فصل 03

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فصل 03

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  • زمان مطالعه 9 دقیقه
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CHAPTER THREE

Zuwanie and the Rebels

Tobin and Dot returned to the Secret Service offices in another part of New York. As they walked through the building, some people said quietly, “Hi, Keller.” Some looked away from him.

Two men were standing outside Tobin’s office. “We’re Special Agents Lewis and King,” one said. “We’re here to help.”

Tobin’s boss, Jay Pettigrew, arrived. “Are you OK?” he asked.

“Yes,” Tobin said. “I feel better.”

“The President called me this morning. He’s worried. He doesn’t want Zuwanie to die over here. Get him out of the U.N. and out of the United States. Use agents from any other organization that you want.”

Tobin and Dot left the Secret Service offices and went to the CIA. They talked to Agent Jon Hassrow.

“Years ago, Edmond Zuwanie was a good guy,” Hassrow told them. “Matobo had a very bad government. Zuwanie freed the people and they loved him. Then he changed.”

He showed them pictures of Zuwanie. In each photo, the African president held a gun. Then Hassrow showed them some pictures of dead bodies.

“Zuwanie murdered 32,000 Ku this year. Every year he kills more people. Matobo is a dangerous place - and it’s getting worse.”

“Who wants him to die?” Tobin asked.

“Millions of people - and these two men.” Jon showed them a photo of a handsome young African man. “This is Ajene Xola. He’s a doctor’s son and he went to school in Paris. He was a peace protester, but now…”

“And that one?” Dot asked.

Jon picked up a photo of an older African man with guards around him.

“That’s the man with two names,” Tobin said. “I read about him in the newspapers every day.”

“One name, used twice,” Jon said. “Kuman-Kuman. He lives here in New York. He was Zuwanie’s friend, but now they’re enemies. He got too close to the President’s daughter. Kuman-Kuman says that Zuwanie is a madman. Both Kuman-Kuman and Xola are popular, and they both want Zuwanie to die.”

“They want him to die in the United Nations,” Tobin said, “in front of ambassadors from 191 countries. In front of the news cameras - in front of the world.” He gave Jon some papers. “This is the interpreter,” he said. “Find out everything about her.”

Dot drove Tobin to the Matoban government offices before she returned to the Secret Service building. Tobin went into the office of Nils Lud, a tall, middle-aged white man, President Zuwanie’s head of security.

“Tell me about the interpreter,” Lud said. He started to make coffee. “Is she lying? Is she pretty?”

Tobin gave Lud some papers. “This is the U.N.’s information about her. She has a Matoban passport.”

Lud looked surprised. “Does she?”

“She was born here,” Tobin said.

“Are you serious?” Lud asked.

“Yes,” Tobin replied.

“Black or white?” Lud asked.

Tobin looked at the coffee pot. “No, thanks.”

“Is she black or white?” Lud said angrily.

“White.”

“We need to find out - is she lying or not?”

That night, Silvia returned to her apartment. It was small and colorful, with African masks and photos on the walls.

She lifted the phone, then put it down. She took her cell phone out of her purse and opened it. Then she closed it and put it in her pocket. She ran out of the apartment to a pay phone, called a number in France, and listened to the message on the answering machine.

“This is Broullet. Leave a message.”

“Philippe. It’s Silvia. I must talk to you. Can you call me? No, don’t call me - I’ll call you later.”

She left the phone booth and walked nervously down the street. There was a young black man behind her. A cell phone rang. The young man stopped and pulled his phone out of his pocket. “Hi, Mom,” he said.

Dot watched from across the street, as she spoke into her phone to the young black man. “Agent Sample,” she said, “you’re too close.”

Doug Sample laughed. “Yes, Mom, things are OK. My boss is a problem, but…”

Silvia smiled. He was just another worker walking home. She went back into her apartment building.

The well-dressed African man sat in his car on the other side of the street. He watched Silvia, Dot, and Doug Sample. Nobody saw him.

When she was inside her apartment, Silvia turned on the light in her living room, took some new notebooks out of a shopping bag, and put them on the table. She wrote an address on a large envelope and put the notebooks inside the envelope. Then she walked slowly to the window and looked down at the dark street.

On the other side of the city, Tobin was opening his apartment door. He went into the living room and looked at the photos on the wall. He and his wife were eating, sailing, laughing. There was a big picture of his wife dancing. He sat next to the phone, turned on the answering machine, and listened to a message from his wife. He listened to the same message every night.

“Hi,” her voice said. “I’m sitting here, thinking… I made a mistake. Are you there? I want to come back. I told him. He’ll take me to the airport. Will you meet me? I’ll call you when I get there. I hope you haven’t changed the locks.”

Then there was another message, a male voice this time. “This is Officer Luper, New Mexico State Police. I want to speak to Tobin Keller. Please call me at 812-HIGHWAY. Thank you.”

Then a third message from a different man: “This is Doctor Cleary, calling from Albuquerque General Hospital. I’m sorry, but -“ And Tobin’s own voice: “Yes? Hello?”

The final message was from Dot. “Tobin? Are you there?” she asked. “I just heard. I… I don’t know what to say. I’ll call you later. I’m thinking about you.” And the recording ended.

Tobin looked around the empty room. Then he picked up a bag and left the apartment.

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