فصل 02

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کتاب های ساده

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فصل 02

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  • زمان مطالعه 8 دقیقه
  • سطح ساده

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CHAPTER TWO

A robbery

Latto was staying at the Ocean View Motel. It was on the side of a small hill opposite the end of the wharf. His room was halfway up the hill and looked out over the sea. It was a large room, with a double bed, a desk, a television and a cupboard. There was also a small kitchen and of course a bathroom. Outside his room there was a small plastic table and a couple of chairs. He could sit there in the sunshine and see the wharf and the beach.

Latto got back to his room about midday. He lay down on the bed and slept for a while. Afterwards he sat at the table outside his room, thinking about Deborah Spencer. He remembered her as a friendly and intelligent woman. She had been surprised that Latto, a doctor of western medicine, was interested in her work. But once she realised that his interest was serious, she was happy to share some of her ideas with him by email. It was terrible that she had died, and in such a strange way too. He hoped the police would find out what had happened.

Latto couldn’t decide what to do about the next two weeks. He knew that Deborah Spencer worked with two other doctors in Santa Cruz - Ray and Sylvia. He knew their first names, but nothing else about them. Should he try and find them, and talk to them? He couldn’t leave until Detective Martinez allowed him to, so it seemed like a good idea. Perhaps Martinez would know who these other doctors were. Latto could ask him tomorrow.

At about six o’clock Latto started to feel hungry. In front of his motel and right next to the end of the wharf was Casey’s Bar and Grill. He had eaten there the evening before. It was a large friendly place, with good food and good service. Latto went in and was given a table by a window. He ordered a steak and a margarita. While he was eating, he thought back over the day and realised that he had left his sunglasses on the coffee table at Deborah Spencer’s house. It was possible the police were still at the house so he decided to walk up there after he had finished his meal.

He left Casey’s shortly after eight and started to walk up West Cliff Drive. The beach was empty, but out in the sea some of the sea lions that lived under the wharf were playing together. Latto climbed the hill past the Coast Santa Cruz Hotel and stopped when he reached Deborah Spencer’s house. There was a white Dodge parked on the road in front of the house. Police scientists, thought Latto, probably still looking at things in the house.

The front door to the house was open a little, so Latto pushed it wide and walked in. Everything was quiet.

Latto called out, ‘Hello!’

He stopped and listened for a few moments. There was no reply. He looked into the sitting room. There was no-one there. On the left of the front door was the dining room. That was empty too. Latto looked up the stairs. He thought he heard a noise.

Again he called out, ‘Hello!’ And he started up the stairs.

At the top, he stopped and listened again. Nothing.

There were four doors to choose from. The one on the left was half open and led into an office. Latto had just begun to move towards the door when suddenly it was thrown wide open and a young man almost ran out of the room. He looked angry. Under his left arm he was carrying a laptop computer, in his right hand was an empty plant pot.

‘Who are you?’ he asked, but he didn’t wait for an answer. His right hand came up fast, flying towards Latto’s head. By the time Latto realised what was happening it was too late. He was able to turn his head a little to the right, but not far enough. The plant pot hit the side of Latto’s head hard and broke into pieces. Latto fell back and his head hit the wall with a sickening noise. His world went dark.


‘Dr Latto. Are you OK? Hey! Wake up! Are you OK?’

Latto felt awful. His head felt as if it was full of small stones and they were all going round and round inside it. He opened his eyes to discover Detective Martinez looking down at him.

‘Hey! Doc. Are you OK?’

‘Do I look OK?’ asked Latto.

Martinez smiled a little. ‘Well, to tell you the truth, doc, you look terrible,’ he said.

‘Thanks.’ Latto got to his feet with difficulty and brushed his clothes down with his hands. He moved slowly over to a mirror on the wall and looked in it as he felt his head very carefully.

‘How does it feel?’ asked Martinez.

‘It hurts,’ said Latto, ‘but I think I’ve been quite lucky.’

‘Good,’ said Martinez. ‘So, tell me, what happened?’

Latto met Martinez’ eyes in the mirror.

‘I left my sunglasses here this morning by mistake. I thought the police might still be here so I came back to get them. The front door was open and I walked in.’

‘And?’ asked Martinez.

‘I called out a couple of times, but no-one answered. I was sure there was someone here because there was a car outside. I thought it must be the police scientists still working.’

‘Right,’ said Martinez, looking at Latto carefully.

‘Well, I came up the stairs and someone came out of that room - the office, is it? - and hit me over the head with a plant pot.’ Latto showed Martinez the pieces of pot. ‘He probably found it in the room and picked it up to hit me with.’

Martinez took out some paper and a pen.

‘Can you describe the person who did it?’ he asked.

‘I certainly can,’ replied Latto. ‘He was medium height, wearing old jeans, a black T-shirt and a baseball cap, and he had a gold ear-ring in his left ear.’ Martinez took notes.

‘He had a laptop under his arm,’ Latto went on. Martinez made another note.

‘I think he was on his own,’ Latto added. ‘I didn’t see anyone else. Or hear anyone for that matter.’

Martinez pushed his fingers back through his hair.

‘It’s probably some kid,’ he said. ‘Some clever kid who saw the police cars earlier and realised the house was going to be empty tonight. Thought he could steal a few things and make a bit of money. You’re at the Ocean View Motel, aren’t you? I’ll send someone round to show you some photos tomorrow afternoon. See if you can pick anyone out.’

‘OK,’ said Latto.

‘Let me get a police car to take you to the hospital now so they can check you over,’ said Martinez.

‘Thanks,’ said Latto, ‘but I’ll just walk back to my motel room. I’m OK. I just need to lie down. Some aspirin and some sleep is probably all I need.’

‘OK,’ said Martinez, laughing to himself a little. ‘You’re the doctor.’

As he walked back down West Cliff Drive, Latto thought about the man with the ear-ring. A death and then a robbery in the same house on the same day… it couldn’t just be chance.

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