فصل 09

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فصل 09

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CHAPTER NINE

Death in the Evening

We saw the quiet crowd of people outside Wilson’s garage from some distance away.

‘Looks like an accident,’ Tom said. ‘Wilson will have some repair work at last.’

Tom slowed down. When he saw the looks on the people’s faces, he stopped the car.

Inside the garage, someone was crying, ‘Oh, my God, oh, my God,’ over and over again.

‘There’s some bad trouble here!’ Tom said excitedly. We got out of the car and Tom pushed through the crowd into the garage.

Myrtle Wilson’s body, wrapped in a blanket, lay on a table by the wall. Her mouth was open and a little blood was coming from it. Tom stood there, looking down at her.

‘Oh, my God, my God!’ repeated Wilson, his hands over his face.

Tom looked round the garage slowly. He went up to a policeman who was writing in a notebook.

‘What happened?’ Tom asked him.

‘Car hit her,’ the policeman said. ‘She ran out into the road and was killed at once. The car didn’t stop.’

‘The car was coming from New York,’ said someone in the crowd. ‘It was a big, yellow car, going about sixty…’

Wilson looked up and shouted out, ‘You don’t have to tell me what colour it was! I know it was a yellow car all right!’

‘Listen,’ Tom said, going over to Wilson. ‘I’ve just got here. That yellow car I was driving this afternoon wasn’t mine, do you hear?’

Wilson took no notice.

‘Let’s get out,’ Tom said to me and we pushed our way back through the crowd.

Tom drove on slowly at first, then faster. When I looked at him, I saw that he was crying.

‘That Gatsby, the Goddamned coward!’ Tom cried. ‘He killed Myrtle. He killed her and he didn’t stop his car!’

Later, I heard what had happened.

Wilson had at last found out that Myrtle had a lover. She refused to tell Wilson the man’s name. So Wilson had locked her in her bedroom for several hours.

Just before seven, someone had heard Myrtle cry out, ‘Beat me, hit me, you dirty little coward!’

Then Myrtle had rushed out into the evening darkness. She had been shouting and waving her arms. Had she wanted the yellow car to stop?

Myrtle Wilson was killed instantly and her blood ran onto the dusty road.

Tom stopped his car outside his house and looked up at a lighted window.

‘Daisy’s home,’ he said. Then he looked at me and said, ‘I’m sorry, Nick, I should have taken you to West Egg. I’ll phone for a taxi to take you home. Come in and have some supper.’

‘No, thanks,’ I said. ‘I’ll wait outside.’

Jordan put a hand on my arm.

‘Do come in. It’s only half past nine,’ she said.

I shook my head. I was feeling tired and sick. I had had enough of the Buchanans for one day.

Jordan looked at me for a moment. Then she followed Tom quickly into the house. That was the last time I saw her.

I walked slowly down the drive to wait for the taxi by the gate.

Gatsby stepped out onto the path in front of me. His pink suit shone in the moonlight.

‘What are you doing here?’ I asked in surprise.

‘Just standing here, old sport. Was… was she killed?’ Gatsby asked slowly.

‘Yes.’

‘I thought so. That’s what I told Daisy.’

‘I got back to West Egg and put the car in the garage,’ Gatsby went on. ‘I don’t think anyone saw us…’

I stared at Gatsby, feeling that I hated him.

‘How the hell did it happen?’ I asked angrily.

‘Well, I tried to turn the wheel,’ Gatsby began…

I suddenly guessed the truth.

‘Was Daisy driving?’

‘Yes,’ said Gatsby after a moment, ‘but of course, I’ll say I was. Daisy was very upset when we left New York. I thought driving would calm her down.

‘That woman rushed into the road just as a car was coming the other way. I think she wanted us to stop. Daisy turned towards the other car and then turned back. She was very frightened. I put my hand on the wheel, but the woman was already under the car.

‘Daisy wouldn’t stop,’ Gatsby explained. ‘Then she felt faint and I drove home. I’m waiting here now in case Tom makes any trouble.’

‘Tom’s not thinking about Daisy,’ I said.

Then I thought for a moment. What would Tom do if he found out that Daisy had been driving? Would he believe that Myrtle’s death had been an accident?

‘You wait here,’ I said to Gatsby. ‘I’ll go back to the house and see what’s going on.’

The light was on in the kitchen. Daisy and Tom were sitting opposite each other at the kitchen table.

Tom was talking and holding Daisy’s hand. Daisy looked up at Tom and nodded her head. They looked as though they belonged to each other. They looked as though they were planning something.

I went back to Gatsby, who was standing where I had left him. I could hear the sound of my taxi.

‘It’s all quiet,’ I said. ‘You’d better come home with me.’

Gatsby shook his head.

‘I’ll wait here till they go to bed. Daisy may need me. Goodnight, old sport.’

Gatsby put his hands in the pockets of his pink suit. I left him standing there, in the moonlight.

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