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Authors: Graham Masterton

Chaos Theory (23 page)

BOOK: Chaos Theory
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Peter Silverman reached into his coat and tugged out his gun.
‘Let her go!’ he yelled. ‘Let her go
, and hit the ground!’
There were shouts of confusion from the delegates on the steps. Three or four bodyguards drew their guns, too, and began to weave their way towards them between the lines of cars. A uniformed cop shouted out, ‘Stay back! Everybody stay back!’ Then, ‘Drop the knife, feller! Do you hear me?
Drop the goddamned knife!

The figure in the maroon tracksuit heaved Adeola towards the open door of the Grand Cherokee, using her as a shield. Peter Silverman kept his gun trained on them, but he obviously couldn’t risk a shot.
The uniformed cop made his way around the assembled cars until he was less than fifteen feet away from Adeola and her abductor.
‘Come on, fella, you don’t stand a chance! Just drop the knife, will you?’
The figure in the maroon tracksuit said nothing, but if it
answered, Adeola knew what it would have sounded like. As tall and strong as the figure was, Adeola could feel breasts pressing against her back.
The uniformed cop came closer, and now he was joined by a second cop with a sandy moustache and three other men with guns who looked like FBI agents.
‘Drop the knife on the ground and stand back!’ one of them demanded. ‘You have a count of three, then we’re going to take you out!’
‘Don’t shoot!’ gasped Adeola. She was genuinely breathless.
‘One!’ rapped the FBI agent.
‘Don’t shoot! Don’t shoot!’ Adeola begged him.


At that moment, there was more shouting and more clamour. One of the uniformed cops said, ‘What the hell—?’ Then, ‘Back off! Back off! You can’t come in here! Back off!’
As if it had been swamped by an incoming tide, the portico was suddenly flooded with dozens of young Korean men in green-and-white T-shirts, some of them holding up home-made placards. They poured in between Adeola and the police, and all around the Grand Cherokee, shouting, ‘No more nuclear! Kim Jong Il! No more nuclear!’
The FBI agent screamed out, ‘Get these fucking lunatics out of here!’ and the uniformed police yelled, ‘Back off! Back off!’
But the Koreans kept on milling around, chanting and clapping. ‘
No more nuclear! No more nuclear!

The police tried to force their way through the crowd, but it was impossible. They seemed to be everywhere, jostling each other and waving their placards.
‘No more nuclear! Kim Jong Il! No more nuclear!’
The figure in the maroon tracksuit climbed up into the back seat of the Grand Cherokee and wrestled Adeola in after her. Adeola made a show of kicking and struggling, but the figure dragged her inside and slammed the door. Immediately, the driver gunned the engine, and the Grand Cherokee slewed out of the hotel portico, and into the hammering rain.
They drove along the Avenue of the Stars at nearly eighty miles an hour, and took a right through a red light on to Olympic Boulevard, accompanied by a chorus of angry horns. Then they sped eastward, as far as La Cienega, taking a left and then a right and then another left. They skidded around the corner at Edinburgh and Melrose at nearly sixty, so that the Grand Cherokee slid sideways across the road and mounted the sidewalk.
As they bounced back on to the road, Adeola said, ‘At this rate, you won’t have to
to kill me.’
Noah turned around in the driving seat and said, ‘Sorry . . . a few more blocks and we’ll be changing vehicles. Then I can drive more sedate.’
Silja had dragged off her ski mask. Her cheeks were flushed and her hair was stuck to her scalp. ‘I didn’t hurt you?’ she asked.
‘Not at all. But you were scary.’
‘I think Hong Gildong might have some bruises, but he told me I should hit him hard.’
‘Was that his idea? All those Korean demonstrators?’
Noah laughed. ‘You know who they are? The Korean Cycling Club of Los Angeles. I’ll bet you didn’t even know that it existed. But Hong Gildong’s sister is married to one of their coaches.’
‘They were taking one hell of a risk, weren’t they? My God, they could have been shot!’
‘No, not a chance. A peace demonstration against nuclear proliferation in North Korea? You think the LAPD are going to start firing at people like that?’
‘Amazing,’ said Adeola. ‘And did you see how many TV cameras and press photographers there were? I’m going to have the most publicized kidnapping in history.’
Noah turned into De Longpre Avenue. He slithered to a halt behind a pale green metallic Chevrolet Classic Caprice, and immediately said, ‘Out! This is where we change cars, and we’re going to change them again when we get to North Hollywood.’
As they climbed out of the Grand Cherokee, there was an ear-splitting crack of thunder right over their heads, and the rain was dancing madly on the sidewalk. There was nobody around to see them hurry from the SUV, run to the Chevy, and pull away from the curb with twin fountains of spray.
Noah drove as if he were playing a computer game – smooth and fast, swerving from side to side, running red lights, never easing off the gas for a moment. They had a near-miss with a Wal-Mart truck on Cahuenga, with a barrage of blaring and swearing and middle fingers stuck up, but this was the kind of driving that Noah had been trained to do, always looking for the chances, always looking for the narrowest of opportunities, using the rain-slick road surface to slide and ski and get himself ahead.
He was nearly six minutes ahead of schedule when he slid sideways into Otsego Street in North Hollywood, and jammed on the brakes.
‘Just like you said,’ Adeola told him. ‘That was very sedate.’
‘We’re on the run, Adeola,’ said Noah. ‘Every second counts.’
A black Dodge Caliber was parked on the opposite side of the street. Noah climbed out of the Chevrolet, ran across the road, and opened the doors.
Silja frog-marched Adeola after him, so forcibly that Adeola had to half-jump with every step. It was unlikely that anybody was watching them, especially in the middle of a downpour like this, but if there were any witnesses, Adeola’s kidnap had to look completely convincing.
‘Where are we going now?’ asked Adeola, as they turned south again, towards the Ventura Freeway. The rain was clearing away now, and the sun was coming out again, so that the road surfaces were dazzling.
‘A little house up in Scholl Canyon, in Glendale,’ Noah told her. ‘Belongs to a friend of mine, Dave McCray. He spends most of his time filming at Cinecitta, in Rome.’
‘Do you really think this kidnap is going to work?’
‘Let’s take a look at the TV news tonight. Then we’ll know.’
Silja said, ‘My father used to tell me, you can run in your thoughts, but you won’t get anywhere.’
Noah glanced back at Adeola. ‘Very philosophical, these Finns. All those long, dark winter nights, know what I mean?’
‘And those summers,’ put in Silja, ‘when the sun never sets. You would be surprised what people can do in the middle of the night, if the sun is still shining.’
‘Maybe we can take a trip to Finland one day,’ said Noah. ‘Then you can show me.’

nd this evening,’ said Larry Coleman on NBC News, ‘incredible live pictures as a peace delegate is abducted right under the noses of police and FBI agents at the International Peace Convention in Los Angeles.’
‘Adeola!’ called Rick. ‘You don’t want to miss this!’
The TV news coverage of Adeola’s kidnap was even more extensive than they had hoped for. It appeared on almost every news programme around the world, from CNN to Al-Jazeera. Every station showed the same jerky footage: Adeola being seized by a tall figure in a maroon tracksuit; then the stand-off with the uniformed police officers and the FBI; followed by the flood of Korean cyclists in green-and-white T-shirts, chanting and brandishing their banners.
‘I can’t believe it,’ said Adeola. She had been washing her hair, and it was all wound up in a tall white turban. ‘The way I remember it, it seemed to last for ten minutes, at least. But look – it all happened in a split second.’
‘Most of the best stunts do,’ said Noah. ‘You remember them for ever, but in screen-time they’re nothing at all. Even the car chase in
only lasted for nine minutes and twelve seconds, yet most people would swear that it lasted for more than twenty minutes.’
Larry Coleman continued: ‘Police have located Ms Davis’s abandoned SUV on DeLongpre Avenue in Hollywood. Crime scene investigators are examining the vehicle for any clues as to who might have kidnapped her.
‘So far, however, police have admitted that they have no leads. There has been no word from her abductors; no indication whatsoever why this outstanding peace negotiator should have been so dramatically snatched and driven away.’
‘Hey – outstanding peace negotiator,’ said Rick. ‘How would you like a drink?’
‘Love one,’ said Adeola.
Alvin Metzler was on television now, looking upset and harassed. ‘As you know, a suicide bomber made an attempt on Adeola Davis’s life in Dubai, and there have been other attempts which I am not at liberty to reveal.
‘So we at DOVE are seriously concerned for Ms Davis’s safety. If her abductors are watching this, I want you to know that we’re prepared to listen to any grievance you might have. We’re prepared to talk about our aims and our peace projects, and sort out any misapprehensions.’
‘You’re prepared to negotiate with terrorists?’ asked Larry Coleman.
‘I didn’t say that. But more than any other organization in the world, DOVE understands that every story has more than one side to it, and of all DOVE’s representatives, Adeola understands that the most.
‘We value her. We care for her. And we want to have her back where she belongs.’
Adeola pressed her fingers to her forehead. ‘Oh, Alvin, I’m so sorry.’
Rick came into the living room with a glass of Zinfandel for her. ‘He’ll get over it, when he finds out you’re safe and well.’
‘He’ll have to see me being killed first. How do you think he’s going to feel about that?’
They spent a quiet evening watching television and playing poker. Adeola won hand after hand, until Noah said, ‘That’s me done. If I’m going to die, I don’t want to die broke.’
‘She’s too good at reading people,’ said Rick. ‘Apart from which, she has the most inscrutable face since the Sphinx.’
He looked across at Adeola and for the first time Noah realized that there was more to their relationship than protector and protected.
‘So when is this Palestinian nutjob going to announce that he’s holding her?’ Noah asked.
‘Not before tomorrow morning. Maybe later. The longer we leave it, the better. It’ll rack up the tension, and the cops will think that he could have taken her a whole lot further away. Even flown her out of the country. Which will make us that much more difficult for them to track down.’
‘OK . . . so we’ll be shooting the video Thursday? I just need to know, so that I can arrange for Mitch to come around.’
‘Thursday would be good.’
Adeola was shuffling the cards. ‘A little disturbing to know that I only have thirty-six hours left to live. Have you decided yet how you are going to kill me?’
‘Bullet between the eyes, if that’s OK with you. It’s the least complicated. And the cheapest.’
‘I see. I have to die on a budget.’
After Rick and Adeola had gone to bed, Noah and Silja sat out on the lamplit veranda at the back of the house, smoking and looking out over the twinkling lights of Glendale.
‘How the hell did we get ourselves into this, Silja?’ said Noah.
‘Too late to worry about that. All we have to do now is make sure that we get ourselves out of it.’
They heard sirens somewhere in the distance. At first they sounded as if they were coming closer, but after a while they gradually faded away.
Noah said, ‘I’m supposed to be at Paramount on Thursday morning, to have a meeting about a new Nick Burton picture. Pirates in space, something like that.’
‘Pirates in space! It all seems so ridiculous now.’
‘You think so? Compared with all of this, it seems totally rational.’
Leon came shuffling out, holding up a DVD. ‘Hey – I’ve downloaded some Palestinian accents for you. I found a couple of interviews with Ahmed Sa’adat. He was the Secretary General of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, but the Israelis kidnapped him in Jericho, and put him on trial.’
‘Thanks. You’ve really helped out, you know that?’
Leon sat down on the step. ‘I only wish there was more I could do.’
‘Come on, dude. Your dad would be proud of you.’
‘I’d rather he was still alive.’
‘I know. He was always quoting Woody Allen, wasn’t he? “I don’t want to achieve immortality through my work. I want to achieve immortality by not dying.”’
Noah practised his Palestinian accent all the next morning, until he sounded more like Ahmed Sa’adat than Ahmed Sa’adat.
‘This is Armed Front for Freedom of Palestinian!’ he shouted, crossly, at the mirror. ‘APPF! – I mean, shit, AFFP! We have your negotiator, Ms Adeola Davis! This is Armed Front for Freedom of Palestine! We have your negotiator, Ms Adeola Davis!’
It was still unseasonably hot, and all of them were beginning to grow tense and impatient, and to question the sanity of what they were doing.
‘What are you going to do if Professor Halflight isn’t interested?’ said Adeola.
‘I don’t know,’ said Noah. ‘I’m just assuming that he will be.’
‘But if he’s not? What if he makes out that he doesn’t know anything about Emu Ki Ilani, and those men in grey suits are still coming after you?’
BOOK: Chaos Theory
9.72Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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