Allegoria Paranoia




Chapter 6

It was dark.  I was wet.  My head ached, and I felt like vomiting.  And what is this stench? I wondered. My hands were bound behind my back.  When I tried to move, I discovered that my legs were bound at the ankles.  I felt tape across my mouth and cheeks, and I was aware that my legs were drawn up behind me, tied with a rope to my hands.  It was a position I didn't enjoy.

I couldn't see.  Either I was blind, or the space was utterly black.  I moved slightly and discovered that I was lying in an inch or two of water.  And what is that smell? I asked himself again. They've thrown me down a sewer, I thought and then, what time is it?  How long have I been here? I had no way of knowing.  I wriggled and writhed to see how much freedom the ropes would allow me.  Not much.  And every time I moved I got wet. 

My mind tried to characterize the foul odor of this place of confinement.
I struggled to sit up, and after several minutes I managed to do so.  But because of the short leash my legs were on, I had to sit on one cheek of my buttocks (at this moment my left) with my legs curled around to the right and my hands pulled toward my legs.  This position was painful, especially for my left arm.

Lucky me, I thought.  Things could be worse though.  I could be dead.  It wasn't that I was an optimist.  Rather I was so much in the habit of thinking things were bad that when matters got really bad, like now, I wasn't surprised.  In fact, at the moment, my situation was so outstandingly, unbelievably, completely terrible that I felt like laughing. I must be crazy, I concluded.  No one in his right mind could find any humor in this.  If I don't die of thirst or starvation, I'll probably die of septic poisoning from whatever sewer this water is coming from.

I struggled to my knees, a position I discovered gave me some slack in the rope.  I could walk on my knees.  I decided to explore my new domain.  The floor beneath the inch or so of water seemed to be of stone or concrete.  Walking on knees on such a surface proved to be painful, but I didn't have far to walk, as I soon found out.  After three or four steps I met, with my forehead and nose, a stone wall, slimy and wet with seepage and slippery matter growing there in the dark.

The floor too was greasy beneath the water, and with each step my knees tried to skid out from under me as I moved awkwardly along the wall, inching slowly, counterclockwise, in the dark.

After a considerable expenditure of energy and time, I still didn't have a mental picture of the space.  It had taken me no time at all to reach the wall, but after about an hour of walking or crawling, on my knees, I had only turned one corner.  Taking into consideration the slippery conditions and unusual slowness of knee-travel, I estimated that I had traversed perhaps fifty feet along the original wall before reaching a corner and perhaps another hundred feet or more beyond that without reaching another.
I sank down on my knees to rest on his left buttock again.  Immediately my whole left side went into spasms of muscle cramps.  I got back on my knees again but slumped as far forward as I could to give my back muscles some relief.  I began to walk on my knees again.

This place is huge, I thought, and sat down as best I could, this time on my right cheek with my legs curled to my left.  This proved to be a bad idea.  My right leg spasmed in agonizing cramp.  So to ease the pain I resumed my journey.

At first I thought it was just fatigue.  The water level was about six inches up from the floor.  Unless I'm moving downhill into the deep end of the pool, the water level in this stinkhole is rising, I thought.

I found the idea of drowning in a cesspool to be absurd and disgusting. Moving ever more slowly in the deepening water, I came finally to a third corner.  My sense of time and distance in the smelly darkness was getting vague, but as best I could estimate, the distance to the third corner was about a hundred and fifty feet.  A picture began to emerge in my mind of a huge basement, and unless the London sewer system was disgorging its contents into my cellar, the place was located within reach of the Thames, and the tide was rising.

Soon after I crawled past the fourth corner, I found out where the water was coming from.  I could feel the pressure of it  pouring in from a long crack in the foundation.  The weight of the water as it hit my face and chest indicated a crack three or four inches wide.  I banged my head against the wall.  No luck.  The foundation wasn't going anywhere.
I was up to my waist in water.  I had not made it back to my starting point.  I had not encountered stairs or a ladder or any way I could think of to get out.  And I was totally exhausted.  I could go no further.  In a kneeling position with my right shoulder next to the wall at the fourth corner, I waited for the tide.  I prayed silently, God don't let me fall into the water.  My mind shut down.

I passed out or slept.  I awoke with foul water lapping at my cheek.  I shuddered to an upright position by heaving my shoulder away from the wall.  I realized that the sweat of my earlier exertion and the water had loosened the tape on my mouth.  I made extravagant faces in the dark, contorting my facial muscles to get the tape away from my lips.  Eventually the tape on one side of my lips pulled loose, and I was able to breathe through my mouth.  I let out a tremendous scream.  The sound echoed throughout the cavernous cellar, resounded quickly, and died.  The water continued to rise until it was up to my mouth as I stood upright on my knees. 

I'll have to try to stand, I realized.

As the water rose I struggled to my feet but fell down with a splash.  There was not enough slack in the rope between my hands and my feet.  I would have to break the rope or drown.  I struggled to a crouching position, balanced in the deepening water on the balls of my feet, the water up to my chin.  From the crouch I began slowly to rise, putting pressure on the rope and as a result on my arms and legs.  My legs pushed upward putting a terrific tension on the rope.  The rope stretched taut.  I tried to break the length of rope.  The water kept rising.

I could feel the tendons connecting the muscles of my shoulders beginning to stretch and the ligaments holding my upper arm bones in the sockets beginning to pull.  I was pulling my own arms out of their sockets.  As far as I could tell, the rope showed no signs of breaking.  But it did seem to be giving me some slack.  Either that or my shoulders were dislocated.

The tide in the cellar continued to rise.  I was standing as tall as I could, a position which placed me about four feet off the ground, a deformed creature with backward arms clasped at his rear.  I couldn't get my forearms past my hips.  The V of my hands and arms was too narrow to move past my butt.  My legs began to shake with fatigue.  The water was cold.  My whole body began to shake.  The water continued to rise, covering my mouth with slimy goo.

This is it, I thought.  I'm going to drown in a sewer.  Wonderful.  No.  I'm going to live long enough to kill whoever did this to me. I had always been good at physical games.  I was very competitive.  This game was simple.  Either I kept my head above water, or I drowned.  The hard part was knowing that the tide would keep coming in until it was time for it to go out and not knowing how far in the tide would come.

I'm coming in further; I'm making the tide go higher, my opponent said to me.  I'm standing taller.  I'm stretching the rope and my joints further, I said back.  You're at the end of your rope now, it said.  No, I'm not, I said back.  You're drowning, it said.  You're wrong, I said back.

Eventually, when the water was peeking into my nostrils, the tide began to recede.
I've won, I thought.

But I was wrong.  It was another twelve hours before I realized the extent of my problem.  By that time the tide had come in again, and I was so thirsty I had to drink the water that was trying to drown me.  It was vile, and I threw up as I drank it.

The tide had not receded for long before I was in the throes of violent dysentery.  The tide was now within me as well as outside.  And my internal tides came oftener than once every twelve hours.

I guessed that I had now been in this particular level of hell for over twenty-four hours.  I knew I had been around the circumference three Times.  I had also crisscrossed the cellar wall to wall as often as my strength would allow, and I knew my strength would give out soon.  There is no describing the awful filth.  My bowels had evacuated all their contents and more.  I was actually glad when the tide came in.  At least it cleaned me up a bit.
As I sat in the fetid water, I began to think maybe the rope binding my hands had begun to loosen from the prolonged soaking.  I worked at the rope as long as the water covered my hands, but once the tide receded, the rope began to shrink as it dried.  I decided that during the next tide I would begin working on the rope as soon as the water was deep enough to keep it wet.

More than twelve hours later when the water had risen high enough, I began to stretch and work the rope.  I worked for hours in fits and bursts, stopping each time my arms started to cramp.  Sure enough, by the time the water had receded to my thighs, I was able to pull one hand out of the rope binding and quickly release the other.
My mind raced ahead of my efforts.  I was already conceiving and rejecting plans for escape.  Unfortunately, my arms hung limp at my sides.  I couldn't lift them.  Two days and more with my hands behind my back had rendered my arms completely useless.
I fell down in despair, my back against the wall.  Slime oozed down my neck.  I sat full on my butt for the first time in days.  My trousers oozed and stank.  The overflow of stench from within and without roused me to fury.  This was not a game I was prepared to lose, and if I was to survive I knew I did not have much time left.  I flogged one arm with the other, left then right.  Gradually feeling came back.

I massaged each shoulder and arm alternately, stopping just short of cramping the working arm each time.  After a while I was able, with much effort, to raise my arms over my head.  Then reached down and untied my feet.  Deciding the rope might come in handy, I tied it around my waist.

Yeah, that'll do, I thought and made the effort to stand up.

I discovered that my back was in total spasm.  I hobbled around bent over, sloshing in four inches of water and contorting my body in an effort to assume an upright stance.  To do this I raised my arms over my head.  As I rose to a standing position, I stood on tiptoe, and to my amazement my fingertips touched the ceiling.  The ceiling of this enormous cellar was only eight or nine feet from the floor. 

A new thought occurred to me, and I tried to reorient myself in the dark to the spot where I had first regained consciousness.  I had been in the cellar long enough to know it fairly well.  The room was twice as long as it was wide.  From my first circumnavigation, I knew I had started about fifty feet from the corner of one of the two short sides.  I didn't know which short side was the one, but if I started at a corner and worked my way back, I might be able to find it.

I began to walk, keeping the wall on my right.  When I got to a corner, I kept walking, slogging through the receding water.  At what I guessed from my paces was a hundred and fifty or sixty feet, I knew I was on a long wall, so I kept walking.  The next wall I knew was a short wall.  I hurried along to the corner and turned back, keeping my left shoulder to the wall and walking clockwise slowly with my hands upraised.  I walked on my toes and extended my hands until my fingertips touched the slimy ceiling.  I felt along the ceiling overhead as I paced off fifty feet.


I lowered my arms and continued deliberately to the end of the short wall, turned the corner and walked the three hundred or so feet along the long wall to the next corner.  Here I again raised my arms and felt along the ceiling with my fingers until I had gone fifty feet.  Nothing again.

A moment of panic gripped me.  The effort of holding my hands above my head was exhausting.  I sat down to gather strength. 

This vacation in hell is just about over, I decided, getting to my feet  again.  Maybe I missed it, I thought.  It might be further out from the wall than I thought.

I stood with my back to the wall and raised my arms as I stepped slowly toward the center of the enormous room.  After going ten feet I knew I had missed it or that it wasn't there.  I went back to the wall and moved two paces to the right, turned around, and tried again.  Nothing.  I went back to the wall and took two paces to the left, turned around and tried again.  Nothing.

At this point I felt certain that what I was looking for wasn't on this wall.  I was as certain as a blind man in a cave could be.  So I went around clockwise to the opposite short wall, started from the corner again and measured off fifty feet.  At this point I repeated the process I had gone through on the other wall.  Out ten feet feeling the ceiling all around above my head.  Nothing.  I tried again two paces to the right.  Nothing.  I tried again two paces to the left.


Above my head was a round opening in the ceiling.  I couldn't feel all the way to the top, but I imagined a manhole cover or some other contrivance to keep me in this cistern.  Probably I was in a sub-basement of an old warehouse.  I knew by the utter quiet of the place that the building was abandoned.  Probably the whole area was a wasteland.  I imagined one of the old warehouses in dockland, in the tidal estuary below Tower Bridge, an area that had not been reclaimed, as the Isle of Dogs had been.
Meanwhile, I couldn't reach the top of the round hole, and until I could figure a way to get up there, I wouldn't be able to get out.  I felt around the hole.  On either side of the hole, there was a large steel ring.  I grabbed a ring with each hand and swung myself up, kicking my feet up into the hole.  Just as I had imagined, there was an iron manhole cover over the opening.  I kicked at it with all my strength and heaved it out of place.  No light entered the hole.

I tried to clamber up.  I tried to get my feet and ankles over the edge, and I did, but hanging upside down from these rings I couldn't pull myself up with my legs, and my body wouldn't have fit doubled up through the opening anyway.

I let myself down again slowly.  When my feet were back on the floor, I sat down.  My muscles gave out.  Here I was, on the verge of escape, and I feared I wouldn't have the energy to get out.

I leaned against the wall to rest and think.  I fiddled with the rope at my waist.  That was it.  I knew how to get out.  I was so sure of it that I didn't even get up to try it immediately but instead waited until my strength revived.

In about ten minutes I got up and tried again.  I tied one end of the rope to one of the rings and passed the other end of the rope through the other ring forming a large U-shaped loop under the hole.  I tested the loop to make sure I could lift my foot into the loop and then tied the loose end of the rope tight to the second ring.

I put my left foot in the sling, raised myself up by the rings, and scrambled up into the hole.  In thirty seconds my head and arms were sticking up through the manhole.  I summoned my strength again and pulled myself out of the hole.  I lay on the floor for a long time.

I have no idea how long I lay on the floor.  I was clear though about what woke me up.  A fat rat scurried across my hand.  I heard the clicking of its nails on the concrete just at the time I felt its weight and the naked slick of its tail against my face.  I could almost taste its rodent foulness.

As fast as these perceptions reached my consciousness, I was standing wide awake, unstrung as from a nightmare.  As my mind cleared, I became aware of the stink of my own clothing, caked and dried with filth and slime.  Im the darkness I perceived a lighter degree of darkness peering in at windows here and there along a wall.  I felt sure now that I was in an abandoned warehouse.

I began to search the enormous space for a way out, feeling carefully with my hands and stepping gingerly along the floor.  As I made my way across to the wall where I could see light, I bumped my shin against the block of a huge chain hoist hanging almost to the floor.  I grabbed the chain with my left hand, and I thought it moved slightly above my head.

As I continued across the room, I walked into a piece of machinery of some sort, about four feet high.  It might have been bolted to the floor.  In any case, it was so heavy it wasn't going anywhere.

When I reached the wall and examined the windows, I discovered that although I could reach them at eye level, they didn't appear to open.  I could see nothing outside but other dark factory walls.  It was dead night.

I moved along the wall to a corner and turned along the next wall, keeping my right shoulder to the wall and making left turns at the corners.  Along this wall, a short wall of a hundred and fifty feet as in the basement below, I came to a huge doorway.  The opening must have been fifteen or twenty feet wide with an enormous sliding wooden door covering the space.  I pushed and prodded, felt each end for a handle, tried to slide it open, everything I could think of.  The door was locked down tight.  I paused for a moment.  I was frustrated by the door, but I also admired the solidity of its nineteenth-century Victorian bulk.  It was that wonderful self-confidence of the British Empire.  The door was designed, as the building was, to last forever.  And unless someone purposely tore it down, it probably would last forever.

You won't last forever, my mind told me.  Get yourself in gear and get out before you fall down.

I set to thinking again on how to get out.  I groped my way back to the block and tackle.  On my way I encountered another piece of clunky iron machinery, or maybe it was the same one.  I couldn't tell.  When I reached the chain block, I tried to see if it would move on an overhead track.  I pulled it one way and then another until it started to move.  I hoped it would take me where I wanted to go.

I pulled steadily, and its track allowed it to move slowly toward the windows.  Ten feet from one of the windows, it stopped and refused to budge further.  I estimated from the swing of the chain that the ceiling was perhaps twenty to twenty-five feet above my head.  I calculated the swing of the arc and moved the block to a level about two feet off the floor and began to push it backwards in an arc away from the window.  I stood aside and listened.  I couldn’t see it move until it came up in front of the window.
The huge block and chain came tantalizingly close to the window and then slowly retraced its arc back toward me.  I lowered the block as close to the floor as it would go without dragging and tried again, pushing the big pulley as fast as I could and as far over my head as I could reach.  I stepped aside quickly and listened again as it flew through its arc toward the window.  It was going to hit.  But no.  It stopped within a hair of the window and swung back.

I knew there was only one thing left to try.  I would have to run the block back to its highest point and then jump on and ride the block and chain through the swing of its arc.  Then I would have to kick the window out with my feet.  If all went well, I could then ride the swing back until I could get off, go back to the window, brush off the broken glass, and climb out.  That was the plan.

I grabbed the chain two feet above the block so that I could jump on to the block at the furthest swing of its arc.  I pushed it backward as far as it would go and jumped on, but as it swept through its arc, I realized that because I had had to jump on, the block did not have the momentum it had on the other two tries and that I would have to kick my legs way out to break the window.

As the chain swung forward and upward toward the window, I held tight to the chain and kicked my feet off the block as hard and as high as I could.  I felt a moment of triumph as my feet smashed through the glass and wood of the frame.

But my moment of exhilaration was brief.  I felt my hands lose their grip on the chain.  With a sense of detachment I watched my body sail up and out the window into the darkness beyond.

I heard the sound of a voice yelling very loud and realized as I sailed out through the opening and down that the voice was my own.  I wondered for a brief moment where I would land, and then my question was answered.  The next moment I was up to my waist in slimy lowtide muck.

When I discovered I wasn't dead and wasn't even hurt, I began to worry about how to extricate myself from the sludge into which I was pretty firmly wedged.
At least I landed right side up, I thought.

I soon discovered that the tidal muck was just about as good as quicksand.  Every time I moved to get out, I sank a little deeper, but by moving very slowly I was able to inch my way up and out of the hole.  I then slithered my way across the slimy surface, keeping my arms and legs wide to spread my weight over the greatest area to keep from sinking in again.  Finally, I reached a stone wall forming an embankment between buildings and clambered up.

I looked around in the dark, free for the first time in what I guessed to be four days.  The building where I had been left to die was in an area full of old warehouses and abandoned factories.  It didn't seem to be right on the river but on a canal connecting to it.  The tall warehouses towered over me.  There was no moon.  I felt as if I were at the bottom of an abyss.  From this perspective, it was impossible to orient myself.  I turned and began to walk away from the water.

As I wandered among the buildings, I began to wonder which side of the great river I was on.  Was I on the south side of the Thames in the district of Rotherhithe or Bermondsey, or on the north side around the Regent's Canal Dock or Limehouse or some unregenerate part of the Isle of Dogs?  These were not familiar areas to me, and I realized I would have to blunder along until I found a sign as to where I was or a person to ask.

As I continued along, I realized I had no money.  My kidnappers had taken it all.  Getting home would be a problem.  To hell with getting home, I thought.  What I really need to do is find a hospital, and to do that I have to find someone to take me there.  I needed a ride.
No one appeared.  No sign appeared.  I kept walking away from the river.  Eventually the ground began to rise as I left the warehouse area, which had been filled and built out into the river, further and further since Roman Times.  I came to a road finally.  Off to my left I saw the white glow of the central part of the city. I now knew I was on the north side of the Thames heading north with the city to the west.  Eventually, I found myself on East India Dock Road, and a plan occurred to me.  I'd fix Zorn good.

I stopped and stuck out my thumb.  Very few cars or commercial vehicles went by, but those that did sped up and kept on going.  I knew I looked terrible, but I persisted.  Eventually, a lorry open in the back stopped.

"Are you all right?"

"I've been in an accident.  Where're you going?"

"Spitalfields," the driver said.

"Could you go out of your way and drop me at St. Katharine's Dock?"

"I'm sorry.  I've got to . . ."

"It's worth a hundred pounds."

"Hop in."  The man got a whiff of me.  "Hop in the back I mean."

Soon we were at St. Katharine's Dock.

"Wait here.  I'll get you the money."

The driver waited.  I went down to Zorn's boat and woke him up.

"Mac.  What is this?  Where have you been?  Jeez, you smell awful!"

"I got kidnapped."


"I got kidnapped.  You got a hundred pounds?"

"I guess so, sure.  What for?"

"For the guy who gave me a ride."

"Would a check be all right?" Zorn asked.

"Sure," I replied.

Zorn handed me the check, and I took it to the driver and thanked him.  When I got back to the boat, Zorn was wiping the deck with a rag.

"You mind standing on the dock for a while, Mac?  You really stink."

"No, that's fine, but I haven't had anything to eat in almost four days, and I've had the runs pretty bad."

"I can tell," Zorn said.

"What I mean is I think I need to check into a hospital."

"Right.  Sure.  Let me get you some clothes.  You don't mind standing there for a minute, do you?"


"Good.  Fine," Zorn said.  "I'll be right back."

Zorn re-emerged in about three minutes with a sweatshirt, a pair of sweatpants, and some shower thongs, which he threw on the dock.

"I need a shower," I announced.

"Um, yeah, well.  How about if I get you some hot water from the galley?  You stay there, okay?"

"You don't want me on your boat because I smell bad," I said in a hurt voice.

"No, it's not that really," Zorn fumbled.

I dropped on to the deck and headed for the cabin.

"Fine, then," I said.  "I'll just clean up here."

Zorn put uphis hands to stop me but carefully avoided touching my clothes.

"Wait!" Zorn shouted.  "I'm sorry, but you really are pretty gross."

"Thanks a lot."

"How about if I get you a room up at the hotel?  You can shower there," Zorn offered.

"Sure.  That'll do.  Thanks."

I marched off to the hotel above the dock, leaving Zorn to follow after me.
The hotel deskman was not pleased.  But Zorn talked him into giving me a room.

"I think that guy gave me a room just to get the stench out of the lobby," I suggested as we got on the elevator. 

Zorn moved as far into the corner of the elevator as he could.

"Get me a Coke, will you?" I asked.  "I'm dying of thirst.  Probably literally."

Once in the room I headed immediately for the bathroom.  I took off my disgusting clothes and handed them out the door to Zorn.

"Here get rid of these will you?  Thanks," I said and plopped them into Zorn's arms.

I never saw the expression on Zorn's face when the clothes landed in his hands, but the clothes were gone by the time I got out of the shower.  I wore Zorn's sweatshirt, sweatpants, and thongs, all of which were way too small.

"I look great, don't I?"  I spread my arms wide and smiled.

"You smell a lot better.  Excuse me," Zorn said, pushing past me to wash his hands in the bathroom sink.

"I think I need to go to the hospital now," I announced.

"You're not going to pass out are you?" Zorn asked. 

"Maybe I will, " I said and allowed my knees to buckle.           

"Wait.  I'll get a cab," Zorn said in a slightly hysterical tone.

"Thanks so much."

I sipped at my Coke.  I felt weak, but I was having fun at Zorn's expense, and that made me feel better. When the cab arrived, Zorn bundled me into it and got in.

"Where to?" asked the cabbie.

Without thinking Zorn said, "University College Hospital."

"That's Angelique's hospital, the one where I was last time, right?" I asked.

"Yeah.  Is that okay?" Zorn asked nervously.

"That's fine.  I'll be glad to see her."

"You will?" Zorn asked.


Zorn looked at me in disbelief, and then looked out the window.  After several minutes he asked me a question about the kidnappers, but I fell asleep before I could answer him.
At the hospital Casualty Room, they took one look and hooked me up to an i.v.  Severe dehydration, amoebic dysentery, and fatigue.  Plus I still smelled bad.  They poked and peeked at me, shot me up with antibiotics, and told me I would be in the hospital for several days. Two members of the staff asked me what happened.  When I answered their questions, they called Scotland Yard.

Zorn waited while all this was going on.  When they were about to take me upstairs to a room, Zorn caught up with me and said he was going back to the boat but would return to see me later.  I thanked Zorn in an offhand way, leaving him perplexed.

It was three a.m. when they wheeled me into a room, my arm attached to an i.v., and my head ready for sleep.  There was no question who the night nurse would be, but I was asleep when she came in.  If she touched my cheek, I didn’t stir.

Much later I finally awoke to discover that Angelique was giving me a sponge bath.

"Hello," I said.

"Âllo, Jacques," she said, smiling at me.

"I feel as if I've been here before."

"When one keeps doing the same things, the same things keep happening to one," she said, turning me on my side to sponge my back.

"That's very philosophical," I said.

"How do you feel?" she asked.

"Fine.  Never better."

"You are not fine.  You are quite sick.  How did this happen to you?"

"I was kidnapped.  Probably by the IRA.  It could have been Price.  I think I recognized one of the kidnappers."

"How long were you captured?" she asked.

"I don't know.  What day is this?"

"It is now Tuesday, July 10.  It is three a.m."

"It was Friday night.  What does that make it?  Three days.  It could have been worse.  Like the hostages in Lebanon, for instance.  Or the MIAs in Vietnam.  Three days isn't much."

"You could have been killed," she informed me.

"I think that was the idea," I said.  "I don't know why they didn't just shoot me."

She  turned me over again and washed my legs.  Despite my exhaustion, I found myself getting interested.

"Jacques, you need to relax."

"You have a positive effect on my morale," I offered.

"I thought that I intimidate you."

"Sometimes you do," I said.  "I didn't know about your father.  I'm sorry.  Why didn't you tell me?"

"What was the point?  It was four years ago.  And if I had told you, would it have changed your mind?" she asked.

"Probably not," I admitted.  "Could you tell me what happened?"

She finished drying my legs and looked at me.

"I suppose I can tell you.  My father was manager of two national corporations, first a state-owned chemical and metals plant and then Renault.  At Renault he had to eliminate jobs to make the company efficient.  Thousands of workers were fired.  He was fearless like you.  And he made enemies.  His was a political assassination.  Leftist radicals decided to attack symbols of capitalist imperialism.  That's what they claimed."

She stopped talking and adjusted my covers.  Then she began again.  "He had just arrived at our home in Montparnasse.  His chauffeur dropped him off.  Two men approached him after he got out of the car.  They shot him six Times.  She pointed.  "Head, chest."  My father was fifteen feet from the door of our house.  I heard the shots and rushed out, but he fell to the sidewalk and died before I reached him.  His assassins escaped in a waiting car.  They were never caught."

"I don't understand.  Don't you want these people behind bars?"

"Of course."

"Then when I told you about going after terrorists, why did you get so angry?"     

She looked at me carefully before she spoke. "There is much evil in the world.  There are those who do crazy things in the name of political freedom.  My father's death was only one of many attacks by terrorists.  The police and secret service have tried to stop it.  It is their job.  They will catch some of the criminals, but they will not eliminate insanity from the world.  I grieved for my father.  But life is for living.  I am not going to pursue his killers.  Nor do I want you killed trying to stop such people.  You should live your life.  I would grieve for you if you died."

"Thank you" was all I could think of to say.

"I must go now," she said.  "You should sleep."

As she turned to leave, I thought of a question:  "Did you know Zorn is in the CIA?"

"Thomas in the CIA?  That is ridiculous," she replied and left the room.

I wondered if she was right.  It was the last conscious thought I had for the next twenty-four hours.