He Won’t Need It Now

by James Hadley Chase

Morgan had been quite right. The whole setup was easy. Duffy sat on his heels in the organ loft and felt hilariously at home. The small camera hung round his neck by a strap and the lighting of the room gave him no misgivings. He was going to make some money, he told himself. The organ loft was just as Morgan had described. It had an uninterrupted view of the room below and it was partly screened by heavy magenta curtains. Duffy had bolted himself in, and with the help of a pint of Scotch that he had brought with him, his nerves were calm and he could take a professional interest in his work.

He set the camera, using a big stop and a fairly fast shutter. Then he settled himself down to wait. Morgan had driven him to his apartment to collect his equipment and then had driven him to the back entrance to the loft. Morgan seemed to have had the whole thing planned carefully and it ran on oiled wheels. He had arranged to meet Duffy at the Princess bar that night, and Morgan was prepared to wait until he came.

Duffy looked down at the room with appreciation. It was a pretty swell joint, he told himself. The decoration was in magenta and cream. A cream pile carpet on the floor, and the large leather chairs, half cream and half magenta, gave the room a smart modern appearance. Duffy thought he’d like to have a place like this for his own.

He glanced at his wristwatch. It was getting on for midnight. He wished that he could smoke, but he thought that that would be too risky. He wondered how long he had to wait. Just then the door below opened and a woman walked in hurriedly. She crossed the room and disappeared through another door. She had moved so quickly that Duffy hadn’t had a chance to see what she was like. He cautiously spread himself on the floor, so that he was lying full length, his elbows supporting his arms as he swung the camera into position. He found that he could aim the camera through the narrow slots of the balcony, and he knew that he was completely hidden from the room below. He made himself comfortable by taking out a pint bottle of Scotch from his pocket, which was digging into him, then he settled down to wait.

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