The Man With the Golden Gun Page 5


Now, I see in this dreadful experience a possible reason for the transformation of Scaramanga into the most vicious gunman of recent years. In him was, I believe, born on that day a cold-blooded desire to avenge himself on all humanity. That the elephant had run amok and trampled many innocent people, that the man truly responsible was his handler, and that the police were only doing their duty, would be, psychopathologically, either forgotten or deliberately suppressed by a youth of hot-blooded stock whose subconscious had been so deeply lacerated. At all events, Scaramanga's subsequent career requires some explanation, and I trust I am not being fanciful in putting forward my own prognosis from the known facts.

M. rubbed the bowl of his pipe thoughtfully down the side of his nose. Well, fair enough! He turned back to the file.

I have comment, [wrote C.C.] to make on this man's alleged sexual potency when seen in relation to his profession. It is a Freudian thesis, with which I am inclined to agree, that the pistol, whether in the hands of an amateur or of a professional gunman, has significance for the owner as a symbol of virility--an extension of the male organ--and that excessive interests in guns (e.g., gun collections and gun clubs) is a form of fetishism. The partiality of Scaramanga for a particularly showy variation of weapon and his use of silver and gold bullets clearly point, I think, to his being a slave to this fetish--and, if I am right, I have doubts about his alleged sexual prowess, for the lack of which his gun fetish would be either a substitute or a compensation. I have also noted, from a “profile” of this man in Time magazine, one fact which supports my thesis that Scaramanga may be sexually abnormal. In listing his accomplishments, Time notes, but does not comment upon, the fact that this man cannot whistle. Now it may only be myth, and it is certainly not medical science, but there is a popular theory that a man who cannot whistle has homosexual tendencies. (At this point, the reader may care to experiment and, from his self-knowledge, help to prove or disprove this item of folklore!--C.C.)

M. hadn't whistled since he was a boy. Unconsciously his mouth pursed and a clear note was emitted. He uttered an impatient “tchah!” and continued with his reading.

So I would not be surprised to learn that Scaramanga is not the Casanova of popular fancy. Passing to the wider implications of gunmanship, we enter the realms of the Adlerian power urge as compensation for the inferiority complex, and here I will quote some well-turned phrases of a certain Mr. Harold L. Peterson in his preface to his finely illustrated The Book of the Gun (published by Paul Hamlyn). Mr. Peterson writes:

"In the vast array of things man has invented to better his condition, few have fascinated him more than the gun. Its function is simple; as Oliver Winchester said, with nineteenth-century complacency, 'A gun is a machine for throwing balls.' But its ever-increasing efficiency in performing this task, and its awesome ability to strike home from long range, have given it tremendous psychological appeal.

“For possession of a gun and the skill to use it enormously augments the gunner's personal power, and extends the radius of his influence and effect a thousand times beyond his arm's length. And since strength resides in the gun, the man who wields it may be less than strong without being disadvantaged. The flashing sword, the couched lance, the bent longbow performed to the limit of the man who held it. The gun's power is inherent and needs only to be released. A steady eye and an accurate aim are enough. Wherever the muzzle points, the bullet goes, bearing the gunner's wish or intention swiftly to the target. . . . Perhaps more than any other implement, the gun has shaped the course of nations and the destiny of men.”

In the Freudian thesis, “his arm's length” would become the length of the masculine organ. But we need not linger over these esoterica. The support for my premise is well expressed in Mr. Peterson's sinewy prose and--though I would substitute the printing press for the gun in his concluding paragraph-- his points are well taken. The subject, Scaramanga, is, in my opinion, a paranoiac in subconscious revolt against the father figure (i.e., the figure of authority) and a sexual fetishist with possible homosexual tendencies. He has other qualities which are self-evident from the earlier testimony. In conclusion, and having regard to the damage he has already wrought upon the personnel of the S.S., I conclude that his career should be terminated with the utmost dispatch--if necessary by the inhuman means he himself employs --in the unlikely event an agent of equal courage and dexterity can be made available. [Signed “C.C.”]

Beneath, at the end of the docket, the Head of the Caribbean and Central American Section had minuted “I concur,” signed “C.A.” To this Chief of Staff had added, in red ink, “Noted. C.O.S.”

M. gazed into space for perhaps five minutes. Then he reached for his pen and, in green ink, scrawled the word Action? followed by the italic, authoritative M.

Then he sat very still for another five minutes and wondered if he had signed James Bond's death warrant.

4The Stars Foretell

There are few less prepossessing places to spend a hot afternoon than Kingston International Airport in Jamaica. All the money has been spent on lengthening the runway out into the harbour to take the big jets, and little was left over for the comfort of transit passengers. James Bond had come in an hour before on a B.W.I.A. flight from Trinidad, and there were two hours to go before he could continue the roundabout journey to Havana. He had taken off his coat and tie and now sat on a hard bench gloomily surveying the contents of the In-Bound shop with its expensive scents, liquor, and piles of overdecorated native ware He had had luncheon on the plane, it was the wrong time for a drink, and it was too hot and too far to take a taxi into Kingston even had he wanted to. He wiped his already soaking handkerchief over his face and neck and cursed softly and fluently.

A cleaner ambled in and, with the exquisite languor of such people throughout the Caribbean, proceeded to sweep very small bits of rubbish hither and thither, occasionally dipping a boneless hand into a bucket to sprinkle water over the dusty cement floor. Through the slatted jalousies a small breeze, reeking of the mangrove swamps, briefly stirred the dead air and then was gone. There were only two other passengers in the “lounge,” Cubans perhaps, with jippa-jappa luggage. A man and a woman. They sat close together against the opposite wall and stared fixedly at James Bond, adding minutely to the oppression of the atmosphere. Bond got up and went over to the shop. He bought a Daily Gleaner and returned to his place. Because of its inconsequence and occasionally bizarre choice of news the Gleaner was a favourite paper of Bond's. Almost the whole of that day's front page was taken up with new ganja laws to prevent the consumption, sale, and cultivation of this local version of marijuana. The fact that de Gaulle had just sensationally announced his recognition of Red China was boxed well down the page. Bond read the whole paper--“Country Newsbits” and all--with the minute care bred of desperation.

His horoscope said: “CHEER UP! Today will bring a pleasant surprise and the fulfilment of a dear wish. But you must earn your good fortune by watching closely for the golden opportunity when it presents itself and then seizing it with both hands.” Bond smiled grimly. He would be unlikely to get on the scent of Scaramanga on his first evening in Havana . It was not even certain that Scaramanga was there. This was a last resort. For six weeks, Bond had been chasing his man round the Caribbean and Central America. He had missed him by a day in Trinidad and by only a matter of hours in Caracas . Now he had rather reluctantly taken the decision of try and ferret him out on his home ground, a particularly inimical home ground, with which Bond was barely familiar. At least he had fortified himself in British Guiana with a diplomatic passport, and he was now “Courier” Bond with splendidly engraved instructions from Her Majesty to pick up the Jamaican diplomatic bag in Havana and return with it. He had even borrowed the famous Silver Greyhound, the British Courier's emblem for three hundred years. If he could do his job and then get a few hundred yards' start, this would at least give him sanctuary in the British Embassy. Then it would be up to the P.O. to bargain him out. If he could find his man. If he could carry out his instructions. If he could get away from the scene of the shooting. If, if, if. .... Bond turned to the advertisements on the back page. At once an item caught his eye. It was so typically “old” Jamaica . This is what he read:

FOR SALE BY AUCTION

AT 77 HARBOUR STREET, KINGSTON,

At 10:30 a.m. on WEDNESDAY,

27th MAY

under Powers of Sale contained in a

mortgage from Cornelius Brown et ux

No. 3-1/2 LOVE LANE ,

SAVANNAH LA MAR.

Containing the substantial residence and all that parcel of land by measurement oh the Northern Boundary three chains and fivee perches, on the Southern Boundary five chains and one perch, on the Eastern Boundary two chains exactly, and on the Western Boundary four chains and two perches be the same in each case and more or less and butting Northerly on No. 4 Love Lane.

THE C. D. ALEXANDER

CO. LTD.

77 HARBOUR STREET, KINGSTON

PHONE 4897.

James Bond was delighted. He had had many assignments in Jamaica and many adventures on the island. The splendid address and all the stuff about chains and perches and the old-fashioned abracadabra at the end of the advertisement brought back all the authentic smell of one of the oldest and most romantic of former British possessions. For all her new-found “independence” he would bet his bottom dollar that the statue of Queen Victoria in the centre of Kingston had not been destroyed or removed to a museum, as similar relics of an historic infancy had been in the resurgent African states. He looked at his watch. The Gleaner had consumed a whole hour for him. He picked up his coat and briefcase. Not much longer to go! In the last analysis, life wasn't all that dismal. One must forget the bad and remember the good. What were a couple of hours of heat and boredom in this island compared with memories of Beau Desert and Honeychile Wilder and his survival against the mad Dr. No? James Bond smiled to himself as the dusty pictures clicked across his brain. How long ago it all was! What had happened to her? She never wrote. The last he had heard, she had had two children by the Philadelphia doctor she had married. He wandered off into the grandly named “Concourse,” where the booths of many airlines stood empty and promotion folders and little company flags on their counters gathered the dust blown in with the mangrove breeze.

There was the customary central display stand holding messages for incoming and outgoing passengers. As usual, Bond wondered whether there would be something for him. In all his life there never had been. Automatically he ran his eye over the scattered envelopes, held, under tape, beneath each parent letter. Nothing under “B.” And nothing under his alias “H” for “Hazard, Mark” of the “Trans-world Consortium,” successor to the old “Universal Export,” that had recently been discarded as cover for the Secret Service. Nothing. He ran a bored eye over the other envelopes. He suddenly froze. He looked around him, languidly, casually. The Cuban couple was out of sight. Nobody else was looking. He reached out a quick hand, wrapped in his handkerchief, and pocketed the buff envelope that said, “Scaramanga. BOAC passenger from Luna.” He stayed where he was for a few minutes and then wandered slowly off to the door marked MEN.

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