Read Bond 07 - Goldfinger Online

Authors: Ian Fleming

Tags: #Fiction, #Espionage

Bond 07 - Goldfinger (9 page)

BOOK: Bond 07 - Goldfinger
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Bond stepped back. ‘Neat little machine,’ he commented. ‘What are you transmitting on?’

‘He told me, but I can’t remember.’ She screwed up her eyes. ‘A hundred and seventy somethings. Would it be mega-somethings?’

‘Megacycles. Might be, but I’d be surprised if he doesn’t get a lot of taxicabs and police messages mixed up with your talk. Must have fiendish concentration.’ Bond grinned. ‘Now then. All set? It’s time to pull the rug away.’

Suddenly she reached out and put a hand on his sleeve. There was a Claddagh ring on the middle finger – two gold hands clasped round a gold heart. There were tears in her voice. ‘Must you? Can’t you leave him alone? I don’t know what he’ll do to me. Please.’ She hesitated. She was blushing furiously. ‘And I like you. It’s a long time since I’ve seen someone like you. Couldn’t you just stay here for a little more?’ She looked down at the ground. ‘If only you’d leave him alone I’d do –’ the words came out in a rush – ‘I’d do
anything
.’

Bond smiled. He took the girl’s hand off his arm and squeezed it. ‘Sorry. I’m being paid to do this job and I must do it. Anyway –’ his voice went flat – ‘I want to do it. It’s time someone cut Mr Goldfinger down to size. Ready?’

Without waiting for an answer he bent to the binoculars. They were still focused on Goldfinger. Bond cleared his throat. He watched the big face carefully. His hand felt for the microphone switch and pressed it down.

There must have been a whisper of static in the deaf aid. Goldfinger’s expression didn’t alter, but he slowly raised his face to heaven and then down again, as if in benediction.

Bond spoke softly, menacingly into the microphone. ‘Now hear me, Goldfinger.’ He paused. Not a flicker of expression, but Goldfinger bent his head a fraction as if listening. He studied his cards intently, his hands quite still.

‘This is James Bond speaking. Remember me? The game’s finished and it’s time to pay. I have a photograph of the whole set-up, blonde, binoculars, microphone and you and your hearing aid. This photograph will not go to the F.B.I. and Scotland Yard so long as you obey me exactly. Nod your head if you understand.’

The face was still expressionless. Slowly the big round head bent forward and then straightened itself.

‘Put your cards down face upwards on the table.’

The hands went down. They opened and the cards slid off the fingers on to the table.

‘Take out your cheque book and write a cheque to cash for fifty thousand dollars. That is made up as follows, thirty-five you have taken from Mr Du Pont. Ten for my fee. The extra five for wasting so much of Mr Du Pont’s valuable time.’

Bond watched to see that his order was being obeyed. He took a glance at Mr Du Pont. Mr Du Pont was leaning forward, gaping.

Mr Goldfinger slowly detached the cheque and counter-signed it on the back.

‘Right. Now jot this down on the back of your cheque book and see you get it right. Book me a compartment on the Silver Meteor to New York tonight. Have a bottle of vintage champagne on ice in the compartment and plenty of caviar sandwiches. The best caviar. And keep away from me. And no monkey business. The photograph will be in the mails with a full report to be opened and acted upon if I don’t show up in good health in New York tomorrow. Nod if you understand.’

Again the big head came slowly down and up again. Now there were traces of sweat on the high, unlined forehead.

‘Right, now hand the cheque across to Mr Du Pont and say, “I apologize humbly. I have been cheating you.” Then you can go.’

Bond watched the hand go across and drop the cheque in front of Mr Du Pont. The mouth opened and spoke. The eyes were placid, slow. Goldfinger had relaxed. It was only money. He had paid his way out.

‘Just a moment, Goldfinger, you’re not through yet.’ Bond glanced up at the girl. She was looking at him strangely. There was misery and fear but also a look of submissiveness, of longing.

‘What’s your name?’

‘Jill Masterton.’

Goldfinger had stood up, was turning away. Bond said sharply, ‘Stop.’

Goldfinger stopped in mid-stride. Now his eyes looked up at the balcony. They had opened wide, as when Bond had first met him. Their hard, level, X-ray gaze seemed to find the lenses of the binoculars, travel down them and through Bond’s eyes to the back of his skull. They seemed to say, ‘I shall remember this, Mr Bond.’

Bond said softly, ‘I’d forgotten. One last thing. I shall be taking a hostage for the ride to New York. Miss Masterton. See that she’s at the train. Oh, and make that compartment a drawing-room. That’s all.’

5 ....... NIGHT DUTY

 

I
T WAS
a week later. Bond stood at the open window of the seventh-floor office of the tall building in Regent’s Park that is the headquarters of the Secret Service. London lay asleep under a full moon that rode swiftly over the town through a shoal of herring-bone clouds. Big Ben sounded three. One of the telephones rang in the dark room. Bond turned and moved quickly to the central desk and the pool of light cast by the green shaded reading-lamp. He picked up the black telephone from the rank of four.

He said, ‘Duty officer.’

‘Station H, sir.’

‘Put them on.’

There was the echoing buzz and twang of the usual bad radio connection with Hong Kong. Why were there always sunspots over China? A sing-song voice asked, ‘Universal Export?’

‘Yes.’

A deep, close voice – London – said, ‘You’re through to Hong Kong. Speak up, please.’

Bond said impatiently, ‘Clear the line, please.’

The sing-song voice said, ‘You’re through now. Speak up, please.’

‘Hullo! Hullo! Universal Export?’

‘Yes.’

‘Dickson speaking. Can you hear me?’

‘Yes.’

‘That cable I sent you about the shipment of mangoes. Fruit. You know?’

‘Yes. Got it here.’ Bond pulled the file towards him. He knew what it was about. Station H wanted some limpet mines to put paid to three Communist spy junks that were using Macao to intercept British freighters and search them for refugees from China.

‘Must have payment by the tenth.’

That would mean that the junks were leaving, or else that the guards on the junks would be doubled after that date, or some other emergency.

Bond said briefly, ‘Wilco.’

‘Thanks. ’Bye.’

‘’Bye.’ Bond put down the receiver. He picked up the green receiver and dialled Q Branch and talked to the section duty officer. It would be all right. There was a B.O.A.C. Britannia leaving in the morning. Q Branch would see that the crate caught the plane.

Bond sat back. He reached for a cigarette and lit it. He thought of the badly air-conditioned little office on the waterfront in Hong Kong, saw the sweat marks on the white shirt of 279, whom he knew well and who had just called himself Dickson. Now 279 would probably be talking to his number two: ‘It’s okay. London says can do. Let’s just go over this ops. schedule again.’ Bond smiled wryly. Better they than he. He’d never liked being up against the Chinese. There were too many of them. Station H might be stirring up a hornets’ nest, but M. had decided it was time to show the opposition that the Service in Hong Kong hadn’t quite gone out of business.

When, three days before, M. had first told him his name was down for night duty, Bond hadn’t taken to the idea. He had argued that he didn’t know enough about the routine work of the stations, that it was too responsible a job to give a man who had been in the double-O section for six years and who had forgotten all he had ever known about station work.

‘You’ll soon pick it up,’ M. had said unsympathetically. ‘If you get in trouble there are the duty section officers or the Chief of Staff – or me, for the matter of that.’ (Bond had smiled at the thought of waking M. up in the middle of the night because some man in Aden or Tokyo was in a flap.) ‘Anyway, I’ve decided. I want all senior officers to do their spell of routine.’ M. had looked frostily across at Bond. ‘Matter of fact, 007, I had the Treasury on to me the other day. Their liaison man thinks the double-O section is redundant. Says that kind of thing is out of date. I couldn’t bother to argue’ – M.’s voice was mild. ‘Just told him he was mistaken.’ (Bond could visualize the scene.) ‘However, won’t do any harm for you to have some extra duties now you’re back in London. Keep you from getting stale.’

And Bond wasn’t minding it. He was half way through his first week and so far it had just been a question of common sense or passing routine problems on down to the sections. He rather liked the peaceful room and knowing everybody’s secrets and being occasionally fed coffee and sandwiches by one of the pretty girls from the canteen.

On the first night the girl had brought him tea. Bond had looked at her severely. ‘I don’t drink tea. I hate it. It’s mud. Moreover it’s one of the main reasons for the downfall of the British Empire. Be a good girl and make me some coffee.’ The girl had giggled and scurried off to spread Bond’s dictum in the canteen. From then on he had got his coffee. The expression ‘a cup of mud’ was seeping through the building.

A second reason why Bond enjoyed the long vacuum of night duty was that it gave him time to get on with a project he had been toying with for more than a year – a handbook of all secret methods of unarmed combat. It was to be called
Stay Alive!
It would contain the best of all that had been written on the subject by the Secret Services of the world. Bond had told no one of the project, but he hoped that, if he could finish it, M. would allow it to be added to the short list of Service manuals which contained the tricks and techniques of Secret Intelligence.

Bond had borrowed the original textbooks, or where necessary, translations, from Records. Most of the books had been captured from enemy agents or organizations. Some had been presented to M. by sister Services such as O.S.S., C.I.A. and the Deuxième. Now Bond drew towards him a particular prize, a translation of the manual, entitled simply
Defence
, issued to operatives of
SMERSH
, the Soviet organization of vengeance and death.

That night he was half way through Chapter Two, whose title, freely translated, was ‘Come-along and Restraint Holds’. Now he went back to the book and read for half an hour through the sections dealing with the conventional ‘Wrist Come-along’, ‘Arm Lock Come-along’, ‘Forearm Lock’, ‘Head Hold’ and ‘Use of Neck Pressure Points’.

After half an hour, Bond thrust the typescript away from him. He got up and went across to the window and stood looking out. There was a nauseating toughness in the blunt prose the Russians used. It had brought on another of the attacks of revulsion to which Bond had succumbed ten days before at Miami Airport. What was wrong with him? Couldn’t he take it any more? Was he going soft, or was he only stale? Bond stood for a while watching the moon riding, careering, through the clouds. Then he shrugged his shoulders and went back to his desk. He decided that he was as fed up with the variations of violent physical behaviour as a psychoanalyst must become with the mental aberrations of his patients.

Bond read again the passage that had revolted him: ‘A drunken woman can also usually be handled by using the thumb and forefinger to grab the lower lip. By pinching hard and twisting, as the pull is made, the woman will come along.’

Bond grunted. The obscene delicacy of that ‘thumb and forefinger’! Bond lit a cigarette and stared into the filament of the desk light, switching his mind to other things, wishing that a signal would come in or the telephone ring. Another five hours to go before the nine o’clock report to the Chief of Staff or to M., if M. happened to come in early. There was something nagging at his mind, something he had wanted to check on when he had the time. What was it? What had triggered off the reminder? Yes, that was it, ‘forefinger’ – Goldfinger. He would see if Records had anything on the man.

Bond picked up the green telephone and dialled Records.

‘Doesn’t ring a bell, sir. I’ll check and call you back.’

Bond put down the receiver.

It had been a wonderful trip up in the train. They had eaten the sandwiches and drunk the champagne and then, to the rhythm of the giant diesels pounding out the miles, they had made long, slow love in the narrow berth. It had been as if the girl was starved of physical love. She had woken him twice more in the night with soft demanding caresses, saying nothing, just reaching for his hard, lean body. The next day she had twice pulled down the roller blinds to shut out the hard light and had taken him by the hand and said, ‘Love me, James’ as if she was a child asking for a sweet.

Even now Bond could hear the quick silver poem of the level-crossing bells, the wail of the big windhorn out front and the quiet outside clamour at the stations when they lay and waited for the sensual gallop of the wheels to begin again.

Jill Masterton had said that Goldfinger had been relaxed, indifferent over his defeat. He had told the girl to tell Bond that he would be over in England in a week’s time and would like to have that game of golf at Sandwich. Nothing else – no threats, no curses. He had said he would expect the girl back by the next train. Jill had told Bond she would go. Bond had argued with her. But she was not frightened of Goldfinger. What could he do to her? And it was a good job.

Bond had decided to give her the ten thousand dollars Mr Du Pont had shuffled into his hand with a stammer of thanks and congratulations. Bond made her take the money. ‘I don’t want it,’ Bond had said. ‘Wouldn’t know what to do with it. Anyway, keep it as mad money in case you want to get away in a hurry. It ought to be a million. I shall never forget last night and today.’

Bond had taken her to the station and had kissed her once hard on the lips and had gone away. It hadn’t been love, but a quotation had come into Bond’s mind as his cab moved out of Pennsylvania station: ‘Some love is fire, some love is rust. But the finest, cleanest love is lust.’ Neither had had regrets. Had they committed a sin? If so, which one? A sin against chastity? Bond smiled to himself. There was a quotation for that too, and from a saint – Saint Augustine: ‘Oh Lord, give me Chastity. But don’t give it yet!’

BOOK: Bond 07 - Goldfinger
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