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Blue Star

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By Scott Sullivan

Editor

Bonds Have More Fun

I was stirred but not shaken to learn James Bond is an alcoholic. So say public health experts in New Zealand, who analyzed 43 years of Bond films and found the fictional British spy had a “severe, chronic” drinking problem.

007 got blitzed before waging aerial combat in helicopter gunships, deactivating nuclear devices, playing high-stakes poker, fighting deadly animals and having sex with women who meant to kill him, often with guns or knives in the bed.

That’s a standard workday for me. My problem is what to do after break. Still, Kiwi healers — who apparently have nothing better to do than watch 25 feature-length movies, then diagnose an unreal character — don’t advise it. I conclude they live in a land that’s down under and upside down.

The other day I walked into the Sand Bar — Barbara Bach on one shoulder, Ursula Undress on the other — and told Pete, “Dry martini. Lemon peel. Shaken, not stirred.”

The regulars knew instantly I was a world-famous secret agent. “You’re Sean Connery, right? Roger Moore? Pierce Brosnan? Daniel Craig?”

“Close,” I said suavely. “Don Knotts.”

“I knew it! What are you doing here?”

“Scouting prospects. I have a licence to kill.”

“I could use one of those.”

“Five bucks,” Pete said.

“Charge my account.”

“Cash only.”

“What? My films have cleared $7 billion plus worldwide and I can’t get credit?”

“You’re fictional,” Pete said. “Why not the truth?”

“You can’t handle it. Oops, wrong movie. If I’m fake, why do health experts spend more time studying me than real patients?”

“See, that proves it.”

I couldn’t argue that, so I gave him a $5. ”Another,” I said.

“I’m cutting you off.”

“Who made you Lorena Bobbitt?”

“If you want to get blasted,” Pete said, “and speed 200 mph in your Aston Martin down Butler Street, that’s your business. But what if you edit?”

“Huh?”

“I just read about Chinese scientist He Jiankui, who’s in trouble for editing genes of newborn twin girls.”

“I edit newspapers.”

“Even worse. He meant well: to include in their genes a protective variant against HIV transmission.”

“Is He a she?”

“Either way, scientific peers have condemned him. Altering genes, they say, risks off-target effects (unintentionally changing other genes) and mosaicism (only altering the target genes in some of the child’s cells, not all) that could lead to unexpected and harmful health effects such as cancer.”

“Don’t we risk those with unaltered genes?”

“Theologians also object to He playing God.”

“Like George Burns?”

“That was in a movie.”

“How do we know this isn’t one? If people can do it — bioengineering, in this case — why be surprised when they do?”

“It violates ethical boundaries.”

“Have Trump build a wall.”

“You’re defending this?”

“Scientists in the Ukraine have been cranking out three-parent IVF babies for years. I’m not saying it’s right. Only that it happens.”

“You’ve had one and already it’s too many,” Pete ordered. “Out!”

As the door hit I wondered what Bond would do in this case. Blow up an embassy? Visit a space station? Choices, choices. Plus I had Barbara and Ursula cooing sweet nothings on either shoulder. Then M arrived.

“How goes the mission?” he asked.

“It’s secret.”

“I’m the one who ordered it.”

“Oh. Not so well, in that case.”

“What’s the problem?”

“Pete cut me off.”

M dropped his gaze.

“No,” I said. “Not there. I can’t save the world on just one martini. Plus, I think he stirred it.”

“The horror. So now what?”

“Let’s go to Phil’s,” I said.