“This is your last warning, Molloy.”
“That’s what you said the last time, Captain.”
“Don’t crack wise with me, Molloy. I mean it this time.”
“Which is just what you said the last time, Captain. Right before I brought down the Kid Bosco mob.”
“Don’t try my patience, Molloy.”
“I seem to remember you also said that the last time --”
“Get out of my office. One more word out of you and you’re back pounding a beat on Skid Row.”
“So two words are okay then.”
The captain stood up. His face was the color of a freshly boiled hot dog.
“Well, I’ll see ya later, Captain,” said Molloy.
The Captain said nothing, but his face had changed color again, it was now the color of a hotdog slathered with yellow mustard.
Molloy turned and went to the door, opened it, and went out into the corridor. He left the door ajar. The Captain hated it when people didn’t close his office door behind them.
Molloy went down the stairs and through the hall and out through the big swinging doors. Night was falling on the city. He stopped and breathed in the dirty August air, then he took out his cigarettes and lit one up. He tossed the match down the steps to the filthy pavement. He had a case to crack. He had put up a tough front for Captain James, that arrogant fat know-it-all toad, but Molloy knew this was his last chance or he really would be pounding a beat down on the Row.
Back where he had come from.
Back where he never wanted to go again.
Okay, so he had a case to crack, and probably a few heads to crack with it.
He went down the block to his car, got in it, started it up, and then headed down deeper into the Village, down to Madame Rue’s joint.
Molloy’s Last Chance, by Horace P. Sternwall, an Avon paperback original; 1952. Republished as An Ultimatum For Molloy, by “Hector Peter Stevenson”; a Faber & Faber Demotic Library paperback “original" (UK); 1954.
(Scroll down the right-hand column of this page to find a listing of links to the opening passages of many other lost classics from Horace P. Sternwall. "Proust. Joyce. Arnold Schnabel. Larry Winchester. Horace P. Sternwall. That pretty much wraps it up for 20th Century Classic Lit." – Harold Bloom, in Criterion.)