‘God Almighty,’ said Bond with deep gratitude. ‘What a break.’
CHAPTER IX TRUE OR FALSE?
BOND looked at the telephone, then he got up and walked over to the sideboard. He put a handful of wilted icecubes into a tall glass, poured in three inches of Haig and Haig and swilled the mixture round in the glass to cool and dilute it. Then he drank down half the glass in one long swallow. He put the glass down and eased himself out of his coat. His left hand was so swollen that he could only just get it through the sleeve. His little finger was still crooked back and the pain was vicious 杭州洗浴中心全套价格 as it scraped against the cloth. The ringer was nearly black. He pulled down his tie and undid the top of his shirt. Then he picked up his glass, took another deep swallow, and walked back to the telephone.
Leiter answered at once.
‘Thank God,’ said Leiter with real feeling. ‘What’s the damage?”
‘Broken finger,’ said Bond. ‘How about you?’
‘Blackjack. Knocked out. Nothing serious. They started off by considering all sorts of ingenious things. Wanted to couple me to the compressed-air pump in the garage. Start on the ears and then proceed elsewhere. When no instructions came from The Big Man they got bored and I got to arguing the finer points of Jazz with Blabbermouth, the man with the fancy six-shooter. We got on to Duke Ellington and agreed that we liked our band-leaders to be percussion men, not wind. We agreed the piano 杭州足浴店按摩暗语 or the drums held the band together better than any other solo instrument – Jelly-roll Morton, for instance. Apropos the Duke, I told him the crack about the clarinet – “an ill woodwind that nobody blows good”. That made him laugh fit to bust. Suddenly we were friends. The other man – The Flannel, he was called – got sour and Blabbermouth told him he could go off duty, he’d look after me. Then The Big Man rang down.’
‘I was there,’ said Bond. ‘It didn’t sound so hot.’
‘Blabbermouth was worried as hell. He wandered round the room talking to himself. Suddenly he used the blackjack, hard, and I went out. Next thing I knew we were outside Bellevue Hospital. About half after three. Blabbermouth was very apologetic, said it was the least he could have done. I believe him. He begged me not to give him away. Said he was going to 杭州夜网论坛 report that he’d left me half dead. Of course I promised to leak back some very lurid details. We parted on the best of terms. I got some treatment at the Emergency ward and came home. I was worried to Hell an’ gone about you, but after a while the telephone started ringing. Police and FBI. Seems The Big Man has complained that some fool Limey went berserk at The Boneyard early this morning, shot three of his men – two chauffeurs and a waiter, if you please – stole one of his cars and got away, leaving his overcoat and hat in the cloakroom. The Big Man’s yelling for action. Of course I warned off the dicks and the FBI, but they’re madder’n hell and we’ve got to get out of town at once. It’ll miss the mornings but it’ll be splashed all over the afternoon blatts and Radio and TV’ll have it. Apart from all that, Mr. Big will be 杭州哪里按摩比较好的 after you like a nest of hornets. Anyway, I’ve got some plans fixed. Now you tell, and God, am I glad to hear your voice!’
Bond gave a detailed account of all that had happened. He forgot nothing. When he had finished, Leiter gave a low whistle.
‘Boy,’ he said with admiration. ‘You certainly made a dent in The Big Man’s machine. But were you lucky. That Solitaire dame certainly seems to have saved your bacon. D’you think we can use her?’
‘Could if we could get near her,’ said Bond. ‘I should think he keeps her pretty close.’
‘We’ll have to think about that another day,’ said Leiter. ‘Now we’d better get moving. I’ll hang up and call you back in a few minutes. First I’ll get the police surgeon round to you right away. Be along in a quarter of an hour or so. Then I’ll talk to the Commissioner myself and sort out some of the police angles. They can stall a bit by discovering the car. The F B I’ll have to tip off the radio and newspaper boys so that at least we can keep your name out of it and all this Limey talk. Otherwise we shall have the British Ambassador being hauled out of bed and parades by the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People and God knows what all. Leiter chuckled down the telephone. ‘Better have a word with your chief in London. It’s about half after ten their time. You’ll need a bit of protection. I can look after the CIA, but the FBI have got a bad attack of “see-here-young-man” this morning. You’ll need some more clothes. I’ll see to that. Keep awake. We’ll get plenty of sleep in the grave. Be calling you.’
He hung up. Bond smiled to himself. Hearing Leiter’s cheerful voice and knowing everything was being taken care of had wiped away his exhaustion and his black memories.
He picked up the telephone and talked to the Overseas operator. ‘Ten minutes’ delay, she said.
Bond walked into his bedroom and somehow got out of his clothes. He gave himself a very hot shower and then an ice-cold one. He shaved and managed to pull on a clean shirt and trousers. He put a fresh clip in his Beretta and wrapped the Colt in his discarded shirt and put it in his suitcase. He was half way through his packing when the telephone rang.
He listened to the zing and echo on the line, the chatter of distant operators, the patches of Morse from aircraft and ships at sea, quickly suppressed. He could see the big, grey building near Regents Park and imagine the busy switchboard and the cups of tea and a girl saying, ‘Yes, this is Universal Export,’ the address Bond had asked for, one of the covers used by agents for emergency calk on open lines from abroad. She would tell the Supervisor, who would take the call over.
‘You’re connected, caller,’ said the Overseas operator. ‘Go ahead, please. New York calling London.’
Bond heard the calm English voice. ‘Universal Export. Who’s speaking, please?’
‘Can I speak to the Managing Director,’ said Bond. ‘This is his nephew James speaking from New York.’
‘Just a moment, please.’ Bond could follow the call to Miss Moneypenny and see her press the switch on the intercom. ‘It’s New York, Sir,’ she would say. ‘I think it’s 007.’
‘Put him through,’ M would say.
‘Yes?’ said the cold voice that Bond loved and obeyed.
‘It’s James, Sir,’ said Bond. ‘I may need a bit of help over a difficult consignment.’
‘Go ahead,’ said the voice.
‘I went uptown to see our chief customer last night,’ said Bond. ‘Three of his best men went sick while I was there.’
‘How sick?’ asked the voice.
‘As sick as can be, Sir,’ said Bond. ‘There’s a lot of ‘flu about.’
‘Hope you didn’t catch any.’
‘I’ve got a slight chill, Sir,’ said Bond, ‘but absolutely nothing to worry about. I’ll write to you about it. The trouble
is that with all this ‘flu about Federated think I will do better out of town.’ (Bond chuckled to himself at the thought of M’s grin.) ‘So I’m off right away with Felicia.’
‘Who?’ asked M.
‘Felicia,’ Bond spelled it out. ‘My new secretary from Washington.’
‘Thought I’d try that factory you advised at San Pedro.’
‘But Federated may have other ideas and I hoped you’d give me your support.’
‘I quite understand,’ said M. ‘How’s business?’
‘Rather promising, Sir. But tough going. Felicia will be typing my full report today.’
‘Good,’ said M. ‘Anything else?’
‘No, that’s all, Sir. Thanks for your support.’
That’s all right. Keep fit. Goodbye.’
Bond put down the telephone. He grinned. He could imagine M calling in the Chief of Staff, ‘007’s already tangled up 杭州水磨服务会所 with the FBI. Dam’ fool went up to Harlem last night and bumped off three of Mr. Big’s men. Got hurt himself, apparently, but not much. Got to get out of town with Leiter, the CIA man. Going down to St. Petersburg. Better warn A and C. Expect we’ll have Washington round our ears before the day’s over. Tell A to say I fully sympathize, but that 007 has my full confidence and I’m sure he acted in self-defence. Won’t happen again, and so forth. Got that?’ Bond grinned again as he thought of Damon’s exasperation at having to dish out a lot of soft soap to Washington when he probably had plenty of other Anglo-American snarls to disentangle.