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datatime: 2022-09-26 20:45:53 Author:KvisBWor

A shadow came against the glass and the door was pulled back with a squeak. I was looking at a thick-set man with a soft round chin, heavy black eyebrows, an oily complexion and a Charlie Chan mustache that made his face look fatter than it was.

The phone clicked. I put my end of it aside, struck a match and stared at the wall until the flame burned my fingers.

"Better see Rush Madder. Know him?"

"Huh? What wren?" He still didnt look at me.

"Better see Rush Madder. Know him?"

Rush Madder was a shyster in the Quorn Building. An ambulance chaser, a small-time fixer, an alibi builder-upper, anything that smelled a little and paid a little more. I hadn't heard of him in connection with any big operations like burning people's feet.

"Well, well, sit down," Madder said. "Glad to see you." He fussed around behind his desk and adjusted a burst-out seat cushion, sat on it. "Nice of you to drop around. Business?"

He reached over and pushed the hook down. "Now, listen," he complained. "You're too fast. What you calling copper for?"

"Better see Rush Madder. Know him?"

I said slowly: "They want to talk to you. On account of you know a broad that knows a man had sore feet."

I got out of a jolting open-cage elevator, looked at a dirty spittoon on a dirty rubber mat, walked down a corridor that smelled of butts, and tried the knob below the frosted glass panel of 619. The door was locked, I knocked.

The Quorn Building was a narrow front, the color of dried mustard, with a large case of false teeth in the entrance. The directory held the names of painless dentists, people who teach you how to become a letter carrier, just names, and numbers without any names, Rush Madder, Attorney-at-Law, was in Room 619.

I reached for his telephone, which was the old-fashioned gallows type. I lifted off the receiver and started to dial the number of Police Headquarters, very slowly. I knew he would know that number about as well as he knew his hat.

A woman's voice said: "Marlowe?" It was a small, tight, cold voice. I didn't know it.

The phone clicked. I put my end of it aside, struck a match and stared at the wall until the flame burned my fingers.

I reached for his telephone, which was the old-fashioned gallows type. I lifted off the receiver and started to dial the number of Police Headquarters, very slowly. I knew he would know that number about as well as he knew his hat.

There was a sudden tinkling, icy-cold laugh on the wire. "On account of a guy had sore feet," the voice said.

"Well, well, sit down," Madder said. "Glad to see you." He fussed around behind his desk and adjusted a burst-out seat cushion, sat on it. "Nice of you to drop around. Business?"

"No," I lied. "Why should I see him?"

Madder opened a flat tin of cigarettes and pushed one past his lips with a sound like somebody gutting a fish. His hand shook.

He didn't look at me. "About how we could do a little business together. Say, in stones."

"Did somebody phone you?"

"The one that phoned me."

There was a sudden tinkling, icy-cold laugh on the wire. "On account of a guy had sore feet," the voice said.

A shadow came against the glass and the door was pulled back with a squeak. I was looking at a thick-set man with a soft round chin, heavy black eyebrows, an oily complexion and a Charlie Chan mustache that made his face look fatter than it was.

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