The Jinx: Sample Page 7

Christy stopped speaking in mid-sentence. “Bad news?” she asked. “You look like you’ve seen a ghost.”

“It’s nothing,” he said, regaining his composure. He glanced at his watch. “I almost forgot about an appointment. I’ve got to run.”

“And the assignment?” she asked.

Thompson was weary of battling. He could kill the story later. “Be careful,” he said. “The African-American groups may smell blood when they see the Herald Times coming. And white supremacists aren’t overgrown Boy Scouts.”

“I suppose it’s more politically correct to call them Anglo-American supremacists,” Christy said, smiling on the way out the door. “And they won’t even know what bit ’em.”

* * *

A MAN SAT in the back of an unmarked van behind the Herald Times Building, away from the chanting hordes. He was eating potato chips while monitoring the sophisticated surveillance equipment that surrounded him in the van’s dimly lit cargo compartment. Empty soda cans and moldy cartons from a Chinese takeout joint down the street littered the cramped area.

The man stopped chewing when Thompson opened The Assassin’s cryptic message. Finally. His boss had been waiting for this one. He wiped his greasy hands on his pants, punched a number into his cellular telephone, then said: “Let me speak to the Director.”

* * *

SAUSOLITO’S WAS NOT ADAMS THOMPSON’S usual Friday night haunt. He preferred a cigar and a few single malt scotch whiskeys at one of the gentlemen’s clubs on the Upper West Side to wind down after another hectic week at the Herald Times. But Sausolito’s was in Greenwich Village, and he did not want to stray far from home before his meeting with the man who claimed to be The Assassin.

It was the day after Thanksgiving, and Sausolito’s was quiet. Adams sipped a Dewars, watching the Knicks game on the television in the corner. A scrawny NYU student with bright orange hair sat at the other end of the bar. The basketball season was only a month under way, but Thompson could tell that the 1999-2000 season was to be a rebuilding year for his beloved Knicks.

Copyright © 2000, 2011 by Larry Kahn

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