Terry Lennox

Chinatown on Sunset

I thought about Terry Lennox in a detached sort of way. He was already receding into the distance, white hair and scarred face and weak charm and his peculiar brand of pride. I didn’t judge him or analyze him, just as I had never asked him questions about how he got wounded or how he ever happened to get himself married to anyone like Sylvia. He was like somebody you meet on board ship and get to know very well and never really know at all. He was gone like the same fellow when he says goodbye at the pier and let’s keep in touch, old man, and you know you won’t and he won’t. If you do he will be an entirely different person, just another Rotarian in a club car. How’s business? Oh, not too bad. You look good. So do you. I’ve put on too much weight. Don’t we all? Remember that trip in the Franconia (or whatever it was)? Oh sure, swell trip, wasn’t it?

The hell it was a swell trip. You were bored stiff. You only talked to the guy because there was’t anybody around that interested you. Maybe it was like that with Terry Lennox and me. No, not quite. I owned a piece of him. I had invested time and money in him, and three days in the icehouse, not to mention a slug in the jaw and a punch in the neck that I felt every time I swallowed. Now he was dead and I couldn’t even give him back his five hundred bucks. That made me sore. It is always the little things that make you sore.

~~ Raymond Chandler, “The Long Goodbye”


About Rodger Jacobs


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