Friday, November 18, 2011

Phraselet No. 103

"All right. Tell me what to do again."

I told her. "Now, about my fee."

"Yes, of course."

"Two thousand, exclusive of expenses."

"I remember."

I looked at her. She looked at me. Nobody moved. After twenty or thirty years I said, "Well?"

"I'll get it to you."

I took the checkbook out of the stack of bank paper and pushed it across the table to her. "What's wrong with now?"

A tick started on her right eye. "Do you ... take Visa?"

It was very still in the house. I could hear a single-engine light plane climbing out of Van Nuys Airport to the north. Somewhere down the street a dog with a deep, barrel-chested voice barked. There was a light breeze, but the jasmine was soured by the smog. I slid the checkbook back and looked at it. Most of the couples I know have the husband's name printed out, with the wife's name printed beneath it, two individuals. Theirs read: Mr. and Mrs. Morton K. Lang. There was a balance of $3426.15. All of the stubs were written in the same masculine hand. I said quietly, "Go get a pen and I'll show you how."

- Robert Crais, The Monkey's Raincoat

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