Bearpit

Bearpit by Brian Freemantle Read Free Book Online

Book: Bearpit by Brian Freemantle Read Free Book Online
Authors: Brian Freemantle
were challenged by a suspicious security officer of his own Soviet delegation. It was a full fifteen minutes before he made the move, with seeming casualness, picking up a Soviet account for what appeared to be comparison with some statistic from one of the other books and then replacing it. But not upright, as it had been: on its spine, the emergency, meeting-at-once request. Rigidly maintaining the professionalism, he did not immediately hurry away from the section, making protective time pass by staring down at type which blurred before his eyes and making meaningless notations on a pocket pad before finally putting the other two publications back in their designated places in the racks, but both properly upright this time. Would it be an hour, like they’d always promised? He hoped so. He was desperate for the impression at least that some action – some movement – was being started.
    Despite the stomach-tensed, perpetual apprehension, Levin found a small amusement in the fact that Vadim Dolya had provided the way undetectably for him to make a meeting with the FBI. He’d already checked the other man’s commitments for the day, to ensure his presence in the peace studies office, and Dolya smiled up when Levin entered.
    â€˜A favour,’ announced Levin.
    â€˜What?’
    â€˜You were right about the electrical goods: I think Galina is going to be an actual drain upon Moscow’s central grid system!’
    Dolya continued smiling at the weak attempt at humour. ‘A shopping list?’
    â€˜Almost a computer print-out: irons, toasters, microwaves, curling tongs … there seems to be nothing she hasn’t thought of.’
    â€˜Is there anything to keep you here today?’ asked Dolya, who knew anyway that Levin’s diary was clear because it was his primary function to know at all times the activities of the KGB operatives for whom he was responsible.
    â€˜No,’ said Levin.
    â€˜Take as long as you want,’ offered Dolya generously. ‘And Yevgennie Pavlovich?’
    â€˜What?’
    â€˜Buy Japanese imports: they’re much more reliable than the American products.’
    â€˜I’ll remember that,’ said Levin uncomfortably.
    Levin walked purposefully from the United Nations building, veering right through the forecourt and by so doing going close to the Soviet-presented peace status of the figure wielding a hammer over a broadsword. In the early days of his appointment its inscription – ‘Let us beat swords into ploughshares’ – had amused Levin with its insincerity, but not any longer. He wondered how difficult it would be for him to be amused, ever again. He managed to catch the lights on UN Plaza and continued on down 44th Street, going a full block until he reached Second Avenue upon which he had already isolated a number of electrical stores and shops. He made no effort to establish any surveillance, either hoped-for (so fervently hoped-for) American or hoped-against Russian. The spine-downwards alert dictated that the FBI place him under observation from his moment of departure from the UN building and only make an approach – at their chosen time and location – when they were absolutely certain he was not being followed by his own people. No approach after an hour meant he was being monitored by the Russians and that any American meeting had to be abandoned, to await a later effort signalled by another misplaced book. At the thought of there being no encounter Levin felt perspiration prick out upon his back and form into rivulets. Galina would not be able to withstand any delay: he knew she wouldn’t. He was unsure if he could endure much delay himself. Near 45th Street he bought an electrical travelling iron and a small, electrically operated coffee-bean grinder, unwilling to burden himself with things that were too heavy because he didn’t intend transporting them anywhere anyway. To give his

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