No. 599

Modifications Branch had designed a sophisticated laser, one small enough to fit into a watch. However, the specialised systems took up the entire volume of the watch’s case, leaving no room for timekeeping parts. Agent Huntwood was left unable to use the device for its intended purpose, which was a concern when others noticed the ostentatious brand name and started asking questions.

“Say,” they’d say, “that watch looks pretty fancy. Do you happen to have the time?”, and Agent Huntwood would have to begin improvising. Typically, he would look at his wrist, while simultaneously analysing the angle of the sun, or searching desperately for any microwaves or VCRs in the room. He didn’t have the option of surreptitiously checking his phone, because his phone was a grenade.

More often than not, he would answer with “cough-thirty-cough-cough”, and hope for the best.

His luck ran out one fateful day in Ljubljana, Slovenia.

“Ah ha!” said the international smuggler that Huntwood has been tasked to defeat. “I’ve seen one of these before, in a film, I think!” He examined the watch from every angle. “It is a most impressive piece of craftsmanship.”

Then the smuggler placed the watch on a table and picked up his gun. “Unfortunately, Michael, it has let you down, and the current time is ‘to die’!”

Huntwood waited until the last possible second and then threw his phone at the smuggler. “Call someone who cares!”