I knew I was dreaming, even in the dream. Willy Nelson was calling to me in that flat, nasal West Texas twang. You back, Cowboy? We still surrounded? What are we doing in this fucking country? What country are we in? Does the radio work? Yeah, you want to hear a tune? Nobody’s going to come then, no chopper. Maybe. Where you been? Charlie said to come visit. You going to die, Fick, you cowboy. Willy Nelson’s voice became the Texas voice of Jim Fick. Not here, Jacky Mac. We got two problems here, boy, Charlie and the buttholes who sent us. Who did this to us? Someday I'll find out. Time to rock and roll, Jacky Mac.
I stood up in my dream and awoke bolt upright in bed. The movie of my dream played in my head as I looked around. I haven't had that dream in years, I thought. Fick didn't have a rose tattoo then, but he was hooked on the adrenaline rush of combat. Fick got me out of there, but he never got his mind out. He stayed in the game. They tattooed the rose on his arm in the Libyan desert, I bet. A sort of initiation. But he was never with them.
When he told me what was going on in the desert he was telling me about who sent us to Cambodia. Different country, same deal. Same deal. Then they found out that he told. And they killed him and cut him up. His CIA contacts must have been frantic. They got the word. Fick is all over Rome. They found an arm with an old break mended cleanly--and a rose tattoo on it.
I've got to find out. Maybe Torsky can help. The CIA must have Fick's record. He was on contract. They've got to know. They've got a record on you too, Jackie boy, Fick's voice said to me.
I looked at the clock. It was after eight. I went into the bathroom and ran my head under water. I put on my running clothes and went out to run. When I got to the front porch I stopped. There was a car parked across the street with a man it. Who the hell is that? I thought. Before I had made up his mind what to do, I was walking across the street to the car. The man sat up straight in the seat. I tried to see if he had a gun.
"You having fun?" I asked.
The man didn't make any unfriendly moves.
"I'm watching," the man said with a strong accent.
"Who sent you?"
"He said to tell you it’s the man from Queens."
Torsky is watching out for his investment after all, I thought.
"I'm going running," I said.
"Have a good time. I'll stay here and watch your place."
I headed for Kensington Gardens and was back in less than half an hour. My watcher was still there. I waved and crossed the street. The man didn't wave back. I went in and checked the flat. It was the same as when I left it. I took a shower and dressed. Then I grabbed the envelope with the three stories. I started out the door and then went back to my desk and got the computer disks from the top desk drawer. I went downstairs, out the door, and across the street to the watcher's car.
"You had breakfast?" I asked.
The man didn't expect the question.
"I'm supposed to watch you," he said.
"You can watch me eat then, or you can join me. How about a ride?"
"Get in," the man said.
I directed him to a Jewish bakery and café. He knew the way. We had bagels with lox and cream cheese. My companion had raw onions with it, but I decided to skip the onions. We drank black coffee. The meal made my watcher open up.
"Where you from?" I asked.
"Minsk, Byelorusse," the man said.
"Where in Israel?"
"Ariha, Jericho," the man said.
"West Bank. The world's oldest city. How long have you lived there?"
"Ten years. My wife is there with our three children. She is one of the kibbutzim. Born in Israel. I fear for their safety," the man said.
"It's pretty tense," I said.
"Two claims to the same land back to the time of the sons of Abraham, Isaac, and Ishmael. I am surprised they’re not more militant than they are," he said.
"That is a philosophical view.”
"It doesn't mean I won't kill them if I have to," the man said. "My wife has an Uzi over her shoulder when she works our land."
"What about a Palestinian homeland?"
"They should move to Jordan. That’s the Palestinian homeland."
"That's not likely to happen," I said.
"For Jews the West Bank is the only place left where the spirit of Zionism still exists. In Tel Aviv and even in Jerusalem all they want is television and video games and air conditioning. They do not understand the old struggle," he said.
We finished the lox and bagels and drank the last of the coffee. From the table, I picked up the manila envelope containing the three stories.
"I've got to drop these off at the Times. Can you give me a ride?"
"Yes," the man said.
We rode to the Times office, and I went up to the newsroom where I ran into the man who had taken my story about Stoat and Harrods. James Gordon Bennett, known to his friends as Gordon, a Scotsman named after a Scots ancestor who became a famous American newspaperman.
"How are you?" I asked.
"I'm good," Gordon Bennet replied. "You've been a busy lad."
"I've got some more stuff for you. Did you get that story about Price and IBIC I left for you?"
"It's on my desk. I just got it out of the safe."
"Did you have a chance to request the transcript of Stoat's trial in the States yet?"
"Not yet," Gordon said, "It's too early. They're not awake in Washington. That's where the federal indictment was handed down. But I looked in the morgue for a microfilm of Washington Post coverage of the trial. It's got the information about the C-4 shipped as barrels of oil drilling mud. I'll get a copy of the indictment and transcript, but this is enough to go on if you can back up your story about Price. Did you get the records back?"
"No," I said.
"We can't run it until you do."
"What else do you have?" Gordon asked.
"I've got a couple of follow-up pieces that document Price's and Omni Arms' connection to IBIC in selling illegal arms."
"That's powerful stuff. Do you have proof?"
"No. It's from Price's records. I wrote them in case Zorn and the records turn up. Stoat's still on the loose. I was afraid I wouldn't be able to get it down if he showed up again."
"You're living a charmed life so far."
"Yeah," I said and thought about Zorn. Then my mind returned to the stories. "I almost forgot. I have a long article for Rolling Stone in here too. I was hoping you could hold on to it for safekeeping. If anything happens to me, you could mail it. Would you do that?"
"Sure, Jack," Gordon said.
"Thanks," I said and handed over the envelope. "Take these too, will you?" I reached into my pocket and handed the man two computer disks. "These have the two stories on them, in case I need to make additions or changes."
"Good. Is there anything else you need?"
"Your phone. I need to call Sam Cody, the president of Omni Arms, and ask him for a statement. I also want to call the director of IBIC here in London."
"You can use this desk over here. You want a tape recorder to pick up the conversation?" Gordon asked.
"That would be great," I said and sat down at the desk.
I hooked up the microphone to the receiver and called Omni Arms. I got as far as Cody's secretary.
"This is Jack McGlashan at the London Times. "I need to speak to Sam Cody."
"Mr. Cody is in conference now," the woman said in a cultivated English accent. "If you would care to state the nature of your enquiry, I will have our public relations officer get back to you."
"I need to speak to Mr. Cody directly."
"I'm sorry, but Mr. Cody doesn't give interviews. Is there anything else I can do for you?"
"Never mind," I said and hung up.
I called Omni Arms again and asked for Hale Wattle, but his secretary said he too was in conference. I left a message for Hale Wattle to call him at the Times newsroom and gave a phone number. Then I got out a telephone directory and looked up the number for IBIC in London and placed a call.
When the IBIC switchboard answered, I said, "I need to speak to the head of the bank. Can you tell me his or her name, please."
"The head of the bank is Mr. Simon Shilling. Would you like me to connect you to his secretary?"
My mind was thrown into utter confusion.
"No. I. Um. Is there a number I could call direct?"
The switchboard operator gave me a number for Simon Shilling's secretary.
"Thanks. I'll call later."
I hung up the phone and stared across the newsroom. Ann Hamilton’s husband is Simon Shilling, the international banker, head of IBIC in London, I thought. I saw a picture in my mind of Ann Hamilton in Kensington Gardens with her three beautiful girls.
I'm about to ruin their life, I thought. I continued to stare off into space for several minutes. Then I thought, maybe it's not the same man. I phoned Shilling's secretary.
"This is Jack McGlashan at the London Times. I need to speak to Simon Shilling."
"Mr. Shilling is unavailable at the moment," his secretary said. "May I take a message?"
I gave the number at the Times and my home phone number. Then I asked, "Could you give me Mr. Shilling's wife's name, please?"
"I'm afraid I can't give out that information, sir," the secretary said.
"Is her name Ann? Maiden name Ann Hamilton?" I asked.
"Why yes, it is," the woman said.
"Thank you. Please have Mr. Shilling call me. It's very important," I said and dropped the receiver into its cradle.
Just then Gordon Bennett came up and signalled me that there was a call on another line.
"McGlashan," I said after I pressed the button that was lit up.
"This is Hale Wattle, returning your call. What do you want?"
"I was calling for the London Times," I said.
"You get around."
"We're going to run a story about your man Price. It says the C-4 used in the Harrods bombing was brokered by Price through Omni Arms. I want a comment from Sam Cody."
"You got a lot of balls, McGlashan. I hope you and the Times have a good lawyer because Omni Arms will sue your butts off."
"Just tell Sam Cody what I said," I replied and gave Hale Wattle the telephone number at the Times. Then the man hung up on me.
Gordon Bennett wandered over to the desk where I sat biting my nails.
"What's wrong?" he asked.
"Nothing. I still can't get through to the president of Omni Arms, but one of his subordinates will pass along the message about the Price/C-4 connection," I said.
"So what's bothering you?"
"The head of IBIC in London is a guy named Simon Shilling. I know his wife and kids. If this story breaks, their whole world goes down the tube.”
"If IBIC has been financing arms sales to terrorists, the director of IBIC should have known better."
"It's worse. I've got evidence that at least three terrorist organizations have accounts in IBIC's London branch. I also know Lloyd's of London has a lawsuit against IBIC London for fraud and racketeering. They think IBIC in London has been smuggling gold, drugs, and arms. It's all in the story I gave you today. The question is does Shilling know what's going on?"
"So, this man Shilling is either a fool or a knave," Gordon said.
"Yeah. Negligent or fraudulent. Do you know him?"
"Simon Shilling? No," Gordon said. "I don't travel in those circles, but Harold Livingston, our managing editor, might know him. He probably knows Edmund Price too."
"Does he know what's cooking?"
"He's got your story about Price on his desk. You want to talk to him? He wants to meet you."
Harold Livingston was definitely eager to see me.
"You'll have to explain about the evidence against Omni Arms and IBIC if we're going to print your story, McGlashan," Harold Livingston said.
I explained about breaking into Omni Arms computer and Zorn's disappearance. I also told Livingston about the interest of a faction of the CIA and of Mossad in Price.
"Let us know as soon as you recover the evidence. We'll have to examine it. If it's genuine, we'll print the story," Livingston said.
"I'll let you know," I said. "I wanted to ask, do you know Simon Shilling, the director of IBIC in London?"
"I've met him," Livingston said.
"How would you describe him?"
Harold Livingston thought for a moment.
"He's an attractive man. Magnetic, intelligent, well-schooled. Values money and status," Livingston said.
"Not the type of man to allow middle managers to carry on illegal business under his nose without his knowing it?" I asked.
"No. He knows how to wield power, I should say. And he's nobody's fool. I imagine he would know exactly what is going on in his organization. Why?"
"I have evidence that IBIC has been brokering and financing deals with terrorists. When it gets printed, Shilling is going to catch some flak," I said.
"I see. You have a story on that too?" Livingston asked.
"Two stories. Gordon has them," I said looking at Gordon Bennett.
"Well, Gordon, I suppose I'd better read them," Livingston said and turned to me. "You say you have evidence."
"Had. It's with Zorn."
Livingston lowered his head and stared at me over the lenses of his glasses. "Let us know if the evidence or this man Zorn turns up, will you?"
The conversation with Harold Livingston was over. Gordon Bennett and I left Livingston's office and went back to the newsroom.
"I'm going home," I said. "I'd forgotten how much I hate being in a newspaper office."
"Livingston's not so bad. I've worked for a lot worse," Gordon said.
"Yeah, I know. Being an asshole comes with the territory. He's probably really nice to his dog," I said. "Thanks for your help, Gordon."
"We'll print those stories if you can get the goods on Price and IBIC."
"I'll call you if anything happens."
I went down to the main level and out the door. My Israeli watcher was waiting for me. The man drove me back to my flat in Little Venice. The sidewalk outside my house was full of photographers and reporters. I got out of the car and was immediately mobbed.
"What is this?" I said to the first man who rushed me.
"Tell me about Stoat. Is he working for the IRA? How'd you get involved?"
"Who are you?"
"The Sun" was all he answered.
Cameras flashed. Reporters surrounded me, jockeying for position, yelling "Daily Express" and "Daily Mail." The tabloid troops had arrived. One grabbed my Jacket. I pushed the man's face with my hand. Another offered money. A third shoved a microphone at me. I fought my way through the crowd and up the steps to my house. They followed me, pushing through the door. I turned and drove into the crowd with my shoulders lowered, like a linebacker plowing through a phalanx of blockers. The reporters and photographers tumbled backward down the steps. I shut the door and locked it.
This is all I need, I thought, and looked around. The mail had arrived. I sorted it out for all the tenants, in piles on the table, and then I looked through my own small stack of letters. The first envelope I came to made me stop. I could feel what was inside the business envelope. I tore it open. It was from Zorn, a laser-printed note and a computer disk.
Sorry to duck out. Things were getting messy, so I decided to go for a sail. Here's the stuff on Price and Omni Arms. It's the decoded disk. Good luck. I'll see you soon.
I fingered the magic belt at my waist. I guess the Eye in the Sky isn't infallible, I thought. Zorn seems to have gotten away. From them and from Stoat. Way to go, Zorn. And thanks for the disk. I put it in my pocket and looked at the rest of the mail. The noise from the porch was rising. They were banging on the door. I hoped Mrs. Gardiner wasn't home. I went upstairs and called Torsky.
"I've got it," I said.
"Yeah? Good," Torsky said.
"Zorn mailed me a disk."
"Stay put. I'll be right over."
"No. This place is crawling with tabloid reporters."
"Stay there," Torsky said.
I hung up and called Gordon Bennett.
"I've got a disk from Zorn of Price's records. I'll be right over."
"See you then," Gordon said.
I went out the window to the fire escape. I climbed down to the back garden and over the wall to the yard of the house behind my own and walked around to the street. I was headed for the Tube station at Warwick Avenue when someone behind me cracked me on the head with a sap. I never hit the pavement. I was thrown into the back of a van. I lost consciousness before the door closed.
I couldn’t have been out for more than a couple of minutes, a huge headache pulsing across the back of my head. I looked into a familiar face close to mine.
"Hello, asshole. You ready to die?"
It was Stoat. The van was close and hot and the man's breath was foul as a corpse. My stomach heaved, and I vomited on his leg.
Stoat made an animal sound and beat my head and shoulders with a blackJack.
The van motored on. I tried to clear my head. Eventually the van stopped. The doors opened. Stoat pushed me out. The driver helped me to my feet and got back into the van. Stoat pulled an automatic pistol from his leather Jacket and shoved it hard into my spine.
"Walk," he said.
We walked. The area was open fields and woodland. There were deer feeding at the edge of the wood. They disappeared into the trees as we approached. Stoat goaded me into the woods.
"Turn around. This is going to be fun," Stoat said.
Stoat took aim at my knees. I didn't think. I made a flying tackle at Stoat's own knees, and the man went down. I grabbed for the gun in Stoat's right hand with my right and hit the man's right bicep with my left where I figured the bullet had ripped through his muscle.
Stoat didn't drop the gun. He kneed me in the groin.
Somehow, I held on to Stoat's right wrist to keep the gun away from me and pounded Stoat's chest with my left fist where I knew the bullets had sunk into the Kevlar vest.
Stoat freed his right hand and hit me in the face with the side of the pistol. I rolled away in pain.
"Get up. On your knees," Stoat said as he got to his feet.
I rolled on to my stomach and tried to rise. Then a voice that was not Stoat's spoke, very calmly. I looked up. The voice was directly behind Stoat.
"You will get on your knees and drop the gun."
Stoat didn't move.
"Drop the gun now," the voice said softly.
Stoat still didn't move. Then there was a small sound like someone tapping a table top. Stoat fell. He was dead.
Standing over the fallen man was Teller, small and neat in his heather-colored wool suit. In his small hand was a small automatic pistol with a silencer extending awkwardly from the front.
"I'll be damned," I said. "How'd you get here?"
"I followed you," Teller said, helping me to his feet. "I was in the crowd of reporters, waiting for you in front of your house."
"I never saw you," I said, dusting himself off.
"Ah," Teller said.
"How did you spot me going out the back of my place?"
"I didn't," Teller said. "I saw the van. It went around the block several Times. I had a car waiting. One of my former associates is driving. We followed the van and witnessed your abduction in the street. From there we just followed you here."
"Where are we?" I asked.
I looked around. Of course. This is where Torsky and I were on Saturday, I thought.
"What about the driver of the van?" I said.
"I'm afraid he's dead too," Teller said.
"You're pretty efficient at this stuff."
"Yes," Teller said. "I had hoped such things were behind me. Nonetheless, I am glad that you are alive and that this Stoat is dead." He kicked at the body with the toe of his shoe.
"Will you be in trouble?"
"No. There is a contract out on Stoat. I could be paid if I wanted to, but I don't want blood money. This was a gesture of friendship," Teller said.
"I appreciate it," I said. "Thanks for saving my life."
We reached the road and the van. The driver was dead. Teller's car and driver were parked down the road. I thought about the belt at my waist. I looked up at the sky. I took off the belt and threw it in the road.
"Why did you do that?" Teller asked.
"I've stopped believing in the god of technology," I said.
I didn't explain, and Teller didn't ask. We reached the car and got in. Before the driver could pull away, I said, "I've got to go back," and got out of the car. Teller stepped out and met me as I came around the car.
"We must go," Teller said.
"I've got to check Stoat's body. You go if you want to."
I strode toward the woods. Teller followed, taking two short strides for my one.
"What are you doing?" Teller asked as he came up beside me.
"I'll show you."
The body lay where it had fallen. Blood from the wound at the back of the head had turned the leaves and dirt black.
Teller watched as I turned Stoat's body over. The face was already yellow and drawn with the first stages of death. I pushed up the left sleeve of the leather Jacket until the forearm was exposed. Nothing there. I pulled the sleeve down to the wrist, and lifted the right arm. I pushed the jacket sleeve up to the elbow. There on the right forearm was the tattoo of a flower with five rose-pink petals radiating from the center.
"What kind of flower is it?" I asked, looking at Teller.
"It looks like a wild rose," Teller said.
"Yeah. It's not exactly what I expected, but I think you're right."
I pulled the sleeve down and turned the body over, leaving it in the approximate position in which it had fallen. Teller and I started back to the car.
"What was that about?" Teller asked.
"You remember I told you a friend of mine was killed, and that his death started me looking into Qaddafi's terrorist training camp?"
"Yes, I remember."
"He was working for the CIA to find out what was going on. He ended up training terrorists. When he told me about it, I wrote a story. They must have found out he was the one who informed. They killed him and cut up his body. The only part they found was his forearm. No head. No hands. The CIA figured out who he was by the rose tattoo."
"Is there some significance?" Teller asked as they got into the car.
"You mean is it a symbol of some kind? That's what I've been wondering. You don't know anything about it?"
The driver started the engine, and we sped away from the scene, leaving a dead body in the van at the roadside and another dead body in the woods.
Teller pondered my question. "Secret networks often have code words, signs, special names. The white rose was the name of a network against Germany during the war. A red rose? It could be the symbol of a secret organization, but I'm not familiar with it," Teller said.
"Maybe it's just a coincidence," I said. "I'm glad Stoat's dead. If you hadn't shown up, the body in the woods would be mine."
"That's what I feared," Teller said. "I gave you information that might have led to your death.”
"So you came here to make sure I wouldn't get killed because of what you told me."
"Why does it make any difference to you?"
"A gesture of friendship, as I told you. I am by nature a punctilious man, and I am at that time of life when mistakes weigh heavily on one's mind. There may not be time to make right what one has done wrong."
"Does that include Stoat?" I asked.
"I shall make confession for that sin and do whatever penance is required. It was inevitable that someone would have to do away with him. The lot fell to me. I accept that," Teller said.
"That's quite a burden," I said.
"It would be worse if it had been you," Teller said.
"I'm sorry I got you into this," I said.
"Not at all. One must do what one must do," Teller said. "Do you want to go home now?"
"I don't know. I wonder if the uproar outside my house has subsided."
"There are some things I need to tell you. I have been asking questions and recollecting information that ought to be of use to you. Perhaps we could have tea and discuss it."
"Good idea," I said. Then I looked at the grass stains on my pants and the mess on my coat. I took off the Jacket and wadded it up inside out on the floor of the car. "There," I said, "I guess that'll do. Where shall we go?"
"I know a little tearoom in Charing Cross, if it is still there."
I paid attention to the route as we drove back along the A205, then over Vauxhall Bridge and along the river, past the Houses of Parliament and Whitehall to Charing Cross.
The driver let us off in front of the tearoom, and Teller and I went in. The place had not changed since Queen Victoria died. We found a table by the window. The teashop had a variety of teas. I ordered the strongest thing on the menu, Lapsang Souchong. It smelled of tar and tasted like old tires. It’s my favorite. Teller ordered the house special tea and a tray of cakes.
I looked out the window at the late afternoon bustle of Charing Cross. Then I examined the people in the tearoom. There were shoppers and civil servants, more women than men. Most of them looked tired. This was a good way to unwind. It wasn't my way. I preferred a good pub. Teller sampled the cakes. I tried to see myself and Teller at the table as one of the other patrons would see us. We made an odd pair.
"So what did you want to tell me?" I asked.
Teller finished the shortbread biscuit he was eating.
"It has to do with Edmund Price and the late Charles Stoat," Teller said.
I took my notebook out of the pocket of my khakis.
"As I told you, I first encountered Edmund Price when he was using the cryptonym Rand in Turkey. I had agents in Bulgaria and the rest of Eastern Europe as far as Czechoslovakia. Price as Rand was doing something similar for the CIA. When I was called back to London, I lost track of him, but before I left, I learned that he had formed ties of convenience with the Kara Borsa, the Turkish Mafia. The Turkish underworld has close ties to the Balkan countries, particularly Bulgaria, which shares a border with Turkey on the European side. Price and his man Stoat formed a commercial alliance with the Turkish Mafia. This development was within the realm of acceptable behavior in secret operations, since smugglers require money for their intelligence just as for any commodity they sell. Price's company, through the Turkish Mafia, was brokering goods and services for Kintex, the official Bulgarian black market, run by the Bulgarian DS, the secret intelligence agency, and by the KGB."
I wrote it all down. Teller finished his tea.
"Let me get this straight. You're saying Price went into business with the Bulgarian black market, what is it called? Kintex. And that Kintex is run by the Bulgarian secret service and the KGB. What do you mean 'official black market'?"
"The Bulgarian DS brings in capital from the West by selling on the black market. The money goes to high level government officials," Teller said.
"Where does the KGB fit in?" I asked.
"Bulgaria has always been the most loyal of the Russian satellites, except perhaps for Albania," Teller said. "The KGB is involved in every level of Bulgarian intelligence and government."
"Still? You mean this is still going on?" I asked.
"I called old friends in the British Intelligence community. With the collapse of Communism the Bulgarian black market is stronger than ever. It is the only form of capitalism they have. Whether KGB is still part of it, I cannot say."
"Does Price still have close ties to the Turkish underworld?"
"You would have to find that for yourself. My information about Price and the Turkish-Bulgarian-KGB connection goes back to 1980."
"What about 1980?" I asked.
"It was your central question when you visited me," Teller said. "I took this to be an important date because of Qaddafi and the terrorist training camp in Libya."
"Yeah, that's right," I said. "What did you learn?"
"Among the terrorists trained in Libya were several Turks. One of them was Ali Agca who almost succeeded in assassinating Pope John Paul. The official story was that he was a member of the right-wing terrorist group in Turkey called the Gray Wolves, but that of course is a lie. Among other Turks trained in Libya as terrorists were three members of the assassination squad that went to the United States in 1981 to kill President Reagan for Qaddafi. They were picked up by your FBI before they could act."
"So these assassinations were planned by the KGB?" I said.
"In the case of the Pope, there is no doubt. Andropov, the former head of KGB, was president of the Soviet Union. The new Pope was supporting revolution in Poland. In the planned assassination of President Reagan, the KGB was facilitator of Qaddafi's wishes."
"And Price was in it up to his ears," I said.
"Price helped set up the terrorist training camp in Libya. Stoat helped him run it. But he was not alone."
"Who else ran it?"
"The KGB. They had technical experts there," Teller said. "It was a business enterprise. Everyone was paid well for their services. The ones at the top made a fortune."
"I'm getting real tired of these revelations. They're upsetting my world view," I said and took a slug of black tea. It was cold. "You mean to say Price and Stoat and the KGB ran the terrorist training camp for Qaddafi? That former Special Forces and Russian KGB men trained the Turks who tried to kill the Pope in Rome and the President of the United States?"
"Yes. And I've just told you the connections by which it happened," Teller said.
"This is ridiculous," I said.
"We live in a flawed world," Teller said.
"It seems as if a lot of people are trying to make it worse than it needs to be."
"So it would seem," Teller said.
"What are you going to do now?"
"I shall go back to Iona. It is one of the places in the world untouched by the worst forms of human evil. The modern day Norsemen have not yet pillaged Iona," Teller said. "I will go there and live until I die, in hope of a better life in the next world, after what I expect will be a lengthy stay in Purgatory."
"You believe that?"
"Yes," said Teller. "I believe that."
"May I ask you something?"
"Isn't Teller a Jewish name?"
"But you are a Roman Catholic?"
"Yes," Teller said. "And you want to know why."
"If you don't mind."
"When I was a child, my parents gave me to a family they trusted. We lived in Hungary, and the Nazis were collecting all the Jews to send to concentration camps. My parents and my older brother and sister died in Auschwitz. I was raised by my adopted parents as their son. They were Christian. I was given their religion. I learned to believe in Jesus the Jew who became the Messiah of the Christians."
I didn't know what to say, so I didn't say anything.
"Shall we go?" Teller said finally.
We paid the bill and went outside. It was after six. The car appeared in front of the tearoom almost immediately. We got in.
"Where shall I drop you," Teller said.
"The Times building, I guess."
Teller directed the driver. When we arrived, I shook Teller's hand.
"Will I see you again?" I asked.
"If you come to Iona, I will be there. I have room. You could stay for a while."
"Thank you. I'd like to do that."
"Goodbye," Teller said.
"Thank you for saving my life."
"Yes," Teller replied.
I got out of the car and watched as it pulled away. I went into the Times building and up to the newsroom.
"Where have you been?" It was Gordon Bennett.
"Here, take this and find a computer that will print it out. Make yourself a copy and two extra disks for me if you would. I've got to have the disks back to give one to someone else and one to keep for myself."
I handed Gordon Bennett the computer disk of Price's records.
"This will give your boss Harold what's-his-name all the evidence he needs on Omni Arms and IBIC. You and I can look over the printout together."
I followed Gordon into an office and watched as he put the disk into the computer. The monitor showed a list of commands. Zorn had formatted the disk with instructions. Gordon punched in the commands. The printer began to hum and soon a pile of spreadsheet paper began to form on the tray behind the printer. We sat down and waited.
"Stoat's dead," I said.
"Good Lord. What happened?" Gordon asked.
"The tabloid boys were at my flat when I arrived home. When I finally got inside, I found a note from Zorn and the disk in the mail. I ducked out the back. Stoat whacked me and shoved me in a van. He and his driver took me to Richmond Park where Stoat was going to kill me and dump my body. A friend of mine tailed the van and killed them both."
"Who's your friend?" Gordon asked.
"I probably shouldn't say right now. Maybe later," I said.
"Does Scotland Yard know about Stoat and his driver?" Gordon asked.
"Good question. I don't know the answer. Let me call and find out."
I went to a phone in an empty office and called Lieutenant Entwhistle at Scotland Yard.
"This is McGlashan."
"You're still alive," Entwhistle said.
"Yeah. It seems so. Did you hear about Stoat?"
"We got a call about the body in the van around three this afternoon. Stoat's body was found when they investigated the area. What do you know about this?"
"Stoat hit me over the head on the street behind my house. He and his man took me to Richmond Park to kill me."
"Did you kill Stoat?"
"Who did it then?"
I didn't respond immediately. "It was a British Intelligence officer. Let me call Austin and have him call you after I tell him what happened."
"I hope it's a good story. Otherwise I'll have to charge you with a double homicide."
"Thanks," I said and severed the connection.
Then I called Austin, the SIS man. I was in luck. Austin was still in his office.
"What keeps you at work so late?" I asked.
"Your friend Mr. Stoat is dead," Austin said.
"I'm not surprised," Austin replied. "You want to tell me what happened?"
I told Austin what I had told Entwhistle at Scotland yard.
"So who killed Stoat?" Austin asked.
"How did it happen?" Austin asked.
"Teller came up behind Stoat and told him to drop the gun Stoat was going to use to kill me. Stoat wouldn't drop it. Teller told him again. Stoat held on to the gun. So, Teller shot him in the back of the head with a semiautomatic pistol with a silencer on it."
"Incredible. Teller must be sixty years old," Austin said.
"I guess that's about right."
"Thanks for telling me," Austin said.
"Don't thank me. Entwhistle doesn't know it was Teller. Can you call him and straighten him out? Otherwise, I'm going to be charged with murder."
"I'll take care of it," Austin said.
"What shall I say about Stoat's death in my story?" I asked.
"The one I'm writing for the Times. This is news, you know."
"All right. Keep yourself and Teller out of it. Just say that the notorious international fugitive was mysteriously murdered in Richmond Park," Austin said.
"And that Scotland Yard will round up the usual suspects," I said.
"Sorry, what was that?"
"Nothing. Thanks for your help."
I hung up the phone and went back into the office where Gordon Bennett was still watching the printer copy Price's records.
"What did you find out?" Gordon asked.
"I guess I'm not going to be charged in Stoat's death. I can write the story if you want it, but I'm not supposed to mention my own involvement or who killed Stoat. I think I can probably say it may have been a counterintelligence hit. I don't think anyone at Special Branch or anyplace else would mind. They can always deny it. You want the story?"
"Of course," Gordon said.
The printer suddenly stopped.
"Is it finished?" Gordon asked.
"Let me see," I said, and he picked up the pile of paper and unfolded it.
"This is all of it. You want to take a look?"
"Yes." Gordon pushed "Print" to make another copy.
"Have you read my story on Price and C-4, and the other ones on Price and IBIC?"
Yes, I've read them and so has Harold Livingston," Gordon said.
"I think we should look at the eight Omni Arms transactions I wrote about, and you and I can review the IBIC links. What do you think?"
"Sounds good to me," Gordon said.
I turned to Price's records for 1980.
"What are you looking for?" Gordon asked.
"Here it is," I said. "This is the transaction. July 1980. Twenty-one tons of oil drilling mud from Los Angeles via Frankfurt to Tripoli, Libya. Oh, shit."
"I was hoping for an IBIC connection. That would have made a better story. Look here." I pointed at the printout. "Payment was made by a Swiss Bank, not IBIC. Oh well."
"It's still a first-rate story," Gordon said. "And this confirms the drilling mud ruse and the sale of C-4 through Stoat by Price. We've got enough to run it, I think. I’ll call Harold Livingston and ask him to come to the office. We should run this story tomorrow."
"Great," I said. "Do you have a highlighter?"
"You know, a transparent marking pen."
"Look in the desk." Gordon made the phone call.
There were no marking pens in the desk, so I used my regular pen to point out the C-4 drilling mud deal. Then I found the other seven transactions I cited in the Omni Arms-IBIC article for the Times. "Harold's at a dinner party. I'll ring him there." Gordon dialed another number.
I marked the seven transactions. Gordon hung up the phone.
"He'll be right over," Gordon said.
"Look at these deals by Price," I said. "Of the seven, five were underwritten by IBIC. Russian AK-47s to Libya, North Korean SCUD-B missiles to Iraq and Syria, F-4 jet parts to Iran, Chinese Silkworm missiles with Israeli guidance systems to Saudi Arabia, and American Stinger missiles to the Mujahedin rebels in Afghanistan. All of these transactions are illegal or secret because of the diplomatic uproar they would cause if the deals were made public. This is your evidence for the Omni Arms-IBIC connection. Do you have those disks I gave you?"
"I'll get them."
Gordon went out and brought the disks back to me.
"Did you hear anything from Sam Cody at Omni Arms or Simon Shilling at IBIC?"
"Harold got a call from Cody. He's threatening a lawsuit if we print the story about Price's C-4 deal. Omni Arms is holding a press conference tomorrow. I imagine Cody will get up there and issue a categorical denial."
"No doubt. You think your publisher will print our story."
"We've got the facts. If the Times doesn't print it, somebody else will," Gordon said.
"You got that right," I said. "What about IBIC? Any word from Shilling?"
"Let's see what your man Harold has to say about the IBIC story. If he wants to run it alongside the one on Price and C-4, I may have to call Shilling at home." I did not want to make that particular call.
Harold Livingston arrived in black evening clothes and black patent leather pumps.
"Nice tux," I said.
Harold Livingston gave me a look of withering disapproval. I laughed. Gordon Bennett stepped between us.
"Here's the printout of Price's records, Harold. Jack has marked the transactions he's used for evidence. This is Price's July 1980 shipment to Libya, twenty-one tons of oil drilling mud, from Los Angeles, via Frankfurt, to Tripoli, Libya. It's the same as in Stoat's indictment."
"It could be a coincidence," Harold Livingston said. "What if it really was oil drilling mud? We have to be responsible. This is the Times, remember? Not some sleazy tabloid."
"You're backpedalling, Harold," I said.
"I don't like your tone."
"I don't care what you don't like. Print the story or don't," I said.
"This isn't getting us anywhere," Gordon said. "Harold, what do you need as further proof? Perhaps we can get it."
"I would feel more comfortable if we had an expert opinion on this," Harold Livingston said.
"You mean from British Intelligence or the CIA?" Gordon Bennett asked.
"I don't know anyone who would do that," I said. "What if I could get an Israeli expert to evaluate it for you? Would that do?"
"Yes, that would do," Livingston said.
"Give me a minute, will you? I'll make a call."
I called the Israeli Embassy. Torsky wasn't there. I left a message and a number at the Times. Torsky called back within five minutes.
"Where the hell have you been?" Torsky said. "I went to your house, but you were gone. Nobody there but reporters."
"I got bagged by Stoat again."
"I heard Stoat was dead."
"Yeah. Teller nailed him."
"Good for Teller. Give him my best."
"He's already gone. Listen. I'm at the Times offices. I've got Price's records for you, but I'm in a bind. I know you said not to use you to confirm my stories, but the Times won't print about Price and C-4 unless they get some outside corroboration. They want an expert opinion. The managing editor's getting cold feet. If you want to see it in print, you'll have to talk to him."
"You'll give me Price's records if I talk to him?"
"Tell him to call me at the Israeli embassy. Give me fifteen minutes to get there."
I asked Livingston and Bennett to come back into the office. "The man is Joshua Torsky. He works for Mossad. He's at home now, but he said to call him at the Israeli Embassy in fifteen minutes. That way you'll know it's legitimate."
Harold Livingston examined the printout of Price's records while he waited. "How did you get this?" Livingston asked.
"A friend of mine, Thomas Zorn, decoded it. He designed the Omni Arms computer."
"Really?" Livingston said. "You realize what you have here is stolen property."
"Price still has all his information. What we have is a copy," I said.
"That's a disingenuous statement, and you know it," Livingston said.
"I know it. I also know that Price has been selling arms to terrorists. Now you know it too. The question is what are you going to do about it?"
"I shall call your Mr. Torsky."
Harold Livingston placed the call to the Israeli Embassy and asked for Joshua Torsky. The call was put through. Livingston turned on the speaker phone.
"Is this Joshua Torsky?" Livingston said.
"My name is Harold Livingston. I'm managing editor of the Times."
"I know who you are," Torsky said.
"Well, Mr. Torsky, I'm calling to confirm a story by John McGlashan. He says he knows you."
"Yeah, I know him. He's been after Price."
"Can you tell me what you do, exactly?" Livingston asked.
"I won't tell you what I do. I'll tell you I work for the Central Institute for Intelligence and Special Missions. It's usually called Mossad."
"Thank you. Are you familiar with McGlashan's allegation that Edmund Price, a former CIA agent and now an executive at Omni Arms, sold C-4 plastic explosive to Muammar Qaddafi?"
"It's not an allegation. It's the truth. Only nobody's been able to pin it on him yet."
"I see," Livingston said. "McGlashan claims to have made a copy of Edmund Price's secret records of illegal arms transactions."
"McGlashan's got the records. Right."
"Do you believe these are Price's records?"
"I'll know when I see them. Are you looking at them? Do they look like he cooked them or what?"
"No they look genuine," Livingston said.
"Do they show a July 1980 transaction for twenty-one tons of oil drilling mud to Qaddafi?"
"That wasn't oil drilling mud. It was C-4. It was so deep that Price even lied about it in his own secret records. Qaddafi gave the C-4 to terrorists, especially to the IRA because he hates the English so much. You going to print the story?"
"I don't know yet," Livingston said.
"Because if you don't, as soon as I get those records, I'm going to leak the story to every newspaper that'll listen," Torsky said.
"Thank you, Mr. Torsky. I'll consider your advice."
Torsky hung up on him.
"This man Torsky is something of a thug," Livingston said to me.
"I like him. We’re friends," I replied and grinned at him.
"We'll print the story," Livingston said, "and we'll print the ones about Omni Arms' illegal dealings and the IBIC connection."
"Good," I said.
"But the Omni Arms-IBIC story needs to be reworked. It sounds from the way it's written that IBIC was involved in the Harrods bombing. There's no proof of that," Livingston said.
"In fact, there's evidence now that IBIC wasn't involved in that one," I said. "I'll fix it."
"Check it when he gets through, Gordon. If it squares with the evidence, we'll go with it. Page One."
"Good night, Gordon. Good night, John."
Livingston went out.
"You should open a charm school," Gordon said.
"Right. I'll go partners with Torsky."
I wrote up the story of Stoat's "mysterious" death to accompany the piece about Price and C-4, linking Stoat to Price as tightly as I could. Then I got my disks from Gordon and reworked the Omni Arms-IBIC story. Now it was time to make another phone call. I needed to get a comment from Simon Shilling, about the Omni Arms-IBIC connection in selling illegal arms.
Maybe I could get Gordon to make the call, I thought. No, I've got to do it myself. This is tough, my mind said. You're a coward, another part of my mind said back. You're only brave when you know you're right.
I made the call. I was lucky in one way at least. Ann Hamilton didn't answer the phone.
"Hullo," a man's voice said.
"This is Jack McGlashan at the Times. Is this Simon Shilling?"
"How did you get my number?"
"It doesn't matter. You're director of IBIC in London?"
I shifted in my chair.
"We're running a story on arms deals by IBIC in conjunction with Omni Arms International, sending weapons to countries on the proscribed list. I want a comment."
There was a long silence at the other end of the line.
"Tell me who you are again."
The voice was calm, self-assured, and cultivated. I was finding it difficult to hate Shilling. My own self-assurance was wearing away.
"My name is Jack McGlashan. I'm calling from the Times. Do you have any comment on your bank's involvement with Omni Arms in selling illegal weapons?"
"I'm afraid this takes me by surprise, Mr. McGlashan. What is it that IBIC is supposed to have done?"
I went down the list of transactions from my notes.
"The story will say that Edmund Price at Omni Arms brokered illegal arms, with IBIC financing. AK-47 rifles to Libya, North Korean missiles to Iraq and Syria, F-4 jet parts to Iran, Chinese Silkworm missiles to Saudi Arabia, and American Stinger missiles to Afghan rebels. Do you have any comment?"
"There must be some mistake. The International Bank of Investment and Credit isn't an arms syndicate."
"So you deny the allegations?"
"Yes, of course."
"Do you deny that terrorist organizations such as Abu Nidal, Abul Abbas, and the PLO keep accounts in the London branch of IBIC, which you run?"
"I would say that's impossible, but I'll check our accounts in the morning to be sure. I certainly hope we don't have such accounts."
"Is it true that Lloyd's of London has a lawsuit against your bank for fraud and racketeering, including your false reports of lost or stolen Lloyd's insured cargo, which your bank financed, and allegations of smuggling arms, gold, and drugs."
There was another silence on the line.
"Where did you get that information?"
"Is it true?" I asked.
"It is true that Lloyd's has filed suit against the bank. I'm sure it's a misunderstanding that can be worked out. The other allegations are false. Tell me, please. Are you going to print this story in tomorrow's Times?"
"Could I possibly presume upon you to withhold publication for one more day so that I may gather information that will negate these charges? Printing such damaging allegations could do irreparable harm to my bank. Could you give me twenty-four hours?"
I thought about it.
"I suppose I could."
"Where can I reach you?"
I gave the number at the Times.
"Thank you, Mr. McGlashan. I'll call you tomorrow."
Simon Shilling hung up. What have you done? I said to myself. You are a complete idiot, my mind told me.
"Pull the other two stories, Gordon."
"I just gave Simon Shilling at IBIC twenty-four hours to refute them."
"This can't be true," Gordon Bennett said, breaking a pencil in half.
"Tell your man Harold I've been attacked by prudence and reason."
"I can't pull those stories now."
"Yes you can. Give it twenty-four hours."
" I suppose Harold can't argue with that. Prudence and reason," he said and laughed, sort of.
"I need the computer disks you made of Omni Arms' records, Gordon. I've got to give one to Torsky. Were you able to make copies?"
"I made one for us and one for you, plus the original. I'll get them. Do you want the computer printout of Price's records?"
"Yes. And I need my story for Rolling Stone."
"Right.” Gordon went to the safe.
I called Torsky at the Israeli Embassy. He was still there.
"Do you ever go home?" I asked.
"Where's home?" Torsky said. "Are they going to run the story about Price and the bootleg C-4?"
"Yeah. The front page is just about set."
"You got Price's records?"
"I'll pick you up at the Times building. Give me twenty minutes."
Torsky hung up. Gordon Bennett came back with my story for Rolling Stone and the computer disks of Price's records.
"Here you go, Jack."
"Thanks, Gordon. I guess I'll see you tomorrow. I'm going home. It's been a long day. Thanks for delaying that story on the Omni Arms/IBIC connection."
"You're welcome, but I think you're making a big mistake."
"One more day shouldn't make any difference," I said as I folded up the printout of Price's records and shoved it into the manila envelope along with the computer disks. "If Simon Shilling calls tomorrow, and I'm not here, see if you can get his reply on tape, will you?"
"Sure. I'll see you tomorrow."
"Right." I left the office and took the elevator to the ground floor.
Torsky arrived driving the big Jaguar I had ridden in the Saturday before. Torsky leaned over and threw open the front passenger side door.
I got in and Torsky drove off fast.
"You got Price's records?"
"They're on this." I handed Torsky one of the computer disks of Price's records. I kept the other for myself.
"You say the Times is going to run the Price C-4 story tomorrow?"
Torsky stopped at a red light and looked in the rearview mirror. "What about the Omni Arms-IBIC story?"
"They were going to run it, but I got them to hold off for twenty-four hours."
Torsky looked over at him. "Why did you do that?"
"I talked to Simon Shilling, the director of IBIC in London. He asked me for time to gather his evidence to refute the charges."
"Yeah, but why did you give him time?" The light changed, and Torsky drove on.
"It turns out I know his wife and kids. I wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt."
"You're a fool." Torsky jammed the shifter into third gear. "That kind of sentimentality could get you killed. You've just given IBIC twenty-four hours to get you."
"The Times has the story. If anything happens to me, they'll still run it."
"You think so? You told me yourself on the phone tonight that they didn't want to print the story on Price and C-4. If you hadn't called me, they wouldn't have had the courage to do it. Right?"
"Somebody would have run it," I said.
"Without you? Don't bet on it. The world is full of cowards. Most people don't want to get hit with a lawsuit or lose their lives. It takes somebody with balls and no brains like you to shake their cage."
"Thanks for the compliment." I looked out the window.
"Look, I appreciate what you did. I told you I thought you were a guy who made things happen. Don't underestimate your impact. IBIC is a criminal organization. They have people who'll knock you off. You still got Price to worry about too. You don't seem to get it. Silencing people by killing them works. That's why they do it." Torsky glanced again in the rearview mirror. "I think there's somebody following us. He's been back there since I picked you up."
"What kind of car is it?"
"It's a dark-colored Ford. Maybe dark gray. I can't tell for sure. Two men in the front. We can't confront them carrying Price's records. I can't afford to risk losing this stuff. I'll ditch them." Torsky dropped the Jaguar into second and stomped on the gas. Then he made several quick turns, went the wrong way up a one-way street, came to a stop, and turned out the headlights.
"Who do you suppose it was?"
"Considering the stories you've been writing and the fact that Stoat is dead, who could it be? More of Price's goons, IBIC Black Network guys, the IRA, some of Price's friends in the CIA. Take your pick. You're in deep shit."
"I guess I am. I was so busy worrying about Stoat that I never considered it," I said. "Did you see the car go by?"
"No. We'll wait a little longer and then go." Torsky leaned forward and peered through the windshield.
My mind wandered back to what Teller revealed to me. "What do you know about the Kara Borsa in Turkey and the Bulgarian company Kintex?"
"You finally heard about that."
"Teller said Price was in with the Turkish Mafia called Kara Borsa back in the Seventies, and through that connection KGB guys ended up as advisors in Qaddafi's terrorist training camp."
"That's how Price got Russian weapons. They came through Bulgaria to Turkey on the black market. Of course, now that the Communist empire has fallen, you'll be able to buy direct and cut out the middle man."
"So, Price would have gotten AK-47 rifles through that connection?"
"Probably. He could get anything he wanted. Russian, Czech, whatever. It all came from the Bulgarian DS through Turkey."
"You say it's still going on?"
"What have the Russians got to sell? Vodka, caviar, oil, and weapons. I told you. IBIC is trying to set up a branch in Moscow. Then they'll start up branches in Prague, Budapest, all over." Torsky started the car and drove off.
"How for instance did Syrian-backed terrorists get Semtex-H? Did the Czechs just sell it to them straight out?" I asked.
"No. It's not illegal like it is in the West, but Russia and Czechoslovakia would be politically embarrassed if they were caught selling plastic explosive to terrorists. Maybe you sell it directly to the government of Syria but probably not. Besides, its bad business. If you want to cover your trail and make money, here's what you do. Whoever wants it places the order with a broker, say Price's secret organization inside Omni Arms. If you don't know a broker, IBIC can point you in the right direction. Price calls the Kara Borsa in Turkey. They get in touch with Kintex in Bulgaria. They order the Semtex-H plastique from the factory in Czechoslovakia. The money works its way up the line the same way, except maybe the payments go to a Swiss Bank account or an account at IBIC in London or Karachi. It's like the spice trade in the Middle Ages. Everybody gets paid, and everybody's happy. Until the first person gets killed." Torsky looked in the rearview mirror.
"Do you think Price has been selling SEMTEX?"
"He would if he could, right?"
I looked out the rear window.
"Is there anybody following us?"
"No. It looks clear, but I'm sure they're not worried. They know where you live."
"I get the sitting duck award," I said. "There was something else I wanted to ask about. When we were talking about Fick's death in Rome, do you remember the severed forearm with a rose tattoo on it?"
"Stoat had one."
"A rose tattoo. Only it wasn't a tattoo of a longstemmed red rose with a hundred petals. It had five pale red petals like a wild rose. Do you know of any secret organization that uses a rose like that, or any kind of red rose, as a symbol?"
"No." Torsky turned north onto Edgware Road. "You think it means something?"
"I don't know. I'm just asking."
"I'll check it out." Torsky pulled up to my house and stopped. "Thanks for the data on Price."
"Sure. I hope it's useful." I gathered up the manila envelope and got out. "Thanks for your help."
Torsky let me out and sped away. The night had grown cool. I suddenly realized I had left my only remaining sports Jacket wadded up in the back of Teller's car.
I walked up the front steps and went into the house. I climbed the stairs and slowly unlocked the door and looked in. There was nobody waiting for me. I looked around. The place was clear.
It was after midnight. I was too tired to eat. I washed and got ready for bed. I'll never be able to sleep, I thought. I got into bed and began to re-read the printout of Price's records. Within about three minutes I was out cold.