From The Magdalene Cipher


2 May, 1945
Northern Italy

        Major Angleton floated through the moonless heavens above Sant' Ambrogio, suspended in the night air by nylon cords and a canopy of black silk.  He could see a line of fire burning along the forested ridge above the town, and wondered whether lightning or bombers were its cause.  There was little else that he could see, still less to be heard, and only the wind to feel.

To build the City of Dioce whose
terraces are the colour of stars.

        As he drifted lower, the smell of woodsmoke came at him from the nearby fires, a whiff of hyacinths and the fragrance of scrub-pines.  The pines were shadows, swelling against the dark hillside, until, quite suddenly, he was among them, falling past them, flying laterally across the face of the hill.  And then, with a shock, he was on the ground, staggering forward on his heels, pulling against the chute, rolling it up.  The air was cool.
        The Major's destination was a large and crumbling villa set amid ruined terraces on the slopes above where he'd landed.  A soft yellow light spilled from the villa's windows, gilding the untended vineyards that sprawled in every direction.  Major Angleton unholstered his .45 and began walking up the hill until he felt the crunch of gravel underfoot, and knew that he was in the courtyard.  Crossing to a shuttered window, he peered between the slats.  The man whom he'd been sent to find, reviled at home and hated in Europe, a poet of inestimable talents and a violent baiter of the Jews, sat at a worm-eaten library table, surrounded by books.  He was writing by the light of a kerosene lantern in what appeared to be an enormous, leather diary.  Behind him, hanging askew from the cracked plaster wall, was a painting of Poussin's, a small and wonderful oil in a cheap wooden frame.
        A soft breeze brought the scent of hyacinths with it, and Major Angleton realized that he had been holding his breath, though he didn't know for how long.  The hand with the gun was clammy with perspiration.
Leaving the window, he went to the villa's door, sucked the cold night air into his lungs, pushed the door open, and stepped inside.  The poet looked up, shocked to find an armed man so suddenly in front of him.  Then his eyes focused on the soldier's face, and his shock turned to incredulity. "Jim?" he asked.
        Angleton nodded.
        "Well...are you here to arrest me?"
        Angleton shook his head.  His mouth was dry.  "Helmsman," he said, dropping to one knee, and lowering his eyes.  "Maestro di color che sanno..."

8 May, 1945

FROM: 15 Army Group
         92 Division
           OSS, X-2

TO: Commanding General
    Mediterranean Theater of Operations

SIGNED: Maj. James J. Angleton

American civilian writer EZRA LOOMIS POUND, reference FBI cable 1723, indicted for treason by grand jury, captured by Italian partisans 6 May at Sant' Ambrogio.  Held MTOUSA Disciplinary Training Center for confinement pending instructions on disposition.  All security measures taken to prevent escape or suicide.  No press.  No privileges.  And no interrogation.


13 December 1998

Dunphy huddled beneath the warm sheets, half awake, his back to Clementine.  He could feel the coldness of the room beyond the bed, and sensed the gray London light seeping through the windows like a cloud.  The time was anyone's guess.   Early morning.  Or late.  Or afternoon.  Saturday, in any case.
        He mumbled something about getting up (or maybe not), and listened for her reply.  "Mmmmn," she murmured, then arched her back, and rolled away.  "Dream..."
        He sat up with a low grumble, blinking himself awake.  He swung his legs from the bed, pinched the sleep from his eyes, and got to his feet.  Clementine whimpered and purred behind him as he shivered his way across the cold floor to the bathroom, where he brushed and spat.  Filling his cupped hands with water from the tap, he lowered his face into the cold of it.  "Jesus," he gasped.  And again.
        "Christ!" he whispered and, taking a deep breath, shook his head like a dog.
        The man in the mirror was 32-years-old, broad-shouldered and angular.  An inch over six feet, he had green eyes and straight black hair.  The eyes glittered back at him from the surface of the mirror as Dunphy, dripping, pulled a towel from the rack, then buried his face in the raised letters of white pile.
        Dolder Grand.
        And that reminded him: he'd promised Luxembourg that he'd send a fax to Credit Suisse, inquiring about a wire-transfer that had gone awry.
        There was no point in shaving.  It was the weekend.  He could jog to work, send the fax, do a bit of paper-work and take the Underground back to the flat in time for lunch.  Returning to the bedroom, then, he pulled a ragged sweatshirt from the dresser, and dragged it over his head.
    Clementine remained in a fetal position, the sheets and covers bunched inefficiently above her knees.  There was a quizzical look on her face as she slept, her lips slightly parted.  Dunphy stood for a moment in the still, cold air of the room, wondering at her immaculate complexion, the paper-white skin brushed with pink and framed by a cascade of dark curls.
        It occurred to him to make love to her then and there, but the cold had had its effect.  Shivering, he pulled on a pair of sweat-pants and white socks, and jammed his feet into his running-shoes.  As he tied the laces, his eyes never left the soft parabola of hip beneath the sheets.
        Clementine shifted, turning onto her back.  Dunphy stood.  Maybe later---unless, as seemed likely, she'd returned to her own place.
        A sigh ran through him as he went out the door.
        Running was important to Dunphy.  Though his life in London was a good one, it was suffused with a low-voltage anxiety that never really went away.  He lived with a constant static-charge of tension and a slight adrenal drain---the consequence, he knew, of spending his days in the cheap suit of a false identity.
        So he ran.
        He ran five times a week, about ten kilometers a day, following the same route from his apartment in Chelsea past the houseboats at Cheyne Walk, along the Embankment and across the Albert Bridge.  This was the unpleasant part of the run.  Even on Saturday mornings, the air was heavy with diesel fumes, the streets choked with trucks---lorries, he reminded himself---and cabs.  There were a dozen streets to cross before he reached the Embankment and, all in all, it was a dangerous way to stay in shape.  Even after a year in England, Dunphy instinctively looked to the left for cars---which, of course, bore down upon him, horns blaring, from the right.
        The middle of the run was lovely, though.  It took him into Battersea Park, along the south bank of the Thames, and past the Park's improbable pagoda.  There was a sort of wildlife refuge among the trees, too pretty to be called a zoo.  It held spotted deer and sheep, and a herd of wallabys that looked for all the world like prehistoric rabbits.
    In the early morning stillness and gloom, the wallabys reminded him of the statues on Easter Island, immobile against the hillside, gazing down at him with stony indifference. Dunphy smiled as he strode past the beasts, moving easily and with the virtuous feeling that the passing miles gave.
        This was the mid-point of his run, the place where he usually returned home the way that he had come.  Today, however, he continued on through the park to Chelsea Bridge, across the Thames and on to Millbank, heading toward his office in Gun House.
        It was bad tradecraft to run the same route every day but, then again, this was London, not Beirut.  Running through the park, Dunphy was entirely at ease, not only with himself, but with the person that he was pretending to be.
        A light mist settled on him as he ran, soaking his sweatshirt, but never quite coalescing into rain.  He was listening to the sound of his breathing, and thinking about Clementine.
        He'd seen her for the first time only three months before, standing behind the cash-register in a used bookstore on Sicilian Street, the one with the funny name.  Skoob.
        And though Dunphy was not one to hustle clerks in bookstores, he'd known at a glance that if he didn't talk to her (or as Merry Kerry would put it, if he didn't chat her up), he'd never forgive himself.  It wasn't just that she was beautiful, or that she had the longest waist he'd ever seen.  It wasn't just that, he told himself.  There was something else, a sweet vulnerability that made him feel guilty for the cover-story that he'd given her, and for the fact that when she whispered his name, it wasn't really his name, but an alias.
        He'd make it up to her, he told himself, though he couldn't say how.  Coming upon Grosvenor Road, with his mind adrift in the Eden between Clementine's navel and her knees,  Dunphy glanced to the left and, striding out into the street, set off a fugue of horns and shrieking brakes that startled him into a reflexive sprint.  A column of cars, taxis, buses and trucks, approaching from the right, slammed on their brakes and, shuddering to a stop, erupted in curses.
        Dunphy waved ambiguously, and kept on running, irritated with himself for succumbing to distraction.  You have to be careful, Dunphy thought.  In the business he was in, it was easy enough to get blindsided.


Dunphy knew exactly when his skin began to crawl.
        He was seated at his desk in front of the computer, writing the letter to Credit Suisse, when the phone began to ring: the short, sharp, angry bursts that tell you you're in England, not the States.  Lifting the receiver to his ear, Dunphy heard Tommy Davis's voice quavering against a background of airline departure announcements.
        British Airways, flight 2702--- 
        "Ja-ack?" Tommy asked.
        It was then, just then, that Dunphy's skin began to move.  Ever so slightly.
        ---departing for Madrid.
        Christ, Dunphy thought.  Three syllables, and his voice rising at the end.  We're in for it.
        Syrian Arab Airlines---
        It didn't take a genius...  Even if Tommy had sounded normal, there was no good reason---no happy reason---that he should be calling.  Their work was finished, and Tommy had been  paid.  That should have been the end of it.
        "Jack!  For the love of Jay-sus!  Talk to me!  Are ya there, old son?"
        "I am, Tommy.  What's up?"
        "There's a wee problem," Tommy said, his voice a broad Irish brogue, flat with understatement.  "I've only just heard about it myself.  An hour ago."
        "I see," Dunphy remarked, holding his breath.  "And what would this small problem be that it's taken you to the airport?"
        "You can hear for yourself," Tommy replied.  "They're talking about it on the Beeb."  Dunphy's skin stopped crawling, got to its feet, and walked quickly away, leaving Dunphy's carcass behind, stripped to the nerves in the swivel-chair from Harrod's.
        A deep breath.  He blinked twice, sat up, and brought his lips close to the mouthpiece.  His posture was suddenly perfect, his voice low and cold.
        "I don't happen to have a radio in the office, Tommy.  So what are we talking about?  What's the subject?"
        "Our professor."
        "What about him?"
        "Well, the poor man...I'm afraid he's been injured."
        "'He's been injured.'"
        "Well---he's dead, then."
        "Was it an accident, Tommy?"
        "An accident?  No, it wouldn't be.  Not under the circumstances.  Not with his balls cut off---I shouldn't think so."
        "His balls---"
        "I have a plane to catch.  If you need me, I'll be drinkin' in Frankie Boylan's bar.  You can reach me there."
        And then the line was dead, and Dunphy didn't feel well.
        Francis M.S. Boylan was a hard man who'd done a turn in the Maze for a string of bank robberies that he and Tommy had committed.  Whether or not those robberies were politically-motivated (the police described them as "fund-raisers for the IRA"), Boylan had taken the time to put aside enough of the loot to buy a small business.  This was a bar on the south coast of Tenerife, overlooking the nude beach at Playa de las Americas.  Tommy and his pals went to see him whenever their problems became unmanageable---which is to say, when they could not be solved by lawyers, guns or money (or a combination of the three).  Simply stated, the Broken Tiller was a hide-out in the Atlantic, a hundred miles off the coast of Africa, two hundred miles south of the Rock, a hole in the twentieth century.
        Fuckin' hell, Dunphy thought.  The Canaries.  Tenerife.  His balls.
        His stomach clenched, turned over and clenched again.  The Beeb was on it.
        He let his eyes have their way with the room.  It was a third-floor walk-up, a seedy redoubt amid the grime of Millbank.  Dunphy liked it.  The view through the window, spotted with rain, was gloomy and depressing: a wall of brick, a patch of gray sky, a peeling and faded billboard.  ROTHMAN'S
CIGARET E, it said.
        Dunphy had quit smoking nearly a year ago, but there was, he knew, a stale packet of Silk Cuts in his top desk-drawer.  Without thinking, he found one, lighted it, and inhaled.  For a moment, nothing happened, and then he felt as if he was about to levitate.  Then he coughed.
        There was no reason to panic, just because Tommy had.  Looked at in an objective way, it was a matter of fact that Dunphy had paid Tommy to install an infinity-transmitter on the Professor's telephone.  This had been done, and it had worked for more than a month.  Admittedly, or at least seemingly, the Professor had then been murdered, but there was no reason to believe that his death was in any way a consequence of Dunphy's eavesdropping activity.  Obviously, Dunphy told himself, he was in the midst of a terrible coincidence.
        Awkward, yes, but...
        Except, as Dunphy well knew, they did not happen in England or, if they did, they did not happen in quite this way.  If the Professor had been done by professionals, by the SAS or some such outfit, there would have been two in the derby and one in the chest---and that would have been the end of it.  But if Tommy was right, the poor bastard had been castrated---which meant that it was a sex crime, or something like it.
        He watched the soot stream down the windowpane until the phone rang for the second time, jolting him into focus.  He didn't want to answer it.  His stomach was a small balloon, filling slowly with air, wobbling toward his throat.  The phone shrieked and shrieked again.  Finally, he picked it up, and held it in front of him, as if it were a snake.
        "Hullo?"  He could hear the beep-beep-beep-beep of a public phone, the sound of coins dropping, and then: "Get out."   
        It was Curry, Dunphy thought, though he barely recognized the voice, which came at him in a strangled continuum of real-time burst transmissions.  "Go-home!/Do-it-now!/Do-you-understand-me?"
        Jesus, Dunphy thought, he's at a pay-phone, and he's got a handkerchief over the mouthpiece.  "I think we need to talk," Dunphy said.
        "Go home."
        "Which home?"
        "All the way home."
        "Flaps up.  Do it now.  Don't bother packing, and don't go to your flat.  I'll have a housekeeping team there in half-an-hour.  They'll ship your belongings in a couple of days."
        Dunphy was stunned.  "It's Saturday," he said.  "I'm wearing sweats!  I---I don't even have my passport.  How am I supposed to--
        "You heard the news?  I mean, you heard the fucking News-at-Ten?!"
        "Yeah...sort of.  I Irish friend just called and---Jesse, I have a life!  Fahchrissake!  I can't just---"
        "You were supposed to clean up!"
        "We did clean up.  I mean, he did---my man did.  I told him to go over there---when was it?  The day before yesterday."
        "They found a device."
        "A what!?"
        "I said the police found a device."  There was a pause, and Dunphy could tell that Jesse Curry was hyperventilating.  "Listen to me, my friend.  There are people---policemen---who are trying---even as we speak---to find out whose device it is.  They're making 'in-kwy-ries,' and I think they have a name.  Do you understand what I'm saying?"
        "Of course."
        "Well, then, just how long do you think it will take M.I. 5 to find that mick sonofabitch of your's, and then to get from him to you?  One day?  Two?"
        "They won't find him.  He's already out of the country."
        "Good.  That's just where I want you to be.  Don't go back to your flat.  Just take the first flight out."
        "How the fuck---I told you: I don't even have my wallet!  I ran to the office."
"I'll have a courier in the Arrivals lounge.  Terminal 3, just outside the Nothing-to-Declare.  He'll be holding a cardboard sign."  Curry paused, and Dunphy could hear the wheels spinning in his head.  "'Mr. Torbitt.'  Look for him."
        "Then what?"
        "He'll have everything you need: passport---"
        "---ticket to the States, and a suitcase full of someone else's clothes.  Probably his own."
        "Why do I want someone else's clothes?"
        "When was the last time you saw someone cross the Atlantic without a suitcase?"
        "Look, Jesse--- 
        Beep-beep-beep.  The pay-phone wanted another coin.
        "Go home!"
        "Look, I don't think this is such a great idea!"
        Beep-beep.  "Just do it."
        Beep-beep.  "I'm outa change!"
        There was a clatter on the other end of the line, a strangled curse, a distant harmonic, and that was it.  Jesse Curry was gone.
        Dunphy sat back in his chair, dazed.  He took in a lungful of smoke, held it for a long while, and exhaled.  Leaning forward, he stubbed out his cigarette in the ashtray, and stared at the wall.
        Don't go to your flat.  I've got a housekeeping team---
        A housekeeping team.  What about Clementine? Was she still asleep?  Would they cart her out with the laundry?  Lunging for the phone, he tapped out his own number and waited.  The ringing came in extended, noisome bursts punctuated by long intervals of crackling, dead air.  After a minute that seemed like an hour, he hung up, figuring she'd gone to her own place.  Should he call her there?
        Dunphy shook his head, muttering to himself that Clementine was too important to handle on the fly.  And, anyway, the operation was crashing and there were things that had to be done---now and by him.  In the end, Dunphy would do his own housekeeping.  He'd take care of his own "disposals."
        With a sigh, he touched the trackball next to the keyboard, and clicked on Start.  Clicked again on Shut down, and a third time on Restart the Computer in MS-DOS mode.  Then he leaned over the keyboard and began to peck out the cybernetic equivalent of a lobotomy.


        It gave him the same sickening thrill that a skydiver feels as he steps, for the first time, into the air.  Here goes, here comes---nothing:


        The computer began to ask a series of questions, which Dunphy answered in a perfunctory way, tapping at the keyboard.  After awhile, the hard-disc began to grind.  An age passed as Dunphy smoked until, at long last, the grinding stopped, and the command-line blinked:


        The machine was brain-dead, its cursor blinking dully.  Dunphy was perspiring.  A year's work, lost in the ozone.
        And, then, to make certain that it stayed in the ozone, he ran a program called "DiscWipe," overwriting every byte on the hard disc with the numeral "1".
        The computer was the main thing he had to deal with, but there were other details, including some letters that were waiting to be sent.  Most of the correspondence was trivial, but at least one of the letters was not.  Addressed to a client named Roger Blémont, it contained details of a newly-opened bank account on Jersey in the Channel Islands.  Without the letter, Blémont would not be able to get at the money---which, as it happened, was rather a lot.
        Dunphy thought about that.  Making Blémont wait for his money, would not be a bad thing.  Not necessarily, and probably not at all.  They were, after all, ill-gotten gains intended for a bad purpose.  Still, he thought, they were Blémont's ill-gotten gains and---
        He didn't have time to think about this shit.  Not now.  The world was falling apart all around him.  So he tossed the letters into his attache-case with the vague idea of mailing them from the airport.  Removing a battered Filofax from the top drawer of his desk, he dropped it into his attache-case, and got to his feet.  Then he crossed the room to a scuffed-up filing-cabinet that held the detritus of his cover---business correspondence and corporate filings.  For the most part, it was paper that he could safely leave behind.
        But there were a few files that Dunphy considered sensitive.  One contained pages from the previous year's appointments book.  Another held Tommy Davis's bills for "investigative services."   A third file was the repository of receipts for "business entertainment," including his regular meetings with Curry, some lunches with the FBI Legat and the DEA's mission coordinator for the U.K.   Scattered among the four drawers of the filing-cabinet, the sensitive files were easily and quickly retrievable because they were the only ones with blue labels.
        One by one, he took out the flagged dossiers, making a stack, five or six inches high.  This done, he took the pile to the fireplace and, squatting beneath the battered antique mantel, set the files on the floor.  As he pulled the phony firelogs out of the way, the possibility occurred to him that no one had put a match to the grate in more than thirty years---not since the Clean Air Act had put an end to the city's pea-soupers.
        But what the hell.  There was a distinct possibility that he would soon be indicted for wiretapping, and, perhaps, as an accessory to murder.  There was the espionage issue, as well---not to mention money-laundering.  If, then, he should also get nailed for air-pollution, what the fuck?
        Dunphy reached into the chimney, fumbled around until he found a handle and, straining, yanked open the flue.  Gathering the files together, he leaned the manila folders against one another on the grate, creating a sort of tepee, then lighted the structure at its corners.  The room brightened.  Fire, Dunphy thought, is nature's way of destroying evidence.
        He warmed his hands for a moment, then rose to his feet.  Returning to the desk, he removed its top drawer, and set it on the floor.  Then he reached inside the desk, felt around, and retrieved a kraft-colored envelope.  Unfastening its closures, he extracted a microcassette of used recording tape.
        Tommy had given it to him the day before.  It was the last of eleven voice-actuated tapes, the take from a five-week-long electronic surveillance.   Dunphy had meant to give the tape to Curry at their next meeting, but now...what to do?  He could melt the cassette in the fire, send it to Curry in the mail or take it to Langley and let the Agency decide.
        The decision was a difficult one because the surveillance had been off-the-books, an out-of-channels operation of the chief of station's.  Dunphy himself hadn't listened to the tapes, and so had no idea what might be on them, or what might be at stake.  And he didn't want to know.  To his way of thinking, he'd been a middleman and nothing more: he'd hired Tommy to wire the professor's flat, and he had taken the product to Curry twice a week.  It was a favor for the chief of station, and that was all.
        Still...  Jesse Curry did not strike Dunphy as a stand-up guy.  Not exactly.  In fact, not at all.  Indeed, Dunphy thought, surrendering to his paranoia, Curry struck him as the sort of prick who felt most at ease in the company of fall-guys.
        Which was not what Mother Dunphy had raised her son to be.
        So Dunphy shoved the tape-recording into a Jet-Pak, stapled it closed, and addressed it to himself:

K. Thornley                      
c/o F. Boylan                    
The Broken Tiller              
Playa de las Americas      
Tenerife, Islas de Canarias

        He slapped a £2 stamp on the envelope, and glanced around the room.
        What Curry didn't know wouldn't hurt him.
        Or so, at least, Dunphy theorized.


To reach the airport by train, Dunphy needed exactly £1.50.  He found it in the bottom drawer of his desk where, for months, he'd been dumping 1, 5-, and 10-pence coins.  The  drawer contained about £20 in change, he figured, but anything more than the exact amount would be less than useless because, of course, his sweatpants didn't have pockets.  For a moment, he considered dumping the coins into his attache-case,  The idea was ludicrous.
        He took just what he needed, then, and walked quickly to the Underground station on Liverpool Street.  Dressed as he was in battered Nikes and tattered sweats, he felt conspicuously American.  And, under the circumstances, very jumpy.
        The train rumbled under and through the city for fifteen minutes and then surfaced with a clatter in the bleak suburbs to the west.  A prisoner of his own distraction, he noticed nothing about the ride until, for reasons no one bothered to explain, the train rocked to an unscheduled stop near Hounslow---where it sat on the tracks for eight minutes, creaking and motionless in a soft rain.
        Dunphy felt like a jack-in-the-box, coiled in on himself, ready to go through the roof.  Staring through the filthy glass windows at a sodden soccer field, he was half-convinced that the police were walking through the cars, one after another, looking for him.  But then the train gave a lurch and started moving again.  Minutes later, Dunphy was lost in the flux of the Arrivals lounge at Terminal 3.
        He saw the courier from twenty yards away.  He was a tall, muscular young man in a cheap black suit and motorcycle boots---a Carnaby Street punk with a pitted complexion and jet-black hair cropped so short it seemed to be a shadow on his scalp.  He stood without moving in a crowd of greeters and chauffeurs, just where Curry had said he would be.  The way he stood, stock-still, with his eyes flicking from side to side, made Dunphy think of Wallace Stevens'"Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird":

The only moving thing        
Was the eye of a blackbird.

        Dunphy came closer.  The courier held a small, stenciled sign in front of his chest: Mr. Torbitt.  Holding the sign in the way that he did exposed the kid's wrists, and Dunphy saw that each was dotted with a crude blue line---the work of an amateur tattooist (probably the kid himself).  Dunphy knew that if he looked closer he'd find the words Cut Here scratched into the skin on each wrist.
        Which is to say that the courier was perfect: London's Everyboy.
        And that made Dunphy smile.  Where in the name of Christ does Curry find them? he wondered.  Kids like this.  So ordinary as to be invisible. 
        "Jesse said you'd have something for me.'
        The young man swung around with a smile, exposing a tangle of gray teeth.  So much for the National Health. 
        "Ah!  The guv'nor himself," he said.  "That's your kit over there, and there's this lot as well."  He handed him a large manila envelope that Dunphy knew contained money, tickets and a passport.
        The young man bounced on the balls of his feet, and flashed his gray grin.  "Have a nice fucking day," he said.  And then he was gone, his head bobbing through the crowd like an eight-ball without spin.
        Opening the envelope, Dunphy checked the ticket for his flight-number, and glanced at the Departures board.  With an hour to kill, he went looking for a newspaper, and soon found one.


        He could feel his stomach floating lazily up to his chest.  The story was front-page, and it was dramatized by a four-column photograph of police and passers-by gawking at a stretcher being loaded into an ambulance.  The stretcher's burden was unusually small, about the size of a large dog, and covered by a stained white sheet.
        According to the article, Professor Leo Schidlof had been found at 4 A.M. by a drunken law-student in the Inns of Court.  The man's torso---the word gave Dunphy pause---was lying on a patch of lawn near the Inner Temple. 
        Dunphy looked up.  He knew the Inner Temple.  Indeed, he knew the patch of lawn.  The temple was a small, round church in the heart of London's legal district, not far from Fleet Street.  His own solicitor kept offices around the corner, in Middle Temple Lane.  Dunphy went past the church once or twice a month on the way to see him.
        It was spooky-looking, as most anachronisms are.
        Which should have been enough to set the scene, but Dunphy couldn't stop himself.  He was in denial, and the more he thought about the Inner Temple, the longer he could keep his eyes off the newspaper article. 
        The Temple was 13th Century, or thereabouts.  They'd built it for the Knights Templar.  And the Knights, of course, had had something to do with the Crusades.  (Or maybe not.)
        Dunphy paused, and thought.  That was it.  He didn't know any more.  And so he turned back to the article, hoping for another monument to divert him.  Instead, he got police sources, "unidentified police sources," who said that the King's College professor had been dismembered, apparently in vivo.  A strip of skin, about three inches wide, had been flayed from the base of his spine to the nape of his neck.  His genitals had then been removed, and his rectum "surgically excised."
        Dunphy eyes skittered from the page.  Jesus, Mary and Joseph, he thought.  What the fuck is that?  And where are the poor man's legs and arms?  The story made him woozy.  But there wasn't much else.  The police were unable to say how "the torso" had come to repose in the place that it had: the lawn was enclosed by a wrought-iron fence not far from the Thames Embankment. 
        And that was that.  The article ended with the information that Schidlof was a popular lecturer in the psychology department at King's College, and that he had been writing a biography of Carl Jung at the time of his death.
        Dunphy tossed the newspaper into a bin, and went to join the long queue at the TWA counter.  He didn't want to think about Leo Schidlof.  Not yet---and maybe not ever.  Schidlof's death wasn't his fault and, if Dunphy had anything to say about it, it wouldn't be any of his business.  In any case, he had his own problems.  Nudging the suitcase forward with his foot, he opened the manila envelope, and took out the passport, intending to memorize its details.
        But to his immense unhappiness, no memorization would be necessary.  The passport was in his own name---his real name---which meant that his cover was broken and the operation, his operation, was ended.  There was a single stamp on the passport's first page, admitting one John Edwards Dunphy---Dunphy! for chrissakes---to England for a period not to exceed six months.  The stamp was a forgery, of course, and indicated that he'd entered the country only seven days earlier.
        Seeing his cover so casually broken took his breath away.  For a little more than a year, he'd lived in London as an Irishman named Kerry Thornley.  Other than Jesse Curry, the only person who knew enough to call him by his real first name was Tommy Davis.  Tommy was too much a Kerryman to fool about Ireland.  Within a week of working with one another, he'd sussed out the fact that his newfound friend and sometime employer, Merry Kerry, was in fact a dodgy American businessman named Jack.
        Meanwhile, Dunphy's business card identified Thornley as Chairman of

Anglo-Erin Business Services, PLC
Gun House
London S.W. 1

        This false identity had covered him like a second skin, keeping him high and dry in the immunity of its folds.  Because Thornley was notional, a fiction generated by a computer in the basement of Langley headquarters, Dunphy could not be made to suffer the consequences of Thornley's actions---which meant that Dunphy, as Thornley, had been free in a way that Dunphy, as Dunphy, could never be.
        Losing his immunity so suddenly left him exposed at the very moment that he felt most in jeopardy.  Unconsciously, he began to sag into himself, the wisecracking Irishman---Merry Kerry---giving way to the more restrained and worried-looking American, Jack Dunphy.
        It took another twenty minutes to reach the head of the line and, by the time that he did, his feet hurt and his head was pounding.  It was just beginning to hit home that, in the space of a single morning, he'd lost nearly everything he cared about, including Clementine.
        Clementine!  Jesus Christ, he thought, what about Clem?

Excerpted from The Magdalene Cipher by Jim Hougan, Avon Books, New York (2006).

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