The bourne supremacy, p.164
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       The Bourne Supremacy, p.164

         Part #2 of Jason Bourne series by Robert Ludlum
 
Page 164

 

  'Not you, sir,' said the Oriental, lowering his hands and grinning. 'You are very good. ' �

  'Yes, me, sir,' replied Jason. 'You scare the hell out of me. And you did me a great favour. '

  'You paid me well. Very well. '

  'I'll pay you better now. '

  'The message was for you?'

  'Yes. '

  Then you have taken the Frenchman's place?

  'He's dead. Killed by the people who sent the message. '

  The conduit looked bewildered, perhaps even sad. 'Why?' he asked. 'He serviced them well and he was an old man, older than you. '

  Thanks a lot. '

  'L"id he betray those he serviced?'

  'No, he was betrayed. '

  The Communists?'

  'Kuomintang,' said Bourne, shaking his head.

  'Dong wu! They are no better than the Communists. What do you want from me?' 'If everything goes right, pretty much what you did before, but this time I want you to stay around. I want to hire a pair of eyes. '

  'You go up into the hills in Guangdong?'

  'Yes. '

  'You need assistance crossing the border, then?'

  'Not if you can find me someone who can shift a photograph from one passport to another. '

  'It is done every day. The children can do it. '

  'Good. Then we're down to my hiring your eyes. There's a degree of risk but not much. There's also twenty thousand dollars, American. Last time I paid you ten, this time it's twenty. '

  "Aiya, & fortune? The conduit paused, studying Bourne's face. 'The risk must be great. '

  'If there's trouble I'll expect you to get out. We'll leave the money here in Macao, accessible only to you. Do you want the job or do I look elsewhere?'

  These are the eyes of the hawk bird. Look no farther. '

  'Come back with me to the casino. Wait outside, down the street, and I'll have the message picked up. '

  The bartender was only too pleased to do as Jason requested, although he was confused by the odd word 'crisis' that was to be used until Bourne explained that it was the name of a race horse. He carried a 'special' drink to a bewildered player at Table Five and returned with the sealed envelope under his tray. Jason had scanned the nearby tables looking for turning heads and shifting eyes amid the spiralling clouds of smoke; he saw none. The sight of the maroon-jacketed bartender among the maroon-jacketed waiters was too common to draw attention. As instructed, the tray was placed between Bourne and McAllister. Jason shook a cigarette out of his pack and shoved a book of matches down the bar towards the nonsmoking analyst. Before the perplexed undersecretary could understand, Bourne got off his stool and walked over to him.

  'Have you got a light, mister?'

  McAllister looked at the matches, quickly picked them up, tore one out and struck it, holding the flame up for the cigarette. When Jason returned to his seat, the sealed envelope was in his hand. He opened it, removed the paper inside and read the typewritten English script: Telephone Macao - 32-61-443.

  He looked around for a pay phone and then realized that he had never used one in Macao, and even if there were instructions, he was not familiar with the Portuguese colony's coins. It was always the little things that loused up the bigger things. He signalled the bartender, who reached him before his hand was back on the bar.

  'Yes, sir? Another whisky, sir?

  'Not for a week,' said Bourne, placing Hong Kong money in front of him. 'I have to make a phone call to someone here in Macao. Tell me where a pay phone is and let me have the proper coins, will you, please?'

  'I could not permit so fine a gentleman as yourself to use a common telephone, sir. Between us, I believe many of the customers here may be diseased. ' The bartender smiled. 'Allow me, sir. I have a telephone on my counter - for very special people. '

  Before Jason could protest or give thanks, a telephone was put in front of him. He dialled as McAllister stared at him.

  'Wei?' said a female voice.

  'I was instructed to call this number,' replied Bourne in English. The dead impostor had not known Chinese.

  'We will meet. ' 'We won't meet. '

  'We insist. '

  'Then Resist. You know me better than that, or you should. I want to talk to the man, and only the man. '

  'You are presumptuous. '

  'You're less than an idiot. So's the skinny preacher with the big sword unless he talks to me. '

  'You dare-'

  'I've heard that once before tonight,' interrupted Jason sharply. 'The answer is yes, I do dare. He's got a hell of a lot more to lose than I do. He's only one client, and my list is growing. I don't need him, but right now I think he needs me. '

  'Give me a reason that can be confirmed. '

  'I don't give reasons to corporals. I was once a major, or didn't you know that?'

  There's no need for insults. '

  There's no need for this conversation. I'll call you back in thirty minutes. Offer me something better, offer me the man. And I'll know if it's himself because I'll ask a question or two that only he can answer. Ciao, lady. ' Bourne hung up.

  'What are you doing?' whispered an agitated McAllister four chairs away.

  'Arranging your day in the sun, and I hope you've got some lotion. We're getting out of here. Give me five minutes, then follow me. Turn right out of the door and keep walking. We'll pick you up. '

  'We?

  There's someone I want you to meet. An old friend -young friend - whom I think you'll approve of. He dresses like you do. '

  'Someone else! Are you insane!'

  'Don't blow your cool, analyst, we're not supposed to know each other. No, I'm not insane. I just hired a back-up in case I'm out-thought. Remember, you wanted my input in such matters. '

  The introductions were short and no names were used, but it was evident that McAllister was impressed by the stocky, broad shouldered, well-dressed Chinese.

  'Are you an executive with one of the firms over here?' asked the analyst as they walked towards the side street where the conduit's car was parked.

  'In a manner of speaking, yes, sir. My own firm, however. I run a courier service for very important people. '

  'But how did he find you?'

  'I'm sorry, sir, but I'm sure you can understand. Such information is confidential. '

  'Good Lord' muttered McAllister, glancing at the man from Medusa.

  'Get me to a phone in twenty minutes,' said Jason in the front seat. The bewildered undersecretary sat in the back.

  'They are using a relay then?" asked the conduit. They did so many times with the Frenchman. '

  'How did he handle them?' asked Bourne.

  'With delays. He would say, "Let them sweat. " May I suggest an hour?'

  'You're on. Is there a restaurant open around here?'

  'Over in the Rua Mercadores. '

  'We need food, and the Frenchman was right - he was always right. Let them sweat. '

  'He was a decent man to me,' said the conduit.

  'At the end he was some kind of eloquent if perverted saint. '

  'I do not understand, sir. ' 'It's not necessary that you do. But I'm alive and he's not because he made a decision. '

 
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