“How much do you know about Halftrack?”
“Only that he’s a mysterious guy whose duties aren’t at all clear and whose 9th Infantry arm patch doesn’t match any unit that he could belong to.”
“Actually, that’s a pretty good disguise. There are still a couple of battalions operating in the delta.”
“I heard that from somewhere. How do you know that?”
“I encode messages from them for Major Toms. Like I told you one time before, I read what I type. I pick up all sorts of bits and pieces that way.”
“So Halftrack might actually be attached to the 9th? He told me he wasn’t.”
“No. Halftrack works for Ted Shackley. He’s Shackley’s chameleon. He becomes whatever Shackley want’s him to be.”
“Yes. That Shackley. So the CIA will shortly know all about this money laundering business, if they don’t already. It’s even possible you’ve stumbled into a setup by the CIA to flush out whomever the colonel, Bau’s his name, whoever he’s trying to deal with. That you fell into this means somebody’s pretty desperate.”
“This is beginning to sound like a spy novel. Where does it end?”
“I don’t know. I was hoping you had some ideas. At dinner, when was it two months ago? at the Guillaume Tell, we were talking about how Hemingway wrote about how relationships in wartime end? This might be how.”
“God. You think this is that serious?”
“I’m not taking any chances like Hemingway’s Tenente did with you going to the front. Will you spend the night with me?
“At Su lin’s? Of course.”
We ordered dinner, ate and called a cab.
It was a restless night. There was more noise than usual on the street. More GIs from the bush in town. Su lin came in late and was surprised to see me there. Neither of us was fully dressed. She smiled knowingly, went to the kitchen then down the hall to bed.
“We should do the same,” said Agnes, nodding in Su Lin’s direction. We made our way to the second bedroom, never breaking our touch.
Morning came early. I had to be back to the Dia Nam to catch the truck for the depot. Agnes took a cab back to the market to collect her Honda and I rode with her that far. I walked the remaining few blocks to the hotel in time for a quick stop in the mess hall before making my appearance at the waiting area. I was in time for morning pickup with a few minutes to spare. So far so good. No one was the wiser. Not even Phil.