Người ta sẽ học được nhiều hơn từ lỗi lầm của mình, nếu như họ không quá bận rộn chối bỏ lỗi lầm của mình.

J. Harold Smith

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Ebook "The Whole Truth"
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Tác giả: David Baldacci
Thể loại: Trinh Thám
Nguyên tác: The Whole Truth
Biên tập: Dieu Chau
Upload bìa: Dieu Chau
Language: English
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Chapter 5
HE LADY IN THE WINDOW was young and beautiful with raven hair that swirled around her bare shoulders. She was wearing only a white thong, spiked heels, and a cheap necklace wedged between her large breasts, the nipples of which were covered with sunflower pasties. An interesting choice, Shaw thought.
He kept eye contact with her as he threaded through the masses. The woman met him at the door, where he confirmed his interest. Even in her heels she was a foot shorter than him. In the window she’d looked bigger. Things on display often did look bigger. And better. When you got your purchase home, it didn’t seem nearly as special.
She shut the door and then closed the red curtains, the only sign one would get that the room and the lady were occupied now.
The space was small, with a sink, toilet, and, of course, a bed. Set next to the sink was a button. It was the one the hookers pushed in an emergency. Then the police would suddenly appear and drag away the customer who’d gone too far to satisfy himself. This was one of the best-patrolled areas in the city—anything to keep the tax revenue coming. Shaw saw a second door in the back wall and then glanced away. In the next room the sounds of another happy customer were coming through loud and clear. Hooker digs were set side by side with cheap drywall or sometimes only a curtain in between. The business clearly did not require much space or frills in which to operate.
“You’re very good-looking,” she said in Dutch. “And large,” she added, gazing up at him. “Are you as big all over? Because I am not so big down there,” she added, now staring pointedly at his crotch.
“Spreekt u Engels?” Shaw said.
She nodded. “I speak English. It’s thirty euros for twenty minutes. But I’ll do an hour for seventy-five. It’s a special, just for you,” she added matter-of-factly. She handed him a list in Dutch but that was also repeated at the bottom of the page in ten different languages including English, French, Japanese, Chinese, and Arabic. It was entitled, “Things I Will and Won’t Do.”
Shaw passed her back the paper. “Is your friend here?” he asked. “I’ve been waiting a long time to meet him.” He glanced toward the second door.
She appraised him in a different way now. “Yes, he is here.”
She turned and led him to the door set in the back wall. Her exposed butt cheeks, though firm, still quivered slightly as she performed an exaggerated model’s sashay in front of him. He didn’t know if she did that out of habit or because the stilettos were too unstable.
The woman opened the door and motioned Shaw in. She left him there facing the old man seated at a small table where a plain meal had been laid: a wedge of cheese, a piece of cod, a fist of bread, and a bottle of wine.
The man’s face was a cache of wrinkles, the white beard scraggly and the small belly soft and round. The eyes peered out from under tufts of ramshackle snowy hair badly in need of pruning. The eyes caught on Shaw’s and held.
The man motioned to the table. “Hungry? Thirsty?”
There was a second chair but Shaw chose not to use it. Indeed, if he had attempted to sit down, the man might have shot him, for there was a gun grasped in his left hand pointed right at Shaw and the prearranged instructions had been explicit. One did not sit. One did not eat or drink if one wanted to live.
Shaw’s gaze had already swept the tiny room. The only entry was the doorway he’d come through. He’d positioned himself so that he could keep one eye on this portal and one eye on the man. And his gun.
He shook his head and said, “Thank you, but I already ate at the De Groene Lanteerne.” It was a cheap place with traditional Dutch food served in a room that was three hundred years old and looked it.
The dopey code words out of the way, the man rose, slid a piece of paper from his pocket, and handed it to Shaw.
Shaw glanced at the address and other information on the paper, ripped it up, and tossed the pieces into the toilet set against one wall and flushed it. Seemingly on cue the old man put on a beaten-up hat and patched coat and left.
Shaw could not leave yet. Sexual encounters typically lasted a bit longer than two minutes even for the teenage first-timers. And you never knew who was watching. Well, actually, he did. There were several of them.
He stepped back into the main room where the lady was stretched out, catlike, on her cot. The curtain was still drawn; her meter was still running.
“Do you want to screw me now?” the woman asked in a slightly bored tone as she started to slide the thong down her legs. “It’s been paid for,” she added if he needed any inducement. “A full hour. And I will go off the list for another thirty euros.”
“Nee, dank u,” he replied, smiling politely. If you were going to turn a lady down in the matter of sex, better you say it in her own language.
“Why not? Is there a problem?” she said, obviously offended.
“I’m married,” he said simply.
“So are most of the men who see me.”
“I’m sure.”
“Where is your wedding ring?” she asked suspiciously.
“Never wear it at work.”
“You’re sure you don’t want me?” Her tone of disbelief was as clearly etched as the look of incredulity on her face.
He hid his bemusement. She must be really new because her vanity was largely intact. The older whores would surely jump at the chance for full pay that included no humping.
“Absolutely sure.”
She slid her thong back up. “Pity.”
“Yes, pity,” he said. Actually, if things went according to plan, in two days hence he’d be in Dublin with the only woman he’d ever really loved. And also the reason why he had to get out. Now.
Still, even Shaw had to acknowledge, it was a big if. In his line of work, tomorrow was just another day to die.
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