"I frequently deal with family concerns, including problems that have to do with older people," he explained. "I choose a different topic each month. Frequently the topic revolves around a number of letters that come in. The June issue, for example, has an unusually large column because we're dealing with sexuality. We get hundreds and hundreds of letters, so I can't answer them personally, but I do read them all. When I'm giving a speech across the country, I like to use airplane time to catch up on my mail."
He turned to Kissy and bowed. 'When this valuable product is desired by a sincere customer I always ask them to witness the process of distillation. Otherwise they might harbour the unworthy thought that the phial contained only water from the tap. But you have now seen that this preparation is the authentic sweat of a toad. It is produced by giving a toad a mild electric shock. The toad suffered only temporary discomfort and it will be rewarded this evening with an extra portion of flies or crickets. And now,' he went to a cupboard and took out a small pill-box, 'here is powder of dried lizard. A combination of the two, inserted in your lover's food at the evening meal, should prove infallible. However, to excite his mind as well as his senses, for an extra thousand yen I can provide you with a most excellent pillow-book.'
"One hundred and forty-five thousand." Again the piercing glance towards the back of the room. Again no movement. But again some signal had been exchanged. "One hundred and fifty thousand pounds."
They both leant forward. Animation was back in her face and the incident left only the smallest question-mark hanging in the air. Even that faded as they came through the dunes and saw the sea and the modest little inn amongst the pines.
'I didn't say that I was empowered. I meant that I would do anything for you on my personal responsibility.'
This leaden gallantry got what it deserved. There came a spirited crackle of Japanese from Grey Pearl. Tiger translated.
"Travel is not fun anymore," sighs world-renowned violinist, violist and conductor Pinchas Zukerman. "It used to be. Now there are all the checks and securities at airports, and the hotel standards have gone down. The old-style luxury hotel is gone. Now it's a businessman's Ramada Inn, kind of hit-and-run hotel. But you learn to live with it."
"No, sir," said Bond with a grin. "And I'd like to come very much. Bit of a busman's holiday. And if Drax is cheating, I'll show him I've spotted it and that should be enough to warn him off. I wouldn't like to see him get into a mess. That all, sir?"
Bond tensed. His gun spoke twice from the hip. The knife clattered harmlessly off Kerim's back. The figure that had risen from the dead twirled slowly round like a ballet dancer and toppled forward on his face. Bond ran forward. He had been just in time. The moon had caught the blade and he had had a clear field of fire. Kerim looked down at the twitching body. He turned to meet Bond.