Wednesday, August 6, 2003

Yesterday: a day with a hard-boiled master

I got up sluggishly from my bed, let a cough rattle in my throat, and went into the bathroom.

The complexion in the bathroom mirror was grey, brown eyes misty and dull.

Men have been worse, I thought, but better men have called in sick.

I made the call, said I would not be coming in and was told that was sensible. I was alone in the house, except for the two cats.

Felines, not jazz musicians.

I don’t always get on with cats.

I went back to my bed, picked up a novel with a grey and red dust jacket: Dashiell Hammet, “The Glass Key”.

I shrugged without curiosity, rolled on my back and stared at the ceiling, remembered Cate Blanchett’s kid is named after this Dashiell guy. Built a big name in the ‘30s.

I cracked the novel open.

“Huh,” I said an hour later, “I’d heard this guy could put words on a page.”

I turned pages, ignored the cats, my eyes regaining something of their keen glitter.

Outside, clouds spread from the east like an ink stain on a blotter. I couldn’t tell you if I noticed when the rain first started smearing the dusty windows.

Later, I closed the book and put it down.

I looked at the cats without enmity.

“Not a bad way to spend a day,” I said.

(Picture: Alan Ladd & Veronica Lake in "The Glass Key")

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