Three Days to Never

Three Days to Never by Tim Powers Read Free Book Online

Book: Three Days to Never by Tim Powers Read Free Book Online
Authors: Tim Powers
the tired old man in the joke, whose friends arrange for a dazzling prostitute to come to his room on his birthday— I’m here to give you super sex! she exclaims when he opens the door; and he says, querulously, I’ll take the soup.
    But he was a good remote viewer, and one of the most reliable of the sayanim, the civilian Jews who would efficiently and discreetly provide their skills to aid Mossad operations, for the sake of Israel. Sam was a retired researcher from the CIA-sponsored think tank at Stanford Research Institute in Menlo Park, up near San Francisco, and he was a widower with no children; and Lepidopt told himself that the old man must enjoy using again the clairvoyant techniques he had pioneered back in ’72. And over the last several years, Glatzer and Lepidopt had played many games of chess while sitting in safe houses like this, and Lepidopt believed the old man had found them as welcome a break from tension or boredom as he had.
    â€œI’m sorry, Sam,” said Lepidopt, spreading his hands, “but I really think we should monitor the ‘holograph’ line until it’s been twenty-four hours. Till noon tomorrow. I’ll send Ernie out for any food you’d like.” I’ll take the soup, he thought.
    â€œGood idea,” said Bozzaris, getting up from his keyboard. “Pizza?” Bozzaris did not observe the dietary laws, and ate all sorts of trefe food.
    â€œWhatever he wants,” Lepidopt told Bozzaris. “Get enough for three—Bert might be back pretty quick.” Bert Malk didn’t bother about kosher food either.
    After Bozzaris left, tacos and enchiladas having been decided on, Glatzer went to sleep on the couch, and Lepidopt sat down in a chair against the door-side wall, for the afternoon sun was slanting in through the front window, and he stared almost enviously at Glatzer.
    A widower with no children. It occurred to him that Glatzer could expire there on the couch, and—though Lepidopt wouldlose a friend and chess opponent—nobody’s life would be devastated. Two lines from an Ivor Winters poem flitted through his head— By a moment’s calm beguiled, / I have got a wife and child.
    Lepidopt had a wife and an eleven-year-old son in Tel Aviv. His son, Louis, would be envious if he knew his father was working in Hollywood. And Deborah would worry that he’d be seduced by a starlet.
    All katsas, Mossad gathering officers, were married men with wives back in Israel; the theory was that married men would be immune to sex traps abroad. Broad traps a-sex, he thought. To preserve you from the evil woman, from the smooth tongue of the adventuress, as the Psalmist said.
    Don’t start the John Wayne stuff till I get there, he thought, then shuddered.
    In that war twenty years ago, Lepidopt’s battalion had stormed the Lion’s Gate again at 8:30 the following morning. Israeli artillery and jet fighters had pounded the Jordanian defense forces within the city, but Lepidopt and his fellow soldiers had had to fight for every narrow street, and the morning was an eternity of dust exploding from ancient walls, hot shell casings flying in brassy ribbons from the Uzi in his aching hands, blood spattering on jeep windshields and pooling between paving stones, and the shaky effort of changing magazines while crouched in one or another of the drainage ditches.
    I see a headstone, a tombstone.
    Lepidopt recalled noticing that the bridges propped over the narrow ditches had been Jewish gravestones, and he had learned later that they had been scavenged from the cemetery on Mount Zion; and now he wondered if, in the subsequent gathering and burial of hundreds of dead Israeli and Jordanian soldiers, anyone had thought to restore the stones to those older graves.
    By midmorning the city had fallen to the Israeli forces; sniper fire still echoed among the ancient buildings, but Jordanians were lined up by the gate with their

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