Budapest to the Black Sea

Budapest to the Black Sea

Thursday, 31 July 2008

The Bourne Misunderstanding

The kids and I are great fans of the Bourne movies and the most recent. ‘The Bourne Ultimatum’ is worth seeing if only for the sensational chase sequence on Waterloo Station.

Scene: The beating heart of Basingstoke, the Railway Station, Traveller’s Fare snack bar.
“The train now arriving at Platform 2 is the 09.35 for Exeter St David’s, calling at….”
Katya Grodzsinski leant on the cappuccino machine and studied the man on the stool by the window. He had been there for more than an hour, nursing the same cup of tea. He barely moved, gazing north towards the Reading branch, occasionally he spoke into his phone.
“Overton, Whitley, Andover, ,….”
Katya moved over to the magazine rack to get closer to him. She made a pretence of tidying the ‘Now’s, ‘Hello’s, ‘OK’s, and ‘Big Breasts Monthly‘s’. Two days worth of stubble did nothing to mar his good looks.
“Vould you like anuzzer cup of tea?” she said. He turned slowly to look at her, he said nothing and his eyes told her less. The Exeter train pulled in, his eyes flicked back to the window, a momentary flash of interest.
…passengers for Micheldever, Old Todger and Long Trousers should travel in the first five coaches of this 10 coach train due to short platforms at those stations”.

Scene: CIA Headquarters, Langley, Virginia, USA. Covert Operations Room, an acre of flickering screens and earnest young Americans fighting for freedom the best way they know how.
“Chief! We gotta hit on ‘Fishpaste’. A cell phone in Europe”. The atmosphere suddenly crackled, screens jumped into life, coffee cups were pushed to one side as the room swung from an average CIA day at the office propping up murderous dictatorships to battle stations.
“Ok! Where is it? Location, location, location!”
“Basingstoke, England sir. The railroad station”.
Whose phone is it? C’mon people we’re losing time”.
“The phone is registered to a J. Bourne of 42 Elm Tree Rd, Solihull, Birmingham, England”.
The Chief exploded. “Jesus H Christ! Bourne’s alive! Bourne’s alive and he knows about the ‘Fishpaste’ programme”.
Younger operatives around the room glanced at one another in alarm, older hands mentally buckled up their seat belts and prepared for a bumpy ride.
“Listen up people, we are going to condition ‘Tangerine’, Jason Bourne is the most potent threat to National Security that we could possibly face. This is a code 5 Priority. Where is our nearest asset”?
“Er. Twenty minutes away Chief”
“OK. Activate the asset. Give him a no recall, green for go, shoot to kill directive”.

Scene: Wisteria Cottage, the Clampings, Hook, Hampshire, UK.
A middle aged couple are enjoying a late breakfast. The woman scanned the Daily Mail (headline “All Foreigners are Satanists Claim”) while eating her second piece of toast. Opposite her the man pondered the Telegraph crossword. The mobile phone on the table suddenly chirruped, the man read the text on the screen, put the crossword down and said “I have to go out for a while”
His wife looked at him for a long moment. “Oh, I see” she said.
He got up, went out to the hall and opened the cupboard under the stairs. He pushed aside the golf clubs, Christmas decorations and wellingtons, he took out a leather holdall labelled Hartley Witney Bowls Club. He headed for the front door, the elderly Labrador dozing in a basket in the corner lurched to his feet in hope of an unexpected walk but quickly sensed that what his master had to do he had to do alone and slumped back down again.

Scene: Basingstoke Station.
“Southwest Trains regret to announce that due to engineering works in the Basingstoke area this weekend and for the following 52 weekends…
The man got up from his stool and came to the counter. His eyes held Katya’s for a moment before he said, “Can I have a Scotch Egg please?”
Katya couldn’t place his accent. Was he English?
“Sure” she said, “anuzzer tea?”
He looked weary for a moment as if the acceptance of a cup of tea was a surrender to a human weakness he would rather not admit.
….there will be no train services to or from this station. Alternative bus services will be provided but frankly they are not much use and you would do better to stay at home, there is plenty to do in Basingstoke”

Scene: CIA Headquarters, Langley, Virginia, USA.
The Chief paced the room angrily. “Where’s the fucking CCTV from Basingstoke? We can’t afford to lose this guy”.
“Online now Chief!”
The senior men clustered round a screen to watch a fuzzy grey image of Basingstoke Station, Platform 3. The camera panned slowly along the platform.
“Where is he? Where is he?” fumed the Chief.
Finally the camera panned across the window of the Traveller’s Fare snack bar. A shadowy figure sat on a stool by the magazine rack.
“OK hold it there. Increase the resolution.”
The shadowy figure came slowly into focus, the image fractured by reflections on the window.
“That’s him! That’s Bourne!” said the Chief
“You sure Chief”? said his deputy, who at that moment thought the image could be anyone from Joseph Stalin to Minnie Mouse.
“Jesus I’ve been hunting this guy for ten years. I know it’s him. Where’s the goddamn asset?

Scene: The A30 between Hook and Basingstoke.
The man from Wisteria Cottage drove the Rover with calm assurance, his mobile chirruped again on the seat beside him. An image of a young man appeared on the screen, he studied it for a few moments then snapped the phone shut and put it away.

Scene: Basingstoke Station.
“Customers are asked not to leave any unattended baggage….
The young man watched two men in dark blue anoraks come onto the platform from the subway, they didn’t look in his direction and strode purposefully to the north end of the platform where the sat down on a bench. He put the Scotch egg in his rucksack, left his tea, and followed them.
“Zank you. Come back soon” said Katya but she was talking to a closing door.
“…and if they do see anything unusual please point it out to a member of staff as they do have a very dull time here.”

Scene: CIA Headquarters, Langley, Virginia, USA.
“He’s on the move people. Let’s not lose him. Shit! Who are those other two guys on the bench? Where’s the asset?”
“Asset in position now sir”.

Scene: Sainsbury’s Pay & Display Car Park, Basingstoke
The man from Wisteria Cottage parked the Rover on the deserted roof of the Sainsbury’s Multi-Storey Pay & Display. He paid for half an hour and carefully stuck the ticket to the inside of his windscreen. Then he carried the Hartley Witney Bowls Club holdall to the north parapet and assembled the Ptacynski P45 snipers rifle that it contained. He then clipped on the Hytner diometric telescopic day-sight, together they made the weapon of choice of assassins the world over. He slipped a single round into the chamber and started to hunt his prey. From his vantage point he had an excellent view of the full length of Platform 3.

Scene: Basingstoke Station.
The man came up to the two men on the bench and greeted them familiarly.
“Hi fellers. Anyone fancy a fishpaste sandwich?”
At that moment the man from Wisteria Cottage shot Jason Bourne of 42 Elm Tree Rd, Solihull, rail enthusiast and train spotter, better known to his mates as ‘Gobbler’, through his right eye.

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