Relevant Quote #91:
Raymond Chandler Birthday Edition


I'm sitting in that office, playing with a dead fly and in pops this dowdy little item from Manhattan, Kansas, and chisels me down to a shopworn twenty to find her brother. He sounds like a creep but she wants to find him. So with this fortune clasped to my chest, I trundle down to Bay City and the routine I go through is so tired I'm half asleep on my feet. I meet nice people, with and without ice picks in their necks. I leave, and I leave myself wide-open too. Then she comes in and takes the twenty away from me and gives me a kiss and gives it back to me because I didn't do a full day's work.

So I go see Dr. Hambleton, retired (and how) optometrist from El Centro, and meet again the new style in neckwear. And I don't tell the cops. I just frisk the customer's toupee and put on an act. Why? Who am I cutting my throat for this time? A blonde with sexy eyes and too many door keys? A girl from Manhattan, Kansas? I don't know. All I know is that something isn't what it seems and the old tired but always reliable hunch tells me that if the hand is played the way it is dealt the wrong person is going to lose the pot. Is that my business? Well, what is my business? Do I know? Did I ever know? Let's not go into that. You're not human tonight, Marlowe. Maybe I never was or ever will be. Maybe I'm an ectoplasm with a private license. Maybe we all get like this in the cold half-lit world where always the wrong thing happens and never the right.
-- Raymond Chandler, The Little Sister

7 comments:

Robert Fiore said...

"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 hat, a coat and a gun. I put them on and went out of the room."

Vanwall said...

"It was a blonde. A blonde to make a bishop kick in a stained-glass window"

H. P. L. said...

"She gave me a look I could feel in my hip pocket"

I have to go and re-read The Little Sister...

H.P.L.

Daniel said...

Maybe you literate guys can help me; I've always remembered a Chandler line that was about a woman downing an alcoholic beverage and he described something about the way you could see her teeth as she tipped her head back...but I've never been able to track that exact quote (or source) down. Ring any bells?

Stacia said...

"Perhaps it was the spring. And something in her eyes that was much older than Manhattan, Kansas."

I live in Manhattan, by the way. The address little sister gives for their house (Elm street, I think) doesn't really exist. I know, I tried to find it.

Someone on Usenet recorded "Marlowe" for me on DVD. I need to go watch it again, it's a good movie despite being so far removed from the original source material.

Mr DeBakey said...

"I've always remembered a Chandler line..."

I'm thinking Farewell My Lovely
But I don't have a copy on hand.

From Try the Girl:

"I poured her a slug that would have made me float over a wall. A smaller one for me. She put hers down like an aspirin tablet"

Who Am Us Anyway? said...

"There was a desert wind blowing that night. It was one of those hot dry Santa Anas that come down through the mountain passes and curl your hair and make your nerves jump and your skin itch. On nights like that every booze party ends in a fight. Meek little wives feel the edge of the carving knife and study their husbands' necks. Anything can happen. You can even get a full glass of beer at a cocktail lounge."