‘Didn’t think I wouldn’t notice your janitor friend with his bought-that-day toolbox, did you?’

After a pause, his employer said, ‘I think this conversation has taken an unnecessary turn for the worst. Let’s reset.’ Another pause. ‘All I wanted to do was congratulate you on your good work this morning.’


‘I know it was a rush job, and I want to apologise for your lack of lead time. Not that it seemed to be a problem for a man of your skills.’

‘I told you before, my ego doesn’t need massaging. Who was the target of the assassin I killed?’

‘He’s not important.’

‘If he’s not important, why don’t you tell me his name?’

‘Because you don’t need to know.’

‘I thought you might have been more original.’

‘It’s a cliche for a reason, my man. You concern yourself purely with the job at hand and I’ll concern myself with everything else. So, let’s get you back on the Farkas contract as soon as possible, okay? There’s a supplier I’d like you to liaise with.’

‘I take it you can tell me this name.’

‘I only know him as Georg. He’s German. Operates out of Hamburg.’

‘Never heard of him.’

‘Is that a problem?’

‘If I had heard of him it would have been a problem.’

‘He’s not Agency, and he’s not an asset. But he is a fixer, and he deals in what you need. I’ve just sent you some supplementary materials. Should be in your inbox any second.’

‘I have them.’ Victor opened the attachment and began absorbing the information.

‘Good. Georg is expecting your call, so read the files, and drop him a line.’

‘It says here I’ll need to meet with him in Hamburg.’

‘Is that an issue?’

‘One, I never meet anyone directly connected with what I do for a living unless I also plan to kill them, and two, Hamburg is Georg’s turf. I’ve never heard of him, you know nothing about him. Me going to him gives him the perfect opportunity for dishonest trading.’

‘I can assure you of Georg’s quality and reliability.’

‘Yet you only know his first name.’

‘He comes highly recommended.’

‘I prefer to reserve my own judgement.’

‘I hate to break this to you, pal, but you don’t work for yourself any longer, and the kind of jobs I need doing will require you to come from under your rock once in a while and interact with the world. I’m not paying you to just pull a trigger.’

‘Which is good, because if you pull a trigger you’re going to miss. You want to hit your target, you squeeze it.’

‘Putting the correct use of firearms to one side, I need the Farkas contract fulfilled in a very specific manner. To do that you’re going to have to meet Georg. If you don’t like that, you’re shit out of luck.’

‘Don’t curse in my presence.’

‘Was that a joke?’

‘When I make a joke you won’t have to ask for confirmation.’

‘All right,’ the control said with a breath, ‘I didn’t figure you as the conservative type, but I guess I can watch my language.’

‘No blasphemy either.’

A laugh. ‘Now I know you’re joking.’

Victor remained silent.

‘Okay,’ the control said, drawing the word out slowly, before adding, ‘No swearing, no blasphemy. I’ll work on that. You work on your attitude. But if being employed by me is so problematic for you then after you’ve completed these three jobs we can go our separate ways. No hard feelings.’

‘Very charitable of you,’ Victor said. ‘But with the inclusion of the Bucharest job it will have been four contracts, not three.’

‘True,’ the voice agreed, ‘and if that’s how you’re going to be, then I should remind you that after the little circus show you partook in last November there are a lot of folks out there who would like nothing more than to see your head atop a spike. Considering the lengths I’ve gone to in order to keep you out of the crosshairs of several intelligence services, not least of all in Russia and the US, I would have expected a little more gratitude.’

‘I would have sent a card, only I don’t have your name or address. Would you like to give me your name and address?’

His employer laughed briefly. ‘For some reason I don’t think that would be a particularly smart idea, do you?’ He didn’t wait for an answer. ‘If protecting you isn’t enough, I guess you’ve forgotten that I’ve already scratched your back at the beginning of this arrangement in handing over a certain individual.’

‘I haven’t forgotten,’ Victor said through a tight mouth. He tried, without success, to stop his thoughts taking the inevitable path.

‘Good, because now it’s time to return the favour.’ A long pause. ‘Or was I wrong to take you as the kind of man who honours his word?’

Victor answered, ‘That’s the only way left in which I have honour,’ and disconnected the call.

There was no need for goodbyes. Such courtesy was the benefit of friends alone. And years had passed since Victor had anyone who could be considered a true friend. The last person who had approached that mantle had helped organise an attempt on his life. Victor would never make that mistake again.

But when his employer knew so much about him and his enemies, Victor had to be careful to keep his paymaster happy. He also knew that when these kind of jobs went wrong the people involved in them tended to prematurely expire. Victor was well aware that his usefulness could run out without warning and any arrangement made for him could be a potential ambush. But Victor had been honest about keeping his word. He would pay off his debt.

Outside the hotel, he walked for a while until he found a payphone. He dialled the Hamburg number he’d been given. A woman answered in German. She had the voice of a long-term heavy smoker.


‘Georg, please,’ he said.

She coughed and thirty seconds passed before a male voice spoke. ‘Yes?’

‘We have a mutual acquaintance,’ Victor said. ‘They tell me you have something for me.’

‘At nine p.m. tomorrow get ferry line sixty-two from Landungsbrucken to Finkenwerder. Take a copy of the Hamburger Abendblatt with you. Keep it in your left hand. Stay on the top deck, port side. Don’t bring any weapons.’

The line went dead before he could respond.

Victor replaced the receiver. He did not conduct business this way. If arrangements could not be made without a face to face, they should be conducted in a neutral location. A ferry could be construed as neutral, but the meeting wouldn’t take place there. Someone would get on and lead him to where Georg waited. That would certainly not be a neutral location. Alternatively, if anything went wrong, the ferry would be a floating trap.

Back in the hotel room, Victor reset the chair wedged under the door handle, checked the SIG was loaded, tucked it into the front of his waistband, and, fully dressed, lay down on the bed atop the covers. Three more jobs and he could have his life back. Whatever that equated to.

He thought about the scream until he fell asleep.


Athens, Greece

At the same time, approximately nine hundred and fifty miles southeast, Xavier Callo was trying to hide his

Вы читаете The Enemy
Добавить отзыв


Вы можете отметить интересные вам фрагменты текста, которые будут доступны по уникальной ссылке в адресной строке браузера.

Отметить Добавить цитату