… Licences to Kill

This time of year, GP speciality training applications are opened to junior doctors seeking a career in GP.  On an entirely unconnected note, my sister-in-law works for a recruitment consultant who is trying to recruit Director General Q for MI6, the UK Foreign Intelligence service, promoting the UK’s overseas interest through “human intelligence” and deploying “clandestine operational technology”. 

Some years ago these two recruitment schemes ran out of the same quiet grey London office.  Mrs McKay is wheeling a stacked trolley out of the post room and two envelopes slip from their respective piles onto the floor.  In a rush to catch the closing doors of the lift, Mrs McKay snatches up the two fallen envelopes and sets each one on top of the correct pile. 



Bond’s thumb eased back on the cold, steel screw of the Welch Allyn DS54.  His eyes narrowed.  He cursed violently under his breath, listening hard through his Litmann Cardiology Classic stethoscope as the flickering needle dropped.  One hundred and seventy.  One Hundred and sixty.  Then silence.  Damn.  Grade one hypertension.   

His throat burned from the last of his custom-rolled Morland Balkan Turkish tobacco cigarettes with the three golden bands, which rested, still smouldering on the lip of the gunmetal art deco ashtray that sat on his desk.  What a bloody waste.   

Out of the corner of his cruel grey eyes Bond noted an age-spotted hand move towards the toggled pocket of a padded purple British Home Stores overcoat.  

The hairs on the back of Bond’s neck bristled against the Egyptian cotton of his hand-stitched Jermyn Street shirt.  Bond’s sense for danger had never let him down before.  Something was wrong.  

A padded overcoat in July? And a hand moving a little too quickly.  A poorly controlled intention tremor perhaps?  No. 

In an instant all Bond’s training kicked in.  With cat like reflexes he pushed his chair back hard, lashing a steel capped shoe at his nemesis’ shins.  He heard a surprised scream and knew he had made contact.  Dropping low Bond aimed a flat right hand in a long perfect arc into her windpipe. 

With a gasp she fell, unconscious before she hit the hard, grey laminate floor. 

Mrs Tibbs lifeless hand fell open to reveal a Kleenex Balsam tissue and a part-unwrapped Murray mint. 


Bond stepped over the lifeless form and his hand moved coldy towards the intercom button as it had so many times before. 

“Miss Moneypenny?  Can you tell Q branch we have another parcel needs disposed of?” 

Meanwhile in a hollowed-out volcano in the South Pacific. 

“So, Doctor Brown.  We meet at last.  I have been anticipating this moment for some time.” 

“Sorry about that.  NHS waiting times are a disgrace…” 

“Silence!  I have found your interference…inconvenient.” 

“I’m sorry to hear that.  Inconvenient in what way?”  Brown went through a silent checklist.  Demonstration of empathy…  Signposting key word…  Open question… Check. 

“I find myself in a situation which is… uncomfortable.” 

Brown took in the situation at a glance.  Inconvenience?  Discomfort?   

Brown fought against his cat like reflexes (like a cat, there was little Brown liked more than a snooze in a sunbeam). 

In an instant all Brown’s training kicked in.  Elicit concerns:  clarify agenda:  shared management plan. 

“Do you expect me to talk?”   

Brown cursed silently.  A schoolboy error.  A closed question this early in a consultation could cost him valuable seconds later.  

“No, Dr Brown.  I expect you to die in great pain!” 

“And how would you describe that pain?  An aching pain? Or a shooting pain for instance?” 

Blofeld’s thumb reached for a red button on his desk. 

“Not so fast, Blofeld.  Before we move on, was there anything in particular you were hoping I could do for you today?” Brown asked coolly. 

“Soon your governments will be hearing my demands.  You are of no further use to me.” 

“So you were perhaps hoping for a referral?” 

Blofeld impassively stroked the white Persian cat. 

Inconvenience?  Discomfort?  

“Had you considered possibly cat hair sensitivity?” 

Brown heard a mechanical whirr above him.  Above his head he saw a glint of water as a pair of steel doors slid apart.  What could that mean? 

Ah yes.  He remembered he was dangling upside down. 

“You have troubled me for the last time, Dr Brown!” 

A second button was pressed. 

A chain was released. 

The vroop of Dr Brown’s corduroys was drowned out by the frenzied churning of the piranhas as Brown crashed into the pool below. 

Blofeld turned his back to the furiously boiling pool of piranha, M&S tweed and rapidly disappearing provincial general practitioner, wiped a tear from his eye, blew his nose, and took another non-drowsy allergy tablet. 

4 thoughts on “… Licences to Kill

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