Kids used to pick on Moose Malloy when he was a kid. He was slow and ugly. Then Moose got big and no one picked on him anymore. He didn’t have any friends. He was so big he could pop your skull between his hands. He liked to take people by the throat. He worked as hired muscle and was good at it. Most people were scared of him. Everyone except Velma. Moose loved Velma. She’d smile at him when she was at work. She smelled better than any woman Moose ever knew. He made sure no one bothered her. Sometimes she’d let Moose take her home, but only to the apartment steps. Moose would never try anything with Velma. She was a lady. All he wanted was to protect her and see her smile at him.
Moose was sent up for some strong arm work. Seven years. When he got out he couldn’t find Velma. He asked a lot of questions and hurt some people trying to find her. Finally he asked a two-bit private eye named Marlowe to find her. It all came together one night when Marlowe told him to wait outside a fancy house. Moose wasn’t that dumb. He knew Marlowe was up to something and it had to involve Velma. Moose walked in...and found Velma there. He found everything he loved come crashing down around him. He found a few slugs, too. After the crime boys finished the autopsy they sewed Moose up and put him in cold storage for four months. Nobody claimed him. Space was tight so they shipped him to the cheap mortuary in Compton they had a contract with. Moose was stripped and shoved into a big cardboard box. They ran him through the furnace and scooped up some ashes for the tin urn the city supplied. Might even have been mostly Moose’s ashes. They lost track of where they buried the urn. Did anyone care? Sure would have been nice if he could have been buried next to Velma. But it didn’t work out that way. Did I tell you? She died that night, too.
Marlowe now has gray hair and has put on a few pounds. He’s semi-retired. Once in awhile, on his third shot of bourbon, Marlowe thinks about Moose Malloy. Not often, though.