I have money.
Enough to live like a hermit, but not enough to live. Shamron lapsed into a momentary silence and listened to the wind. Its quiet now, isnt it? Tranquil almost. Its tempting to think it can go on like this forever. But it cant. We gave them Gaza without demanding anything in return, and they repaid us by freely electing Hamas to be their rulers. Next theyll want the West Bank, and if we dont surrender it in short order, theres going to be another round of bloodletting, much worse than even the second intifada. Trust me, Gabriel, one day soon it will all start up again. And not just here. Everywhere. Do you think theyre sitting on their hands doing nothing? Of course not. Theyre planning the next campaign. Theyre talking to Osama and his friends, too. We now know for a fact that the Palestinian Authority has been thoroughly penetrated by al-Qaeda and its affiliates. We also know that they are planning major attacks against Israel and Israeli targets abroad in the very near future. The Office also believes the prime minister has been targeted for assassination, along with senior advisers.
Of course, Shamron said. I am, after all, the prime ministers special adviser on all matters dealing with security and terrorism. My death would be a tremendous symbolic victory for them.
He looked out the window again at the wind moving in the trees. Its ironic, isnt it? This place was supposed to be our sanctuary. Now, in an odd way, its left us more vulnerable than ever. Nearly half the worlds Jews live in this tiny strip of land. One small nuclear device, thats all it would take. The Americans could survive one. The Russians might barely notice it. But us? A bomb in Tel Aviv would kill a quarter of the countrys population maybe more.
And you need me to prevent this apocalypse? I thought the Office was in good hands these days.
Things are definitely better now that Lev has been shown the door. Amos is an extraordinarily competent leader and administrator, but sometimes I think he has a bit too much of the soldier in him.
He was chief of both the Sayeret Matkal and Aman. What did you expect?
We knew what we were getting with Amos, but the prime minister and I are now concerned that hes trying to turn King Saul Boulevard into an outpost of the IDF. We want the Office to retain its original character.
Boldness, countered Shamron. Audacity. I just wish Amos would think a little less like a battlefield commander and a little more like . . . His voice trailed off while he searched for the right word. When he found it, he rubbed his first two fingers against his thumb and said, Like an artist. I need someone by his side who thinks more like Caravaggio.
Caravaggio was a madman.
Shamron started to light another cigarette, but this time Gabriel managed to stay his hand before hed struck his lighter. Shamron looked at him, his eyes suddenly serious.
We need you now, Gabriel. Two hours ago the chief of Special Operations handed Amos his letter of resignation.
London. Shamron looked down at his captured hand. May I have that back?
Gabriel let go of the thick wrist. Shamron rolled the unlit cigarette between his thumb and forefinger.
What happened in London? Gabriel asked.
Im afraid we had a bit of a mishap there last night.
A mishap? When the Office has a mishap, someone usually ends up dead.
Excerpted from The Messenger, Copyright © 2006 Danile Silva. Reproduced with permission of the publishers, Penguin Putnam. Reproduction prohibited. All rights reserved.
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