So here is a deeply unpleasant little story that should only be read after this introduction. When I got my picfor1000 assignment, I immediately thought of James Bond - there was just something about the image that brought the character to my mind. Now, to be clear, I've seen maybe three Bond films in my life, none of which I remember all that clearly, and have never read any of the books. So the story is more about my impression of what James Bond, the character (particularly as played by Daniel Craig), must be like at this point in his life and career than it is about proper canon. The Bond I've drawn here is a miserable mess: misogynistic, despairing, exhausted, and restless. The story accordingly features strong and demeaning language, violence (sexualized and not), and thoughts that at least verge on the suicidal. Please skip this story if any of those things will upset you. I'm rating it NC-17, though the only sex in the story occurs in memories and dreams. Unbetaed, as I didn't really want to inflict this on a friend. (Title from Sade's "Smooth Operator," which I heard for the first time in years a few days ago.)
He wore bruises under his suit as he walked along the seemingly empty street, cobblestones uneven under his feet, not caring if this was to be the last dawn he ever saw. He was so goddamn weary, weary of it all: the suits that were cut to fit him like a sheath while also camouflaging the hard outlines of knives and guns; the endless resourcefulness he had to display, turning bottlecaps and photographs and spatulas into weapons; the sleek cars and gadgetry that would have delighted his inner child if that child hadn't been long dead; and, oh God, most of all, the women.
The women who, by any estimation, were the flower of their sex. Pick of the litter, he once would have said in a pubescent voice that cracked, trying to assert his untested virility. Trying to reduce them to cunts, gaping maws that blindly yearned for a man's hard cock to fill them, grasping greedily and swallowing every last drop of his seed. Time was, he'd never even heard of a vagina dentata, and he would have thought it the most horrific phenomenon possible. Time was, he'd have said his iron-hard cock was a match for any witch's lower teeth.
Time was, he hadn't been on this job for deadening years, hadn't yet seen the women – beautiful, cunning, innocent – who traded themselves for that valueless thing sometimes known as him, 007, James Bond. For his time, for his attention, for his assistance. None of them knowing it was futile, a grievous waste of time. Because he had nothing of his own. His responsibilities were given him by fiat, his intervention in any situation determined by orders. He was a tool of some power he chose to believe was higher; he could not say if he had been wielded responsibly.
If he had been reckless, no one scolded, as long as he came back with whatever prize the treasure hunt named as such. If he had been foolish, others had died for it; there was a ring of them, lost and betrayed and howling, around him with every step he took, even on an empty street such as this one.
They only left him when he was in the water, rocking with the artificial waves of chlorinated water, eyes closed against the glare of the sun or the brightness of the moon.
He wondered sometimes why that should be. He had killed some of them in the water: there had been one whose head he'd held under, brisk and competent, letting her fingernails open gouges in his arms while he judged the strength of her struggles to a nicety. And he had fucked some of them in the water too: a blonde with silver piercings everywhere, advertising how much pain she could endure for the sake of some fleeting pleasure, who had been searching for a new keeper once it was clear that the warlord who enjoyed her favours would not withstand the coming onslaught. He spat in the street, saliva forming a tiny puddle between cobblestones, as he tried to remember if the two had been the same woman after all.
How could he remember them all? As unfair to ask him for perfect recall of every shot he'd taken with every weapon. They all blended together, all those luminous eyes and slender limbs and tight cunts. All those improbably pillowy breasts he'd bitten, all those miniscule waists he'd spanned with rough hands. He could not remember what moments of pleasure they might have wrung from him; they were simply tools of the trade, exchanged calculatingly or passionately, but never for anything more than his dead-eyed acquiescence.
And yet, most of his dreams were about them, all adding up to one woman, overwhelming in her perfection. One who wound pale legs around his waist demandingly and wrapped cajoling dark arms around his shoulders, imploring him to bring his mouth to hers to taste the sweetness of her kisses. One who forewent his name – hardly his own, that blunt instrument of two dull syllables that stood for more than he cared to consider – and simply moaned as he stroked her, pleased her, loved her for all he was worth. One who had only a single gift to bestow and granted it freely.
He checked those thoughts when he arrived at the small house where he was staying, as quaint as the cobblestone street outside, as charming as the public fountains where small children frolicked gleefully. He rebelled at the thought of performing his routine checks – come, Death, and welcome, or at least let him have one sleep deep enough to refresh what little was left of his soul – but his body was already going through the motions, too accustomed to the sequence he followed whenever he entered a place set aside for him.
The furnishings were disposable, cheap enough to break easily and afford him weapons of the shards and splinters. He resolutely stopped his mind from running through the scenarios of how they might break, how the pieces might best be put to use, and stripped. The water of his shower was pleasantly cool against his skin, but not for him any indolent lolling against the tile as the water beat down on his aching muscles; years of preparedness against attacks when he was so vulnerable kept him upright, eyes open, grimly completing yet another task.
The bed was hard enough to allow him to spring alertly to his feet if the need arose; no soft mattress or comfort of tangled blankets for him. He closed his eyes, wondering if he would dream.
He did, and it was beautiful. He was on his back in the cool blue depths of a pool, utterly at peace. He stirred briefly in his bed before relaxing back into that float, thinking idly that the best part was that he couldn't be sure if, in the dream, that recumbent body with the familiar scars and brutal face was alive or dead.
As always, I'd love to hear what you think.