The bourne supremacy, p.33
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       The Bourne Supremacy, p.33

         Part #2 of Jason Bourne series by Robert Ludlum
 
Page 33

 

  He picked up a large red leather hotel directory, sat on the edge of the bed and opened it, thumbing through the pages rapidly. The New World Shopping Centre, a magnificent 5 storeyed open complex bringing under one roof the finest goods from the 4 corners of the earth. . . Hyperbole notwithstanding, the 'complex' was adjacent to the hotel; it would do for his purposes. Limousines available. From our fleet of Daimler motor cars arrangements can be made by the hour or the day for business or sightseeing. Please contact the Concierge. Dial 62. Limousines also meant experienced chauffeurs knowledgeable in the ways of the confusing streets, backstreets, roads and traffic patterns of Hong Kong, Kowloon and the New Territories, and knowledgeable in other ways, too. Such men knew the ins and outs and lower depths of the cities they served. Unless he was mistaken, and instinct told him he was not, an additional need would be

  covered. He had to have a gun. Finally, there was a bank in Hong Kong's Central District that had certain arrangements with a sister institution thousands of miles away in the Cayman Islands. He had to walk into that bank, sign whatever was required of him, and walk out with more money than any sane man would carry on his person in Hong Kong, or anywhere else, for that matter. He would find some place to conceal it but not in a bank where business hours restricted its availability. Jason Bourne knew: Promise a man his life and he will usually co-operate; promise him his life and a great deal of money and the cumulative effect will lead to total submission.

  David reached for the message pad and pencil next to the phone on the bedside table; he started another list. The little things loomed larger with every hour that passed, and he did not have that many hours left. It was almost eleven o'clock. The harbour now glistened in the near-noon sun. He had so many things to do before 4: 30, when he intended to station himself unobtrusively somewhere near the employees' exit, or down inside the hotel garage, or wherever he learned he could follow and trap the waxen-faced Liang, his first connection.

  Three minutes later his list was complete. He tore off the page, got up from the bed and reached for his jacket on the desk chair. Suddenly the telephone rang, piercing the quiet of the hotel room. He had to close his eyes, clenching every muscle in his arms and stomach so as not to leap for it, hoping beyond hope for the sound of Marie's voice, even as a captive. He must not pick up the phone. Instinct. Jason Bourne. He had no controls. If he answered the phone, he would be the one controlled. He let it ring as he walked in anguish across the room and went out the door.

  It was ten minutes past noon when he returned carrying a number of thin plastic bags from various stores in the Shopping Centre. He dropped them on the bed and began removing his purchases. Among the articles were a dark lightweight raincoat and a dark canvas hat, a pair of grey sneakers, black trousers and a sweater, also black; these were the clothes he would wear at night. Then there were other items: a spool of 75-pound tested fishing line with two palm-

  sized eyehooks through which a three-foot section of line would be looped and secured at both ends, a 20-ounce paperweight in the shape of a miniature brass barbell, one ice pick, and a sheathed, highly sharpened, double-edged hunting knife with a narrow 4-inch blade. These were the silent weapons he would carry both night and day. One more item remained to be found; he would find it.

  As he examined his purchases, his concentration narrowing down to the eyehooks and the fishing line, he became aware of a tiny, subtle blinking of light. Start, stop. . . start, stop. It was annoying because he could not find the source, and, as happened so often, he had to wonder if there actually was a source or whether the intrusion was simply an aberration of his mind. Then his eyes were drawn to the bedside table; sunlight streamed in the harbour windows, washing over the telephone, but the pulsating light was there in the lower left-hand corner of the instrument - barely visible, but there. It was the message signal, a small red dot that shone for a second, went dark for a second, and then resumed its signalling at those intervals. A message was not a call, he reflected. He went to the table, studied the instructions on the plastic card and picked up the phone; he pressed the appropriate button.

  'Yes, Mr Cruett?' said the operator at her computerized switchboard.

  'There's a message for me?' he asked.

  'Yes, sir. Mr Liang has been trying to reach you-'

  'I thought my instructions were clear,' interrupted Webb. 'There were to be no calls until I told the switchboard otherwise. '

  'Yes, sir, but Mr Liang is the assistant manager- the senior manager when his superior is not here, which is the case this morning. . . this afternoon. He tells us it is most urgent. He has been calling you every few minutes for the past hour. I am ringing him now, sir. '

  David hung up the phone. He was not ready for Liang, or more properly put, Liang was not yet ready for him - at least, not the way David wanted him. Liang was stretched, possibly on the edge of panic, for he was the first and lowliest contact

  and he had failed to place the subject where he was meant to be - in a wired suite where the enemy could overhear every word. But the edge of panic was not good enough. David wanted Liang over the edge. The quickest way to provoke that state was to permit no contact, no discussion, no exculpating explanations aimed at enlisting the subject to get the offender off the hook.

  Webb grabbed the clothes off the bed and put them into two bureau drawers along with the things he had taken out of his flight bag; he stuffed the eyehooks and the fishing line between the layers of fabric. He then placed the paperweight on top of a Room Service menu on the desk and shoved the hunting knife into his jacket pocket. He looked down at the ice pick and was suddenly struck by a thought again born of a strange instinct: a man consumed with anxiety would overreact when stunned by the unexpected sight of something terrifying. The bold image would shock him, deepening his fears. David pulled out a handkerchief from his breast pocket, reached down for the ice pick and wiped the handle clean. Gripping the lethal instrument in the cloth, he walked rapidly to the small foyer, estimated the eye level, and plunged the pick into the white wall opposite the door. The telephone rang, then rang again steadily, as if in a frenzy. Webb let himself out and ran down the hallway towards the bank of elevators; he slipped into the next angled corridor and watched.

  He had not miscalculated. The gleaming metal panels slid apart and Liang raced out of the middle elevator into Webb's hallway. David spun around the corner and dashed to the elevators, then rapidly, quietly, walked to the corner of his own corridor. He could see the nervous Liang ringing his bell repeatedly, finally knocking on the door with increasing persistence. Another elevator opened and two couples emerged, laughing. One of the men looked quizzically at Webb, then shrugged as the party turned left. David returned his attention to Liang. The assistant manager was now frantic, ringing the bell and pounding the door. Then he stopped and put his ear to the wood; satisfied, he reached into his pocket

  and withdrew a ring of keys. Webb snapped his head back out of sight as the assistant manager turned to look up and down the corridor while inserting a key. David did not have to see; he wanted only to hear.

  He had not long to wait. A suppressed, guttural shriek was followed by the loud crash of the door. The ice pick had had its effect. Webb ran back to his sanctuary beyond the last elevator, again inching his body to the edge of the wall; he watched. Liang was visibly shaken, breathing erratically, deeply, as he repeatedly pressed his finger against the elevator button. Finally a bell pinged and the metal panels of the second elevator opened. The assistant manager rushed inside.

 
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