"I've got to put a car away. See you some more some other time—maybe." He let the door swing open. The drunk promptly slid off the seat and landed on the blacktop on the seat of his pants. So I went . I guess it's always a mistake to interfere with a drunk. Even if he knows and likes you he is always liable to haul off and poke you in the teeth. I got him under the arms and got him up on his feet. "Thank you so very much," he said politely. The girl slid under the wheel. "He gets so goddam English when he's loaded," she said in a stainless-steel voice. "Thanks for catching him." "I'll get him in the back of the car," I said. "I'm terribly sorry. I'm late for an engagement." She let the clutch in and the Rolls started to glide. "He's just a lost dog," she added with a cool smile. "Perhaps you can find a home for him. He's housebroken— more or less." And the Rolls ticked down the entrance driveway onto Sunset Boulevard, made a right turn, and was gone. I was looking after her when the attendant came back. And I was still holding the man up and he was now sound asleep. "Well, that's one way of doing it," I told the white Wat. "Sure,"-he said cynically. "Why waste it on a lush? Them curves and all."
"You know him?" "I heard the dame call him Terry. Otherwise I don't know him from a cow's caboose. But I only been here two weeks." "Get my car, will you?" I gave him the ticket. By the time he brought my Olds over I felt as if I was holding up a sack of lead. The white coat helped me get him into the front seat. The customer opened an eye and thanked us and went to sleep again. "He's the politest drunk I ever met," I said to the white coat. "They come all sizes and shapes and all kinds of manners," he said. "And they're all bums. Looks like this one had a plastic job one time." "Yeah." I gave him a dollar and he thanked me. He was right about the plastic job. The right side of my new friend's face was frozen and whitish and seamed with thin fine scars. The skin had a glossy look along the scars.
A plastic job and a pretty drastic one. "Whatcha aim to do with him?" "Take him home and sober him up enough to tell me where he lives." The white coat grinned at me. "Okay, sucker. If it was me, I'd just drop him in the gutter and keep going. Them booze hounds just make a man a lot of trouble for no fun. I got a philosophy about them things. The way the competition is nowadays a guy has to save his strength to protect hisself in the clinches." "