result? Afterwards, I'll wait half a year and then declare my right to fifty percent of the money: a hundred million. That's the condition given to me by the advocate.
"So, you know everything," said Christian. "That's very clever of you. Now, how about the details? How does everything work?"
Lucien leaned in close. "You will kill him tomorrow night, at ten o'clock. Pierre and I will be in the restaurant at our hotel. Suddenly, I'll realize that I've forgotten to turn off the iron, or maybe the fan . . . I don't know yet . . . so I'll send him up to the room. You'll be there, waiting for him. Then, you'll kill him and make the place look messed up. Toss things around. It should look as if Jean-Pierre ran into a burglar and died in the scuffle."
Jean-Pierre felt tempted to crash the party then, but he controlled himself.
"This cock-eating bitch hasn't even decided which appliance to leave on!"
"But, the key to the room?" asked Christian.
"We'll have time today to make a duplicate," said Lucien as she slid her hand slowly across the top sheet. "Right now, though, I want you to drill me again. That Jean-Pierre just can't seem to get it right." She rose to her knees and threw herself onto Christian.
Pierre had no desire to be witness any more of the woman's orgiastic display. It would have been senseless to do so. He leaped from the balcony with all the aplomb of a naturally gifted athlete, and soon he was among the tourists on the broad verandah, directing one or another to the National Library on the long pier. In fact, he said, he was headed there too.
The closer he got to the library, the greater was the sensation that he was becoming the Jean-Pierre of old; the one who hated the thought of animals caught in the torment of neglect. The events of the past several minutes went round and round in his mind, to the point that he was on the verge of tears. The problem of a deadly secret, now discovered, was, however, unlike anything he had experienced. He felt no happiness in the knowledge that he was the heir to a fortune. In fact, he was made vulnerable by it. Aside from any joy it might bring, a vast fortune could certainly end in the banality of death. So, now he bore the black spot, and from none other than his wife.
A glancing blow on the upper arm sent Pierre out of his trance. He saw the face of a young Creole woman. Immediately he read something in her eyes--a kind of dread--and it deepened his own fear. But the woman had dropped her handbag and was now running toward the clock tower. Half-hesitantly, as if it was some sort of trick, Jean-Pierre picked up the bag. He inspected it as one would open a snuffbox, expecting a little demon to spring out of it, but nothing like that happened. Of course, the thought of discarding the bag did enter his mind, but no sooner had he inspected the bag than he was trotting after the woman. It was already impossible to divert fate from its course.
"Madame, you dropped your bag," said Jean-Pierre, his wide-open eyes belying a certain unassuming benevolence.
Jeanette extended her hand to accept the bag, but as she did so Jean-Pierre could perceive surprise in her eyes. The Creole woman took the handbag and gave a slight shrug of the shoulders.
"Thank you," she said. Her mind was a flurry of disembodied thoughts and sounds, and unintentionally she sounded mechanical.
"What's the matter with you?" asked Pierre with rising curiosity. "Feeling bad? What can I do for you?" It seemed this young woman, who was pregnant, was about to lose consciousness. He placed a hand under her elbow, ready to give support.
"No . . . thank you," said Jeanette. "I'll . . . take care of myself."
"I can see you're not quite yourself," answered Jean-Pierre. "So, I'll just help you on your way. Where is your home?"
"Please, leave me alone," she said, and stepped to the side in preparation for an exit. "Thanks again, but I can do it myself." Now she sounded