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Corona quarantine diary
Autor wątku: Mervyn Henderson

Mervyn Henderson  Identity Verified
Hiszpania
Local time: 01:12
hiszpański > angielski
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Dog park II Nov 16, 2020

Sounds like the kind of place kids go to smoke dope. And awful for walking dogs (I had put "dogging" as a more imaginative way of saying it, but had to cancel it!). And I just knew that song was going to be Ghost Town before I even clicked on it. A disturbing, haunting song indeed.


[Edited at 2020-11-16 21:38 GMT]


expressisverbis
Kay Denney
 

Mervyn Henderson  Identity Verified
Hiszpania
Local time: 01:12
hiszpański > angielski
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@Linguistic Avenger Nov 16, 2020

I thought I'd post about the dogs before, and keep this one separate. A bit of tidiness and order, you understand.

You may remember I wrote to the paper about a duff translation that should have undergone a bit of turd-polishing afterwards, at the very least, on some panels around Bilbao. Well, they never published the letter, but I went down to the panels again, imagining an admittedly unlikely scenario whereby someone at the paper told someone, who told someone else, and someone
... See more
I thought I'd post about the dogs before, and keep this one separate. A bit of tidiness and order, you understand.

You may remember I wrote to the paper about a duff translation that should have undergone a bit of turd-polishing afterwards, at the very least, on some panels around Bilbao. Well, they never published the letter, but I went down to the panels again, imagining an admittedly unlikely scenario whereby someone at the paper told someone, who told someone else, and someone else told someone else to change the repulsive text, all sneaky-sneaky and on the quiet, without saying a word about it.

Turns out the panels have disappeared! So (a) it was just a temporary gig or (b) the result of all those someones and someone elses was that someone else again decided to go the whole hog and destroy all the evidence. I suppose (a) is much more likely, on reflection.

But, whatever happened, the Linguistic Avenger should know that one more aberration has been removed from the streets down which we translators must walk.

The struggle continues ...

[Edited at 2020-11-16 19:30 GMT]
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Chris S
expressisverbis
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Mervyn Henderson  Identity Verified
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And finally ... Home Alone VIII (A Fast Getaway) Nov 17, 2020



You may not remember the details about Home Alone VII, but then neither did I and I had to look them up, because it had all been getting just a little out of hand, plus now we had Biden coming along to stir it all up. In a nutshell, I had just arranged a huge bet with Trump at his own expense on his upcoming election defeat. After videoing a savage Trump Hump in the Oval Office. Which I’d also instigated. I do sometimes wonder about my sanity.

In fact, just as we
... See more


You may not remember the details about Home Alone VII, but then neither did I and I had to look them up, because it had all been getting just a little out of hand, plus now we had Biden coming along to stir it all up. In a nutshell, I had just arranged a huge bet with Trump at his own expense on his upcoming election defeat. After videoing a savage Trump Hump in the Oval Office. Which I’d also instigated. I do sometimes wonder about my sanity.

In fact, just as we were finalising things, it occurred to me that I could improve the odds no end by making the bet “Donald Trump loses, and immediately contests the result”. I asked him what he thought about that. Melania looked on as the most powerful man on the planet pondered. Technically the former most powerful man on the planet, but they didn’t actually know that yet:

“It doesn’t sound like me, losing, I mean, but it certainly sounds like me contesting it. Do you really think I should do this?”

“The answer to that question, Don, is the same as the answer to the question ‘Do bears crap on the ground in the woods?”

“Say, what do you mean by that? Bears? How should I know? I mean, I don’t know anything about bears.”

“No,” I went on, patiently, because I’d found you had to be patient with the man, and speak your piece quickly too, before he interrupts you, “but you know enough about them to realise that they don’t have chemical toilets with Jeyes fluid out there in the wilds, or that when they get caught short in town they don’t lumber into a bar, raise themselves up on their hind legs to lean on the counter, and ask all embarrassed if it’s OK to use the toilet for a number two. The answer is Yes.”

“Now, there’s another good one,” he agreed, “I could sure use that one out in the Rust Belt sticks with my people, who do know about bears. Can I quote you on that one?”

“Of course you can quote me, Don. Quoting other people is great PR. For me, mostly, in this case. If you prefer not to quote them, it helps if they’re dead, though, so they can never come around to tell you how unoriginal you really are. Isaac Newton described that as standing on the shoulders of giants.”

“Isaac Newton?”

“Yes, the man who … well, you’ve heard of gravity, right?”

“Sure I have. Offalsheisser’s always busting my chops with the gravity of the election situation, and the gravity of this, the gravity of that, and the gravity of the other. But I don’t …”

“Well, never mind,” I said hastily. “But we have to wrap this up now, Donald, because we’ve been talking for a long time now, and this night of 6-7 October 2020 has been the longest night of my life. And I’ve pretty much run Home Alone into the ground and not much more material for this, although officially you don’t know what I’m talking about there. So what time is it anyway?”

Mel looked at her Rolex. “It’s, um, it must be about six in the morning in Bilbao, Mr H.”

“Six? God, that’s so late!”

“In that case,” she replied, fluttering her eyelashes, “you should have asked much earlier.”

I must say, it did have a weird kind of logic to it. Sharp, this Melania.

“So, just a few more vaguely humorous though largely disconnected gags I had jotted down and might as well use, Mr and Mrs Trump, and we’re done here,” I went on. “So what are you two going to do tomorrow? What’s on the First Couple’s agenda on 7 October?”

Trump looked down. “I’m very sorry, but I’m afraid that’s classified. Secret Service, you know. Nothing to do with me. President’s itinerary. Hush-hush. Think of all those people out there that want me dead.”

“Oh, I see. You might just be staying at home at the White House, anyway, I suppose ...”

“I’m afraid that’s classified,” said Mel.

“… reading an improving book, or …”

“I’m afraid that’s classified,” said Donald.

“… a turn around the gardens, perhaps …”

“I’m afraid that’s classified,” said Mel.

“Is everything bloody classified?” I asked, rather annoyed.

“I’m afraid that’s classified,” said Donald.

Well, that one didn’t even make any sense, but I could see their point.

“By the way, Don,” I said, changing the subject, “I know you’re down in the dumps knowing that you’re going to lose, and I can’t actually explain this in full, but would you like the chance to “Nixon” Joe Biden the next time you talk to him? Especially if Jill’s in tow.”

Well, they both leaned forward at that one. Donald’s eyes had lit right up. And Mel was definitely licking her lips. Although the lips thing could have been unconnected, I suppose …

“Make my day, pal. Nothing I’d like better. Go on.”

“I’m afraid you’ll have to wait until, say, 15 November, for reasons which, as I said, I can’t explain, but then you just ask him, Don, whether he reckons the phrase “I writed it” is grammatically possible. Just that. Say nothing more. I guarantee he’ll wilt. And I guarantee he’ll be much more courteous to the former president from that moment on, and …”

“But of course you can say that,” interrupted Mel. “You can say I righted it because it was wrong. There.” And she winked that suggestive wink again over Donald’s shoulder.

Do you know, I was beginning to wonder whether this woman should be running the country instead of either of those two men. It was a pity she would inevitably come up against that “birther” problem her hubby had railed against so much … I was about to say so, too, but in the time it takes to say ‘Oh look, there’s a banana skin, I hope I don’t slip on it’, I decided not to.

“Right.” I said. “Good work. Now I really am out of here. When I get the money, I’ll take care of that bet, and we're laughing. Especially me. Good night, Trumps. Finally.”

“Take it easy, pal!” cried Trump, waving and leaning over to switch off. I don’t mean he cried, though. I just mean he said it a little louder. And Melania waved too. With another of those winks. Pfff …

And so I finally got to bed and finally, finally got shot of Home Alone, and back to the present day. Never again. Well ... never say never, I suppose ...
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Chris S
P.L.F.Persio
expressisverbis
Beatriz Ramírez de Haro
 

Chris S  Identity Verified
Wielka Brytania
szwedzki > angielski
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Nice one, Mervyn Nov 17, 2020

We’re going to miss the Donald in so many ways once he’s gone. It’s going to be much harder to poke fun at that dead bloke they dug up to replace him.

But I suppose the joy of wavies is that you can always cheat.

[Edited at 2020-11-17 08:45 GMT]


P.L.F.Persio
expressisverbis
Mervyn Henderson
Kay Denney
Beatriz Ramírez de Haro
 

Mervyn Henderson  Identity Verified
Hiszpania
Local time: 01:12
hiszpański > angielski
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Missing Donald Nov 18, 2020

I think Chris is right, that we'll miss him. When Nixon was about to leave the presidency, he said more or less the same thing, that the press wouldn't have Nixon to kick around any more.

You're not supposed to deal in politics here, which I may or may not agree with, but it's a site rule, and of course I've never broken any of those. Well, maybe once or twice. Three. Half a dozen, tops. Could be more. But I usually paid the price. So I hope the following isn't deemed politics, as I
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I think Chris is right, that we'll miss him. When Nixon was about to leave the presidency, he said more or less the same thing, that the press wouldn't have Nixon to kick around any more.

You're not supposed to deal in politics here, which I may or may not agree with, but it's a site rule, and of course I've never broken any of those. Well, maybe once or twice. Three. Half a dozen, tops. Could be more. But I usually paid the price. So I hope the following isn't deemed politics, as I'm skirting around the edges a little. I like to think it's more philosophical than anything else, but I realise not everyone will think that:

In my stories, which may or may not be the ramblings of a deranged mind, albeit in quite an orderly fashion in terms of getting it all down on paper, just right, rather like ... oh yes, a translator does, say, I do my best to sit on the fence. I've made it clear that Don is a bit of a prat, but in my last story I was determined that Biden shouldn't come out of it too well either. Why? Because, when they've cleaned up all the red, white and blue confetti, put away those Uncle Sam hats and posters, and switched off YMCA and Bruce Springsteen on the PA, I don't think either one of them is going to save the US. What will save the US and any other country is its people, like in any other country. For months I've been looking at where I live, and I realise the people that run the country know nothing about the country. It's probably the same where you are.

One of those men is a thug trained from an early age to threaten people, not pay taxes, fight the system, insult, deny, accuse, and generally barge his way into things, but at least he did something, and tried to do it with the presidency in his own way. Where he screwed up was Corona and BLM, because the US economy wasn't doing so badly. The other has spent the best part of his quiet life living off the system in plush offices and knows nothing about the Rust Belt, but at least he didn't threaten people and make a spectacle of the country, and has only been elected as a reaction to an ogre. Which would you choose? Difficult, which is why it was so close in the end.

Even the names are weird. Republicans? Is America a republic? Of course it is, but why do people never refer to it as a republic? It's either the US or the USA. Where I come from, the word "republican" actually means something, because it's a reaction to others who don't want a republic. And Democrat? Well, that's the same. What does that mean? Does it mean that if you aren't a democrat, you're antidemocratic? Obviously it can't mean that. And finally, perhaps someone, anyone, can explain the elephant/donkey thing to me ...? Is it that an elephant lumbers around and nobody dares to attack it, and occasionally charges about dangerously when riled, whereas a donkey just sits there waiting for somebody to get on its back or put a load on its back to carry somewhere?

[Edited at 2020-11-18 07:39 GMT]
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P.L.F.Persio
expressisverbis
Matthias Brombach
 

Kay Denney  Identity Verified
Francja
Local time: 01:12
Członek ProZ.com
od 2018

francuski > angielski
. Nov 18, 2020

Mervyn Henderson wrote:

Sounds like the kind of place kids go to smoke dope. And awful for walking dogs (I had put "dogging" as a more imaginative way of saying it, but had to cancel it!). And I just knew that song was going to be Ghost Town before I even clicked on it. A disturbing, haunting song indeed.


[Edited at 2020-11-16 21:38 GMT]


Once with the previous dog, my teen son was about to take him out and my Dad asked if he could go with him. They discussed where to go and my Dad suggested the dog park. My son said "oh no, at this time of night it'll be full of drug dealers". Somehow, they ended up going that way anyway, and when they came back Dad said "don't worry Kay, there weren't any drug dealers, just a few young lads smoking". He was probably expecting Mexican warlords!

And ah, the Specials! With lockdown, it's even more appropriate theses days.


P.L.F.Persio
Mervyn Henderson
 

Kay Denney  Identity Verified
Francja
Local time: 01:12
Członek ProZ.com
od 2018

francuski > angielski
. Nov 18, 2020

“Say, what do you mean by that? Bears? How should I know? I mean, I don’t know anything about bears.”

Sorry to pick holes in your narrative Mervyn but this bit just doesn't ring true. Donald knows more about bears than anyone else! He knows the best things even. Do keep up!


Chris S
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Mervyn Henderson
 

Mervyn Henderson  Identity Verified
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Oh bear Nov 18, 2020

Oh dear, I mean. Thanks for pointing that out, Kay, ee, and I suppose you're right. Donald probably does know a lot about bears, but he's a bull connoisseur too. In both senses.

But I rushed Part VIII, so it was a bit weak all round. I had to kill it dead. I could almost hear the floor creaking as I tiptoed backwards away from it.

[Edited at 2020-11-18 11:09 GMT]

[Edited at 2020-11-18 11:10 GMT]


expressisverbis
Kay Denney
 

Mervyn Henderson  Identity Verified
Hiszpania
Local time: 01:12
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+ ...
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Spanish hopes and dreams Nov 19, 2020

There's a cartoon in the paper today - Pedro Sánchez and Angela Merkel, and she's holding a newspaper with the headline Spain 6 Germany 0. She says grimly: "Oh, I'll be waiting for you all right when you come to negotiate the EU funds".

Spain's 6-0 footie win over Germany seems to have lifted people's spirits over here. It's always useful to give another country a hammering in some way when you're down in the dumps! I didn't see the game, but I saw the highlights. Strange to hear,
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There's a cartoon in the paper today - Pedro Sánchez and Angela Merkel, and she's holding a newspaper with the headline Spain 6 Germany 0. She says grimly: "Oh, I'll be waiting for you all right when you come to negotiate the EU funds".

Spain's 6-0 footie win over Germany seems to have lifted people's spirits over here. It's always useful to give another country a hammering in some way when you're down in the dumps! I didn't see the game, but I saw the highlights. Strange to hear, in a closed, virtually empty stadium, all the shouts by the players to each other, and all the screaming they do after a score. And the usual lengthy embraces, too, the jumping on top of each other, the spring-ups into a team-mate's chest etc. Er, are they allowed to do that these days? Apparently so. So in that regard Neuer and Kroos and the rest of Löw's men can look on the bright side healthwise, as they didn't get the chance to do much embracing. Poor Neuer. And Joaquim as well. But that's football, innit? - one day you're a hero, the next you might even be fired, which is what I gather they're saying about Löw.

Still on football, Nº 10 Messi finally snapped, thronged with reporters as he returned from a sesh in his native Argentina, saying he was fed up always being the problem in Barcelona. But that's football, innit? - one day ... oh, I've said it already. Still, cheer up, Leo. You've got a lot more to look forward to than most.

[Edited at 2020-11-19 11:22 GMT]
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expressisverbis
Matthias Brombach
 

Mervyn Henderson  Identity Verified
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Local time: 01:12
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+ ...
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The Boulevard of Broken Dreams (a little something for the weekend) Nov 20, 2020

I was depressed, so I took off. Not sure of the time. No, I didn’t know what time it was, but I knew it was time to go. I ended up at a place called Phillies Bar. The town was dead. The dive was dead. And all the customers were dead, and inside I was dead too, so I knew they’d be good company. Humphrey, Marilyn, and James. Plus some dead cool guy with a quiff behind the bar. Marilyn looked like she was dead set on partying, but beside her Humph just didn’t want to know, staring that dead s... See more
I was depressed, so I took off. Not sure of the time. No, I didn’t know what time it was, but I knew it was time to go. I ended up at a place called Phillies Bar. The town was dead. The dive was dead. And all the customers were dead, and inside I was dead too, so I knew they’d be good company. Humphrey, Marilyn, and James. Plus some dead cool guy with a quiff behind the bar. Marilyn looked like she was dead set on partying, but beside her Humph just didn’t want to know, staring that dead stare miles and miles down into his glass of bourbon. James, well, James was dead scowly and moody. He left just after I got there.

“So long, James,” I called after him. “Drive carefully now, won’t you?”

He smiled that sardonic smile, that angry smile, that rebel-without-a-cause smile, that couldn’t-give-a-toss-see smile that broke millions of little girls’ hearts, melted their mothers’, and infuriated their fathers:

“Sure,” he said, “but, you know, it’s not me driving the Porsche. It’s the Porsche driving me.”

“Some shit,” I thought, as I watched him weave his leather-jacketed shoulders down the street through the huge window. “Talk about famous last lines. It certainly is the Porsche driving you. Driving you into another car at ninety miles an hour.”

“I’m Elvis. Whatcha want?” said the quiffed guy behind the bar.

“Whatcha got?” said I.

Elvis smoothed back his smoothed-back quiff to smooth it back a little more. “I got everything,” he said, moving his pelvis around in circles as he did so. And he did it pretty good for a dead guy, too.

“Then give me everything,” I wheezed, “because I got nothing. Or give me anything, because then either way I’ll have something.”

He stopped gyrating his pelvis.

“Say, I like that. I’m really a singer and songwriter, you know, not a bartender, and I’m looking for a break. I’d thought of a little song called ‘Loving You’, but ‘Give me everything because I got nothing’ might be better. Mind if I use that line, buddy?”

“No, I don’t mind. But I do mind that you’re not using those blue suede shoes of yours to walk yourself off and get me something vile to drink so that I can feel much worse than I already do. So you might walk them down the bar and do that for me. But, whatever you give me, give me a loaded gun with it as a chaser.”

“Blue suede shoes,” he said, “now there’s another idea.” And off he went, humming “Blue, blue, blue suede shoes, I said, blue, blue …”

I could hear Humph talking earnestly to Marilyn:

“Ilsa, I’m no good at being noble, but it doesn’t take much to see that the problems of three little people don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world. If that plane leaves the ground and you’re not with him, you’ll regret it. Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow. But soon, and for the rest of your life.”

Well, you could tell what was coming, couldn’t you? …

“Ilsa?” she shrieked. “Who the hell is Ilsa? You don’t even know my name. I knew I couldn’t trust you. A pretty girl does her thing over a grating shooting up hot air to make her skirt floop up all around her [I invented the verb floop, sorry, but I think it works], and all she gets is men with a wandering eye. I’m outta here.”

And out she flounced [now, that one I’m not making up, and it’s much better than flooped].

“Good night, Marilyn,” I cried. “Careful with those barbiturates.”

Bogie sighed another hundred miles down into his glass. The guy was hurting. So was I. So were all the guys ...

“Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she had to …”

“Hey, Bogie,” I said, rather unhelpfully. “You’ll always have Paris.”

He looked up. “Paris? Screw Paris. And screw Casablanca too. Do you know how much a guy can spend on champagne for a broad in Paris and Casablanca? Have you seen that film? Is there even one scene without somebody drinking champagne, opening champagne, paying for champagne, buying people champagne, champagne, champagne, champagne for everyone morning, noon and night? Me, I never really left New York.”

And out he went too.

“Take it easy, Bogie,” I called. “Take it easy on the chainsmoking and drinking, because it can cause esophageal cancer, you know.”

Elvis came back with my glass.

“Here you are,” he started. “It’s a …”

“Better I don’t know what it is,” I said, “except I can hazard a guess, and it’s probably self-destruction", and then I drank the entire glass dry right in front of him. “But you forgot the gun. And give me another of these. And then another. And then another. Et cetera, ad nauseam, and pro tanto quid too. And throw in pro tanto quid one just for kicks. At some point I might not even be able to order another, or even pick it up, but then you just get a funnel or something and pour it down my throat until I don’t respond any more. And meanwhile, be very careful when you go to the toilet, Elvis. Make sure someone knows you’re there.”


[Edited at 2020-11-20 06:46 GMT]

[Edited at 2020-11-20 06:57 GMT]

[Edited at 2020-11-20 07:40 GMT]

[Edited at 2020-11-20 11:00 GMT]

[Edited at 2020-11-20 11:08 GMT]
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Chris S
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Zibow Retailleau
expressisverbis
Beatriz Ramírez de Haro
 

Mervyn Henderson  Identity Verified
Hiszpania
Local time: 01:12
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+ ...
NOWY TEMAT
The Man with the Golden Gum Nov 22, 2020

Had to do some stuff outside Bilbao for the Basques, so down I went to the garage. Out on the street there was a strange kind of atmosphere I couldn’t quite put my finger on. People kept nudging each other and pointing. In the garage I walked past two men admiring a silver Aston Martin parked there:

“Class little motor, isn’t it?” enthused one, turning round to stare at me.

“Certainly is,” said the other, also looking at me as I passed, and then raising his
... See more
Had to do some stuff outside Bilbao for the Basques, so down I went to the garage. Out on the street there was a strange kind of atmosphere I couldn’t quite put my finger on. People kept nudging each other and pointing. In the garage I walked past two men admiring a silver Aston Martin parked there:

“Class little motor, isn’t it?” enthused one, turning round to stare at me.

“Certainly is,” said the other, also looking at me as I passed, and then raising his voice a little: “And famous, too, that car. Like James …”

But I had quickened my step and was round the corner and well out of earshot by that time. I drove the car around, and had to roll down the window and hold out my ID to the security guard at the exit.

“So what’s your full name?” he asked, peering at the card.

“Henderson,” I said. “Mervyn Henderson”.

He looked closer. “Says ‘Mervyn James Henderson’ here. James, right? Like James …”

But I was way ahead of him, and I’d already rolled up the window. I could see his lips coming together and then opening wide for that ‘Bo’ sound, and then raising his eyebrows in anticipation, so of course that one didn’t count either. “These people take me for a fool,” I smiled as I passed the barrier. “It doesn’t work unless I actually hear it.”

I exited the garage, rolled down the window again, negotiated a couple of streets, and came up at a red light to cross over Gran Vía. Two young ladies were talking on the pavement opposite El Corte Inglés:

“… and such a smooth operator he was, too, María. Ooh, so suave and debonair, I’ll say. He bought me a gin and tonic, and ordered a dry Martini for himself. And such a card. Do you know, he even said to the barman, with a completely straight face, “Shaken, not stirred”.

“Really?” said her friend, looking over at me and suddenly talking much louder as my window quickly rolled itself up again. “A dry Martini, shaken but not stirred? Just like James …”

But the lights had changed and I had roared away, looking back at them in my rear-view mirror. “They’ll have to get up much earlier in the morning to catch me out around here, I’ll tell you …” I was thinking, rather pleased with myself, when suddenly I had to practically stand on those brakes, tyres screeching as I came to a stop just behind a double-parked police car I hadn’t noticed.

A grim-faced ertzaina who’d been leaning on the side of it drinking coffee in a plastic cup came over, pointing at the window. I brought it down.

“I’m awfully sorry, officer, I just took my eye off the street for one second, and …”

His finger was pointing at me now. “Just who do you think you are?” he said, although … was that a … yes, a kind of amused twinkle in his eye? “Racing pell-mell around the streets of Bilbao, like in ‘The World is Not Enough’ in 1999? Starring Pierce Brosnan, Sophie Marceau and Robert Carlyle, among others, and directed by Michael Apted, running time 125 minutes? Like 007, is that it? Like James Bond?” The raised eyebrows again ...

“All right, all right, all right!!!” I cried. “I give up! What the hell is it with the town? Is everyone on Wavies Watch today? Yes, yes. Like 007. Happy now, are you?” I shouted, as my eyes began to glaze over. “Yes, like Bond. Like James Bond ...”

And we were off again.



[NB: This is the sequel to the James Bond wavies in one of the last Little Translator episodes - “The Little Translator, a dead end, and the Man with the Golden Thumb - posted a very long time ago, on 4 December 2017, and reproduced at some point in the Corona diary. For some reason the original doesn’t come up when I click on “See more” in the 2017 post, and the system just returns you to the present-day list of forums. Maybe it’s a ProZ time-lapse policy, I dunno. I tell you this because there are a couple of references here to James Bond I, among other things. But to cut a long story short, Bond is in a hotel room, he’s just fought off the sexual advances of a leather-clad Moneypenny, who’s arrived to brief him on the upcoming mission to take out a master criminal, amid rumours of moles, treachery and things that go bump in the night at MI5, and then they hear a knock at the door, which is where I left it almost 3 years ago. Now read on if you dare …]



“James,” quavered Moneypenny, “really, you shouldn’t …”

“Get out of sight at once, Moneypenny,” I warned.

I called out merrily: “Hello there, I’ll just be a minute, but come in meanwhile, won’t you?”, and sped over without making a sound in my bare feet to stand at the door hinges.

The door opened, and a man in a hotel uniform wheeled in a trolley with something under a white cloth.

I was on him in a trice from behind, pinning his hands to his side with one arm, and the other around his neck. “Who sent you, pal? Who do you work for? Talk!” I hissed.

“Oh James,” said Moneypenny again. “Please don’t. Don’t do anything rash. You see, I …”

The man struggled to speak. “Room service sent me, Sir. Marriott, Sir, I work for Marriott Hotels.”

“A likely story,” I spat, “considering I didn’t order any room service.” So saying, I ripped the cloth off the trolley, grabbed the bottle of Krug that was underneath it, smashed the neck against the wall, and forced the bottle into his mouth. He glugged and glugged desperately as the stuff went down.

“James, James,” cried Moneypenny again.

“Keep out of this, Moneypenny,” I growled, with a firm grip on the bottle as the man began to turn red in the face and his eyes began to bulge. “It takes more than a bottle in the face to get rid of James Bond,” I roared into his ear. As the last drops disappeared, I delivered a karate chop to the throat, and down he went, lifeless. A piece of paper fluttered down from his hand. I picked it up and read it – it said ‘Moneypenny/Bond, Room 476. 1 Krug, ice-cold’. Oh, bugger ...

Moneypenny had gone white. “I was trying to tell you, James. I ordered it … well, you know, to get you … us … in the mood, you see. I thought the leathers alone might not be enough to swing it ...”

But I was already busy with damage limitation, dragging the fellow off into the wardrobe. “My mistake, Moneypenny. It was a wrong number, and I take full responsibility. But this man was a hero. Yes, these are the real heroes of the modern age, Moneypenny. The innocent victims. The bystanders cut down in machine-gun crossfire in Berlin. The tourists caught in a ball of fire as a speedboat full of goons crashes into their gondola. The diners mown down when a Mercedes careers into a Stockholm restaurant at full tilt during a car chase.”

I decided to take a shower and get dressed, because it was time to go. Yes, it had been an unfortunate accident, but it was what we call collateral damage. Standing at the mirror shaving, I noticed I’d cut my hand with the bottle. Not much, though. Not bad enough to leave another scar. No, no scar this time. I scratched my right wrist absentmindedly. There it was, the jagged all-round scar I’d have for the rest of my life … It had been a damned close-run thing all right, that mission in Prague, when the goons had left me to die with my legs trussed up and one hand cuffed to a solid steel post in a vat with water pouring in from pipes on all sides. I’d had no choice, I remembered ruefully. I’d had to steel myself to drag out Q’s collapsible machete from my underpants, chop my own hand off, and escape by machine-gunning one-handed all around me. I improvised an ice pack for both my hand and the stump, and made it back to MI5 in one piece. Well, two pieces, but they managed to sew the other piece on again pronto.

“I’ve talked to the surgeon, Bond,” said Q when he visited me at the hospital, “and unfortunately they could only manage a 90%-accurate graft of all the nerves and tissues. But don’t worry. Your hand will function as normal. The only drawback is that it may occasionally feel that it doesn’t actually belong to you at all, like it’s someone else’s hand. And you may feel a kind of throbbing, as though it were connected to a small electrical device. Especially during episodes of great stress or excitement, apparently.”

I was a little depressed about it at first, of course, I have to admit. But as time went by I realised that on those lonely nights on stake-out it certainly beats sitting on your hand for a quarter of an hour first.

We were ready to go. I opened the door. Framed in the doorway was a grinning dwarf in a bowler hat, holding a gun. “Hands up, Mr Bond,” he rasped.

I did as I was told. The ugly midget advanced into the room, taking off his hat, with the gun still trained on me. He started a little when he clocked Moneypenny in her siren outfit. He goggled at her as he stretched out his little arm with the hat. “Do you know what this is, Mr Bond? Seemingly a simple bowler hat. Nobody would consider a bowler hat dangerous, would they, Mr Bond? But this isn’t just any bowler hat. It’s an extremely efficient murder weapon. It has a razor-sharp steel edge inside the rim which could easily slice a man’s head off, or even slice him in half if it’s hurled just right from the side. And I’ve been practising, Mr Bond. I’ll kill you first. I was expecting that little tramp 008 to be here with you, but I’ll be glad to dispatch her later. And I’ll take care of Miss Moneypenny here too.” He threw the gun down on the sofa, smiled a horrible smile, and drew back his arm with the hat ...

“Sliced in half, eh?” I scoffed. My hands came down behind my back and found the handle. I brought the scimitar up from behind and right down on his head in a single movement. I know you’ve probably never seen or even heard of a man being cut right down the middle before, but it’s dramatic, let me tell you. Usually noisier as the two halves fall to the side and hit the floor, too, but this pint-sized would-be assassin weighed considerably less, and he was falling from a much shorter distance, so it was only a small thump. I’d even sliced his nasty smile in half.

I threw the scimitar down. A long, slim device down the back of a special suit that Q had rigged for me, precisely for a hands-up situation. Meanwhile, Moneypenny was staring at me. “Oh James,” she whispered, moving in from the side.

“Are you all right, Moneypenny?” I asked. It can be a terrible thing to see if you’re not used to it, of course.

“Yes, James,” she said with a catch in her voice, putting her arms around my waist as she did so. “I’m a little shaken, of course. Shaken, yes. Shaken. But I’d be lying to you if I told you I wasn’t stirred, James. You’re such a killer. You kill people like others have eggs for breakfast.” Her breathing was faster and harder now, and she began to walk the fingers of one hand down towards my legs as she rubbed her groin into my hip.

It was then I realised the scimitar had also sliced through my jacket, shirt, belt, trousers and boxers, and I was standing there completely naked with shards of clothes at my feet. I broke loose and rushed to the bathroom for another towel.

“Time for you to go back to HQ, Moneypenny, I think,” I said, as I started to roll the stricken dwarf up in the carpet. At least he’d be taking up a lot less space in the wardrobe in room 476 ...



“Er, excuse me …” said a voice at my side. I turned, and there was Sergeant Garmendia.

“Garmendia?” I gasped. “Well, blow me down. Sergeant Garmendia, as I live and breathe.” I looked the renegade ertzaina up and down. "It’s … it’s good to see you after all this time, but …” – suddenly I remembered the gravity of the situation – “What the hell are you doing in my wavies? … Again.”

Garmendia twisted his red police beret in his hands. “It’s just that … you said last time that it was the Man with the Golden …”

“… Thumb, Sergeant? And then the Man with the Golden Bum? And now the title’s the Man with the Golden Gum, is that it, Garmendia? Is that all there is to this? I said I was working on it, and I still am. Except, do you know, I’m running out of words that rhyme facetiously with gun, thumb and bum, so that’s why it’s gum this time. Any suggestions for a rhyme, Sergeant, now that you’re here?”

He thought for a couple of seconds, and then said in a very small voice: “A rhyme? I don’t know. Er, ‘come’?”

My tone was acidic. “Oh, wonderful, Garmendia. Just splendid. The Man with the Golden Come. A very arousing title. Guaranteed to bring about an explosion of interest, you might say. Thousands of instantaneous hits to read about that one, yes. But that title wouldn’t have lasted very long on the thread, would it, Sergeant? Possibly a matter of a few seconds. Just like the man’s, in fact. Golden or otherwise. I’m not even sure we’re going to get away with it half-buried inside this post. So you’ve done it again, Garmendia. Now I’m going to have to interrupt it again, and not only will I have to go to the bother of finding some daft, contrived way of introducing James Bond III, just like James Bond II this time, but presumably I’ll also have to find a rhyme for yet another title. And it isn’t going to be your suggestion, I’ll tell you that for free.”

“But, but,” he babbled. “It’s been so long. And you said you’d sort out my mother-in-law for me last time, too. I don’t think I can take even one more plate of patatas a la riojana.”

I took a deep breath. “Garmendia, there are certain things you don’t know. It’s not the same. This whole diary thing is beginning to run away with me. It’s taking on more layers than a millefeuille. Presidents of the United States, past, outgoing and incumbent keep popping up everywhere alongside bland or tongue-in-cheek updates or comments on the coronavirus situation, and I’m not sure I could cope with another dimension.”

He’d been looking at the ground, but then one hand went into his breast pocket. He took out a pair of sunglasses, put them on with both hands as slowly and deliberately as David Caruso does, turned just as slowly, and looked at me askance. “I understand,” he sighed. “But you will think about it, LT, won’t you? …”

“Oh, hell's teeth,” I said.




[Edited at 2020-11-22 12:54 GMT]

[Edited at 2020-11-22 13:06 GMT]

[Edited at 2020-11-22 13:09 GMT]

[Edited at 2020-11-22 17:32 GMT]

[Edited at 2020-11-22 17:39 GMT]
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P.L.F.Persio
expressisverbis
Chris S
 

P.L.F.Persio  Identity Verified
Holandia
Local time: 01:12
Członek ProZ.com
od 2010

angielski > włoski
+ ...
Well done again, Mervyn! Nov 22, 2020

Mervyn Henderson wrote:

The Man with the Golden Gum



What a great Sunday treat! Thank you ever so much, merveilleux Mervyn.


expressisverbis
 

Mervyn Henderson  Identity Verified
Hiszpania
Local time: 01:12
hiszpański > angielski
+ ...
NOWY TEMAT
Thanks, P.L.F.! Nov 22, 2020

But, as you've observed, James still has to get out in the field and do his Bond thing in Bond III. Which, God help me, is practically written already in my head. I just have to join up the dots. Hopefully this isn't going to go the same way as Home Alone did.

expressisverbis
 

Chris S  Identity Verified
Wielka Brytania
szwedzki > angielski
+ ...
Lolz Nov 22, 2020

The man with the golden... I’m loving it. Lapping it up, you could say.

expressisverbis
 

Mervyn Henderson  Identity Verified
Hiszpania
Local time: 01:12
hiszpański > angielski
+ ...
NOWY TEMAT
Lockdown + restrictions + lengthening of restrictions = misery Nov 23, 2020

Well, it's a relative kind of misery. Understand that they probably don't have any restrictions at all in Pyongyang, because practically nobody goes there and practically nobody leaves either without extensive vetting, so North Korea has to be the safest place on the planet at the minute. North Korea. Your choice for a holiday now that your usual playgrounds are off limits. Full security at all times. And when we say at all times, we mean at all times. We'll be watching over you at breakfast. We... See more
Well, it's a relative kind of misery. Understand that they probably don't have any restrictions at all in Pyongyang, because practically nobody goes there and practically nobody leaves either without extensive vetting, so North Korea has to be the safest place on the planet at the minute. North Korea. Your choice for a holiday now that your usual playgrounds are off limits. Full security at all times. And when we say at all times, we mean at all times. We'll be watching over you at breakfast. We'll be watching over you at lunch. We'll be watching over you at dinner. We'll be watching over you when you pick your nose. We'll be watching over you when you buy Kim Dynasty souvenirs in the shops, because that's just about all you can buy. We'll even be watching over you in your hotel bedroom, so careful what you get up to in there, and with whom. Or with what.

But I digress again. I couldn't help it. I had a choice of making an early start on 4K of blaargh, relatively easy for once, or this. Guess which lost?:

I may be wrong about this, so don't quote me, but I think the Basque Country and Madrid and a couple of other regions have now extended the no-bars-and-curfew-too lark to beyond 30 November, to cover the daft quasi-double holiday on 6 December (Constitution) and 8 December (Immaculate Virgin).

6 and 8 December. Now why would you do that? It's not the case this year, but I remember when it was once, when 5 December falls on a Monday. Nobody does much work on Monday 5 December because they've only just taken their coats off after the weekend, and after all the next day's a holiday. Nobody works on Tuesday 6 December because it's a holiday. Nobody works on Wednesday 7 December because it's the day after a holiday, and the day before a holiday. Nobody works on Thursday 8 December because it's a holiday, and after all that holidaying, do you seriously think they're going to rush to make up for it on Friday 9 December, just before the weekend kicks in again? But it doesn't really matter when it starts - every year a week's productivity is lost, plus the cries of Shame on you! and Rotten swizz! if either the 6 or 8 December happens to fall on a Saturday or a Sunday.


It has not always been thus. I think it was 6 December that they turned into a public holiday about 10 years ago. Why not use 7 December? I have no idea. Maybe 7 December is already International Left-Handed Day, Pearl Harbour Remembrance Day, 7 December Day, who knows? Still, but don't ask me how, because it's very hush-hush-keep-it-under-your-hat, I have secured a transcription which gives an insight into why this decision was taken, in a smoke-filled room at the Spanish Ministry of Public Holidays and General Downtime:

Minister: So why don't we just make 6 and 7 December or 7 and 8 December the holidays? To get it all over with, I mean?

Deputy Minister: Well, we thought about that, and we detailed a US consultant, R. Sole and Pratt, to draw up a feasibility survey.

Minister: Wasn't that rather expensive?

Assistant to the Deputy Minister: Yes, it was. 500,000 euros for a 300-slide PowerPoint presentation on general, specific and strategic objectives. Translated into Spanish on a 2,000 euro budget.

Minister: Well, thank God it was cheap to translate, anyway. So what were the conclusions?

Deputy Minister: They were inconclusive, plus we didn't actually understand the conclusions.

Minister: But surely the person who translated it understood it?

Assistant to the Assistant of the Deputy Minister: No, sir, because it was machine-translated.

Minister: Why did we use a US consultant, anyway? Why not a Spanish consultant?

Deputy Minister: Because most Spanish consultants prefer to work on US projects, sir. They pay much more.



[Edited at 2020-11-23 07:41 GMT]

[Edited at 2020-11-23 07:42 GMT]

[Edited at 2020-11-23 15:01 GMT]

[Edited at 2020-11-23 15:02 GMT]
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Chris S
P.L.F.Persio
expressisverbis
Beatriz Ramírez de Haro
 
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