Let’s Meet in a Dream: “Philip Marlowe Part II” by Haruki Murakami
“Philip Marlowe Part II” is a short-short from Haruki Murakami and Shigesato Itoi’s 1981 strange collaborative story collection, Let’s Meet in a Dream.
“Marlowe,” a man’s voice said. There was a good three-inch gap between the R and the L. “If I’m not mistaken.”
I continued trimming my nails without a word. My nails were particularly beautiful this morning. Shaped like an ashtray from a run-down Mexican restaurant.
“Did you hear what I said?”
“I hear ya,” I said with a yawn. I was as tired as a shoddy submarine valve and as cranky as a hungry katydid. “By the way, ‘mister’ is spelled m-i-s-t-e-r. That means take off your damn hat when you come in here.”
“You tryin’ to act tough?”
“Yeah. I’m as tough as a frost crystal on a November morning.”
The man let out a grin from the side of his mouth and removed his hat. He couldn’t have been over forty years old, but his blonde hair was thinning around the top of his head. His eyes were small and his lips were thin. Looked like the type that would snatch a lottery ticket from a dead man’s pocket and just go on his way. Otherwise he couldn’t afford those thousand-dollar dark suits.
“Better, Mr. Marlowe?”
“Just fine, Mr. …”
“Cavit. Jack Cavit.”
“I don’t have to call you Jack, I suppose.”
The man smiled, unamused, and brought an English cigarette to his lips and lit it with a small golden lighter.
“I don’t have time for this,” he stated bluntly. “I’m busy.”
It was a line fit for a man wearing a thousand-dollar suit, but not this guy. Guys like this outnumber all the umbrellas in Southern California.
“You sure are busy for a guy tanning at the pool, Mr. Cavit.”
He peered at his own arms in surprise, then shrugged his shoulders.
“It’s just part of the job, Mr. Marlowe. It’s my job to drink martinis poolside.”
“And I suppose you eat dinner with the dolphins.”
Cavit let out an angry huff and tapped his cigarette ash onto the floor.
(Author’s note: I’m tired so I’m going to stop now.)