When I got back to my office at 23 Mean Street, she was waiting. She had the kind of face that would make a bishop kick in a stained-glass window.
“Oh, Mr Marlowe, thank heaven you’re back,” she said.
She was trembling. Obviously something big going down. I poured her a glass of water and helped her into a chair.
“How can I help?” I asked, lighting several cigarettes and blowing lots of smoke languorously around the room.
“It was terrible, Mr Marlowe. I just left the presentation. He was lying there, unmoving.”
“It’s murder, then?”
I could feel my eyes narrowing. I forced them open.
“He was riddled with bullets.”
“Riddled, eh? Guess the murderer was trying to make some sort of point.”
“It didn’t make any kind of sense to me. It was cold, calculated. The victim was subjected to zoom in, fade in, fade out and whirling animation until he could take no more.”
I nodded grimly. “I’ve seen it before. The victims lose the will to live. Can you describe the killer?”
“He was very dull in appearance. Kind of geeky. A horrible, monotone voice that never seemed to vary. I remember he kept cracking dreadful jokes that just weren’t funny.”
“I fancy I know the one you mean. Don’t worry, miss.”
“You’ll help? You’ll track him down for me?”
“I’ll do whatever I can to make offices safe from this villain. And if there’s any justice, when they lock him up they’ll throw away the key.”
She melted into my arms and I knew then that I was doing something fine and noble. She pressed something into my hands and fled the office.
I looked down. I thought it would be a crumpled hundred dollar bill; but it was a cryptic message.
“Aha,” I mused. “My first clue.”
(with apologies to Raymond Chandler)
By David Vickery
that was wonder full.i could feel how scrade she was. i could see it in my head. i love it.
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