Bloody Morgan’s Cave

Live and Let Die Chapter 20

As the fish above him continue their frenzy, James Bond desperately searches for a way out. Even while he is doing this, Barracuda slams into his shoulder, taking out a chunk of flesh with it. Water begins to enter his suit, and just as he is about to go to the surface, he spots a boulder where he might get some shelter.

Once behind it, he manages to shoot the fish with his harpoon. Then he notices that the boulder is hiding the entrance to a cave. This portion of the cave is underwater, and as Bond observes, was clearly made by man.

‘At least another twenty yards to go, men,’ Bloody Morgan must have said to the slave overseers. And then the picks would have burst suddenly through to the sea and a welter of arms and legs and screaming mouths, gagged for ever with water, would have hurtled back into the rock to join the bodies of other witnesses.

The great boulder at the entrance would have been put in position to seal the seaward exit. The Shark Bay fisherman who suddenly disappeared six months before must have one day found it rolled away by a storm or by the tidal wave following a hurricane. Then he had found the treasure and had known he would need help to dispose of it. A white man would cheat him. Better go to the great negro gangster in Harlem and make the best terms he could. The gold belonged to the black men who had died to hide it. It should go back to the black men.

Standing there, swaying in the slight current in the tunnel, Bond guessed that one more barrel of cement had splashed into the mud of the Harlem River.

While still under the water, Bond can hear the drums, which have boomed up, signaling that Bond has been spotted and to terrify any people on the shore. Bond presses on, until up ahead he spots a faint glimmer. He turns off his own torch and moves towards the light. He moves on until he is just below the surface of the water. Too late he realizes he’s gone too far.

Two men roughly haul him out of the water and into the cave. He is stripped and brought forward. The boom and stutter of the drums is deafening.

In the foreground, at a green baize card-table, littered with papers, in a folding chair, sat Mr. Big, a pen in his hand, looking incuriously at him. A Mr. Big in a well-cut fawn tropical suit, with a white shirt and black knitted silk tie. His broad chin rested on his left hand and he looked up at Bond as if he had been disturbed in his office by a member of the staff asking for a raise in salary. He looked polite but faintly bored.

‘Good morning, Mister James Bond,’ he said at last, throwing his flat voice against the dying crescendo of the drums. ‘The fly has indeed been a long time coming to the spider, or perhaps I should say “the minnow to the whale”.

He is in the makeshift headquarters of Mr Big’s operation. As he looks around he see broken timber, disintegrating canvas and a massive amount of gold coins, which are being arranged into trays. Others are working at melting gold and there are plenty of other jewels around as well.

Mr Big orders the drums stopped…they were being played on a phonograph. He then orders the men back to work, and finishes the figures he was working on. He then gets up, and orders Bond brought with him. The others continue to work, knowing that even though Mr Big has left, Baron Samedi is still watching them.