I'm accustomed to being top man. I been a bull goose catskinner for every gyppo logging operation in the Northwest and bull goose gambler all the way from Korea, was even bull goose pea weeder on that pea farm at Pendleton -- so I figure if I'm bound to be a loony, then I'm bound to be a stompdown dadgum good one.
No one's ever dared come out and say it before, but there's not a man among us that doesn't think it, that doesn't feel just as you do about her and the whole business - feel it somewhere down deep in his scared little soul.
He's got hands so long and white and dainty I think they carved each other out of soap, and sometimes they get loose and glide around in front of him free as two white birds until he notices them and traps them between his knees; it bothers him that he's got pretty hands.
I knew even before we got it rolling that this here was the type asshole that subscribed to magazines like the Nation and Atlantic and probably even read them, and that I didn't stand a snowball's chance against him in an argument; but I was too oiled too keep my mouth shut.
Okay, stand outa the way. Sometimes when I go to exertin' myself I use up all the air nearby and grown men faint from suffocation. Stand back. There's liable to be crackin' cement and flying steel. Get the women and kids someplace safe. Stand back. . . .
While his relaxed, good-natured voice doled out his life for us to live a rollicking past full of kid fun and drinking buddies and loving women and barroom battles over meager honors-for all of us to dream ourselves into.
I been silent so long now it's gonna roar out of me like floodwaters and you think the guy telling this is ranting and raving my God; you think this is too horrible to have really happened, this is too awful to be the truth! But, please. It's still hard for me to have a clear mind thinking on it. But it's the truth even if it didn't happen.
It's fall coming, I kept thinking, fall coming; just like that was the strangest thing ever happened. Fall. Right outside here it was spring a while back, then it was summer, and now it's fall-that's sure a curious idea.
If somebody'd of come in and took a look, men watching a blank TV, a fifty-year old woman hollering and squealing at the back of their heads about discipline and order and recriminations, they'd of thought the whole bunch was crazy as loons.
Chang! With light and sound and numbers round and round in a whirlwind, and maybe you win with what you end up with and maybe you lose and have to play again. Pay the man for another spin, son, pay the man.
And becomes aware of her image once more, vaguely reflected in the dirty attic window: what does it mean, all this concern about our images? It means this is the only way we ever see ourselves; looking out, at others, reflected through cobwebs from an attic window.
I can't help it. I was born a miscarriage. I had so many insults I died. I was born dead. I can't help it. I'm tired. I'm give out trying. You got chances. I had so many insults I was born dead. You got it easy. I was born dead an' life was hard. I'm tired. I'm tired out talking and standing up. I been dead fifty-five years.
And like: Why should one want to wake up dead anyway? If the glorious birth-to-death hassle is the only hassle we are ever to have . . . if our grand and exhilarating Fight of Life is such a tragically short little scrap anyway, compared to the eons of rounds before and after—then why should one want to relinquish even a few precious seconds of it?
But the rest are even scared to open up and laugh. You know, that's the first thing that got me about this place, that there wasn't anybody laughing. I haven't heard a real laugh since I came through that door, do you know that? Man, when you lose your laugh you lose your footing.
To know a thing you have to trust what you know, and all that you know, and as far as you know in whatever direction your knowing drags you. I once had a pet pine squirrel named Omar who lived in the cotton secret.