2 May, 1945
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.
"Well...are you here to arrest
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
TO: Commanding General
Mediterranean Theater of Operations
SIGNED: Maj. James J. Angleton
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.
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
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
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
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
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
"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."
"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
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.
"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
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 mean...my
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."
"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?"
"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."
"He'll have everything you need:
"---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?"
pay-phone wanted another coin.
"Look, I don't think this is
such a great idea!"
"Just do it."
Beep-beep. "I'm outa
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
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
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
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
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
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:
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
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,
but...no. 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
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
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
The young man swung around with
a smile, exposing a tangle of gray teeth. So much for the National
"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
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
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
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
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
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
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,
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,
Christ, he thought, what about Clem?
Excerpted from The Magdalene Cipher
by Jim Hougan, Avon Books, New York (2006).
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