Lady Wimpleseed-Prissypott # 38: The Barcelona Tango

Previously, the Prime Minister executed a plan and it wasn’t pretty. Not pretty, at all. Quills has followed the Mighty Paddington to the Convent where Lady P. P. is being held hostage. 

Quills heard the dandy’s voice as it threatened someone at the top of the stairs of the convent. He would have liked to race up the stairs but Hector would have said, “Wait, mi hermano. Bide your time. Your patience may save your life.” So, Quills held back at the bottom of the stairs.

A woman’s voice came down to him. “Leave me alone,” she said. Quills recognized the voice as someone he had heard before. But when? Who? He couldn’t recall.

On the top of the stairs, the dandy, The Mighty Paddington, The Iranian Cubist Assassin, grabbed the woman by the arm and pulled her down the hall.

“Leave me alone,” the woman, Mary-Mary Smith also known as Lady Marye Caterina Wimpleseed Prissypott, said louder, wandering why the nuns on the second floor did not burst out of their bedrooms and come up to rescue her from this villainous man. Then it came to her. The nuns were all on a week’s retreat at their sister house in Madrid.

“What are you doing?” she said to the man who was dragging her to Mother Superior’s office.

“Never you mind,” the villain said. “The question is not what am I doing. Rather it is what were you doing?”

“I heard voices,” she said, struggling to loose her arm from the man’s grip. “They woke me up. I came up here to see. When I realized it was Mother Superior and Father Jerome, I was on my way back to bed. Let me loose so I can go back to my room and go to sleep.”

“None of us may get any sleep tonight,” he said, pulled open the door to Mother Superior’s office and pushed Lady P. P. inside. He followed. “My friends, I caught a spy. This little thing was listening at your door.”

A breeze eased through the latticework of the office as a full moon stood outside unaware of the danger inside the convent. Father Jerome, Mother Superior, the Doctor and Mata Hari were raising their glasses of wine to toast their success. They all stopped.

Mata Hari saw her ladyship; her ladyship saw Mata Hari.

“You,” Mata Hari said.

The fog of our heroine’s amnesia cleared, and the sun of her memory returned. Her ladyship remembered Mata Hari on the Orient Express, and her threat. She remembered that she was an English lady. She remembered the British ambassador refusing to believe her tale in Istanbul. She remembered Smythie Smathers’s words on the S. S. Twit. She remembered the sinking of the S. S. Twit. She remembered all that she had learned from her daddykins about self-defense.

“You,” Lady P. P. said, now free from the dandy’s grasp.

Mata Hari gave The Mighty Paddington, The Iranian Cubist Assassin, one of her come hither looks that seemed to say, “Take care of this bitch and I will give you some.” His legs almost gave in but he held his stand. He knew he could never trust a woman who carried a Wise & Heimer the way Mata Hari did.

Before Mighty could stop her, her ladyship was across the room. She formed a fist and drew back and rammed that fist right into Mata Hari’s nose, knocking the fatale out of her femme and off her feet. She turned and jumped in the air, like a martial artist, and slammed her left foot into The Mighty Paddington’s groin.

The priest, Mother Superior and Doctor Qwackers cowered in the corner. This was more than they had bargained. Her ladyship was like a lioness protecting her young. She had caught her Wah Wah League’s adversaries unawares.

Then Marye Caterina Wimpleseed Prissypott made for the door. She grabbed its knob. Quills pulled the door open and the momentum threw our heroine out of the room and down the hallway. She crashed through the latticework and off the ledge. She grabbed the ledge with one hand.

Quills rushed down the hall and over to the window. “What happened?”

“You threw me down the hall when you opened the door,” her ladyship said, hanging on for her life. Quills suddenly remembered where he had heard that voice. Gibraltar.

He went to reach for her hand. Behind him, he heard a noise. He turned and saw The Mighty Paddington coming for him. Mighty threw the first punch. It missed Quills. Quills threw the second punch. It hit Mighty squarely on the chin. Mata Hari drew her Wise & Heimer. She took aim but across the room came a knife to take out the gun in her hand. It was Pip, a chip off the old Flip of Flip, Fop & Flimby, Solicitors at Law. He ran up behind Mighty and knocked the dandy out with his pistol.

As Pip forced Mother Superior, Father Jerome and the doctor into a closet and locked it, Quills returned to the ledge to rescue her ladyship. But she was gone. She had fallen. He looked below to see a man throwing her body across his shoulders and hurrying off to a carriage.

“That must be 007,” Pip said from behind Quills. “We have to stop him. He’s working for The Times and he means to either kill her ladyship or ship her off to God-knows-where.”

“Let’s go,” Quills said rushing out of the office. “I’ve been to God-knows-where and that’s no place to be sent.”

Pip was right behind him as he took the stairs three at a time. They ran out of the building.

“I have horses waiting,” Pip said. “They’re around the corner.”

They made for the horses and rode down the cobblestone street where James Bond’s carriage had gone. The carriage raced toward the piers of the port of Barcelona. He was heading to a ship owned by The Times.

The horses came closer and closer to the carriage. From the carriage came gunshots. Bullets whizzed by Pip and Quills, barely missing.

“I thought this Bond was supposed to be a good shot,” Pip said to Quills as the two raced their horses nearer the carriage. One of the bullets breezed past an inch from his ear.

“He’s getting better and better,” Pip yelled back at Quills.

Quills and Pip closed in on the carriage. More bullets, and they realized that it was the driver that was firing. Seemed that James Bond 007 had his hands full, fighting her ladyship in the carriage. Pip aimed his revolver. He dropped the driver.

Now the carriage was a runaway. Quills pulled up beside the carriage and past it until he reached the horses. He was about to jump onto the carriage horses when they swerved in the opposite direction and turned up another street. As they did, the carriage came crashing down on its side and slid half a block further.

“Oh no,” Quills halted his horse and wheeled it around. “Oh no.”

Pip was already thinking what Quills was thinking. Her ladyship was dead in the carriage, or at the very least badly injured. Pip jumped down from his horse.

“Get off me, you turd,” Pip heard from inside the carriage. “I mean, you cad. Oh shit. I meant what I said the first time. Turd. You’re an incredibly bad turd too.”

Whack, whack came the sounds from inside the carriage. Quills and Pip were at the carriage door at the same time. Popping out of the carriage door was her ladyship.

“Would you kind gentlemen help a lady out of this carriage please?”

Next week, true love.

Uncle Bardie’s Movie of the Week: An Adult Male Fairy Tale

Once a week on Monday, Uncle Bardie shares a movie with his Readers he gives a big two thumbs up. It will simply be a short excerpt or a trailer. From time to time, a reflection on the movie will appear below the video. So pop some popcorn and give yourself a treat. This week’s movie is “From Russia With Love” (1963):

I have been watching James Bond movies since I was knee-high to a grasshopper. I just love them. Guess that’s why I put them in a very special genre of movies that only James Bonds inhabits. That category is Adult Male Fairy Tales. They have gorgeous sexy women, gadgets up the wazoo, awesome cars, some of the most beautiful settings on any planet, and lots of blowing things up. What more could a red blooded adult male ask for?

Now all us James Bondies have our favorite Double-Oh-Sevens. Me, I have no love for the Australian model. You know the Bond who married Diana Rigg in “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service”. His acting was so bad it killed Diana Rigg off and almost ruined her career.

Timothy Dalton did okay in the two movies he was in. He seemed to be trying way too hard Bond with us. Seems he could kill with that look of his. One might say that he was the working-stiff Bond.

I was rather fond of Pierce Brosnan. He always seemed like he wanted to charm the pants off the villain. After all, he was a handsome fellow. I did think he was rather good in “Tailor of Panama”, but, in that one, the intelligence agent was slumming. Geoffrey Rush’s character did most of the work.

Then there was Roger Moore. Oh, Roger, he was so much fun. For some reason, the word pussyfootin’ comes to mind when I think of this Bond. What M in their right mind would give him a double-oh? He’d probably shoot himself in the foot. Guess that’s why he was given Sean’s Berettta. I always expected to hear M say, “You’ll shoot your eye out.”

Now Daniel Craig, he looks dangerous I must admit. Not much charm but, as I have been told, he looks good in a bathing suit. Most of the time he’s way too serious for my taste,

For my money, Sean Connery, or The Sean as I like to call him, is the Bond for me. He’s a Scot, kilt and all. He sure is charming with the women. Even Money Penny goes for him, and she didn’t go for just any Bond. Sean looks like he could kill an adversary without blinking. His villains are such memorable villains with truly awesome names: Dr. No, Goldfinger, and Ernst Stavro Blofield.

Now, you know guys with those names could take over the world and shoot your eye out to boot. Blofield was so villainous he just kept coming back. Only Jaws could compete and take a bite out of the British Secret Service. But he wasn’t the boss. He was one of the many supporting minions that were sent after Double-oh-Seven. And no other Bond said, “Shaken not stirred”, with the kind of conviction Sean Connery said it. So there you have it, Uncle Bardie’s rundown of the Double-oh-Sevens.

The thing I love about “From Russia With Love” is that the producers had not worked out all the kinks. It was still new territory, being only the second of the series. Sean Connery was still feeling his way around in the role, so there is a certain rawness to this sophomore effort. It may be very old school, but it’s old school in the best way.

In the capable hands of director Terence Young, this Bond shines. Double-Oh-Seven is off to Istanbul to take control of the mcguffin, a Russian coding machine. A Russian woman has fallen in love with James Bond’s picture, or so the British have been told. She has the good Russian name of Tatiana. Not as exotic as Pussy Galore but then again what woman is? Tatiana is ready to betray the Soviets for a chance to meet the Secret Agent in the flesh. But it is a trap, set by SPECTRE.

The usual opening sequence with the title and the song as its own little movie is not in this one. That opening sequence first made its appearance in “Goldfinger”. The song comes at the end of “From Russia With Love”.  Also the gadgets are not running the show. Just a briefcase with some talcum powder. This one is Bond, and only Bond, not the guinea pig for Q’s toys. And I like that Sean gets to show his stuff instead of the cars and the gizmos.

The cast of “From Russia With Love” has Class with a capital C. Bernard Lee has returned as M. So has Lois Maxwell as Moneypenny and Desmond Llewelyn as Q. Robert Shaw gives Bond a real challenge as the villainous Grant. His boss, Rosa Klebb, is the great German actress, Lotte Lenya. The classiest of all  was the brilliant Mexican actor, Pedro Armendáriz, who portrays Kerem Bey, the Turkish Station Chief in Istanbul. At the time, he had cancer and still he worked. To provide money for his family.

To top it all off, there’s murder on the Orient Express and one hell of a boat ride. So fasten your seat belts. Let’s get on with Uncle Bardie’s favorite of all the Bonds, “From Russia With Love.”

Do you have a favorite James Bond movie?