The other day I saw a dead man in the street.
He had a book in his hand, and it wasn’t Alice in Wonderland. As I approached, I saw someone walking over to the body. Was he an innocent bystander? A first responder? An investigator?
Maybe the man in the white trousers was a cold-blooded killer. I sidestepped around the crime scene, hoping to pass for an innocent streetwalker. But I couldn’t avoid staring at the weird green light emanating from the cobblestones.
The green light moved. White trousers was holding the light. What did it all mean?
Nice looking corpse. Was he really dead, or just playing possum?
A dark narrow hallway appeared; I slipped inside the café. A crowd had gathered at the crime scene; no one seemed to notice me. La Dama was empty. The bartender was gone, or maybe he was just in the back room. Dark cafés always have back rooms. The only thing moving inside was a curious feline who studied the scene from behind the shutters.
It looked like a scene out of that hard-boiled genre from the 1930s… they called them detective stories… like Farewell My Lovely, or Spanish Blood, by Raymond Chandler.
Chandler’s short stories have never been equalled, but Dashiell Hammett (The Maltese Falcon) came pretty darn close. San Francisco, Los Angeles in the 1920s and 30s… the days of police corruption, Prohibition, bootleggers, narcotics-smuggling, red light districts, big beautiful cars with running boards. Mean streets. Gangster heaven.
A gorgeous blonde drifted in and sat down at my table. A young kid with a striped apron appeared out of nowhere to take our order. The girl ordered vino tinto; I asked for a coke. I wondered if she knew what was happening. If she did, she wasn’t talking.
Some more girls showed up and so did the band. Pretty soon the joint was rockin’ to a bluesy kinda sound and the owner – the infamous Dama de Bollini herself – bought us all another round and passed out party favors.
Meanwhile, out on the street, Mad Max pulled up in a rundown bucket of bolts that Sam Mendes might have used on the set.
Parking is verboten on Pasaje Bollini but… who’s gonna tell him?
He was thirsty and looking for a cold beer… turns out he wasn’t dead in the street after all; just taking a break till the film crew called it a wrap.
Mad Max snagged the blonde. After a couple of beers he was ready for tango lessons… that’s what they all say, right?