The Bourne Identity / Page 47

Page 47



'No doubt," interrupted Bourne, 'along with a number of other papers you were to sign.'

'Exactly. I would then place my call, probably watching the messenger leave with his briefcase as I did so.'

'You wouldn't, by any remote chance, have in mind the name of a law firm in Paris, would you? Or a specific attorney?'

'As a matter of fact, one just occurred to me.'

'How much will he cost?'

Ten thousand francs.'

'That's expensive.'

'Not at all. He was a judge on the bench, an honoured man.'

'What about you? Let's refine it.'

'As I said, I'm reasonable, and the decision should be yours. Since you mentioned five figures, let us be consistent with your words. Five figures, commencing with five. Fifty thousand francs.'

'That's outrageous I'

'So is whatever you've done, Monsieur Bourne.'

'Une fiche plus confidentielle,' said Marie, sitting in the chair by the window, the late afternoon sun bouncing off the ornate buildings of Montparnasse outside. 'So that's the device they've used.' 'I can impress you, I know where it comes from.' Jason

poured a drink from the bottle on the bureau and carried it to the bed; he sat down, facing her. 'Do you want to hear?'

'I don't have to,' she answered, gazing out of the window, preoccupied. 'I know exactly where it comes from and what it means. It's a shock, that's all.'

'Why? I thought you expected something like this.'

"The results, yes, not the machinery. A fiche is an archaic stab at legitimacy, almost totally restricted to private banks on the Continent. American, Canadian and U.K. laws forbid its use.'

Bourne recalled d'Amacourt's words; he repeated them. '"It emanates from powerful board rooms," that's what he said.'

'He was right.' Marie looked over at him. 'Don't you see? I knew that a flag was attached to your account. I assumed that someone had been bribed to forward information. That's not unusual; bankers aren't in the front ranks for canonization. But this is different. That account in Zurich was established - at the very beginning - with the fiche as part of its activity. Conceivably with your own knowledge.'

'Treadstone Seventy-one," said Jason.

'Yes. The owners of the bank had to work in concert with Treadstone. And considering the latitude of your access, it's possible you were aware that they did.'

'But someone was bribed. Koenig. He substituted one telephone number for another.'

'He was well paid, I can assure you. He could face ten years in a Swiss prison.'

Ten? That's pretty stiff.'

'So are the Swiss laws. He had to be paid a small fortune.'

'Carlos,' said Bourne. 'Carlos .,. Why? What am I to him! I keep asking myself. I say the name over and over and over again! I don't get anything, nothing at all. Just a ... a ... I don't know. Nothing.'

'But there's something, isn't there?' Marie sat forward. 'What is it, Jason? What are you thinking of?'

I'm not thinking ... I don't know.' -

'Then you're feeling. Something. What is it?'

'I don't know. Fear, maybe ... Anger, nerves. I don't know.'

'Concentrate!'

'Goddamn it, do you think I'm not! Do you think I haven't!

Have you any idea what it's like Bourne stiffened, annoyed at his own outburst. 'Sorry.'

'Don't be. Ever. These are the hints, the clues you have to look for - we have to look for. Your doctor friend in Port Noir was right; things come to you, provoked by other things. As you yourself said, a book of matches, a face, or the front of a restaurant. We've seen it happen ... Now, it's a name, a name you avoided for nearly a week while you told me everything that had happened to you during the past five months down to the smallest detail. Yet you never mentioned Carlos. You should have, but you didn't. It does mean something to you, can't you see that? It's stirring things inside you; they want to come out.'

'I know.' Jason drank.

'Darling, there's a famous bookshop on the boulevard Saint-Germain that's run by a magazine freak. A whole floor is crammed with back issues of old magazines, thousands of them. He even catalogues subjects, indexes them like a librarian. I'd like to find out if Carlos is in that index. Will you do it'?

Bourne was aware of the sharp pain in his chest. It had nothing to do with his wounds; it was fear. She saw it and somehow understood; he felt it and could not understand. There are back issues of newspapers at the Sorbonne,' he said, glancing up at her. 'One of them put me on cloud nine for a while. Until I thought about it.'

'A lie was exposed. That was the important thing.'

'But we re not looking for a lie now, are we?'

'No, we're looking for the truth. Don't be afraid of it, darling. I'm not.'

Jason got up. 'Okay. Saint-Germain's on the schedule. In the meantime, call that fellow at the embassy.' Bourne reached into his pocket and took out the paper napkin with the telephone number on it: he had added the numbers of the licence plate on the car that had raced away from the bank on rue Madeleine. 'Here's the number d'Amacourt gave me, also the licence of that car. See what he can do.'

'All right.' Marie took the napkin and went to the telephone. A small, spiral-hinged notebook was beside it; she flipped through the pages. 'Here it is. His name is Dennis Corbelier. Peter said he'd call him by noon today, Paris time.

And I could rely on him; he was as knowledgeable as any attach^ in the embassy.'

'Peter knows him, doesn't he? He's not just a name from a list.'

'They were classmates at the University of Toronto. I can call him from here, can't I?'

'Sure. But don't say where you are.'

I'll tell him the same thing I told Peter.' Marie picked up the phone. "That I'm moving from one hotel to another but don't know which yet.' She got an outside line, then dialled the number of the Canadian Embassy on the avenue Montaigne. Fifteen seconds later she was talking with Dennis Corbelier, attache.

Marie got to the point of her call almost immediately. 'I assume Peter told you I might need some help.'

'More than that,' replied Corbelier, 'he explained that you were in Zurich. Can't say I understood everything he said, but I got the general idea. Seems there's a lot of manoeuvring in the world of high finance these days.'

'More than usual. The trouble is no one wants to say who's manoeuvring whom. That's my problem.'

'How can I help?'

'I have a licence plate and a telephone number, both here in Paris. The telephone's unlisted; it could be awkward if I called.!

'Give them to me.' She did. 'A mart usque ad mare,' Corbelier said, reciting the national motto of their country. 'We have several friends in splendid places. We trade favours frequently, usually in the narcotics area, but we're all flexible. Why not have lunch with me tomorrow? I'll bring what I can.'

'I'd like that, but tomorrow's no good. I'm spending the day with an old friend. Perhaps another time."

'Peter said I'd be an idiot not to insist. He says you're a terrific lady.!


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