James leaned against the railing beside the estate to finish his cigarette. Nearby an obvious papparazzi was awkwardly trying to look like he wasn't waiting around. He was a forgettable sort of ugly with his unkempt hair, untrimmed beard, clashy hawaiian shirt, and obviously overpriced camera with bazooka-like telephoto lens. As he finished the cigarette James couldn't resist remarking to him "the countess isn't even here you know?"
The papparazzi looked flustered and stammered "wha, wha, what? how do you know?"
"Oh, I know," responded James with a wink as he turned to walk toward the entrance. He straightened his bow tie as he approached. A burly security guard in a suit with a black tie looked up as he approached the gate.
"I'm on the list," said James smoothly, and with a motion that appeared to be pointing at a name on the clipboard he actually deftly deposited a hundred dollar bill. He barely broke his stride as he slid smoothly past the guard, who professionally affirmed he was on the list as he pocketed the money.
Later on, in the ballroom, everything was going according to plan. James had been making eyes with the countess' beautiful daughter, who was key to getting into the plot. He would ask her to dance and slip the tracking device onto her. Their eyes met across the hall and they began to walk towards eachother, people parting between them like the sea. Suddenly a man stumbled backwards right into James.
"Hey!" exclaimed James, and as the man began to stammer his apologies, James recognized him as the papparazzi, now clad in an ill-fitting tuxedo.
"How'd YOU get in here?" growled James between clenched teeth.
"I was on the list" replied the other man with a sheepish grin.
"Oh lord," breathed James as he rolled his eyes. Did this chump also bribe the security guard? Does the guard have no shame at all?
"And let me guess you're not a papparazzi?" asked James as he looked up to try to find the countess' daughter but she was no longer where he'd last seen her.
"I'm a family friend!" said the papparazi in a badly acted attempt at sincerity.
"No you're not" rejoined James as he deftly fished a small camera out of the papparazis jacket pocket.
"Hey! That's mi--" the man began to object
"Look just stay out of trouble and I won't have security throw you out" said James pocketing the camera and moving away back into the crowd to try to find the countess' daughter again.
Later that night James crept deftly out of the daughter's room well inside the secured part of the chateau and made his way down to the room in the dungeons where the McGuffin device was kept. He expertly disabled the alarm and picked up the small device. As he was hurrying down toward the helipad in an upper hall bathed in moonlight from the row of windows, an alarm began to wail. "oops" he mumbled to himself as he began to run. Suddenly a guard appeared from a doorway ahead, and almost immediately fired a shot at him. The shot missed and shattered a nearby wnidow. James fired back with the small gun he had pulled from inside his jacket, and dove out the window, expertly landing in a hedge below.
Climbing out of the hedge and dusting the leaves off himself James was gratified to see that across the ornate flowerbeds, fountains and hedge topiaries in the cold moonlight a small catering truck was still on the property and near it stood a janitor who had been pushing a trash bin towards it, still cleaning up after the fancy ball so the property would be pristine in the morning. But in the mean time James had to deal with security. To his left he saw a tall hedge maze and ran into it as uniformed security guards began to run into the garden. In the hedge maze it was a simple matter to hide in the hedge itself in a nook until a security guard came by. Then James clonked him over the head and put his large jacket on over his tuxedo jacket and his distinctive hat on his head. He then exited the hedge maze while shining his newly acquired flashlight around as if he was looking for someone, as he made his way to the catering truck. Despite the ruckus the janitor was still unloading trashcans from the cart onto the truck.
"Excuse me sir," said James in a tone of brusque authority, "we have a situation here please allow me to search your truck"
"Yes, of course," said the employee in a tired sounding voice and beckoned James around to the back. James planned to expertly knock the man out as he came around the corner but much to his surprise as he came around to the back of the truck he found himself staring down the long barel of a gun with a silencer and behind it the ugly face of the paparazzi.
"You??" James couldn't help showing his surprise.
"Quite." said the man with neither a stammer nor a smirk. James carefully manouvered his gun hand in preparation to shoot this new adversary. Just then the small camera in his pocket exploded with electrical currents, effectively tasering James. As he involuntarily doubled over the other man relieved him of the McGuffin Device and disappeared into the night.
I've had this idea for awhile now, I know the incompetent spy is a well worn cliche but I've had this idea for a novel or movie about a spy who is actually thoroughly competent but instead of being ultra suave like James Bond his cover is to look so un-suave as to not be taken seriously.