'Secondly,' and M looked at the ceiling and then back at Bond, 'I know where the treasure is. At least I'm pretty sure I do. And it's not in America . It's in Jamaica , and it is Bloody Morgan's, and I guess it's one of the most valuable treasure-troves in history.'
'Good Lord,' said Bond. 'How… where do we come into it?”
M held up his hand. 'You'll find all the details in here,' he let his hand come down on the brown folder. 'Briefly, Station C has been interested in a Diesel yacht, the Secatur, which has been running from a small island on the North Coast of Jamaica through the Florida Keys into the Gulf of Mexico, to a place called St. Petersburg. Sort of pleasure resort, near Tampa . West Coast of Florida . With the help of the FBI we've traced the ownership of this boat and of the island to a man called Mr. Big, a negro gangster. Lives in Harlem . Ever heard of him?'
'No,' said Bond.
'And curiously enough,' M's voice was softer and quieter, 'a twenty-dollar bill which one of these casual negroes had paid for a gold coin and whose number he had noted for 't't- Peaka Peow, the Numbers game, was paid out by one of Mr. Big's lieutenants. And it was paid,' M pointed the stem of his pipe at Bond, 'for information received, to an FBI double-agent who is a member of the Communist Party.'
Bond whistled softly.
'In short,' continued M, 'we suspect that this Jamaican treasure is being used to finance the Soviet espionage system, or an important part of it, in America . And our suspicion becomes a certainty when I tell you who this Mr. Big is.'
Bond waited, his eyes fixed on M's.
'Mr. Big,' said M, weighing his words, 'is probably the most powerful negro criminal in the world. He is,' and he enumerated carefully,' the head of the Black Widow Voodoo cult and believed by that cult to be the Baron Samedi himself. (You'll find all about that here,' he tapped the folder, 'and it'll frighten the daylights out of you.) He is also a Soviet agent. And finally he is, and this will particularly interest you, Bond, a known member of SMERSH.'
'Yes,' said Bond slowly, 'I see now.'
'Quite a case,' said M, looking keenly at him. 'And quite a man, this Mr. Big.'
'I don't think I've ever heard of a great negro criminal before,' said Bond, 'Chinamen, of course, the men behind the opium trade. There've been some big-time Japs, mostly in pearls and drugs. Plenty of negroes mixed up in diamonds and gold in Africa, but always in a small way. They don't seem to take to big business. Pretty law-abiding chaps I should have thought except when they've drunk too much.'
'Our man's a bit of an exception,' said M. 'He's not pure negro. Born in Haiti. Good dose of French blood. Trained in Moscow, too, as you'll see from the file. And the negro races are just beginning to throw up geniuses in all the professions — scientists, doctors, writers. It's about time they turned out a great criminal. After all, there are 250,000,000 of them in the world. Nearly a third of the white population. They've got plenty of brains and ability and guts. And now Moscow's taught one of them the technique.'
'I'd like to meet him,' said Bond. Then he added, mildly, 'I'd like to meet any member of SMERSH.'
'All right then, Bond. Take it away.' M handed him the thick brown folder. 'Talk it over with Plender and Damon. Be ready to start in a week. It's a joint CIA and FBI job. For God's sake don't step on the FBI's toes. Covered with corns. Good luck.'
Bond had gone straight down to Commander Damon, Head of Station A, an alert Canadian who controlled the link with the Central Intelligence Agency, America's Secret Service.
Damon looked up from his desk. 'I see you've bought it,' he said, looking at the folder. 'Thought you would. Sit down,' he waved to an armchair beside the electric fire. 'When you've waded through it all, I'll fill in the gaps.'
AND now it was ten days later and the talk with Dexter and Leiter had not added much, reflected Bond as he awoke slowly and luxuriously in his bedroom at the St. Regis the morning after his arrival in New York .
Dexter had had plenty of detail on Mr. Big, but nothing that threw any new light on the case. Mr. Big was forty-five years old, born in Haiti, half negro and half French. Because of the initial letters of his fanciful name, Buonaparte Ignace Gallia, and because of his huge height and bulk, he came to be called, even as a youth, 'Big Boy' or just 'Big'. Later this became 'The Big Man' or 'Mr. Big', and his real names lingered only on a parish register in Haiti and on his dossier with the FBI. He had no known vices except women, whom he consumed in quantities. He didn't drink or smoke .and his only Achilles heel appeared to be a chronic heart disease which had, in recent years, imparted a greyish tinge to his skin.
The Big Boy had been initiated into Voodoo as a child, earned his living as a truck-driver in Port au Prince, then emigrated to America and worked successfully for a hi-jacking team in the Legs Diamond gang. With the end of Prohibition he had moved to Harlem and bought half-shares in a small nightclub and a string of coloured call-girls. His partner was found in a barrel of cement in the Harlem River in 1938 and Mr. Big automatically became sole proprietor of the business. He was called up in 1943 and, because of his excellent French, came to the notice of the Office of Strategic Services, the wartime secret service of America , who trained him with great thoroughness and put him into Marseilles as an agent against the Petain collaborationists. He merged easily with African negro dock-hands, and worked well, providing good and accurate naval intelligence. He operated closely with a Soviet spy who was doing a similar job for the Russians. At the end of the war he was demobilized in France (and decorated by the Americans and the French) and then he disappeared for five years, probably to Moscow. He returned to Harlem in 1950 and soon came to the notice of the FBI as a suspected Soviet agent. But he never incriminated himself or fell into any of the traps laid by the FBI. He bought up three nightclubs and a prosperous chain of Harlem brothels. He seemed to have unlimited funds and paid all his lieutenants a flat rate of twenty thousand dollars a year. Accordingly, and as a result of weeding by murder, he was expertly and diligently served. He was known to have originated an underground Voodoo temple in Harlem and to have established a link between it and the main cult in Haiti. The rumour had started that he was the Zombie or living corpse of Baron Samedi himself, the dreaded Prince of Darkness, and he fostered the story so that now it was accepted through all the lower strata of the negro world. As a result, he commanded real fear, strongly substantiated by the immediate and often mysterious deaths of anyone who crossed him or disobeyed his orders.
Bond had questioned Dexter and Leiter very closely on the evidence connecting the giant negro with SMERSH. It certainly seemed conclusive.
In 1951, by the promise of one million dollars in gold and a safe refuge after six months' work for them, the FBI had at last persuaded a known Soviet agent of the MWD to turn double. All went well for a month and the results exceeded the highest expectations. The Russian spy held the appointment of an economic expert on the Soviet delegation to the United Nations. One Saturday, he had gone to take the subway to Pennsylvania Station en route for the Soviet week-end rest camp at Glen Cove, the former Morgan estate on Long Island. A huge negro, positively identified from photographs as The Big Man, had stood beside him on the platform as the train came in and was seen walking towards the exit even before the first coach had come to a standstill over the bloody vestiges of the Russian. He had not been seen to push the man, but in the crowd it would not have been difficult. Spectators said it could not have been suicide. The man screamed horribly as he fell and he had had (melancholy touch!) a bag of golf clubs over his shoulder. The Big Man, of course, had had an alibi as solid as Fort Knox. He had been held and questioned, but was quickly sprung by the best lawyer in Harlem. The evidence was good enough for Bond. He was just the man for SMERSH, with just the training. A real, hard weapon of fear and death. And what a brilliant set-up for dealing with the smaller fry of the negro underworld and for keeping a coloured information network well up to the mark! - the fear of Voodoo and the supernatural, still deeply, primevally ingrained in the negro subconscious! And what genius to have, as a beginning, the whole transport system of America under surveillance, the trains, the porters, the truck-drivers, the stevedores! To have at his disposal a host of key men who would have no idea that the questions they answered had been asked by Russia. Smalltime professional men who, if they thought at all, would guess that the information on freights and schedules was being sold to rival transport concerns.
Not for the first time, Bond felt his spine crawl at the cold, brilliant efficiency of the Soviet machine, and at the fear of death and torture which made it work and of which the supreme engine was SMERSH - SMERSH, the very whisper of death.
Now, in his bedroom at the St. Regis, Bond shook away his thoughts and jumped impatiently out of bed. Well, there was one of them at hand, ready for the crushing. At Royale he had only caught a glimpse of his man. This time it would be face to face. Big Man? Then let it be a giant, a homeric slaying.
Bond walked over to the window and pulled back the curtains. His room faced north, towards Harlem . Bond gazed for a moment towards the northern horizon, where another man would be in his bedroom asleep, or perhaps awake and thinking conceivably of him, Bond, whom he had seen with Dexter on the steps of the hotel. Bond looked at the beautiful day and smiled. And no man, not even Mr. Big, would have liked the expression on his face.
Bond shrugged his shoulders and walked quickly to the telephone.
'St. Regis Hotel. Good morning,' said a voice.
'Room Service, please,' said Bond.
'Room Service? I'd like to order breakfast. Half a pint of orange juice, three eggs, lightly scrambled, with bacon, a double portion of cafe Espresso with cream. Toast. Marmalade. Got it?'
The order was repeated back to him. Bond walked out into the lobby and picked up the five pounds' weight of newspapers which had been placed quietly inside the door earlier in the morning. There was also a pile of parcels on the hall table which Bond disregarded.
The afternoon before he had had to submit to a certain degree of Americanization at the hands of the FBI. A tailor had come and measured him for two single-breasted suits in dark blue light-weight worsted (Bond had firmly refused anything more dashing) and a haberdasher had brought chilly white nylon shirts with long points to the collars. He had had to accept half a dozen unusually patterned foulard ties, dark socks with fancy clocks, two or three 'display kerchiefs' for his breast pocket, nylon vests and pants (called T-shirts and shorts), a comfortable light-weight camel-hair overcoat with over-buttressed shoulders, a plain grey snap-brim Fedora with a thin black ribbon and two pairs of hand-stitched and very comfortable black Moccasin 'casuals'.
He also acquired a 'Swank' tie-clip in the shape of a whip, an alligator-skin billfold from Mark Cross, a plain Zippo lighter, a plastic 'Travel-Pak' containing razor, hairbrush and toothbrush, a pair of horn-rimmed glasses with plain lenses, various other oddments and, finally, a light-weight Hartmann 'Skymate' suitcase to contain all these things.
He was allowed to retain his own Beretta .25 with the skeleton grip and the chamois leather shoulder-holster, but all his other possessions were to be collected at midday and forwarded down to Jamaica to await him.
He was given a military haircut and was told that he was a New Englander from Boston and that he was on holiday from his job with the London office of the Guaranty Trust Company. He was reminded to ask for the 'check' rather the 'bill', to say 'cab' instead of 'taxi' and (this from Leiter) to avoid words of more than two syllables. ('You can get through any American conversation,' advised Leiter, 'with “Yeah”, “Nope” and “Sure”.') The English word to be avoided at all costs, added Leiter, was 'Ectually'. Bond had said that this word was not part of his vocabulary.