Great Expectations by Charles Dickens as written by Raymond Chandler.

It shook me, I have to admit it, I mean it isn't every day you see a dame go up in smoke.

Okay, so she was no angel, she'd made a patsy out of me, and I bet she laughed her skinny ass off when I was sap enough to fall for her scam. Okay, the way she screwed up Estella's life was as twisted and evil as anything you'll find lying in the gutter at 3am on a Sunday morning, but Jesus, nobody deserves that.

And all because of some man. Some low-down, cheating, lying, thieving, piece of scum, who took an innocent babe's dreams and wiped his slimy feet all over them.

If I was a crying man, I'd weep right now.

But there's no tears for Phillip Pirrip. Instead, I light a cigarette, turn my back on the wreck of the house and give Estella the up and down. She's not the looker she used to be, for sure, but she's still quite a dish, and the broad oozes class.

I was dizzy for her, way back when, but she's always been out of my league and now I'm man enough to face it. A chick like that wants a mug to drape her in silks and hang marbles and ice around her neck, not some hard-working joe like yours truly.

"You said you forgave me Pip," she says, "Is that true, even now? Are we friends?" You can hear the strain in her voice, it's as taut as a bowstring. This matters to her, I can tell.

"Yeah," I say, "We're pals."

"Then goodbye, pal." And she breezes away, like a ghost or a nightmare, leaving just a whiff of her perfume to haunt my dreams.

There is nothing left for me here, so I turn up my collar and take a bunk. I've got a job to do and a living to make, and it's time I left the stiffs to sleep and started looking where I'm going, not where I've been.

No regrets.