فصل 10

مجموعه: جیمز باند / کتاب: مردی با اسلحه طلائی / فصل 10

فصل 10

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  • زمان مطالعه 5 دقیقه
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Chapter ten

The Dinner Party

Back in the small office behind the hotel reception desk, James Bond quickly went over the key parts of the meeting with Leiter and Nicholson. They all agreed that they had enough evidence recorded on tape to have Scaramanga locked away in prison for the rest of his life. Leiter planned to follow the men later that night when they got rid of Rotkopf’s dead body. He wanted to try and get enough evidence to take Garfinkel and Hendriks to court as well.

Bond returned to his room, poured himself a large whisky and then lay on his bed thinking about the day’s events. One thing was certainly clear - he now found himself in a very delicate and dangerous situation.

When Bond joined the others for dinner, he could sense that things had changed. The men now seemed to be avoiding him - they knew the boss did not trust him and wanted him dead. He was certainly not someone they now wanted to be friendly with. The restaurant had been decorated with tropical plants and colourful fruits, and as the men ate their meal a calypso band was playing rather too loudly on the stage. A pretty girl, dressed in a bright red and gold costume and wearing a large, false pineapple on top of her head, was singing a slow song unenthusiastically. Bond was finding the evening extremely boring; the food was unremarkable and the other guests were ignoring him. He got up and went to the head of the table. He told Scaramanga, ‘I’ve got a headache. I’m going to bed.’

‘No,’ Scaramanga declared quite forcefully, looking coldly at Bond. ‘If you think the evening isn’t going well, make it go better. That’s what you’re being paid for. Do something about it.’

It was many years since James Bond had accepted a ‘dare’. He felt the eyes of the group watching him, waiting to see what would happen next. Stupidly, he wanted to show these men, who thought him unimportant, what he could do. He did not stop to think that it would have been better for him to keep quiet at that moment. Instead he said decisively, ‘All right, Mr Scaramanga. Give me a hundred-dollar note and your gun.’

Scaramanga did not move. He looked up at Bond with surprise and uncertainty. Mr Paradise shouted, ‘Come on! Let’s see what he can do!’

Scaramanga reached for his wallet and slowly took out a folded hundred-dollar note. Next he carefully reached into his waistband and pulled out his gun. He laid the golden gun and the note on the table in front of him. With his back to the stage, James Bond picked up the gun and checked that it was loaded. At once Bond turned, dropped onto one knee so that his aim would be above the musicians on the stage, and shot the gun. The explosion was deafening and the music stopped immediately. There was a tense silence. What was left of the false pineapple fell to the floor with a thud. A second later, the girl put her hands to her face and slowly fell down onto the floor.

As the men started to comment to each other in low voices, Bond picked up the hundred-dollar note and approached the girl. He lifted her up by her arm and pushed the folded note into her hand. ‘That was a fine act we did together. Don’t worry. You were in no danger. I aimed for the top half of the pineapple. Now run off and get ready for your next song.’ He turned her round and gave her a gentle push. She gave him a horrified glance and ran off into the shadows.

Bond turned to the band. ‘All right then, listen to me. This isn’t a tea party. Mr Scaramanga’s friends want some action and some fun. You can drink as much rum as you want, but you’d better start playing some decent music. I want that pretty girl back, and her friends, and I want them to dance down here near where we’re sitting, not up on the stage. Do you understand? Now unless you get moving I’ll finish this show now and there’ll be no money. OK? Then let’s go.’

There was nervous laughter from the band as they exchanged smiles and one of the men ran off after the girl. Bond walked back and laid the pistol down in front of Scaramanga, who gave Bond a long, questioning look and then pushed the gun back into his waistband. After Bond’s impressive act, the atmosphere lifted and the evening became a success. It had been a risk, but it had paid off, and it wasn’t until the early hours of the morning that Bond slipped away back to his room.

With relief, Bond took a shower and climbed into bed. He worried for a while about having shown off with the gun, but it was a stupid mistake that he could not change now. He soon went to sleep and dreamt of three dark figures dragging a shapeless, heavy weight towards dark waters that were full of long, twisting, snapping crocodiles.

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