Bond opened the fridge door and let out a sigh. No champagne.
Nor were there any other basic things you might expect to find in a fridge, such as eggs, bacon, chives, or milk. Well, there was never any milk in Bond’s fridge due to his lactose intolerance, but Bond’s conclusion was as expected.
In other words, no breakfast nor Ms Holly Moley – or anyone else – asleep in his bedroom.
Bond had only one option. He had to go grocery shopping.
He could’ve shopped online, thanks to the clever device the Q Branch had built him and demanded an instant delivery. His digital watch had an electronic connection to the shop and sent his orders straight to the grocer’s, or he could’ve asked for his new neighbour, the very chic Ms. Joy Moore-Orless to do it, but he turned down both options for the same, simple reason.
Bond cherished the feeling of squeezing fresh mangos himself.
Also, he’d never buy a piece of cheese sight unseen, not since the incident in Helsinki.
Bond got dressed. He put on his Savile Row suit and quickly picked a navy blue tie from the closet, and tied it around his neck as he walked to the Aston Martin in the parking garage under his building. He carried two tote bags folded under his arm, and quickly tossed them to the passenger’s seat as he sat down and started the car. No point in buying new bags on each visit to the store, he thought, pleased with himself. He had switched over to self scanning a long time ago.
Bond liked his privacy. He was not one to stand in line, so that everyone could see what he had put in his shopping cart. Oh no, he liked to take a nice walk through the store, with just enough pre-determined set plays mixed in with serendipitous finds, whether items on sale or – even better – in-store tastings.
Having passed the automatic doors with one stride, he opened his plastic bag with a quick movement resembling the lashing out of a whip, even making a similar sound. Bond took a quick sidestep behind the bananas to avoid any attention. He found the mangos behind the bananas, and smiled a little when he suddenly imagined Blofeld on the other side of the crate. “We’ve been expecting you, Mr Bond.”
It was an amusing thought, but Bond knew better than to let his guard down. Maybe Blofeld was here in disguise, maybe the man giving the mangos a squeeze was him, or one of his henchmen, and trying to provoke Bond into action? Bond grabbed a mango and pressed it lightly.
Of course. He tossed it into his bag and grabbed another mango. Jackpot, again. He made a quick stop at the avocados, used the same method to pick three perfectly ripe, Persea Americana, those pulpy geen fruits of the tropical American tree he knew so well. They made him think of Jamaica.
Instinctively, Bond pulled up the collar of his coat, conscious of the discrepancy between his memory of Jamaica and the current icy London weather. Then he headed over to the cold cuts and assorted meats, his favorite stop. There was something about the color of freshly ground beef that made Bond’s heart beat a little faster. He took a quick glance to see that he wasn’t being observed, opened the door and pressed his nose against the plastic that covered the ground beef.
Bond was one of few people in the world who could smell the meat through the plastic foil. It was a talent, yes, but a talent he had then nurtured, just like he had worked on his famous internal alarm clock which ensured he’d wake up at whatever time chose.
With some ground beef in his tote bag, Bond took cover behind the sausage section – making a stealth retrieval of some gouda on the way – and headed over to the in-store bakery in the back.
Time for some croissants.
Why couldn’t you find adequate croissants anywhere on this side of the Channel? But he’d rather have those than the sorry excuses for croissants SMERSH agents had to eat in Moscow. Bond cursed the French. Why did they have to make such great croissants? He made a mental note to book a trip to the Riviera.
But first, he had to beat the old man to his right to the croissants. The man was about three steps ahead of Bond, and moving his walker surprisingly quickly. Bond dropped a loaf of bread from the shelf onto the floor and as the man turned around to locate the source of the noise, he leaped behind and past the old man, straight to the bakery counter where Delilah was already waiting for him.
“Hello, James,” she said, and snapped the tongs in her hand. “Breakfast?”
“Hello, Delilah,” Bond said, and winked. “You know it.”
“Croissants? My, oh my. How many? Just one, I hope.”
“Two, please,” Bond said. “I’m hungry.”
Bond locked eyes with Delilah. She held her breath.
“Of course,” Delilah said then, and dropped in a third croissant into the bag. “On me. In case you get company,” she added.
Bond gave the old man behind him a polite nod of acknowledgement and beelined toward the checkout. As he walked by the toothpaste section, he noticed a new brand on the shelf. SPECTRE, it said. Bond picked up one, and read the package carefully. “Whiter, stronger,” it said.
“Sounds just like Spectre,” Bond muttered. He took a photo of the toothpaste and sent it to M.
Bond placed the scanner back in the cradle and pulled out his credit card. The company card. James Bond was all business, everything he did was official government business.
As Bond parked his Aston Martin in his spot in the garage, he pressed a button on his watch and pictured the espresso machine getting switched on upstairs.
In ten minutes, he’d be sitting with his paper, a cappuccino and a golden bun.
James Bond smiled.
“The man with the golden bun.” Good one. He’d have to tell it to M.