The detective is one who looks, who listens, who moves through this morass of objects and events in search of the thought, the idea that will pull all these things together and make sense of them. In effect, the writer and the detective are interchangeable. The reader sees the world through the detective’s eyes, experiencing the proliferation of its details as if for the first time. He has become awake to the things around him, as if they might speak to him, as if, because of the attentiveness he now brings to them, they might begin to carry a meaning other than the simple fact of their existence.
(QUINN lies down on couch, downstage of glass wall. SILENT MAN and WOMAN point their guns at the panes of glass from upstage.)
That night, as he at last drifted off to sleep, Quinn tried to imagine what Work would have said to the stranger on the phone. In his dream, which he later forgot, he found himself alone in a room, firing a pistol into a bare white wall.
(They fire. Blood runs down the glass. The phone rings. Quickly, QUINN answers. Behind the glass, SILENT MAN and WOMAN change into their trenchcoats.)
Hello? What can I do for you?
Yes. It is needed now. Without delay.
What is needed?
To speak. Right now. To speak right now. Yes.
And who do you want to speak to?
Always the same man. Auster. The one who calls himself Paul Auster.
Speaking. This is Auster speaking.
At last. At last I’ve found you.
That’s right. At last.
What can I do for you?
I need help. There is great danger. They say you are the best one to do these things.
It depends on what you mean.
I mean death. I mean death and murder.
That’s not exactly my line. I don’t go around killing people.
No. I mean the reverse.
Someone is going to kill you?
Yes, kill me. That’s right. I am going to be murdered.
And you want me to protect you?
To protect me, yes. And to find the man who is going to do it.
You don’t know who it is?
I know, yes. Of course I know. But I don’t know where he is.
Can you tell me about it?
Not now. On the phone. There is great danger. You must come here.
How about tomorrow?
Good. Tomorrow. Early tomorrow. In the morning.
Good. Ten o’clock. 215 W. 69th St. Don’t forget, Mr. Auster. You must come.
Don’t worry, I’ll be there.