The Two Faces of January

The Two Faces of January by Patricia Highsmith Read Free Book Online

Book: The Two Faces of January by Patricia Highsmith Read Free Book Online
Authors: Patricia Highsmith
think that guy’s dead,” Chester said in a low voice. He saw Colette’s lavender eyes widen.
    â€œReally? Do you know ?”
    â€œI think he is. There really wasn’t any time to make sure,” Chester said, frowning.
    â€œAnd does . . . does this fellow know it?”
    â€œYes,” said Chester firmly.
    â€œMy God.”
    â€œYes.” Chester stuffed his fingers into his hip pockets and walked forward between the beds, then made a lunge for his Scotch bottle, whose neck was sticking up out of an antelope duffel bag. “Yes, and we’ll pay for it. We’ll pay plenty.”
    â€œWhat do you mean?”
    Chester was getting the second, unbroken glass from the bathroom. “I mean he’ll want some money for keeping quiet. Wait and see. Fortunately, we’ve got it. It just mustn’t go too far.”
    â€œOh, do you think he’s really like that?” she asked, still breathless with the shock of death. “He looks—Well, he doesn’t look like a crook. He’s an American.”
    â€œAnd not too well-heeled. Wait and see, wait and see. Why else do you think he came in here like this? I’d go to some other hotel, except he’s probably downstairs on the street ready to follow us.” Chester waved his glass, then drank it off, half Scotch and half water. “Why else do you think he came in here like this?”

    Rydal walked from Niko’s apartment to the Hotel Dardanelles in Aeolou Street, walked slowly, but even so he was early, and he lit a cigarette and lingered a block from the hotel, staring into the window of a closed and unlighted pharmacy. The marquee of the Dardanelles had only half its lights on. The street was unusually quiet, Rydal thought. It was a quiet that gave him the feeling something had already happened, was finished, rather than that something was going to happen. A skinny, reddish dog went trotting by, its taut, pointed face thrust anxiously ahead, as if it were fleeing from something. Rydal knew what could have happened. The Greek’s body could have been found hours ago, say just before seven, the trains and buses out of Athens— certainly no more than two or three of each—could have been checked, no MacFarlands found aboard them; the hotels could have been checked and the MacFarlands picked up. The police might be in the hotel this minute, talking to the MacFarlands, getting an admission from Chester that he killed the Greek, because whatever his coolness might be in defrauding, murder seemed to unnerve him. And he, for no particular reason, was going to walk right in on it. Chester would be glad to see him, if the police were there. Chester would say, “Oh! Why, here’s the young man who was with us all afternoon,” and would that reverse Chester’s story of a few minutes before? With a sudden sink in his heart, Rydal realized that, if Chester chose, he could say that he, Rydal Keener, had been tugging the corpse along the hall when Chester came out into the hall and saw him, and that Rydal Keener, knowing the Greek agent was after Chester, had forced Chester to keep silent about his murder. His motive? They couldn’t possibly pin any on Rydal. No, don’t worry about fantasies, Rydal thought. He threw his cigarette down. It was one minute to ten by his Hamilton pocket watch, which was more reliable than his wristwatch.
    Rydal glanced around in the lobby of the Dardanelles for anyone who looked like a police type. Besides the young man behind the desk, there was only one other person in the lobby, a fiftyish woman in a black fur-trimmed coat and hat who looked like a German. “Would you call up Mr. MacFarland? I’m expected,” Rydal said, and watched the young man’s face. It was calm.
    The young man plugged a pin into the switchboard and said with a heavy Greek accent, “A gentleman to see you, sir.”
    Chester’s deep, brisk voice buzzed back

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