‘No other capital city in the world can do grey quite like London,’ her passing thought. A thought dismissed almost as soon as it arrived. For as of now, there was the little matter of the naked Ambassador lying as prone as prone could be, upon his back atop a plainly hideously expensive Afghan rug to attend to. Clearly, her stiletto heel dug into his pudgy chest bone was causing the gratifying discomfort intended. Moreover, that he knew exactly what was coming next. Not that he needed a clue, the silencer affixed to her pistol and aimed at his forehead was, regardless, the giveaway. Was that a tear in his eye? Mattered not. She wondered how he might beg for mercy had it been the case that he had not been adeptly gagged. How so naked? Her trademark of course, her panache, her cultivated style.
“Gosh it’s so very bitter outside. I truly thought I’d die of cold walking The Embankment on my way here. Still, your office is so lovely and warm.” Her English was perfect. She paused, took a good look at him one last time, “Heart or head…decisions, decisions?” A dull thud, a trickle of blood, a ruined carpet, job done.
Cool as a cucumber, she took the grand old Victorian lift, an original by the look of it, down to the lobby of the embassy, gave the Cheshire cat grinning boy behind the desk her sexiest smile, checked her reflection in the reinforced glass of the elegant doorway and was gone.
By nightfall, she found herself in a bath of bubbles in a swanky hotel in Deauville, occupied France. It was with an element of regret that she had had to ditch the bleached blond wig of human hair in a City of London cast iron litter bin. Albeit tarty, she had grown fond of the covert article of disguise, was rather smitten with it. Whatever, now ensconced in Women in Love, Lawrence’s masterpiece, a bottle of bubbly at her side, a small fortune in Nazi gold confirmed transferred to her Swiss bank account, all was well in her world. The prospect of the casino downstairs had some appeal for later.
One could only hazard a guess as to whether it was the grandest come-hither canyon of her cleavage or the ridiculous measure of her winnings that had the croupier in such a ruffled state. Likely both. In any event I had guessed correctly that I would find her here, she the undeniable dazzling, sultry legend no matter what side of the warring nations one was positioned. The Abwehr claimed as one of their own, the pride of the German intelligence agency, yet this gal, albeit much fabled, was in truth a freelance operator.
To a backdrop of a La Môme Piaf cabaret sound-alike singing ‘Mon coeur est au coin d’une rue’ we shared fine cognac and smoked unfiltered Gitanes in the Art Deco signature bar. She reminded me that ‘gitanes’ English translation was ‘gypsy women’.
“What’s in it for me?” A fair enough question.
“Well, you get to live a whole lot longer and have carte blanche to work for whomsoever you wish…we’ll leave you well and truly alone…until the next time, of course!”
There was the look of doubt on her face, “No fee?”
“Afraid not this time, you’ve been pushing your luck recently as the London Evening Standard has already confirmed…an Ambassador of all people! Really, what were you thinking of? Still, if it helps seal the deal, your welcome the return of this wig. You looked ever so reluctant to part with it in the City this morning.” As they say in the East End, the return of the wig was ‘the clincher’.
“You followed me?”
“All the way.”
“So, it’s off to Coyoacán, Mexico for me then? Why on earth do you Brits want rid of this Leon chap? What interest do you have in him?”
“I don’t recall saying I was MI5 my dear!”