The bourne supremacy, p.28
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       The Bourne Supremacy, p.28

         Part #2 of Jason Bourne series by Robert Ludlum
Page 28


  'Will you please speak English? Or Mandarin? I can handle those but not that horseshit. '

  'They could have a microphone under your bed. I trust you're 'not a closet something-or-other. '

  There would be no contact until they met at the lounge at Dulles Airport, which was why David now stood at a cashier's counter in a luggage store on Wyoming Avenue. He was buying an outsized flight bag to replace his suitcase; he had discarded much of his clothing. Things - precautions -were coming back to him, among them the unwarranted risk of waiting in an airport's luggage area, and since he wanted the greater anonymity of economy class, a carry-on two-suiter might be disallowed. He would buy whatever he needed wherever he was, and that meant he had to have a great deal of money for any number of contingencies. This fact determined his next stop, a bank on 14th Street.

  A year before, while the Government probers were examining what was left of his memory, Marie had quietly, rapidly, withdrawn the funds David had left in Zurich's Gemeinschaft Bank as well as those he had transferred to Paris as Jason Bourne. She had wired the money to the Cayman Islands, where she knew a Canadian banker, and established an appropriately confidential account. Considering what Washington had done to her husband - the damage to his mind, the physical suffering and near loss of life because men refused to hear his tries for help - she was letting the Government off lightly. If David had decided to sue, and in spite of everything, it was not out of the question, any astute attorney would go into court seeking damages upwards of $10 million, not roughly five-plus.

  She had speculated aloud about her thoughts on legal redress with an extremely nervous deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency. She did not discuss the missing funds other than to say that with her financial training she was appalled to learn that so little protection had been given the American taxpayers' hard-earned dollars. She had delivered this criticism in a shocked if gentle voice, but her eyes were saying something else. The lady was a highly intelligent, highly motivated tiger, and her message got through. So wiser and more cautious men saw the logic of her speculations and let the matter drop. The funds were buried under top-secret, eyes-only contingency appropriations.

  Whenever additional money was needed - a trip, a car, the house - Marie or David would call their banker in the Caymans and he would credit the funds by wire to any of five dozen reciprocating banks in Europe, the United States, the Pacific Islands and the Far East.

  From a pay phone on Wyoming Avenue, Webb placed a collect call, mildly astonishing his friendly banker by the amount of money he needed immediately and the funds he wanted available in Hong Kong. The collect call came to less than $8. 00, the money to over half a million dollars.

  'I assume that my dear friend, the wise and glorious Marie, approves, David?'

  'She told me to call you. She said she can't be bothered with trifles. '

  'How like her! The banks you will use are. . . '

  Webb walked through the thick glass doors of the bank on 14th Street, spent twenty irritating minutes with a vice-president who tried too hard to be an instant chum, and walked out with $50, 000, forty in $500 bills, the rest a mix. He then hailed a cab and was driven to an apartment in DC North West, where lived a man he had known in his days as Jason Bourne, a man who had done extraordinary work for the State Department's Treadstone 71. The man was a silver-haired Black who had been a taxi driver until one day a passenger left a Hasselblad camera in his car and never put in a claim. That was years ago and for several years the cabbie had experimented, and had found his true vocation. Quite simply, he was a genius at 'alteration' - his speciality being passports and drivers' licences with photographs and I. D. cards for those who had come in conflict with the law, in the main with felony arrests. David had not remembered the man, but under Panov's hypnosis he had said the name -improbably it was Cactus - and Mo had brought the photographer to Virginia to help jar a part of Webb's memory. There had been warmth and concern in the old black man's eyes on his first visit, and although it was an inconvenience, he had requested permission from Panov to visit David once a week.

  'Why, Cactus?

  'He's troubled, sir. I saw that through the lens a couple of years ago. There's somethin' missin' in him, but for all of that he's a good man. I can talk to him. I like him, sir. '

  'Come whenever you like, Cactus, and please cancel that "sir" stuff. Reserve the privilege for me. . . sir. '

  'My, how times change. I call one of my grandchildren a good nigger, he wants to stomp on my head. '

  'He should. . . sir. '

  Webb got out of the taxi, asking the driver to wait, but he refused. David left a minimum tip and walked up the overgrown flagstone path to the old house. In some ways it reminded him of the house in Maine, too large, too fragile and too much in need of repair. He and Marie had decided to buy on the beach as soon as a year was up; it was unseemly for a newly appointed associate professor to move into the most expensive district upon arrival. He rang the bell.

  The door opened, and Cactus, squinting under a green eyeshade, greeted him as casually as if they had seen each other several days ago.

  'You got hubcaps on your car, David?

  'No car and no taxi; it wouldn't stay. '

  'Must'a' heard all those unfounded rumours circulated by the Fascist press. Me. I got three machine guns in the windows. Come on in, I've missed you. Why didn't you call this old boy?'

  'Your number's not listed, Cactus. '

  'Must'a' been an oversight. '

  They chatted for several minutes in Cactus's kitchen, long enough for the photographer specialist to realize Webb was in a hurry. The old man led David into his studio, placed Webb's three passports under an angled lamp for close inspection and instructed his client to sit in front of an open-lensed camera.

  'We'll make the hair light ash, but not as blond as you were after Paris. That ash tone varies with the lighting and we can use the same picture on each of these li'l dears with considerable differences - still retaining the face. Leave the eyebrows alone, I'll mess with them here. '

  'What about the eyes?' asked David.

  'No time for those fancy contacts they got you before, but we can handle it. They're regular glasses with just the right tinted prisms in the right places. You got blue eyes or brown eyes or Spanish armada black, if you want 'em. '

  'Get all three,' said Webb.

  They're expensive, David, and cash only. ' 'I've got it on me. '

  'Don't let it get around. '

  'Now, the hair. Who?

  'Down the street. An associate of mine who had her own beauty shop until the gendarmes checked the upstairs rooms. She does fine work. Come on, I'll take you over. '

  An hour later Webb ducked out from under a hair dryer in the small well-lighted cubicle and surveyed the results in the large mirror. The beautician-owner of the odd salon, a short black lady with neat grey hair and an appraiser's eye, stood alongside him.

  'It's you, but it ain't you,' she said, first nodding her head, then shaking it. 'A fine job, I've got to say it. '

  It was, thought David, looking at himself. His dark hair not only was far, far lighter, but matched the skin tones of his face. Also, the hair itself seemed lighter in texture, a groomed but much more casual look - windblown the advertisements phrased it The man he was staring at was both himself and someone else who bore a striking resemblance but was not him.

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