The mission was over for James Bond. Whilst the quiet respite from killing people was welcome, there was one outstanding issue. The case still bothered him.
He walked towards the front door, picked up a couple of take-away leaflets that had dropped through the letterbox in the last hour, and opened the door. He turned to close it, pulling it towards him and listening to the satisfying click of the lock as it closed. He turned to head out of the gate, and bumped into a woman coming up the path. She was glorious; pert and young, a floral scent. She had dark hair, piercing blue eyes, was tall and slim. Bond raised a smile. She thrust a card into his hand and retreated back to the gate, hurrying along. His eyes followed her along the street until she disappeared. She had a divine figure. He looked down at the card. Her name was there; Tania. Eastern European. She offered cleaning services on flexible hours. Bond wondered momentarily whether she had a hidden agenda.
His attention turned to his silver Aston parked in the street. He remotely unlocked the car, walked steadily towards it. ‘Alright, Jim!’. It was his irritating neighbour, Lance. He ignored him and opened the car door, got in and felt the soft leather supporting his muscular frame. He put the key in the slot and turned it anti-clockwise. The engine purred, and Adele fired up on the stereo. M had recommended her latest album, 21. It had been on heavy rotation ever since, the surround sound in the Aston making the most of her velvety tones.
Bond checked his mirror, indicated, and pulled out safely into the quiet residential street. Within minutes he was on the dual carriageway. The traffic was busier this Tuesday afternoon that he’d expected. He danced the Aston between the white vans and the heavy trucks circling the city fringes and delivering to the industrial and retail parks along this vehicular sewer. The road dipped through a tunnel beneath a busy junction. The Aston’s lights came on automatically, and his eyes adjusted to the sodium light before he emerged back into the sunlight and the road rose over the next interchange.
Bond scanned the London skyline stretching out to the south, before catching sight of his destination. Amongst the smoking chimney stacks and the waste plants in the urban wasteland stood the huge blue building, box-like and foreboding. He checked his mirror again, indicated and slipped into the exit lane to leave the dual carriageway.
Moments later he was at the building’s boundary. The traffic skipped around him, blocking his progress, but Bond knew another way round, and spun the car towards the service entrance. The service road was quiet; he yanked the car right and under the building into darkness. He looked for a safe place to park, avoiding the parent and child spots closest to the doors, and pulled the car over. He stepped out, locked the door, and surveyed the scene. It looked safe. Customers milled about pushing trolleys and manoeuvring large boxes.
He adjusted the cuff link on his shirt, and strode toward the building’s primary entrance, soberly, unsmiling. He could feel the standard issue MI6 pistol, cold against the rich cotton of his shirt and ultimately against his hairless skin. He reached the automatic doors, and they slid silently open. Looking around for international megalomaniacs, he stepped onto the escalator and rode up to the first floor. Bond reached the top, stepped off, and saw a woman approach him. She was radiant, dressed in blue and yellow.
“Welcome to IKEA”. She smiled beguilingly and seemed genuine, but Bond didn’t trust her.
“I need a shelf for a case,” he said.
She smiled. “This way”. Knowing the place was a maze, Bond followed the woman as she strode toward the lifts.