QUOTE "Maybe you got something there," he said, "but I wouldn't squeeze it too hard.”
Could anyone explain the literal and actual meaning of the response?
The character [...] who just killed a man, threatens people with a pistol. UNQUOTE
To fire a pistols (i.e. handguns), //you squeeze the trigger// So, here, the character is saying sarcastically, //don't squeeze too hard// = you might fire a shot.
There is the full paragraph.
"Mister Montgomery didn't know where Velma was neither," he said. "he tried to tell me - with this." His hard hand patted the gun. I turned slowly and looked at him. "Yeah," he said. "You'll know me. You ain't forgetting me, pal. Just tell them johns not to get careless is all." He waggled the gun. "Well, so long, punks. I gotta catch a street car."
He started towards the head of the stairs.
"You didn't pay for the drinks," I said.
He stopped and looked at me carefully.
"Maybe you got something there," he said, "but I wouldn't squeeze it too hard".
The flunkie (the first speaker, Moose Malloy) is being ironic. He is the one holding a gun and when Marlow says he, Moose Malloy didn't pay for the drinks, it's as IF Moose Malloy is saying: you have a verbal "weapon" there but I have the REAL gun.