“There’s gonna be heat and it’s gonna be hot and I’m gonna catch it. It’ll blaze right through my blistered paws, most like. Prolly burn me hollow – but I’ll catch it all the same, if that’s what it takes. And it will. And won’t none of it be pretty.” He pressed his forehead to the cool brick. “Like you. You’re so goddamned pretty.”
Silence crept back onto the line then, dead air crackling between them the length on the alley, the length of the metro line, the length of The Holes. He saw the silhouette touch a hand to its soft lips.
“No, Jim. No. It’s just…”
“Save it. I’m sorry, I said. I get it. You did swell work, patching me up, but I guess I oughtn’t be walking around yet. My… my head’s gone soft or something.” Jim finished his cigarette, balancing the smoking butt on the lip of that bastardized tub. “Maybe it always was.”
He straightened himself, then straightened his coat, watching that shadow and its trembling fingers. He brought the handset to his mouth. “You’re one in a million, Betty baby.”
In a story that visibly aims at mimicking film noir tropes and language, this dialogue on the phone between the two main characters is maybe the more noir of all. Jim is in a ally just outside Betty’s restaurant and can see her through the window. The situation itself is very noir, in my opinion, with that expressive use of shadows.
The episode is also one of the more revealing of the character’s personality.
You can read my review of A Fistful of Nothing here
Did you like this quote? Here’s a few things you might want to do.
- Head over to Bookshelf Fantasies, who sponsors the Thursday Quotables, and join in the fun.
- Post a quote on your blog and make sure to leave a link in the comment box below. I’ll be sure to visit and comment.
- Maybe you’ve read this author too and would love to share your opinion. By all means do it in the comment box below. I’ll never object.