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208 pages, Paperback
First published January 1, 1971
The ocean, look at it out there, battering, crawling up and down. And underneath all that, the fish, the poor fish fighting each other, eating each other. We’re like those fish, only we’re up here. One bad move and you’re finished. It’s nice to be a champion. It’s nice to know your moves.
The streets were full of insane and dull people. Most of them lived in nice houses and didn’t seem to work, and you wondered how they did it. There was one guy who wouldn’t let you put the mail in his box.
I had come to the racetrack after the other two funerals and had won. There was something about funerals. It made you see things better. A funeral a day and I’d be rich.
"It began as a mistake."
“What's wrong with assholes, baby?”
Mickey Rourke and Faye Dunaway in the film Barfly. Dunaway's character Wanda was based on Jane Cooney Baker.
“In the morning it was morning and I was still alive.
Maybe I'll write a novel, I thought.
And then I did.”
"It began as a mistake."I hoped the mistake was not mine in deciding to read this novel!
"I think it was my second day as a Christmas temp that this big woman came out and walked around with me as I delivered letters. What I mean by big was that her ass was big and her tits were big and that she was big in all the right places. She seemed a bit crazy but I kept looking at her body and I didn't care.Are you getting the picture here, my fellow GR readers?
She talked and talked and talked. Then it came out. Her husband was an officer on an island far away and she got lonely, you know, and lived in this little house in back all by herself.
"What little house?" I asked.
She wrote the address on a piece of paper.
"I'm lonely too," I said, "I'll come by and we'll talk tonight."
I was shacked but the shackjob was gone half the time, off somewhere, and I was lonely all right. I was lonely for that big ass standing beside me.
"All right," she said, "see you tonight."
She was a good one all right, she was a good lay but like all lays after the third or fourth night I began to lose interest and didn't go back.
But I couldn't help thinking, god, all these mailmen do is drop in their letters and get laid. This is the job for me, oh yes yes yes."
"Let me tell you about the dogs. It was one of those 100 degree days and I was running along, sweating, sick, delirious, hungover. I stopped at a small apartment house with the box downstairs along the front pavement. I popped it open with my key. There wasn't a sound. Then I felt something jamming its way into my crotch. It moved way up there. I looked around and there was a German Shepherd, full-grown, with his nose halfway up my ass. With one snap of his jaws he could rip off my balls. I decided that those people were not going to get their mail that day, and maybe never get any mail again. Man, I mean he worked that nose in there. SNUFF! SNUFF! SNUFF!"
"I went around to the side of the church and found a stairway going down. I went in through an open door. Do you know what I saw? A row of toilets. And showers. But it was dark. All the lights were out. How in hell can they expect a man to find a mailbox in the dark? Then I saw the light switch. I threw the thing and the lights in the church went on, inside and out. I walked into the next room and there were priests' robes spread out on the table. There was a bottle of wine.
For Christ's sake, I thought, who in hell but me would ever get caught in a scene like this?
I picked up the bottle of wine, had a good drag, left the letters on the robes, and walked back to the showers and toilets. I turned off the lights and took a shit in the dark and smoked a cigarette. I thought about taking a shower but I could see the headlines: MAILMAN CAUGHT DRINKING THE BLOOD OF GOD AND TAKING A SHOWER, NAKED, IN ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH."
"In the morning it was morning and I was still alive.
Maybe I’ll write a novel, I thought.
And then I did."