The Battle of the Saints, or How Roger Moore Vanquished Val Kilmer
‘This is ludicrous,’ Claire grumbled. This was inarguable but it didn’t change the situation. We needed that report on contaminated water from the barrister’s office ASAP. Our only hope of extracting it was distracting the security guard for a few moments and getting him to turn his back on the main door to the office. As the guard was a human Doberman, watchful, wary and unsparing in his vigilance, this was a task of Sisyphean proportions.
Setting off the fire alarm hadn’t worked, my ‘fainting’ over the front desk hadn’t shifted him, dressing up as a doughnut and offering free doughnuts outside the small, exclusive barrister’s offices hadn’t produced results. Nor had playing the England game or the Singapore Grand Prix on the TV in reception.
The guard’s one weakness that we had ascertained was the works of Leslie Charteris. Every half-hour or so, he would whip a battered paperback out of some indiscernible pocket, read with furious concentration for approximately thirty seconds and then secret the book once more, his movements so swift and sinuous that the first few times it had occurred we’d believed ourselves to be hallucinating.
Hence our (somewhat half-baked) plan to divert the human Eye of Sauron by playing an adaptation of The Saint on the TV. It was all we could come up with – we were environmental activists, not spies.
Claire wanted to put the film starring Val Kilmer on for no reason she would specify (she denied it but I think she fancied him). I wanted to try the TV series with Roger Moore (on the grounds that it was the most faithful adaptation).
Once Claire gets an idea fixed in her head it’s impossible to dislodge. I surrendered ungraciously. Happily, the DVD player connected to the vital TV was lodged in a broom cupboard near the building’s automatic doors, out of sight of the reception (though not CCTV, which made putting the film in the player a nerve-twanging endeavour).
Claire was given the task of sneaking in once the film was playing (or rather, I exercised my own firmness of character and said no way in hell am I doing it). Of course, she got caught before she was halfway across the marble floor.
As the police arrived to pick her up, I replaced the DVD and waited. Sir Roger Moore was up to the task. Two episodes in, with the guard suitably entranced, I sneaked in, collected the report and scarpered. Illegal, true, but not nearly as illegal and damaging as what the barrister’s client was up to. And that report contained more than enough to distract from the bad PR generated by Claire’s arrest.
They released her on bail.
‘Don’t say a word!’ she snapped as she saw me waiting for her.
So I didn’t. I merely raised one eyebrow in sardonic fashion.
CARYS CROSSEN has been writing stories since she was nine years old. Her fiction has been published by Mother’s Milk Books, Dear Damsels, Three Drops Press, Cauldron Anthology, Blink Ink, Palm Sized Press, Paragraph Planet, The First Line Journal and others. She lives in Manchester UK with her husband.