The bourne supremacy, p.19
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       The Bourne Supremacy, p.19

         Part #2 of Jason Bourne series by Robert Ludlum
Page 19


  'Do you want to search me?'

  'No more than I'd care to trace the labyrinthine ways your most accomplished wife buried the funds in a dozen European-'

  'She's gone!' Did your dedicated men tell you that'

  'You were described as being overwrought - "raving" was the word that was used and making astonishing accusations relative to your wife, yes. '

  'Relative to- Goddamn you, she was taken from our house! Someone's holding her because they want me?

  'Are you sure?

  'Ask that dead fish McAllister. It's his scenario, right down to the note. And suddenly he's on the other side of the world!'

  'A note?' asked the cultured voice.

  'Very clear. Very specific. It's McAllister's story, and he let it happen!. You let it happen!'

  'Perhaps you should examine the note further. '


  'No matter. It may all become clearer to you with help, psychiatric help. '


  'We want to do all we can for you, believe that. You've given so much - more than any man should - and your extraordinary contribution cannot be disregarded even if it comes to a court of law. We placed you in the situation and we will stand by you - even if it means bending the laws, coercing the courts. '

  'What are you talking about? screamed David.

  'A respected army doctor tragically killed his wife several years ago, it was in all the papers. The stress became too much. The stresses on you were tenfold. '

  '1 don't believe this!'

  'Let's put it another way, Mr Bourne. '

  'I'm not Bourne!'

  'All right, Mr Webb, I'll be frank with you. '

  'That's a step up!'

  'You're not a well man. You've gone through eight months of psychiatric therapy there's still a great deal of your own life you can't remember; you didn't even know your name. It's all in the medical records, meticulous records that make clear the advanced state of your mental illness, your compulsion for violence and your obsessive rejection of your own identity. In your torment you fantasize, you pretend to be people you are not; you seem to have a compulsion to be someone other than yourself. '

  That's crazy and you know it! Lies!"

  'Crazy is a harsh word, Mr Webb, and the lies are not mine. However, it's my job to protect our government from false vilification, unfounded accusations that could severely damage the country. '

  'Such as?'

  'Your secondary fantasy concerning an unknown organization you call Medusa. Now, I'm sure your wife will come back to you - if she can, Mr Webb. But if you persist with this fantasy, with this figment of your tortured mind that you call Medusa, we'll label you a paranoid schizophrenic, a pathological liar prone to uncontrollable violence and self-deception. If such a man claims his wife is missing, who knows where that pathological trip could lead? Do I make myself clear?

  David closed his eyes, the sweat rolling down his face. 'Crystal clear,' he said quietly, hanging up the phone.

  Paranoid. . . pathological. Bastards! He opened his eyes wanting to spend his rage by hurling himself against something, anything! Then he stopped and stood motionless as another thought struck him, the obvious thought. Morris Panov! Mo Panov would label the three monsters for what he knew they were. Incompetents and liars, manipulators and self-serving protectors of corrupt bureaucracies - and conceivably worse, far worse. He reached for the phone and, trembling, dialled the number that so often in the past had brought forth a calming, rational voice that provided a sense of worth when Webb felt there was very little of value left in him.

  'David, how good to hear from you,' said Panov with genuine warmth.

  'I'm afraid it's not, Mo. It's the worst call I've ever made to you. '

  'Come on, David, that's pretty dramatic. We've been through a lot-'

  'Listen to me!' yelled Webb. 'She's gone] They've taken her!' The words poured forth, sequences lacking order, the times confused.

  'Stop it, David!' commanded Panov. 'Go back. I want to hear it from the beginning. When this man came to see you after your. . . the memories of your brother. '

  ' What man?'

  'From the State Department. '

  'Yes! All right, yes. McAllister, that was his name. '

  'Go from there. Names, titles, positions. And spell out the name of that banker in Hong Kong. And for Christ's sake, slow down?

  Webb again grabbed his wrist as it gripped the phone. He started again, imposing a false control on his speech; but still it became strident, tight, involuntarily gathering speed. Finally he managed to get everything out, everything he could recall, knowing in horror that he had not remembered everything. Unknown blank spaces filled him with pain. They were coming back, the terrible blank spaces. He had said all he could say for the moment; there was nothing left.

  'David,' began Mo Panov firmly. 'I want you to do something for me. Now. '


  'It may sound foolish to you, even a little bit crazy, but I suggest you go down the street to the beach and take a walk along the shore. A half hour, forty-five minutes, that's all. Listen to the surf and the waves crashing against the rocks. '

  'You can't be serious? protested Webb.

  'I'm very serious,' insisted Mo. 'Remember we agreed once that there were times when people should put their heads on hold - God knows, I do it more than a reasonably respected psychiatrist should. Things can overwhelm us, and before we can get our act together we have to get rid of part of the confusion. Do as 1 ask, David. I'll get back to you as soon as I can, no more than an hour, I'd guess. And Iwant you calmer than you are now. '

  It was crazy, but as with so much of what Panov quietly, often casually, suggested, there was truth in his words. Webb walked along the cold, rocky beach, never for an instant forgetting what had happened, but whether it was the change of scene, or the wind, or the incessant, repetitive sounds of the pounding ocean, he found himself breathing more steadily every bit as deeply, as tremulously, as before but without the higher registers of hysteria. He looked at his watch, at the luminous dial aided by the moonlight. He had walked back and forth for thirty-two minutes; it was all the indulgence he could bear. He climbed the path through the dunes of wild grass to the street and headed for the house, his pace quickening with every step.

  He sat in his chair at the desk, his eyes rigid on the phone. It rang; he picked it up before the bell had stopped. 'Mo?'

  'Yes. '

  'It was damned cold out there. Thank you. '

  Thank you. "

  'What have you learned?'

  And then the extension of the nightmare began.

  'How long has Marie been gone, David?"

  'I don't know. An hour, two hours, maybe more. What's that got to do with anything?'

  'Could she be shopping? Or did you two have a fight and perhaps she wanted to be by herself for a while? We agreed that things are sometimes very difficult for her - you made the point yourself. '

  'What the hell are you talking about? There's a note spelling it out! Blood, a hand print!'

  'Yes, you mentioned them before, but they're so incriminating. Why would anyone do that?"

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