The Spitfire Grille feels like a set in a B movie from 1945. It's on the grounds of the Santa Monica airport where prop planes take off with cargoes of who-knows-what to who-knows-where... hot jewels to be fenced or cold cash to be laundered? The sort of place I might have been led to trailing a blonde. One of us is in a convertible and the other in a black sedan with Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett writing away in the back seat.
A man of medium build and mediocre mind had popped into office yesterday; a cross between Sidney Greenstreet and Peter Lorre. When he announced himself as Murray Hill I already had his number. He said he wanted me to keep an eye on his sister. I knew he was lying through his teeth by the way he wiped his sweaty palms with his pink tie. But I had overdue library books to pay off and could use the few bucks.
I head for an outside table with a good angle. The place is swarming with weasels, hoods and undercover cops spying on each other. Looking up from behind my Look magazine I ponder the meaning of life in a godless world forgetting that I already did that in the shower this morning. If I came up with an answer it slipped my mind while sprinkling blueberries on my Bran Flakes.
The sun is just a rumor this summer. It disappeared like a corpse in Edgar Allen Poe's basement. I think of the shape of things and realize that a corpse is not the right geometry to talk about the sun. My attention shifts to an orange Lifesaver and how Hart Crane's father was a millionaire who invented the popular candy but refused to pay for his college education. Crane's revenge was to jump overboard where he still is swimming with the fishes.
With no umbrella to shield the sun that isn't there a round hole remains in the middle of my table. One might say it's a size larger that the .38 caliber slug that just whizzed through my Adam's hat but I would never say that. Instead I put the octagonal pepper shaker in the round hole. It fits.
But nothing else fits in this cockeyed world....like what I'm doing here in this movie with my eye on the blonde who turns out to be the twin of a red-head who took the rap and did a stretch up the river. I remember an old Chinese proverb about never double-crossing a double-crosser.
I'm trying to think outside the box but the box is getting fuzzier and I'm ready to blow this joint when I feel something heavier than a double cheeseburger landing on my head. The world is spinning and I'm deciding to quit this racket and enroll in pharmacy school recalling my mother's words about finding something I can always fall back on,.