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On the cutting room floor from The Maltese Falcon


by James Lloyd Davis


       Sidney Greenstreet held the knife at his waist, blade glinting in the light like the famous portrait of John Pierpoint Morgan. He smiled, lifted one arching brow.
       Bogart frowned, said, "How do you do that?"
       "Do what?"
       "Lift one eyebrow like that.  I never could."
       "You could learn.  But it would take a very, very long time, a prohibitively long time."
       "What do you mean?  How long could it take?"
       "You would have to have started three or four generations back."
       Bogart smiled a sneer of a smile, said, "Wise guy, huh?  Well now, Mr. Wise Guy, in case you didn't notice, you brought a knife to a gun fight, so maybe you ain't so very smart after all."
       "Oh, Mister Spade, you do seem to have gotten the drop on me.... as they say.  But you neglected to check behind you as you charged in the door."
       Bogart whipped around in time to see a dark little man sneer and swing a blackjack across his face.  The room went dark and Bogart dived into a black pool that opened at his feet like heaven's last trap door.
       When he woke up, he was in another movie and they were going over the falls.   Katharine Hepburn in a tattered dress screamed.  Spinning, spinning in a maelstrom of white water, he hit his head on the boat deck and blacked out again.
       When he woke up again, he wasn't Bogart at all, but he was running.  He glanced around.  Others in white suits were running as well.  He looked down and saw that he was wearing strange shoes.  He stopped.  Someone behind him ran into him and they fell in a heap together.
       "You've got to keep running, Mr. Quinn."
       "Bogart, my name is Bogart."
       "Sure it is.  Well then, Mr. Bogart, get up and run before..."
       Bogart heard the roar of lions, felt the claws and the teeth sink into his skin like sharp, thin fingers into pliant clay, but the blood was everywhere.  He blacked out.
       When he came to once more, he was in a bed, surrounded by Bert Lahr, Ray Bolger, and Jack Haley, each with a look of concern.
       Bert Lahr leaned over him, looked into his eyes and said, "She's coming to.  Better give her another shot to keep her quiet."
       Bogart shook his head, but the image was clear as Jack Haley came closer with a syringe.  He wanted to get up and clobber the guy, but he couldn't move.
       All he could do was plead in a high pitched voice that made him wince as he cried out, "No.  Please."
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