Read Bond 07 - Goldfinger Online

Authors: Ian Fleming

Tags: #Fiction, #Espionage

Bond 07 - Goldfinger (8 page)

BOOK: Bond 07 - Goldfinger
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‘Oh, I’m so sorry.’ Bond’s voice was grave, interested. ‘That’s a very rare disability. I’ve always been able to understand claustrophobia, but not the other way round. How did it come about?’

Goldfinger picked up his cards and began to arrange his hand. ‘I have no idea,’ he said equably.

Bond got up. ‘Well, I think I’ll stretch my legs for a bit. See what’s going on in the pool.’

‘You do just that,’ said Mr Du Pont jovially. ‘Just take it easy, James. Plenty of time to discuss business over lunch. I’ll see if I can’t dish it out to my friend Goldfinger this time instead of taking it. Be seeing you.’

Goldfinger didn’t look up from his cards. Bond strolled down the roof, past the occasional splayed-out body, to the rail at the far end that overlooked the pool. For a time he stood and contemplated the ranks of pink and brown and white flesh laid out below him on the steamer chairs. The heavy scent of suntan oil came up to him. There were a few children and young people in the pool. A man, obviously a professional diver, perhaps the swimming instructor, stood on the high-dive. He balanced on the balls of his feet, a muscled Greek god with golden hair. He bounced once, casually, and flew off and down, his arms held out like wings. Lazily they arrowed out to cleave the water for the body to pass through. The impact left only a brief turbulence. The diver jack-knifed up again, shaking his head boyishly. There was a smattering of applause. The man trudged slowly down the pool, his head submerged, his shoulders moving with casual power. Bond thought, good luck to you! You won’t be able to keep this up for more than another five or six years. High-divers couldn’t take it for long – the repeated shock to the skull. With ski-jumping, which had the same shattering effect on the frame, high-diving was the shortest-lived sport. Bond radioed to the diver, ‘Cash in quick! Get into films while the hair’s still gold.’

Bond turned and looked back down the roof towards the two Canasta players beneath the cliff of the hotel. So Goldfinger liked to face the hotel. Or was it that he liked Mr Du Pont to have his back to it? And why? Now, what was the number of Goldfinger’s suite? No. 200, the Hawaii Suite. Bond’s on the top floor was 1200. So, all things being equal, Goldfinger’s would be directly below Bond’s, on the second floor, twenty yards or so above the roof of the Cabana Club – twenty yards from the card table. Bond counted down. He closely examined the frontage that should be Goldfinger’s. Nothing. An empty sun balcony. An open door into the dark interior of the suite. Bond measured distances, angles. Yes, that’s how it might be. That’s how it must be! Clever Mr Goldfinger!

4 ....... OVER THE BARREL

 

A
FTER LUNCHEON
– the traditional shrimp cocktail, ‘native’ snapper with a minute paper cup of tartare sauce, roast prime ribs of beef
au jus
, and pineapple
surprise
– it was time for the siesta before meeting Goldfinger at three o’clock for the afternoon session.

Mr Du Pont, who had lost a further ten thousand dollars or more, confirmed that Goldfinger had a secretary. ‘Never seen her. Sticks to the suite. Probably just some chorine he’s brought down for the ride.’ He smiled wetly. ‘I mean the daily ride. Why? You on to something?’

Bond was non-committal. ‘Can’t tell yet. I probably won’t be coming down this afternoon. Say I got bored watching – gone into the town.’ He paused. ‘But if my idea’s right, don’t be surprised at what may happen. If Goldfinger starts to behave oddly, just sit quiet and watch. I’m not promising anything. I think I’ve got him, but I may be wrong.’

Mr Du Pont was enthusiastic. ‘Good for you, boyo!’ he said effusively. ‘I just can’t wait to see that bastard over the barrel. Damn his eyes!’

Bond took the elevator up to his suite. He went to his suitcase and extracted an M3 Leica, an MC exposure meter, a K2 filter and a flash-holder. He put a bulb in the holder and checked the camera. He went to his balcony, glanced at the sun to estimate where it would be at about three-thirty and went back into the sitting-room, leaving the door to the balcony open. He stood at the balcony door and aimed the exposure meter. The exposure was one-hundredth of a second. He set this on the Leica, put the shutter at f 11, and the distance at twelve feet. He clipped on a lens hood and took one picture to see that all was working. Then he wound on the film, slipped in the flash-holder and put the camera aside.

Bond went to his suitcase again and took out a thick book –
The Bible Designed to be Read as Literature
– opened it and extracted his Walther PPK in the Berns Martin holster. He slipped the holster inside his trouser band to the left. He tried one or two quick draws. They were satisfactory. He closely examined the geography of his suite, on the assumption that it would be exactly similar to the Hawaii. He visualized the scene that would almost certainly greet him when he came through the door of the suite downstairs. He tried his pass-key in the various locks and practised opening the doors noiselessly. Then he pulled a comfortable chair in front of the open balcony door and sat and smoked a cigarette while he gazed out across the sea and thought of how he would put things to Goldfinger when the time came.

At three-fifteen, Bond got up and went out on to the balcony and cautiously looked down at the two tiny figures across the square of green baize. He went back into the room and checked the exposure meter on the Leica. The light was the same. He slipped on the coat of his dark blue tropical worsted suit, straightened his tie and slung the strap of the Leica round his neck so that the camera hung at his chest. Then, with a last look round, he went out and along to the elevator. He rode down to the ground floor and examined the shop windows in the foyer. When the elevator had gone up again, he walked to the staircase and slowly climbed up two floors. The geography of the second floor was identical with the twelfth. Room 200 was where he had expected it to be. There was no one in sight. He took out his pass-key and silently opened the door and closed it behind him. In the small lobby, a raincoat, a light camel-hair coat and a pale grey Homburg hung on hooks. Bond took his Leica firmly in his right hand, held it up close to his face and gently tried the door to the sitting-room. It was not locked. Bond eased it open.

Even before he could see what he expected to see he could hear the voice. It was a low, attractive, girl’s voice, an English voice. It was saying, ‘Drew five and four. Completed canasta in fives with two twos. Discarding four. Has singletons in kings, knaves, nines, sevens.’

Bond slid into the room.

The girl was sitting on two cushions on top of a table which had been pulled up a yard inside the open balcony door. She had needed the cushions to give her height. It was at the top of the afternoon heat and she was naked except for a black brassière and black silk briefs. She was swinging her legs in a bored fashion. She had just finished painting the nails on her left hand. Now she stretched the hand out in front of her to examine the effect. She brought the hand back close to her lips and blew on the nails. Her right hand reached sideways and put the brush back in the Revlon bottle on the table beside her. A few inches from her eyes were the eyepieces of a powerful-looking pair of binoculars supported on a tripod whose feet reached down between her sunburned legs to the floor. Jutting out from below the binoculars was a microphone from which wires led to a box about the size of a portable record player under the table. Other wires ran from the box to a gleaming indoor aerial on the sideboard against the wall.

The briefs tightened as she leant forward again and put her eyes to the binoculars. ‘Drew a queen and a king. Meld of queens. Can meld kings with a joker. Discarding seven.’ She switched off the microphone.

While she was concentrating, Bond stepped swiftly across the floor until he was almost behind her. There was a chair. He stood on it, praying it wouldn’t squeak. Now he had the height to get the whole scene in focus. He put his eye to the viewfinder. Yes, there it was, all in line, the girl’s head, the edge of the binoculars, the microphone and, twenty yards below, the two men at the table with Mr Du Pont’s hand of cards held in front of him. Bond could distinguish the reds and the blacks. He pressed the button.

The sharp explosion of the bulb and the blinding flash of light forced a quick scream out of the girl. She swivelled round.

Bond stepped down off the chair. ‘Good afternoon.’

‘Whoryou? Whatyouwant?’ The girl’s hand was up to her mouth. Her eyes screamed at him.

‘I’ve got what I want. Don’t worry. It’s all over now. And my name’s Bond, James Bond.’

Bond put his camera carefully down on the chair and came and stood in the radius of her scent. She was very beautiful. She had the palest blonde hair. It fell heavily to her shoulders, unfashionably long. Her eyes were deep blue against a lightly sunburned skin and her mouth was bold and generous and would have a lovely smile.

She stood up and took her hand away from her mouth. She was tall, perhaps five feet ten, and her arms and legs looked firm as if she might be a swimmer. Her breasts thrust against the black silk of the brassière.

Some of the fear had gone out of her eyes. She said in a low voice, ‘What are you going to do?’

‘Nothing to you. I may tease Goldfinger a bit. Move over like a good girl and let me have a look.’

Bond took the girl’s place and looked through the glasses. The game was going on normally. Goldfinger showed no sign that his communications had broken down.

‘Doesn’t he mind not getting the signals? Will he stop playing?’

She said hesitatingly, ‘It’s happened before when a plug pulled or something. He just waits for me to come through again.’

Bond smiled at her. ‘Well, let’s let him stew for a bit. Have a cigarette and relax.’ He held out a packet of Chesterfields. She took one. ‘Anyway it’s time you did the nails on your right hand.’

A smile flickered across her mouth. ‘How long were you there? You gave me a frightful shock.’

‘Not long, and I’m sorry about the shock. Goldfinger’s been giving poor old Mr Du Pont shocks for a whole week.’

‘Yes,’ she said doubtfully. ‘I suppose it’s really rather mean. But he’s very rich, isn’t he?’

‘Oh yes. I shouldn’t lose any sleep over Mr Du Pont. But Goldfinger might choose someone who can’t afford it. Anyway, he’s a zillionaire himself. Why does he do it? He’s crawling with money.’

Animation flooded back into her face. ‘I know. I simply can’t understand him. It’s a sort of mania with him, making money. He can’t leave it alone. I’ve asked him why and all he says is that one’s a fool not to make money when the odds are right. He’s always going on about the same thing, getting the odds right. When he talked me into doing this,’ she waved her cigarette at the binoculars, ‘and I asked him why on earth he bothered, took these stupid risks, all he said was, “That’s the second lesson. When the odds aren’t right, make them right.” ’

Bond said, ‘Well, it’s lucky for him I’m not Pinkertons or the Miami Police Department.’

The girl shrugged her shoulders. ‘Oh, that wouldn’t worry him. He’d just buy you off. He can buy anyone off. No one can resist gold.’

‘What do you mean?’

She said indifferently, ‘He always carries a million dollars’ worth of gold about with him except when he’s going through the Customs. Then he just carries a belt full of gold coins round his stomach. Otherwise it’s in thin sheets in the bottom and sides of his suitcases. They’re really gold suitcases covered with leather.’

‘They must weigh a ton.’

‘He always travels by car, one with special springs. And his chauffeur is a huge man. He carries them. No one else touches them.’

‘Why does he carry around all that gold?’

‘Just in case he needs it. He knows that gold will buy him anything he wants. It’s all twenty-four carat. And anyway he loves gold, really loves it like people love jewels or stamps or – well,’ she smiled, ‘women.’

Bond smiled back. ‘Does he love you?’

She blushed and said indignantly, ‘Certainly not.’ Then, more reasonably, ‘Of course you can think anything you like. But really he doesn’t. I mean, I think he likes people to
think
that we – that I’m – that it’s a question of love and all that. You know. He’s not very prepossessing and I suppose it’s a question of – well – of vanity or something.’

‘Yes, I see. So you’re just a kind of secretary?’

‘Companion,’ she corrected him. ‘I don’t have to type or anything.’ She suddenly put her hand up to her mouth. ‘Oh, but I shouldn’t be telling you all this! You won’t tell him, will you? He’d fire me.’ Fright came into her eyes. ‘Or something. I don’t know what he’d do. He’s the sort of man who might do anything.’

‘Of course I won’t tell. But this can’t be much of a life for you. Why do you do it?’

She said tartly, ‘A hundred pounds a week and all this,’ she waved at the room, ‘doesn’t grow on trees. I save up. When I’ve saved enough I shall go.’

Bond wondered if Goldfinger would let her. Wouldn’t she know too much? He looked at the beautiful face, the splendid, unselfconscious body. She might not suspect it, but, for his money, she was in very bad trouble with this man.

The girl was fidgeting. Now she said with an embarrassed laugh, ‘I don’t think I’m very properly dressed. Can’t I go and put something on over these?’

Bond wasn’t sure he could trust her. It wasn’t he who was paying the hundred pounds a week. He said airily, ‘You look fine. Just as respectable as those hundreds of people round the pool. Anyway,’ he stretched, ‘it’s about time to light a fire under Mr Goldfinger.’

Bond had been glancing down at the game from time to time. It seemed to be proceeding normally. Bond bent again to the binoculars. Already Mr Du Pont seemed to be a new man, his gestures were expansive, the half-profile of his pink face was full of animation. While Bond watched, he took a fistful of cards out of his hand and spread them down – a pure canasta in kings. Bond tilted the binoculars up an inch. The big red-brown moon face was impassive, uninterested. Mr Goldfinger was waiting patiently for the odds to adjust themselves back in his favour. While Bond watched, he put up a hand to the hearing aid, pushing the amplifier more firmly into his ear, ready for the signals to come through again.

BOOK: Bond 07 - Goldfinger
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