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Digested classics: Casino Royale by Ian Fleming

07-Jun-2009 • Literary

Casino Royale by Ian Fleming digested by John Crace for The Guardian.

Bond's eyes narrowed in ironical satisfaction as he casually palmed a tip to the casino vestiaire and returned to the Hotel Splendide. The concierge passed him a note. Ten million francs was on its way from M; it would have to do. He checked his room for uninvited guests. The safe, empty room sneered at him; Bond sneered back before lighting his 170th cigarette of the day. He placed his .38 Colt under the pillow and his brutal, ironical face on top.

Two weeks before, a memorandum about Le Chiffre had reached M. The 18-stone flagellant's brothels were losing business and there was a 50m franc deficit in the union funds he controlled for Smersh. There was only one man for the job.

Bond gave Moneypenny a passing glance on his way into M's office; she would have been desirable but for her eyes, which were too quizzical. He would pass on her. "Here's the dope," M said. "Pose as a Jamaican plantocrat and clean out Le Chiffre at baccarat."

"You mean there's no gadgets, no exotic locations outside northern France and I won't even get to kill anyone?" Bond asked wryly.

"That's right. Just a lot of very heavy betting."

"Ding Dong."

"I said betting, Bond. Mathis will keep you covered."

Some of this back story conveniently passed through Bond's mind over a breakfast of seven scrambled eggs and a side of bacon. He looked up to see Mathis by his side.

"You'll be pleased with your number two," Mathis winked. "Especially her protuberances."

Bond groaned. What were they sending him a woman for? It wasn't a bloody picnic. Damn it, women were for recreation. At least Felix Leiter, the CIA chap, was around. He went outside and fired up his 4.5-litre supercharged Bentley before returning to the Negresco baroque of Casino Royale.

"This is Miss Vesper Lynd," said Mathis.

Her bodice was lasciviously tight across her pert breasts and her ironical eyes looked at Bond with ironical disinterest. "I'll bring you luck, Double-0 Jamms," she whispered.

He would sleep with her later, he thought; once the job was done. He rose from the table and walked outside. An explosion sent him tumbling to the ground; he picked himself up, removing charred flesh from his pristine dinner jacket.

"Your cover is blown, Jamms," Vesper said. "The two Bulgars blew themselves up instead of you."

"No matter," Bond answered. "Here's the plan." Vesper listened with attentive obedience, upset her feminine charm appeared to have no allure.

Bond's nostrils flared as he spotted Le Chiffre's henchmen on the way to the baccarat table. A tall guy and a cripple: he could deal with them. He leaned back in his chair, instantly disabling them both. Let the game begin. Beads of sweat gathered on his forehead. He was finished. Le Chiffre smirked. "Enough, Mr Bond." A waiter passed Bond an envelope from Felix stuffed with 32m francs. Marshall Aid from the US.

"I think not," Bond smiled. "Suivi." Two queens. Zero. It was desperate. Then a nine. "Banco", Le Chiffre was bankrupt. The job was over. Now for Vesper's cold and arrogant body. "Oh Jamms," she cried, "I want you but first I must see Mathis."

The silly bitch, he thought, as he raced outside. Mathis would never have sent such a note, and he gunned the Bentley in pursuit of the Citroën in which she had been abducted. He was up to 345mph and closing in when the tyres hit the tacks.

Bond awoke to find himself naked in a bare room under an alabasterine ceiling light. Le Chiffre cut out the cane seat of the chair and pushed Bond's buttocks through the opening. "Where's my money, dear boy?" he said, thrashing Bond's manhood with a paddle.

"Go to hell," Bond gasped. He could take a chance on losing some of his cock. After all, he had a good eleven inches to play with.

"Shtop." A tall Russian with a crag-like face entered the room. "You have lost Smersh's money, Le Chiffre. For that you must die." A third eye appeared in the middle of Le Chiffre's face. "I should kill you too, Mr Bond. But I only kill to orders. Good day."

Bond lay back in bed. The main action was over but there was still another 40 pages to go. He'd better find some way to fill them. Vesper had sent flowers, but he had sent them back; no one got away with implying he was queer. Yet he was curious about her. And his cock.

"Oh Jamms," she wept. "It is still so swollen."

"I am just pleased to see you."

Days passed. Bond was surprised to find he quite liked her gleaming buttocks and hard breasts; he toyed with resigning and getting married. Then he recalled the franchise. His heart and cock hardened as he stroked his memories and other parts. On reflection, there was something queer about her.

He found the note beside her dead body. "Oh Jamms, I am a double agent but I could not live without you. So I have killed myself."

Silly bitch, he thought. But there was always pussy galore to come.

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