İngilizce Hikayeler Serisi (KIRMIZI BALONLAR)

Yayınlanma 7. Sınıf İngilizce Performans ve Proje Ödevleri

Elmer Davis
Lundy told himself afterward that he had been tempted beyond his strength. In fact, he had never been really tempted before, for he had never had such an opportunity. He had gone to the bank – the branch bank in the poor, rundown neighborhood to which he had recently moved – to cut a coupon from his last bond; all the rest of his bonds and his money he had lost in his crazy attempt to make on stock market so that he could give up his job and live in Florida. He took his safe deposit-box to one of the booths where people shut themselves in while they open their safe-deposit boxes in order to cut coupons or to put in or remove valuables. The booth had just been vacated by a fat woman wearing many jewels who had left it covered with torn papers.
A little annoyed, Lundy brushed away the torn papers – and came upon an envelope filled with money which the fat woman had obviously overlooked. A bank failure in the town had recently frightened many people; the fat woman looked like the sort of person who would turn her bank balance into cash and lock it up in her safe-deposit box. Lundy half opened the door to call her back and saw her walking out of the bank. Quickly he shut the door, counted the money. Nearly thirty thousand dollars; enough to keep a man comfortably live in some little Florida town for the rest of his life.
Quickly, Lundy slipped the envelope into his inside pocket.
Then he left the bank, crossing the street into a little park with a high iron fence around it. It was, he knew, a private park, the possession of the old families that had once lived on the square; at night its gates were locked, a watchman guarded it. But by day it was open to all. He sat down on a bench, trembling
in the winter wind; the envelope in his pocket felt like a piece of hot metal.
What a fool he had been! He had thought when he took it that it wouldn’t be missed for a month – not until the woman came again to cut coupons. But if she kept all her money in her safe-deposit box she might come back and find it missing tomorrow – this afternoon. The bank employees would remember Lundy – he had recently rented his safe-deposit box; they might remember that he had followed her into the booth. If he gave up his job now and left for Florida, that would be a confession. But tonight, tomorrow, he might be questioned, his rooms examined. Where could he hide the money?
His throat was dry; he got up, walked to the center of the park, where he had seen a drinking fountain. Unable to decide what to do, he stared at the drinking fountain, at its tall concrete base. Then his eyes narrowed; the base was broken on one side – a hole big enough to put your hand through. Inside, there was a dark space where no one would think of looking for anything; where a man who had hidden something could come back and get it almost anytime.
Beside the drinking fountain, Lundy kneeled down; anyone who had passed would have seen only a man with an unbuttoned overcoat hanging loose about him, kneeling down, tying his shoe. But when he went on, the envelope of money no longer lay like a piece of hot metal in his pocket. He had hidden it in the hole at the base of the drinking fountain.
That evening two detectives from police headquarters came to see him, to question him very politely and he met them smiling.
“Yes, yes,” he said. “There was a fat woman in the booth just before me; she left it covered with torn pieces of paper and I brushed them aside into the wastepaper basket. Find out where the wastepaper basket went, and you’ll probably find the money
No, I’ve no objection at all if you want to look around here just to satisfy yourselves.
Afterward he wondered whether he had not overdone it. They went away apparently convinced, but he couldn’t feel safe. He had better live the money where it was, for a while. There wasn’t a chance in a million that anyone would look into the broken drinking fountain. There was no hope of his recovering the money at night: the park gate was locked; the watchman was on duty. Someday, when no one was near, he would kneel down as if to tie his shoe –
As he entered the park next morning, he saw something like a red cloud just above the drinking fountain. A red warning of danger. He became very nervous but then saw that it was only a group of toy balloons held by an old man. Lundy had never seen anyone selling balloons here in the three weeks in which he lived nearby; business couldn’t be good, the old man would soon live. But when Lundy came back at evening, he was still there in the same spot near the drinking fountain.
Lundy looked at him in passing; he was old but he looked strong. He might be a younger man in disguise – not a seller of balloons; he might be a detective placed there to watch him. Lundy went home trembling. No one could have seen him put the money away – but suppose that by some accident the money had been found. The police would know that the thief must come back for it; thus they had left a man on guard. But had they left the money there in order to trap him?
The next morning the balloon-seller was still there. That day Lundy went to the bank and risked a question. No, said the manager of the bank, they hadn’t found the money, but they expected to find it. It seemed to Lundy that the manager looked at him in a rather suspicious manner.
That evening he spoke, in passing, to the balloon-seller.
“You work late, eh? Business must be good.”
“Not so good. But I stay around until they lock the gates each night and the watchman arrives to guard the place.”
There was not a moment when the fountain was not being watched. That was the first night that Lundy couldn’t sleep. In the morning the red cloud was still there, hanging above his treasure.
Well, if business was bad, the balloon-seller would soon leave and go somewhere else to sell his balloons. Lundy waited there more days, in which he saw, morning and evening, that red sign of danger. He couldn’t stand this much longer: a balloon-seller, staying in a place where Lundy had never seen before, couldn’t be a balloon-seller. But, there was one chance, if the police had left the money. Policeman in uniform seldom came here; Lundy could wait for his chance until there was no one around, attack the balloon-seller, knock him out, take the money, and escape before anyone came.
And so he waited his chance, found the old man alone, walked up to him, pretended to by a balloon, then hit him, straight and hard on the jaw. Down went the old man – down and out; down went Lundy on his knees, his arm reaching into the hole at the base of the fountain.
Up into the air went a dozen red balloons, release from the old man’s hand as he fell; a dozen sudden red danger signals which could be seen everywhere in the park and from the nearby streets as well. As Lundy rose, pushing the money into his pocket, he saw a policeman coming up; he turned only to face another, tried to walk away coolly –
“Here!” said the policeman. “What’s the matter with old Joe?”
“I don’t know. I’ve done nothing.” But the balloon man was talking now, explaining to the policeman what had happened. The policeman turned toward Lundy, severe.
“What’s the idea of knocking down an old man that’s just out of the hospital?”
“Just out of the hospital?” Lundy asked.
“Sure. He’s been sick for a month. Haven’t you noticed that for the past month he hasn’t been here, at his regular place near the fountain? First time he’s been away for twenty years….
Hey, you – take your hand out of that pocket! Oh, it isn’t a gun? Just papers? Well, come along with me and show them to the captain at police headquarters.”



Elmer Davis
Lundy, kendi kendine, gücünün üstünde zorlandigini düsünüyordu. Aslinda, daha önce eline böyle bir firsat geçmedigi için, gerçek anlamda hiç bu kadar çalismamisti. Kalan son çekinden bir kupon kesmek için, yeni tasindigi fakir ve döküntü bir muhitte bulunan banka subesine gitti. Kalan bu son çekten önce sahip oldugu bütün gayri menkulünü ve parasini, bu isi birakip Florida’da yasamak maksadiyla, daha çok kazanmak için yatirdigi borsada kaybetmisti.
Şahsi güvenlik kasasini alarak, insanlarin kasalarini rahatça açabilmeleri, kupon kesebilmeleri, para ve degerli esya koyabilmeleri veya alabilmeleri ve bu isi yaparken yalniz kalabilmelerini saglayan kabinlerden birine girdi. Kabinden, az önce bir çok mücevheri olan sismanca bir kadin, içeride yirtik kagit parçalari birakarak çikmisti.
Durumdan oldukça rahatsiz olan Lundy kabine girdi ve yirtik kagit parçalarini kenara itti ve o sirada, sisman kadin tarafindan düsürüldügü açikça belli olan parayla dolu zarfi gördü. Son zamanlarda, sehirde bir bankanin batmasi çok korkutmustu. Şisman kadin da, bu korkudan dolayi, banka hesabini nakide çevirip, sahsi güvenlik kasasina saklama egiliminde olan birine benziyordu. Lundy, bayani geri çagirmak için kapiyi yari araladi ve onu bankadan çikarken gördü. Süratle kabinin kapisini kapatti ve Parayi saydi. Neredeyse otuz bin dolar vardi. Bu para, bir insanin kalan bütün hayatini Florida’da geçirmesine yetecek bir miktardi.
Zarfi çaktirmadan ceketinin iç cebine koydu.
Bankadan çikti ve caddenin karsisinda yüksek demir çitlerle çevrili küçük parka gitti. Park, Lundy’nin bildigi kadariyla özel bir parkti ve daha önce bu arazide yasamis eski ailelerin mülküydü. Geceleri kapilari kilitlenirdi ve bir bekçi onu korurdu. Gündüzleri herkese açikti. Kis rüzgarinda titreyerek bir banka
oturdu ama cebindeki zarf ona, sicacik bir parça maden gibi geliyordu.
Yürürken, ne kadar aptalca davrandigini düsündü. Zarfi aldigi zaman, kadin tekrar kupon kesmek için bankaya gelinceye kadar, yani hemen hemen bir ay boyunca paranin kayboldugunun farkina varilamayacagini düsünmüstü. Ama kadin bütün parasini kasasinda sakliyorsa, yarin, hatta bugün ögleden sonra bankaya gelip, paranin kayboldugunu farkedebilirdi. Banka görevlileri de Lundy’nin kasasi ile birlikte, sisman kadindan sonra, onun çiktigi kabine girdigini hatirlayabilirlerdi. Eger hemen isini birakip Florida’ya giderse hata ederdi. Ama bu aksam veya yarin sorgulanabilir ve evi aranabilirdi. Parayi nereye saklayabilirdi?
Bogazinin kurudugunu hissetti ve parkin ortasinda gördügü çesmeye dogru ilerlemeye basladi. Ne yapacagina karar veremez bir halde, çesmeye ve onun uzun taban tasina bakiyordu. Birden gözleri kisildi. Tabandaki tasin bir tarafinda, bir elin rahatlikla girebilecegi genislikte ve yeterince derin bir yarik oldugunu farketti. Yarigin içi karanlikti ve hiç kimsenin aklina burada bir sey aramak gelmezdi ve hiç kimse burada bir sey oldugunu göremezdi. Buraya herhangi bir sey saklasaniz, daha sonra istediginiz zaman gelip alabilirdiniz.
Lundy, çesmenin hemen önüne diz çöktü. Oradan geçip, onu gören birisi, sadece çökmüs ve ayakkabilarini baglayan, dügmeleri iliklenmemis bir parka giyen bir adam görecekti. Gittiginde zarf cebinde bir sicak metal gibi degildi. Yavasça para dolu zarfi cebinden çikarip, çesmenin altinda buldugu bosluga sakladi.
O gece, Polis merkezinden iki dedektif, Lundy’yi görmeye ve sorgulamaya geldi. Lundy onlari güler yüzle karsiladi.
“Evet, evet” dedi. “Benden önce kabinde sisman bir bayan vardi. Kabinden, yirtik kagit parçalari birakarak çikti. Ben de o kagit parçalarini çöp sepetine attim. Çöp sepetine bakin. Muhtemelen, parayi orada bulursunuz.
Hayir; eger sizi rahatlatacaksa evin her yerini arayabilirsiniz..”
Sonra, sanki biraz fazla abarttigini düsündü. Dedektifler inanmis sekilde evden ayrildilar ama Lundy, hala kendisini güvende hissetmiyordu. Parayi, bir süre sakladigi yerde birakmasi iyi olurdu. Nasil olsa, parayi onun sakladigi yerde kimse bulamazdi. Gece, parayi biraktigi yerden alma sansi yoktu. Çünkü, park kilitliydi ve bir de güvenlik görevlisi vardi. Bir gün gündüz vakti, etrafta kimsecikler yokken, çesmenin öününde ayakkabisini bagliyormus gibi egilecek ve…
Ertesi sabah parka girdiginde çesmenin üzerinde kirmizi bir bulut gördü. Kirmizi bir tehlike uyarisi… Lundy, önce çok sinirlendi. Ancak, bu kirmiziligin sebebinin yasli bir adamin elindeki bir grup balon oldugunu gördü. Lundy, o çevrede geçirdigi üç hafta boyunca bu parkta hiç kimsenin balon sattigini görmemisti. Bu parkta balon satmak o kadar karli bir is olamazdi ve yasli adam nasil olsa yakinda giderdi. Aksam üstü tekrar parka geldiginde, yasli adamin hala çesmenin dibinde oldugunu gördü.
Lundy, adama bakarak yanindan geçti. Oldukça yasli birisiydi ama kuvvetli görünüyordu. Yasli bir balon saticisi kiliginda genç bir adam olabilirdi. Lundy’yi takip etmek için görevlendirilmis bir dedektif olabilirdi. Lundy eve döndügünde titriyordu. Kimse parayi koyarken onu görmüs olamazdi. Ancak para kazara da olsa bulunmus olabilirdi. Polis de, hirsizin parayi koydugu yerden almak için tekrar gelecegini düsünerek, birisini gözetlemesi için birakmis olabilirdi. Peki, onu tuzaga düsürmek için parayi yerinde birakmis olabilirler miydi?
Ertesi sabah balon saticisi hala oradaydi. Lundy bankaya giderek kendisini riske atacak bir soru sordu. Banka müdürünün, soruya cevabi olumsuzdu. Para bulunamamisti ama bulacaklarini umuyordu. Lundy, banka müdürünün kendisinden süphelendigini hissetti.
Lundy, o aksam geçerken, balon saticisi ile konustu:
“Geç saatlere kadar çalisiyorsunuz, isler iyi olsa gerek” dedi.
“Hayir, çok iyi degil ama her gece kapilar kapanincaya ve bekçi gelinceye kadar buralarda duruyorum” diye karsilik verdi balon saticisi.
Çesmenin, hiç kimse tarafindan görülmedigi, bir an bile yoktu. Her an balon saticisi tarafindan görülüyordu. O gece Lundy’nin uyuyamadigi ilk geceydi. Ertesi sabah kirmizi bulut hala orada, hazinesinin basinda duruyordu.
Aslinda, eger isler kötüyse, balon saticisi yakinda buradan ayrilip, baska bir yere gitmek zorunda kalacakti. Lundy, günlerce bekledi ve her gün kirmizi tehlike isaretini orada gördü. Bu duruma dayanamadi. Daha önce bu civarda hiç görmedigi bir balon saticisinin, sürekli burada bekledigine göre, gerçek bir balon saticisi olamazdi. Eger polis, parayi orada birakmissa hala bir sansi vardi. Üniformali polisler buraya pek gelmezlerdi. Etrafta hiç kimse yokken, balon saticisina saldirip onu yere yikar, parayi alir ve birileri gelmeden kaçabilirdi.
Lundy, uygun firsati kolladi. Yasli adami tek kaldigi bir anda, balon aliyormus gibi yaparak ona dogru yürüdü. Adamin dogruca çenesine, sert bir yumruk atti. Yasli adam yere düstü ve sersemledi. Lundy, hemen diz üstü çökerek çesmenin tabanindaki yariga dogru elini uzatti.
Bu arada, yere düsen yasli adamin elinden kurtulan balonlar gökyüzüne dogru yükseldi. Parktaki ve caddedeki insanlar tarafindan rahatlikla görülebilecek bir düzine tehlike isareti Lundy için büyük tehlike olusturacakti. Lundy, parayi cebine koyup ayaga kalkarken dönüp bir polis ile göz göze geldi. Sakin yürümeye çalisirken karsisina baska bir polis çikti.
“Bak hele!” diye bagirdi polis. “Yasli Joe’nun nesi var?”
“Bilmiyorum, ben bir sey yapmadim” dedi Lundy. Fakat yasli balon saticisi kendine gelmis ve olup biteni anlatmaya baslamisti bile. Polis, sertçe Lundy’ye dogru dönerek, kizgin bir tavirla sordu:
“Hastaneden daha yeni çikmis bir yasli bir adama ne diye vuruyorsun?”
Lundy sasirdi: “Hastaneden yeni çikmis mi?” diye sordu
“Elbette. Joe bir aydir hastaydi. Bir ay boyunca mekani olan bu çesmenin yaninin bos oldugunu farketmedin mi? Yirmi yildir ilk defa yerinden ayrilmisti…”
“Hey sen! Elini hemen cebinden çikar! Silah degil, degil mi? Sadece kagit mi cabindeki? Neyse benimle merkeze kadar gelip onlari komsere bir göster bakalim.”

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