'Well, in the last few years I've killed two villains. The first was in New York - a Japanese cipher expert cracking our codes on the thirty-sixth floor of the RCA building in the Rockefeller centre, where the Japs had their consulate. I took a room on the fortieth floor of the next-door skyscraper and I could look across the street into his room and see him working. Then I got a colleague from our organization in New York and a couple of Remington thirty-thirty's with telescopic sights and silencers. We smuggled them up to my room and sat for days waiting for our chance. He shot at the man a second before me. His job was only to blast a hole through the windows so that I could shoot the Jap through it. They have tough windows at the Rockefeller centre to keep the noise out. It worked very well. As I expected, his bullet got deflected by the glass and went God knows where. But I shot immediately after him, through the hole he had made. I got the Jap in the mouth as he turned to gape at the broken window.'
So I bent down and began and of course in a minute we were in each other's arms again under the shower and our bodies were slithery with water and soap and he turned the shower off and lifted me out of the shower cabinet and began to dry me lingeringly with the bath towel while I leaned back within his free arm and just let it happen. Then I took the towel and dried him, and then it was silly to wait any longer and he picked me up in his arms and carried me through into the bedroom and laid me down on the bed and I watched through half-closed lashes his pale shape as he went around drawing the curtains and locking up.
Bond smiled to himself and in the long silence that followed he dropped off into an uneasy sleep which lasted until they were half way across California and had pulled up outside a white wicket gate that said 'Otis Fairplay, MD'.
You poor fool, thought Basildon. In ten minutes you'll wish that Meyer had died in his chair before he could pull out that first card.
'What is he now?' I asked.
Thus the British, never a highly cultured race in the intellectual sense, claimed with some justice that they could still teach the world through the example of their political life, with its anomalous but effective institutions and its temperate and forbearing spirit. And though the population of Britain remained relatively unresponsive to literature, English writers, and particularly English poets, wrote for the world and were read by the world more than the writers of any other land. This was partly due to the importance which the luck of history had given to the English language, for at this time it had become the ‘second language’ of all other peoples, and was being constantly enriched by extensive borrowings from other languages, to such an extent that the Englishman of that age considered the English of our day as archaic as Chaucer’s English.
Every day Vesper came to see him and he looked forward to these visits with excitement. She talked happily of her adventures of the day before, her explorations down the coast and the restaurants where she had eaten. She had made friends with the chief of police and with one of the directors of the Casino and it was they who took her out in the evening and occasionally lent her a car during the day. She kept an eye on the repairs to the Bentley which had been towed down to coachbuilders at Rouen, and she even arranged for some new clothes to be sent out from Bond's London flat. Nothing survived from his original wardrobe. Every stitch had been cut to ribbons in the search for the forty million francs.
"I have been shown in the files of the War Department a statement of the adjutant-general of Massachusetts that you are the mother of five sons who died gloriously on the field of battle. I feel how weak and fruitless must be any words of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming, but I cannot refrain from tendering to you the consolation that may be found in the thanks of the Republic they died to save. I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost and the pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom."
I expected a hamper from Peggotty, and brightened at the order. Some of the boys about me put in their claim not to be forgotten in the distribution of the good things, as I got out of my seat with great alacrity.
Charles. Perhaps you will permit me, ladies, to retire. I feel indisposed—faint! [Exit.]
'I say,' returned Mr. Micawber, quite forgetting himself, and smiling again, 'the miserable wretch you behold. My advice is, never do tomorrow what you can do today. Procrastination is the thief of time. Collar him!'
Bond pushed through the green baize door at the top of the basement steps and walked over to the lift that would take him up to the eighth floor of the tall, grey building near Regent's Park that is the headquarters of the Secret Service. He was satisfied with his score but not proud of it. His trigger finger twitched in his pocket as he wondered how to conjure up that little extra flash of speed that would beat the machine, the complicated box of tricks that sprung the target for just three seconds, fired back at him with a blank .38, and shot a pencil of light aimed at him and photographed it as he stood and fired from the circle of chalk on the floor.
Meanwhile the manner of life of the degenerate tribes of men steadily decayed. Agriculture was less and less efficient. In district after district, through lack of fertilizers and intelligent rotation of crops, it was gradually abandoned. The miserable remnant of mankind now sank to collecting wild vegetable foods and hunting the swarms of wild animals which had greatly increased with the decline of man. Wild cattle were abundant in many regions, but only the hardiest and most cunning of the half-wit hunters dared attack such large and dangerous beasts. For the most part the populations lived on the swarms of rabbits and other small rodents that thrived in a world in which the large carnivora had long since been exterminated. In some regions the starving tribes were reduced to eating mice, toads, and beetles.
A big man in Mexico had some poppy fields. The flowers were not for decoration. They were broken down for opium which was sold quickly and comparatively cheaply by the waiters at a small cafe in Mexico City called the 'Madre de Cacao'. The Madre de Cacao had plenty of protection. If you needed opium you walked in and ordered what you wanted with your drink. You paid for your drink at the caisse and the man at the caisse told you how many noughts to add to your bill. It was an orderly commerce of no concern to anyone outside Mexico. Then, far away in England, the Government, urged on by the United Nations' drive against drug smuggling, announced that heroin would be banned in Britain. There was alarm in Soho and also among respectable doctors who wanted to save their patients agony. Prohibition is the trigger of crime. Very soon the routine smuggling channels from China, Turkey and Italy were ran almost dry by the illicit stock-piling in England. In Mexico City, a pleasant-spoken Import and Export merchant called Black-well had a sister in England who was a heroin addict. He loved her and was sorry for her and, when she wrote that she would die if someone didn't help, he believed that she wrote the truth and set about investigating the illicit dope traffic in Mexico. In due course, through friends and friends of friends, he got to the Madre de Cacao and on from there to the big Mexican grower. In the process, he came to know about the economics of the trade, and he decided that if he could make a fortune and at the same time help suffering humanity he had found the Secret of Life. Blackwell's business was in fertilizers. He had a warehouse and a small plant and a staff of three for soil testing and plant research. It was easy to persuade the big Mexican that, behind this respectable front, Blackwell's team could busy itself extracting heroin from opium. Carriage to England was swiftly arranged by the Mexican. For the equivalent of a thousand pounds a trip, every month one of the diplomatic couriers of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs carried an extra suitcase to London. The price was reasonable. The contents of the suitcase, after the Mexican had deposited it at the Victoria Station left-luggage office and had mailed the ticket to a man called Schwab, c/o Boox-an-Pix, Ltd, WC1, were worth twenty thousand pounds.
He got up and held out his hand. Dr. Fanshawe rose, briefly touched Bond's hand and sat quickly down as if he had touched paws with a Gila monster.