It didn't take Price long to call in his friends, I thought as I climbed the stairs to my flat. According to my new ritual, I opened the door slowly and then looked all around to make sure the place was safe.
Safe. What is safe? I thought. Nothing is safe. The space and time of safety is getting smaller and smaller. I sat down at my computer and then got up again and went into the kitchen to make coffee. It was only midafternoon, but I was exhausted. I had to get it all down on paper. I drank a cup quickly, then poured another and settled down at the computer. The caffeine would keep me going until the writing was done.
I picked up the phone and called my friend at the London Times. The man wasn't there. I wheedled until I got the man's home number. I dialed the number, and a little girl answered. She went to get her daddy.
"Yes," a man answered.
"This is McGlashan."
"Hello. You're quite a hit. Have the tabloids gotten to you yet?"
"No," I said.
"Well, they will. You're a celebrity," the Times man said.
"That's all I need, a bunch of Cockney paparazzi clamoring at my door. Don't you tell them where I live."
"I don't know where you live."
"Don't give them my phone number then."
"I won't," the Times man said. "What's your news?"
"I need another favor. I've got a line on the man who actually furnished the C-4 plastic explosive in the Harrods bombing. It's a hell of a story."
"It is, yes. Go on. What's the problem?"
"I had the evidence, but it's been stolen. I may be able to get it back. I still have all my notes but not the original stuff. I can write the story, though. I want to send it to you for safekeeping. Things are getting hairy around here. When I get the evidence, you can print the story. Will you do that?"
"Yes, of course. In fact, my editor says we're to make you a special correspondent with a byline," the Times man said.
"Does that mean money?" I said.
"Good, as long as I don't have to punch a clock."
"No. That's the special part of special correspondent. You work on a per story basis."
"Yeah. And the money sucks, right?"
"Yes," the Times man agreed, "the money sucks."
"I'll send you the story by tomorrow. Hold it until I get the evidence. And one more favor.”
"What is it?" the man said.
"Can you get hold of the transcript of Stoat's trial in the States? It was in the District of Columbia or Manhattan. 1986 or '87. I'm particularly interested in the part that talks about C-4 being sent to Libya disguised as oil drilling mud. That's important. If you can get somebody on it ASAP Monday, maybe you can get a fax of it before the end of the day."
"I'll see to it," he said. "And Jack?"
"If you ever want a fulltime job, let me know."
"Kiss of death, man, but thanks anyway," I said. "I'll call you Monday. The fax of the story will be on your desk tomorrow."
I sat down to write it. Suggested Headlines: OMNI ARMS SUPPLIED EXPLOSIVES IN HARRODS BOMBING; AMERICAN EDMUND PRICE SOLD C-4 TO IRA. I wrote it all out. How the C-4 plastic explosive left California in 1980 on an unmarked Boeing 707 bound for Frankfurt in fifty-five gallon drums marked oil drilling mud. Then it was put on another plane bound for Tripoli, Libya to Qaddafi. The deal arranged by Edmund Price through a secret branch of Omni Arms with or without the knowledge of higher company officials. How Stoat, Price's CIA hireling, trained IRA terrorists and other terrorists from the Middle East to make bombs with C-4. How the IRA used C-4 to blow up Harrods. Finally, how Qaddafi's C-4 supplied by Price was used by Middle East terrorists to blow up Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland.
There, that ought to hit the fan, I thought. I added a note to the man at the Times to put the story in a safe place because it was really hot and to wait to hear from me. I also added that there was at least one more good story that could come out of this, possibly two if I ended up dead. I concluded by saying I would try to fax another story to him by Monday.
I got up and turned on the printer. I went back to the keyboard and hit the CONTROL and P keys to print. As the story began to appear on paper, I staggered into the bathroom to take a shower.
While I was in the shower, the phone rang. I got out and threw a towel on and ran to answer it. The receiver got wet as I picked it up. I dripped water on the rug.
"How're you doing?"
It was Torsky.
"It's been busy around here. What's up?" I said.
"I got some news for you," Torsky said.
"Round Pond. Fifteen minutes."
"Make it half an hour," I said.
"Fine. And get rid of your friends. They make me nervous."
"If I don't show up, you may have to come looking for me."
"I'll tell you about it if and when I get there," I said and hung up.
I dressed quickly, put the story in an envelope in my desk, and went out. I surveyed the street. The Scotland Yard watchers were gone. I guess they got pulled off bodyguard duty after all, I thought. I was relieved to be on my own again, but I knew moving around unprotected was a bad idea.
I started to cross the street when a big Jaguar stopped in front of me. I was all set to run when the back window rolled down and a familiar voice said, "Get in." I got in the back, and the driver sped off.
"What brings you here?" I asked.
"I wanted to make sure you showed up," Torsky said. "We'll just ride around for a while. What happened to your escort?"
"Somebody at the American Embassy put diplomatic pressure on Scotland Yard. It must have been Price's CIA friends," I replied.
"You must have had a nice chat with Price," Torsky said.
"I told him I decoded all his secret records."
"That must have gone over big," Torsky said.
"He didn't react.”
"You saw his first reaction when someone in the CIA ordered agents to get you. It won't be his last move. You're really working hard to end up dead," Torsky said.
"If he's got Zorn, there's no other way to get Zorn back."
"Maybe he doesn't have Zorn," Torsky said.
"I got hold of Zorn's contact."
"Not so great. First, I called someone I can usually trust at the Embassy. I told him to nose around real careful about Zorn. Nobody's talking about this over there, but everybody knows, see. It's an unspoken war, and nobody knows who's on which side."
"I don't get it," I said.
"I'm not going to go into the recent history of the CIA, but you got somebody who sent Zorn to you. Probably more than one here in London, maybe one or two at the top. Then there's Price's old friends. These are like upper-middle level guys. They been around the course a lot of Times. If they didn't get purged in the last ten or fifteen years, they've got some power. These guys were real good at what they call Human Intelligence. They gathered information the old-fashioned way, with agents, networks, surveillance, wiretaps, black bag jobs, and head splitting. My kind of guys, in other words."
Torsky broke off for a minute and opened the glass partition between the front and back to tell the driver where to go. We headed south.
Then he continued, "The only trouble is these older guys feel like they've been under siege for a long time. Some of them have hung on, and like I said, they have power. Others were pushed out or had problems with policy and quit. It was right after George Bush was head of the CIA. 1977. They got out or were forced out when Carter came in. There's a whole network of them, in and out of active CIA work."
"This is good information, but why are you telling me?"
"Two reasons. One, you and Zorn got information I need. Two, guys like Price and his friends have gone into business helping Israel's enemies. Maybe they feel they deserve to make some money after being shit on by the Company. Maybe they're right, but they're making my life difficult. I can't afford to have them selling guns and plastique to people who want to blow us up. It means I have to find them and take the stuff away from them. It gets hard to keep track."
"Yeah, I'll bet," I said. "So you think it's money that makes these ex-CIA guys get into it?"
"It's the American way," Torsky said. "Patriotism and money. Both together, but sometimes just the patriotism, and if they get disillusioned then they go for the money. They look at everybody else in the States. What do they see? Ex-presidents, ex-congressmen, retired generals, they're all going to work as foreign lobbyists, usually against the interest of their own country. So, they get on the bandwagon."
"How do they sleep at night?" I said.
"They sleep good, on feather pillows and satin sheets."
I laughed. "So, what about the other guys, the ones who asked Zorn to contact me?"
"These are the whiz kids. The high-tech super-brains with their big computers and spy satellites and electronic eavesdropping equipment. They came in with Stansfield Turner under Jimmy Carter. They thought they were going to take over the CIA. They were in tight with NSA. The trouble with them was they didn't know the difference between information and intelligence. They figured if the spy satellites and microwave transmission interceptors gathered the facts, their computers could figure out the meaning, but the old guys knew that people with brains give a better idea of intentions than any computer."
Torsky paused again to tell the driver to go through Richmond Park. I read the sign as we entered. Twenty-five hundred acres set aside in 1637 by Charles the First as a royal hunting preserve. I guess he lost it in 1649, I thought, along with his head, when Oliver Cromwell did some royal hunting of his own.
"Anyway, some of the younger ones didn't think much of what Price was up to, selling C-4 and terrorist training to Qaddafi. Stoat took the fall for all of that, even though Price has kept him out of prison. These younger guys wondered why the old boys protected Price. Then when William Casey was head of Central Intelligence under Reagan, Casey didn't know any more than Turner knew when these guys protected their own. So, when the younger guys, the high-techs, heard you were after Price, they contacted Zorn to help you out, so Price would be taken out and the illegal enterprises would be crippled, at least for a while."
"So, who’d you talk to?" I asked.
"You gotta be kidding. I was on the phone all afternoon. It was like picking your way through a mine field. Being tactful is not my strong suit."
"Wise guy," Torsky said. "I can't do this diplomatic bit too often. It's giving me an ulcer."
"This man doesn't want to see me then?"
"You're poison. He won't come near you. They're looking for Zorn with their high-tech," Torsky sneered.
"What are they doing?"
"Get this. Zorn is wearing what they call a Cat's Bell. It's a belt. It gives off a weak signal that a spy satellite can pick up if the person wearing it is outside. You know, like a cat owner puts on his cat so he and the birds know where the cat is. Unbelievable."
"You mean a spy satellite can pick up a signal from a belt worn by one person on the earth? That's scary," I said.
"A spy satellite can spot your brand of cigarettes if it knows where to look. The belt gives another reference, radio-wave transmission, in addition to high-density computer-enhanced optical. You surprised? I learned all this stuff on my own," Torsky said.
I looked out the window at the herd of deer roaming free in the park. I turned back to Torsky. "So, where's Zorn?"
"They're still looking. Maybe he's indoors. They got other more conventional means they're tracking him with, but they can't fully mobilize. The politics around that place is fierce," Torsky said. "And it's getting worse. The old Cold Warriors are still worried about the Russians, but the studs with the degrees from MIT are more concerned about theft of new technology. It's a mess," Torsky said. "Oh yeah, they sent along one of those things for you."
"A Cat's Bell. The belt with a transmitter. They can't get ground troops for you, so they're offering the Eye in the Sky," Torsky said.
"They want me to wear a transmitter belt so they can monitor my movements? Why would I want to let them do that?"
"You got kidnapped once, right? So who's to say Price won't try it again. You're real vulnerable right now. You've played your ace with Price, and now he knows your whole hand. You want to hang around with nothing left he doesn't know? He got your bodyguards cancelled, didn't he? I can't cover you. You might as well take the help that's offered."
"Come to think of it, I need a new belt," I said. "Where is it?"
"Back at my office. I can get it."
Torsky gave his driver instructions to drive to the Israeli Embassy.
"You've lasted longer than I figured you would," Torsky said. "I'm mildly impressed."
"Thanks for the compliment," I said.
"You shot Stoat three times?" Torsky said.
"I only got him once. I think he was wearing a Kevlar vest."
"Fucking technology," Torsky said. "It used to be when you shot a man, he would die."
"You sound like Macbeth," I said.
"That's good. I like that," Torsky said. "Where'd you get the gun?"
"It was Zorn's. Scotland Yard took it. Do you have one I can borrow?"
"Not a chance. If it gets traced to me, I'll end up living in the Negev."
"Lots of sun. You'd get a good tan."
"You're funny. Why do I put up with this?"
"What did you barter to the CIA guys?" I asked.
"You," Torsky said.
"Yeah, you. They want you to write your story about Price. They read the papers. They know what you know," Torsky said.
"The story's already written."
"Where is it?"
"In my flat. I finished it just before you called," I said.
"It's in your flat? Oh, great. Price probably has it by now," Torsky said.
He leaned forward and opened the glass to talk to the driver.
"Get over to the Landing Stage at Little Venice, Edgware Road. Quick!" Torsky slid the glass door shut with a crash.
"It doesn't matter," I said. "If it's gone I can rewrite it off the top of my head. The key is getting Zorn back. He's got the disk and printout of Price's secret records."
"You're right. That's the key to the lock, but you can tell the world what's inside. So I'm supposed to keep you alive," Torsky said.
"But you said you couldn't keep me covered."
"There are other ways besides constant surveillance. The best defense is a good offense, as they say in football," Torsky said.
"How long did you live in New York?" I asked.
"Never mind. Past my Bar Mitzvah and long enough to make All-City tackle, okay?"
Torsky said. "Here we are. Run in and get your story. If you're not back in two minutes, Anglo-Israeli relations go in the tank."
I went up to my flat two steps at a time. I opened the door carefully, again, to discover nothing had been moved. The story sat in my desk drawer where I had left it. I grabbed it and raced downstairs. In the car again, I showed Torsky the brown envelope.
"It's still here," he said pulling out the typed sheets. I can fax it to the Times."
"Forget that. We'll drive it over there," Torsky said.
He opened the glass and gave directions to the driver. When we got to the Times building, Torsky followed me up to the newsroom and watched as one of the editors placed the story in a safe.
Back on the street I said to Torsky, "You know none of this is any good for either of us unless Zorn and the information from Price's records show up. We've got nothing otherwise."
"Yeah, I know. Cross your fingers," Torsky said.
We got back in the car and drove to the Israeli Embassy.
"You stay here," Torsky said and got out of the car. "I'll be right back."
In a few minutes, Torsky reappeared and got back in the car.
"Here's your magic belt. Wear it in good health," Torsky said and handed me a rolled-up leather belt, double-stitched and a little thicker than most belts, but otherwise ordinary-looking. "Now the National Security Agency will know your every outdoor move."
I took off my old belt and put on the Cat's Bell. I hoped that the right people were listening in. I don't have many of my nine lives left, I thought.
"We'll take you home now," Torsky said.
"What time is it?" I asked.
"Six-thirty," Torsky replied.
"Do you think you could drop me off in Bloomsbury?"
"You got a date?"
"Yes. I've got a date.”
"With Angelique Jardin?"
"How do you know about her?"
"I've got ways. You're a lucky guy," Torsky said.
"You know who she is, right? About her father?" Torsky said.
"Yes. Do you know something I should know?"
"No. She's clean. It was Syrian-backed terrorists that killed her father. The Russians underwrote the hit. She was there."
"Yeah. She told me.”
The car pulled up at Angelique's apartment house. "Thanks for your help," I said. "Let me know as soon as you find out anything about Zorn."
"Sure," Torsky said. "Meanwhile, stay alive."
I laughed. "I'll try."
I looked at my watch. It was quarter to seven. I went into Angelique's building and took the lift to her apartment. I could smell the garlic cooking before I got to her door and was suddenly very hungry.
Angelique came to the door in answer to my knock.
"Âllo, Jacques," she said.
"Damn. You look terrific," I said and gave her a big hug. She stood on her toes and kissed me. Angelique was barefoot and wearing a watermelon pink cotton sundress. Her dark hair was pulled back with silver combs.
"Thank you," she said and buried her face in my chest. Her arms were around my neck.
"I like the way you smell."
"I took a shower. Do I smell bad?"
"Americans bathe too much," she said.
"I was going to bring a bottle of wine, but I didn't have a chance. Am I still invited for dinner?"
"I'll forgive you this time."
"What are you making?" he said.
"Come and taste. I found fresh mussels at the market. And some good scallops. I've made a red sauce with them, with onions and red and green peppers and lots of herbs and garlic."
"It smells great," I said.
She led me to the kitchen. I tasted the mixture with a long wooden spoon.
"Yum. What do I taste? Oregano, basil, onion, garlic. What else?"
"Lemon, salt, pepper, cayenne, and a bit of cinnamon."
"Cinnamon? Weird," I said.
"Has there been any word about Thomas?" she asked.
"Joshua Torsky dropped me off here. He's been in contact with Zorn's man in Central Intelligence at the Embassy. They're trying to find Zorn. It's a strange situation. I'll tell you about it later. Can I do anything to help with dinner?"
"Open this bottle of wine," she said.
I looked at the label on the bottle of red wine.
"What is this?" he said.
"It is a wine from the Midi, my home. It is good with pasta and this kind of sauce," she said.
"I thought you were from Paris," he said.
"My family is from Carcassonne."
"Carcassonne, the walled city of the south," he said.
"You have been there?" she said.
"No. I remember Carcassonne from high-school French class. Raoul Charpentier and his family. My God. How did I remember that? It must have been in my second-year French book. "Languedoc. What does the 'Oc' language sound like?"
"I don't know. It was suppressed at the time of the Albigensian heresy by the Inquisition, in the thirteenth century, I think. The French language of the north supplanted the Languedoc dialect. It is mostly lost," Angelique said.
"Did you grow up in Carcassonne?"
"My father did. I spent most of my life in Paris," she said. "In August we would visit my grandparents near Carcassonne. My grandfather had a vineyard. He always said the vines were the same ones planted by the Romans. Sometimes after he had drunk a great amount of his own wine, he said the vines he grew were originally planted by the Greeks. We laughed at him then, but not to his face. My grandfather was not a man to be, what is the expression, to be trifled with. My father always wished to retire to a villa, a gentleman's farm, and grow vines like his father."
"I'm sorry he never had the chance," I said.
"It was a dream. He would have been bored by such a life. My father was a modern man. The pace of country life he only liked in his dream."
"Maybe he would have liked it once he got into it."
"You wouldn't say so if you had seen him there. He never learned how to be patient. He and my grandfather, his father, lived in different worlds. My grandfather was a medieval man. He lived in the present moment. No clocks. No telephone."
"He and my grandmother had a telephone, but he would never answer it. If he had to, he would make a call, but otherwise he would drive his car or wagon to see people he needed to talk to," Angelique said, stirring the pot and putting the pasta in boiling water.
Then she said, "People do what they want to do. Had my father wanted to grow vines, he would have done it. He would not have waited until his life was over," she said. "You sit down now, and I will serve dinner."
"You are like your grandfather?" I said as I sat down at the oak table.
"I think so," she said. "What do you mean?"
"You do what you want to do, and you live in the present."
"Yes. I think that is true," she said.
Angelique served the meal and lit candles. We ate the pungent meal, enjoying the good food and wine.
Then Angelique spoke. "You said that this man Torsky explained something about Thomas's connection to the Central Intelligence Agency. Are these people going to help find him?"
"As Torsky explained it, Zorn's contact is in a tough spot. It's a house divided. Lots of politics," I said.
"Is there not an all-out effort to recover him?" she said.
"No, because not everyone approves of what they’ve had Zorn doing."
"Is Thomas to be sacrificed to political disagreements?" Angelique asked.
"I hope not. It's possible."
"That is obscene. Can you do nothing?" she said.
"I went to see Price today and offered him incriminating information we stole from him. I offered the damaging material in exchange for Zorn's life.”
"What did he say?"
"He denied any involvement. I don't know what else to do."
Angelique was silent for several minutes.
"Perhaps there is nothing to do but wait," she said. "Would you like some coffee?"
"Yes," I said. I was thinking about Zorn.
Angelique got up to make coffee.
"I appreciate your not saying 'I told you so,'" I said.
"I have said what I had to say. You do what you feel you must," Angelique said. Then she asked, "What is this man like?"
"The man you went to see today. The arms dealer Price?" she said.
"Nothing special. He thinks he's pretty fancy, though. Why?"
"There must be many like him," Angelique said.
"Maybe," I said.
"Are you going to pursue them all?" she asked.
Not this again, I thought.
"No, I'm not going after all of them."
"Are you trying to change the world?" she said as she poured the coffee.
"Yes," I said.
"Do you think that is possible?" she asked.
"It's worth a try."
Angelique brought the mugs of coffee to the table.
"Perhaps it is," she said and smiled.
"You think so?"
"No. But you do. And who am I to say it's not possible? I have been giving it thought. Changing the world is not my goal. To me the world is to live in." She drank her coffee. "But my way is not the only way, I think. My father wanted to change the world, and the world has changed. Perhaps not as he or any of us would have liked. One does what one must."
"But you don't agree."
"It is not necessary," she said.
We finished our coffee.
"I guess I'd better be going," I said.
"That is what I like about you," Angelique said.
"Most men I have known would be plotting how to spend the night. You offer to leave. I think you might be just as happy to go," she said.
"I'm too old to play games," I said.
"I like you," she said. "You may stay the night."
"I'll do that," I said.
I awoke at six the next morning, feeling events pressing in on me. I sat up in bed. Angelique was still asleep.
Stoat is still on the loose, I thought. Price will probably make another attempt to kill me and get his records back, and he'll have to make his move soon. About half the CIA agents in London are trying to stop me, while the other half are tracking Zorn and me with a spy satellite. I'm running out of time, my mind said over and over. I got up and dressed quickly. I kissed Angelique on the forehead. She woke up.
"I've got to go," I said.
"Why?" she asked, stretching and trying to wake up.
"I've got work to do. The stories I've got to write won't wait."
"Do you want some breakfast?" she said.
"I'm going to run when I get home. I'll eat after. Things may get hectic for the next few days. I probably won't see you. What's a good time to call you here?"
"In the morning. I'm usually home by a eight," she said.
"I'll call you."
"Try not to get hurt," she said and reached up to kiss me as I bent down to her.
"I will," I said and kissed her. "Bye."
"Good-bye, Jacques," she said.
When I left Angelique's apartment building, I realized I would have to walk. It was only twenty after six, and the Tube didn't begin running on Sunday until seven-thirty. Fine, I thought, it's going to be a nice day, and it's only a couple of miles. I walked west and north until he reached Marylebone Road. I cut north where Marylebone Road becomes the Westway and then over to Blomfield Road on to Warwick Avenue.
No one seemed to be watching my place. I walked past my building to the end of the block to make sure. I saw nothing. I walked back to his house and went in. At the top of the stairs, I put my key in the door and eased it open. No visitors. Nothing out of place. So I changed into my running clothes and went out. I took a different route from my usual run in Kensington Gardens, deciding instead to run along the footpath of Regent's Canal and through Regent's Park.
When I got back to the flat, I went through the same routine to make sure the place was clear and then showered and made coffee. I ate a huge bowl of cereal, sat down at my computer, and arranged my notes on Omni Arms and IBIC. I pulled out the notebook of interviews about IBIC with the man from Lloyd's of London, the attorney in the Manhattan D.A.'s office, and Rita Stern in Washington at the Senate Subcommittee on Narcotics and Terrorism.
I tried to boil down the notes on IBIC by scribbling out important facts on a legal pad: Fraud and racketeering. Bribery. Smuggling of arms, gold, and drugs. Money-laundering. Accounts for terrorist organizations, drug lords, and dictators. Weapons to terrorists from East and West. Support of "Islam Bomb" for Pakistan, Libya, Iraq, and Syria. The Black Network of espionage and enforcement against its enemies. And overall, a structure that provided an umbrella of anonymity for all kinds of transactions that required secrecy, so that the parties never had to meet.
I stopped writing. What did Rita Stern call IBIC? The Infernal Bank of International Crooks. Its function is so essential to rich international criminals that it had to come into being.
I wondered about the Omni Arms/IBIC connection. I looked through my notes from Price's secret records and wrote down significant transactions:
American C-4 to Libya. Russian AK-47s to Libya. North Korean SCUD-B missiles to Iraq and Syria. Fiat-built mines from Italy to Iran via Argentina as supposed end-user. American F-4 jet parts to Iran, with Israel listed as phony end-user. RBS-70 ground-to-air missiles to Iran, with India as supposed end-user. Chinese Silkworm missiles with Israeli guidance systems to Saudi Arabia. Stinger missiles from the U.S. to Mujahedin rebels in Afghanistan.
I drew a circle around these eight arms deals. They seemed to represent the variety and scope of Price's illegal transactions at Omni Arms. I knew from the records that the Silkworm missiles from China and the Stinger missiles to the Afghan rebels were financed by IBIC. I drew another circle around the eight transactions. How many of the other deals were arranged or financed by IBIC? I wondered. They all seemed like IBIC's type of transaction. In particular I wanted to know if IBIC provided the bank accounts and untraceable payments for Price's C-4 deal to Qaddafi. Why didn't I check it in Price's records the other day? I asked myself.
I decided to construct the story using what information I had. If I learned more, and if I had time, I could add what I learned. I knew if I waited any longer, someone might prevent me from writing at all. I turned on the computer and went to work. I led with the headline, HARRODS BOMBING LINKED TO BROADER ILLEGAL ARMS TRADE; INTERNATIONAL BANK IMPLICATED. In the story I began where my story that was sitting in the safe at the Times office left off, with Edmund Price of Omni Arms selling C-4 plastique to Qaddafi and Qaddafi's training IRA terrorists to use it. I then delineated seven other illegal arms transactions by Price, outlining the role of IBIC as facilitator, financier, and provider of anonymity from the outside world through secret payments and accounts in two of the deals.
I saved the story on to a new disk and printed out a copy. I wasn't happy with it. I wanted evidence that the C-4 was disguised as oil drilling mud. Maybe that will arrive at the Times tomorrow from the transcript of Stoat's trial, I thought. And tomorrow I'll call Sam Cody, the president of Omni Arms, and ask for a comment. Then I'll call the director of IBIC's London branch and see what he has to say.
I went back to work and started another story to appear after, or alongside, the one I had just written. If things were about to break concerning Omni Arms and IBIC, I wanted to be the one to tell about them. It was a fairly long piece, and I felt it gave a pretty good picture of what IBIC was all about. I saved the story on to the same new disk as the other story and threw it in my top desk drawer with a bunch of other used disks. Then I printed a copy of the story.
I got up from my desk and went to the kitchen while the printer was running. I made myself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and washed it down with a glass of water. PB and J number ten thousand and one. Then I ate an apple.
After lunch I started in on the long article for Rolling Stone. I took a personal approach. I was in the article the whole way, telling how I got the information starting with Jim Fick, Fick's death, Cruikshank, Teller, Stoat, Price, Torsky, the whole bit. I didn't use their names except for Price and Stoat, but I told of everything that had happened to me and all the crazy implications. It was quirky and paranoid. Rolling Stone would love it.
It took forever to write. I didn't finish it until six o'clock. It wasn't really finished. I didn't know the outcome yet. Maybe the outcome would be my obituary.
I printed a copy and put it in an envelope with the other two stories I had written. I wrote "Rolling Stone" on the new disk on which I had saved the story and threw it into the desk drawer. Then I went out to get a pint of bitter and some supper. I took the stories with me.
When I got back to the flat, I went through the ritual of making sure no one was there and nothing had been disturbed. Everything was the same as I left it, but the effort of vigilance was wearing down my nerves. I went to bed but couldn't sleep.