'MR GOLD,' Jed Midnight pronounced sonorously, 'you are undoubtedly the greatest thing in crime since Cain invented murder and used it on Abel.' He paused and added emphatically, 'I shall count it an honour to be associated with you in this enterprise.'
They arrived at Beppu in the southern island of Kyushu as the sun was setting. Tiger said that this was just the time to see the famous geysers and fumaroles of the little spa. In any case, there would be no time in the morning as they would have to start early for Fukuoka, their final destination. Bond shivered slightly at the name. The moment was rapidly approaching when the sake and sightseeing would have to stop.
To James Bond, sitting in one of the concrete shelters with his face to the setting sun, there was something poignant, ephemeral about it all. It reminded him almost too vividly of childhood - of the velvet feel of the hot powder sand, and the painful grit of wet sand between young toes when the time came for him to put his shoes and socks on, of the precious little pile of sea-shells and interesting wrack on the sill of his bedroom window ('No, we'll have to leave that behind, darling. It'll dirty up your trunk!'), of the small crabs scuttling away from the nervous fingers groping beneath the seaweed in the rock-pools, of the swimming and swimming and swimming through the dancing waves - always in those days, it seemed, lit with sunshine - and then the infuriating, inevitable 'time to come out'. It was all there, his own childhood, spread out before him to have another look at. What a long time ago they were, those spade-and-bucket days! How far he had come since the freckles and the Cadbury milk-chocolate Flakes and the fizzy lemonade! Impatiently Bond lit a cigarette, pulled his shoulders out of their slouch and slammed the mawkish memories back into their long-closed file. Today he was a grown-up, a man with years of dirty, dangerous memories - a spy. He was not sitting in this concrete hideout to sentimentalize.about a pack of scrubby, smelly children on a beach scattered with bottle-tops and lolly-sticks and fringed by a sea thick with sun-oil and putrid with the main drains of Royale. He was here, he had chosen to be here, to spy. To spy on a woman.
Bond shushed her. He picked up his gun and put it back under his pillow and led her across the room and into the bathroom. He turned on the light and as a precaution, the shower, and, simultaneously with her gasp, remembered he was naked. He said, "Sorry, Goodnight," and reached for a towel and wound it round his waist and sat down on the edge of the bath. He gestured to the girl to sit down on the lavatory seat and said, with icy control, "What in hell are you doing here, Mary?"
'I am so blest, Trotwood - my heart is so overcharged - but there is one thing I must say.'
"Hell and damnation," said Basildon. "What's the queen doing in Meyer's hand? Well, I'm damned. Anyway the rest are mine." He fanned his cards down on the table. He looked defensively at his partner. "Can you beat it, Tommy? Drax doubles and Meyer has the queen." There was not more than a natural exasperation in his voice.
The thin man was sitting at his old table. The first-aid box from the reception desk was open in front of him and he had a big square of adhesive across his right temple. I gave him a quick frightened glance and went behind the serving counter. Sluggsy went over to him and sat down, and they began talking together in low voices, occasionally glancing across at me.