presidential term.

“My word!” Bond gasped, quickly seeing the threat in its full entirety. “It would be like offering Putin an invitation to reap havoc anywhere on the planet he so wishes,” he concluded.

“Truly frightening, M,” Bond frowned, “but what can I do? Frankly, this problem seems above my pay grade.”

“It won’t all be on your shoulders, 007, I promise. We’ve brought in a specialist.” M picked up a slip of paper from his desk and read aloud, “Agent 008! Excellent chap, he’s been assigned to serve as your lead agent on the case. He’s an American, very skillful I’m told. Brought over specifically because of prior experience he’s had successfully fighting Orangefinger and Putin in the field.”

M folded the slip of paper and said, almost as though reminding himself, “No need talking about the man when I can introduce him just as easily.”

He pressed a button hidden beneath his desk and, simultaneously, Bond heard a buzzer sounding outside in Miss Moneypenny’s office.

M stood to an almost military stance as his office door swung open once again. 

“James,” M said almost formally, “please say hello to Agent…” 

Upon seeing his visitor standing in the door, M left the sentence incomplete while rereading the slip of paper in his hand. 

“Excuse me,” M continued, “I seem to have misspoke. Not Agent 008, but Agent 0081.”

Bond looked over to see, standing square in the frame, an elderly gentleman wearing aviator sunglasses, a navy blue baseball cap and a wide bright smile.

Taking off his glasses, the stranger winked and said,  “0081 at your service, gentlemen.” 

Then, restoring the sunglasses, he added, “But you can call me Dark Brandon. “