فصل 06

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دانلود اپلیکیشن «زیبوک»

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Chapter six

Bert’s story

Back at the hotel there was a message from Bert, the old guy I’d met in the bar in de Pijp. He’d left a telephone number. It was late but I rang him from my room. Bert was still at the bar where I’d left him hours before - I could hear people talking behind him and the sound of glasses. I wondered if he spent all his time there.

‘I have some information for you,’ he said. ‘Some really good information. But I need something.’

‘Something?’ I asked.

‘Some money,’ he whispered. ‘Four hundred guilders.’ Four hundred guilders. That was over a hundred pounds. It was lot of money if the information was useless, but I had to say yes. Balzano was getting very impatient and I had nothing else.

‘OK, Bert, that’s fine,’ I said. ‘Can you come to the hotel now?’

Bert arrived at the hotel at 11.30, looking a lot more drunk than when I had left him. We went into the bar; he ordered jenever and I paid for it. I had put the four hundred guilders in an envelope and now I put it on the table, my hand covering it.

‘Well, Bert,’ I said. ‘What is it?’

He looked around the room, as if he were expecting someone to be listening. Then he looked at the envelope and drank some of his jenever.

‘I know someone,’ he whispered. ‘He saw what happened to your friend on Wednesday night. Says your friend was already dead when he was taken to that street. Someone took him out of a car, then knifed him many times. But he was already dead. He was dead before. He’s sure of it.’

Bert looked at the envelope under my hand. I didn’t move it. ‘Why doesn’t this person talk to the police?’ I asked.

Bert laughed. ‘Oh, he doesn’t like the police, you know. He won’t tell the police anything!’ Well, that was possible. There were a lot of people who didn’t like the police. Especially if they were criminals.

‘And where was he, this person?’ I asked.

‘He was looking from an upstairs window,’ said Bert. ‘Something woke him up. He didn’t turn the light on, just went to the window. He could see everything.’

I wondered whether Bert was telling the truth. It was more likely, I guessed, that this person was breaking into a house at the time and that was why he couldn’t tell the police. I imagined that Bert had friends like that. Or was it even Bert himself?

‘Was it a man or a woman with my friend?’ I asked.

‘Well, a man, my friend guesses, but it was dark,’ said Bert.

‘And the car, what kind of car was it?’ I asked.

Bert thought. He didn’t know. It was too dark and anyway it was parked down the other end of the street.

‘I thought he could see everything,’ I said.

‘Well, you know, almost everything,’ said Bert. ‘He saw someone stabbing him with a knife, that’s certain.’

‘So what about the knife?’ I asked. ‘What happened to it?’

Bert just shook his head. ‘Who knows?’ he said.

‘Look, Bert,’ I said. ‘I know the police have already picked up a guy. They say they found my friend’s wallet in his apartment.’

‘I know, I know,’ said Bert impatiently. ‘But it’s not true. The guy they picked up - Cor Schaap - he couldn’t kill anyone, everyone on the street knows that. He’s never killed anyone before. Why should he start now?’

‘There’s always a first time,’ I said.

‘No, no,’ said Bert. ‘He just stole the wallet from the dead body. That’s what everyone thinks… Everyone except the police.’

Well, I thought, it was possible.

I gave Bert the envelope. He took it quickly, finished his drink and almost ran out of the door with the money. I had no idea whether the information he’d given me was true. Perhaps Bert had just seen the opportunity to make some easy money. It could be an expensive hundred pounds for me.

I went back to my room, lay on my bed, and looked at a report of Rotterdam Football Club’s match against Leiden last night. It was from Het Parool, a Dutch newspaper. I couldn’t read Dutch but I could see that Rotterdam had lost 2-0 to Leiden. Rotterdam had played very badly.

I wondered what Tom Carson, Manager of Rotterdam City FC, would have to say about that.

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