Not a book this time.
'Paperback' from the Demeter Fragrance Library.
Apparently based on the smell of
a "dusty old copy of a Barbara Pym novel".
The blonde leaning over the counter smiled at him. She had big white teeth that reminded Bailey of piano keys. She was too fat to interest him. He didn't return her smile.“Hello, mister,” she said brightly. “Phew! Isn't it hot? I didn't sleep a wink last night.”“Scotch,” Bailey said curtly. He pushed his hat to the back of his head and mopped his face with a filthy handkerchief.She put a bottle of whiskey and a glass on the counter.“You should have beer,” she said, shaking her blonde curls at him. “Whiskey's no good to anyone in this heat.”“Give your mouth a rest,” Bailey said.He carried the bottle and the glass to a table in a corner and sat down.The blonde grimaced, then she picked up a paperback and with an indifferent shrug, she began to read.Bailey gave himself a long drink, then he leaned back in his chair. He was worried about money. If Riley couldn't dream up something fast, he thought, we'll have to bust a bank. He scowled uneasily. He didn't want to do that. There were too many Feds around for safety.
Ma Grisson was big, grossly fat and lumpy. Flesh hung in two loose sacks either side of her chin. Her crinkly hair was dyed a hard, dull black. Her little eyes were glittering and as impersonal as glass. Her big floppy chest sparkled with cheap jewelry. She wore a dirty cream colored lace dress. Her huge arms, mottled with veins, bulged through the lace network like dough compressed in a sieve. Physically she was as powerful as a man. She was a hideous old woman, and every member of the gang, including Slim, was afraid of her.
"Women! Women! Women!" Ma snarled, pounding on the desk. "Always the same! Barker... Karpis... Dillinger... they all went the same way... because of women! Everything I've planned could be shot... just because a goddamn chippy opens her goddamn mouth!"
‘I wasn’t furious,’ said Godfrey, and smiled. Then he turned me round and kissed me. Well, I had asked for it, and now I was getting it. I shut my eyes. If I pretended it was Max … no, that wasn’t possible. Well, then, someone who didn’t matter – for instance that rather nice boy I’d once had an abortive affair with but hadn’t cared about when it came to the push … But that wouldn’t work either. Whatever Godfrey was or wasn’t, he didn’t kiss like a rather nice boy … I opened my eyes and watched, over his shoulder, the lovely, heavy lamp swinging about a foot away from his head. If I could manoeuvre him into its orbit … I supposed there were circumstances in which it was correct, even praiseworthy, for a girl to bash a man’s head in with a lamp while he was kissing her…
Women of all ages liked Winthrop Biddle - 'He's a great dear' was the expression they generally used - and he was devoted to the whole sex in the cosy way of an uncle who enjoys the confidence of a vast number of totally unrelated nieces. His feminine friends knew that he could be relied up to provide a lunch, a bed, sound advice, or a cast-iron alibi as required, and not to go in for jolly avuncular pouncings in taxis.
"No, no, she was perfect for me," he said, "and she was always right. It was a good thing for me to try to speak like a grown-up person. She would tell me, 'You are six, but I am not, so make an effort.'"