فصل 20

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فصل 20

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Chapter twenty

I’m Sorry, Mr Samuel

‘Go on with your story,’ I said.

‘The evening I came to see you at your office,’ said Elaine, ‘I telephoned Benny at Las Cabanas. I told Benny what I had done. Benny told me that the red-haired man knew that we had stolen the jewellery. Benny told me that there would be no trouble if I brought the jewels back to Las Cabanas the next night.’

‘You were stupid to trust the red-haired man,’ I said.

‘I know,’ the girl said. ‘I was afraid. So I asked you to meet me at Las Cabanas at midnight’

‘So you didn’t know that Benny was dead until I told you at Las Cabanas,’ I said.

‘No,’ Elaine said. ‘That is why I ran away before midnight. I decided not to give them the jewellery, because they had killed Benny.’

‘You’ve still got the jewels, then?’ I asked, in surprise. ‘Where are they?’

‘Here,’ Elaine said, and pointed to a small bag under the table.

I reached under the table, picked up the hag and opened it. The bag was full of diamonds and jewellery. Just then I heard a voice and, at the same time, Elaine screamed.

‘Give it to me!’ said the voice.

I looked up quickly and saw Jo standing beside me. His tall friend was right behind him.

‘Give me the bag!’ said Jo, once again.

‘How did you know I was here?’ I asked.

‘You parked your car right outside,’ said Jo, with a laugh. ‘Now, give me the bag.’

I passed him the bag. As I gave him the bag, I jumped to my feet and hit Jo hard in the face. He tripped and fell heavily onto the floor. I moved towards the tall man, who was still standing a few feet away. I was about to run at him, but then I stopped. The tall man had taken a gun from his pocket and the gun was pointing straight at me.

‘Right,’ said the tall man. ‘Don’t move or else I’ll shoot you.’

Jo got up from the floor. He still had the bag of jewellery in his hand. Together, Jo and his friend with the gun walked towards the door. They walked backwards, to make sure that Elaine and I did not try to get the bag back.

As the two men reached the door, I started to laugh.

‘What are you laughing at?’ shouted the man with the gun.

‘Look behind you,’ I said.

Both men turned around and looked. In the doorway of the cafe stood Sergeant Murphy, with two other policemen. Sergeant Murphy jumped on the tall man with the gun and Jo ran back into the cafe. I stepped forward to stop Jo and he ran straight into me. We both fell on the floor and the two policemen ran up. One of the policemen held Jo. The other policeman held me.

‘They are the criminals,’ I shouted, pointing at Jo and his friend, ‘not me.’

‘You are all coming down to the police station,’ Sergeant Murphy said and looked over to Elaine Garfield. ‘You must come, too.’

It took a long time to tell Sergeant Murphy the whole story. In the end, he believed what Elaine and I told him. The sergeant warned me not to tell him lies again, and agreed to let me go free. Elaine told Sergeant Murphy all she knew about Las Cabanas. The sergeant was very pleased to catch Jo and his friend with the jewels. Sergeant Murphy agreed to let Elaine go free, because she helped catch the criminals.

As we were leaving the police station, I asked Sergeant Murphy how he had found us in the “Seventh Man” cafe.

‘It was very lucky, really,’ said the sergeant. ‘We went to your office to see you, but you weren’t there. As we were leaving, we saw the red-haired man and his friend entering. We waited and when they left, we followed them to the cafe.’

‘Thank you very much, Sergeant,’ said Elaine. ‘And thank you very much, Mr Samuel.’

‘That’s all right,’ I said, ‘you are paying me fifty dollars a day.’

‘I’m sorry, Mr Samuel,’ Elaine said, ‘I’m afraid I can’t pay you. Now that I’ve given the jewels to the police, I don’t have any money.’

I smiled and got into the old grey Chrysler and drove back to the office. I didn’t say goodbye. When I got back to the office, I sat down in my chair. It’s not much fun being a private eye. You get hit on the head, nearly killed, and chased by the police. And you don’t always get paid.

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