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For fifty bucks a day, plus my expenses –

You’ll get a dick so hard-boiled he’s like stone.”

“And if you don’t like hard-boiled, I’ve got scrambled –

Excuse me Mrs Lake, there goes the phone.”


“Hullo? – Yeah Marlowe speaking – What? – You’re kidding!

Don’t touch him! – Don’t touch anything at all!”

“I’ll be along as soon as I can get there –

You’ve made my evening! – Nice of you to call.”


“I’m sorry Mrs Lake I’ve urgent business.”

“I have to go cross-town, and right away.”

“Why don’t we talk this over in the morning?

Things might look kind of different in the day.”


“That won’t be necessary Mr Marlowe.”

She rises and her hem conceals her knees.

“As long as you can guarantee discretion –

I think that I can more than meet your fees.”


Alone – I count her thousand bucks retainer –

And wonder can I stop on route for food.

Before I leave I raid the office bottle –

Its contents didn’t do me any good.


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Taken on August 29, 2007