The bartender set the drink in front of me. With the lime juice it has a sort of pale greenish yellowish misty look. I tasted it. It was both sweet and sharp at the same time. The woman in black watched me. Then she lifted her own glass towards me. We both drank. Then I knew hers was the same drink.
The next move was routine, so I didn’t make it. I just sat there. “He wasn’t English,” I said after a moment. “l guess maybe he had been there during the war. We used to come in here once in a while, early like now. Before the mob started boiling.”
‘°lt’s a pleasant hour,” she said. “In a bar almost the only pleasant hour.” She emptied her glass. “Perhaps I knew your friend,” she said. “What was his name?”
I didn’t answer her right away. I lit a cigarette and watched her tap the stub of hers out of the jade holder and fit another in its place. I reached across with a lighter. “Lennox,” I said.
She thanked me for the light and gave me a brief searching glance. Then she nodded. “Yes, I knew him very well. Perhaps a little too well.”
The barkeep drifted over and glanced at my glass. “A couple more of the same,” l said. “In a booth.”
I got down off the stool and stood waiting. She might or might not blow me down. I didn’t particularly care. Once in a while in this much too sex-conscious country a man and a woman can meet and talk without dragging bedrooms into it. This could be it, or she could just think I was on the make. If so, the hell with her.
She hesitated, but not for long. She gathered up a pair of black gloves and a black suede bag with a gold frame and clasp and walked across into a corner booth and sat down without a word. I sat down across the small table.
“My name is Marlowe.” Raymond Chandler, The Long Goodbye