Out Of The Or­di­nary

This light-hearted com­plete story by Josephine Allen has a twist in the tale.

The People's Friend Special - - HUMOROUS STORY -

THE only cus­tomer in the wool shop was about thirty, slim and un­re­mark­able. She was dressed in jeans and a black woollen coat, her brown hair cut into a bob. She was the kind of woman you see ev­ery day; a woman who wouldn’t nor­mally rate a sec­ond glance.

Ex­cept for the fact that she was point­ing a gun at the shop as­sis­tant.

Nar­row­ing her blue eyes and set­ting her fea­tures into an in­scrutable mask, the woman spoke in a low, me­nac­ing drawl.

“The name’s Bond – Jane Bond – and if you value your life you’ll give me a straight an­swer.”

Jill Pais­ley, the shop owner, stared back from across the counter.

“What do you want to know?” she asked, her eyes fixed firmly on the gun.

“Does that an­gora come in any other colour than pink?”

“Sky blue, lemon and –” Jill burst into a f it of gig­gles. “Sorry, don’t shoot! Er, oh, yes, cherry red.” The woman slowly low­ered the weapon. “I’ll take the cherry red, please,” she said, drop­ping the gun into her bag with a grin.

“Price­less, Jane. The toy gun’s a par­tic­u­larly nice touch.” Jane Bond grinned. “It’s my nephew’s wa­ter pis­tol. Left it at mine the last time Fi brought the kids round. I promised I’d drop it off on my way home.”

“I’m glad to see you’re fi­nally able to joke about your name. You used to hate be­ing teased about it at school.”

“I know, but this was too good an op­por­tu­nity to re­sist,” Jane ad­mit­ted. “You should have seen your face! Any­way, I fig­ure, if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. I could kill Dad some­times, though.”

“You mean it was de­lib­er­ate? I’d al­ways as­sumed it was an un­for­tu­nate co­in­ci­dence.”

“Oh, Dad loved those early Sean Con­nery movies. When Mum got preg­nant he said if it was a boy he was go­ing to be called James.

“When I came along he wasn’t go­ing to let a lit­tle thing like me be­ing fe­male stop him. It was bad enough at school, but it’s all flared up again since Daniel Craig has made the whole Bond thing pop­u­lar again.”

“Yes, but no won­der. He’s eas­ier on the eye than old Roger Moore, you must ad­mit.”

They dis­solved in a fit of the gig­gles like a couple of school­girls as they dis­cussed his choice of swimwear.

“So what are you up to to­day?” Jill asked in an at­tempt to re­store some or­der. “As­sum­ing you’re not off saving the world from some ma­niac with an evil mas­ter­plan.”

“You never know!” Jane replied with a wry smile. “Who knows what to­day might bring? But first I’m go­ing to the café for a cuppa. I could mur­der a cup of tea.”

“Well, you are li­censed to kill, af­ter all. Sorry, couldn’t re­sist that!” Jill handed Jane her wool. “What are you plan­ning to knit with this? Some­thing nice?”

“Haven’t de­cided yet. Per­haps some nice seat cov­ers for my As­ton Martin,” Jane called over her shoul­der as she left the shop.

****

“Hi, Jane! The usual?” Jane nod­ded, bracing her­self for the in­evitable. Gina the café owner didn’t let her down.

“One cup of Earl Grey, shaken not stirred, com­ing up!”

Jane smiled wearily and buried her­self in one of the lurid tabloid mag­a­zines Gina left out for cus­tomers to read.

As she sipped her tea it occurred to her, not for the first time, that her name had been the making of her.

Per­haps that had been Dad’s in­ten­tion. He had got his wish, though not in a way he could pos­si­bly imag­ine.

****

As Jane en­tered the small newsagent, the bell tin­kled to sig­nal her ar­rival.

“Hello, Mr Ashrif. Can I have two lucky dips for Satur­day’s draw, please?”

“Cer­tainly, Miss Bond. Al­though I would have thought . . . That is to say . . .” Here we go again, Jane thought to her­self. “Go on. Spit it out.” “Well, it occurred to me that it would be more fit­ting if you were to go for . . .” Mr Ashrif let out a lit­tle high-pitched gig­gle. “If you were to go for the Thun­der­ball.”

“Good one,” Jane mut­tered. “See you next week – as­sum­ing I don’t win the jack­pot, in which case I’ll be in the Mal­dives.”

Af­ter leav­ing the newsagent’s she strolled up the high street. At the top she ducked into a lit­tle book­shop.

It was small and cramped in­side, the shelves and ev­ery avail­able space groan­ing with piles of an­tique books. It smelled of leather and pa­per and dusty words, if that wasn’t too fan­ci­ful a no­tion.

Mr Buckle, the owner, was sit­ting in his usual place be­hind the counter.

Mar­lene, his beloved Si­amese cat, lay curled up on top of a stack of old pe­ri­od­i­cals be­side him.

Mr Buckle looked up, saw Jane, nod­ded in recog­ni­tion, but re­turned im­me­di­ately to his pe­rusal of some enor­mous tome.

Jane made her way to the short cor­ri­dor at the back of the shop, at the end of which was a door. She went through it.

It led into a sur­pris­ingly large and airy room which was empty save for a ta­ble and three chairs, two of which were oc­cu­pied by men in un­ob­tru­sive grey suits.

“Ah, dou­ble-oh eight,” M said. “The Prime Min­is­ter and I have a job for you.”

The End.

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