Introducing Eddie Quette, Bunker Hill’s behavior baron

Greetings! My name is Eddie Quette, and the powers that be here at the Bunker Hill blog have requested that I write about proper behavior. Every week, hundreds of letters pour into the blog, asking about table manners, social refinement, polite human interactions, good taste, and the like. My job is to extract from this pile the most tasteful, insightful, and intelligent letters. Then I throw those away and attempt to respond to the rest.

So, without further ado, let’s dip into the ol’ mailbag and read our first letter. This comes to us from a
longtime resident of Highland Park.

Q. Hello, I’m from Highland Park….

A. We KNOW that, numbskull! It was in the intro!

A. Oh, sorry. Anyway, I’ve oft put off or bowed out of a ganking, as I struggle with what I imagine are common questions: is a pearl-handled
firearm gauche before dusk? Are they "not done" after Labor Day? Is an automatic more appropriate when holding up dinner parties than a revolver? Can I wear a blued nickel piece with brown shoes? Please advise!

A. I can see you are a man of taste and breeding. Offhand, my answers to your questions would be yes, yes, no, and yes, unless they’re Oxford brogans, in which case a mauve nickel piece would look more dashing. Also, keep in mind that High Society seems to be entering a "Green" phase, in which environmental consciousness has seeped into every social clique, even the Gangster set. Thus, whereas only last season the byword was that steel-jacketed tracer shells were "de rigeur," now the most fashionable shootists are employing recycled graphite shells, as they use less energy and don’t pollute landfills. (I know, a bullet is such a SMALL thing, but just think, if we ALL switched over, think how much of our country’s precious natural resources we could save!)

Q. I’ve just dumped a limbless torso on Norton Avenue in the Crenshaw district, and I need a cab ride out of town PRONTO! My question is, how much should I tip the taxi driver?

A. The standard answer is of course 15%, but there are some additional factors in your case. Remember you will be asking this hapless fellow to ignore all speed limit signs on the way out of town, so that should add at least another 10%. Plus, you will want to teach him to repeat the phrase "I ain’t seen nothin’" at least 5000 times to bumbling LAPD detectives and reporter Jack Smith, so that’s worth another 5%. Also, you didn’t mention whether the limbs from the body are dripping liquid evidence on the cabbie’s floor; if so, it would be both gallant and prudent to tip him with a bottle of New Improved Borateen Blood & Gore Remover.

Q. My name is Phineas J. Marsak. Recently certain rogues and scalawags have been spreading tasteless rumors about my alleged activities with animals at the pet store on 3rd and Flower. How can I convince my Whist and Billiards partners at the Jonathan and California Clubs that these innuendoes are utterly baseless, and originate from persons of low degree? You know how those sheep lie!

A. Mr. Marsak, I must urge you in the strongest possible terms to refrain from reproducing your kind, whether with human females or ruminants. Were the Marsak line to continue, there is no telling what horrors would befall our planet!

Q. I’ve been interested for quite a while in some of the more adventurous social encounters available in the Bunker Hill area, and recently I was invited to a rendezvous on a lane near Pershing Square called Vaseline Alley. My query is, is it proper to R.S.V.P. with a hand-written note? Or a phone call? Or via a liveried messenger boy, perhaps wearing short tight spandex bicycle pants? Also, my City Directory doesn’t list a Zip Code for Vaseline Alley. Please advise.

A. Well, they certainly have a "Zipper code." Namely, when you see the cops rounding the corner, zip up your zipper!

Well, that’s all the advice Eddie can dish out this time. Tune in regularly for further installments of his column, and should you find yourself in need of a little guidance as only Mr. Quette can provide, simply email your inquiry, or send it by carrier pigeon to On Bunker Hill, Clay Street, Old Los Angeles.

Author: Kim Cooper

Kim Cooper is the creator of 1947project, the crime-a-day time travel blog that spawned Esotouric’s popular crime bus tours, including The Real Black Dahlia. She is the author of The Kept Girl, the acclaimed historical mystery starring the young Raymond Chandler and the real-life Philip Marlowe, and of The Raymond Chandler Map of Los Angeles. With husband Richard Schave, Kim curates the Salons and forensic science seminars of LAVA- The Los Angeles Visionaries Association. When the third generation Angeleno isn’t combing old newspapers for forgotten scandals, she is a passionate advocate for historic preservation of signage, vernacular architecture and writer’s homes. Kim was for many years the editrix of Scram, a journal of unpopular culture. Her books include Fall in Love For Life, Bubblegum Music is the Naked Truth, Lost in the Grooves and an oral history of Neutral Milk Hotel.