♥ Scroll 31
I've been having a terrible headache since the rain began and there's no sign of it letting up. The rain, I mean, which has been pouring as if to wash away all my persistent illusions. You'd better jog at least for 30 minutes to overcome your insomnia, my doctor advised me, but of course I disregarded his orders and decided to drink gin for 30 minutes every evening instead. The effects have been fantastically rewarding!
At first for a few days something nebulous appeared at a corner of my room, which gradually took a human shape, and finally turned out no one else but Philip Marlowe himself, who spoke to me as though I were a suspect in one of his crime cases. "I'll tell you where I was last Wednesday, night"—I was in confusion and said,"Are you by any chance planning a date with me, because if you are you can forget it!"
To my great surprise he walked over and kissed me immediately, which made me feel assured that I was one of his suspects. "Follow me," he said as we waltzed out together into a gin-soaked sky. I didn't hesitate for a second, my headache a long-forgotten memory, and waltzed on after him, excitedly, wondering what kind of crime he thought I had committed. He stopped in front of the first bar we came to and looked in my direction.
"Next one," I said before he could answer, and made for a neon-lit entrance like a mouth of a deep-sea fish. We opened the door and stepped in as if sucked into the 19th century again. Faces turned to look at us, from the bar stools along the bar, and the bartender beckoned us, in a familiar way, to sit on the stools in front of him. I was startled to find the wall behind him, where shelves of bottles and glasses should be, was a huge aquarium with mountains made of rock, plastic houses, flowing green seaweed and 5 or 6 small sharks patrolling back and forth.
"Gin. Two," I said to the bartender, who had suddenly begun to resemble a hammerhead, and he offered me a tall glass of gin, his eyes protruding from both ends of his forehead. In sudden panic I drank my gin in one gulp, turned to Marlow and blurted out, "How did you know it was me?" He looked at me coolly, cocked his hat and said,"Because you look like a goldfish gasping for air whenever I try to stare into your eyes. Eementary, my dear, and I'm taking you in," he said & spun me around, slapped the cold handcuffs on my wrists, and pushed my arms up painfully behind my back. In a second he had shoved me down the hallway and through the bedroom door.
Photo by James C. Hopkins: Martha's Vinyard.