فصل 14

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فصل 14

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متن انگلیسی فصل

CHAPTER fourteen

Gunfights!

For most of the next day, Bond waited at the hotel for something to happen. When he got tired of waiting, he phoned Ernie Cureo.

‘Let’s meet for a talk,’ he said.

Cureo came to get him that evening, and they drove away from the Strip.

‘What happened last night?’ asked Ernie Cureo. ‘Did you win anything?’

‘I won some money at roulette,’ said Bond. ‘It won’t worry Spang. He’s rich. How does he spend his money?’

‘He’s crazy about the old West,’ said Cureo. ‘He bought himself a ghost town out on Highway 95. It’s called Spectreville. It has a Western saloon bar, a hotel and even an old railway station. And Spang bought one of the old trains. He keeps it in the station at Spectreville. At weekends he takes his friends for a ride to Rhyolite. It’s another ghost town, about fifty miles away. It gets lots of visitors.’

‘That’s why I haven’t heard from Spang or his friends all day,’ thought Bond. ‘It’s Friday, so they’ll be out playing trains.’

After some minutes, Cureo said, ‘We’re being followed, front and back. Do you see that black Chevrolet in front, with the two men? They’ve got two driving mirrors and they’re watching us. Behind us is a little red Jaguar. Two more men, with golf clubs on the back seat. They belong to the Detroit Purple Gang, and they don’t play golf. I’ll try and lose them.’

Bond took a thousand-dollar note from his pocket and pushed it into Cureo’s shirt pocket. ‘That’s for any damage to your car. OK, Ernie. Let’s see what you can do.’

He took his Beretta out of its holster and held it in his hand. ‘This is what I’ve been waiting for,’ he thought.

It was a straight road with not much traffic. Ahead, the tops of the mountains were yellow in the evening sun. They were riding easily along with the Jaguar behind them and the black Chevrolet in front. Without warning, Cureo pushed his foot down hard and stopped the car suddenly. The Jaguar hit them from behind and there was a crash of metal and glass. Cureo then drove away fast down the road.

Bond looked out of the back window. ‘They’re out of the car,’ he said. ‘The windscreen is broken - there’s glass everywhere. They’re trying to pull the front part of the car off the wheels. Good work, Ernie. It’s stopped them for a little while.’

‘Get down,’ said Cureo. ‘The Chevrolet has stopped at the side of the road. They may try some shooting.’

Bond felt the car move forward fast. Cureo was half lying on the front seat, driving with one hand. There were two loud cracks as they went past the Chevrolet. Glass fell around Bond. The car almost went off the road before Cureo got it straight again. Bond pushed out the broken glass in the back window. The Chevrolet was coming after them.

‘I’m going to turn suddenly and stop in the next side road,’ said Cureo. ‘It’ll give you a clear shot when they come round the corner after us. Now!’

The car went round the corner on two wheels and Bond held on to his seat. The car stopped suddenly. Bond jumped out, his gun in his hand.

The Chevrolet came round the corner fast.

Bond fired his gun. Crack! Crack! Crack! Crack! All four bullets hit the car.

The Chevrolet went across the road, hit a tree, turned completely round and went slowly over onto its side. And stopped. Bond watched fire come from the front of it.

Someone was trying to get out of a window. Soon the flames were going to find petrol on the ground and the whole car was going to explode. It was going to be too late for the man inside.

Bond heard a sound behind him. He turned to see Ernie Cureo fall from the driver’s seat of the taxi and across the passenger seat. Bond forgot the burning Chevrolet and pulled open the car door. There was blood all over Cureo’s arm. Bond pulled him carefully onto the passenger seat and his eyes opened.

‘Get me out of here,’ he said. ‘And drive fast. That Jaguar will soon be coming to find us. Then get me to a doctor.’

‘OK, Ernie,’ said Bond. He got into the driving seat and started the car. He moved fast down the road, away from the burning Chevrolet.

‘Can you see anything in the mirror?’ asked Cureo.

‘There’s a car coming fast after us,’ said Bond. ‘It’s the Jaguar.’

‘We have to find somewhere to hide,’ said Cureo. ‘There’s a drive-in cinema near here. There! Turn right. See those lights? Get in there quick. That’s right, between those cars. Turn off your lights. Stop.’

The taxi stopped in the back line of six rows of cars. They looked towards a large cinema screen. A man was saying something to a woman on the screen.

Two more cars drove in and stopped. Neither of them was the Jaguar. A girl came up to the taxi.

‘That’s a dollar, please,’ she said. She connected a loudspeaker to a metal post next to the car. Then she hung the speaker inside the window next to Bond. The voices of the man and woman on the screen filled the car.

The girl moved away to the next car.

‘Turn the sound off!’ said Cureo. He spoke with difficulty. ‘Watch the entrance. We’ll wait a little while, then you can get me to a doctor.’

Bond found a switch and the voices stopped. He looked out into the darkness towards the entrance, but could see nothing. Suddenly, a dark shape came up from the ground, and a gun was pointing at Bond’s face. Then a voice from outside Ernie Cureo’s side of the car whispered, ‘OK, boys, don’t do anything stupid.’

Bond looked at the face next to him. ‘Get out, or we’ll shoot your friend,’ the man told him. ‘You and the two of us are going for a drive.’

Bond turned and saw the gun pushed into Cureo’s neck.

‘I’ll go with them, Ernie,’ he said. ‘I’ll soon be back to get you to a doctor.’

‘Sorry, friend,’ said Cureo, in a tired voice. ‘I think…’ There was a soft noise as the gun hit him behind the ear. He fell forward and was silent.

Bond stepped slowly out of the car, and the three men walked towards the entrance.

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