Raise another day!!!

James was walking inside the MI6 office towards M’s cabin. He had been on an assignment which was to catch hold of the photographer who had clicked the prince in his birthday suit. While there were a few more assignments, MI6 had chosen its best agent to carry out any assignment – request for the same had come from very top, the prince himself.

James was happy. After ages, he had carried out this assignment without getting hit, beaten or needing to do any stunts. He didn’t get a chance to get laid this time but managed to add a few chicks to his FB.

James walked past Moneypenny who was busy with her laptop.

“Good morning M”

“Good morning James. What took you so long?” enquired M in her usual bossy tone.

“Oh, the usual” said James with a wink.

“You were again watching the videos of that stupid show, Big Boss? How can you, James?”

“What do you mean by how can you? For the first time in my life, I have developed an interest which doesn’t involve any kind of guns. I need to have a life too, don’t I?”

“Okay. Have a life. Tell me why you are here?”

“I got hold of that shutterbug, M.”

“Oh James, we have already sent him to serve his sentence. You wanted a meeting with me to tell just that?”

“Actually no. I wanted to have a discussion about my future, growth path, role, responsibilities, my next mission and MI6’s vision for me”

“Come to the point, double O”

“I want a hike”

“Goodness gracious. You want a raise. Are you kidding me?”

“I am not. I am serious about it”

“If I may ask, why should you get a hike?”

“M, I have been MI6’s best agent. Whenever an assignment has been given to me, I have ensured timely completion. So often I have put my life in danger. So often I have nearly lost my life. So often I have been shot. I have done everything, always.”

“That’s what you are supposed to do, double O. That’s why we pay you. That’s you job, James.”

“I agree M. But look around you. I am not able to meet my expenses and pay my bills. I have been maintaining my credit card by just paying minimum balance for last so many months. This inflation is killing me.”

“That reminds me James – you spent a fortune in Vegas during your last assignment. The payment was made using MI6 corporate credit card. I cannot approve more than 50% of the expenses”

“But M, I had to do it. Unless I had played Russian roulette with that shutterbug, I wouldn’t have gained his confidence hence nabbed him”

“But you made those expenses without my approval, James. That’s not allowed. That’s against our policies”

“Policies? Since when, MI6 has started having policies?”

“Ever since we have gone public, James. We are accountable to public now. We cannot just let you spend shareholder’s money in a casino. Even then, I will approve 50%. You have to bear the rest of it”

“Damn. How do I make that payment?”

“That’s your problem, James. You should have thought about it before spending like a king in Vegas and elsewhere”

“Okay, what about the hike?”

“You are not getting any.”

“M, I cannot do it in my current salary. Everything has become so bloody expensive. Petrol prices have tripled. My rent has doubled. I don’t remember when the last time I went shopping was. My wrist doesn’t fancy a Rolex now – it’s down to Timex. I had to sell my Sony-Ericson and I am using Samsung Guru these days – the model my friend Agent Vinod gifted to me”

“Oh yeah, I forgot to tell you. We have sold your Aston Martin. You will be driving an Indian brand now – Maruti Alto. It gives excellent mileage”

“Holy cow. What’s next? Wearing some cheap brand in place of Armani?”

“Bingo. From now one, you will be wearing Peter England”

“That’s enough of cost cutting M. Please give me some hike, at least. I have been a performer, a real one” said James with a wink.

M was fully aware with Bond’s escapades for fairer sex “Oh I know what you mean. Do you know there is a sexual harassment case being filed against you?”

“That’s not possible, M. All my “interests” die as soon as I am done with them. No trace is left, not even a single one”

“You couldn’t have let the prince die, could you?”

“What the…..” James Bond, the world’s most famous secret agent got a shock of his life.

“Don’t worry. I will handle it. But considering the negatives we have against you, we cannot appraise you to get a salary hike. You may leave now”

“Okay. I quit” said James in his usual nonchalant style. He knew they couldn’t afford to lose him. He knew they will fall on their knees as soon as threat of resignation is thrown across.

“Thanks a lot James. I knew this might come. We have identified your replacement”

“What the hell? Who is it?” James almost fell down.

“It’s your friend from India, Agent Vinod”

“Bloody hell. You are going to hire him to replace me?”

“Why not? He is as good as you, if not better”

“But he isn’t English. I am.”

“Wake up double O. He is a professional. We will pay, he will do it. He wants to make it large and we will make sure he does.”

“He will not have the kind of love I have for England. He just won’t.”

“His granddad played for England, double O. He qualifies based on that criterion. Plus all Indians love to serve us – they have been doing it for generations”

“But…” Bond, James bond wasn’t able to cope up with the shock of getting fired.

“We have another problem with you. The way you have been introducing yourself in the style of, the name is Bond, James Bond, there is no secrecy in you being secret agent. This factor isn’t missing with him. Apart from a very few, no one knows about him.”

“But he recently got married, M. That will slow him down”

“Indians are born to get married. That has never slowed them down. See, how soon they’ve crossed the number of 1.25 billion. In addition to this, hiring him means we get the benefit of currency arbitrage. Hence, I don’t mind you leaving.”

James Bond had no answers. He was just shocked, shell-shocked.

Suddenly M’s phone rang. She picked it up “Oh has it come? Okay. I am coming.”

M turned to James Bond and asked “So tell me quickly. Are you resigning?”

“No” said James.

“Okay. No hike. Take the details of your next assignment from Moneypenny. I have left a packet for you at her desk” said M and rushed out of her cabin.

James walked out slowly. He looked at Moneypenny. She was still engrossed in her laptop.

He asked her “What the hell are you so busy with?”

“Our board meeting just got over yesterday. I am finalizing the notes for the same”

“Okay. Where has M gone rushing?”

“Oh, she has gone? She was expecting delivery of her Maybach, today. What a car that is. Simply awesome”

“God damn it. She has bought a Maybach? How did she arrange the money?”

“Don’t you know? The board has declared dividend for top bosses. She has made a fortune”

James slowly picked up the packet and walked out.


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