The Rum Diary / Ромовий щоденник: vol 4

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"And Yeamon!" he shouted. "I knew it the minute I saw him! I said to myself,

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Christ, get rid of this guy quick — he's pure trouble." He shook a warning finger at us.

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"I want you to stay away from him, understand? What the hell is he doing here

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anyway? Why doesn't he go back where he came from? What's he living on?"

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We both shrugged. "I think he has a trust fund," I said. "He's been talking

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about investing some money."

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"God almighty!" Lotterman exclaimed. "That's just the kind we don't want

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here!" He shook his head. "And he had the nerve to tell me he was broke — borrowed

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a hundred dollars and threw it away on a motorcycle — can you beat that?"

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I couldn't beat it and neither could Sala.

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"Now he's hounding me for blood money," Lotterman went on. "By God, we'll

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see." He slumped back in the chair again. "It's almost too horrible to believe," he said.

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"I've just paid a thousand dollars to get him out of jail — a dangerous nut who

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threatened to twist my head. And Moberg," he muttered. "Where did he come from?"

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He shook his head and waved us out of the office. "Go on," he said. "Tell Moberg I'm

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going to have him locked up."

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As we started to go he remembered something else. "Wait a minute," he

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called. "I don't want you boys to think I wouldn't have got you out of jail. Of course I

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would — you know that, don't you?"

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We assured him that we did, and left him mumbling at his desk. I went back to

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the library and sat down to think. I was going to have a car, regardless of what I had

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to do to get it. I'd seen a Volkswagen convertible for five hundred and it seemed in

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pretty good shape. Considering the fantastic price of cars in San Juan, it would be a

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real bargain if I could get it for four hundred.

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I called Sanderson. "Say," I said casually, "what's the least I'll get out of this

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Zimburger deal?"

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"Why?" he asked.

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"I want an advance. I need a car."

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He laughed. "You don't need a car — you want a car. How much do you

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need?"

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"About a thousand," I said. "I'm not greedy."

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"You must be out of your mind," he replied. "The best I could do under any

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circumstances would be two fifty."

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"Okay," I said. "It's a drop in the bucket, but it might help. When can I get it?"

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"Tomorrow morning," he said. "Zimburger's coming in and I think we should

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get together and set this thing up. I don't want to do it at home." He paused.

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"Can you come in around ten?"

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"Okay," I said. "See you then."

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When I put down the phone I realized I was preparing to make the plunge. I

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would move into my own apartment at the end of the week, and now I was about to

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buy a car. San Juan was getting a grip on me. I hadn't had a car in five years — not

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since the old Citroen I bought in Paris for twenty-five dollars, and sold a year later for

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ten, after driving it all over Europe. Now I was ready to shoot four hundred on a

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Volkswagen. If nothing else, it gave me a sense of moving up in the world, for good

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or ill.

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On my way to Sanderson's the next day I stopped at the lot where I'd seen the

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car. The office was empty, and on a wall above one of the desks was a sign saying

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"SELL - NOTHING HAPPENS UNTIL SOMEBODY SELLS SOMETHING."

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I found the dealer outside. "Get this one ready to go," I said, pointing to the

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convertible. "I'll give you four hundred for it at noon."

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