RARA-AVIS: newbie question

From: Eric Haralson ( eric.haralson@verizon.net)
Date: 11 Jan 2007

In chapt 7 of TMF, Cairo asks Brigid "exactly" what did happen to Thursby, and she traces the "G in the air" that supplies the chapter title. There ensues a veiled exchange in which they debate the "difference" it makes (or not) whether Gutman is on the scene. She manifests impatience, while he apparently doubts her show of bravado, suggesting it makes "a world of difference" if Gutman is on their trail. "Intentionally or not" (I guess that means with lots of intention), Cairo surreptitiously points at Spade, at which Brigid shows more impatience and says, in effect, "[yes, Spade] Or me . . . or you." Cairo agrees ("Exactly"), and adds to the growing group "most certainly" Wilmer, the undersized shadow. All of this, of course, leads up to the taunting and counter-taunting about a boy that Cairo "had" but that Brigid "couldn't make" in Constantinople--with the resulting slap-fest. Cairo has lied, upon his "word of honor," about not knowing Wilmer, but is there anything to sugg
 est that Wilmer was the boy in Constantinople? It seems to be a red herring, and that Brigid is merely going in for provocation (her final accounting says nothing about Wilmer's having been dispatched with them to Constantinople, true?), but her linking of "the boy outside" with the boy abroad ("unless he's the [same] one") confuses me as to what's being implied in all the implication here: Spade or Brigid or Cairo or Wilmer or the boy as what, "exactly"? Gutman's next victim, after Thursby? or perhaps Gutman's agent--a sort of tacit admission between Cairo and Brigid that really anybody could be working for or with almost anybody else, especially given their past collaborations and betrayals? or just what? thanks for enlightment!

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