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He locked the door and sat down. The envelope was not sealed. It contained a B.W.I.A. message form. The neat B.W.I.A. writing said:

MESSAGE RECEIVED FROM KINGSTON AT 12:15:

"THE SAMPLES WILL BE AVAILABLE AT 3-1/2 S.L.M.

AS FROM MIDDAY TOMORROW."

There was no signature. Bond uttered a short bark of laughter and triumph. S.L.M.--Savannah La Mar. Could it be? It must be! At last the three red stars of a jackpot had clicked into line. What was it his Gleaner horoscope had said? Well he would go nap on this clue from outer space--“seize it with both hands” as the Gleaner had instructed. He read the message again and carefully put it back in the envelope. His damp handkerchief had left marks on the buff envelope. In this heat they would dry out in a matter of minutes. He went out and sauntered over to the stand. There was no one in sight. He slipped the message back into its place under “S” and walked over to the Aeronaves de Mexico booth and cancelled his reservation. He then went to the BOAC counter and looked through the timetable. Yes, the Luna flight for Kingston, New York and London was due in at 13:15 the next day. He was going to need help. He remembered the name of Head of Station J. He went over to the telephone booth and got through to the High Commissioner's Office. He asked for Commander Ross. After a moment a girl's voice came on the line. “Commander Ross's assistant. Can I help you?”

There was something vaguely familiar in the lilt of the voice. Bond said, “Could I speak to Commander Ross? This is a friend from London .”

The girl's voice became suddenly alert. “I'm afraid Commander Ross is away from Jamaica . Is there anything I can do?” There was a pause. “What name did you say?”

“I didn't say any name. But in fact it's. . . .”

The voice broke in excitedly. “Don't tell me. It's James!”

Bond laughed. “Well I'm damned! It's Goodnight! What the hell are you doing here?”

“More or less what I used to do for you. I heard you were back, but I thought you were ill or something. How absolutely marvellous! But where are you talking from?”

“ Kingston Airport . Now listen, darling. I need help. We can talk later. Can you get cracking?”

“Of course. Wait till I get a pencil. Right.”

“First I need a car. Anything that'll go. Then I want the name of the top man at Frome, you know, the WISCO estate beyond Savannah La Mar. Large-scale survey map of that area, a hundred pounds in Jamaican money. Then be an angel and ring up Alexander's the auctioneers and find out anything you can about a property that's advertised in today's Gleaner. Say you're a prospective buyer. Three-and-a-half Love Lane . You'll see the details. Then I want you to come out to Morgan's Harbour where I'm going in a minute, be staying the night there, and we'll have dinner and swop secrets until the dawn steals over the Blue Mountains. Can do?”

“Of course. But that's a hell of a lot of secrets. What shall I wear?”

“Something that's tight in the right places. Not too many buttons.”

She laughed. “You've established your identity. Now I'll get on with all this. See you about seven. 'Bye.”

Gasping for air, James Bond pushed his way out of the little sweatbox. He ran his handkerchief over his face and neck. He'd be damned! Mary Goodnight, his darling secretary from the old days in the Double-O Section! At Headquarters they had said she was abroad. He hadn't asked any questions. Perhaps she had opted for a change when he had gone missing. Anyway, what a break! Now he'd got an ally, someone he knew. Good old Gleaner! He got his bag from the Aeronaves de Mexico booth and went out and hailed a taxi and said “Morgan's Harbour” and sat back and let the air from the open windows begin to dry him.

The romantic little hotel is on the site of Port Royal at the tip of the Palisadoes. The proprietor, an Englishman who had once been in Intelligence himself and who guessed what Bond's job was, was glad to see him. He showed Bond to a comfortable air-conditioned room with a view of the pool and the wide mirror of Kingston Harbour . He said, “What is it this time? Cubans or smuggling? They're the popular targets these days.”

“Just on my way through. Got any lobsters?”

“Of course.”

“Be a good chap and save two for dinner. Broiled with melted butter. And a pot of that ridiculously expensive foie gras of yours. All right?”

“Wilco. Celebration? Champagne on the ice?”

“Good idea. Now I must get a shower and some sleep. That Kingston Airports murder.”

James Bond awoke at six. At first he didn't know where he was. He lay and remembered. Sir James Molony had said that his memory would be sluggish for a while. The E.C.T. treatment at The Park, a discreet so-called “convalescent home” in a vast mansion in Kent, had been fierce. Twenty-four bashes at his brain from the black box in thirty days. After it was over, Sir James had confessed that, if he had been practising in America, he wouldn't have been allowed to administer more than eighteen. At first, Bond had been terrified at the sight of the box and of the two cathodes that would be cupped to each temple. He had heard that people undergoing shock treatment had to be strapped down, that their jerking, twitching bodies, impelled by the volts, often hurtled off the operating table. But that, it seemed, was old hat. Now there was the longed-for needle with the pentathol, and Sir James said there was no movement of the body when the current flashed through except a slight twitching of the eyelids. And the results had been miraculous. After the pleasant, quiet-spoken analyst had explained to him what had been done to him in Russia, and after he had passed through the mental agony of knowing what he had nearly done to M., the old fierce hatred of the K.G.B. and all its works had been reborn in him, and, six weeks after he had entered The Park, all he wanted was to get back at the people who had invaded his brain for their own murderous purposes. And then had come his physical rehabilitation and the inexplicable amount of gun practice he had had to do at the Maidstone police range. And then the day arrived when the Chief of Staff had come down and spent the day briefing Bond on his new assignment. The reason for the gun practice became clear. And the scribble of green ink wishing him luck --signed “M.”--boosted his spirits. Two days later he was ready to enjoy the excitement of the ride to London airport on his way across the world.

Bond took another shower and dressed in shirt, slacks, and sandals and wandered over to the little bar on the waterfront and ordered a double Walker's deluxe bourbon on the rocks and watched the pelicans diving for their dinner. Then he had another drink with a water chaser to break it down and wondered about Three-and-a-half Love Lane and what the “samples” would consist of and how he would take Scaramanga. This had been worrying him since he had been given his orders. It was all very fine to be told to “eliminate” the man, but James Bond had never liked killing in cold blood and to provoke a draw against a man who was possibly the fastest gun in the world was suicide. Well, he would just have to see which way the cards fell. The first thing to do was to clean up his cover. The diplomatic passport he would leave with Goodnight. He would now be “Mark Hazard” of the “Transworld Consortium,” the splendidly vague title which could cover almost any kind of human activity. His business would have to be with the West Indian Sugar Company because that was the only business, apart from Kaiser Bauxite, that existed in the comparatively deserted western districts of Jamaica. And, at Negril, there was also the project for developing one of the most spectacular beaches in the world, beginning with the building of the Thunderbird Hotel. He could be a rich man looking around for a building site. If his hunch and the childish predictions of his horoscope were right, and he came up with Scaramanga at the romantic Love Lane address, it would be a question of playing it by ear.

The prairie fire of the sunset raged briefly in the west and the molten sea cooled off into moonlit gunmetal.

A naked arm smelling of Chanel Number 5 snaked round his neck and warm lips kissed the corner of his mouth. As he reached up to hold the arm where it was, a breathless voice said, “Oh, James! I'm sorry. I just had to! It's so wonderful to have you back.”

Bond put his hand under the soft chin and lifted up her mouth and kissed her full on the half-open lips. He said, “Why didn't we ever think of doing that before, Goodnight? Three years with only that door between us! What must we have been thinking of?”

She stood away from him. The golden bell of hair fell back to embrace her neck. She hadn't changed. Still only the faintest trace of makeup, but now the face was golden with sunburn from which the wide-apart blue eyes, now ablaze with the moon, shone out with that challenging directness that had disconcerted him when they had argued over some office problem. Still the same glint of health over the good bones and the broad uninhibited smile from the full lips that, in repose, were so exciting. But now the clothes were different. Instead of the severe shirt and skirt of the days at Headquarters, she was wearing a single string of pearls and a one-piece short-skirted frock in the colour of a pink gin with a lot of bitters in it--the orangey-pink of the inside of a conch shell. It was all tight against the bosom and the hips. She smiled at his scrutiny. “The buttons are down the back. This is standard uniform for a tropical Station.”

“I can just see Q Branch dreaming it up. I suppose one of the pearls has a death pill in it.”

“Of course. But I can't remember which. I'll just have to swallow the whole string. Can I have a daiquiri please instead?”

Bond gave the order. “Sorry, Goodnight. My manners are slipping. I was dazzled. It's so tremendous finding you here. And I've never seen you in your working clothes before. Now then, tell me the news. Where's Ross? How long have you been here? Have you managed to cope with all that junk I gave you?”

Her drink came. She sipped it carefully. Bond remembered that she rarely drank and didn't smoke. He ordered another for himself and felt vaguely guilty that this was his third double and that she wouldn't know it and when it came wouldn't recognize it as a double. He lit a cigarette. Nowadays he was trying to keep to twenty and failing by about five. He stabbed the cigarette out. He was getting near to his target, and the rigid training rules that had been drilled into him at The Park must from now on be observed meticulously. The champagne wouldn't count. He was amused by the conscience this girl had awakened in him. He was also surprised and impressed.

Mary Goodnight knew that the last question was the one he would want answered first. She reached into a plain straw handbag on a gold metal chain and handed him a thick envelope. She said, “Mostly in used singles. A few fivers. Shall I debit you direct or put it in as expenses?” “Direct please.”

“The top man at Frome is Tony Hugill. Nice man. Nice wife. Nice children. We've had a lot to do with him, so he'll be friendly. He was in Naval Intelligence during the war, sort of commando job, so he knows the score. Does a good job--Frome produces about a quarter of Jamaica's sugar output--but Hurricane Flora and the tremendous rains we've been having here have delayed the crop. Besides that, he's having a lot of trouble with cane burning and other small sabotage--mostly with thermite bombs brought in from Cuba. Jamaica's sugar is competition for Castro, you see. And with Flora and all the rains, the Cuban crop is going to be only about three million tons this year, compared with a Batista level of about seven--and very late because the rains have played havoc with the sucrose content.”

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