Dashiell Hammet Has Brunch

The scene: Dashiell Hammet, perhaps the greatest Noir/Hardboiled writer that ever lived, walks into his local brunchery and is seated at a cute table with a lacy tablecloth. He starts smoking immediately.  A waitress approaches.

“Hello, my name is Kelly, I’ll be your waitress this morning.”

“I don’t do mornings. Mornings are for warm-hearted people, happy to see the light stream into their lives. To me, mornings are harsh, rude awakenings; they blind me, chisel at me like a sculptor chisels marble. No. It’s the afternoon for me. The still, slow midday, just before everyone goes to lunch.  The streets are busy and yet quiet, and no one is sure what they should be doing just yet. It makes me think of what being dead could be like. That’s why I like brunch.”

“All right. Can I get you a drink, or are you ready to order?”

“Is anyone ever ready when their number comes up?”

“I can always come back.”

“No– never trust a dame to come back. Once they take a powder, you know you’ll never see them again. Plus, I’m hungry.”

“Okay, what would you like?”

“What I’d really like is a million dollars and a short trip to Mexico without a care in the world, but the world is full of cares, and you can’t help but snag a few of ’em, no matter where you go.” 

“What would you like for brunch?”

“Something good, and something fast. You never know when you’re going to have to eat and run. I’ll pay up front.”

“That’s not necessary, Sir.  How about the regular special?”

“In my experience, there ain’t nothing regular or special in this town.”

“It’s two eggs, hashbrowns, and a load of bacon.”

“Well. I guess we all have to go sometime.”

“How would you like your eggs?”


“Would you like gravy for your hashbrowns?”

“In a world of hashbrowns, everything else is just gravy.”


“You know I like my coffee like I like my women.”

“Strong, hot, with just a pinch of sugar?”

“Weak, with a criminally fatal flaw.”

“Can coffee have a fatal flaw?”

“If it’s grapefruit juice it can.”

“Hokay. I’ll have that right up.”

“Thanks, kid– and listen, if you make it snappy there might be something in it for you.”

“Like… a tip?”

“I don’t bet on the ponies anymore. But if you want some life advice, you better get outta this business. Get outta this life before it eats you alive, like I’m about to eat that bacon.”

“The bacon’s– the pig’s been dead for awhile before the bacon happens.”

“Just think about it, kid. Think about it, before it’s too late. Before it’s too late and it’s lunchtime and all you’ll be servin’ up are sandwiches with a side of bitterness and regret.”

“I’ll be back with your grapefruit juice in just a bit.”


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