This story is by Marien Oommen and was part of our 2020 Fall Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
Glorious sunny days are here again. The sunflowers in the garden hinted all’s well with the world, with God right up in the heavens. Good Papa Bear George stretched his arms, gazing over the boundless sands onto the distant sea waters.
O for a ship to sail by! He adjusted his binoculars.
Something was nagging him real bad. His rant started three weeks earlier. As he grew in age and discernment, they got indelibly pronounced, though he knew exactly how to deal with unending work-related issues.
For there was an unseen pillar of cloud revealing divine wisdom to execute his plans.
Who should he retrench? Who to retain?
Unflinching loyalty, solid work ethos, hardline sincerity gotta be weighed in the balance carefully. When obstacles loom large, ordinary men quit.
However, this was NOT the earth-shattering matter bothering him this morning. Life would carry on nevertheless, he knew, without a shadow of doubt.
The typhoon racking his soul was something newly arrived in town, he hadn’t yet found time for.
Everything has to be possible for these SpaceX gen guys.
“I want to watch the new Bond movie. Should book seats.”
“Ughhhhhh, do we have to?” Maiya groaned, not one bit interested.
“Gonna book, alright? Left to you, nothing happens. Tell me when you’re free. Tuesday looks good.”
He droned on …na na na na na.
Maiya stopped listening. She was solving Elevate.
The Good Mama, unfazed by Bond theatrics, had no desire to spend two precious hours watching the earth slip under the hero’s flawless feet, gape at huge buildings crumbling on the tight-lipped bloke.
Agreed, he was handsome. But that didn’t discount the silly things he did, expecting people to believe he’s for real.
Mr. Bond escaped every man-made assault without so much as a layer of dust on him.
Whereas George couldn’t balance a cup on the saucer without spilling.
Coffee burns, you know.
Stray granite blocks hovering dangerously overhead?
Mr.Bond guy slipped away bang on time, with the ease of a ballet dancer, or he’d flick it off his shoulders nonchalantly. Remarkable that he always walked out clear in his immaculately cut suit.
George always got yolk on his lapel.
Men sighed in relentless admiration. The women ate pretzels with infinite fury, hitherto unknown.
Maiya preferred romance for movie nights to stir up forgotten emotions. Give her a story of true love, some vigorous Dean Martini swaying of bodies in motion, peppered with some classic humor.
She feigned busyness. “Got something happening everyday. Sorry, honey, no evening is free.”
Then Papa enticed the impressionable young girl telling her how he loved Bond movies in his teen years. His passport to the world of fast cars in unbelievably beautiful cities, with the judicious unmention of ‘beautiful women’.
Engineering marvels with architectural expertise were his only fascinators. It was unfathomable why women wouldn’t love James Bond.
What were young ladies thinking of these days? Keto?
“That decides it. We’re going..Tuesday.” The computer keys tapped on.
Ahhhh peace! The keys didn’t bother Maiya.
Tuesday dawned sooner than Maiya could say Jack Patel. BUT she had gotten very ill, sick like a croaky toad.
Acute viralitis, pharyngitis, body hurtingitis.
Papa showed up with adequate sympathy, but tilting towards despair for his Tuesday date to proceed undeterred.
“Here’s some vitamin C- 1000 mcg. Gotta inhale. Twice a day.”
His CEO kinda voice when he wanted miscellaneous stuff printed.
Bond was waiting at the Cinema and it wasn’t fun going alone.
“Oh, Maiya, just wrap yourself in a shawl, make it TWO shawls. Let’s go. I’ve booked something extra special. You’ll be surprised.”
The inexorably persuasive human.
Maiya, in her heart of hearts, could vacillate from a totally biddable pleaser to being as stubborn as a mule: the epitome of the modern woman with boundless energy.
So, there she was, dutifully, getting ready. But every movement took longer than intended. She groaned loud making sure he heard.
Wasn’t old age.
Then she croaked. Not the dying kind of croak, she wasn’t putting it on. Her voice had taken on a new bass.
“But I read the reviews,” she said.
Mary’s FB status update was: ‘OMG it’s boring and it’s soooo long’.
Helen commented: ‘Rubbish! Waste of time!’
“So who cares?” George huffed.
“O honey, do we really have to go?”
“Come and see, it’s a surprise. You’ll love it,” he replied.
The surprise was the golden class tickets George booked to make it extra special. Super soft luxury black sofas, with velvety blankets to curl under. Food brought to your table on ordering.
Wow! Man o’ man! Mama thought.
When George wants something, he sure does it in style. Giving a fatherly nod towards Ria, he settled into the soft leather seats.
The movie started as predictable as imagined.
First a building crumbles on Bond.
Then believe it or not: the earth gives way.
By now your hands should be gripping the seat handles.
But they’re not.
Instead there’s infinite dipping into cheese sauce.
A red car speeds alongside a speeding train.
Maiya drifts off to incalculable sweet sleep. Fifteen minutes of sheer bliss. She gets woken up by thundering sounds to see some unbelievably sophisticated skills.
How wondrous for a man to be fantasizing, she thinks, as she sinks deeper into her cozy contoured, velvety arm chair.
There’s another fire hazard.
A car smash…but Bond is unharmed. Duhhh!
A woman on incredibly high heels. She doesn’t falter, nor does she fail in standing tall.
But our hero is unmoved.
Overwhelming feminine seduction will never overpower his steel grey will.
Zzzzzzz…Maiya is drifting off again.
George had finished all the nachos, despite the cheese tasting odd.
One hour into the movie, wanting a much needed diversion, Ria, whispered into her snoring mama’s ears. She had donned the imaginary cape of a spy.
“Hello there, I’m Bond, Jasmine Bond…ta…dang.. tadang.”
She whistled the score.
“On a special MissionX to rescue the helpless.
It’s men who need to be saved. In the new world, things have evolved.
Men are in distress ‘coz women twist them around their diamond fingers.
The rescue of women is overdone, don’t you agree, Ma?”
Maiya smiled, “O yes, my honey, that should work out a pretty good plot.
-Jasmine Bond rescues harassed husband from the clutches of an evil spy woman who wants to conquer the whole of the Indian subcontinent.
For extra masala, throw in a few street dances. No fast cars, but bring in caparisoned elephants. Some cows too.”
Both Maiya and Ria giggled. George shushed them both, “Shhhh, go back to sleep.”
Mama curled under the blanket and went into another deep snooze. Suddenly the movie was over. Papa looked as exhilarated as he was at 17. Not that Mama knew him then.
“Wasn’t it great, Maiya? Liked it?” He asked.
“Hrrumpp,” Mama coughed up. This time she wasn’t pretending.
It was night outside. As she hobbled down the dimly lit stairs, the viral fever had soared and hit a new high.
Looking ahead, she cleared her eyes to see better. There he was leaning by the drink stand.
The BOND guy himself.
But Maiya was not in her best form to meet the handsome Daniel Craig with no mascara, no lipstick. No, not Craig wearing the mascara- that would be silly.
She was thinking of herself. Her hot stinky breath.
Here she was…wrapped up in two shawls, TWO!! For crying out loud. She was not even that old. The shawls hung heavy on her shoulders.
Did he just step out of the screen? Boy! Was he handsome!
Craig was talking straight at Maiya. He was singing to her.
‘Maiya! Hello, is it me you’re looking for?
I can see it in your eyes, I can see it in your smile,
You’re all I’ve ever wanted and my arms are open wide…..”
Maiya took a stand.
Pointing her fingers skywards, her palms across, she pronounced in the sweetest voice her croaky throat allowed, her tired frame holding the pose.
“Hulllooo there…. I’m Bond, Jasmine Bond.
Are you somewhere feeling lonely or is someone loving you?
Dun-dedun.. dun da.. dun dun da danggggg.”
She skipped a step, almost falling.
Luckily for her both George and Ria caught her shawls at the opportune time.
Craig had vanished. The fever soared high. Relentless.
Outside the large window, a steady Light from God streamed in like a pillar of fire.
Weak but not crushed, she sang softly,
“I’ll tell you time and time again how much I care,
Sometimes I feel my heart will just overflow.”