Heading South

Live and Let Die Chapter 9

Back in his hotel room, Bond pours himself a stiff drink of Haig and Haig with some ice. His finger is nearly black by this point. He picks up the phone and calls Leiter. They exchange details of their experiences, turns out Leiter actually made friends with one of his guardians by talking Jazz with him. They make preparations for dealing with the inevitable flak that will ensue from Bond’s adventures. Already Mr Big has complained to the police, claiming Bond went nuts and killed two chauffeurs and a waiter.

Bond needs to make a call back to London and in the 1950’s, an overseas call was a bit more complicated that it is today. He calls the Overseas Operator, and waits for the call back with the connection. After ten minutes, it rings.

He listened to the zing and echo on the line, the chatter of distant operators, the patches of Morse from aircraft and ships at sea, quickly suppressed. He could see the big, grey building near Regents Park and imagine the busy switchboard and the cups of tea and a girl saying, ‘Yes, this is Universal Export,’ the address Bond had asked for, one of the covers used by agents for emergency calls on open lines from abroad.

He finally gets through to “M” and they have a pretty amusing exchange in “code speak”. Bond acts like a salesman on assignment, noting that three of the customer’s men went sick, he got a little flu, that he and his secretary “Felicia” will be heading to “San Pedro” tomorrow. He pictures “M” translating the call on the other end to the Chief of Staff. This is Fleming’s way of telling us what Bond actually said.

Leiter calls back and gives Bond the arrangements for tomorrow.

Bond is to leave via Pennsylvania Station on “The Silver Phantom” to St. Petersburg. He’s been given a very luxurious compartment, and will leave at 10:30 in the morning. He’ll be in Florida by midday the next day. Leiter will be flying down via Eastern Airlines. (Remember them?) Bond is then attended to by the Police surgeon, who tells him his finger was a clean fracture and that it should heal in a few days. Huh? He had it snapped all the way back…a few days?

Bond then receives another phone call. He was expecting a rebuke from the police or FBI, but instead, the voice belongs to Solitaire. She is calling from a drugstore and begs Bond to help her get away from Mr Big. Bond is understandably suspicious, but decides to take a chance. He tells her to meet him at Pennsylvania Station and not to be seen. He wonders afterward if he has been foolish. He then orders a hearty breakfast.

‘Room Service, good morning,’ said the golden voice. ‘Breakfast, please,’ said Bond. ‘Pineapple juice, double. Cornflakes and cream. Shirred eggs with bacon. Double portion of Cafe Espresso. Toast and marmalade.’ ‘Yes, Sir,’ said the girl. She repeated the order. ‘Right away.’ ‘Thank you.’ ‘You’re welcome.’ Bond grinned to himself. ‘The condemned man made a hearty breakfast,’ he reflected.

Shirred eggs are eggs which are baked in individual dishes with a little bit of cream:

1) For each serving, lightly butter individual baking dish.

2) Break one or two eggs into each dish. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon 1 tablespoon milk or cream over eggs (spooning a liquid over the eggs can help prevent drying out).

3) Bake in a preheated 325° F oven approximately 12 to 14 minutes, depending on number of servings being baked. Check the eggs after about 10 minutes baking time. When done, the whites should be completely set and the yolks beginning to thicken but not hard.

So there you go. You can eat the same breakfast as James Bond.

The chapter ends back at Mr Big’s communications centre, where “Whisper” is giving out Bond’s description to all the “eyes” once again. Telling them to watch particularly the highways, airports and railroads.

One comment

  1. John D · June 1, 2005

    Thanks to you I now know what shirred eggs are. You are certainly a font of knowledge.

    I have tried them and am delighted to discover that this is a delicious new way for this egg lover to enjoy eggs.


Comments are closed.