The Bourne Identity / Page 48

Page 48



'He's a dear, and so are you. I'll call you tomorrow afternoon."

'Fine. I'll go to work on these.'

'Talk to you tomorrow, and thanks again." Marie hung up and looked at her watch. Tin to call Peter in three hours. Don't let me forget.'

"You really think he'll have something so soon?"

'He does! he started last night by calling Washington. It's what Corbelier just said; we all trade off. This piece of information here for that one there, a name from our side for one of yours."

'Sounds vaguely like betrayal.'

The opposite. We're dealing in money, not missiles. Money that is illegally moving around, outflanking laws that are good for all our interests. Unless you want the sheikhs of Arab! owning Grumman Aircraft. Then we're talking about missiles ... after they've left the launching pads.'

'Strike my objection.'

'We've got to see d'Amacourt's man first thing in the morning. Figure out what you want to withdraw."

'All of it.'

'All''

'That's right. If you were the directors of Treadstone, what would you do if you learned that four million Swiss francs were missing from a corporate account?'

'I see!'

'D'Amacourt suggested a series of cashier's cheques made out to the bearer."

'He said that? Cheques?'

'Yes. Something wrong?"

There certainly is. The numbers of those cheques could be punched on a fraud tape and sent to banks everywhere. You have to go to a bank to redeem them, payments would be stopped."

'He's a winner, isn't he? He collects from both sides. What do we do?"

'Accept half of what he told you, the bearer part. But not cheques. Bonds. Bearer bonds of various denominations. They're far more easily brokered.'

'You've just earned dinner,' said Jason, reaching down and touching her face.

'I tries to earn my keep, sir," she replied, holding his hand against her cheek. 'First dinner, then Peter ... and then a bookshop in Saint-Germain.'

'A bookshop in Saint-Germain,' repeated Bourne, the pain coming to his chest again. What was it? Why was he so afraid?

They left the restaurant on the boulevard Raspail and walked to the telephone complex on rue de Vaugirard. There were glass booths against the walls and a huge circular counter in the centre of the floor where clerks filled out slips, assigning booths to those placing calls.

The traffic is very light, Madame,' said the clerk to Marie. 'Your call should go through in a matter of minutes. Number twelve, please."

Thank you. Booth twelve?"

'Yes, Madame. Directly over there."

As they walked across the crowded floor to the booth, Jason held her arm. 'I know why people use these places,' he said. They're a hundred and ten times quicker than a hotel phone.'

That's only one of the reasons.'

They had barely reached the booth and lighted cigarettes when they heard the two short bursts of the bell inside. Marie opened the door and went in, her spiral-hinged notebook and a pencil in her hand. She picked up the receiver.

Sixty seconds later Bourne watched in astonishment as she stared at the wall, the blood draining from her face, her skin chalk white. She began shouting, and dropped her bag, the contents scattering over the floor of the small booth; the notebook was caught on the ledge, the pencil broken in the grip of her hand. He rushed inside, she was close to collapse.

This is Marie St Jacques in Paris, Lisa. Peter's expecting my call.'

'Marie? Oh, my God ...' The secretary's voice trailed off, replaced by other voices in the background. Excited voices, muted by a cupped hand over the phone. Then there was a rustle of movement, the phone being given to or taken by another.

'Marie, this is Alan,' said the first assistant director of the section. 'We're all in Peter's office.'

'What's the matter, Alan? I don't have much time; may I speak to him, please?'

There was a moment of silence. 'I wish I could make this easier for you, but I don't know how. Peter's dead, Marie."

'He's ... what?'

The police called a few minutes ago; they're on their way over.'

'The police! What happened? Oh God, he's dead! What happened"}'

'We're trying to piece it together. We're studying his phone log, but we're not supposed to touch anything on his desk.'

'His desk ... ?'

'Notes or memos, or anything like that.'

'Alan! Tell me what happened!'

'That's just it, we don't know. He didn't tell any of us what he was doing. All we know is that he got two phone calls this morning from the States, one from Washington, the other from New York. Around noon he told Lisa he was going to the airport to meet someone flying up. He didn't say who ... The police found him an hour ago in one of those tunnels used for freight. It was terrible; he was shot. In the throat... Marie? Marie?'

The old man with the hollow eyes and the stubble of a white beard, limped into the dark confessional booth, blinking his eyes repeatedly, trying to focus on the hooded figure beyond the opaque curtain. Sight was not easy for this eighty-year-old messenger. But his mind was clear; that was all that mattered.

'Angelus Domini,' he said.

'Angelus Domini, child of God,' whispered the hooded silhouette. 'Are your days comfortable?'

'They draw to an end but they are made comfortable."

'Good ...Zurich?'

'They found the man from the Guisan Quai. He was wounded, they traced him through a doctor known to the Verbrecherwelt. Under severe interrogation he admitted assaulting the woman. Cain came back for her; it was Cain who shot him.'

'So it was an arrangement, the woman and Cain.'

'The man from the Guisan Quai does not think so. He was one of the two who picked her up on the Lowenstrasse.'

'He's also a fool. He killed the watchman?!

'He admits it and defends it. He had no choice in making his escape.'

'He may not have to defend it; it could be the most intelligent thing he did. Does he have his gun?'

'Your people have it.'

'Good, There is a prefect in the Zurich police. That gun must be given to him. Cain is elusive, the woman far less so. She has associates in Ottawa; they'll stay in touch. We trap her, we trace him. Is your pencil ready?"

'Yes, Carlos.'

13

Bourne held her in the close confines of the glass booth, gently lowering her to the seat that protruded from the narrow wall. She was shaking, breathing in swallows and gasps, her eyes glazed, coming into focus as she looked at him.

'They killed him. They killed him! My God, what did I dot Peter:

'You didn't do it! If anyone did it, I did. Not you. Get that through your head.'

'Jason, I'm frightened. He was half a world away ... and they killed him!'

'Treadstone?'

'Who else? There were two phone calls, Washington ... New York. He went to the airport to meet someone and he was killed.'

'How?'

'Oh, Jesus Christ ..." Tears came to Marie's eyes. 'He was shot. In the throat,' she whispered.

Bourne suddenly felt a dull ache, he could not localize it, but it was there, cutting off air. 'Carlos,' he said, not knowing why he said it.


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