فصل 02

مجموعه: کارآگاه لنی ساموئل / کتاب: فیلم در لوس آنجلس / فصل 2

فصل 02

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متن انگلیسی فصل

CHAPTER TWO

‘What Do You Want Me to Do?’

That guy’s a fool,’ Gail Lane repeated. ‘I’m sorry, mister.’ I opened my mouth to say something but no words came out. I was standing in the middle of a busy street in downtown L.A., with the hottest actress in Hollywood!

‘Say something,’ Gail said.

‘Hey! Well! Mmm - What do you want me to do?’ I managed to say.

‘Well, let’s start by getting my car off the road,’ Gail said.

‘Your car?’ I asked.

‘Yeah,’ she replied. ‘It’s my car. He shouldn’t have been driving it. He’s had far too much to drink. The parking attendant brought the car round to the front of the club, and Mike took the keys. I argued with him, but he wouldn’t let me drive.’

‘Mike?’ I asked.

‘Do you repeat everything someone says?’ Gail asked sharply. ‘Mike Devine is his name. Have you ever heard of him?’

I had. Mike Devine was the son of Joel Devine, who was a rich and successful movie producer. Mike had never done a day’s work in his life. But he was never short of money - his father made sure of that. As a result, Mike Devine had got into lots of trouble. There were always stories about him in the newspapers - stories about gambling debts, accidents, women, things like that. Now, Mike Devine lay in the street next to my Chrysler.

Gail and I pushed the damaged white car to the sidewalk. A crowd of people was standing there, staring at us. Then someone recognized Gail. Suddenly, people started to point at us and talk.

Gail looked at me. She smiled and her face changed, just like it had in the movie. She touched my arm.

‘There is something else you can do for me,’ she said in a quiet, warm voice. ‘I can’t stay here. People have seen me. I’ve got to get home. Will you help me, please?’

‘Sure,’ I said. ‘Let’s go.’ I was delighted. I was excited! Perhaps Gail would invite me into her apartment. There would be soft lights and soft music. Anything might happen!

She smiled at me again. ‘You’re a nice guy,’ she said.

We walked over to the Chrysler. Mike Devine’s eyes were open now. There was blood on his smart suit. When he saw Gail, he stood up and held on to the side of my Chrysler.

‘Get into this guy’s car before the police come, Mike,’ Gail said to the young man.

She pulled Mike Devine by his jacket, opened the back door of the Chrysler, and pushed him in.

‘Oh,’ I muttered. ‘You’d like me to take him home too?’

‘He lives at 9002, Hollywood Boulevard,’ Gail said sweetly. ‘Thank you for your help.’

‘It’s a pleasure,’ I replied. ‘Please get in.’ I opened the front passenger door.

Gail looked puzzled for a moment, then she laughed.

‘No, thanks,’ she said. ‘I’m taking a cab. Thank you again for your help.’

Her lips touched my cheek briefly, and then she was gone. She ran to the sidewalk, where the doorman of the Purple Palace called a cab for her. I watched her go, then I got into the Chrysler. There was a strange noise coming from the back seat. I turned round. Mike Devine was being sick. I opened the window and drove away. A few minutes later, Mike Devine was unconscious.

9002, Hollywood Boulevard, was a tall new building with windows of black glass. I stopped outside it and switched off the Chrysler’s engine. A doorman came out of the building and walked up to the car. He was a short, heavy man with a small moustache.

‘Hey, you can’t park here, mister,’ the doorman said.

I pointed at the unconscious figure lying on the back seat.

‘Does he live here?’ I asked.

The doorman looked at Mike. Then he opened the back door of the car, and stepped away as the smell reached him.

‘Yeah, he lives here,’ the doorman replied. ‘Apartment 501.’

‘Help me to take him up to his apartment,’ I said.

Together, the doorman and I carried Mike Devine into the hallway and across to the elevator. The doorman came up with us in the elevator, and waited while I found some keys in Mike Devine’s trouser pocket. I unlocked the apartment door.

‘OK,’ the doorman said. ‘Are you a friend of Mr Devine?’

‘Well, no,’ I replied. ‘But I’m a friend of a friend. Why?’

‘We’re very careful about who comes in and out of this building. But if you’re a friend of Mr Devine’s friend, then I guess you can go in,’ the doorman replied. ‘But you’ll have to give me your name.’

I gave him one of my business cards.

‘Huh! A private eye!’ the doorman muttered.

‘A private detective,’ I replied. ‘But can you keep an eye on my car?’

‘OK,’ the doorman replied and got back into the elevator.

I opened the apartment door and pulled Mike Devine into a big living- room. I knew at once that something was wrong. All the lights were on. Clothes and books were lying all over the floor. Paintings hung sideways on the walls.

‘Where’s the bathroom?’ I asked Mike.

He muttered something and pointed to a door. I took him into the bathroom and turned on the shower - full power, ice-cold! Then I pushed him into the shower with his clothes on. He made a noise when the ice-cold water hit his face, but five minutes later, Mike could stand up on his own, with his eyes open. I threw him a towel.

‘Get dried. Then put some clean clothes on,’ I said. ‘I’ll wait for you in the living-room.’

I closed the bathroom door and started to look around the apartment more carefully. The living-room was a real mess. The windows were open and the curtains were moving in the gentle wind. There was a corridor on my left. I guessed there were bedrooms behind the doors in the corridor.

I opened the first door quietly. I saw large bedroom. It was decorated in white - white walls, white carpet, a huge white bed.

I stepped into the room and walked towards the bed. I don’t know what I was looking for. Then I heard a noise behind me. Before I could turn round, something hit me on the back of the head. I guess I must have fallen heavily to the floor. But I was unconscious by then.

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