fredag 1 maj 2009

The high window

Philip Marlowe rör sig i det amerikanska klassamhällets djungel. Bland iskalla gangsters, depraverad överklass och korrumperade poliser, bland småtjuvar och utslagna. Han är cyniskt genomskådande, har inga illusioner. Men ibland lyser ett slags socialt patos igenom.

I "The high window" är Marlowe på väg att besöka en klubb ägd av en gangster. Klubben visar sig ligga i ett slags "gated community", med uniformerade vakter som stoppar honom innan han släpps in längs den privata vägen. Samtalet med vakten blir till ett genuint möte. Ett plötsligt politiskt meningsutbyte utanför den egentliga intrigen.

"I looked at the gun strapped to his hip, the special badge pinned to his shirt. "And they call this a democracy," I said.
He looked behind him and then spat on the ground and put a hand on the sill of the car door. "Maybe you got company," he said. "I knew a fellow belonged to the John Reed Club. Over in Boyle Hights, it was."
"Tovarich," I said.
"The trouble with revolutions," he said, "is that they get in the hands of the wrong people."
"Check," I said.
"On the other hand," he said, "could they be any wronger than the bunch of rich phonies that live around here?"
"Maybe you'll be living in here yourself someday," I said.
He spat again. "I wouldn't live in here if they paid me fifty thousand a year and let me sleep in a chiffon pajamas with a string of matched pink pearls around my neck."
"I'd hate to make you the offer," I said.
"You make me the offer any time," he said. "Day or night. Just make me the offer and see what it gets you."
"Well, I'll run along now and check with the officer of the club," I said.
"Tell him to go spit upp his left pants leg," he said. "Tell him I said so."
"I'll do that," I said.

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