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datatime: 2022-09-26 05:37:26 Author:NaRmznIH

I reached for his telephone, which was the old-fashioned gallows type. I lifted off the receiver and started to dial the number of Police Headquarters, very slowly. I knew he would know that number about as well as he knew his hat.

I stepped inside and waited for the door to squeak shut. A bare carpetless room paved in brown linoleum, a flat desk and a rolltop at right angles to it, a big green safe that looked as fireproof as a delicatessen bag, two filing cases, three chairs, a built-in closet and washbowl in the corner by the door.

"Well, well, sit down," Madder said. "Glad to see you." He fussed around behind his desk and adjusted a burst-out seat cushion, sat on it. "Nice of you to drop around. Business?"

"The one that phoned me."

He put out a couple of nicotined fingers. "Well, well, the old dog catcher himself. The eye that never forgets. Marlowe is the name, I believe?"

I got out of a jolting open-cage elevator, looked at a dirty spittoon on a dirty rubber mat, walked down a corridor that smelled of butts, and tried the knob below the frosted glass panel of 619. The door was locked, I knocked.

I said slowly: "They want to talk to you. On account of you know a broad that knows a man had sore feet."

Madder opened a flat tin of cigarettes and pushed one past his lips with a sound like somebody gutting a fish. His hand shook.

"The one that phoned me."

He didn't look at me. "About how we could do a little business together. Say, in stones."

"The one that phoned me."

He didn't look at me. "About how we could do a little business together. Say, in stones."

He reached over and pushed the hook down. "Now, listen," he complained. "You're too fast. What you calling copper for?"

A shadow came against the glass and the door was pulled back with a squeak. I was looking at a thick-set man with a soft round chin, heavy black eyebrows, an oily complexion and a Charlie Chan mustache that made his face look fatter than it was.

He reached over and pushed the hook down. "Now, listen," he complained. "You're too fast. What you calling copper for?"

He put out a couple of nicotined fingers. "Well, well, the old dog catcher himself. The eye that never forgets. Marlowe is the name, I believe?"

The Quorn Building was a narrow front, the color of dried mustard, with a large case of false teeth in the entrance. The directory held the names of painless dentists, people who teach you how to become a letter carrier, just names, and numbers without any names, Rush Madder, Attorney-at-Law, was in Room 619.

There was a sudden tinkling, icy-cold laugh on the wire. "On account of a guy had sore feet," the voice said.

"Huh? What wren?" He still didnt look at me.

He didn't look at me. "About how we could do a little business together. Say, in stones."

He put out a couple of nicotined fingers. "Well, well, the old dog catcher himself. The eye that never forgets. Marlowe is the name, I believe?"

He didn't look at me. "About how we could do a little business together. Say, in stones."

The phone clicked. I put my end of it aside, struck a match and stared at the wall until the flame burned my fingers.

"Better see Rush Madder. Know him?"

"Any ideas?" he asked softly.

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