‘I often wondered where they kept it’

There was a desk and a night clerk with one of those moustaches that get stuck under your finger-nail.

Degarmo lunged past the desk towards an open elevator beside which a tired old man sat on a stool waiting for a customer. The clerk snapped at Degarmo’s back like a terrier.

‘One moment, please. Whom did you wish to see?’

Degarmo spun on his heel and looked at me wonderingly. ‘Did he say “whom”?’

‘Yeah, but don’t hit him,’ I said. ‘There is such a word.’

Degarmo licked his lips. ‘I knew there was,’ he said. ‘I often wondered where they kept it.’

The Lady in the Lake, Raymond Chandler

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