فصل 08

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فصل 08

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دانلود اپلیکیشن «زیبوک»

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CHAPTER EIGHT

Cafe Pernambuco

Gail spoke to the waiter. He smiled, and a few moments later, he returned with a cup of hot chocolate and a glass of water.

I watched Gail for half an hour, drinking my coffee slowly. Nobody joined her. I asked the waiter for some orange juice -too much coffee is bad for me. And I went on watching.

After another hour, and two more orange juices, I had to go to the men’s washroom. When I came back, Gail was paying the waiter. She was about to leave. Had someone come in and spoken to her, or had she got tired of waiting?

I made a quick decision. As Gail was standing up, I walked across the room as if I had just come in through the door. I walked up behind Gail and said in a quiet voice, ‘Excuse me, Miss Lane, may I speak to you?’

Gail looked very frightened and she held on to the chair. Then she sat down.

I pulled out another chair. I sat down and looked at Gail. Her hands were white and they were shaking.

‘So it was you,’ she whispered. ‘You!’

‘What was me?’ I asked.

‘It was you who sent the message,’ Gail whispered. ‘Well, I’m here. What do you want?’

‘Miss Lane, believe me, I didn’t send you a message. I’m here by chance,’ I said, looking into those beautiful green eyes.

‘You’re not who you say you are,’ she said. ‘You arrived at the studios on the day of Josie’s accident. But I’ve seen you before. I know that.’

‘You’re right, Miss Lane,’ I replied. ‘We have met before. In the street outside the Purple Palace, in L.A. It was the night when Mike Devine crashed his car into mine. The night I took him home.’

Gail smiled for the first time. ‘So that’s who you are,’ she said quickly. ‘You helped me then and -‘

She stopped speaking.

‘And I’ll help you now,’ I said, finishing her sentence. ‘I’ working for the studio and they’ve told me to do everything can to help you. So here I am. What can I do?’

Gail smiled again. Then she looked sad. ‘There’s nothing you can do. There’s nothing anyone can do.’

‘Tell me your problem,’ I said. ‘What about the message you mentioned? What was the message?’

Gail opened her handbag, pulled out an envelope, and gave it to me. Inside it was a piece of Alvear Palace Hotel notepaper I read the message.

If you want to have the photos, go to Cafe Pernambuco, Avenida Corrientes, at 7 p.m. Sit at a table by the window.

I put the note back into the envelope.

‘What photos are those, Miss Lane?’ I asked quietly. ‘And what is so important about those photos? What makes you come to a cafe you don’t know, to meet a person you don’t know?’

Gail looked down at the table.

‘I -‘ she started. ‘I can’t tell you,’ she said. ‘You wouldn’t believe me, Mr Samuel.’

‘Tell me,’ I said, with what I hoped was a friendly smile.

Gail took a deep breath.

‘You must keep this to yourself. Don’t tell anyone,’ she began. ‘I’m being blackmailed. Years ago, when I was much younger - when I was just starting to act - I was friends with a man. You need friends when you’re a young actress. This man helped me to meet people who worked in the movies. It was all quite innocent - we were just friends. We’d go out for a meal or to see a show. Sometimes we’d go dancing in a club.’

‘And the photos are of you and this man?’ I interrupted. ‘Yes I believe so,’ Gail replied. They’re pictures of us dancing together at a club.’

I thought for a moment. ‘And the name of this man? Is he someone important?’ I asked.

Gail laughed. ‘Important? No. Dangerous? Yes! I didn’t know that when I met him. I thought he was a business man. I didn’t know he was a gangster and a murderer. I thought he was just a kind person who was helping me to start working in the movies.’

‘And his name?’ I asked again.

‘He’s changed his name since I first knew him,’ she replied. ‘Vincenzo Calabrese was his name then. Vincent Calab is what he calls himself now. And now, he’ll kill anyone who doesn’t do what he tells them. He’s a madman, Mr Samuel!’

This was very bad news! Vincent Calab was a well-known gangster. He was a ruthless criminal and he had a gang of ruthless men to carry out his commands.

‘So the message was from Vincent,’ I said.

‘No,’ Gail replied. ‘I’ve had similar messages before. This is from someone who’s somehow got some photos of Vincent and me. The last message said that, unless I paid two hundred and fifty thousand dollars, the photos would be sent to the newspapers. Mr Samuel, if those photos are printed in the newspapers, my career will be finished.’

‘If these messages aren’t from Calab, have you any idea who is blackmailing you?’ I asked. I wondered if it was someone working on the movie, but I didn’t say so.

Gail shook her head. She picked up the envelope and opened her handbag. As she opened the bag, I saw a small gun inside it.

‘I have to go,’ Gail said. ‘I don’t think anyone is going to come.

‘No. Perhaps they just watched you this time, to see if you obeyed their instructions,’ I said. ‘I’ll walk with you to the Alvear Palace. Downtown Buenos Aires is a safe place, but you’re a star and someone might recognize you.’

‘Don’t worry about me,’ Gail said. ‘I’ve got something here to protect me.’ She touched her handbag.

‘If you’re thinking of taking that gun onto the movie set tomorrow,’ I said, ‘forget about it. The security will be very tight here in B.A.’

‘Then you take it,’ Gail said with a smile. ‘And give it to me tomorrow when we’re on the set.’

‘OK,’ I replied. ‘But let me walk back to the hotel with you now.’

Gail nodded. I paid the waiter for my coffee and orange juice, then we walked out into the evening air. It was quite a long walk back to Gail’s hotel. We didn’t talk a lot, but it was a peaceful, friendly time which both of us enjoyed. Outside the hotel, I said goodbye. I put Gail’s gun into my pocket and I called for a cab to take me back to the Bisonte Palace.

As the cab drove through the busy streets, I was a happy man. Just before going into the hotel, Gail had kissed me on the cheek!

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