English

|历史策略游戏牛游|许舒予|The News

'What is it?'

Print E-mail

 

It was a typical Tokyo day in late summer - hot, sticky and grey - the air full of fine dust from the endless demolition and reconstruction work. They drove for' half an hour towards Yokohama and pulled up outside a dull grey building which announced itself in large letters to be 'The Bureau of All-Asian Folkways'. There was a busy traffic of Japanese scurrying in and out through the bogusly important-looking entrance, but no one glanced at Dikko and Bond, and they were not asked their business as Dikko led the way through an entrance hall where there were books and postcards on sale as if the place were some kind of museum. Dikko made for a doorway marked 'Coordination Department' and there was a long corridor with open rooms on both sides. The rooms were full of studious-looking young men at desks. There were large wall maps with coloured pins dotted across them, and endless shelves of books. A door marked 'International Relations' gave on to another corridor, this time lined with closed doors which had people's names on them in English and Japanese. A sharp right turn took them through the 'Visual Presentation Bureau' with more closed doors, and on to 'Documentation', a large hall-shaped library with more people bent over desks. Here, for the first time, they were scrutinized by a man at a desk near the entrance. He rose to his feet and bowed wordlessly. As they walked on Dikko said quietly, 'This is where the cover tapers off. Up till now, all those people really were researching Asian Folkways. But these here are part of Tiger's outside staff, doing more or less classified work. Sort of archivists. This is where we'd be politely turned back if we'd lost our way.' Behind a final wall of bookshelves that stretched out into the room a small door was concealed. It was marked 'Proposed Extension to Documentation Department. Danger! Construction work in progress'. From behind it came the sound of drills, a circular saw cutting through the wood and other building noises. Dikko walked through the door into a totally empty room with a highly-polished wood floor. There was no sign of construction work. Dikko laughed at Bond's surprise. He gestured towards a large metal box fitted to the back of the door through which they had come. 'Tape recorder,' he said. 'Clever gimmick. Sounds just like the real thing. And this' - he pointed to the stretch of bare floor ahead - 'is what the Japanese call a "nightingale floor". Relic of the old days when people wanted to be warned of intruders. Serves the same purpose here. Imagine trying to get across here without being heard.' They set off, and immediately the cunningly sprung boards gave out penetrating squeaks and groans. In a small facing door, a spy-hole slid open and one large eye surveyed them. The door opened to reveal a stocky man in plain clothes who had been sitting at a small deal table reading a book. It was a tiny box-like room that seemed to have no other exit. The man bowed. Dikko said some phrases containing the words 'Tanaka-san'. The man bowed again. Dikko turned to Bond. 'You're on your own now. Be in it, champ! Tiger'll send you back to your hotel. See you.'

'And who is he?' Blofeld looked keenly at Bond. 'He is tall for a Japanese.' In May, 1823, my professional occupation and status for the next thirty-five years of my life, were decided by my father's obtaining for me an appointment from the East India Company, in the office of the Examiner of india Correspondence, immediately under himself. I was appointed in the usual manner, at the bottom of the list of clerks, to rise, at least in the first instance, by seniority; but with the understanding that I should be employed from the beginning in preparing drafts of despatches, and be thus trained up as a successor to those who then filled the higher departments of the office. My drafts of course required, for some time, much revision from my immediate superiors, but I soon became well acquainted with the business, and by my father's instructions and the general growth of my own powers, I was in a few years qualified to be, and practically was, the chief conductor of the correspondence with India in one of the leading departments, that of the Native States. This continued to be my official duty until I was appointed Examiner, only two years before the time when the abolition of the East India Company as a political body determined my retirement. I do not know any one of the occupations by which a subsistence can now be gained, more suitable than such as this to any one who, not being in independent circumstances, desires to devote a part of the twenty-four hours to private intellectual pursuits. Writing for the press, cannot be recommended as a permanent resource to any one qualified to accomplish anything in the higher departments of literature or thought: not only on account of the uncertainty of this means of livelihood, especially if the writer has a conscience, and will not consent to serve any opinions except his own; but also because the writings by which one can live, are not the writings which themselves live, and are never those in which the writer does his best. Books destined to form future thinkers take too much time to write, and when written come, in general, too slowly into notice and repute, to be relied on for subsistence. Those who have to support themselves by their pen must depend on literary drudgery, or at best on writings addressed to the multitude; and can employ in the pursuits of their own choice, only such time as they can spare from those of necessity; which is generally less than the leisure allowed by office occupations, while the effect on the mind is far more enervating and fatiguing. For my own part I have, through life, found office duties an actual rest from the other mental occupations which I have carried on simultaneously with them. They were sufficiently intellectual not to be a distasteful drudgery, without being such as to cause any strain upon the mental powers of a person used to abstract thought, or to the labour of careful literary composition. The drawbacks, for every mode of life has its drawbacks, were not, however, unfelt by me. I cared little for the loss of the chances of riches and honours held out by some of the professions, particularly the bar, which had been, as I have already said, the profession thought of for me. But I was not indifferent to exclusion from Parliament, and public life: and I felt very sensibly the more immediate unpleasantness of confinement to London; the holiday allowed by India-house practice not exceeding a month in the year, while my taste was strong for a country life, and my sojourn in France had left behind it an ardent desire of travelling. But though these tastes could not be freely indulged, they were at no time entirely sacrificed. I passed most Sundays, throughout the year, in the country, taking long rural walks on that day even when residing in London. The month's holiday was, for a few years, passed at my father's house in the country. afterwards a part or the whole was spent in tours, chiefly pedestrian, with some one or more of the young men who were my chosen companions; and, at a later period, in longer journeys or excursions, alone or with other friends. France, Belgium, and Rhenish Germany were within easy reach of the annual holiday: and two longer absences, one of three, the other of six months, under medical advice, added Switzerland, the Tyrol, and Italy to my list. Fortunately, also, both these journeys occurred rather early, so as to give the benefit and charm of the remembrance to a large portion of life. 'Yes. We rely on the CIA to do our work here for us. They are most efficient and helpful.'

Now dusk was approaching, but otherwise the scene (a year later to become famous as Checkpoint Charlie) was like a well-remembered photograph-the wasteland in front of him, the bright river of the frontier road, the further wasteland, and, on the left, the ugly square block of the Haus der Ministerien with its lit and dark windows. Bond scanned it all slowly, moving the sniperscope, with the rifle, by means of the precision screws on the wooden base. It was all the same except that now there was a trickle of personnel leaving and entering the Haus der Ministerien through the door onto the Wilhelmstrasse. Bond looked long at the four dark windows-dark again tonight-that he agreed with Sender were the enemy's firing points. The curtains were drawn back, and the sash windows were wide open at the bottom. Bond's scope could not penetrate into the rooms, but there was no sign of movement within the four oblong black gaping mouths.

I was curious to find out next morning, whether she had been. She had not, but had sent into London to put her cousin off; and had gone out in the afternoon to see Agnes, and had prevailed upon the Doctor to go with her; and they had walked home by the fields, the Doctor told me, the evening being delightful. I wondered then, whether she would have gone if Agnes had not been in town, and whether Agnes had some good influence over her too!

Bond put his camera carefully down on the chair and came and stood in the radius of her scent. She was very beautiful. She had the palest blonde hair. It fell heavily to her shoulders, unfashionably long. Her eyes were deep blue against a lightly sunburned skin and her mouth was bold and generous and would have a lovely smile.

James Bond, almost lightheaded with pleasure, picked up a handful of travel literature from the front desk, said "Hi'" to Mr Gengerella, who didn't reply, and followed him into the conference room lobby. They were the last to show. Scaramanga, beside the open door to the conference room, looked pointedly at his watch and said to Bond "Okay, feller. Lock the door when we're all settled and don't let anyone in even if the hotel catches fire. He turned to the barman behind the buffet. "Get lost Joe. I'll call for you later." He said to the room, "Right. We're all set. Let's go." He led the way into the conference room and the six men followed. Bond stood by the door and noted the seating order round the table He closed the door and locked it and quickly also locked the exit from he lobby. Then he picked up a champagne glass from the buffet, pulled over a chair, and sited the chair very close to the door of the conference room. He placed the bowl of the champagne glass as near as possible to a hinge of the door, and holding the glass by the stem, put his left ear up against its base. Through the crude amplifier, what had been the rumble of a voice became Mr. Hendriks speaking, "... and so it is that I will now report from my superiors in Europe. . . ." The voice paused and Bond heard another noise, the creak of a chair. Like lightning he pulled his chair back a few feet, opened one of the travel folders on his lap, and raised the glass to his lips. The door jerked open and Scaramanga stood in the opening, twirling his passkey on a chain. He examined the innocent figure on the chair. He said, "Okay, feller. Just checking," and kicked the door shut.