[ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]
.“And vice versa, partner.”Then she told him about Gisela and what had happened.She ruffled Miles Davis’s stomach fur, then slowly pulled herself up and grabbed the broom from him.“No luck with Etienne the other night?” René asked.She shook her head.“Michel arrived and we met some performance artists with their own ateliers,” he said.“We talked until dawn!”She was happy for him.“There were some disturbing things about his uncle Nessim’s letters of credit,” she said, “I meant to show you.”René nodded.“Always a ‘deal.’ Michel’s father was like that, and his father.His great-grandfather carted a sewing machine from the Lodz ghetto.With six mouths to feed, he set up the machine in the doorway fronting the one room the family rented in a crumbling Sentier building.”“The same building where Michel is now?” Aimée asked.René nodded.“His great-grandfather sewed for the cloth merchants who passed by.He branched into buying cloth, making garments.Later on, he sold clothes to the burgeoning department stores of Samartaine and Bon Marche.And then he bought the old hôtel particulier, cheap and falling apart, but with huge work spaces.He patched it up, put in more sewing machines, hired immigrants newer than himself.“His family and other Ashkenazi Jews were rounded up during the Occupation,” René continued.“After the Algerian exodus, refugee Sephardic Jews from North Africa moved in.But the family still owned the building and the business, one of the few who returned and remained.These ‘new Jews’ were foreign, uneducated, too ‘Arabic.’ And more devious.Michel’s father sold out to his brother-in-law, Nessim.”“Why did he do that?” Aimée asked.“Michel says his father likened Nessim to mafioso; lending and protecting, filing bankruptcies, setting fires for insurance.Michel’s father hated their saying: Une mauvaise saison qui teminebien—a bad season that ends well.”But before Aimée could pull up information as to Nessim on her terminal, loud beeping came from René’s screen.He shook his head and sat down.In the halogen light, his forehead shone with a fine sweat.“Rogue programmers!” he said, his hands racing over the keyboard.“Concocting new viruses, corrupting data, breaking into private networks, leaving irritating messages on computer displays, posting porn on the Web site.The usual.”“Our bread and butter, René,” she said.“We need to work on Michel’s system before the dress rehearsal in Palais Royal.We’ve got work to do, cyber goddess.”Biting back a smile, she said, “I prefer cyber diva.” She prised off her heeled sandal with her toe and pulled up the cryptographic hashes of the system files.She checked them against their known good backup to determine if any files were changed.A few hours and several espressos from the downstairs café later, they found a chink in the security fire wall.René plugged it.Then the fun part: putting the puzzle back together.René loved reconstructing the crackers’ route.Over a bottle of mineral water they identified vulnerabilities that a cracker would exploit and updated Michel’s system.She didn’t tell him about Léo Frot.No reason for René to know.Thursday EveningSTEFAN WOKE UP in his car parked by the cemetery, broke and hungry.He realized he’d overreacted the night before when he’d run.Why hadn’t he asked the concierge what had happened to Romain Figeac?Now, when he reached the concierge’s loge, it lay dark.Hesitant, he debated going up the stairs again … would a neighbor notice?There was only one way to find out.At the charred door, Stefan saw the yellow police tape, limp and dragging on the wet floor.He hit the timed light switch and his heart skipped.Right where he’d been standing the night before was a gouged hole.And there was a dent in the pillar on his right at eye level.A distinctive graze, like the mark of a bullet’s passing.His second sense had been right.And all he knew was that he had to get out of there and not be stupid twice.Then he heard scraping from below in the stairwell.And he ran.He headed up the stairs, onto the roof.Stefan’s lungs burned.His pulse raced as his legs pumped.As he ran, he shed the raincoat, throwing it over the rooftop.Sweat poured down his shoulder blades.Why hadn’t he found the exit, planned his escape route like he usually did when entering a new building? Careless, he’d grown too soft and careless.And look what had happened!He was running for his life and hoping to God he could shinny up the slick roof tiles and climb down to that wrought-iron balcony filled with fat pink geraniums.With luck he could slip in through the balcony door, shoot through the apartment, then hotfoot it to the next street.At least he’d kept in shape.Lifted those weights, did sit-ups at dawn every morning.Damn geraniums … he landed, kicking dirt everywhere!Stefan picked himself up and raced past the half-opened glass door.An old man in a hair net sat reading by dim green light.The cat in his lap hissed [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]