Farewell, My Life

Raymond Chandler once wrote a novel called, "Farwell, My Lovely."

I think I'm in it andthat may be what death is.

I'm pretty sure of it—

I remember dying on May 12, but not much else. I remember a funeral, but I feel no emotion attached to it. I don't even find the image of the funeral very mysterious. It just comes every once and while, without warning, without pertaining to anything, and then goes. It's a very strange thing, death. L.A. is rain-washed and bleak. Everything unfolds as it's supposed to happen, as if there is no free will. Then again, I'm not very surprised. It's death. Theoretically. And a novel. At any rate I've read this book before. I can't remember the ending, though. Interesting that while everything happens in present, I know it is so in the book, but that doesn't offer me much help in remembering the ending. It's just permanent déjà vu. I don't really mind. Although I'm pretty sure this isn't in the book. The typewriter, I mean. Me, writing. I wonder why that is. Maybe someone will find it someday, someone who isn't dead. I'm very sure this isn't a dream. It's too real. I can feel things. Lots of things. The wet asphalt. The booze slide down. The tobacco. I can smell everything. Things hurt. I got punched earlier. It wasn't pleasant. I didn't wake up, either, like the old myth says I should have. Or maybe that's just specifically pinching. I wonder if the others here are dead, too? I think that might be the case. Certainly it is with Moose Malloy. He keeps looking at me hopefully, and not just when he's talking about Velma, and that is not in the novel. Anne Riordan seems to want to say things when she's not supposed to, but doesn't. I don't think any of us can. She seems very tortured, too. Not simply frustrated, like she's supposed to be. Mrs. Grayle seems to be getting a kick out of all this. Even when she's supposed to be starkly serious – which is most of the time – her eyes are always smiling. That's not in the novel, either. We all know it, I think. I suppose we must all be dead. Chandler explained to me that most of my questions will be answered during coffee break, between chapters twenty-eight and twenty-nine. I'm looking forward to it. Anne seems to be, too. Maybe we're really in love. I hope we do more novels like this. I hope I don't die in the end. Then again, it doesn't really matter much, does it? I'm already dead. I'm actually enjoying it a little. Granted that I don't have much choice in the matter: there's no way to avoid acting this all out. But then why not enjoy it as it happens? No point in fear— I can't help what happens to me. Moose seems afraid. I wish I could tell him there's no need to be, but I don't think I can. And if I could, I doubt he'd listen. I think things were like that during life, too, but I can't remember. Mrs. Grayle seems to have the right idea. She's always happy. It's evident in her eyes— you'd know it if you could see them. I don't know what Anne feels. I want to ask her during the break that Chandler promised. I'm eager to see The End. I hope we do "The Big Sleep" next. Or at least something fun. I seem to remember liking "The Big Sleep." I just hope we don't do a tragedy. They're depressing. I'll have to talk to Chandler about that. Or will I have to talk to Aeschylus? I don't know. I think Moose thinks something's up. Something like he's being judged, that Chandler is judging his performance, and he has to perform well, or else who knows what could happen? Moose always seems to make an earnest, frightened effort at his character, so that's how I see him thinking. He may be right, but I doubt it. Still, I suppose I should keep an open mind. It's the only thing I can do— I can't really say anything except what's written. I think Mrs. Grayle thinks nothing will happen. Maybe that's why she's so upbeat. Seems to me like Anne's too busy thinking about something else.

But that's no way to do it, Anne! Who knows?

I look outside the window, and it's starting to rain again. Was that in the book? Anyway, I can at least appreciate it. It looks dark and beautiful. The lightning flashes against L.A.'s cityscape, covered in neon and blue. The rain ricochets off the tarmac, hovering at knee-level. Soaked trench coats and alone private eyes, out there. I wonder if I'll run into Sam Spade. Didn't he do a case in L.A. for a bit? Well, if we do "The High Window" next, I can get out of this town and maybe run into him there. Assuming I'll still be Marlowe. Assuming there is a next one. But it's nice to think about. I won't think about it too much. No use being too hopeful about something that might not even happen.

I'd like that coffee break, now. All this whiskey is getting me dizzy.

Ah well, it's time again. I'm leaving for the docks. It'll be in the pouring rain, with thunder and lightning and whatever else. I'm ready. I want to see what happens.

My trench coat and hat are in the corner. I pick them up, and leave the old room— still sleeping the big sleep.