فصل 16

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فصل 16

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CHAPTER SIXTEEN

No Kiss

At eight o’clock on the morning after Mitch and Abby returned from the Caymans, Oliver Lambert and Nathan Locke were allowed through the metal door on the fifth floor. They went to DeVasher’s office.

‘I talked to Lazarov yesterday in Las Vegas. He’s still worried. He wants you to make sure that any associates who don’t know about our real business here work only on clean files.’

‘OK. What about McDeere?’ Lambert asked.

‘He had a wonderful week with his wife. They stayed in the other house, of course. You should see her in a string bikini! We took some pictures, just for fun.’

‘I didn’t come here to look at pictures,’ Locke said angrily. ‘All right, all right. They spent a whole day with our friend Abanks. We don’t know what they talked about. Whenever we got someone close to them, they were only talking about fishing or something. But I don’t like it at all.’

‘What can they talk about?’ said Lambert. ‘Of course they’ll talk about Hodge and Kozinski, but there’s no harm in that. They can’t find anything out, can they?’

‘No,’ DeVasher admitted, ‘but I still don’t like it. I know McDeere tells lies. I know he lied about that shoe shop. And Chicago is worried, so I’m worried. That’s my job. As long as the FBI are around, I’ll be worried.’


It was very unusual for wives to appear at the Bendini Building Abby arrived there unexpectedly. The receptionist phoned up to Mitch’s office and his secretary came down to explain that Mitch was in a meeting.

‘He’s always in a meeting,’ Abby replied.

‘Get him out of it!’

She waited in Mitch’s office. He was on the third floor, in Avery’s office, helping him prepare for another visit to the Caymans. Probably taking cash for the Moroltos, Mitch thought. His secretary found him there and told him about Abby.

He walked down to his office, where Abby was walking up and down.

‘Mitch, I have to go and see my parents,’ she said. ‘My father just called me at school. My mother’s ill. She’s got to have an operation tomorrow.’

‘I’m sorry,’ Mitch said. He didn’t touch her. She wasn’t crying.

‘I’ve told the school I’ll be away for a while,’ she said.

‘How long?’

‘I don’t know. Mitch, we need some time away from each other. I think it will be good for both of us.’

‘Let’s talk about it.’

‘You’re always too busy to talk. I’ve been trying to talk to you for six months, but you can’t hear me. I’ll be back, I promise. I just don’t know when. I love you, Mitch.’

He watched her open the door. There was no kiss.


On the fifth floor an engineer pushed the emergency button for

Vasher’s office. He came immediately and put headphones on. He listened.

‘When did this happen?’

‘Two minutes ago. In his office, second floor.’

‘She’s leaving him, isn’t she? Hell! She’s our best lever. What good are those photographs if she’s leaving him anyway?’


Abby started for Kentucky but didn’t arrive there. She made sure that she wasn’t being followed and then went to Nashville Airport. From there she flew to the Caymans.

Avery finished his business at the Royal Bank of Montreal and, after changing his clothes, made his way to Rumheads Bar. Just after he arrived Tammy nervously entered the crowd and sat at the bar. She was wearing a bikini which hardly covered her body. She was forty, but twenty pairs of hungry eyes followed her to the bar, where she ordered a soft drink and lit a cigarette.

She went over to Avery’s table and asked if she could sit down. He couldn’t believe his luck; of all the men in the bar she had picked him.

‘I’m Avery Tolleson. From Memphis.’

‘Nice to meet you. I’m Libby.’

‘What brings you here?’ Avery asked.

‘Just looking for fun,’ she said, with a suggestive look in her eyes.

For three hours they dined, drank and danced, each time a little more closely. She got him drunk. At ten o’clock she led him from the bar to the firm’s beach house where he was staying. He attacked her at the front door and they kissed long and deeply.

When they were inside she suggested that they should have one more drink. He left the room to go to the washroom. She took a small plastic packet from her bag and dropped some sleeping-powder into his drink. Mitch had told her it was enough to put him to sleep for ten hours. When he returned, she watched closely as he swallowed his drink. He was too drunk to taste a thing. Within minutes he was in a deep sleep.

She pushed him off the chair and pulled him into the bedroom. She laid him on the bed and took his clothes off. She kissed him goodnight.

In his jacket pocket she found two key-rings, with eleven keys on them. Downstairs, in the hall between the kitchen and the sitting- room, she found the mysterious metal door which Mitch had noticed when he stayed in this house with Avery last year. From the arrangement of the upstairs rooms Mitch guessed that there was a small room behind the door.

She opened the door, waited a full ten minutes for any alarm and then turned on the light. Inside the room were twelve cupboards for files, a desk and three large briefcases.

She checked that Avery was still deeply asleep. Then she went back downstairs, grabbed the three briefcases, turned off the lights and left through the front door. It was a short walk across the car park to where the neighbouring hotel started. She was sweating from the weight of the briefcases by the time she reached Room 188 and knocked on the door.

Abby opened the door. ‘Any problems?’ she asked.

‘No.’ Tammy put the briefcases on the bed and went to get a Coke.

‘Where is he?’

‘In bed. I think we’ve got until six in the morning. There are a hell of a lot of files in that room. We’ll be lucky to finish by six.’

Room 188 was a single hotel room. All the furniture had been pushed against the walls to make room for the photocopier Abby had rented.

Tammy began to photocopy the files from the briefcases while Abby went out in her car and had the keys copied by a man she had found earlier. When she came back she continued with the photocopying, while Tammy went back to the beach house. She filled two suitcases with files from the cupboards. By the time she got back to the hotel Abby had finished with the briefcases, and Tammy took them back. Her arms soon ached from carrying the suitcases full of files from one place to the other.

They managed to copy the files from ten of the cupboards before Avery showed any signs of beginning to wake up. She left the files they were copying with Abby, went back to the beach house, locked the metal door and returned the keys. Then she took off her bikini top, got into bed beside him and waited.


Avery finally woke up a few minutes after nine. He felt terrible. He was late for an appointment.

‘Hello, big boy,’ Tammy said. ‘You were wonderful.’

Avery tried to remember something about last night. He failed.

‘Was I?’ he said.

‘Yeah, the best,’ she said. He began to believe her.

‘Listen,’ he said. ‘I have to take a shower and then go to work. Shall we meet tonight at the bar?’

‘I’ll be there, lover,’ she said.

He went off to the shower. She slid across the bed to the phone and called Abby.

‘He’s in the shower.’

‘Are you OK?’

‘Yeah. He couldn’t do it if he had to.’

‘Does he suspect anything?’

‘I don’t think so. He’s in pain.’

‘How long will you be?’

‘About ten or fifteen minutes.’

‘OK. Hurry.’

They put their phones down. Under the roof, a recorder witched itself off and was ready for the next phone call.

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