Lawrence Block - Scudder 07 - Out on the Cutting Edge (1989) for my cousin

Jeffrey Nathan





1 There are three prominent fraternal organizations for actors in New York ,…

2 The girl's name was Paula Hoeldtke and I didn't really expect to find her.

3 I spent an hour or so that night going door-to-door in the rooming house,…

4 My first thought the next morning was that I'd been too abrupt with my…

5 The good weather held all weekend. Saturday I went to a ball game.

6 The cop's name was Andreotti. His partner, a light-skinned black patrolman,…

7 I was never a smoker. During the drinking years, every once in a while…

8 I woke up the next morning with a sour taste in my mouth.

9 'I'm surprised you're still on it,' Durkin said.

10 Andreotti wasn't on duty when I got over to the precinct house.

11 'Zero blood alcohol,' Bellamy said. 'I didn't know anybody in this town…

12 I dropped into Grogan's in the middle of the afternoon.

13 The phone woke me, wrenching me out of a dream.

14 I tried Gary 's number in the morning. I let it ring and no one…

15 I thought I heard the phone while I was in the shower.

16 We left the meat market bar and walked over Thirteenth to Greenwich …

17 When I got to Willa's she was wearing the white Levi's with another…

18 'It was the chloral hydrate,' I said. 'And the funny thing is it wouldn't…

19 I brought her in. It was a nice collar for Joe Durkin, with an assist for…

I sit in one of the dives

On Fifty-second Street

Uncertain and afraid

As the clever hopes expire

Of a low dishonest decade:

Waves of anger and fear

Circulate over the bright

And darkened lands of the earth,

Obsessing our private lives;

The unmentionable odor of death

Offends the September night…


'September 1, 1939'

When I imagine it, it is always a perfect summer day, with the sun high in a vivid blue sky. It was summer, of course, but I have no way of knowing what the weather was like, or even if it happened during the day. Someone, relating the incident, mentioned moonlight, but he wasn't there either. Perhaps his imagination provided the moon, even as mine chose a bright sun, a blue sky, and a scattering of cottony clouds.

They are on the open porch of a white clapboard farmhouse.

Sometimes I see them inside, seated at a pine table in the kitchen, but more often they are on the porch. They have a large glass pitcher filled with a mix of vodka and grapefruit juice, and they are sitting on the porch drinking salty dogs.

Sometimes I imagine them walking around the farm, holding hands, or with their arms around one another's waists. She has had a lot to drink, and it makes her boisterous and flamboyant and a little unsteady on her pins. She moos at the cows, clucks at the chickens, oinks at the pigs, and laughs at the whole world.

Or I'll see them walking through woods, then emerging at the bank of a stream. There was a Frenchman a couple hundred years ago who always painted idealized rustic scenes, with barefoot shepherds and milkmaids

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