Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Her Secret Service's Majesty

The following is an excerpt from Her Secret Service’s Majesty by Ben Shakey. It will be published by Jim Hatfield Press in February 2009

The first thing to alert the Brigadier when entering the room was the overpowering scent of Axe Body Spray.

His nose wrinkled and contracted like an accordion before he sneezed.

“Excuse me” He said

“You’re soooo good looking!” Said Prince Harry. “That’s from Seinfeld, right? Ha!” He stood before the brigadier shirtless, with one arm raised and the offensive can still billowing fumes into his red underarm hair.

“The stuff stinks like shite but the birds are mad for it” his Highness said.

Stinks is right thought the Brigadier. It could be a chemical warfare creation developed by R&D. When I first asked him what it was he answered fast and it sounded like Ass spray and not Axe spray. The former is more apt.

“Grab a seat.” Harry pointed to a chair over in the corner covered in Lad Mags. The Brigadier hesitated. “Just sit down anywhere. I’m not going to make you bow so long as you don’t make me salute”

The Brigadier suddenly decided not to sit. It made what he had to say more urgent. Besides, he could not find himself comfortable in Harry’s wing. It was a disorienting mix of antique furniture, historical gifts, and oil portraits mashed with video game consoles, dirty laundry piles, and page three pin up girls.

“You don’t have to salute sir, but I do want to discuss you military career” He tried to sound authoritative yet approachable.

“Oh Bloody hell!” said Harry. He threw himself on the bed in disgust. “What do you want me to do? I can’t go. I’m not allowed in Afghanistan. I’m not allowed in Iraq. I’m a bloody risk”

“I know sir,” said the Brigadier. This time he tried to sound authoritative yet sympathetic. “It’s not fair.”

“Damn right, it’s not fair. I trained. I’m as ready as any solider and now I’m a threat to the unit. Well, I’m a threat to Iraq! That’s what I am.” He rolled on the bed in fits of self pity.

“Sir, I may be out of line here but you make a terrible soldier”

Harry stopped rolling about. He glared. He said nothing. His face moved through several deeper tones of red and into a royal purple.

The silence slightly disturbed The Brigadier. He expected a protest but not an intense stare down. He knew Harry couldn’t behead him but he was also unsure what the Prince was entitled to.

He cleared his throat and continued. “You are undisciplined. You cannot stay out of trouble. You enjoy confrontation. You indulge in various intoxications. You enjoy the company of woman. You like to travel but seem to have little respect for other cultures. "

As the Brigadier spoke he opened a file and withdrew pictures of Harry. Harry fighting on a Polo field. Harry smoking marijuana. Harry punching paparazzi. Harry approaching a topless dancer in Calgary. Harry dressed as a Nazi at a Colonials and Natives party. For this one the Brigadier felt the need to wince as he held it up.

“Furthermore,” said the Brigadier'“you will never be King.”

Harry opened his mouth to protest but was shut down by the Brigadier's eyes. “Face it. Your Father may not even become King. The British public are hell bent on William. They love him. They would elect him King if the Royal family weren’t the direct opposite of what democracy and voting was all about. You have no job advancement opportunities. Whatever you are now is what you will be until you die. However, there is one thing that you can do. One thing that will make you elite within the most elite family in the world and serve the greater good.”

Harry’s head jolted up. “I’m listening”

The Brigadier spoke slowly as if unwrapping a present “All these traits make a terrible soldier but they also make a great British Spy!”

“Like James Bond!” Harry almost shouted the words.

“But better than James Bond. Better than any member of MI-5. You would be James Bond with complete diplomatic immunity in every country of the world. A James Bond that would be invited by heads of states to their offices and governments and never questioned or searched.” The Brigadier was excited too and almost shouted along with Harry.

“That plan is so crazy it might just work.” Harry heard someone say that in a movie once and wanted to say it since.

“Oh, it will work. It worked before” The Brigadier shouted now.

“My family are spies? I mean, I know that Uncle Albert was Jack the Ripper, but we hid that.” Harry’s face was even redder from the shock. He looked like one large freckle.

“No, Prince Albert was not a serial killer. He was part of a long proud tradition of Royal espionage and those women were his assigned targets.”

“They were spies?” asked Harry

“Ya, spies, unionists, whatever. Prince Edward was another. Blowing off military training to work as a West End actor. Pfft!” The Brigadier waved his hand, dismissing the idea. “It was a carefully crafted cover.”

Harry shook his head “He seemed like a poof.”

“Yes, exactly, that was his cover. He was instrumental in the destroying the threat of Khadafy.” explained the Brigadier.

“Well, I don’t want a cover like that.”

“It’s okay. The public has already dismissed you. You don’t need a cover. Now, Next month you will be travelling to Italy. Would be able to leave this transmitter in the Prime Minister’s washroom?”

“Can I meet Q?” Harry asked.

The Brigadier paused for a moment to check if he was joking and then said yes. If an old reservist needed to dress in a lab coat for an afternoon to make this work, so be it.

On the bookshelf, holding several DVDs in place sat a small marble statue. Pope Pius XII presented it to King George. Harry moved it to his room because it was a nude and would rub his hands on the smooth marble breasts and smile. It broadcast the entire conversation to the Vatican where the Pope listened and giggled.

“Get ready” He said to the Swiss guards, “Prince Harry is about to find out what counter espionage is like among the rich and diplomatically immune.” He burst out in deep, deep cackle and stroked the cat sitting in his lap.

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