“It was me, James…the author of all your pain.”
Welcome, Mr. Bond. What took you so long to find me?
You have searched for me endlessly, yet I have been here all along. I was at your side in the shadows, never more than two steps away while you carried out Her Majesty’s dirty work, watching you, steering you. And all of my plans unfolded as perfectly as a lotus flower.
I, James, am the author of all your pain.
You never saw me. The parkour battle in Africa, surviving Le Chaffer’s poison at the casino, your fight there in the stairwell. All of it, my work. Your sad little chase, all the way to – where was it? – yes, Bolivia, where there was something about capturing a water supply, and drinking crankcase oil. The fistfight in between monitor lizards at a casino in China.
All of it always leading you back to where I have always been, with my fingers typing at the keyboard of your destiny.
Do you recall how the Service “accidentally” booked you in Economy? That was me in the middle seat, wearing the leaky headphones.
The pain from Vesper will never end, will it? When there is not pain there is grief, and when there is not grief there is sorrow. The heartache I have caused you. Distress. Existential Throbs. Anxiety. As the author of your pain I have spent hours paging through the thesaurus of your pain.
Did you know, James, that Vesper was not even her name? Not in my first draft of your unending pain. While revising your pain I changed her name to sound like an Italian scooter. Do you recall how Bob in the shampoo marketing division, kept saying it wrong when he told his friends the plot? It was like a poppy seed in your teeth, James.
There is no writing of pain, I tell students at my pain writing retreats. There are only new and better drafts of pain. Stay with it. Have faith. Remember why you got into this crazy game. Be ready to throw away pages of unending pain, if they don’t feel right.
It has been…entertaining, authoring your fool’s errand to Barbados, Switzerland, London, Mexico, and Macao from my windowless writer’s room. I smiled as you foolishly saved the world from catastrophe. I snickered as you made love with the world’s most beautiful women. I chortled over our cup noodles while you drank Bollinger with a slightly bruised lip. It’s all so funny really, your pain. Sometimes I forget to laugh.
Yes, “our cup noodles.” We are Spectre, everywhere, with me the sole author. We are many things, mostly dedicated to your pain: counterfeit medicines, human trafficking, child soldiers, mayhem, terror. You may think of us as Santa and his pain elves, producing ricin and replacing printer cartridges as I author more pain. If there is time before your final doom, visit out gift shop: If my calculations are correct, today we are all out of t-shirts in your size, and the credit card machine is down.
You have met members of Spectre, James: Le Chiffre. Mr. White. Rosa Kleb, Julius No, Auric Goldfinger. But authors of your pain? Those puny centipedes want full credit for some bruise on your shin, a sore shoulder, maybe your case of traveller’s tummy. Residuals!.
Their lawyers wave preposterous email exchanges, their pinched minds are incapable of understanding when we were just sitting around spitballing your pain. Mere ideas about pain are nothing. No one authors pain without getting his butt in a chair and by God authoring pain for hours at a time. I alone claim sole authorship of your pain. Not just now, not just today, but in all forms, digital and otherwise, that shall exist in perpetuity.
How this knowledge that you have been my puppet must sting, James. Here, have some pizza. Oh! Did you burn the roof of your mouth? Let me offer you an off-brand cola. It’s been in the fridge a couple of minutes at least, awaiting its role in your final, painful undoing.