It was obvious that all this ritual and all the mechanical minutiae of the wheel, of the numbered slots and the cylinder, had been devised and perfected over the years so that neither the skill of the croupier nor any bias in the wheel could affect the fall of the ball. And yet it is a convention among roulette players, and Bond rigidly adhered to it, to take careful note of the past history of each session and to be guided by any peculiarities in the run of the wheel. To note, for instance, and consider significant, sequences of more than two on a single number or of more than four at the other chances down to evens.
"All right. Hazard, then. But respectable, you understand. Don't go getting the notion that this is another Ap-palachia. These are all solid businessmen. Get me? This Sam Binion, for instance. He's in real estate. He and his friends are worth maybe twenty million bucks. See what I mean? Then there's Leroy Gengerella. Miami. Owns Gengerella Enterprises. Big shots in the entertainment world. He may cut up rough. Guys in that line of business like quick profits and a quick turnover. And Ruby Rotkopf, the hotel man from Vegas. He'll ask the difficult questions because he'll already know most of the answers from experience. Hal Garfinkel from Chicago. He's in labour relations, like me. Represents a lot of Teamster union funds. He shouldn't be any trouble. Those unions have got so much money they don't know where to put it. That makes five. Last comes Louis Paradise from Phoenix, Arizona. Owns Paradise Slots, the biggest people in the one-armed bandit business. Got casino interests too. I can't figure which way he'll bet. That's the lot."
And then came the sharp sound of the buzzer at the front door, and everyone froze.
Instead it was rather like being inside a very large tidy cigar-box. The floor and ceiling were of highly polished cedar that gave out a cigar-box smell and the walls were panelled with wide split bamboo. The light came from a dozen candles in a fine silver chandelier that hung from the centre of the ceiling. High up in the walls there were three square windows through which Bond could see the dark blue sky and the stars. There were several pieces of good nineteenth-century furniture. Under the chandelier a table was laid for two with expensive-looking old-fashioned silver and glass.
He kissed me gently and whispered that he loved me and that I was the most wonderful girl in the world. But I sat up and away from him and dabbed at my eyes and tried to watch the film and reflected that I had lost my virginity, or some kind of virginity, and that now he would never respect me again. But then the interval came and he bought me ice cream and put his arm round the back of my chair and whispered that it was being the most wonderful day of his life and that we must have the same day over and over again. And I told myself not to be silly. That this was just petting. Everybody did it, and anyway it had been rather marvelous and it wasn't as if I would get a baby or anything. Besides, boys wanted to pet and if I didn't do it with him he would find some other girl who would. So when the lights went out again and his hands came back it seemed natural that they should go to my breasts and that excited me, and when he whispered that now I must do it to him I let him take my hand and put it on him. But I didn't know how, and I was clumsy and ashamed, and he had to help. But then his breath came panting against my neck and he said, "Oh, Baby!" in a long-drawn-out kind of sigh, and I felt a sort of pang of excitement at having given him the same pleasure as he had given me and, now that we had both done it, it was as if some kind of barrier had disappeared from between us, and I felt motherly toward him and kissed him and from that moment on we were somehow different kinds of friends.