فصل 01

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فصل 01

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متن انگلیسی فصل

CHAPTER ONE

A Meeting in Miami

James Bond, British Secret Intelligence agent, number 007, was sitting in the international transit lounge at Miami Airport. He was drinking bourbon whisky. Bond had arrived in Miami earlier that day after completing a dangerous mission in Mexico. Now it was evening, and he was waiting to catch the next plane to New York. Suddenly, an announcement came from the airport’s loudspeaker system: ‘Transamerica Airlines regrets to announce that there is a delay on Flight TR618 to New York. This is because there is a technical problem on the aircraft. The new departure time will be at 8 a.m. Please will all passengers for Flight TR618 go to the Transamerica ticket counter. Arrangements will be made for them to stay in a hotel tonight. Thank you.’

Bond finished his whisky. What should he do? Should he try and get a seat on another flight? Or should he stay the night in Miami? He looked out of the window. It was getting late. Beneath the dark purple evening sky, tiny lights were sparkling on the airport’s runways.

Bond heard footsteps approaching. They stopped at his side. He glanced up and saw a well-dressed, middle-aged man who looked a little embarrassed.

‘Excuse me, but are you Mr Bond… Mr - er - James Bond?’

‘Yes.’

‘Well, I’m surprised to meet you here!’ The man held out his hand and Bond stood up slowly and shook it. ‘My name is Junius Du Pont,’ said the middle-aged man, smiling. ‘You probably don’t remember me, but we’ve met before. May I sit down?’

Bond looked more closely at Mr Du Pont. The man was about fifty years old, with a smooth, pink face. He was dressed in an expensive suit - the kind of suit that American millionaires wear. Yes, Bond had met him before. But where and when?

‘We met in France, in 1951, in the Casino at Royale les Eaux,’ said Mr Du Pont. ‘You were playing in an important game of cards. My wife and I were sitting next to you.’

Of course! Bond had been playing cards against a famous French gambler, and he’d beaten him and won a huge amount of money.

‘Yes, of course I remember,’ he said, smiling.

‘I’m pleased that we’ve met here by chance. We must have a drink together,’ said Mr Du Pont. ‘What will you have?’

‘Bourbon with ice, please.’

Mr Du Pont called a waitress and ordered drinks. ‘I was sure that I recognized you,’ he continued. ‘I was flying on the Transamerica flight to New York tonight too. When they announced the delay, I saw the look of disappointment on your face. I went to the ticket counter and checked the names on the passenger list. And there was your name - James Bond.’

The waitress brought the drinks. Suddenly, Mr Du Pont leant forward in his seat and looked around the room. Although the tables near them were empty, he talked quietly so that only Bond could hear.

‘Mr Bond, after that card game, I heard some things about you. I heard that you weren’t only an excellent card player, but that you were also a kind of - er - private investigator. Er - a secret agent.’

Bond looked at Mr Du Pont and spoke carefully.

‘Well, I did a little of that kind of work after the war,’ he said. His cool, grey-blue eyes did not show his feelings. ‘But now I work for a company called Universal Export.’

Universal Export was not a real company. But Bond couldn’t tell people the truth. So he pretended that he was employed by Universal. In fact, he worked for the British government. He was a member of the British Secret Intelligence Service.

James Bond was one of the best secret agents in the SIS. Only the very best agents had worknames which began with double-O. A secret agent whose workname began with two zeros was always sent on the most difficult and dangerous missions. And sometimes he was ordered to kill enemies of his country. He also had permission to kill people who attacked him. James Bond - agent 007 - had a licence to kill.

Bond glanced at his watch. Mr Du Pont looked quickly at his own watch too.

‘Seven o’clock already!’ he said. ‘Listen, Mr Bond, I have a problem and I’d like your advice. I own a hotel here in Miami and I’d like to invite you to stay there tonight. You can have the best suite in the hotel. What do you say?’

Bond didn’t have anything to do in Miami until he caught a plane to New York. ‘What kind of rich man’s problem does Mr Du Pont have?’ he asked himself. ‘Does he have trouble with women, or gangsters? Or is he being blackmailed? Whatever it is, it might be interesting.’ So Bond decided to accept the invitation.

‘All right, Mr Du Pont. I’ll stay in your hotel and I’ll help you,’ he said.

‘Thank you, Mr Bond. But first, let’s go and have dinner. Do you like crabs?’

‘Very much,’ said Bond.

‘Well, I’ll take you to a restaurant called “Bill’s on the Beach” which has wonderful crabs. I often eat there.’

The two men went downstairs to the front of the airport. Mr Du Pont’s car, a shiny Chrysler Imperial, was waiting outside. Immediately, his driver ran forward and opened the doors. Bond stepped inside the luxurious car.

‘Bill’s on the Beach’ was a very expensive restaurant and it was clear that Mr Du Pont was a regular customer. The manager immediately welcomed Mr Du Pont and took him and Bond to a table which was in the best position. Bond drank a vodka martini - his favourite cocktail - while Mr Du Pont ordered crabs cooked in butter, and bottles of pink champagne. When the food came, it was one of the most delicious meals that Bond had ever eaten.

‘Have you ever played the card game, canasta, Mr Bond?’ asked Mr Du Pont, as they sat drinking coffee.

‘Yes, it’s a good game. I like it.’

‘I like it too. I’ve been playing canasta for many years and I’m a very experienced player. But this week, I’ve lost $25,000 playing canasta. What do you think about that?’

‘Well,’ said Bond, ‘if you’ve been playing with the same man, he’s been cheating you.’

‘That’s what I think too,’ said Mr Du Pont. ‘But I’ve watched him carefully and I can’t find out how he’s cheating. There aren’t any special marks on the cards. He never tries to look at the cards in my hand. But he just keeps winning and winning.’

Bond was interested in everything about cards and gambling. ‘Twenty-five thousand dollars is a lot of money,’ he said. ‘Haven’t you won at all?’

‘No. As soon as a game starts going well for me, the man puts down exactly the right cards and beats me. It’s as if he knows which cards I have in my hand.’

‘Are there any mirrors in the room where you play?’ asked Bond. ‘Perhaps he can see your cards reflected in a mirror?’

‘No, he can’t see a reflection of my cards in a mirror,’ replied Mr Du Pont. ‘We never play in a room, we always play outside. He says that he wants to stay in the sun and get a suntan. So he only wants to play cards in the mornings and afternoons. We never play in the evenings.’

‘What’s this man’s name?’ asked Bond.

‘Goldfinger.’

‘What’s his first name?’

‘Auric. That means “golden”, doesn’t it?’ said Junius Du Pont. ‘He certainly looks golden. He’s got hair as red as fire.’

‘What’s his nationality?’

‘British,’ Du Pont replied. ‘He’s not married, he’s forty- two, and he works as a broker. I found out this information by looking at Goldfinger’s passport. I own the Floridiana Hotel, where he’s staying. So I asked our hotel detective to show the passport to me.’

‘What does Goldfinger buy and sell?’

‘I asked him,’ replied Du Pont, ‘but he just said, “Oh, anything”. He doesn’t like answering questions.’

‘Has he got a lot of money?’

‘He’s extremely rich! He’s one of the richest millionaires in the world. I asked my bank to investigate him. He keeps all his money in the form of gold bars and moves them around to different countries.’

Junius Du Pont stared at Bond for a few moments. ‘I’ve never forgotten meeting you in the Casino at Royale les Eaux,’ he said. ‘I remember how you took risks as you gambled. And I remember that you stayed so cool as you played. You never looked nervous or worried. Mr Bond, I’ll pay you $10,000 to stay in my hotel. I want you to find out how this man, Goldfinger, is cheating me.’

‘That’s a very good offer,’ said Bond. He thought for a few minutes. ‘But I have to fly to New York tomorrow night. If you play your usual card games tomorrow morning and tomorrow afternoon, I should have enough time to find out the answer. Is that OK?’

‘That’s fine,’ said Mr Du Pont.

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