I don’t like the guy sitting at Table 24. Something about him gives me the creeps. I can’t put my finger on it but give me time.
“Can I get you something from the bar?” I ask.
The man looks at the woman sitting across from him. “A glass of wine, perhaps?” he asks.
Pursing her lips, the man’s date looks over the wine menu. After a moment she says, “I think I’m in the mood for a cocktail.”
“What kind?” the man asks.
“Very good Miss,” I say. “And for you sir?”
The man gives me a dirty look. “I’ll be doing the ordering waiter,” he snaps.
I look at the man. Two slate grey holes are where his eyes should be. That’s whats giving me the creeps. I feel my thousand yard stare revving up but I shut it down. Its Christmas.
“I’m sorry sir,” I lie. “What would you like to order?”
“The lady will have a Cosmopolitan,” the man says.
“Yes sir,” I repeat, needlessly.
“What kind of vodka do you serve?” the man asks.
“Most of them,” I reply.
The man looks at me blankly, his face a humorless mask.
“List them for me.”
I rattle off all the vodkas we serve.
“You don’t have Stolichnaya? ” the man says, slightly outraged.
“I’m sorry sir,” I reply. “We do not.”
“Make the lady’s Cosmopolitan with Ketel One,” the man orders.
“Yes sir,” I reply. Yes massah! is probably still politically incorrect.
“I’ll have a Belvedere martini up,” the man says. “With a touch of vermouth and a lemon peel.”
“Shaken, not stirred.”
“I’ve been a waiter for almost eight years. In all that time I’ve never heard someone use that line but I’m prepared.
“Would you like a Vesper?” I ask.
“Excuse me?” the man says.
“It’s made with gin, vodka, and a splash of Lillet.”
“Never heard of it,” the man says.
“Ian Fleming had the recipe in one of his books.”
“Who?” the man says.
“The man who created James Bond, of course,” I deadpan.
A faint blush colors the man’s cheeks. I have to bite my tongue to keep from snickering. Got you Commander Bond.
“Just get me my martini,” the man says.
“Very good sir, I say,” departing from the table.
I go to the back and make the couple’s drinks, very smug and satisfied with myself.
I’ve got nothing against people with a 007 jones. Truth be told, I’ve been a fan of Ian Fleming’s super spy since I was a boy. One of the first movies I remember seeing with my father was The Spy Who Loved Me. Being a voracious reader, I gobbled up all of Flemings novels before I was twelve. I knew how to make a Vesper before I was old enough to drink. And yes, I’ve dreamt of playing baccarat in Monte Carlo, bankrupting an egomaniacal super villain who conveniently tells me his plans for world domination while a sultry redhead in an evening gown refills my martini glass. My other car’s an Aston Martin.
So it pains me to say this – James Bond’s an asshole.
Have you ever noticed how 007 treats waiters? I’d have to review the DVDs but I don’t think he ever says please or thank you. If he does hes probably trying to screw the waitress. Bonds always barking orders, snobbishly declaring Dom Perignon needs to be served at 38 degrees Fahrenheit, ordering around bartenders, dissing wine of questionable vintages and, oh yeah, killing people.
If you’ve read all of Fleming’s books, as I have, the notion that Bond is a jerk doesn’t seem far fetched. Flemings Bond is a slightly sociopathic killer, a sex addict, smokes seventy cigarettes a day and’s a full blown alcoholic. So what if he saved the world from the nuclear blackmail, SPECTRE and the Communist Chinese? In the end he’s gonna die from a bullet, lung cancer, liver failure, or his pecker falling off. Its one thing to enjoy the films and entertain a few fantasies but you’d never want James Bond’s life as your own. So don’t be a poseur and ask for a martini shaken, not stirred. It’s better stirred anyway. Most bartenders would agree with me.
Honesty compels me to admit that, despite all my ranting and judgmental raving, I went to see Casino Royale a few weeks ago. I enjoyed it. Something tells me the guy sitting at Table 24 did too.
I bring the couple’s drinks and take their order. The mans just as fussy with his food as he is with his drink. The couple finishes dinner, skip dessert, and leave.
After the man and woman walk out the door I pick up the check holder and look inside. The tips lousy. But that’s not the worst part. The man stole my pen.
Instead of chasing the man down, I go to the POS computer, click a few buttons, and a map of the surrounding area appears on the screen. The homing device secreted in the stolen pen is projected on the display as a red dot. The signal indicates the mans traveling west. I chuckle. Mr. Bond probably lives in New Jersey.
I press a button. The red dot disappears. In the distance I hear a muffled explosion. I permit myself a small megalomaniacal laugh, close the program, and get back to work.
Note to self – ask Q Branch for more exploding pens.
I’m fresh out.