“Hello, Mac.” The girl smiled up at him. “Tiara’s going along okay.” She glanced round the packed room. “Seems your little hot dog stand ain’t doing too badly.”

“Can’t complain,” said the tall young man. “Too much expense-account aristocracy. Never enough pretty girls around. You ought to come in more often.” He smiled at Bond. “Everything all right?”

“Couldn’t be better.”

“Come again.” He snapped a ringer at the wine waiter. “Sam, ask my friends what they’d like to have with their coffee.” And, with a final smile which embraced them both, he moved to another table.

Tiffany ordered a Stinger made with white crème de menthe and Bond ordered the same.

When the liqueurs and the coffee came, Bond took up the conversation where they had left it. “But Tiffany,” he said. “This diamond racket looks easy enough. Why shouldn’t we just go on doing it together? Two or three trips a year will get us good money, and that won’t be often enough to make Immigration or customs ask any awkward questions.”

Tiffany Case was not impressed. “Just you put it up to ABC,” she said. “I keep telling you that these people aren’t fools. They’re running a big operation with this stuff. I’ve never had the same carrier twice, and I’m not the only guard doing the run. What’s more, I’m pretty certain we weren’t alone on that plane. I bet they had someone else watching us both. They check and double check on every dam thing they do.” She was irritated with his lack of respect for the quality of her employers. “Why, I’ve never even seen ABC,” she said. “I just call up a number in London and get my orders on a wire-recorder. Anything I’ve got to say, I send back to ABC the same way. I tell you all this is way above your head. You and your dam country house burglaries.” She was crushing. “Brother! Have you got another think coming!”

“I see,” said Bond respectfully, wondering how the hell he could get the ABC telephone number out of her. “They certainly seem to think of everything.”

“Bet your life,” said the girl flatly. The subject was now boring. She gazed moodily into her Stinger, and then drank it down.

Bond sensed the beginning of a vin triste. “Care to go somewhere else?” he said, knowing that it had,been he who had killed the evening.

“Hell no,” she said dully. “Take me home. I’m getting tight. Why’n hell couldn’t you dream up something else to talk about except these goddam hoodlums?”

Bond paid the check and in silence they went down and out of the cool envelope of the restaurant into the sultry night that stank of petrol and hot asphalt.

“Staying at the Astor too,” she said as they got into a cab. She pressed into the far corner of the back seat and sat hunched up with her chin in her hand, looking out at the hideous deadly nightshade of the neon.

Bond said nothing. He looked out of the window and cursed his job. All he wanted to say to this girl was: “Listen. Come with me. I like you. Don’t be afraid. It can’t be worse than alone.” But if she said yes he would have been smart. And he didn’t want to be smart with this girl. It was his job to use her, but, whatever the job dictated, there was one way he would never ‘use’ this particular girl. Through the heart.

In front of the Astor, he helped her out on to the sidewalk and she stood with her back to him while he paid the driver. They walked up the steps in the stiff silence of a married couple after a bad evening ending in a row.

They got their keys at the deck and she said “five” to the boy on the elevator. She stood with her face to the door as they rode up. Bond saw that the knuckles of the hand that held her evening bag were white. At the fifth she walked quickly out and made no protest when Bond followed her. They walked round several corners until they came to her door. She bent down and fitted the key into the lock and pushed the door open. Then she turned in the entrance and faced him.

“Listen, you Bond person…”

It had started as the beginning of an angry speech, but then she paused and looked straight into his eyes, and Bond saw that her eyelashes were wet. And suddenly she had flung an arm round his neck and her face was against his and she was saying “Look after yourself, James. I don’t want to lose you.” And then she pulled his face against hers and kissed him once, hard and long on the lips, with a fierce tenderness that was almost without sex.

But, as Bond’s arms went round her and he started to return her kiss, she suddenly stiffened and fought her way free, and the moment was over.

With her hand on the knob of the open door, she turned and looked at him, and the sultry glow was back in her eyes.

“Now get away from me,” she said fiercely, and slammed the door and locked it.



JAMES BOND spent most of Saturday in his air-conditioned room at the Astor, avoiding the heat, sleeping, and composing a hundred-group cable addressed to the Chairman, Universal Export, London, He used a simple transposition code based on the fact that it was the sixth day of the week and that the date was the fourth of the eighth month.

The report concluded that the diamond pipeline began somewhere near Jack Spang, in the shape of Rufus B. Saye, and ended with Seraffimo Spang, and that the main junction in the pipe was the office of Shady Tree from which, presumably, the stones were fed into the House of Diamonds for cutting and marketing.

Bond requested London to put a close tail on Rufus B. Saye, but he warned that an individual known as ‘ABC’ seemed to be in direct command of the actual smuggling on behalf of the Spangled Mob, and that Bond had no clue to this individual’s identity except that he appeared to be located in London. Presumably only this man would provide a lead back to the actual source of the smuggled diamonds somewhere on the continent of Africa.

Bond reported that his own intention was to continue working up the pipeline in the direction of Seraffimo Spang, using as an unconscious agent Tiffany Case, whose background he briefly reported.

Bond sent the cable ‘Collect’ via Western Union, had his fourth shower of the day and went .to Voisin’s where he had two Vodka Martinis, Oeufs Benedict and strawberries. Over dinner he read the racing forecasts for the Saratoga meeting, from which he noted that the joint favourites for The Perpetuities Stakes were Mr C. V. Whitney’s Come Again and Mr William Woodward Jnr’s Pray Action. Shy Smile was not mentioned.

Then Bond walked back to his hotel and went to bed.

Punctually at nine on Sunday morning, a black Studebaker convertible drew up to the sidewalk where Bond was standing beside his suitcase.

When he had thrown his case on to the back seat and climbed in beside Leiter, Leiter reached up to the roof and pulled back a lever. Then he pressed a button on the dash, and, with a thin hydraulic whine, the canvas roof slowly raised itself up into the air and folded itself down and back into a recess between the rear seat and the boot. Then, manipulating the steering wheel gearshift with easy movements of his steel hook, he took the car fast across Central Park.

“It’s about two hundred miles,” said Leiter when they were down on the Hudson River Parkway. “Almost due north up the Hudson. In New York State. Just south of the Adirondacks and not far short of the Canadian border. We’ll take the Taconic Parkway. There’s no hurry, so we’ll go easy. And I don’t want to get a ticket. There’s a fifty-mile speed limit in most of New York State, and the cops are fierce. But I can generally get away from them if I’m in a hurry. They don’t book you if they can’t catch you. Too ashamed to turn up in court and admit something is faster than their Indians.”

“But I thought those Indians could do well over ninety,” said Bond, thinking that his friend had become a bit of a show-off since the old days. “I didn’t know these Studebakers had it in them.”

There was a straight stretch of empty road in front of them. Leiter gave a brief glance in his driving mirror and suddenly rammed the gear lever into second and thrust his foot into the floor. Bond’s head jerked back on his shoulders, and he felt his spine being rammed into the back of the bucket seat. Incredulously, he glanced at the hooded speedometer. Eighty. With a clang Leiter’s hook hit the gear lever into top. The car went on gathering speed. Ninety, ninety-five, six, seven-and then there was a bridge and a converging road and Leiter’s foot was on the brake and the deep roar of the engine gave way to a steady thrumming as they settled down in the seventies and swept easily through the graded curves.

Leiter glanced sideways at Bond and grinned. “Nearly another thirty in hand,” he said proudly. “Not long ago I paid five dollars and put her through the measured mile at Daytona. She clocked a hundred and twenty-seven and that beach surface isn’t any too hot.”

“Well I’ll be damned,” said Bond incredulously. “But what sort of a car is this anyway? Isn’t it a Studebaker?”

“Studillac,” said Leiter. “Studebaker with a Cadillac engine. Special transmission and brakes and rear axle. Conversion job. A small firm near New York turns them out. Only a few, but they’re a damn sight better sports car than those Corvettes and Thunderbirds. And you couldn’t have anything better than this body. Designed by that Frenchman, Raymond Loewy. Best designer in the world. But it’s a bit too advanced for the American market. Studebaker’s never got enough credit for this body. Too unconventional. Like the car? Bet I could give your old Bentley a licking.” Leiter chuckled and reached in his left-hand pocket for a dime as they came to the Henry Hudson Bridge toll.

“Until one of your wheels came off,” said Bond caustically as they accelerated away again. “This sort of hot-rod job’s all right for kids who can’t afford a real motor car.”

They wrangled cheerfully over the respective merits of English and American sports cars until they came to the Westchester County toll and then, fifteen minutes later, they were out on the Taconic Parkway that snaked away northwards through a hundred miles of meadows and woodlands, and Bond settled back and silently enjoyed one of the most beautifully landscaped highways in the world, and wondered idly what the girl was doing and how, after Saratoga, he was to get to her again.

At 12.30 they stopped for lunch at The Chicken in the Basket, a log-built Frontier-style road-house with standard equipment-a tall counter covered with the best-known proprietary brands of chocolates and candies, cigarettes, cigars, magazines and paperbacks, a juke box blazing with chromium and coloured lights that looked like something out of science fiction, a dozen or more polished pine tables in the centre of the raftered room and as many -low booths along the walls, a menu featuring fried chicken and ‘fresh mountain trout’, which had spent months in some distant deep-freeze, and a variety of short-order dishes, and a couple of waitresses who couldn’t care less.

But the scrambled eggs and sausages and hot buttered rye toast and the Millers Highlife beer came quickly and were good, and so was the iced coffee that followed it, and with their second glass they got away from’shop’ and their private lives and got on to Saratoga.

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