Bond. James Bond.

Written by Michael Badnarik

I recently went to the theater to watch No Time to Die, the most recent James Bond action movie. It is not my favorite, but it reveals plans for a new 007 agent in the future. You can search the Internet for speculation on who will replace Daniel Craig, if you’re interested. My only purpose for mentioning the movie was to create a logical segue for this personal story from over twenty years ago.

In 1997 I moved from California to Austin, Texas to begin a new job as a technical trainer for a cutting-edge software company. Within months I went from low man on the totem pole to senior instructor because several of the other instructors decided to leave the company. One of the instructors working with me was a very talented Australian woman in her early twenties. She was intelligent, beautiful, and friendly, but somewhat out of place in Texas. She was adamantly anti-gun, but I was very fond of her anyway. We could go to lunch and debate the issue vociferously… and return to work without our political differences affecting our friendship. That is one of the signs of intelligence.

My friend was distressed by the fact that she was getting old. She was about to turn twenty-five! In an effort to cheer herself up she decided to throw herself a themed birthday party. The theme was James Bond, and everyone was supposed to dress as their favorite Bond character. I was invited, of course, but this aging beauty kept requesting that I come to the party dressed as James Bond. I resisted for many days, explaining that I would have to spend considerable money to rent a tuxedo for the occasion. Finally, I offered her a compromise. I told her that I would come dressed as James Bond, but… I would come “dressed as James Bond”. I never clarified what that meant, but the look on her face suggested that she understood completely.

I rented the tux. At that age I was young enough that I could still clean up nicely. However, I had created a minor dilemma for myself. I didn’t want to make my hostess or her guests nervous with a loaded weapon, but I have always felt that carrying an unloaded pistol is more dangerous than being without. If someone sees the gun they will naturally assume that it is loaded, and if they take aggressive action, you are unable to defend yourself. I decided that I would wear my “fancy” stainless steel .45 unloaded in my shoulder holster. However, to prevent the possibility of someone walking off with my gun, I placed my “ordinary” black .45 in a holster at the small of my back, fully “cocked, locked, and loaded”. As I left for the party, I was suave, debonair, and heavily armed.

I knocked on the door and presented my hostess with a dozen yellow roses, welcoming her to Texas the best way I knew how. After a big hug and a kiss I discovered I was the first person at the party. Others began arriving, and everyone knew immediately who I was supposed to be. Sadly, I look more like Pierce Brosnan than Sean Connery. Brosnan is a good looking guy, but in my mind, Sean Connery is the only “real” James Bond. Unfortunately, I was the only one who came dressed as a Bond character, which made me stand out from the crowd more than I expected. Several hours later it was time to leave. I went to the kitchen to kiss my hostess again, and say goodbye for the evening. As she hugged me she looked at me suddenly and said, “You forgot to bring your gun!”. I smiled and responded, “Sweetheart… that’s why they call it a concealed weapon.” Still smiling, and with eyebrow raised in classic Connery fashion, I reached under the jacket and retrieved my stainless .45. Everyone in the apartment took a collective GASP, and held their breaths.

Rarely have I managed to be the center of attention like I was in that moment. I removed the magazine to show that it was empty, and locked the slide back to show that there wasn’t a bullet in the chamber. Everyone started to breathe again. And then… the question. “Is that a real gun?!” Clearly these people didn’t know me. Suddenly, everyone wants to hold the gun, probably for the first time in their lives. As long as nobody heads towards the door with it, I’m happy to share. It feels like show-and-tell in fourth grade. I hoped that I was providing a public service by helping people realize that a gun is a tool, much like a chainsaw. They are both very efficient, but potentially dangerous if the operator doesn’t know what they are doing. I began debating a man who started the conversation by saying, “You have no right to have that gun.” Two hours later he admitted, “I don’t like it, but I recognize you have a right to have it. Awesome! That rarely happens.

After my final good byes, I headed for my beautiful, sleek, Pontiac Trans Am GTA, with a $12,000 rebuilt racing engine, and a $1,800 racing transmission. I was wearing a tux and had two powerful handguns on my body. I smiled, knowing – this is how James Bond feels every day.

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6 Comments

  1. Celeste

    Wonderful story! I can totally see you in the time and dressed to the hilt!

    Reply
  2. V

    You’re awesome Mr. B. I’d invite you to my parties anytime! 😉

    Reply
  3. Mette

    I may not be a James Bond character, but I understand. I just returned from walking 5 dogs (no leashes) with my revolver in my hip pocket. In Texas it is not if you have a gun, but how many. I do miss when men wore fedoras and suits.

    [mjb: I concur that society was much more sophisticated years ago. Today, people can’t find their way home without the GPS on their smart phone.
    sophisticated: adjective
    *altered by education, experience, etc., so as to be worldly-wise; not naive
    *pleasing or satisfactory to the tastes of sophisticates, or people who are educated, cultured, and worldly-wise]

    Reply
  4. Big Lar

    You have many fans far and wide, and for good reason…
    It’s true that you like a good party, and I will not forget you showing up at my retirement party in Oregon, fresh off the plane from Texas, ten-gallon hat and foot-wide smile, looking the part in your Lone Star button-down shirt!
    Good story, my friend! Keep on debating liberals — it’s good for them!

    Reply
  5. Richard

    It was fun doing open carry at horizon 76 with you and the group. The steaks there were actually amazing!

    Reply
  6. Merilyn

    Awwwww … so glad my party made an impression on you. I’m almost double 25 now (where has the time gone)! In case I didn’t tell you enough – you looked fantastic tux, gun and all. Funnily enough when I ended up living in the England, I ended up going to lots of parties where wearing a tux and dressing up to a party was a normal thing :o) Totally my scene.
    Love Mx

    [mjb: I miss you, my Aussie Sweetheart! I would rent a tux again just for another opportunity to hug you. (Your husband doesn’t read this, does he?) You still look magnificent, my Dear. All those brains, and good looks, too! What’s not to like?]

    Reply

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