The whole scene was macabre and livid, as if El Greco had done a painting by moonlight of an exhumed graveyard in a burning town.
It was not a large room, perhaps sixty foot square. There were about fifty tables and the customers 长沙桑拿按摩论坛网 were packed in like black olives in a jar. It was hot and the air was thick with smoke and the sweet, feral smell of two hundred negro bodies. The noise was terrific – an undertone of the jabber of negroes enjoying themselves without restraint, punctuated by sharp bursts of noise, shouts and high giggles, as loud voices called to each other across the room.
‘Sweet Jeessus, look who’s hyar…’
‘Where you been keepin yoself, baby…’
‘Gawd’s troof. It’s Pinkus… Hi Pinkus…’
‘Lemme be… Lemme be, Fse telling ya…’ (The noise of a slap.)
‘Where’s G-G. Cmon G-G. Strut yo stuff…’
From time to time a man or girl would erupt on to the dance-floor and start a wild solo jive. Friends would clap the rhythm. There would be a burst of catcalls and whistles. If it was a girl, there would be cries of ‘Strip, strip, strip,’ ‘Get hot, 长沙桑拿SPA baby!’ ‘Shake it, shake it,’ and the MC would come out and clear the floor amidst groans and shouts of derision.
The sweat began to bead on Bond’s forehead. Leiter leant over and cupped his hands. ‘Three exits. Front. Service behind us. Behind the band.’ Bond nodded. At that moment he felt it didn’t matter. This was nothing new to Leiter, but for Bond it was a close-up of the raw material on which The Big Man worked, the clay in his hands. The evening was gradually putting flesh on the dossiers he had read in London and New York. If the evening ended now, without any closer sight of Mr. Big himself, Bond still felt his education in the case would be almost complete. He took a deep draught of his whisky. There was a burst of applause. The MC had come out on to the dance-floor, a tall negro in immaculate tails with a red carnation in his button hole. He stood, holding up his hands. A single white spotlight caught him. The rest of the room went dark.
There was silence.
‘Folks,’ announced the MG with a broad flash of gold and white teeth. ‘This is it.’
There was excited clapping.
He turned to the left of the floor, directly across from Leiter and Bond.
He flung out his right hand. Another spot came on.
‘Mistah Jungles Japhet ‘n his drums.’
A crash of applause, catcalls, 长沙桑拿按摩论坛 whistles.
Four grinning negroes in flame-coloured shirts and peg-top white trousers were revealed, squatting astride four tapering barrels with rawhide membranes. The drums were of different sizes. The negroes were all gaunt and stringy. The one sitting astride the bass drum rose briefly and shook clasped hands at the spectators.
‘Voodoo drummers from Haiti,’ whispered Leiter.
There was silence. With the tips of their fingers the drummers began a slow, broken beat, a soft rumba shuffle.
‘And now, friends,’ announced the MC, still turned towards the drums, ‘G-G…’ he paused, ‘SUMATRA.’
The last word was a yell. He began to clap. There was pandemonium in the room, a frenzy of applause. The door behind the drums burst open and two huge negroes, naked except for gold loincloths, ran out on to the floor carrying between them, her arms round their necks, a tiny figure, swathed completely in black ostrich feathers, a black domino across her eyes.
They put her down in the middle of the floor. They bowed down on either side of her until their foreheads met the ground. She took two paces forward. With the spotlight off them, the two negroes melted away into the shadows and through the door.
The MC had disappeared. There was absolute silence save for the soft thud of the drums.
The girl put her hand up to her throat and the cloak of black feathers came away from the front of her body and spread out into a five-foot black fan. She swirled it slowly behind her until it stood up like a peacock’s tail. She was naked except for a brief vee
of black lace and a black sequin star in the centre of each breast and the thin black domino across her eyes. Her body was small, hard, bronze, beautiful. It was slightly oiled and glinted in the white light.
The audience was silent. The drums began to step up the tempo. The bass drum kept its beat dead on the timing of the human pulse.
The girl’s naked stomach started slowly to revolve in time with the rhythm. She swept the black feathers across and behind her again, and her hips started to grind in time with the bass drum. The upper part of her body was motionless. The black feathers swirled again, and now her feet were shifting and her shoulders. The drums beat louder. Each part of her body seemed to be keeping a different time. Her lips were bared slightly from her teeth. Her nostrils began to flare. Her eyes glinted hotly
through the diamond slits. It was a sexy, pug-like face – chienne was the only word Bond could think of.
The drums thudded faster, a complexity of interlaced rhythms. The girl tossed the big fan off the floor, held her arms up above her head. Her whole body began to shiver. Her belly moved faster. Round and round, in and out. Her legs straddled. Her hips began to revolve in a wide circle. Suddenly she plucked the sequin star off her right breast and threw it into the audience. The first noise came from the spectators, a quiet growl. Then they were silent again. She plucked off the other star. Again the growl and then silence. The drums began to crash and roll. Sweat poured off the drummers. Their hands fluttered like grey flannel on the pale membranes. Their eyes were bulging, distant. Their heads were slightly bent to one side as if they were listening. They hardly glanced at the girl. The audience panted softly, liquid eyes bulging and rolling.
The sweat was shining all over her now. Her breasts and stomach glistened with it. She broke into great shuddering jerks. Her mouth opened and she screamed softly. Her hands snaked down to her sides and suddenly she had torn away the strip of lace. She threw it into the audience. There was nothing now but a single black G-string. The drums went into a hurricane of sexual rhythm. She screamed softly again and then, her arms stretched before her as a balance, she started to lower her body down to the floor and up again. Faster and faster. Bond could hear the audience panting and grunting like pigs at the trough. He felt his own hands gripping the tablecloth. His mouth was dry.
The audience began to shout at her. ‘Cmon, G-G. Take it away, Baby. Cmon. Grind Baby, grind.’
She sank to her knees and as the rhythm slowly died so she too went into a last series of juddering spasms, mewing softly.
The drums came down to a slow tom-tom beat and shuffle. The audience howled for her body. Harsh obscenities came from different corners of the room.
The MC came on to the floor. A spot went on him.
‘Okay, folks, okay.’ The sweat was pouring off his chin. He spread his arms in surrender.
‘Da G-G AGREES!’
There was a delighted howl from the audience. Now she would be quite naked. ‘Take it off, G-G. Show yoself Baby. Cmon, cmon.’
The drums growled and stuttered softly.
‘But, mah friends,’ yelled the MC,’ she stipperlates -With da lights OUT!’
There was a frustrated groan from the audience. The whole room was plunged in darkness.
Must be an old gag, thought Bond to himself.
Suddenly all his senses were alert.
The howling of the mob was disappearing, rapidly. At the same time he felt cold air on his face. He ielt as if he was sinking.