Off topic: The Little Translator, a dead end, and the Man with the Golden Thumb
Thread poster: Mervyn Henderson
The Little Translator addresses the Queen of England: http://www.proz.com/forum/lighter_side_of_trans_interp/107185-the_little_translator_addresses_the_queen_of_england.html
The Little Translator relates the Barcelona Connection:
The Little Translator makes a right royal faux pas:
The Little Translator throws his hat in the ring with Obama and McCain:
The Little Translator solves the world economic crisis:
The Little Translator slides into the crease at the end of 2008:
The Little Translator amid terrible rates and late payment too:
The Little Translator, MI5, and Jimmy the Weasel:
The Little Translator, unorthodox policing, Foxy Roxy and a twist in the tale:
The Little Translator, a sad and sorry tale, a call from a customer and a letter from Paris: https://www.proz.com/forum/off_topic/319945-the_little_translator_a_sad_and_sorry_tale_a_call_from_a_customer_and_a_letter_from_paris.html
Sergeant Garmendia put his sunglasses back on the bar again, looked briefly down at the floor to finish off his irritating David Caruso routine, and addressed the three of us:
“That was the boss man back in Bilbao”, he said. “End of the road. Trail’s gone cold. Stone cold. Dead cold, in fact. Stone cold dead, even. The murderer’s done himself in. Hanged himself. The case is out the window. Like his wife. He even left a note. It said, “Tell the Little Translator he was right. Like Macbeth, I saw a chance and I took it, but it’s all up now. Lead on, Macduff.”
I breathed a deep breath. The power of this site, I thought. Who’d have thought not only professional translators and agencies would be using it, but villains too? Then again, I mused, considering some of the job ads and scams going down here …
Garmendia spread his arms wide. “The bottom line is, we’re off the case, LT. You have to go back to your translations, Angela has to go back to rebuilding a life torn asunder, with David Dreadlocks here, and I … well, I have nowhere to go, because my wife’s bound to have divorced me by now”, he said, sadly.
“What the hell are you on about, Garmendia?”, I asked.
“Well, it’s been eight years since we started out on this wild goose chase, I mean …”
“So what? Time can be linear or extralinear, you know.”
The policeman rubbed his nose. “What does extralinear mean?”
“Well”, I replied, “I don’t really know, because I don’t know what else to call it. What I mean is that nothing has changed here. Do you know how long it took James Joyce to write Ulysses? He first had the idea for it around 1906, and it was published in 1922. And it’s all concentrated on a single day in June. Does that mean that Leopold Bloom and all the rest grew older and continued their lives while he was still struggling with it around 1912? No. Your wife and your kids are still there, Garmendia.”
“Really?” The Sergeant was happy again. Then a thought struck him: “But … what about my mother-in-law?”
“Oh, she’s still ruling the roost, I’m afraid.”
“Couldn’t you, er, kind of remove her at all? In an extralinear way, or something?” he enquired tentatively.
“I’m pretty sure I can’t”, I replied. “I think you’re stuck with her.”
“So what do we do now?” asked Angela.
“Well, we could go on investigating something together, as a team, maybe”, said David Dreadlocks, warming to it. “We could call ourselves The Famous Four or something. You know, four of us, but like the Famous Five …”
There was a silence. They all looked at me expectantly.
“No.” I snapped, “Enid Blyton? Are you crazy? Enid Blyton wavies? Seriously? I have my reputation to think of. Anyway, I have next to no knowledge of ginger beer, potted meat sandwiches and strong-minded tomboy teenagers with male names and a daft dog called Timmy. Not to mention sinister uncles who spend all their time in a lab on Kirrin Island. Forget it.”
“Well, talking of my mother-in-law and her potato and chorizo empire …”, the Sergeant ventured. “You did say you’d help me out on that one. Back in 2008. In an extralinear sense, of course. Or intralinear. Or whatever.”
“Well”, I admitted, “we might be able to form a team of four for certain projects.”
“Like, say … the A-Team?” said David Dreadlocks.
There was a silence. They all looked at me expectantly. I couldn’t help thinking it would have been rather nice if those last two sentences had come up in a translation because they were 100% fuzzies from only a few paragraphs back there.
Then again, I would have to fight tooth and nail to be paid for them and all the other fuzzies, wouldn’t I? As you well know.
But I stood there, arms folded.
“Not that either”, I told them. “A four-strong team of losers on the run after what was probably a heroin export operation they cocked up in Vietnam in the seventies? And, every time they go into the fray, these supposed elite soldiers can’t even shoot straight and never manage to kill anyone even by accident? Not worth wasting any time on that. But, in relation to the Sergeant’s little problem, yes, we could take on the Garmendia Mother-in-Law Mission, certainly. We could work on the wire as invisible operatives, skipping in and out of the radar, checking the terrain and striking infallibly to win the day for democracy with backup from ruthless shadowy para-governmental organisations.”
I knew the intro was a bit clumsy and contrived, but at the time it was the best I could do:
“Like spies, do you mean?” Garmendia enthused. “Like James Bond?”
“O yes”, I breathed, “Like 007. Like Bond. James Bond ...”
Just a soft click, that’s all it was. A faint, barely audible click. The click of my hotel room door being stealthily opened. I sprang noiselessly from the bed, and was there in only four strides. A shard of light from the corridor illuminated a dark figure in a long coat entering the room. I pounced like a tiger from the side, closed my arms around his neck and was just about to snap it in one deadly jerk to the right when I smelt a perfume I recognised.
“Moneypenny!” I gasped. “What the hell are you doing here? You should know better than that. You could be lying dead on this floor right now. I’m a tightly coiled spring, for God’s sake. A highly trained professional assassin. A one-man army on Her Majesty’s Secret Service. A merciless killing machine capable of executing villains with my bare hands, not to mention a hundred other ways. A …”
The MI5 secretary shrugged her greatcoat back, letting it fall to the floor. My jaw dropped at the sight of Moneypenny in a plunging red leather top, her navel exposed with a ring through her belly button, a matching leather mini-skirt, black fishnet stockings and suspenders and stiletto heels, and – was that a cat-o’-nine-tails she was carrying in her belt? Her tightly encased breasts rose and fell, straining against the material as she looked me up and down, smiling naughtily.
“Yes, James”, she whispered, gliding towards me, hands on hips, “I know. Licensed to kill.” A hand stretched lazily out and long scarlet nails scraped gently down my bare chest. “But what about … licensed to thrill?”
Moneypenny looked down, but her hand stayed there, at arm’s length. “My, my”, she said, “Union Jack boxer shorts. How patriotic, James.” She moved closer and looked down again: “Oh … and so difficult to tell whether the flag’s running up the pole or the pole’s running up the flag …”
I stepped back, breathing heavily. Sweating, too. The long mascara-laden eyelashes fluttered and her tongue slipped out and rolled suggestively around her upper lip as she continued to stare down, taking out that whip and gently swinging the little knotted thongs closer and closer until they finally grazed my frontage.
“Oh yes, look at that, there he goes,” she cooed, “standing to attention in anticipation of official duty. Rising to the manly challenges ahead. Ready to dive in at the sharp end of a no-holds-barred rough and tumble.”
“You’re out of line, Moneypenny”, I told her, but I rushed to put a towel around myself just the same. “You know very well I’m spoken for. The little matter of Goodbody, remember?”
That took the wind out of her sails. Moneypenny’s shoulders slumped as she withdrew the whip, sat on a chair near the bed, and lit a cigarette.
“Oh yes”, said Moneypenny disdainfully. “The competition. Jane Goodbody. 008. It’s Goodbody I’ve come to talk to you about, actually. The little tramp won’t be in the field with you on the mission after all.”
Well, I was fond of Moneypenny, but I refused to have the name of the woman I loved bandied around like that.
“Jane Goodbody’s not a tramp, Moneypenny”, I growled. “What’s the matter with you, anyway? What IS all this femme fatale business with me? You can get a man for yourself. You’re a smart, fine-looking woman. You can have your pick of the bunch, surely.”
Moneypenny stretched out those long legs luxuriously, shook back her dark hair and nodded dreamily, as if remembering:
“Yes, there was a man once, you know ... a man I loved. A man I worshipped, James. I – adored – him. It was a love so intense it caused me the greatest pain and sorrow. And he said he loved me too.”
My heart melted a little, and the annoyance faded. What could I do but give her a sympathetic smile?
“And then”, said Moneypenny, gazing into the middle distance, reliving it all again, “then the day finally came when he showed me just how much he loved me, James. He simply whipped it out of that fur-trimmed pink velvet box with no warning, and stood there in front of me, proudly showing it off to me all hard and glistening in his strong hand as I gushed over it.”
“Moneypenny”, I demurred. “Perhaps I’m not the right person to tell this to ...”
But she paid me no heed.
“I was all a-quiver”, she enthused, staring straight ahead as if in a trance, “at the sight of something so tantalisingly majestic. I was transfixed. I just couldn’t take my eyes off the thing, James.”
“Er, Moneypenny, really, I …”, I stammered, pulling uncomfortably at my towel. But then her eyes glazed over disturbingly and rolled up in their sockets so I could see only the whites of them:
“How I trembled with excitement as he knelt down in front of me with the wickedest smile, and brought it up nearer so I could contemplate the whole gorgeous item at close quarters”, she whispered. “And then he made me his offering of love.”
“Bloody hell, Moneypenny”, I gasped, staring at her in the leathers.
“He said he was going to spend and spend and spend, and I knew he was loaded”, Moneypenny practically babbled, “but I had no idea he had such wads of the stuff. And then suddenly there it was on my chest, a wonderful pearl necklace.”
She whimpered a little in recollection.
“Oh”, I said, my lower body suddenly relaxing, “a necklace. I see. You know, Moneypenny, for a minute …”
“Yes”, she went on, “the most splendid necklace I have ever been given. I had never imagined one man alone could splash out so much on me. Oh, all those white pearls! I was literally dripping with them. I looked down at the gleaming drops and little ropes and strings of it around my neck and hanging down over my cleavage, and – oh James, I know it was utter lunacy, but I couldn’t keep my hands off it, rubbing it gratefully all over my chest, scooping it up and letting it trickle slowly through my fingers, and even slavering and slobbering and licking at it feverishly like a dog with my hot little tongue in the ecstasy of the moment because, well, you know, it just came over me.”
“Good God Moneypenny, he must have been madly in love with you too”, I agreed, smoothing down my towel. “So what happened?”
Moneypenny smiled wistfully, blew out some smoke, and sighed.
“Then, James, he wiped himself off on my lovely brand new duvet, lit a Peter Stuyvesant, stuck it in my mouth, and said he was going out to get us some lattes and croissants. Never saw the bastard again from that day to this.”
She stared glumly down at the floor, elbows propped up on her legs, poking at an ankle chain with the whip.
I exhaled slowly. Moneypenny had always been a bit of a flirt around me, but what a dark, dark horse she really was, I thought. Better to change the subject:
“Anyway, what’s all this about 008 not being able to go with me, Moneypenny?”
The woman jerked a little as she returned to the present, and mechanically returned the whip to her belt.
“Well, she says she can’t walk, James”, she sniffed.
I smiled to myself. It was me doing the remembering now. Lord, I was surprised Goodbody could even talk, never mind walk, considering the almighty right royal rogering I had given the girl the day before. Lord, the prime British pork 008 had packed away repeatedly into the early hours.
“Yes, after our meeting at HQ today she tripped and fell down the stairs,” Moneypenny went on. “Twisted her ankle very badly.”
“Oh … oh, tripped, did she? I see …” I could almost feel myself deflating.
Moneypenny looked warily around the room, lowering her voice:
“And, James”, she went on, “M wants you to know you have to be extra careful on this mission – that’s another reason why I had to come here in person with no warning. We’ve got a mole in MI5 somewhere, and we know the target’s on to us. We all have to be especially vigilant. I’ll be keeping my eyes open too.”
Those dark eyelashes were suddenly back in smoulder mode:
“But then, my eyes are always open where you’re concerned, 007. And my arms too. Not to mention my legs”, she murmured, looking up hopefully.
“Er, perhaps we should just concentrate on MI5 business, Moneypenny. So, is there anything else I should know after my meeting with M yesterday? …”
M had briefed me at his club the day before. He was waiting for me at the bar:
“How about a drink, Bond?” he greeted me.
“Definitely”, I said. “Just the thing to bring down the usual pre-mission tension. Get me a dry Martini, would you”, I said to the barman. “Shaken, not stirred.”
The man looked up from the glass he was polishing.
“Sorry sir, no dry Martinis. Only wet ones.”
I merely stared through him, but I could feel the index and middle finger of my right hand beginning to drum on the bar. Never a good sign. He grinned stupidly, and turned to the bottles behind him.
“Just my little joke, sir. One dry Martini coming up. Shaken and unstirred.”
I called after him:
“Shaken, not stirred. That’s the term.”
“Yes sir, I heard you. Shaken, but unstirred.”
“No, I said “shaken, not stirred”. Not unstirred.”
“Not unstirred, sir? That means stirred.”
The chap was pushing his luck. I was starting to get those flashbacks of burly giants I’d dispatched over the years with neat holes between the eyes, crushed under blocks of concrete, or suffocated in huge vats of grain. Never a good sign either. I tried to keep my voice steady:
“It’s simple”, I said, “I want it shaken, not stirred, not shaken and unstirred.”
He folded his arms.
“So now you don’t want it shaken, either? Do make up your mind, sir. Do you want this Martini shaken or unshaken, and stirred or unstirred?”
The stupid grin again. The coiled spring was reaching trip point. I slipped my hand into my pocket and felt the welcome cold steel of the Walther PPK. I beckoned him over, my lip curling. He plodded up. I grabbed him by the lapels.
M leaned across and put a restraining hand on my arm.
“Bond”, he whispered. “Not here, if you please.” He gestured around the room. “My club, you know. Not on, James. I mean, that’s the Chancellor of the Exchequer over there with his fancy woman, for heaven’s sake. And do you see the Lord Chief Justice with that spotty lad in the corner?” He turned to the waiter. “Dry Martini. Shaken. Not stirred. Two minutes ago”, he rapped.
We took our drinks to a secluded table.
“Who’s the mark this time, M?” I asked.
M looked to left and right, and pushed the dossier across to me.
“Details are sketchy about this Scarawanga man. We don’t know much about his life, only bits and pieces from the wire here and there, you know how it is. Korea, Vietnam, Berlin, KGB, Stasi, a bit of double-agenting now and again. A gun fetishist, too. A collector. Lugers, Mausers, Glocks, Berettas, Kalashnikovs, even the Walther PPK, you name it, he’s got it. But he wanted to make his own guns, too. Which caused him a bit of a personal contretemps a few years ago, though. He made off with a load of gold bars after a daring robbery at Fort Knox. Melted them all down, and the idea was to use precision-moulding equipment to make himself a set of solid gold assault rifles.”
M leaned forward. “The Man with the Golden Gun”, he finished, pausing to let it sink in.
“Excuse me,” said David Dreadlocks at my side. “Just a minute. It’s …”
I turned to look at him.
“What the hell are you doing in my wavies? You can’t be in here. It’s dangerous. Everyone knows you can’t wake someone up if they’re sleepwalking. And the wavies are even dodgier.”
“The thing is”, he went on, “it says “The Man with the Golden Thumb” in the title up there.”
“Yes, and? So what? I haven’t finished yet. I’m working on it, right? Meanwhile, you might consider b***ering off and leaving me to it.”
“OK, OK”, he backed off. “And well done, by the way – your asterisks are coming along fine, look.”
“Oh yes, so they are”, I smiled. “Now get the fuck out of my w**ies.”
M sat back in his chair. I took a sip of the Martini and whistled. “They’re a strange bunch, M, these master criminals”.
“Well, Bond, that wasn’t the end of it. His golden gun thing didn’t quite work out the way he’d planned”, M went on. “Our information is that he had turned round and bent down to adjust the parameters on the console because the gold wasn’t hardening fast enough, but the numeric control wasn’t as finely tuned as he’d thought, and in an admittedly unlikely scenario, which we’re stuck with nonetheless, the moulding equipment blew up, ripped through his clothes and spattered hot liquid gold out at him. Some of it penetrated his skin, and the rest was left on the outside. He could hardly go to Accident & Emergency, obviously, meanwhile the gold hardened in, and when he did get a doctor he trusted to take a look, it turned out it would be far too dangerous to remove it. Since most of the force of it was directed at his rear end, it was practically covered with a kind of grotesque gold mosaic.”
“So, not so much the “Man with the Golden Gun”, I said, “as the “Man with the Golden Bum.”
“Right, James. The damn fool. Goldeneye!”, chortled M.
“Well, sir, I’ve heard of a golden shower, but that’s ridiculous!”
Yes, we both had a good chuckle at the evil fiend’s misfortunes. Well, one of us was tasked with planning the cold-blooded elimination of cold-blooded megalomaniac despots and cold-blooded master criminals worldwide, and one of us had to cold-bloodedly carry out those cold-blooded plans to keep the world safe from cold-blooded cold-bloodedness, and the responsibility and the pressure of all that cold blood can be overpowering, you know. You need to laugh now and again …
“… Er, can I have a word?” asked Garmendia behind me suddenly.
I couldn’t believe it. I stared at him open-mouthed:
“What the …? What IS it with you people? First Dreadlocks, and now you.”
“It’s just that the title …”
“Yes, I know. “The Man with the Golden Thumb”, right?”
“Yes. And now it’s …”
“The Man with the Golden Bum, right? Is that it? Think, Garmendia, think”, I said warmly. “How long do you think this thread would have lasted if the title had included the words “The Man with the Golden Bum”? An hour? Two? Three, at most? The people who run this thing aren’t answerable to anyone, you know. They’d have jumped on me, torn it down, and I’d be left lying in a pool of my own ink.”
The Sergeant considered this.
“Well, these days it’s not really …”
“Not really ink? Yes, you’re right. You’re so right. No ink. It’s virtual ink, isn’t it? So, let me rephrase that, if I may ... “I’d be left lying in a virtual or metaphoric or figurative pool of my own virtual or metaphoric or figurative ink.” Is that more accurate? Loses a bit of buzz, though, doesn’t it? Thanks for ruining that one too, Sergeant. Was there anything else?”
Garmendia twisted his hands sheepishly. “No, I’d, er, I’d better be going …”
“Thanks ever so”, I nodded grimly. Now, where the hell was I? …
Moneypenny nodded sadly. “All right, James. You win. Let’s go over the mission update.”
Just then there was a knock at the door. Again I sprang into action:
“Quick, Moneypenny, get behind the curtains”, I ordered. “Could be a hit. I’ll deal with this.”
But it was no good. I couldn’t go on. Those idiots had ruined my wavies. They were fading fast. It was as much as I could do to croak “James … Bond … To … Be … Continued” as I exited.
“Hey, what’s going on?” said David Dreadlocks. “You can’t leave it like that.”
“Can’t I? Just watch me. I hope you’re pleased with yourselves”, I snorted. “I’ll see if I can pick Bond up next time. By Christmas. Or the New Year, who knows. Besides, it’s too long. I have to fit in all those fist fights, knife fights, gun fights, likely as not a high-speed power boat chase around the canals of Venice, the Aston Martin crashing through plate-glass windows from one skyscraper to another, and smoking-hot sculptural temptresses at every turn. To say nothing of the alligator tank at the end. Plus, it’s another cliffhanger.”
I looked around the bar.
“So, what about this place? They seem to have left some stuff behind over there.”
I pointed to a table strewn with little plastic bags and lumps and ready-made spliffs.
“Oh”, said the Sergeant. “All that has to be burned. The lads have taken off the main stuff. Mr Cokehead had a whole stash behind the cistern in the toilet and he’d sold a lot more in here tonight. I said I’d deal with the smaller stuff.”
He picked up one of the joints and sniffed it. “Yes, that’s Red Leb all right.” He sniffed again. “From near the Syrian border, probably.”
He took up another one and brought it up to his nose. “Mm, difficult to tell, but probably Afghan.”
“ … and this one”, he went on, picking up a third, “I could place that from ten yards. AK 47, or I never smelt it.”
“That’s so impressive, Sergeant”, said Angela in awe.
“Five years in narcotics, love”, grinned Garmendia. “You’ve got to get inside their heads, get to know the trade.” So saying, he stuck the spliff in his mouth, took a lighter from the table, and lit it.
I was outraged, naturally. “What are you doing, Garmendia?” I cried, as he took a huge drag.
Garmendia exhaled and stood there looking at us. “I told you. It has to be burned. And I’m burning it, aren’t I?” He chuckled a little.
“So”, said David Dreadlocks. “Why do they call it AK 47 anyway?”
Garmendia took another drag and looked at him, a smile playing at the corner of his lips. He laughed a short laugh. Then he laughed again. And again. And again. And then he just laughed and laughed and laughed and laughed and laughed …
| || |
| | Noni Gilbert
Local time: 08:37
Spanish to English
Wonderful to find this on such a cold and frosty morning...
| | Nikolaki
Local time: 08:37
French to English
| … and so did I ! || Dec 4, 2017 |
… laugh and laugh, that is. And think I may even have spluttered at one point, if I'm honest.
Swedish to English
| Wot no gadgets? || Dec 4, 2017 |
Bring back Q!
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The Little Translator, a dead end, and the Man with the Golden Thumb
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