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Black Wings Has My Angel Black Wings Has My Angel by Elliott Chaze
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“Most of living is waiting to live. And you spend a great deal of time worrying about things that don’t matter and about people that don’t matter and all this is clear to you when you know the very day you’re going to die.”
Elliott Chaze, Black Wings Has My Angel
“When a rich man dies it is more complex than when a poor man dies. A rich man doesn't simply quit living. He quits being rich, too.”
Elliott Chaze, Black Wings Has My Angel
“If your life can hang from a chewing gum wrapper it can hang from anything in the book. It can hang from a bullet no bigger than a bean, or from a cigarette smoked in bed, or a bad breakfast that causes the doctor to sew the absorbent cotton inside you. From a slick tire tread or the hiccups or from kissing the wrong woman. Life is a rental proposition with no lease. For everybody, tall and short, muscles and fat, white and yellow, rich and poor. I know that now. And it is good to know at a time like this”
Elliott Chaze, Black Wings Has My Angel
tags: noir
“But about the gentleman thing.” She waved her glass. “I want to make it plain as the nose on your face. I can stand anything in the book but gentlemen. Because I've spent a lot of time, too much time with them, and I know why gentlemen are what they are. They decide to be that way after they've tried all the real things and flopped at them. They've flopped at women. They've flopped at standing up on their hind legs and acting like men. So they become gentlemen. They've flopped at being individuals. So they say to themselves one fine morning: 'What can I be that's no trouble at all and that doesn't amount to a damned thing, but yet will make everyone look up to me?' The answer's simple. Be a gentleman. Take life flat on your back, cry in private, and then in a well-modulated voice.”
Elliot Chaze, Black Wings Has My Angel
“Because you can’t kiss your way out of prison and I knew that for sure. For dead sure.”
Elliott Chaze, Black Wings Has My Angel
“When a rich man dies it is more complex than when a poor man dies. A rich man doesn't simply quit living. He quits being rich, too. Of course a poor man quits being poor when he dies, but that is not a thing to lament.  ”
Elliott Chaze, Black Wings Has My Angel
“After all, no matter how long you live, there aren't too many really delicious moments along the way, since most of life is spent eating and sleeping and waiting for something to happen that never does. You can figure it up for yourself, using your own life as the scoreboard. Most of living is waiting to live. And you spend a great deal of time worrying about things that don't matter and about people that don't matter and all this is clear to you when you know the very day you're going to die.”
Elliott Chaze, Black Wings Has My Angel
“He said solitary itself was nothing but a room and a cot and you; and the room was a blank to begin with and a blank was comfortable as being asleep or dead. But that if you began filling the room with crazy thoughts you came out of it crazy. Jeepie said perhaps my biggest trouble was I could never forget I'd been to school: "They've taught you that to think is to be smart but my friend there's times when it's smart to be stupid.”
Elliott Chaze, Black Wings Has My Angel
“She was sitting on the floor, naked, in a skitter of green bills. Beyond her was the custodian, still simpering in death. She was scooping up handfuls of the green money and dropping it on top of her head so that it came sliding down along the cream-colored hair, slipping down along her shoulders and body. She was making a noise I never heard come out of a human being. It was a scream that was a whisper and a laugh that was a cry. Over and over. The noise and the scooping. The slippery, sliding bills against the rigid body.   She”
Elliott Chaze, Black Wings Has My Angel
“Out West all the smells are sucked up out of the baked land by the sun. And it’s as if all the colors in the ground are gobbled up by their sunsets, and so is the blue of the sky. The sky is high and pale and impersonal and you get the feeling it doesn’t belong to you at all, but that it is the property of the chamber of commerce. In the South the sky is humid and low and rich and it’s yours to smell and feel. In the West you’re only an observer. In the West someone sees a flower growing on a mountain and he writes a whole damned pamphlet about it.”
Elliott Chaze, Black Wings Has My Angel
“The rain beat against the windows and against the tin roof of the hotel. It came down in hissing roars, then in whispers, then in loud shishes like sandpaper rubbed against wood. She drank the second glassful, climbed off the bed and began undressing, and then we were together, the cheap naked bulb still blazing down on the bed.

Thinking back, I remember the stupidest things; the way there was a taut crease just above her hips, in the small of her back. The way she smelled like a baby's breath, a sweet barely there smell that retreated and retreated, so that no matter how close you got to it you weren't sure it was there. The brown speckles in the lavender-gray eyes, floating very close to the surface when I kissed her, the eyes wide open and aware. But not caring. The eyes of a gourmet offered a stale chunk of bread, using it of necessity but not tasting it any more than necessary.

I remember getting up and coming back to her, and of throwing a shoe at the light bulb, later, when the whisky was gone. I remember the smell of rain-darkness in the room and her telling me I'd cut my feet on the light-bulb glass on the floor. And how she said I was no better than a tramp myself, that I made love to the cadence of the raingusts on the roof, and it was true I was doing just that, but it seemed the natural thing then. And I felt so marvelously clean and soaped and so in tune with the whole damned universe that I had the feeling I could have clouded up and rained and lightninged myself, and blown that cheese-colored room to smithereens.”
Elliott Chaze, Black Wings Has My Angel
tags: noir
“Jeepie said that was why I was always a little bugs the first few days after they let me out of solitary confinement. He said solitary itself was nothing but a room and a cot and you; and the room was a blank to begin with and a blank was comfortable as being asleep or dead. But that if you began filling the room with crazy thoughts you came out of it crazy. Jeepie said perhaps my biggest trouble was I could never forget I'd been to school: “They've taught you that to think is to be smart but my friend there's times when it's smart to be stupid.”

But no one's immune to thinking. Try drawing a blank for any length of time, emptying your head of everything and still you land on a color, a shape, a personality, a grievance. I can sit here on this cot in my cell and stare at the plaster wall, go absolutely limp in my head, and the story, the story of Virginia and me is there in the plaster.”
Elliot Chaze, Black Wings Has My Angel
“Now that I was rich I worried a lot more than I had [ before ] .... Or let's say I didn't worry more, but that I worried harder, because all my life I'd wanted to live lazily and glossily, and now I had it and didn't want it taken away from me. Before I became rich it was only a matter of hanging onto life, a good, rugged, animalistic, instinctive thing that kept me hard and on my toes. This was different, this petulant, craven business of sweating over my wealth, and over what it was doing ...”
Elliott Chaze, Black Wings Has My Angel
“Because I felt so different myself. As if I were charged with cool electricity that washed me down inside and out and at the same time scared me and relieved me. That’s fancy as hell, isn’t it? But it’s fancy because it’s so and not because I want to dress it up for you. We”
Elliott Chaze, Black Wings Has My Angel
“But about the gentleman thing.” She waved her glass. “I want to make it plain as the nose on your face. I can stand anything in the book but gentlemen. Because I've spent a lot of time, too much time with them, and I know why gentlemen are what they are. They decide to be that way after they've tried all the real things and flopped at them. They've flopped at women. They've flopped at standing up on their hind legs and acting like men. So they become gentlemen. They've flopped at being individuals. So they say to themselves one fine morning: 'What can I be that's no trouble at all and that doesn't amount to a damned thing, but yet will make everyone look up to me?' The answer's simple. Be a gentleman. Take life flat on your back, cry in private, and then in a well-modulated voice.”
Elliott Chaze, Black Wings Has My Angel
“No one gets as tired as a tired tramp.” She”
Elliott Chaze, Black Wings Has My Angel