Number 88 to Parliament Square

John Russell was waiting at a bus stop. He had the number 88 written on his hand which, he had been reliably informed, would take him to Parliament Square. He couldn’t afford the fare for a taxi which was difficult for him to swallow since he was born into one of the highest echelons of the British aristocracy. Despite this he still regarded the condition of London’s streets to be immaculate and since he’d never seen chewing gum before he assumed it to be some kind of natural side-effect to the large amounts of concrete and cold, wet weather.

Unaware the youth next to him was scouting for anything of value; John Russell took a seat under the shelter and studied the map.

“Excuse me mate, you got the time?” said the youth.

John Russell looked up at the youth and tried to make sense of the noise that he’d heard. He wasn’t sure why the youth was talking to him. Had he made a request? Was he asking him for something? Perhaps it was just a passing comment.

“Yes…” John Russell replied smiling and nodding his head. There was a long pause as John Russell continued to smile at the youth while the youth looked back at John Russell anticipating a useful response. John Russell’s smiling had now gone. He was aware that the answer he’d chosen didn’t quite fit the requirements.

He was, however, certain that he hadn’t offended.

“Well? What is it then?” the youth raised his voice and stepped a little closer to John Russell. At this point Elvis emerged from a shop with a cigarette in his mouth and a bottle of coke in his hand.

“Hey John, look! Marlboro. Just like before.” he noticed the youth standing close in front of John Russell. “Hey, this kid giving you trouble John?”

“I only wanna know the fuckin time”, the youth, feeling intimidated by the confident American gentlemen in front of him, butted in before John Russell could answer the question. Elvis, looking at his watch replied “Two thirty now get the hell out of here”.

The youth mumbled obscenities under his breath and put a hood over his head to cover from the rain before leaving the bus stop. Elvis, when sure of the youth’s departure turned to John Russell. “Jesus Christ… “, he took a drag from his cigarette, “So, how you doing John?”

John Russell looked to his feet before turning to Elvis. “Elvis Presley, I am experiencing difficulty understanding you. It would seem we share the same tongue but we speak with it in different ways. This, perhaps, is the reason the young gentlemen reacted as he did”.

“No sweat JR. As soon as we get to the House of Parliament we’ll get this mess sorted out.” Elvis replied, apparently disregarding John Russell’s concerns.

Meanwhile in a small chamber in the depths of the House’s of Parliament a small posse of individuals gathered seemingly to discuss something of great importance. Among them was James Bond who was familier with his famous fictional name sake however had neither read the books nor watched any of the films. He was a watcher of birds and a published one at that. He stood close to a tall figure who didn’t appear to speak any English yet seemed to realise his own presence in the chamber was part of the cause for discussion. He was wearing a top hat and a long black coat. Beneath this was anyone’s guess and since more pressing matters were at hand, a guessing game seemed pointless. Should the discussion not prove to provoke sufficient answers perhaps but for the time being the tall foreigner did his best to listen and nod his head at the correct times.