I've developed a melancholy attraction to things that never were: the Old West of Hollywood movies; the 50's of early sitcoms; the San Francisco of Sam Spade.
I sometimes find myself walking on the streets that Hammett wrote about. They seem brighter and cleaner -- less haunting. The world weary, corrupt officials have been replaced by incompetent hustlers. The dangerous yet oddly naive characters have been replaced by the merely dangerous. The semi-respectable hotels, restaurants, and bars have given way to the proudly respectable and the unapologetically seedy.
Only the chill fog remains. The fog of empty streets on late nights -- and the fog of fiction.
From time to time, TAC reserves the right to wax poetic.