Pearls are a Nuisance by Raymond Chandler (1950)

Sticking with Chandler’s style for a few short posts.

Here’s the story’s hero trying to be tough and in control but it not working very well. One’s got to smile.

“I am the fiancé of Miss Ellen Macintosh,” I told him coldly. “I am informed that you tried to kiss her.”

He took another step towards me and I another towards him. “Whatddaya mean – tried?” he sneered.

I led sharply with my right and it landed flush on his chin. It seemed to be a good solid punch, but it scarcely moved him. I then put two hard left jabs into his neck and landed a second hard right at the side of his rather wide nose. He snorted and hit me in the solar plexus.

I bent over and took hold of the room with both hands and spun it. When I had it nicely spinning I gave it a full swing and hit myself on the back of the head with the floor. This made me lose my balance temporarily and while I was thinking about how to regain it a wet towel began to slap at my face and I opened my eyes…

Love even the floor joining in to give him a bashing. But our have-a-go hero gets to his feet and tries again.

“Damn you, Eichelberger!” I said and hit him with all my strength on the side of his jaw. He shook his head and his eyes seemed annoyed. I delivered three more punches to his face and jaw while he was still shaking his head.

“So you wanta play for keeps!” he yelled and took hold of the bed and threw it at me.

I dodged the corner of the bed, but in doing so I moved a little too quickly and lost my balance and pushed my head about four inches in the baseboard under the window.

A wet towel began to slap at my face. I opened my eyes…

You got to feel sorry for the guy through your smiling. That unassuming style of Chandler begs our sympathy. 

And I just love, and his eyes seemed annoyed. Know that look too well. Glad it’s not just me.

Thanks for being here.

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Guy Nicholls

Writer and book bore.

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