The bourne supremacy, p.25
Larger Font   Reset Font Size   Smaller Font       Night Mode Off   Night Mode

       The Bourne Supremacy, p.25
 

         Part #2 of Jason Bourne series by Robert Ludlum
Page 25

 

  'I know you've got twenty years in grey to black operations and that you wrote the book on most of them. '

  'History,' muttered the CIA man, drinking.

  'It's revivable. Unlike mine your memory's intact. Mine's limited, but not yours. I need information, I need answers. '

  To what? For what?

  'They took my wife away,' said David simply, ice in that simplicity. 'They took Marie away from me. '

  Conklin's eyes blinked through his fixed stare. 'Say that again. I don't think I heard you right. '

  'You heard! And you bastards are somewhere deep down in the rotten scenario!'

  'Not me I wouldn't - I couldn't!. What the hell are you saying? Marie's gone?'

  'She's in a plane over the Pacific. I'm to follow. I'm to fly to Kowloon. '

  'You're crazy! You're out of your mind!'

  'You listen to me, Alex. You listen carefully to everything I tell you. . . ' Again the words poured forth, but now with a control he had not been able to summon with Morris Panov. Conklin drunk had sharper perceptions than most sober men in the intelligence community, and he had to understand. Webb could not allow any lapses in the narrative; it had to be clear from the beginning - from that moment when he spoke to Marie over the gymnasium phone and heard her say. 'David, come home. There's someone here you must see. Quickly, darling. '

  As he talked, Conklin limped unsteadily across the room to the couch and sat down, his eyes never once leaving Webb's face. When David had finished describing the hotel around the corner, Alex shook his head and reached for his drink.

  'It's eerie,' he said after a period of silence, of intense concentration fighting the clouds of alcohol; he put the glass down. 'It's as though a strategy was mounted and went off the wire. '

  'Off the wire?

  'Out of control. '

  'How?'

  'I don't know,' went on the former tactician, weaving slightly, trying not to slur his words. 'You're given a script that may or may not be accurate, then the targets change -your wife for you - and it's played out. You react predictably, but when you mention Medusa, you're told in no uncertain terms that you'll be burned if you persist. ' That's predictable. '

  'It's no way to prime a subject. Suddenly your wife's on a back burner and Medusa's the overriding danger. Someone miscalculated. Something's off a wire, something happened. '

  'You've got what's left of tonight and tomorrow to get me some answers. I'm on the seven P. M. flight to Hong Kong. '

  Conklin sat forward, shaking his head slowly, and with his right hand trembling again reached for his bourbon. 'You're in the wrong part of town,' he said, swallowing. 'I thought you knew; you made a tight little allusion to the sauce. I'm useless to you. I'm off limits, a basket case. No one tells me anything and why should they? I'm a relic, Webb. Nobody wants to have a goddamned thing to do with me. I'm washed out and up and one more step I'll be beyond-salvage - which I believe is a phrase locked in that crazy head of yours. '

  'Yes, it is. "Kill him. He knows too much. '

  'Maybe you want to put me there, is that it? Feed him, wake up the sleeping Medusa and make sure he gets it from his own. That would balance. '

  'You put me there,' said David, taking the gun out of the holster under his jacket.

  'Yes, I did,' agreed Conklin, nodding his head and gazing at the weapon. 'Because I knew Delta, and as far as I was concerned anything was possible - I'd seen you in the field. My God, you blew a man's head off - one of your own men -in Tarn Quan because you believed - you didn't know, you believed ~ he was radioing a platoon on the Ho Chi Minh! No charges, no defence, just another swift execution in the jungle. It turned out you were right, but you might have been wrong! You could have brought him in; we might have learned things, but no, not Delta! He made up his own rules. Sure, you could have turned in Zurich!'

  'I don't have the specifics about Tam Quan, but others did,' said David in quiet anger. 'I had to get nine men out of there, there wasn't room for a tenth who could have slowed us down or bolted, giving away our position. '

  'Good! Your rules. You're inventive, so find a parallel here and for Christ's sake pull the trigger like you did with him, our bona fide Jason Bourne! I told you in Paris to do it!' Breathing hard, Conklin paused and leveled his bloodshot eyes at Webb; he spoke in a plaintive whisper. 'I told you then and I tell you now. Put me out of it. I don't have the guts. '

  'We were friends, Alex!' shouted David. 'You came to our house! You ate with us and played with the kids! You swam with them in the river. . . ' Oh my God lit was all coming back. The images, the faces. . . Oh, Christ, the faces. . . The bodies floating in circles of water arid blood. . . Control yourself! Reject them! Reject! Only now. Now

  'That was in another country, David. And besides -1 don't think you want me to complete the line. '

  '"Besides the wench is dead. " No, I'd prefer you didn't repeat the line. '

  'No matter what,' said Conklin hoarsely, swallowing most of his whisky. 'We were both erudite, weren't we?. . . I can't help you. '

  'Yes, you can. You will'

  'Get off it, soldier. There's no way. '

  'Debts are owed you. Call them in. I'm calling yours. '

  'Sorry. You can pull that trigger any time you want, but if you don't, I'm not putting myself beyond-salvage or blowing everything that's coming to me - legitimately coming to me. If I'm allowed to go to pasture, I intend to graze well. They took enough. I want some back. ' The CIA officer got up from the couch and awkwardly walked across the room towards the copper bar. His limp was more pronounced than Webb ever remembered it, his right foot no more serviceable than an encased stump dragged at an angle across the floor, the effort painfully obvious.

  'The leg's worse, isn't it?' asked David curtly.

  'I'll live with it. '

  'You'll die with it, too,' said Webb, raising his automatic. 'Because I can't live without my wife and you don't give a goddamn. Do you know what that makes you, Alex? After everything you did to us, all the lies, the traps, the scum you used to nail us with-'

  'You!' interrupted Conklin, filling his glass and staring at the gun. 'Not her. '

  'Kill one of us, you kill us both, but you wouldn't understand that. '

  'I never had the luxury. '

  'Your lousy self-pity wouldn't let you! You just want to wallow in it all by yourself and let the booze do the thinking. "There but for a fucking land mine goes the Director, or the Monk or the Grey Fox - the Angleton of the eighties. " You're pathetic. You've got your life, your mind-'

  'Jesus, take them away! Shoot! Pull the goddamn trigger but leave me something? Conklin suddenly swallowed his entire drink; an extended, rolling, retching cough followed. After the spasm, he looked at David, his eyes watery, the red veins pronounced. 'You think I wouldn't try to help if I could, you son of a bitch?' he whispered huskily. 'You think I like all that "thinking" I indulge myself in? You're the one who's dense, the one who's stubborn, David. You don't understand, do you? The CIA man held the glass in front of him with two fingers and let it drop to the hard wood floor; it shattered, fragments flying in all directions. Then he spoke, his voice a high- pitched singsong, as a sad smile crept across his lips beneath the rheumy eyes. 'I can't stand another failure, old friend. And I'd fail, believe me. I'd kill you both and I just don't think I could live with that. '

 
Turn Navi Off
Turn Navi On
Scroll Up
Scroll