Now that the incident was played out and everything at the Mandarin was now operating smoothly and quietly again, with the bar now reopened for evening customers, Walter could relax. However, he first sent an additional security guard to the bar and asked that an additional screen be attached to the video from the French Laundry. Roy executed his instructions right away.

It should be noted that the Mandarin was guarded by two separate security services: one official, and one secret. The official one included, in addition to the chief, a group of officers on duty along with operators and illiterate, lazy security guards, designed to give the impression of a vigilant protection force. Only one third of this team remained for the night shift.

Of course, such a simple team wasn’t able to provide proper security for the complex operations of a hotel. Actual security was provided by the internal armed security service, which few people knew about. This included about a dozen former police and military officers: they looked like undercover cops in dark suits, broad-shouldered and short-necked. They appeared in the hot spots of the hotel—always unexpectedly, and always on time.

This, and only this, explained Walter’s carelessness of constantly moving back and forth from his girlfriend’s boudoir to the surveillance room at work during the night shift. Walter knew well indeed that the role he played in this security system was only secondary, and almost insignificant.


It was three o’clock in the morning, and there were still six hours left on duty. Six long hours of gazing dumbly at the screens.

“Man, I’ve got an interesting proposition for you,” said Walter, wiping his neck with a scented hand wipe. He tossed the crumpled napkin into the trashcan and, pleased he had the shot, continued, “My former boss bought himself a house in New Jersey. It’s a villa with terraces, a garden, and a pool. It cost him a million and a half dollars, but he was able to get a mortgage at a good rate.”