‘Keep your hands where I can see them, Mr Black. Please,’ said Mr Robinson calmly. He opened one of his drawers and took out a pair of handcuffs. He threw them to Mr Black and told him to put them on. Mr Black quietly obeyed and in a few short moments, he was sitting there, handcuffed and shocked. He could not believe in what had just happened.

‘So, Mr Black, where were we?’ said Mr Robinson. ‘Oh, I remember now. You said that you had done this many times before. So, it means what? That you are a professional?’

Mr Black was quietly looking in front of himself. Mr Robinson continued.

‘See, Mr Black, from time to time, you should ask yourself some questions. Questions like “Is this my lucky day?” or “Am I a good person?” or “Am I the first man, who has tried to blackmail Mr Robinson?”‘ Mr Robinson leaned back in his chair. He was looking at Mr Black all this time and he was speaking very calmly.

‘Especially this last question, Mr Black. Did you ask yourself this question in the morning, while you were brushing your teeth? Did you ask yourself – Am I the first one?’

Mr Black did not reply.

‘I know that you are dying to find out the answer to that question. I know you want to know, don’t you? Mr Black, don’t you?’

Mr Black was quiet.

‘The answer is – no, you’re not. There have been many people who came here and tried to blackmail me, Mr Black. And I mean -many!’ said Mr Robinson and then he added quietly, ‘Would you like to know where they are now?’

Mr Black was looking down. He was saying nothing. There were drops of sweat on his forehead now.

‘I want that tape, Mr Black,’ said Mr Robinson in a cold voice. ‘And I want it now.’

Mr Black lifted his head for the first time since he had been handcuffed. Now, he felt some hope. Maybe he could get out of this situation. Maybe…

‘I will give you the tape, Mr Robinson, but I don’t have it here. I will bring it to you. Today. I swear I will.’

‘Calm down, Mr Black. You know that I will not let you go by yourself,’ said Mr Robinson and thought about it for a few moments. ‘We will go together, but you must promise that you will not try any tricks on me. Do you understand?’

‘Yes, Mr Robinson. I will do whatever you say, exactly as you say. No tricks, I promise.’

‘Good. I’m very happy to hear that. We’ll get out of here, you will give me the tape and I will let you go, understand? But if you try to trick me, I’ll shoot you immediately. Is that clear?’

‘Yes, Mr Robinson. Don’t worry. You’ll get your tape soon,’ said Mr Black in a voice full of hope.

‘OK then. Please stand up,’ said Mr Robinson and he stood up himself. ‘I don’t want anyone to see us in front of the office. We will get out through the back door.’

Mr Black was confused. There was only one door in Mr Robinson’s office. The one through which he had entered earlier that day.

But Mr Robinson went to his bookcase and put his hand on one of the shelves. Suddenly, the bookcase moved and a dark doorway appeared in the wall. Mr Robinson touched the switch and the light went on. There was a narrow staircase which was leading down into the underground. Mr Black stopped for a second, but Mr Robinson waved his gun at him and said ‘Let’s go!’

Step by step, they were going down until, one minute later, they came to iron bars with a door. Mr Black’s hope was disappearing fast. Mr Robinson opened the door and told Mr Black to go on.

‘Where exactly are we going?’ Mr Black asked. He was clearly afraid now.

‘Just walk on,’ said Mr Robinson.

‘No,’ said Mr Black and tried to go up the stairs, but Mr Robinson hit his face with his gun. Mr Black felt sharp pain and Mr Robinson quickly pushed him through the door. Then he locked it.

‘ Mr Robinson, I will give you the tape. Please, let me out. Please,’ Mr Black was crying now.

Mr Robinson started climbing up the stairs.

‘Please, Mr Robinson. Look, I have it here! Here’s the tape. Please, let me out of here. Take the tape, Mr Robinson. Take the tape!’

Mr Robinson stopped. ‘You can keep it, Mr Black. I didn’t give you the money, so you can keep the tape!’ he said and laughed.

He started climbing up the stairs again and while he was walking, he was shouting to Mr Black, who was standing behind the bars: ‘You said many things today, Mr Black, many things.. but there is one thing which you were right about – you will disappear, Mr Black. You will disappear forever!’ Mr Robinson laughed again and again.

He came to the top of the staircase and turned off the light. Then he closed the bookcase door and put the money and the gun back into the safe.

It was time to go home.

handcuffs /ˈhændkʌfs/ – putá;

lift /lɪft/ – zodvinúť

staircase /ˈsteəkeɪs/ – schodisko

iron bars /ˈaɪən bɑː(r)s/ – železné mreže

push /pʊʃ/ – strčiť