As the car sped back down the hill, Bond’s thoughts turned to Darko Kerim. What a man for Head of Station T! His size alone, in this country of furtive, stunted little men, would give him authority, and his giant vitality and love of life would make everyone his friend. Where had this exuberant shrewd pirate come from? And how had he come to work for the Service? He was the rare type of man that Bond loved, and Bond already felt prepared to add Kerim to the half-dozen of those real friends whom Bond, who had no `acquaintances’, would be ready to take to his heart.
The car went back over the Galata Bridge and drew up outside the vaulted arcades of the Spice Bazaar. The chauffeur led the way up the shallow worn steps and into the fog of exotic scents, shouting curses at the beggars and sack-laden porters. Inside the entrance the chauffeur turned left out of the steam of shuffling, jabbering humanity and showed Bond a small arch in the thick wall. Turret-like stone steps curled upwards.
`Effendi, you will find Kerim Bey in the far room on the left. You have only to ask. He is known to all.’
Bond climbed the cool stairs to a small anteroom where a waiter, without asking his name, took charge and led him through a maze of small, colourfully tiled, vaulted rooms to where Kerim was sitting at a corner table over the entrance to the bazaar. Kerim greeted him boisterously, waving a glass of milky liquid in which ice tinkled.
`Here you are my friend! Now, at once, some raki. You must be exhausted after your sight-seeing.’ He fired orders at the waiter.
Bond sat down in a comfortable-armed chair and took the small tumbler the waiter offered him. He lifted it towards Kerim and tasted it. It was identical with ouzo. He drank it down. At once the waiter refilled his glass.
`And now to order your lunch. They eat nothing but offal cooked in rancid olive oil in Turkey. At least the offal at the Misir Carsarsi is the best.’
The grinning waiter made suggestions.
`He says the Doner Kebab is very good today. I don’t believe him, but it can be. It is very young lamb broiled over charcoal with savoury rice. Lots of onions in it. Or is there anything you prefer? A pilaff or some of those damned stuffed peppers they eat here? All right then. And you must start with a few sardines grilled en papillotte. They are just edible.’ Kerim harangued the waiter. He sat back, smiling at Bond. `That is the only way to treat these damned people. They love to be cursed and kicked. It is all they understand. It is in the blood. All this pretence of democracy is killing them. They want some sultans and wars and rape and fun. Poor brutes, in their striped suits and bowler hats. They are miserable. You’ve only got to look at them. However, to hell with them all. Any news?’
Bond shook his head. He told Kerim about the change of room and the untouched suitcase.
Kerim downed a glass of raki and wiped his mouth on the back of his hand. He echoed the thought Bond had had. `Well, the game must begin sometime. I have made certain small moves. Now we can only wait and see. We will make a little foray into enemy territory after lunch. I think it will interest you. Oh, we shan’t be seen. We shall move in the shadows, underground.’ Kerim laughed delightedly at his cleverness. `And now let us talk about other things. How do you like Turkey? No, I don’t want to know. What else?’
They were interrupted by the arrival of their first course. Bond’s sardines en papillotte tasted like any other fried sardines. Kerim set about a large plate of what appeared to be strips of raw fish. He saw Bond’s look of interest. `Raw fish,’ he said. `After this I shall have raw meat and lettuce and then I shall have a bowl of yoghourt. I am not a faddist, but I once trained to be a professional strong man. It is a good profession in Turkey. The public loves them. And my trainer insisted that I should eat only raw food. I got the habit. It is good for me, but,’ he waved his fork, `I do not pretend it is good for everyone. I don’t care the hell what other people eat so long as they enjoy it. I can’t stand sad eaters and sad drinkers.’
`Why did you decide not to be a strong man? How did you get into this racket?’
Kerim forked up a strip of fish and tore at it with his teeth. He drank down half a tumbler of raki. He lit a cigarette and sat back in his chair. `Well,’ he said with a sour grin, `we might as well talk about me as about anything else. And you must be wondering “How did this big crazy man get into the Service?” I will tell you, but briefly, because it is a long story. You will stop me if you get bored. All right?’
`Fine.’ Bond lit a Diplomate. He leant forward on his elbows.
`I come from Trebizond.’ Kerim watched his cigarette smoke curl upwards. `We were a huge family with many mothers. My father was the sort of man women can’t resist. All women want to be swept off their feet. In their dreams they long to be slung over a man’s shoulder and taken into a cave and raped. That was his way with them. My father was a great fisherman and his fame was spread all over the Black Sea. He went after the sword-fish. They are difficult to catch and hard to fight and he would always outdo all others after these fish. Women like their men to be heroes. He was a kind of hero in a corner of Turkey where it is a tradition for the men to be tough. He was a big, romantic sort of fellow. So he could have any woman he wanted. He wanted them all and sometimes killed other men to get them. Naturally he had many children. We all lived on top of each other in a great rambling 佛山桑拿全套一条龙 old ruin of a house that our “aunts” made habitable. The aunts really amounted to a harem. One of them was an English governess from Istanbul my father had seen watching a circus. He took a fancy to her and she to him and that evening he put her on board his fishing boat and sailed up the Bosphorus and back to Trebizond. I don’t think she ever regretted it. I think she forgot all the world except him. She died just after the war. She was sixty. The child before me had been by an Italian girl and the girl had called him Bianco. He was fair. I was dark. I got to be called Darko. There were fifteen of us children and we had a wonderful childhood. Our aunts fought often and so did we. It was like a gipsy encampment. It was held together by my father who thrashed us, women or children, when we were a nuisance. But he was good to us when we were peaceful and obedient. You cannot 佛山南海区桑拿娱乐会所 understand such a family?’
`The way you describe it I can.’
`Anyway so it was. I grew up to be nearly as big a man as my father, but better educated. My mother saw to that. My father only taught us to be clean and to go to the lavatory once a day and never to feel shame about anything in the world. My mother also taught me a regard for England, but that is by the way. By the time I was twenty, I had a boat of my own and I was making money. But I was wild. I left the big house and went to live in two small rooms on the waterfront. I wanted to have my women where my mother would not know. There was a stroke of bad luck. I had a little Bessarabian hell-cat. I had won her in a fight with some gipsies, here in the hills behind Istanbul. They came after me, but I got her on board the boat. I had to knock her unconscious first. She was still trying to kill me when we got back to 佛山桑拿夜生活论坛 Trebizond, so I got her to my place and took away all her clothes and kept her chained naked under the table. When I ate, I used to throw scraps to her under the table, like a dog. She had to learn who was master. Before that could happen, my mother did an unheard of thing. She visited my place without warning. She came to tell me that my father wanted to see me immediately. She found the girl. My mother was really angry with me for the first time in my life. Angry? She was beside herself. I was a cruel ne’er-do-well and she was ashamed to call me son. The girl must immediately be taken back to her people. My mother brought her some of her own clothes from the house. The girl put them on, but when the time came, she refused to leave me.’ Darko Kerim laughed hugely. `An interesting lesson in female psychology my dear friend. However, the problem of the girl is another story. While my mother was fussing over her and getting nothing 佛山桑拿论坛蒲友 but gipsy curses for her pains, I was having an interview with my father, who had heard nothing of all this and who never did hear. My mother was like that. There was another man with my father, a tall, quiet Englishman with a black patch over one eye. They were talking about the Russians. The Englishman wanted to know what they were doing along their frontier, about what was going on at Batoum, their big oil and naval base only fifty miles away from Trebizond. He would pay good money for information. I knew English and I knew Russian. I had good eyes and ears. I had a boat. My father had decided that I would work for the Englishman. And that Englishman, my dear friend, was Major Dansey, my predecessor as Head of this Station. And the rest,’ Kerim made a wide gesture with his cigarette holder, `you can imagine.’
`But what about this training to be a professional strong man?’
`Ah,’ said Kerim slyly, `that was only a sideline. Our travelling circuses were almost the only Turks allowed through the frontier. The Russians cannot 佛山桑拿按摩包吹 live without circuses. It is as simple as that. I was the man who broke chains and lifted weights by a rope between the teeth. I wrestled against the local strong men in the Russian villages. And some of those Georgians are giants. Fortunately they are stupid giants and I nearly always won. Afterwards, at the drinking, there was always much talk and gossip. I would look foolish and pretend not to understand. Every now 佛山桑拿按摩一条龙那里好 and then I would ask an innocent question and they would laugh at my stupidity and tell me the answer.’
The second course came, and with it a bottle of Kavaklidere, a rich coarse burgundy like any other Balkan wine. The Kebab was good and tasted of smoked bacon fat and onions. Kerim ate a kind of Steak Tartare-a large flat hamburger of finely minced raw meat laced with peppers and chives and bound together with yolk of egg. He made Bond try a forkful. It was delicious. Bond said so.
`You ought to eat it every day,’ said Kerim earnestly. `It is good for those who wish to make much love. There are certain exercises you should do for the same purpose. These things are important to men. Or at least they are to me. Like my father, I consume a large quantity of women. But, unlike him, I also drink and smoke too much, and these 佛山桑拿论坛浦友 things do not go well with making love. Nor does this work I do. Too many tensions and too much thinking. It takes the blood to the head instead of to where it should be for making love. But I am greedy for life. I do too much of everything all the time. Suddenly one day my heart will fail. The Iron Crab will get me as it got my father. But I am not afraid of The Crab. At least I shall have died from an honourable disease. Perhaps they will put on my tombstone. “This Man Died from Living Too Much”.’
Bond laughed. `Don’t go too soon, Darko,’ he said. `M would be very displeased. He thinks the world of you.’
`He does?’ Kerim searched Bond’s face to see if he was telling the truth. He laughed delightedly. `In that case I will not let The Crab have my body yet.’ He looked at his watch. `Come, James,’ he said. `It is good that 佛山桑拿浴服务价格 you reminded me of my duty. We will have coffee in the office. There is not much time to waste. Every day at 2.30 the Russians have their council of war. Today you and I will do them the honour of being present at their deliberations.’
Chapter Sixteen The Tunnel of Rats
Back in the cool office, while they waited for the inevitable coffee, Kerim opened a cupboard in the wall and pulled out sets of engineers’ blue overalls. Kerim stripped to his shorts and dressed himself in one of the suits and pulled on a pair of rubber boots. Bond picked out a suit and a pair of boots that more or less fitted him and put them on.
With the coffee, the head clerk brought in two powerful flashlights which he put on the desk.
When the clerk had left the room Kerim said, `He is one of my sons-the eldest one. The others in there are all my 黄岐桑拿体验 children. The chauffeur and the watchman are uncles of mine. Common blood is the best security. And this spice business is good cover for us all. M set me up in it. He spoke to friends of his in the City of London. I am now the leading spice merchant in Turkey. I have long ago repaid M the money that was lent me. My children are shareholders in the business. They have a good life. When there is secret work to be done and I need help, I choose the child who will be most suitable. They all have training in different secret things. They are clever and brave. Some have already killed for me. They would all die for me-and for M. I have taught them he is just below God.’ Kerim made a deprecating wave. `But that is just to tell you that you are in good hands.’ `I hadn’t imagined anything different.’
`Ha!’ said Kerim non-committally. 佛山桑拿女qq电话 He picked up the torches and handed one to Bond. `And now to work.’
Kerim walked over to the wide glass-fronted bookcase and put his hand behind it. There was a click and the bookcase rolled silently and easily along the wall to the left. Behind it was a small door, flush with the wall. Kerim pressed one side of the door and it swung inwards to reveal a dark tunnel with stone steps leading straight down. A dank smell, mixed with a faint zoo stench, came out into the room.
`You go first,’ said Kerim. `Go down the steps to the bottom and wait. I must fix the door.’
Bond switched on his torch and stepped through the opening and went carefully down the stairs. The light of the torch showed fresh masonry, and, twenty feet below, a glimmer of water. When Bond got to the bottom he
found that the glimmer was a small stream running down a central gutter in the floor of an ancient stone-walled tunnel that sloped steeply up to the right. To the left, the tunnel went on downwards and would, he guessed, come out below the surface of the Golden Horn.
Out of range of Bond’s light there was a steady, quiet, scuttling sound, and in the blackness hundreds of pinpoints of red light flickered and moved. It was the same uphill and downhill. Twenty yards away on either side, a thousand rats were looking at Bond. They were sniffing at his scent. Bond imagined the whiskers lifting slightly from their teeth. He had a quick moment
of wondering what action they would take if his torch went out.
Kerim was suddenly beside him. `It is a long climb. A quarter of an hour. I hope you love animals.’ Kerim’s laugh boomed hugely away up the tunnel. The rats scuffled and stirred. `Unfortunately there is not much choice. Rats and bats. Squadrons of them, divisions-a whole air force and army. And we have to drive them in front of us. Towards the end of the climb it becomes quite congested. Let’s get started. The air is good. It is dry underfoot on both sides of the stream. But in winter the floods come and then we have to use frogmen’s suits. Keep your torch on my feet. If a bat gets in your hair, brush him off. It will not be often. Their radar is very good.’
They set off up the steep slope. The smell of the rats and of the droppings of bats was thick-a mixture
of monkey house arid chicken battery. It occurred to Bond that it would be days before he got rid of it.
Clusters of bats hung like bunches of withered grapes from the roof and when, from time to time, either Kerim’s head or Bond’s brushed against them, they exploded twittering into the darkness. Ahead of them as they climbed there was the forest of squeaking, scuffling red pin-points that grew denser on both sides of the central gutter. Occasionally Kerim flashed his torch forward and the light shone on a grey field sown with glittering teeth and glinting whiskers. When this happened, an extra frenzy seized the rats, and those nearest jumped on the backs of the others to get away. All the while, fighting tumbling grey bodies came sweeping down the central gutter and, as the pressure of the mass higher up the tunnel grew
heavier, the frothing rear-rank came closer.
The two men kept their torches levelled like guns on the rear ranks until, after a good quarter of an hour’s climb, they reached their destination.
It was a deep alcove of newly faced brick in the side of the tunnel. There were two benches on each side of a thick tarpaulin-wrapped object that came down from the ceiling of the alcove.
They stepped inside. Another few yards’ climb, Bond thought, and mass hysteria must have seized the distant thousands of rats further up the tunnel. The horde would have turned. Out of sheer pressure for space, the rats would have braved the lights and hurled themselves down on to the two intruders, in spite of the two glaring eyes and the threatening scent.
`Watch,’ said Kerim.