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“Throw up into your typewriter every morning. Clean up every noon.” ―Raymond Chandler

The frail was small, but she charged from the side and hit me with the mace. The way I bent and sprawled must have charmed her, for she opined: “You’re cute for a brute.” I bought it that day. Dents and all. But it never failed. So I give it pride of place and keep it shined. My armor suit from Dick’s Large & Tall.

“An age which is incapable of poetry is incapable of any kind of literature except the cleverness of a decadence.

Raymond Chandler.

She was perched like a bird on the piano stool. Her plumes flowed over her shoulders and down her spine like that old black magic. She was teasing the keys, wheedling out a tired old tune. A sigh was still a sigh, when the shot rang out. Feathers flew. I did what anyone in my place would do. Reloaded, and hired a bird could play a new tune at Dick’s Café Maltais.

“I’ve been as bad an influence on American literature as anyone I can think of.”

―Dashiell Hammett

The trail ended where it began. I parked my Charger and headed inside. The interior looked like a film set dressed as a fruit bowl of assorted vegetables in a still life painting. But the tomato was real. The corner of my eye caught the flash in a slow-motion strobe, before I heard the blade slash the air and slice the flesh. I saw red. But cool as a cucumber, I pulled on my gauntlet and disarmed the fugitive at Dick’s Salad Bar.

“To read of a detective’s daring finesse or ingenious stratagem is a rare joy.“

―Rex Stout

Trouble was killing my business. I heard a dry crackle and looked up into the business end of a stale stogie in the fat banker’s manicured fingers. I scratched a matchstick across my bare desk. The phosphor flare ignited the cigar. It fell and fumed, scorching the match-scratched shellac. Next day I opened for business at Dick’s Distressed Office Rentals. Never looked back.

“Noir: all those beautiful sentences telling you the most terrible things.”

―Robert Polito


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