Eileen brought the water over. "When's the big guy coming?" "Soon I think." "What line of business is he in?" "He's a writer." "Writer?" "Yeah, he has written some novels and lots of articles." "Did he ever show them to you?" "No." She smiles. Is there not another word for smile? What would Chandler have her do? You combed through his The Little Sister. The love interest in there, had a small voice, does a great deal of staring, crinkling eyes, cleaning her teeth with her anaemic tongue, frowned, giggled, and smiled. Smiling is good enough. But maybe it is the way she smiled. How did Eileen smile? It was not a beaming smile. It was one of those ironic or knowing smiles. The smile you see on someone who knows that you are a heel. The Studebaker comes in. It is beaten up. It's one from the war. Maybe a 1940 or 41 model. Out gets the man. He has a bag with him. You are prepared. You did your homework. The rejection demons were slaughtered by the dozen as you went through the "Big Idea". The jukebox is playing Brook Benton's "It's Just a Matter of Time" . Bom bom. bom. Through the doors he comes. Wearing the same pin-striped double breasted suit. Same trilby. "Hello Honey...Eileen." She grinned. "Hello Mr. Z." He does that two step thing again. One foot at an angle, then the other forward. What does it mean? "I don't even want to look at your note book before you say anything." He opens his bag and produces a pile of books. "Before you start on your big idea - you have to study the big ideas of other writers." You are sorely disappointed. "Sonny, a word to the wise, you read one of these books next week - and then you will be ready for writing your big idea. " You pick up one of the books. The title is Little Caesar You open it up. Not before looking twice at the cover where someone is gunned down. "You like the cover? It's good ain't it." Inside there is a dedication - "To Z from Bill in commemoration of the Good Old Days." You look again at the cover. "Yes I knew Bill Burnett." You are impressed. Eileen brings the pancakes and the coffee. Across the way a young family are dining on the restaurant's famed fare. Steaks and Shakes. "You study that book Sonny. Original copy that - so no syrup on it. You better pack it away now." You put it in your bag. Eileen has green blue eyes. Is that the right order? Blue-green. You wonder about what goes with that colour. The sea. She has sea eyes. You are still troubled by the pink blonde hair. Carnation? Z is drinking his coffee. You notice the bulge in his suit. That's where the Mauser is. A Mauser. Why would a writer carry an automatic with him? Is it an automatic? Or a pistol? They are antiques Mausers. German? You had a gun for popping squirrels. It was what all kids in the neighbourhood had. An air rifle. But this Mauser. It was a real gun. Strange thing to carry around. "You make sure you read every word of Little Caesar boy. Every last morsel of it." He licked his lips. They were uneven in inflation. Were lips pumped up? You grin inside. Fancy going to the gas station and asking for your lips to be pumped up. What about those other books? You pick up another one. It's by Chandler. Sure enough you see it is signed. Down comes the big hand of Z - splat on your hand - as if it were a blue bottle. You choke on your pancake. "Not while you are eating you little punk. Clean hands. Remember clean hands." Your hand feels as if fifty pounds of metal has landed on it from five feet up. It's going to be bruised. But like the rejections. You are man enough to rollercoast these injuries. She comes on over. She had been watching us. "Is that necessary? You like to use force don't you?" "No Eileen - when it comes treasures like these - and if you see inside, Raymond Chandler, Ray as I knew him, dedicated it me. " "You sure get around Z." " Now Sonny can't we have something different on the juke box?" You get up and put on Gale Storm's "Dark Moon." Your sister's favourite. You return and see that Eileen and Mr. Z have been chatting. She is laughing. Laughing. Not smiling. Her laugh...is like. You think about that laugh all through the "lesson" , except there is no lesson. Mr Z finishes his pancake and coffee - then goes. Eileen's sea eyes follow him as he goes to his 1940 Stud.