On the way out, he bought himself a bunch of milk bananas, and ate them slowly and methodically as the taxi made its painfully slow way out of Denpasar. Once on the highway, their speed increased dramatically. The lack of heavy traffic made it easier to get around the trucks that clogged the road.
In Gianyar he saw an open-air market on his left and told the driver to pull over. Despite the bananas-or perhaps because of them-his stomach was growling for some real food. At the market, he ordered a plate of babi guling, roast suckling pig, and, served on a broad vivid green banana leaf, lawar, coconut and strips of spiced turtle. Its sauce of un-cooked blood appealed to him particularly. He rent the succulent meat of the piglet between his teeth, swallowing quickly to take another bite.
Because of the clamor of the market, he periodically checked his cell phone. The longer he waited, the greater his tension, but he needed to be patient because it would take some days for his man to be sure of Bourne‘s comings and goings. Still, he was uncharacteristically on edge. He put it down to being this close to Bourne, but that only caused him more discomfort. There was something about Bourne that had gotten under his skin, that had become an itch he couldn‘t scratch.
In an effort to control himself, he turned his thoughts to the recent events that had led him here. Two weeks ago Bourne had thrown him off the side of the LNG tanker. It was a long way down into the Pacific, and he had prepared himself by turning his body into a spear, keeping it perfectly vertical so that when he hit the water he wouldn‘t break his back or his neck. He went in feetfirst, the force of the fall pushing him so deep the world fell into twilight and he was gripped by a terrible chill that worked its way into his bones before he‘d even begun his double-kick upward.
By the time he broke the surface, the tanker was a blur, steaming toward the docks at Long Beach. Treading water, he swiveled his body around as a submarine captain might swivel his periscope to get the lay of the land, as it were. The vessel nearest to him was a fishing trawler, but until it was an emergency, he wanted no part of it. The captain would be bound to report rescuing a man overboard to the American Coast Guard, which was precisely what Arkadin didn‘t want: Bourne was sure to check the records.
He felt no panic, or even concern. He knew he wouldn‘t drown. He was a powerful swimmer with great endurance, even after his exhausting hand-to-hand fight with Bourne aboard the tanker. The sky was blue, except where the brown haze hung over the shore, stretching inland to Los Angeles. The waves lifted him up and swept him into their valleys. He kicked to maintain his position. Now and again curious gulls wheeled overhead.
After twenty minutes his patience was rewarded. A sixty-foot pleasure craft hove into view, moving at about four times the speed of the trawler. Soon it was near enough to him for him to begin waving. Almost immediately the boat altered course.
Another fifteen minutes and he was on board, wrapped in two towels and a blanket because his core temperature had dropped below acceptable levels. His lips were blue and he was shivering. The owner, whose name was Manny, fed him some brandy and a chunk of Italian bread and cheese.
— If you excuse me a minute, I‘ll get on the horn with the Coast Guard, tell them I‘ve picked you up. What‘s your name?
— Willy, Arkadin lied. -But I wish you wouldn‘t.
Manny made an apologetic gesture with his meaty shoulders. He was of middle height, red-faced, balding. He was dressed casually but expensively.
— Sorry, pal. Rules of the road.
— Wait, Manny, wait. It‘s like this. Arkadin was speaking English with a native‘s Midwestern twang. His time in America had served him well on many fronts. -Are you married?
— Divorced. Twice.
— See there? I knew you‘d understand. See, I‘d chartered a boat to take my wife out for a nice day, maybe head over to Catalina for drinks. Anyway, how was I to know my girlfriend stowed away on board. I‘d told her I was going fishing with the guys so she thought she‘d surprise me.
— She did surprise you.
— Shit, Arkadin said, — did she ever! He finished off his brandy, shook his head. -Anyhoo, things got kinda wild. I mean all hell broke loose. You don‘t know my wife, she can be a real queen bitch.
— I think I was married to her once. Manny sat back down. -So what did you do?
Arkadin shrugged. -What could I do? I jumped overboard.
Manny threw his head back and laughed. He slapped his thigh. -Goddammit!
Willy, you sonovabitch!
— So you see why it‘d be so much better if no one knows you picked me up.
— Sure, sure, I understand, but still…
— Manny, what‘s your line of work, if I might ask?
— I own a company that imports and sells high-end computer chips.
— Well, now, isn‘t that something? Arkadin had said. -I think I might have a deal that could net both of us a boatload of money.
Arkadin, finishing the last of his lawar at the Gianyar market, laughed to himself. Manny got two hundred thousand dollars, and through one of his regular business shipments Arkadin received the Mexican drug lord Gustavo Moreno‘s laptop in Los Angeles without either the FSB-2 or the Kazanskaya being any the wiser.
He found a bed-and-breakfast-what the Balinese called a home stay-on the outskirts of Gianyar center. Before he settled down for the night he took out the rifle, put it together, loaded it, unloaded it, broke it down. He did this twelve times exactly. Then he pulled the mosquito netting closed, lay down on the bed, and stared unblinking at the ceiling.
And there was Devra, pale, already a ghost, as he had found her in the artist‘s apartment in Munich, shot by Semion Icoupov when her concentration was diverted by Bourne entering the room. Her eyes searched his, looking for something. If only he knew what.
Even this evil demon of a man had his vanities: Since Devra‘s death, he had convinced himself that she was the only woman he had loved or could have loved, because this fueled his desire for one thing: revenge. He had killed Icoupov, but Bourne was still alive. Not only had Bourne been complicit in Devra‘s death, but he had also killed Mischa, Arkadin‘s best friend.
Now Bourne had given him a reason to live. His plan to take over the Black Legion-in order to complete his revenge against Icoupov and Sever-
wasn‘t enough, though his plans for it were large and far ranging, beyond anything either Icoupov or Sever could conceive. But he craved more: a specific target on which to vent his rage.
Beneath the mosquito netting he periodically broke out into a cold sweat; his brain seemed to be alternately on fire or as sluggish as if it had been submerged in ice. Sleep, already barely known to him, was now out of the question. But he must have fallen asleep at some point because in the darkness he was gripped by a dream: Devra, holding out her slim, white arms to him. Yet when he entered their embrace, her mouth yawned wide, covering him with spewed black bile. She was dead, but he could not forget her, or what she caused in him: the tiniest fissure in the speckled granite of his soul, through which her mysterious light had begun to trickle, like the first snowmelt of spring.