“I needed a drink, I needed a lot of life insurance, I needed a vacation, I needed a home in the country. What I had was a coat, a hat and a gun. I put them on and went out of the room.”
“It was a blonde. A blonde to make a bishop kick a hole in a stained-glass window.”
“She gave me a smile I could feel in my hip pocket.”
“I like smooth shiny girls, hardboiled and loaded with sin.”
“The wet air was as cold as the ashes of love.”
“It was a cool day and very clear. You could see a long way-but not as far as Velma had gone.”
“The coffee shop smell was strong enough to build a garage on.”
“After a little while I felt a little better, but very little. I needed a drink, I needed a lot of life insurance, I needed a vacation, I needed a home in the country. What I had was a coat, a hat and a gun. I put them on and went out of the room.”
“Time passed again. I don't know how long. I had no watch. They don't make that kind of time in watches anyway.”
“You can crab over the morning paper and kick the shins of the guy in the next seat at the movies and feel mean and discouraged and sneer at the politicians but there are a lot of nice people in the world just the same.”
“Even on Central Avenue, not the quietest dressed street in the world, he looked about as inconspicuous as a tarantula on a slice of angel food.”
“It's a swell theory," I said. "Marriott socked me, took the money, then he got sorry and beat his brains out, after first burying the money under a bush.”
“I got up on my feet and went over to the bowl in the corner and threw cold water on my face. After a little while I felt a little better, but very little. I needed a drink, I needed a lot of life insurance. I needed a vacation, I needed a home in the country. What I had was a coat, a hat and a gun. I put them on and went out of the room.”
“Velma you says? No Velma heah, brother. No hooch, no gals, no nothing. Jes' the scram, white boy, jes' the scram.”
“I think you are a very stupid person. You look stupid. You are in a stupid business. And you came here on a stupid mission.” “I get it,” I said. “I’m stupid. It sank in after a while.”
“The house itself was not so much. It was smaller than Buckingham Palace, rather gray for California, and probably had fewer windows than the Chrysler Building.”
“I needed a drink, I needed a lot of life insurance, I needed a vacation, I needed a home in the country. What I had was a coat, a hat and a gun.”
“It was a nice face, a face you get to like. Pretty, but not so pretty that you would have to wear brass knuckles every time you took it out.”
“She sighed. “All men are the same.” “So are all women—after the first nine.”
“Thick cunning played on her face, had no fun there and went somewhere else.”
“I was a swell guy. I enjoyed being me.”
“Suddenly, without any real change in her, she ceased to be beautiful. She looked merely like a woman who would have been dangerous a hundred years ago, and twenty years ago daring, but who today was just Grade B Hollywood.”
“They had Rembrandt on the calendar that year, a rather smeary self-portrait due to imperfectly registered color plate. It showed him holding a smeared palette with a dirty thumb and wearing a tam-o’-shanter which wasn’t any too clean either. His other hand held a brush poised in the air, as if he might be going to do a little work after a while, if somebody made a down payment. His face was aging, saggy, full of the disgust of life and the thickening effects of liquor. But it had a hard cheerfulness that I liked, and the eyes were as bright as drops of dew.
I was looking at him across my office desk at about four-thirty when the phone rang and I heard a cool, supercilious voice that sounded as if it thought it was pretty good. It said drawlingly, after I had answered:
“You are Philip Marlowe, a private detective?”
“Kind of smart guesser, ain’t you, young man? Can’t wait for folks to get their mouth open hardly.” “I’m sorry, Mrs. Morrison. This is an important matter to us—” “This here young man don’t seem to have no trouble keepin’ his mouth in place.” “He’s married,” I said. “He’s had practice.”
“I did it for you. I took in a pint of bourbon with me. She’s a charming middle-aged lady with a face like a bucket of mud and if she has washed her hair since Coolidge’s second term, I’ll eat my spare tire, rim and all.”
“All she did was take her hand out of her bag, with a gun in it. All she did was point it at me and smile. All I did was nothing.”
“I lit a Camel, blew smoke through my nose and looked at a piece of black shiny metal on a stand. It showed a full, smooth curve with a shallow fold in it and two protuberances on the curve. I stared at it. Marriott saw me staring at it. “An interesting bit,” he said negligently. “I picked it up just the other day. Asta Dial’s Spirit of Dawn.” “I thought it was Klopstein’s Two Warts on a Fanny,” I said. Mr. Lindsay Marriott’s face looked as if he had swallowed a bee. He smoothed it out with an effort.”
“He was a windblown blossom of some two hundred pounds with freckled teeth and the mellow voice of a circus barker. He was tough, fast and he ate red meat. Nobody could push him around. He was the kind of cop who spits on his blackjack every night instead of saying his prayers. But he had humorous eyes.”
“She’s a charming middle-aged lady with a face like a bucket of mud and if she has washed her hair since Coolidge’s second term, I’ll eat my spare tire, rim and all.”
“She was a cute as a washtub.”
“In a car you're always in a compartment, and because you're used to it you don't realize that through that car window everything you see is just more TV. You're a passive observer and it is all moving by you boringly in a frame.
On a cycle the frame is gone. You're completely in contact with it all. You're in the scene, not just watching it anymore, and the sense of presence is overwhelming.”
“unconditional love asks nothing, not even that it be returned.”
“Over the obsidian hills and the sunken yellow dale, through the vast oceans of fog and the fires of nevermore, sits the fickle doors of the land of twilight. I will traverse it all, and execute righteous judgment on all that oppose me.”
“The future is dark, with a darkness as much of the womb as the grave.”
“if you’re stressed like a normal mammal in an acute physical crisis, the stress response is lifesaving. But if instead you chronically activate the stress response for reasons of psychological stress, your health suffers. It”
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