An offshoot of the ‘Is the time right for an American villain?’ thread, where posters need to be concerned about current politics and upsetting those who don’t share the same views.
This is not a serious submission, just wishful thinking on my part. My treatment depends on the return of David Harbour as Greg Beam, so that no one can claim that this obnoxious character was created to represent anybody else.
Here goes (and I expect I’ll get a lot of flak for this, but what the hell…):
BOND 25: BEAM OF DARKNESS
After San Diego and Tijuana are irradiated by a neutron bomb, Felix Leiter requests 007’s participation in an investigation. When Bond arrives in NY – with Franz/Ernst Blofeld in tow, they go to a fancy restaurant and Felix provides the backstory:
Greg Beam, having risen to his highest level of incompetence as the head of the CIA, agreed to be running-mate for a presidential nominee (cue Whittaker: “Hell, Bush Sr. woulda done it”). When the recently inaugurated president died under mysterious circumstances*(*At a press conference in Flint, Michigan, the President declared Flint’s drinking water to be the “purest, cleanest drinking water in the world”. When a reporter informed him that the water he’d been drinking at the podium was from a Flint tap, the President – a renown hypochondriac – collapsed and died. Upon examination, it was found that the water in the pitcher was fine (it wasn’t from Flint) but the glass had been coated in arsenic. The only person who could have tampered with the glass was the VP, prompting a short-lived investigation by the FBI), Beam assumed the mantle of power and immediately started drafting the most asinine and self-destructive executive orders ever to come out of the White House: slashing funding to health care and education to finance boondoggle projects of his own devising, raping protected lands, insulting and alienating enemies and allies alike, drawing support from the most undesirable elements of American society, seizing the assets of first- and second-generation immigrants and deporting them, and shutting down the FBI’s investigation into the death of the late president.
Beam asked Leiter to give up his new job as 2IC of the CIA and replace the head of the FBI – whom he’d just fired – but Leiter declined, which immediately placed him on President Beam’s burgeoning ‘enemies’ list. The last straw came when Beam ordered a series of neutron strikes along the US/Mexico border, irradiating the land for miles on either side, creating an “inexpensive deterrent to illegal border crossing”. The westernmost strike landed off target, killing millions in San Diego and Tijuana. Beam, of course, blames his Secretary of State for the miscalculation.
Felix asks Bond to help him bring down Beam, since Congress is either too cowed or corrupt to do it themselves. Blofeld was brought along because even he agreed that Beam “makes the rest of us criminal psychopaths look bad. You’re only supposed to threaten your targets with bombs – you’re not supposed to actually use them!” In a cross-country chase Bond, Blofeld and Felix run a gauntlet of skinheads, Klansmen and other deluded Beam supporters (scenes from ‘Race with the Devil’ and ‘Cobra’ could be inserted here), and easily-resisted seduction attempts by Beam’s top advisor and his press secretary, before finally meeting with the new chairman of the NRA. Blofeld convinces the Chair that, if Beam repeals the 1st and 25th Amendments, he’ll have to repeal the 2nd as well, as no dictator can allow his people access to weapons. The Chair puts out the call for all concerned citizens to exercise their right to bear arms “being necessary to the security of a free state… (and)… deterring tyrannical government.”
So a rag-tag army descends upon Washington. Beam immediately orders the army to protect the White House (which now features an ostentatious platinum BEAM logo over the portico). In a scene similar to the attempted Russian coup of 1991, a fleet of tanks roll up to surround 1600 Pennsylvania, only instead of turning their turret guns outward, they turn them inward, training them on the windows of the Oval Office. The Secretary of State stands on a tank with a bullhorn and orders President Beam to surrender.
In the Oval Office it’s a scene right out of Downfall: Beam, surrounded by the last of his sycophants, is having a meltdown so incoherent it’s accompanied by subtitles: he recalls how every single citizen in the country attended his inauguration, how those approaching the gates and manning the tanks have to be those millions of illegals his predecessor complained about, along with his former opponent, the Russians, FBI, etc, how ungrateful and disloyal everyone has become when all he wanted to do was make his mark (and a sh*tload of money), how McNuggets are better than popcorn chicken…
Beam is carried out of the White House, still foaming at the mouth, and turned over to Bond and Felix. Blofeld is made interim provisional President, and he immediately begins restoring order. Sure he’s criminally insane, but Americans are already used to that and his organizational skills eclipse Beam’s by orders of magnitude (he also keeps the platinum E and B over the portico).
Bond and Felix fly Beam to San Diego, where they present him to the irradiated survivors of the Neutron strike at a stadium where Beam once held one of his pointless self-worship rallys.
Felix: “Oh look, radiation suits for the three of us!”
Bond: “Oops, not any more!”
They promise Beam that they will let him go free if he tells the survivors “I’m sorry I did this, I was wrong to have done this, and I promise I will never do it again.” Beam agrees. Once the booing and jeering have diminished, Beam delivers his apologia:
Beam: “To all my loyal supporters out there, my followers, citizens, denizens and minions, I’m really sorry that this happened. I should have never listened to my advisors and generals – they led me astray, but I promise that, once I’m back in power, I will do my best to make sure that they never let this happen again.”
Although Beam didn’t keep his promise, Bond and Felix keep theirs. They point out the stadium gates and tell Beam that he’s free to go – south. They’ll even give him an hour’s head start before releasing everyone in the stadium.
Felix: “If you get to the border before they catch up with you, you’re a free man – provided the Mexicans let you in.”
(Bond throws down a large haversack stuffed with all the money Beam had been skimming off the Treasury, collecting for his phony charity and taking in bribes from big-carbon industry.)
Bond: “You’ll want this, of course.”
Beam (a la Killifer): There’s 4 ½ billion in that case – I’ll split it with you.”
Felix: “You don’t share, and you don’t keep promises.”
Bond: “Besides, we want to watch what happens next.”
So Beam starts off (almost like Greene) into the wasteland with a hundredweight of cash strapped to his back. Bond and Felix watch from the gate as he shrinks on the horizon.
Epilogue: Beam makes it to within sight of the wall (a clip from Machete Kills will cut down on production costs here), burnt orange by the residual radiation, still dragging his precious loot behind him. Half his hair has fallen out and vainly combing if forward over his bald spots only makes him look more ludicrous. He hears the sound of his pursuers gaining on him when his bloated, corrupt, cholesterol-choked heart finally gives out on him. He falls face down in the sand, where his pursuers leave him – except for his head, which they remove and bury at a crossroad, just to be sure.
James Bond will return
(If anyone thinks that this story really isn’t about Greg Beam, but is actually a roman a clef describing somebody else, please let me remind you of the lines from the theme song (composed by Isaac Hayes):
“They say that Beam is one arrogant, egotistical, narcissistic, sociopathic mother…”
Chorus: “Hush your mouth!”
“But I’m talking about Beam.”
Chorus: “And we can dig it.”