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302 pages, Paperback
First published April 6, 1953
“Miss Carpenter. Please. I know my business,” the young man said. “You just keep your eyes open for any bananafish. This is a perfect day for bananafish.”
“I don’t see any,” Sybil said.
“That’s understandable. Their habits are very peculiar. Very peculiar.” He kept pushing the float. The water was not quite up to his chest. “They lead a very tragic life…”
Eloise had left college in the middle of her sophomore year, in 1942, a week after she had been caught with a soldier in a closed elevator on the third floor of her residence hall. Mary Jane had left – same year, same class, almost the same month – to marry an aviation cadet stationed in Jacksonville, Florida, a lean, air-minded boy from Dill, Mississippi, who had spent two of the three months Mary Jane had been married to him in jail for stabbing an M.P.
The swinging door opened from the dining room and Boo Boo Tannenbaum, the lady of the house, came into the kitchen. She was a small, almost hipless girl of twenty-five, with styleless, colorless, brittle hair pushed back behind her ears, which were very large. She was dressed in knee-length jeans, a black turtleneck pullover, and socks and loafers. Her joke of a name aside, her general unprettiness aside, she was – in terms of permanently memorable, immoderately perceptive, small-area faces – a stunning and final girl. She went directly to the refrigerator and opened it. As she peered inside, with her legs apart and her hands on her knees, she whistled, unmelodically, through her teeth, keeping time with a little uninhibited, pendulum action of her rear end.
“No, you know the reason I took a pot shot at it, Loretta says? She says I was temporarily insane. No kidding. From the shelling and all.”
X threaded his fingers, once, through his dirty hair, then shielded his eyes against the light again. “You weren’t insane. You were simply doing your duty. You killed that pussycat in as manly a way as anybody could’ve, under the circumstances.”
Clay looked at him suspiciously. “What the hell are you talkin’ about?”
“That cat was a spy. You had to take a pot shot at it. It was a very clever German midget dressed up in a cheap fur coat. So there was absolutely nothing brutal, or cruel, or dirty, or even –”
„Aruncă o privire spre tînăra femeie care dormea întinsă pe unul din cele două paturi alăturate. Se îndreptă apoi spre un geamantan, îl deschise și scoase de sub un maldăr de chiloți și tricouri un revolver de calibru 7, 65. Trase afară magazia de cartușe, o cercetă și apoi o băgă la loc. Ridică piedica pistolului. Se duse apoi și se așeză pe patul neocupat, privi spre soția lui, potrivi pistolul și-și descărcă un glonte în tîmpla dreaptă!”.