The voice on the telephone seemed to be sharp and peremptory, but I didn't hear too well what it said -- partly because I was only half awake and partly because I was holding the receiver upside down. I fumbled it around and grunted.
"Did you hear me? I said it was Clyde Umney, the lawyer."
"Clyde Umney, the lawyer. I thought we had several of them."
"You're Marlowe, aren't you?"
"Yeah. I guess so." I looked at my wrist watch. It was 6:30 a.m., not my best hour.
"Don't get fresh with me, young man."
"Sorry, Mr. Umney. But I'm not a young man. I'm old, tired and full of no coffee. What can I do for you, sir?"
"I want you to meet the Super Chief at eight o'clock, identify a girl among the passengers, follow her until she checks in somewhere, and then report to me. Is that clear?"
"Why not?" he snapped.
"I don't know enough to be sure I could accept the case."
"I'm Clyde Um--"
"Don't," I interrupted. "I might get hysterical."
-- Playback, 1958