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Maxed Out

More Felt's, fewer Nixon's

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By G.D. Maxwell

I noticed the necktie before I noticed whose neck it was tied around. It was hard to miss. In Whistler, where ties are less common even than leashed dogs, it stood out. Stood out? Hell, it screamed out. On a background of Pacific Ocean blue silk, a very fetching - circa 1930s - Hoochie Coochie girl in grass skirt, coconut shell top, fetching smile and come-hither eyes, danced barefoot on a small, palm treed dot of an island.

"That tie has just about everything a guy could possibly want in a necktie," I found myself saying. "Nice silk, good knot, beautiful colour and a design that verily screams, 'Hey, if I have to wear something as stupid as a tie, I'm gonna make the most out of it!'   A tie with its own sense of irony.   Beaut."

"You are blessed with impeccable taste, my brother. Buy me a beer?"

I couldn't remember J.J. - Whistler's first and foremost private eye - ever speaking so many words as prelude to saying 'buy me a beer' before. I couldn't remember J.J. ever wearing a tie before. And I certainly couldn't remember me striking up a conversation voluntarily with him before; usually our encounters were more of the ambush variety, with me being the ambushee.

"There must be an occasion, since I can't imagine anyone wearing Little Egypt for no good reason at all.   Whatzup?"

"Goin' down to the States..."

"And you thought you'd wear your invitation to be strip searched?"

"Say what you will, you Philistine, but this tie is a classic."

"Hell, J.J., that suit is a classic. It must be older than most of the people in this town. You look like you just stepped out of the Kennedy administration... except for the tie, of course, which looks like it just stepped out of a bordello in Samoa."

"You have a keen eye. The suit is from the Kennedy administration, Brooks Brothers, 1962, but the tie is from a little shop that used to be just outside the compound at Pearl. Hand-painted."

"None of which answers the question. Why the costume and why ya headed stateside?"

"I'm goin' to D.C. I want to shake Mark Felt's hand before he dies. When a guy's 91 and you want to shake his hand, you shouldn't wait around too long."

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