James Pond and the mystery of the CIPS dinner

(The story so far – James Pond and Agent X are disguised as two CIPS Past Presidents with the aim of infiltrating the CIPS Dinner, to find out more about the devious plan to change the name of the Institute).

The phone rang in M’s office. She picked it up.

‘It’s Pond here – sorry, I should have said ‘David Smith’.  We have a problem, we need to talk urgently’.

‘What's up’?

‘You know you said the Smiths would not be attending tonight because none of the sponsors or corporates had invited them -  well, apparently they've bought tickets themselves’!

‘What’? M didn’t often sound shocked but this had clearly rattled her. ‘Procurement directors paying for a dinner out of their own pocket? Good gracious, we certainly didn’t see that one coming’!

‘So what are we going to do  - it's 3 o'clock, we only have a few hours’.

M tapped at her computer for a moment.   ‘OK’ she said, ‘I’ve hacked into the hotel booking website, they’re staying at the Grand Star Lux hotel’.

‘Sounds nice – where is it’?

‘Just downwind of the abattoir, round the corner from Paddington Station by the addict drop-in centre. £70 a night, bring your own towels’, said M.

‘That sounds more like procurement people spending their own money’.

M continued. ‘You need to get there while they’re changing for dinner.  And – you know what to do. Neutralise them’.

‘We can get there in 20 minutes I reckon. But you mean...’ Pond hesitated.

‘Yes, Use Agent X if you need to. He knows how to handle these situations. He’s  been in some bad places before. Baghdad. Mogadishu. Friday night in Sunderland’.

........

David Smith came around first. A little light crept into the basement from a window high above his head. He tried to stand up and quickly realised that his right ankle was chained to the radiator against the wall. Then he noticed another recumbent figure.

‘Peter is that you? Wake up, what's going on’?

Peter Smith groaned, and opened his eyes. He too was chained to the radiator. Between them lay a rusty hacksaw, a small tape recorder, and a corkscrew. Next to the saw was a bulky cardboard box. David could move just far enough to open the box.

‘What is it’, asked Peter.

David pulled out a bottle. ‘Meursault  Premier Cru, 2010. That’s a great year’.

They looked at each other.

‘Well’, David said. ‘It could be worse. Pass that corkscrew’.

...........

Meanwhile, Pond and X approached the Hilton Hotel. They  paused across the road from the main entrance, and took in the scene.

'I can feel the evil resonating through the ether, like a soft cloak of dread and vice’, said X.

Pond looked at him. ‘You got that out of a book , didn’t you?’

‘Yeah’ said X. ‘Just looks like lots of middle-aged blokes who feel uncomfortable in a bow tie. Some pretty girls, mind you. Very nice. Perhaps there’s something to be said for this purchasing lark’.

‘None of that', said Pond sternly. ‘Remember what M said – the Smiths wouldn’t dream of spending the whole evening seeking out the most attractive women in the room, then desperately trying to impress them with their Past President medals. They are strictly business only types, apparently’.

‘Shame’, said X. ‘Let’s go in then’.

(To be continued...)

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