فصل 20

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فصل 20

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دانلود اپلیکیشن «زیبوک»

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دانلود اپلیکیشن «زیبوک»

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متن انگلیسی فصل

CHAPTER TWENTY

The End

I called Gail at once.

‘The letter says that I have to take the two hundred and fifty thousand dollars to the studios this afternoon at four o’clock,’ Gail told me. ‘I have to wait alone in the Gate Four parking lot, near the phone booth. Then I’ll get another message.’

‘OK,’ I replied. ‘Get the money and do what the letter says. I’ll be there too, but you won’t see me. Don’t bring Arabella and Annie.’

‘Are you sure, Lenny?’ Gail asked anxiously. ‘I’m really worried.’

‘Yes, I’m sure,’ I replied. ‘I’ll talk to you later.’

I put down the phone and I thought for a moment. Then I played the second message on the answerphone. It was Mike Devine, phoning from Crystal Lake.

‘Hi, Samuel,’ he said. ‘I’m having a great time up here. I caught some real big fish yesterday. It’s so good here, I don’t even miss L.A! Thanks again for your help.’

‘Well,’ I thought, ‘that’s one satisfied client.’ Although of course he hadn’t paid me yet, except with a bad cheque.

I opened one of the drawers of my filing cabinet and I pulled out a phone repairman’s uniform and a toolbox. Then I phoned Costas. I asked him to lend me the ladder that he keeps for working on the roof of his bar.

At three o’clock, I was back at the studios, dressed as a phone repairman and carrying Costas’ ladder and my toolbox. I showed the security guard at Gate Four a phone company pass which I’d got from Hank. The guard let me through. I climbed up on to the roof of a low building near the parking lot, and I pretended to work on the phone lines.

Exactly at four o’clock, Gail arrived in her car. I saw her park in the far corner of the lot, near a phone booth. I took a pair of binoculars out of my tool box and I watched Gail’s car. At four-fifteen, the phone in the booth rang. Gail got out of her car to answer it. She was carrying a plastic bag which I thought must contain the money. She answered the phone and listened for a moment. Then she left the booth, got back in her car and drove away. She had left the plastic bag in the booth. I waited.

Five minutes later, I saw a man walk across the parking lot to the phone booth. He had an envelope in his hand which he put on top of the phone in the booth. Then he picked up the plastic bag and walked back across the lot and into a building.

I knew who the man was.

At half-past four, Gail drove back into the parking lot and collected the envelope from the phone booth. Then she drove away again. I packed up my things and climbed down from the roof. It was a short walk to the building which the man had gone into. I knew this building - I had been inside it before.

I didn’t knock at the office door. I just opened it and walked in.

‘Hi, Rik,’ I said.

‘Hi, Len,’ Rik replied. ‘Are you working for the phone company now?’ He didn’t look surprised to see me.

‘I wanted to tell you what’s been happening,’ I began. ‘And I’ve come to collect my money, of course.’

‘I don’t think you’re going to get paid,’ Rik said with a laugh. ‘Homer Frank’s been arrested.’

‘But, you’ve just been paid, Rik, haven’t you?’ I said calmly.

‘What do you mean, Len?’ Rik asked. He didn’t sound happy.

‘I was thinking about the time we were in the L.A.P.D. together,’ I said. ‘You were investigating gangsters.’

‘Yeah, that’s right,’ Rik said. ‘I followed gangsters day and night. It was a terrible job.’

I nodded. ‘And I suppose you took photos of them too,’ I added.

Rik sat very still, but he didn’t say anything.

‘And when you left the L.A.P.D., you took some of the photos with you,’ I went on. ‘You thought they might be useful one day. And one day, they were very useful. It was the day when a girl you had seen dancing with a gangster became a movie star.’

Rik stared at me.

‘And today you got paid - two hundred and fifty thousand bucks,’ I said. ‘A quarter of a million! Why did you blackmail Gail, Rik? And why did you hire me? You didn’t care about Gail. I suppose you wanted to keep her alive so that you could blackmail her.’

Rik said nothing.

‘We’ve known each other a long time, Rik,’ I said. ‘I’m not going to tell the police about this. Just give me the money, I’ll give it back to Gail, and we’ll forget all about it. I’ll forget all about it unless you tell anyone you have more copies of those photos.’

Rik opened the top drawer of his desk. He took out Gail’s plastic bag and gave it to me.

‘I don’t know what you’re talking about, Len,’ he said. ‘But I found this bag in a phone booth in the parking lot. I’m Head of Security, so I took it. I was going to try and find out who it belonged to.’

‘Sure, Rik,’ I said with a smile, ‘That’s your story. But I know you’re the blackmailer. I saw you leave the envelope with the photographs in the booth when you took the bag.’

Rik shook his head. He didn’t say anything else.

I left his office and drove back to mine. I was feeling sad. I’d always liked Rik Roma.

I called Gail. She asked me to bring the bag over to her apartment immediately.

Gail let me into her apartment and she kissed me on the cheek. The apartment was plain but beautiful. The furniture was expensive. There was a wonderful view.

I gave Gail the plastic bag. I didn’t tell her that Rik was the blackmailer. I said that I had followed a man who taken the bag from the phone booth. I said I had fought him and taken the bag from him. I said I didn’t know him, and that I hadn’t tried to find out who he was. And I said that if she heard from him again, she had to call me straight away.

‘You are wonderful, Lenny,’ Gail said. ‘There’s something I want to tell you, and there’s someone I want you to meet. I want to tell you that I’m leaving the movie business. No more movies for me! And I want you to meet Theo, the man I’m going to marry.’

She went into another room and came back with a tall, smiling, dark-haired man.

‘Hi! I’m Theo,’ he said and he put his arms around Gail, ‘I have to thank you for looking after Miss Lane. You’re a great guy!’

Then he spoke to Gail. ‘Come on, honey,’ he said. ‘We’ve got things to do.’

‘OK, Theo,’ she said. ‘I’m coming. Goodbye, Lenny. Good luck!’

I realized that I would never see Gail again. And I wasn’t going to get any money from the studio. The case was closed!

I drove back to my office and called the cabin at Crystal Lake.

‘Hi! It’s Lenny,’ I said, when Mike Devine answered. ‘I’m coming up to the cabin to do some fishing. I’ll see you in a few hours.’

‘Well,’ I said to myself as I drove out of L.A. ‘No money for this case, no girl, and no career in the movies. Perhaps I’ll have better luck with the fish!’

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