Artist Shows Chandler Imitators How to Boil Hard

As a fan of good/bad writing, I step aside this a.m. for the winning entry in the Raymond Chandler parody contest sponsored by the Friends of the La Jolla Library.

It was submitted by free-lance artist Spencer C. Clemmer:

The lazy waves rolled over like a sleeping fat man. I looked east and saw the tip of an orange sun struggling to rise up and start the day.

I sat in my car and wondered how I could be admiring such a view in a town as seedy as Bay City. It was a long day of saps and gats in the hands of not so nice people. A day I would like to forget. Then I remembered a bottle in my desk drawer at my office and began to drive with a goal in mind.

I always leave the reception area unlocked so a client can wait if I'm not there. This particular morning there was a particular type of client waiting. Beautiful, if you like that type and my type usually does.

"Are you Mr. Marlowe?" the oversized lips asked. I guess now days they call a mouth sensual if it is that voluptuous.

"Yes, but I've had a very long night that wasn't quite up to my standards, so would you mind coming back tomorrow?"

"I was recommended to go to a fellow named Sam Spade."

"Come right in," I growled.

"Why should I come to you instead of him?" she teased.

"He can't turn a phrase quite like I can."

She stood up and followed me into my office. She had one of those shapes that would make a priest reconsider his vows. The curves of her figure reminded me of the number eight. I motioned to a chair and the number sat down.

She mentioned something about the decor.

"You can always try a prettier agency."

"I don't think I like your attitude, Mr. Marlowe."

"Yeah. But don't worry it's just on loan. Tomorrow I take it back and get a new one." I had a feeling that once again I was in for another long day.

Clemmer, 21, who lives in Golden Hill, picked up his $500 prize Thursday night at a special screening of "The Big Sleep." A writing instructor at UC San Diego was second ($250), an aerospace worker from Hermosa Beach was third ($150).

Clemmer, a painter and a designer of logos and fancy T-shirts, says he came to Chandler by way of Bogart movies and the novels of James M. Cain and Dashiell Hammett.

"When I read Chandler I knew he was more poetic than the others," Clemmer said.

The La Jolla Library feels the same way. Its celebration of Chandler, who died in La Jolla in 1959, continues this weekend with a round-table discussion, dramatic reading and fund-raising dinner.

The food, naturally, will be hard-boiled.

Take a Whack at Chewing

Update: The Humane Society of San Diego has finished its investigation of the clash between Vada Stevens' dogs and an SDG&E; meter reader without finding any evidence to contradict the meter reader.

Lt. Jim Baker says meter reader Joe Cordeiro declined to answer questions and instead relayed his answers through an SDG&E; attorney. Cordeiro's assertion that the three dogs attacked him is plausible and there were no other witnesses, Baker says.

Still, Cordeiro was "counseled" that next time he should use the company-authorized aluminum stick less as a weapon than as a diversion, letting the dogs chew on the rubber ball at the end of the stick rather than using it to whack the animals.

Endangered Animals

These are tough times for mercantile animals in North County.

The Two Goats sign at a chic clothing store of the same name in Rancho Santa Fe has been debolted and spirited away. Its cost is only put at $100, but the store owners assign a much higher sentimental value.

The goat sign theft followed the disappearance of the 7-foot-tall fiberglass hen atop the Country Store in Carlsbad and a ceramic pig outside a liquor store on Highway 101. The hen was discovered in Oceanside, but the pig is still missing.

A large stuffed bear on the sidewalk of a toy store in Encinitas has been chained down for its own safety.

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