The bourne supremacy, p.49
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       The Bourne Supremacy, p.49

         Part #2 of Jason Bourne series by Robert Ludlum
Page 49


  The guard rushed in as the door slammed shut. The room was dark; only the light in the bathroom was on, its glow diminished by the bathroom door, which was nearly closed. The man could be seen, but he could not see. 'Where are you,

  Mrs? Be calm. She will not take you anywhere---'

  The guard was not capable of saying anything further. Marie had crashed the iron handle across the base of his skull with the strength of an Ontario ranch girl quite used to the bullwhip in a cattle drive. The guard collapsed; she knelt down and worked quickly.

  The Chinese was muscular but not large, not tall. Marie was not large, but she was tall for a woman. With a hitch here, and a tuck there, the guard's clothes and shoes fitted reasonably well for a fast exit, but her hair was the problem. She looked around the room. Study everything. You'll find something you can use. She found it. Hanging from a chrome bar on the bedside table was a hand towel. She pulled it off, piled her hair on top of her head and wrapped the towel around it, tucking the cloth within itself. It undoubtedly looked foolish and could hardly bear close scrutiny, but it was a turban of sorts.

  Stripped to his underpants and socks, the guard moaned and began to raise himself, then collapsed back into unconsciousness. Marie ran to the closet, grabbed her own clothes and went to the door, opening it cautiously no more than an inch. Two nurses - one Oriental, the other European - were talking quietly in the hallway. The Chinese was not the woman who had returned to hear her complaint about the guard. Another nurse appeared, nodded to the two, and went directly to a door across the hall. It was a linen supply closet. A telephone rang at the floor desk fifty feet down the hallway; before the circular desk was a bisecting corridor. An Exit sign hung from the ceiling, the arrow pointing to the right. The two conversing nurses turned and started towards the desk; the third left the linen closet carrying a handful of sheets. The cleanest escape is one done in stages, using whatever confusion there is. Marie slipped out of the room and ran across the hall to the linen closet. She went inside and closed the door. Suddenly, a woman's roar of protest filled the hallway, petrifying her. She could hear heavy racing footsteps, coming closer; then more footsteps.

  The guard!' yelled the Chinese nurse in English. 'Where is that dirty guard?'

  Marie opened the closet door less than an inch. Three

  excited nurses were in front of her hospital room; they burst inside.

  'You! You took off your clothes! Zang sile dirty man! Look in the bathroom!'

  'You!' yelled the guard unsteadily. 'You let her getaway! I will hold you for my superiors. '

  'Let me go, filthy man! You lie!'

  'You are a Communist] From Beijing?

  Marie slipped out of the linen closet, a stack of towels over her shoulder, and ran to the bisecting corridor and the Exit sign.

  'Call Major Lin! I've caught a Communist infiltrator?

  'Call the police! He is a pervert!'

  Out on the hospital grounds, Marie ran into the parking lot, into the darkest area, and sat breathless in the shadows between two cars. She had to think; she had to appraise the situation. She could not make any mistakes. She dropped the towels and her clothes and began going through the guard's pockets, looking for a wallet or a billfold. She found it, opened it, and counted the money in the dim light. There was slightly more than $600 Hong Kong, which was slightly less than $100 American. It was barely enough for a hotel room; then she saw a credit card issued by a Kowloon bank. Don't leave home without it. If she had to, she would present the card - if she had to, and if she could find a hotel room. She removed the money and the plastic card, put the wallet back into the pocket, and began the awkward process of changing clothes while studying the streets beyond the hospital grounds. To her relief they were crowded, and those crowds were her immediate security.

  A car suddenly raced into the parking lot, its tyres screeching as it careened in front of the Emergency door. Marie rose and looked through the automobile windows. The heavy-set Chinese major and the cold, precise doctor leaped out of the car and raced towards the entrance. As they disappeared through the doors, Marie ran out of the parking lot and into the street.


  She walked for hours, stopping to gorge herself at a fast food restaurant until she could not stand the sight of another hamburger. She went to the ladies' room and looked at herself in the mirror. She had lost weight and there were dark circles under her eyes, yet withal, she was herself. But the damned hair! They would be scouring Hong Kong for her, and the first items of any description would be her height and her hair. She could do little about the former, but she could drastically modify the latter. She stopped at a pharmacy and bought bobby pins and several clasps. Then remembering what Jason had asked her' to do in Paris when her photograph appeared in the newspapers, she pulled her hair back, securing it into a bun, and pinned both sides close to her head. The result was a much harsher face, heightened by the loss of weight and no makeup. It was the effect Jason - David - had wanted in Paris. . . No, she reflected, it was not David in Paris. It was Jason Bourne. And it was night, as it had been in Paris.

  'Why you do that, miss?' asked a clerk standing near the mirror at the cosmetics counter. 'You have such pretty hair, very beautiful. '

  'Oh? I'm tired of brushing it, that's all. '

  Marie left the pharmacy, bought flat sandals from a vendor on the street, and an imitation Gucci bag from another - the G's were upside down. She had $45 American left and no idea where she would spend the night. It was both too late and too soon to go to the consulate. A Canadian arriving after midnight asking for a roster of personnel would send out alarms; also she had not had time to figure out how to make the request. Where could she got She needed sleep. Don't make your moves when you're tired or exhausted. The margin for error is too great. Rest is a weapon. Don't forget it.

  She passed an arcade that was closing up. A young American couple in blue jeans were bargaining with the owner of a T-shirt stand.

  'Hey, come on, man,' said the youthful male. 'You want to make just one more sale tonight, don't you? I mean, so you

  cut your profit a bit, but it's still a few dineros in your pocket, right?

  'No dineros,' cried the merchant, smiling. 'Only dollars, and you offer too few! I have children. You take the precious food from their mouths!'

  'He probably owns a restaurant,' said the girl.

  'You want restaurant? Authentic-real Chinese food?"

  'Jesus, you're right, Lacy!'

  'My third cousin on my father's side has an exquisite stand two streets from here. Very near, very cheap, very good. '

  'Forget it,' said the boy. 'Four bucks, US, for the six T's. Take it or leave it. '

  'I take. Only because you are too strong for me. ' The merchant grabbed the proffered bills and shoved the T-shirts into a paper bag.

  'You're a wonder, Buzz. ' The girl kissed him on the cheek and laughed. 'He's still working on a four hundred per cent markup. '

  That's the trouble with you business majors! You don't consider the aesthetics. The smell of the hunt, the pleasure of the verbal conflict!'

  'If we ever get married, I'll be supporting you for the rest of my miserable life, you great negotiator. '

  Opportunities will present themselves. Recognize them, act on them. Marie approached the two students.

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