I glanced up at the marquee. "DETOUR WITH ANN SAVAGE IN PERSON JANUARY 16." She was quite a dame, that Ann. Cruel, some said. Heartless. Nah, she just looked out for herself. She'd heard every line men peddled and seen every weakness, and learned that a smart broad didn't count on them for nothing. Hell, she'd even turned down an A-list director who'd asked her out! Any break she'd ever had she'd made herself. She was almost a match for Cora.
Cora and I had met near a downtown cafe five days earlier. I'd boosted a wallet from a natty deal-maker busy chatting up a floozy on his cell phone while he dusted his no-fat latte with nutmeg, and eased out the door onto Montgomery. A block away, I ducked into a doorway to check my score and gulp my java. A long-legged brunette sidled up, gave me the once-over, and murmured, "That was a nice five-finger scam." "Beats telemarketing," I replied. "Or waiting for the mayor to grease me with a desk job."
She gave a short, bitter chuckle. Like either of us would land within six blocks of a swell ferried to work in a limo. Aromatic steam rose from our murky cups as we looked into each other's eyes, but all I could smell was trouble. The next morning, while I knotted my tie, Cora said, "I got a bit of money saved. All right, it's my husband's."
A foghorn bellowed, waking the debutantes and their middle-aged consorts in Pacific Heights and jolting me out of my reverie. Cora and I had agreed to meet at the Castro tonight for the Noir City Film Festival. She'd bring the cash and a suitcase, I my fast fingers. She was an hour late. I shivered and shook the rain off my hat. How long was I going to play the fool? I slipped the cashier a bill and ducked into the dark theater. Ann Savage was up on the screen trampling Tom Neal's heart, and I couldn't get enough.