فصل 06

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فصل 06

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CHAPTER SIX

The Cabaret Club

The man holding the knife pushed Peter and said, ‘Come on.’

‘All right,’ said Peter, ‘I’ll go with you. Jeff’s a friend of mine and he’ll be angry with you if you hurt me.’

‘Come on then,’ repeated the man, ‘let’s go.’

They walked along the dark street. The man with the knife walked just behind Peter. At the corner a big car was parked.

‘Stop here,’ the man said, and opened the door of the car. ‘Get in. Don’t try to escape or do anything stupid.’

The man started the engine and drove very fast through the narrow, dark streets. After only five minutes, the car stopped outside a big house. There was a sign outside the house which said “Cabaret Club”. There were lots of cars parked in front of the house.

‘Get out,’ the man said. Peter got out of the car and stood on the pavement.

‘This way,’ said the man, pushing Peter towards the front door. Peter could hear music coming from the house. The man rang the bell and a little window in the door opened. A man’s face appeared in the window.

‘What do you want?’ asked the face.

‘It’s me,’ said the man from the cafe. ‘I’ve brought someone who says that he’s a friend of Jeff.’

‘Jeff’s in the back room,’ the man at the door replied and opened the door to let them in. The man from the cafe took Peter through the hall and stopped outside a door at the end of the corridor. Peter looked around. The rooms on each side of the hall were full of people drinking, talking and playing cards. The man with Peter knocked at the door and pushed Peter into the room.

It was a small room, full of smoke. Three men were sitting around a table playing cards. One of the men turned around and looked at Peter. It was Jeff.

‘Well, look who has come to visit us,’ Jeff said in a surprised voice. Then Jeff turned to the man who had brought Peter from the cafe and asked, ‘Why did you bring Peter here?’

‘Well, boss,’ the man replied, ‘he said he was a friend of yours, but I thought he was from the police.’

‘Well, you’re wrong,’ said Jeff. ‘Peter is a friend of mine and I hope you didn’t hurt him.’

Peter smiled because he was pleased that Jeff remembered him.

‘OK,’ said Jeff, ‘all of you get out. I want to talk to my old friend, Peter.’

The others left the room and Peter and Jeff were alone.

‘Well, Jeff,’ said Peter, sitting down. ‘You haven’t changed much.’

‘Perhaps not,’ replied Jeff, ‘but I’m much richer now. I own this club.’

Peter grinned. ‘So you’ve stopped stealing and started working honestly.’

Jeff laughed. ‘Well, not exactly. You could say that I control the people who do the stealing. I sell the things which they steal. The club makes it very easy for me to do this because lots of people come here every day.’

‘Anyway,’ Peter said, ‘I didn’t come here for lessons about being a successful criminal. I need your help.’

‘Why?’ asked Jeff.

Peter told Jeff the whole story - that Peter had given John a lift, that the police thought that John had killed his uncle, but that John said that he hadn’t killed him.

‘I don’t think John did kill his uncle Peter continued, ‘ but how can we prove it?’

‘There is only one way,’ replied Jeff. ‘You’ll have to find the murderer.’

‘But I don’t know how to start. Have you heard anyone talking about the murder?’ Peter asked.

‘No,’ answered Jeff, ‘but if you can wait for a few minutes, I’ll go and ask some of my friends if they know anything about it. Make yourself at home while you are waiting.’

After Jeff had left, Peter got up and went out into the hall. He looked into the big room where the music was coming from. A man was singing, some girls were dancing and people were talking and laughing. It was quite dark and very hot.

Peter felt thirsty. He asked for a drink and a waiter brought it. Peter tried to pay for the drink, but the waiter refused to take the money.

‘You’re a friend of Jeff’s,’ the waiter said, ‘so you don’t have to pay.’

Ten minutes later, Jeff came back. ‘Well,’ he said as he sat down, ‘I think I have some useful information.’

Peter nodded. ‘What is it?’ he asked. ‘Do you know who the murderer is?’

Jeff laughed. ‘Of course not,’ he said. ‘But I can give you the name of someone in Bristol who may be able to help you.’

‘What’s his name?’ Peter asked.

‘Bob Steel. He’s a friend of mine. Bob lives by the river. He knows more about what happens in Bristol than the police do.’

‘Thank you very much,’ said Peter.

Jeff gave Peter a piece of paper. ‘Here’s Bob’s address,’ he said, ‘and a note to say that you’re a friend of mine. Bob will help you find the murderer.’

Peter stood up. ‘Thank you again, but I must go now,’ he said to Jeff. ‘I must get back to Bristol as soon as possible.’

‘Right,’ replied Jeff. ‘It was nice to see you again. And if you ever want another job, come and see me.’

‘No, thank you,’ said Peter, with a laugh. ‘I don’t think I’d be a very good thief.’

Jeff walked out to the door with Peter and told the man at the door to drive Peter back to his lorry in the big car.

Peter got into the car and the car drove off fast down the street.

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