The Bourne Identity / Page 14

Page 14



The steel door opened and the receptionist entered carrying a black metal container, which he placed on the desk next to a tray that held a bottle of Pettier and two glasses.

'Are you enjoying your stay in Zurich?' asked the banker, obviously to fill in the silence.

'Very much so. My room overlooks the lake. It's a nice view, very peaceful, quiet.'

'Splendid,' said Apfel, pouring a glass of Perrier for his client Herr Koenig left; the door was closed and the banker returned to business

'Your account, sir,' he said, selecting a key from the ring. 'May I unlock the case, or would you prefer to do so yourself?'

'Go ahead. Open it!

The banker looked up. 'I said unlock, not open. That's not my privilege, nor would I care for the responsibility.'

'Why not?'

'In the event your identity is listed, it's not my position to be aware of it' 'Suppose I wanted business transacted? Money transferred, sent to someone else?' 'It could be accomplished with your numerical signature on a withdrawal-form.'

'Or sent to another bank - outside Switzerland? For me.' Then a name would be required. Under those circumstances an identity would be both my responsibility and my privilege.'

'Open it!

The officer did so. Dr Washburn's patient held his breath, a sharp pain forming in the pit of his stomach. Apfel took out a sheaf of statements held together by an outsized paper clip. His banker's eyes strayed to the right-hand column of the top pages, his banker's expression unchanged, but not totally. His lower lip stretched ever so slightly, creasing the corner of his mouth; he leaned forward and handed the pages to their owner.

Beneath the Gemeinschaft letterhead the typewritten words were in English, the obvious language of the client:

Account: Zero-Seven-Seventeen-Twelve-Zero-

Fourteen-Twenty-six-Zero Name: Restricted to Legal Instructions and Owner

Access: Sealed Under Separate Cover. Current Funds on Deposit... II�50,000 Francs

The patient exhaled slowly, staring at the figure. Whatever he thought he was prepared for, nothing prepared him for this. It was as frightening as anything he had experienced during the past five months. Roughly calculated the amount was over four million American dollars.

$4,000,000.00!

How? Why?

Controlling the start of a tremble in his hand, he leafed through the statements of entry. They were numerous, the sums extraordinary, none less than 300,000 francs, the deposits spaced every five to eight weeks apart, going back twenty-three months. He reached the bottom statement, the first It was a transfer from a bank in Singapore and the largest single entry. Two million, seven hundred thousand Malaysian dollars converted into 5,175,000 Swiss francs.

Beneath the statement he could feel the outline of a separate envelope, far shorter than the page itself. He lifted up the paper; the envelope was rimmed with a black border, typewritten words on the front.

Identity:

Legal Restrictions:

Owner Access

Access - Registered Officer,

Treadstone Seventy-one Corporation,

Bearer Will Produce Written

Instructions From Owner. Subject To

Verifications.

'I'd like to check this,' said the client.

'It's your property,' replied Apfel. 'I can assure you it has remained intact.'

The patient removed the envelope and turned it over. A Gemeinschaft seal was pressed over the borders of the flap; none of the raised letters had been disturbed. He tore the flap open, took out the card, and read:

Owner:

Address:

Citizenship:

Jason Charles Bourne

Unlisted

U.S.A.

Jason Charles Bourne.

Jason.

The J was for Jason! His name was Jason Bourne. The Bourne had meant nothing, the I. Bourne still meaningless, but in the combination Jason and Bourne, obscure tumblers locked into place. He could accept it; he did accept it. He was Jason Charles Bourne, American. Yet he could feel his chest pounding; the vibration in his ears was deafening, the pain in his stomach more acute. What was it? Why did he have the feeling that he was plunging into the darkness again, into the black waters again?

'Is something wrong?' asked Walther Apfel.

Is something wrong, Herr Bourne?

'No. Everything's fine. My name's Bourne. Jason Bourne.'

Was he shouting? Whispering? He could not tell.

'My privilege to know you, Mr Bourne. Your identity will remain confidential. You have the word of an officer of the Bank Gemeinschaft'

Thank you. Now, I'm afraid I've got to transfer a great deal of this money, and I'll need your help.'

'Again, my privilege. Whatever assistance or advice I can render, I shall be happy to do so.'

Bourne reached for the glass of Perrier.

The steel door of Apfel's office closed behind him; within seconds he would walk out of the tasteful ante-room cell, into the reception room and over to the lifts. Within minutes he would be on the Bahnhofstrasse with a name, a great deal of money and little else but fear and confusion.

He had done it Dr Geoffrey Washburn had been paid far in excess of the value of the life he had saved. A teletype transfer in the amount of 3,000,000 Swiss francs had been sent to a bank in Marseilles, deposited to a Coded account that would find its way to lie de Port Noir's only doctor, without Wash-burn's name ever being used or revealed. All Washburn had to do was to get to Marseilles, recite the Codes, and the money was his. Bourne smiled to himself, picturing the expression on Wash-burn's face when the account was turned over to him. The eccentric, alcoholic doctor would have been overjoyed with ten or fifteen thousand pounds; he had more than a million dollars. It would either ensure his recovery or his destruction; that was his choice, his problem.

A second transfer of 4,000,000 francs was sent to a bank in Paris on the rue Madeleine, deposited in the name of Jason C. Bourne. The transfer was expedited by the Gemeinschaft's twice-weekly pouch to Paris, signature cards in triplicate sent with the documents. Herr Koenig had assured both his superior and the client that the papers would reach Paris in three days.

The final transaction was minor by comparison. One hundred thousand francs in large bills were brought to Apfel's office, the withdrawal slip signed in the account holder's numerical signature.

Remaining on deposit in the Gemeinschaft Bank were 3,215 Swiss francs, a not inconsequential sum by any standard. How? Why? From where?

The entire business had taken an hour and twenty minutes, only one discordant note intruding on the smooth proceedings. In character, it had been delivered by Koenig, his expression a mixture of solemnity and minor triumph. He had rung Apfel, was admitted, and had brought a small, black-bordered envelope to his superior. 'Une fiche,' he had said in French.

The banker had opened the envelope, removed a card, studied the contents, and had returned both to Koenig. 'Procedures will be followed,' he had said. Koenig had left.

'Did that concern me?' Bourne had asked. 'Only in terms of releasing such large amounts. Merely house policy.' The banker had smiled reassuringly.

The lock clicked. Bourne opened the frosted glass door and walked out into Herr Koenig's personal fiefdom. Two other men had arrived, seated at opposite ends of the reception room. Since they were not in separate cells behind opaque glass windows, Bourne presumed that neither had a three-zero account He wondered if they had signed names or written out a series of numbers, but he stopped wondering the instant he reached the lift and pressed the button.


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