Inspired by my reading of Michael Harvey’s ‘The Chicago Way,’ here’s some Bad Chandler I wrote on The Well several years back…
It was the sort of day you got all too often in Los Angeles - the sort where you go and rinse your face in the basin, dry off, and by the time you get back to your desk, you’re already dripping sweat on the Racing Form.
I had just begun to think about checking into an air-conditioned hotel for the weekend with a bottle of Scotch and my memories when I heard a knock on the door. It was after five on a Friday, so ordinarily I would have ignored it, but I hadn’t worked since I caught the Commissioner’s wife taking 5% off the top at Twentynine Palms, so I got up and went for the door.
I opened the door to two people: a redhead with a body that could stop traffic and a big Italian with a face that had stopped one too many punches.
“You Mallory?” said the dago in a voice I hadn’t heard since I was kid in South Philly.
“That’s what the sign says,” I said, sizing him up. He had the look of an ex-fighter turned lush — a bright red nose with more angles than Mulholland Drive and a look that said something got knocked loose between his eyes and his brain.
Before I could say anything, the dame breezed past me, her green silk dress rustling like a stand of poplars in a light breeze, leaving the scent of whiskey and rosewater hanging in the air behind her. She sat down on the couch and pulled out a cigarette, fitted it into an ivory holder, put it in her mouth, and waited.
As I started to go for my lighter, the palooka followed her in, pulled out a silver lighter, and lit her cigarette. He didn’t sit — instead, he stood behind the couch, just off her left shoulder. I found myself no longer wondering how a guy like him ended up as a bodyguard for a dame like her — he still moved like a guy fifty pounds lighter.
“He’s quick,” I said.
“You have no idea,” she responded.
“So what can I do for you?” I asked as I sat down at my desk and lit a cigarette of my own. “Husband cheating and you need pictures? Afraid your son’s blowing his trust fund on trips to San Francisco?”
She exhaled and smiled thinly behind the cigarette smoke. “It’s nothing so tawdry, I assure you, Mr. Mallory. It’s simply a matter of finding something I seem to have lost. I asked a few people and they said you have quite a knack for finding things.”
“I’ve been known to locate a thing now and then. What — or who — are we looking for?”
“We are not looking for anything, Mr. Mallory. You are. You see, it’s very important that no one know I’m involved.” She leaned forward, the light from the sun through the blinds glancing off the diamond in the choker around her neck. “Do you know who I am?”
Of course I did. “You’re Anne Thompson, socialite and former wife of the late Col. Robert Thompson, one-time owner of the Los Angeles Times.”
“Very good. That’s the last time you’ll mention my name. Tony here is going to give you some money and let you know what you’re looking for. You’ll be dealing exclusively with him from now on. I trust his terms will be acceptable to you,” she said, rising from the couch and adjusting her stole.
“That’s a shame,” I said. As she got to the door, she turned and looked back at me. “Yes, it is,” she said. “Good day.”
With that, she left my office, leaving me sitting at my faded oak desk with nothing but a washed-up bum of a fighter on my couch and the memory of her mouth already fading out of my mind.
Except, it is explicitly his job to do so. Article IV of the Illinois Constitution says so, right in Section 14:
“The House of Representatives has the sole power to conduct legislative investigations to determine the existence of cause for impeachment and, by the vote of a majority of the members elected, to impeach Executive and Judicial officers.”
We tried to watch ‘Crank’ last night but turned it off after less than ten minutes. I can’t remember the last time we gave up on a movie that quickly. We were totally in the mood for a mindless shoot-em-up, and Jason Statham gives good action, but this one was nigh-unwatchable. Avoid at all costs.