T H E   L O U D   R I N G I N G in his head took on a slightly different tone, a harmony, once again, so Fletch reasoned the telephone was ringing. Still on the floor, still not breathing evenly, he pulled the telephone cord. It clattered to the floor in two pieces, but Fletch did not hear the clatter. He pulled the two pieces of the telephone to him.

“Hello?” he said into it.

“Oh, Fletch, you are home.”

“What about phone?”

“Why are you shouting?”


“Fletch, Rick has asked me to move into his pad with him.”

“Had with him? Had with who?”

“Stop shouting. It’s been damned difficult. I’ve been spending every damned day and night with him doing this play, and, you know, it’s not Major Barbara we’re rehearsing, I mean, Paul has been a complete nut about our getting the nude scenes right, and, frankly, Fletch, Rick is beautiful, and very nice, perfect timing, and how do you expect a girl to take the strain? You haven’t been here much, you know.”

“How’s Rick?”

“Fletch, are you deaf? Why are you breathing hard? Been exercising?”

“When are you coming home?”

“Will you come get me?”

“How could I forget you?”

“I lost the little yellow car that went beep-beep nicely. Parked it in front of the theater and it wasn’t there when I came out. I told the police about it, but they didn’t seem to much care.”

“I’ll come pick you up.”

“Well, listen, Fletch, are you going to be home from now on? I mean, no girl can take this kind of strain.”

“Train? Why take a train? What train? I’ll come get you. It will

take me a few minutes. I’m in the middle of a shower.”

“Oh. That’s why you’re shouting.”

“Hey, Moxie? I got my job back,”

“That’s wonderful.”

“What? Sure. Be right there. Just wait for me.”

Fletch hung up the phone, rolled over and sat up. The floor heaved. The walls wobbled. His eyes said they wanted to close. His stomach complained of having nothing to vomit.

He decided he should lie still a moment, on the rug, before washing off the blood, getting dressed, attempting to drive. He rolled over again, slowly, onto his stomach. He put his sore right cheekbone down gently on his sore right forearm.

And fell asleep.


Copyright © 1981 by Gregory Mcdonald

All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. Published in the United States by Vintage Books, a division of Random House, Inc., New York, and simultaneously in Canada by Random House of Canada Limited, Toronto. Originally published in hardcover in the United States by Warner Books, Inc., New York, in 1981.

Vintage is a registered trademark and Vintage Crime/Black Lizard and colophon are trademarks of Random House, Inc.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Mcdonald, Gregory, 1937-

Fletch and the widow Bradley / Gregory Mcdonald.

p. cm.—(Vintage Crime/Black Lizard)

eISBN: 978-0-307-52386-0

1. Fletch (Fictitious character)—Fiction.

2. Private investigators—United States—Fiction.

I. Title. II. Series.

PS3563.A278 F5 2002



Author photograph © Nancy Crampton



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