فصل 05

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دانلود اپلیکیشن «زیبوک»

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CHAPTER FIVE

Harlem

Three men waited at the bus stop on the corner of 5th Avenue and Cathedral Parkway. They were wet and bored. They had been watching the traffic on 5th Avenue since four thirty, but now a bus stopped and one of the men got on it. He saw the two white men and sat down on a seat behind them. He had been given descriptions and he recognized Bond, but not the other man.

At the next stop, he got off the bus and hurried to the nearest public phone. The Whisper questioned him urgently , then immediately started to pass on the information.

‘Boss, the Englishman is on a bus on 5th Avenue. He’s got a friend with him, but the friend doesn’t seem to match the description of either of the other two.’ The Whisper then described Leiter. ‘They’re both coming north.’

‘Warn the clubs and get this information to Tee-Hee Johnson, Mc Thing, Blabbermouth Foley, Sam Miami…’ said the voice at the other end of the line. It spoke for another five minutes. After that, The Whisper began giving out the news.

From the moment Bond and Leiter walked into Sugar Ray’s club on 7th Avenue, there was a team of men and women watching them or waiting to watch them. These men and women reported what they saw to The Whisper.

The famous nightclub was crowded, and the walls were covered with pictures of Sugar Ray Robinson, the famous boxer. Bond and Leiter found an empty table, sat down and ordered drinks.

As Bond was paying the waiter, Leiter said suddenly, ‘Do you know where Mr Big is tonight?’

The waiter’s eyes opened wide. He moved close to Leiter. ‘I’ve got a wife and kids, Sir,’ he said out of the corner of his mouth. ‘Don’t ask me that.’ Then he hurried away.

‘Mr Big’s got the best protection of all,’ said Leiter. ‘Fear.’

They finished their drinks and went out onto 7th Avenue. The rain had stopped but there was an icy-cold wind. They moved along with the other people on the pavement, but the looks they were given were not friendly. The streets were dirty and many of the buildings were dark and unwelcoming. Bond wondered what secrets were held behind some of the closed doors.

‘We’ll go to Ma Frazier’s, further up the Avenue,’ said Leiter. ‘It has the best food in Harlem.’

They had an excellent meal of Fried Chicken Maryland with bacon and sweetcorn. But when Leiter asked the waiter about Mr Big, the man pretended not to hear. When they had finished eating and Bond was paying the bill, Leiter tried again.

‘Sorry, Sir,’ said the waiter. ‘I don’t remember anyone with that name.’

By the time they left the restaurant, it was ten thirty. They took a taxi to the Savoy Ballroom, where they had drinks and watched the dancers in the huge, crowded hall. Bond thought many of the girls were very beautiful and he found the music exciting. He almost forgot what he was there for.

‘Great, isn’t it?’ said Leiter. ‘But we’d better move on. I’ll have a walk around while you pay for the drinks. I’ll see if I can get any information about where Mr Big is. We don’t want to have to go to all his places.’

They met outside the entrance a few minutes later, then walked up the street looking for a taxi.

‘It cost me twenty dollars,’ said Leiter, ‘but I was told he’ll be at The Boneyard on Lennox Avenue soon after midnight. I’ll take you to the Yeah Man club on 7th Avenue first, then we’ll move on to The Boneyard at about twelve thirty. There’s a girl dancer there called G-G Sumatra. I’m sure you’ll like her very much, James.’

The big switchboard was almost quiet. The two men had been checked in and out of Sugar Ray’s, Ma Frazier’s, the Savoy Ballroom and Yeah Man. The last call came at twelve thirty as Bond and Leiter were on their way to The Boneyard.

Mr Big spoke on the phone to the head waiter of The Boneyard. ‘Two white men are coming in. Give them table Z.’ He made two more phone calls. One was to the MC, the Master of Ceremonies, the man introducing the entertainment.

‘Put the lights out at the end of G-G’s act ,’ he said.

‘Yes, Sir, Boss,’ said the MC.

The other call was to four men who were playing cards in a downstairs room. It was a long call and the instructions were carefully explained and very detailed.

At twelve forty-five, Bond and Leiter paid their taxi driver and walked into The Boneyard. The head waiter met them and took them to a table in the corner of the club by the small, crowded dance floor.

Bond looked round. It was not a large room, but there were about fifty tables and about two hundred people. The music stopped. The four-man band carried their musical instruments away, and the red light under the glass dance floor was turned off. Instead, pencil-thin lights in the roof came on and shone on coloured glass balls that hung around the walls - yellow, blue and red.

There were calls of ‘Where’s G-G?’ and ‘Come on, G-G!’ from the crowd.

Suddenly, the MC came out onto the dance floor. A single white light shone down on him as the rest of the room went dark. There was silence.

‘Folks, it’s time!’ he said, smiling. He put out his right hand. ‘Mr Jungles Japhet and his drums!’

Another light came on and the crowd clapped excitedly. Across the floor, four smiling, black men in red shirts and white trousers sat behind four drums of different sizes.

‘And now, friends,’ said the MC, ‘G-G… SUMATRA!’ The last word was a shout.

Two huge black men ran out onto the dance floor. They were carrying a young woman. She was wearing a long black coat and had a black mask across her eyes. The men put her down in the middle of the floor, then moved away into the darkness.

The crowd was suddenly silent. The four men started to play the drums slowly and loudly. The girl began to dance - slowly at first and then a little faster. She put her hand up to her neck and the coat fell away from her. Now she was wearing a small black dress. Her body was small, brown and beautiful. The drums beat faster… she moved faster with them, turning round and round. The drums beat louder… she picked up the coat and threw it off the dance floor.

Some minutes later, the lights suddenly went out. The room was in total darkness and the crowd started shouting.

Bond felt cold air on his face. At the same time, he realized that the shouts from the crowd were disappearing.

‘Hey!’ shouted Leiter. His voice was close but sounded strange.

Then something closed above Bond’s head. He put his hand behind him and it touched a moving wall.

‘Lights,’ said a voice quietly.

Both of Bond’s arms were being held tightly and he was pushed down in his chair. Leiter still sat opposite him across the same table, table Z, but with a huge man holding his arms. They were in the small room downstairs. To their right and left were two more men, each one holding a gun.

One of the men put his gun against Bond’s stomach. Then he moved his free hand across Bond until he found Bond’s Beretta. He took it and gave it to the other man with a gun.

‘Give that to the Boss, Tee-Hee,’ he said. ‘Take the Englishman up. His guard will go with you. His friend will stay with me.’

‘Yes, Sir,’ said the man called Tee-Hee. He was fat and wore a chocolate-coloured shirt.

Bond was pulled up onto his feet. He had one foot under a leg of the table and he pulled it hard. There was a crash of glass. At the same moment, Leiter kicked backwards behind his chair. His foot hit his guard’s leg. Bond did the same, but missed. Then Leiter’s guard threw him against the wall so hard that Leiter’s nose was almost smashed. When he turned round, blood was pouring out of it.

The man giving the orders spoke to Bond’s guard. ‘Take him away. Mr Big’s waiting.’ He turned to Bond. ‘Say goodbye to your friend. You probably won’t see each other again.’

Bond smiled at Leiter. ‘See you later,’ he said.

Bond’s guard turned him round and pushed him against part of the wall. A door opened suddenly, and the man called Tee-Hee pushed past them.

‘This way,’ he said, and then the door closed behind them.

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