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The girl's hand tugged at him. She screamed angrily, 'No, No. Stop! I want to stay close to Pussy. I'll be safe with her.'

Bond shouted back, 'Shut up, you little fool! Run like hell!' But now she was dragging at him, checking his speed. Suddenly she tore her hand out of his and made to dart into an open Pullman door. Christ, thought Bond, that's torn it! He whipped the knife out of his belt and swirled to meet Oddjob.

Ten yards away Oddjob hardly paused in his rush. One hand whipped off his ridiculous, deadly hat, a glance to take aim and the black steel half-moon sang through the air. Its edge caught the girl exactly at the nape of the neck. Without a sound she fell backwards on to the platform in Oddjob's path. The hurdle was just enough to put Oddjob off the flying high kick he had started to launch at Bond's head. He turned the kick into a leap, his left hand cutting the air towards Bond like a sword. Bond ducked and struck upwards and sideways with his knife. It got home somewhere near the ribs but the momentum of the flying body knocked the knife out of his hand. There was a tinkle on the platform. Now Oddjob was coming back at him, apparently unharmed, his hands outstretched and his feet • splayed back ready for another leap or a kick. His blood was up. The eyes were red and there was a fleck of saliva at the open, panting mouth.

Above the boom and rattle of the guns outside the station, three blasts sounded on the diesel's windhorn. Oddjob snarled angrily and leapt. Bond dived at full length sideways. Something hit him a gigantic blow on the shoulder and sent him sprawling. Now, he thought as he hit the ground, now the death stroke! He scrambled clumsily to his feet, his neck hunched into his shoulders to break the impact. But no blow came and Bond's dazed eyes took in the figure of Oddjob flying away from him up the platform.

Already the leading diesel was on the move. Oddjob got to it and leapt for the footplate. For a moment he hung, his legs scrabbling for a foothold. Then he had disappeared into the cabin and the huge streamlined engine gathered speed.

Behind Bond the door of the quartermaster's office burst open. There was the hammer of running feet and a yell 'Santiago!' - St James, the battle-cry of Cortez that Leiter had once jokingly allotted to Bond.

Bond swivelled. The straw-haired Texan, clad in his wartime Marine Corps battledress, was pounding up the platform followed by a dozen men in khaki. He carried a one-man bazooka by the steel hook he used for a right hand. Bond ran to meet him. He said, 'Don't shoot my fox, you bastard. Give over.' He snatched the bazooka out of Leiter's hand and threw himself down on the platform, splaying out his legs. Now the diesel was two hundred yards away and about to cross the bridge over the Dixie Highway. Bond shouted, 'Stand clear!' to get the men out of line of the recoil flash, clicked up the safe and took careful aim. The bazooka shuddered slightly and the ten-pound armour-piercing rocket was on its way. There was a flash and a puff of blue smoke. Some bits of metal flew off the rear of the flying engine. But then it had crossed the bridge and taken the curve and was away.

'Not bad for a rookie,' commented Leiter. 'May put the rear diesel out, but those jobs are twins and he can make it on the forward engine.'

Bond got to his feet. He smiled warmly into the hawk-like, slate-grey eyes. 'You bungling oaf,' he said sarcastically, 'why in hell didn't you block that line?'

'Listen, shamus. If you've got any complaints about the stage management you can tell them to the President. He took personal command of this operation and it's a honey. There's a spotter plane overhead now. They'll pick up the diesel and we'll have old Goldilocks in the hoosegow by midday. How were we to know he was going to stay aboard the train?' He broke off and thumped Bond between the shoulderblades. 'Hell, I'm glad to see you. These men and I were detailed off to give you protection. We've been dodging around looking for you and getting shot at by both sides for our pains.' He turned to the soldiers. 'Ain't that right, men?'

They laughed. 'Sure is, Cap'n.'

Bond looked affectionately at the Texan with whom he had shared so many adventures. He said seriously, 'Bless you, Felix. You've always been good at saving my life. It was darn nearly too late this time. I'm afraid Tilly Masterton's had it.' He walked off up the train with Felix at his heels. The little figure still lay sprawled where she had fallen. Bond knelt beside her. The broken-doll angle of the head was enough. He felt for her pulse. He got up. He said softly, 'Poor little bitch. She didn't think much of men.' He looked defensively at Leiter. 'Felix, I could have got her away if she'd only followed me.'

Leiter didn't understand. He put his hand on Bond's arm and said, 'Sure kid. Take it easy.' He turned to his men. 'Two of you carry the girl into the QM's office over there. O'Brien, you go for the ambulance. When you've done that, stop over at the Command post and give 'em the facts. Say we've got Commander Bond and I'll bring him right over.'

Bond stood and looked down at the little empty tangle of limbs and clothes. He saw the bright, proud girl with the spotted handkerchief round her hair in the flying TR3. Now she had gone.

High up over his head a whirling speck soared into the sky. It reached the top of its flight and paused. There came the sharp crack of the maroon. It was the cease-fire.

CHAPTER TWENTY-TWO

THE LAST TRICK

IT WAS two days later. Felix Leiter was weaving the black Studillac fast through the lanes of dawdling traffic on the Triborough bridge. There was plenty of time to catch Bond's plane, the evening BOAC Monarch to London, but Leiter enjoyed shaking up Bond's low opinion of American cars. Now the steel hook that he used for a right hand banged the gear lever into second and the low black car leapt for a narrow space between a giant refrigerator truck and a mooning Oldsmobile whose rear window was almost obscured by holiday stickers.

Bond's body jerked back with the kick of the 300 b.h.p. and his teeth snapped shut. When the manoeuvre was completed, and the angry hooting had vanished behind them, Bond said mildly, 'It's time you graduated out of the Kiddi-car class and bought yourself an express carriage. You want to get cracking. This pedalling along ages one. One of these days you'll stop moving altogether and when you stop moving is when you start to die.'

Leiter laughed. He said, 'See that green light ahead? Bet I can make it before it goes red.' The car leapt forward as if it had been kicked. There was a brief hiatus in Bond's life, an impression of snipe-like flight and of a steel wall of cars that someone parted before the whiplash of Leiter's triple klaxons, a hundred yards when the speedometer touched ninety and they were across the lights and cruising genteelly along in the centre lane.

Bond said calmly, 'You meet the wrong traffic cop arid that Pinkerton card of yours won't be good enough. It isn't so much that you drive slowly, it's holding back the cars behind they'll book you for. The sort of car you need is a nice elderly Rolls Royce Silver Ghost with big plate-glass windows so you can enjoy the beauties of nature' - Bond gestured towards a huge automobile junk heap on their right. 'Maximum fifty and it can stop and even go backwards if you want to. Bulb horn. Suit your sedate style. Matter of fact there should be one on the market soon - Goldfinger's. And by the same token, what the hell's happened to Goldfinger? Haven't they caught up with him yet?'

Leiter glanced at his watch and edged into the outside lane. He brought the car down to forty. He said seriously, 'Tell you the truth, we're all a bit worried. The papers are needling us, or rather Edgar Hoover's crowd, like hell. First they had a gripe at the security clamp-down on you. We couldn't tell them that wasn't our fault and that someone in London, an old limey called M, had insisted on it. So they're getting their own back. Say we're dragging our feet and so forth. And I'm telling you, James' - Leiter's voice was glum, apologetic - 'we just haven't a clue. They caught up with the diesel. Goldfinger had fixed the controls at thirty and had let it run on down the line. Somewhere he and the Korean had got off and probably this Galore girl and the four hoods as well because they've vanished too. We found his truck con voy, of course, waiting on the east-bound highway out of Elizabethville. But never a driver, most probably scattered, but somewhere there's Goldfinger and a pretty tough team hiding up. They didn't get to the Sverdlovsk cruiser at Norfolk. We had a plain-clothes guard scattered round the docks and they report that she sailed to schedule without any strangers going aboard. Not a cat's been near that warehouse on East River and no one's shown at Idlewild or the frontiers - Mexico and Canada. For my money, that Jed Midnight has somehow got them out to Cuba. If they'd taken two or three trucks from the convoy and driven like hell they could have got down to Florida, somewhere like Daytona Beach, by the early hours of D + l. And Midnight's darn well organized down there. The Coast Guards and the Air Force have put out all they've got, but nothing's shown yet. But they could have hidden up during the day and got over to Cuba during the night. It's got everybody worried as hell and it's no help that the President's hopping mad.'

Bond had spent the previous day in Washington treading the thickest, richest red carpet. There had been speeches at the Bureau of the Mint, a big brass lunch at the Pentagon, an embarrassing quarter of an hour with the President, and the rest of the day had been hard work with a team of stenographers in Edgar Hoover's suite of offices with a colleague of Bond's from Station A sitting in. At the end of that, there had been a brisk quarter of an hour's talk with M on the Embassy transatlantic scrambler. M had told him what had been happening on the European end of the case. As Bond had expected, Goldfinger's cable to Universal Export had been treated as emergency. The factories at Reculver and Coppet had been searched and extra evidence of the gold smuggling racket had been found. The Indian Government had been warned about the Mecca plane that was already en route for Bombay and that end of the operation was on the way to being cleaned up. The Swiss Special Brigade had quickly found Bond's car and had got on to the route by which Bond and the girl had been taken to America, but there, at Idlewild, the FBI had lost the scent. M seemed pleased with the way Bond had handled Operation Grand Slam, but he said the Bank of England were worrying him about Goldfinger's twenty million pounds in gold. Goldfinger had assembled all this at the Paragon Safe Deposit Co in

New York but had withdrawn it on D-l. He and his men had driven it away in a covered truck. The Bank of England had ready an Order in Council to impound the gold when it was found and there would then be a case to prove that it had been smuggled out of England, or at least that it was originally smuggled gold whose value had been increased by various doubtful means. But this was now being handled by the US Treasury and the FBI and, since M had no jurisdiction in America, Bond had better come home at once and help tidy things up. Oh yes - at the end of the conversation M's voice had sounded gruff - there had been a very kind request to the PM that Bond should be allowed to accept the American Medal of Merit. Of course M had had to explain via the PM that the Service didn't go in for those sort of things-particularly from foreign countries, however friendly they were. Too bad, but M knew that this was what Bond would have expected. He knew the rules. Bond had said yes of course and thank you very much and he'd take the next plane home.

Now,, as they motored quietly down the Van Wyck Expressway, Bond was feeling vaguely dissatisfied. He didn't like leaving ragged ends to a case. None of the big gangsters had been put in the bag and he had failed in the two tasks he had been given, to get Goldfinger and get Goldfinger's bullion. It was nothing but a miracle that Operation Grand Slam had been broken. It had been two days before the Beechcraft had been serviced and the cleaner who found the note had got to Pinkerton's only half an hour before Leiter was due to go off to the Coast on a big racing scandal. But then Leiter had really got cracking - to his chief, then to the FBI and the Pentagon. The FBI's knowledge of Bond's record, plus contact with M through the Central Intelligence Agency, had been enough to get the whole case up to the President within an hour. After that it had just been a case of building up the gigantic bluff in which all the inhabitants of Fort Knox had participated in one way or another. The two 'Japanese' had been taken easily enough and it was confirmed by Chemical Warfare that the three pints of GB carried as gin in their briefcases would have been enough to slay the entire population of Fort Knox. The two men had been quickly and forcibly grilled into explaining the form of the all clear cable to Goldfinger. The cable had been sent. Then the Army had declared emergency. Road and rail and air blocks had turned back all traffic to the Fort Knox area with the exception of the gangster convoys which had not been hindered. The rest was play-acting right down to the pink froth and the squalling babies which it was thought would add nice touches of verisimilitude.

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