Shouldering the duffel bag with the Marine Corps bulldog, Old Man knocked Jan's photo off the bed table. He turned to stone staring down at the photo. His face then splintered into hurt. Tears seeped into his eyes. He grappled for the nearest bedpost and slumped forward on extended arms. His shoulders jerked and head sagged a little while his heart broke. Old Man cried the mute cry of men of his generation.
Somebody should have taken him to a stationary store and pointed out the difference between an envelope and a whore.
Rachel drank some more bourbon. “What I am trying to do,” she said, “is tothank you. And to say it as genuinely as I can. I do thank you. I will remember aslong as I live when you came into the room and got me, and I will alwaysremember when you killed them, and I was glad, and you came and we put ourarms around each other. And I will always remember that you cried.
I'd done it, I'd crossed the line between accepted behavior and behavior most of the population would consider a lynching offense, and that morning I felt as real as any of the men in the Escape commercials. It had been dirty and nasty but I wanted more.
I ripped all her clothes off. She twisted and turned, slow, so they would slip out from under her. Then she closed her eyes and lay back on the pillow. Her hair was falling over her shoulders in snaky curls. Her eye was all black, and her breasts weren’t drawn up and pointing up at me, but soft, and spread out in two big pink splotches. She looked like the great grandmother of every whore in the world. The devil got his money’s worth that night.
What are you doing?” Alecto asked in surprise, stepping back. Laughing brightly, she dragged him towards the greenhouse, the shattered glass reflecting rainbows as brilliant as a million Kodak flashcubes, glittering as they were cascaded through the breeze. “See, don’t be afraid of the glass, it can’t hurt us,” Mandy laughed, spectacularly eccentric, her eyes reflecting the fallen glass.“I wasn’t afraid of the glass, but this isn’t a very secluded place that you just decided to vandalize,” Alecto cautioned, smiling despite his words. Before Mandy could reply, she heard loud whispering in the air, behind the trees… it sounded like a group of people, all whispering in unison… “Somebody’s out there,” she exclaimed nervously.“Yeah, you’re right,” Alecto replied. Suddenly a sharp new vibrancy seemed to fill his eyes and he smiled coldly, taking the tree branch from Mandy and rapidly smashing in all of Mrs. Matthias’ stained glass house windows with it. Blue, green, yellow, red, turquoise, purple and an array of other colors showered through the sky noisily, sounding like wind chimes and crashing waves. “They’ll go away,” he told her, glancing up at the sky.“…Alecto, do you like me?” Mandy questioned, holding out her arms like a lopsided scarecrow as the glass fell through her dark red hair.“Yeah, sure,” he answered.“Will you be my friend, then? A real friend, not just another person who feels sorry for me?” Mandy asked.“…Alright, Mandy Valems,” Alecto agreed.
Sometimes in life you meet a femme fatale and you can refuse them nothing they treat you like dirt but even the dirt they dish out has a taste you can resist?From the novel 'Adventures of a Dark Duke: The Pin
They watch her when she comes to City Hall, they watch her at the social events, they watch the way she walks, hips rolling with no suggestion of provocation but with every sense that she knows more than any of the rest. A woman like that, they seem to be thinking, a woman like that has lived.Their wives from Orange County, they come from Minnesota or Dallas or St.Louis. They come from places with families, with sagging mothers and fathers with dead eyes and heavy-hanging brows. They carry their own promise of future slackness and clipped lips and demands. They have sisters, sisther with more babies, babies with sweet saliva hanging and more appliance and with husbands with better salaries and two cars and club membership. They iron in housedresses in front of the television set or by the radio, steam rising, matting their faces, as the children with the damp necks cling on them, sticky-handed. They are this. And Alice… and Alice…
Did you ever think much about jobs? I mean, some of the jobs people land in? You see a guy giving haircuts to dogs, or maybe going along the curb with a shovel, scooping up horse manure. And you think, now why is the silly bastard doing that? He looks fairly bright, about as bright as anyone else. Why the hell does he do that for living?You kind grin and look down your nose at him. You think he’s nuts, know what I mean, or he doesn’t have any ambition. And then you take a good look at yourself, and you stop wondering about the other guy…You’ve got all your hands and feet. Your health is okay, and you make a nice appearance, and ambition-man! You’ve got it. You’re young, I guess: you’d call thirty young, and you’re strong. You don’t have much education, but you’ve got more than plenty of other people who go to the top. And yet with all that, with all you’ve had to do with this is as far you’ve got And something tellys you, you’re not going much farther if any.And there is nothing to be done about it now, of course, but you can’t stop hoping. You can’t stop wondering……Maybe you had too much ambition. Maybe that was the trouble. You couldn’t see yourself spending forty years moving from office boy to president. So you signed on with a circulation crew; you worked the magazines from one coast to another. And then you ran across a little brush deal-it sounded nice, anyway. And you worked that until you found something better, something that looked better. And you moved from that something to another something. Coffee-and-tea premiums, dinnerware, penny-a-day insurance, photo coupons, cemetery lots, hosiery, extract, and God knows what all. You begged for the charities, You bought the old gold. You went back to the magazines and the brushes and the coffee and tea. You made good money, a couple of hundred a week sometimes. But when you averaged it up, the good weeks with the bad, it wasn’t so good. Fifty or sixty a week, maybe seventy. More than you could make, probably, behind agas pump or a soda fountain. But you had to knock yourself out to do it, and you were standing stil. You were still there at the starting place. And you weren’t a kid any more.So you come to this town, and you see this ad. Man for outside sales and collections. Good deal for hard worker. And you think maybe this is it. This sounds like a right town. So you take the job, and you settle down in the town. And, of course, neither one of ‘em is right, they’re just like all the others. The job stinks. The town stinks. You stink. And there’s not a goddamned thing you can do about it. All you can do is go on like this other guys go on. The guy giving haircuts to dogs, and the guy sweeping up horse manute Hating it. Hating yourself.And hoping.
I sat down in a booth, and the waitress shoved a menu in front of me. There wasn’t anything on it that sounded good, and anyway, one look at her and my stomach turned flipflops… Every goddamned restaurant I go to, it’s always the same way… They’ll have some old bag on the payroll — I figure they keep her locked up in the mop closet until they see me coming. And they’ll doll her up in the dirtiest goddamned apron they can find and smear that crappy red polish all over her fingernails, and everything about her is smeary and sloppy and smelly. And she’s the dame that always waits on me.
I decided to coin the term 'cosy crime noir' for Brighton Belle. That is 'cosy crime' for today's sensibilities because there is that slightly edgy element to it.
He told himself she wasn’t really such a bad person, she was just a pest, she was sticky, there was something misplaced in her make-up, something that kept her from fading clear of people when they wanted to be in the clear.
Home? What is home? Home is where a house is that you come back to when the rainy season is about to begin, to wait until the next dry season comes around. Home is where your woman is, that you come back to in the intervals between a greater love - the only real love - the lust for riches buried in the earth, that are your own if you can find them.Perhaps you do not call it home, even to yourself. Perhaps you call them 'my house,' 'my woman,' What if there was another 'my house,' 'my woman,' before this one? It makes no difference. This woman is enough for now.Perhaps the guns sounded too loud at Anzio or at Omaha Beach, at Guadalcanal or at Okinawa. Perhaps when they stilled again some kind of strength had been blasted from you that other men still have. And then again perhaps it was some kind of weakness that other men still have. What is strength, what is weakness, what is loyalty, what is perfidy?The guns taught only one thing, but they taught it well: of what consequence is life? Of what consequence is a man? And, therefore, of what consequence if he tramples love in one place and goes to find it in the next? The little moment that he has, let him be at peace, far from the guns and all that remind him of them.So the man who once was Bill Taylor has come back to his house, in the dusk, in the mountains, in Anahuac. (The Moon Of Montezuma)
Banks watched the sun creep over the forest of oak trees and a crack of light broke through the night and grew longer and wider and ate the black like a fungus until the darkness was gone and there was light and it was day.
IT TOOK a conscious effort for Tallow to keep his hand off his gun as he walked up the apartment building’s stairs. There was no threat here. He told himself that with every step. But every step held memory.
Bina, thank you. Bina, listen, this guy. His name wasn't Lasker. This guy-'She puts a hand to his mouth. She has not touched him in three years. It probably would be too much to say that he feels the darkness lift at the touch of her fingertips against his lips. But it shivers, and light bleeds in among the cracks.
I cadged a complimentary green matchbook with a gold bird icon from the Bell canning jar. Later we'd use the matches to light our spliffs. My fingertips tapped the stem to the gizmo that dinged a bell. Nobody came out. Wrong signal, so I did two bell rings. No response prompted me to tap out a series of bell rings.
From Chapter 1:The main rub was the lack of RnR and I burned out. Three years and three stripes later, I ejected from the MP Corps, vowing I'd never do police or criminal investigative work again. Instead, I returned home when I should've learned better.
Just the night before, a puma’s howl had set a chill at my spine and, man, life didn’t get any richer than that.
He began as a minor imitator of Fitzgerald, wrote a novel in the late twenties which won a prize, became dissatisfied with his work, stopped writing for a period of years. When he came back it was to BLACK MASK and the other detective magazines with a curious and terrible fiction which had never been seen before in the genre markets; Hart Crane and certainly Hemingway were writing of people on the edge of their emotions and their possibility but the genre mystery markets were filled with characters whose pain was circumstantial, whose resolution was through action; Woolrich's gallery was of those so damaged that their lives could only be seen as vast anticlimax to central and terrible events which had occurred long before the incidents of the story. Hammett and his great disciple, Chandler, had verged toward this more than a little, there is no minimizing the depth of their contribution to the mystery and to literature but Hammett and Chandler were still working within the devices of their category: detectives confronted problems and solved (or more commonly failed to solve) them, evil was generalized but had at least specific manifestations: Woolrich went far out on the edge. His characters killed, were killed, witnessed murder, attempted to solve it but the events were peripheral to the central circumstances. What I am trying to say, perhaps, is that Hammett and Chandler wrote of death but the novels and short stories of Woolrich *were* death. In all of its delicacy and grace, its fragile beauty as well as its finality.Most of his plots made no objective sense. Woolrich was writing at the cutting edge of his time. Twenty years later his vision would attract a Truffaut whose own influences had been the philosophy of Sartre, the French nouvelle vague, the central conception that nothing really mattered. At all. But the suffering. Ah, that mattered; that mattered quite a bit.
Trust me. What a phrase. Is it a phrase or an idiom? I was never a wordsmith and I was too far along in life to even attempt to tackle a problem as complicated as words. Do writers struggle as much with words as a painter does with his paint and his brush?“Okay,” it is impossible not to trust a beautiful woman. Even macho noir anti-heroes who talk about staying out of trouble and doin’ nothin’ for nobody always get sucked into intricate snares set for them by beautiful women… I would not be an exception.
It’s a case of mistaken identity. It’s one big mistake. You weren’t even in the country when it happened.”Maja in the short story 'Metro' by Steen Langstrup
Inevitably, his vision verged toward the fantastic; he published a scattering of stories - most included in this volume - which appeared to conform to that genre at least to the degree that the fuller part of his vision could be seen as mysteries. For Woolrich it all was fantastic; the clock in the tower, hand in the glove, out of control vehicle, errant gunshot which destroyed; whether destructive coincidence was masked in the naturalistic or the incredible was all pretty much the same to him. RENDEZVOUS IN BLACK, THE BRIDE WORE BLACK, NIGHTMARE are all great swollen dreams, turgid constructions of the night, obsession and grotesque outcome; to turn from these to the fantastic was not to turn at all. The work, as is usually the case with a major writer was perfectly formed, perfectly consistent, the vision leached into every area and pulled the book together. Jane Brown's Body is a suspense story. THE BRIDE WORE BLACK is science fiction. PHANTOM LADY is a gothic. RENDEZVOUS IN BLACK was a bildungsroman. It does not matter.
Normally, I don't take to drinking so early in the morning, but I bend the rules when I get my ass kicked before sunrise.--Thomas Morelli