Sadness (short stories)

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Sadness (1972) is a collection of short stories by Donald Barthelme.

Quotes[edit]

  • Our evenings lacked promise. The world in the evening seems fraught with the absence of promise, if you are a married man. There is nothing to do but go home and drink your nine drinks and forget about it.
    Slumped there in your favorite chair, with your nine drinks lined up on the side table in soldierly array, and your hand never far from them, and your other hand holding on to the plumb belly of the overfed child, and perhaps rocking a bit, if the chair is a rocking chair as mine was is in those days, then it is true that a tiny tendril of contempt—strike that, content—might curl up from the storehouse where the world’s content is kept, and reach into your softened brain and take hold there, persuading you that this, at last, is the fruit of all your labors, which you’d been wondering about in such terms as, “Where is the fruit?” And so, newly cheered and warmed by this false insight, you reach out with your free hand (the one that is not clutching the nine drinks) and pat the hair of the child, and the child looks up into your face, gauging your mood as it were, and says, “Can I have a horse?,” which is after all a perfectly reasonable request, in some ways, but in other ways is total ruin to that state of six-o’clock equilibrium you have so painfully achieved, because, the child’s request, is of course absolutely out of the question, and so you say “No!” as forcefully as possible—a bark rather than a bite—in such a way as to put the quietus on this project, having a horse, once and for all, permanently. But, placing yourself in the child’s ragged shoes, which look more like used Brillo pads than shoes now that you regard them closely, you remember that time long ago on the other side of the Great War when you too desired a horse, and so, pulling yourself together, and putting another drink in your mouth (that makes three, I believe), you assume a thoughtful look (indeed, the same grave and thoughtful look you have been wearing all day, to confuse your enemies and armor yourself against the indifference of your friends) and begin to speak to the child softly, gently, cunningly even, explaining that the genus horse prefers the great open voids, where it can roam, and graze, and copulate with other attractive horses, to the confined space of a broke-down brownstone apartment, and that a horse if obtained would not be happy here, in the child’s apartment, and does he, the child, want an unhappy horse, moping and brooding, and lying all over the double bed in the bedroom, and perhaps vomiting at intervals, and maybe even kicking down a wall or two, to express its rage? But the child, sensing the way the discussion is trending, says impatiently, with a chop of its tiny hand, “No, I don’t mean that,” giving you to understand that it, the child, had not intended what you are arguing against but had intended something else altogether: a horse personally owned by it, the child, but pastured at a stable in the park, a horse such as Otto has—“Otto has a horse?” you say in astonishment—Otto being a school-fellow of the child, and indeed the same age, and no brighter as far as the naked eye can determine but perhaps a shade more fortunate in the wealth dimension, and the child nods, yes, Otto has a horse, and a film of tears is squeezed out and presented to you, over its eyes, and with liberal amounts of anathematization for Otto’s feckless parents and the profound hope that the fall of the market has ruined them beyond repair you push the weeping child with its filmic tears off your lap and onto the floor and turn to your wife, who has been listening to all of this with her face turned to the wall, and no doubt a look upon her face corresponding to that which St. Catherine of Siena bent upon poor Pope Gregory whilst reproaching him for the luxury of Avignon, if you could see it (but of course you cannot, as her face is turned to the wall)—you look, as I say, to your wife, as the cocktail hour fades, there being only two drinks left of the nine (and you have sworn a mighty oath never to take more than nine before supper, because of what it does to you), and inquire in the calmest tones available what is for supper and would she like to take a flying fuck at the moon for visiting this outrageous child upon you. She, rising with a regal sweep of her air naïf, and not failing to let you have a good look at her handsome legs, those legs you could have, if you were good, motors out of the room and into the kitchen, where she throws the dinner on the floor, so that when you enter the kitchen to get some more ice you begin skidding and skating about in a muck of pork chops, squash, sauce diable, Danish stainless-steel flatware, and Louis Martini Mountain Red. So, this being the content of your happy hour, you decide to break your iron-clad rule, that rule of rules, and have eleven drinks instead of the modest nine with which you had been wont to stave off the song of twilight, when the lights are low, and the flickering shadows, etc., etc. But, opening the refrigerator, you discover that the slovenly bitch has failed to fill up the ice trays so there is no more ice for your tenth and eleventh sloshes. On discovering this you are just about ready to throw in the entire enterprise, happy home, and go to the bordel for the evening, where at least you can be sure that everyone will be kind to you, and not ask you for a horse, and the floor will not be a muck of sauce diable and pork chops. But when you put your hand in your pocket you discover that there are only three dollars there—not enough to cover a sortie to the bordel, where Uni-Cards are not accepted, so that the entire scheme, going to the bordel, is blasted. Upon making these determinations, which are not such as to bring the hot flush of excitement to the old cheek, you measure out your iceless over-the-limit drinks, using a little cold water as a make-do, and return to what is called the “living” room, and prepare to live, for a little while longer, in a truce with your circumstances—aware that there are wretches worse off than you, people whose trepanations have not been successful, girls who have not been invited to the sexual revolution, priests still frocked. It is seven-thirty.
    • “Critique de la Vie Quotidienne”
  • At night I drank and my hostility came roaring out if its cave like a jet-assisted banshee.
    • “Critique de la Vie Quotidienne”
  • I looked at her then to see if I could discern traces of what I had seen in the beginning. There were traces but only traces. Vestiges. Hints of a formerly intact mystery never to be returned to its original wholeness. “I know what you’re doing,” she said, “you are touring the ruins.”
    • “Critique de la Vie Quotidienne”
  • His assistants cluster about him. He is severe with them, demanding, punctilious, but this is for their own ultimate benefit. He devises hideously difficult problems, or complicates their work with sudden oblique comments that open whole new areas of investigation—yawning chasms under their feet. It is as if he wishes to place them in situations where only failure is possible. But failure, too, is a part of mental life. "I will make you failure-proof," he says jokingly. His assistants pale.
    • "The Genius"
  • Is it true, as Valéry said, that every man of genius contains within himself a false man of genius?
    • "The Genius"
  • "This is an age of personal ignorance. No one knows what others know. No one knows enough."
    • "The Genius"
  • The genius is afraid to fly. The giant aircraft seems to him...flimsy. He hates the takeoff and he hates the landing and he detests being in the air. He hates the food, the stewardesses, the voice of the captain, and his fellow-passengers, especially those who are conspicuously at ease, who remove their coats, loosen their ties, and move up and down the aisles with drinks in their hands. In consequence, he rarely travels. The world comes to him.
    • "The Genius"
  • Q: What do you consider the most important tool of the genius of today?
    A: Rubber cement.
    • "The Genius"
  • He has urged that America be divided into four smaller countries. America, he says, is too big. "America does not look where it puts its foot," he says. This comment, which, coming from anyone else, would have engendered widespread indignation, is greeted with amused chuckles. The Chamber of Commerce sends him four cases of Teacher's Highland Cream.
    • "The Genius"
  • The genius defines "inappropriate response":
    "Suppose my friend telephones and asks, 'Is my wife there?' 'No,' I reply, 'they went out, your wife and my wife, wearing new hats, they are giving themselves to sailors.' My friend is astounded at this news. 'But it's Election Day!' he cries. 'And it's beginning to rain!' I say."
    • "The Genius"
  • The genius pays close attention to work being done in fields other than his own. He is well read in all of the sciences (with the exception of the social sciences); he follows the arts with a connoisseur’s acuteness; he is an accomplished amateur musician. He jogs. He dislikes chess. He was once photographed playing tennis with the Marx Brothers.
    He has devoted considerable thought to an attempt to define the sources of his genius. However, this attempt has led approximately nowhere. The mystery remains a mystery. He has therefore settled upon the following formula, which he repeats each time he is interviewed: “Historical forces.”
    • “The Genius”
  • The government has decided to award the genius a few new medals—medals he has not been previously awarded. One medal is awarded for his work prior to 1936, one for his work from 1936 to the present, and one for his future work.
    • “The Genius”
  • “I think that this thing, my work, has made me, in a sense, what I am. The work possesses a consciousness which shapes that of the worker. The work flatters the worker. Only the strongest worker can do this work, the work says. You must be a fine fellow, that you can do this work. But disaffection is also possible. The worker grows careless. The worker pays slight regard to the work, he ignores the work, he flirts with other work, he is unfaithful to the work. The work is insulted. And perhaps it finds little ways of telling the worker... The work slips in the hands of the worker—a little cut on the finger. You understand? The work becomes slow, sulky, consumes more time, becomes more tiring. The gaiety that once existed between the worker and the work has evaporated. A fine situation! Don’t you think?”
    • “The Genius”
  • The genius has noticed that he does not interact with children successfully. (Anecdote)
    • “The Genius”
  • Richness of the inner life of the genius:
    (1) Manic-oceanic states
    (2) Hatred of children
    (3) Piano playing
    (4) Subincised genitals
    (5) Subscription to Harper’s Bazaar
    (6) Stamp collection
    • “The Genius”
  • The genius receives a very flattering letter from the University of Minnesota. The university wishes to become the depository of his papers, after he is dead. A new wing of the Library will be built to house them.
    The letter makes the genius angry. He takes a pair of scissors, cuts the letter into long thin strips, and mails it back to the Director of Libraries.
    • “The Genius”
  • He takes long walks through the city streets, noting architectural details—particularly old ironwork. His mind is filled with ideas for a new— But at this moment a policeman approaches him. “Beg pardon, sir. Aren’t you—” “Yes,” the genius says, smiling. “My little boy is an admirer of yours,” the policeman says. He pulls out a pocket notebook. “If it’s not too much trouble...” Smiling, the genius signs his name.
    The genius carries his most important papers about with him in a green Sears, Roebuck toolbox.
    • “The Genius”
  • He did not win the Nobel Prize again this year.
    It was neither the year of his country nor the year of his discipline. To console him, the National Foundation gives him a new house.
    • “The Genius”
  • The genius meets with a group of students. The students tell the genius that the concept “genius” is not, currently, a popular one. Group effort, they say, is more socially productive than the isolated efforts of any one man, however gifted. Genius by its very nature sets itself over against the needs of the many. In answering its own imperatives, genius tends toward, even embraces, totalitarian forms of social organization. Tyranny of the gifted over the group, while bringing some advances in the short run, inevitably produces a set of conditions which—
    The genius smokes thoughtfully.
    • "The Genius"
  • A giant brown pantechnicon disgorges the complete works of the Venerable Bede, in all translations, upon the genius’s lawn—a gift from the people of Cincinnati!
    • “The Genius”
  • The genius is leafing through a magazine. Suddenly he us arrested by an advertisement:
    WHY DON’T YOU
    BECOME A
    PROFESSIONAL
    INTERIOR DECORATOR?
    Interior decoration is a high-income field, the advertisement says. The work is varied and interesting. One moves in a world of fashion, creativity, and ever-new challenge.
    The genius tears out the advertisement coupon.
    • “The Genius”
  • Q: Is America a good place for genius?
    A: I have found America most hospitable to genius.
    • “The Genius”
  • “I always say to myself, ‘What is the most important thing I can be thinking about at this minute?’ But then I don’t think about it.”
    • “The Genius”
  • In the serenity of his genius, the genius reaches out to right wrongs—the sewer systems of cities, for example.
    • “The Genius”
  • The genius is reading The Genius, a 736-page novel by Theodore Dreiser. He arrives at the last page:
    “ ‘What a sweet welter life is—how rich, how tender, how grim, how like a colorful symphony.’ ”
    “Great art dreams welled up into his soul as he viewed the sparkling deeps of space...”
    The genius gets up and looks at himself in a mirror.
    • “The Genius”
  • An organization has been formed to appreciate his thought: the Blaufox Gesellschaft. Meetings are held once a month, in a room over a cafeteria in Buffalo, New York. He has always refused to have anything to do with the Gesellschaft, which reminds him uncomfortably of the Browning Society. However, he cannot prevent himself from glancing at the group’s twice-yearly Proceedings, which contains such sentences as “The imbuement of all reaches of the scholarly community with Blaufox’s views must, ab ovo, be our...”
    He falls into hysteria.
    • "The Genius"
  • His driver’s license expires. But he does nothing about renewing it. He is vaguely troubled by the thought of the expired license (although he does not stop driving). But he loathes the idea of taking the examination again, of going physically to the examining station, of waiting in line for an examiner. He decides that if he writes a letter to the License Bureau requesting a new license, the bureau will grant him one without an examination because he is a genius. He is right. He writes the letter and the License Bureau sends him a new license, by return mail.
    • "The Genius"
  • Moments of self-doubt...
    “Am I really a—”
    “What does it mean to be a—”
    “Can one refuse to be a—”
    • “The Genius”
  • His worst moment: He is in a church, kneeling in a pew near the back. He is gradually made aware of a row of nuns, half a dozen, kneeling twenty feet ahead of him, their heads bent over their beads. One of the nuns however has turned her head almost completely around, and seems to be staring at him. The genius glances at her, glances away, then looks again: she is still staring at him. The genius is only visitng the church in the first place because the nave is said to be a particularly fine example of Burgundian Gothic. He places his eyes here, there, on the altar, on the stained glass, but each time they return to the nuns, his nun is still staring. The genius says to himself, This is my worst moment.
    • “The Genius”
  • He is a drunk.
    • “The Genius”
  • “A truly potent abstract concept avoids, resists closure. The ragged, blurred outlines of such a concept, like a net in which the fish have eaten large, gaping holes, permit entry and escape equally. What does one catch in such a net? The sea horse with a Monet in his mouth. How did the Monet get there? Is the value of the Monet less because it has gotten wet? Are there tooth marks in the Monet? Do sea horses have teeth? How large is the Monet? From which period? Is it a water lily or a group of water lilies? Do sea horses eat water lilies? Does Parke-Bernet know? Do oil and water mix? Is a mixture of oil and water bad for the digestion of the sea horse? Should art be expensive? Should artists wear beards? Ought beards be forbidden by law? Is underwater art better than overwater art? What does the experession ‘glad rags’ mean? Does it refer to Monet’s paint rags? In the Paris of 1878, what was the average monthly rent for a north-lit, spacious studio in an unfashionable district? If sea horses eat water lilies, what percent of their daily work energy, expressed in ergs, is generated thereby? Should the holes in the net be mended? In a fight between a sea horse and a flittermouse, which would you bet on? If I mend the net, will you forgive me? Do water rats chew upon the water lilies? Is there a water buffalo in the water cooler? If I fill my water gun to the waterline, can I then visit the watering place? Is fantasy an adequate substitute for correct behavior?”
    • “The Genius”
  • The genius proposes a world inventory of genius, in order to harness and coordinate the efforts of genius everywhere to create a better life for all men.
    Letters are sent out...
    The response is staggering!
    Telegrams pour in...
    Geniuses of every stripe offer their cooperation.
    The Times prints an editorial praising the idea...
    Three thousand geniuses in one room!
    The genius falls into an ill humor. He refuses to speak to anyone for eight days.
    • “The Genius”
  • But now a green Railway Express truck arrives at his door. It contains a field of stainless-steel tulips, courtesy of the Mayor and City Council of Houston, Texas. The genius signs the receipt, smiling...
    • “The Genius”; variant ending, from Forty Stories (1987): "But now a brown UPS truck arrives at his door. It contains a ceremonial sword (with inscription) forged in Toledo, courtesy of the Mayor and City Council of Toledo, Spain. The genius whips the blade about in the midmorning air, signing the receipt with his other hand..."
  • Perpetua sat on the couch in her new apartment smoking dope with a handsome bassoon player. A few cats walked around.
    “Our art contributes nothing to the the revolution,” the bassoon player said. “We cosmetize reality.”
    “We are trustees of Form,” Perpetua said.
    “It is hard to make the revolution with a bassoon,” the bassoon player said.
    “Sabotage?” Perpetua suggested.
    “Sabotage would get me fired,” her companion replied. “The sabotage would be confused with ineptness any way.”
    I am tired of talking about the revolution, Perpetua thought.
    “Go away,” she said. The bassoon player put on his black raincoat and left.
    It is wonderful to be able to tell them to go away, she reflected. Then she said aloud, “Go away. Go away. Go away.”
    • “Perpetua"
  • Perpetua went to her mother’s house for Christmas. Her mother was cooking the eighty-seventh turkey of her life. “God damn this turkey!” Perpetua’s mother shouted. “If anyone knew how I hate, loathe, and despise turkeys. If I had known that I would cook eighty-seven separate and distinct turkeys in my life, I would have split forty-four years ago. I would have been long gone for the tall timber.”
    Perpetua’s mother showed her a handsome new leather coat. “Tanned in the bile of matricides,” her mother said, with a meaningful look.
    • “Perpetua”
  • I went to a party and corrected a pronunciation. The man whose voice I had adjusted fell back into the kitchen. I praised a Bonnard. It was not a Bonnard. My new glasses, I explained, and I’m terribly sorry, but significant variations elude me, vodka exhausts me, I was young once, essential services are being maintained.
    • “The Party”, opening
  • Today we filmed the moon rocks. We set up in the moon Rock Room, at the Smithsonian. There they were. The moon rocks. The moon rocks were the greatest thing we had ever seen in our entire lives! The moon rocks were red, green, blue, yellow, black, and white. They scintillated, sparkled, glinted, glittered, twinkled, and gleamed. They produced booms, thunderclaps, explosions, clashes, splashes, and roars. They sat on a pillow of the purest Velcro, and people who touched the pillow were able to throw away their crutches and jump in the air. Four cases of gout and eleven instances of hyperbolic paraboloidism were cured before our eyes. The air rained crutches. The moon rocks drew you toward them with a fatal irresistibility, but at the same time held you at a seemly distance with a decent reserve. Peering into the moon rocks, you could see the future and the past in color, and you could change them in any way you wished. The moon rocks gave off a slight hum, which cleaned your teeth, and a brilliant glow, which absolved you from sin. The moon rocks whistled Finlandia, by Jean Sibelius, while reciting The Confessions of St. Augustine, by I.F. Stone. The moon rocks were as good as a meaningful and emotionally rewarding seduction that you had not expected. The moon rocks were as good as listening to what the members of the Supreme Court say to each other, in the Supreme Court Locker Room. They were as good as a war. The moon rocks were better than a presentation copy of the Random House Dictionary of the English Language signed by Geoffrey Chaucer himself. They were better than a movie in which the President refuses to tell the people what to do to save themselves from the terrible thing that is about to happen, although he knows what ought to be done and has written a secret memorandum about it. The moon rocks were better than a good cup of coffee from an urn decorated with the change of Philomel, by the barbarous king. The moon rocks were better than a ¡huelga! led by Mongo Santamaria, with additional dialogue by St. John of the Cross and special effects by Melmouth the Wanderer. The moon rocks surpassed our expectations. The dynamite out-of-sight very heavy and together moon rocks turned us on, to the highest degree. There was blood on our eyes, when we had finished filming them.
    • ”A Film”
  • ...what an artist does, is fail. Any reading of the literature... (I mean the literature of artistic creation), however summary, will persuade you instantly that the paradigmatic artistic experience is that of failure. The actualization fails to meet, equal, the intuition. There is something “out there” which cannot be brought “here”. This is standard. I don’t mean bad artists, I mean good artists. There is no such thing as a “successful artist” (except, of course, in worldly terms).
    • “The Sandman”
  • (Parenthetically, the problem of analysts sleeping with their patients is well known and I understand that Susan has been routinely seducing you—a reflex, she can’t help it—throughout the analysis. I understand that there is a new splinter group of therapists, behaviorists of some kind, who take this to be some kind of ethic? Is this true? Does this mean that they do it only when they want to, or whether they want to or not? At a dinner party the other evening a lady analyst was saying that three cases of this kind had recently come to her attention and she seemed to think that this was rather a lot. The problem of maintaining mentorship is, as we know, not easy. I think you have done very well in this regard, and God knows it must have been difficult, given those skirts Susan wears that unbutton up to the crotch and which she routinely leaves unbuttoned to the third button.)
    Am I wandering too much for you? Bear with me. The world is waiting for the sunrise.
    • “The Sandman”
  • He says: “Sunday the day of rest and worship is hated by all classes of men in every country to which the Word has been carried. Hatred of Sunday in London approaches one hundred percent. Hatred of Sunday in Rio produces suicides. Hatred of Sunday in Madrid is only appeased by the ritual slaughter of large black animals, in rings. Hatred of Sunday in Munich is the stuff of legend. Hatred of Sunday in Sydney in considered by the knowledgeable to be hatred of Sunday at its most exquisite.”
    • “The Cathechist”
  • ”Would you say, originally, that you had a vocation? Heard a call?”
    “I heard many things. Screams. Suites for unaccompanied cello. I did not hear a call.”
    “Nevertheless—”
    “Nevertheless I went to the clerical-equipment store and purchased a summer cassock and a winter cassock. The summer cassock has short sleeves. I purchased a black hat.”
    • “The Catechist”
  • We recruited fools for the show. We had spots for a number of fools (and in the big all-fool number that occurs immediately after the second act, some specialties). But fools are hard to find. Usually they don’t like to admit it. We settled for gowks, gulls, mooncalfs. A few babies, boobies, sillies, simps. A barmie was engaged, along with certain dumdums and beefheads. A noodle. When you see them all wandering around, under the colored lights, gibbering and performing miracles, you are surprised.
    • “The Flight of Pigeons from the Palace”
  • In the summer of the show, grave robbers appeared in the show. Famous graves were robbed, before your eyes. Winding-sheets were unwound and things best forgotten were remembered. Sad themes were played by the band, bereft of its mind by the death of its tradition. In the soft evening of the show, a troupe of agoutis performed tax evasion atop tall, swaying yellow poles. Before your eyes.
    • “The Flight of Pigeons from the Palace”
  • It is difficult to keep the public interested.
    The public demands new wonders piled on new wonders.
    Often we don’t know where our next marvel is coming from.
    The supply of strange ideas is not endless.
    The development of new wonders is not like the production of canned goods. Some things appear to be wonders in the beginning, but when you become familar with them, are not wonderful at all. Sometimes a seventy-five-foot highly paid cacodemon will raise only the tiniest ‘’frisson’’. Some of us have even thought of folding the show—closing it down. That thought has been gliding through the hallways and rehearsal rooms of the show.
    The new volcano we have just placed under contract seems very promising...
    • “The Flight of Pigeons from the Palace”, conclusion
  • Capitalism places every man in competition with his fellows for a share of the available wealth. A few people accumulate big piles, but most do not. The sense of community falls victim to this struggle. Increased abundance and prosperity are tied to growing "productivity". A hierarchy of functionaries interposes itself between the people and the leadership. The good of the private corporation is seen as prior to the public good. The world market system tightens control in the capitalist countries and terrorizes the Third World. All things are manipulated to these ends. The King of Jordan sits at his ham radio, inviting strangers to the palace. I visit my assistant mistress. "Well, Azalea," I say, sitting in the best chair, "what has happened to you since my last visit?" Azalea tells me what has happened to her. She has covered a sofa, and written a novel. Jack has behaved badly. Roger has lost his job (replaced by an electric eye). Gigi's children are in the hospital being detoxified, all three. Azalea herself is dying of love. I stroke her buttocks, which are perfection, if you can have perfection, under the capitalist system. "It is better to marry than to burn," St. Paul says, but St. Paul is largely discredited now, for the toughness of his views does not accord with the experience of advanced industrial societies. I smoke a cigar, to disoblige the cat.
    • “The Rise of Capitalism”
  • I am not rich again this morning! I put my head between Marta’s breasts, to hide my shame.
    • “The Rise of Capitalism”
  • Capitalism arose and took off its pajamas.
    • “The Rise of Capitalism”
  • As a flower moves toward the florist, women move toward men who are not good for them. Self-actualization is not to be achieved in terms of another person, but you don’t know that, when you begin.
    • “The Rise of Capitalism”
  • The imminent heat-death of the universe is not a bad thing, because it is a long way off.
    • “The Rise of Capitalism”
  • I left Amelia’s place and entered the October afternoon. The afternoon was dying giving way to the dark night, yet some amount of sunglow still warmed the cunning-wrought cobbles of the street. Many citizens both male and female were hurring hither and thither on errands of importance, each agitato step compromising slightly the sheen of the gray fine-troweled sidewalk. Immature citizens in several sizes were massed before a large factorylike structure where advanced techniques transformed them into true-thinking right-acting members of the three social classes, lower, middle, and upper middle. Some number of these were engaged in ludic agon with basketballs, the same being hurled against passing vehicles producing an unpredictable rebound. Dispersed amidst the hurly and burly of the children were their tenders, shouting. Inmixed with this broil were ordinary denizens of the quarter—shopmen, rentiers, churls, sellers of various drugs, stum-drinkers, aunties, girls whose jeans had been improved with appliqué rose blossoms in the cleft of the buttocks, practicers of the priest hustle, and the like. Two officers of the Shore Patrol were hitting an imbecile Sea Scout with long shapely well-modeled nightsticks under the impression that they had jurisdiction. A man was swearing fine-sounding swearwords at a small yellow motorcar of Italian extraction, the same having joined its bumper to another bumper, the two bumpers intertangling like shameless lovers in the act of love. A man in the organic-vegetable hustle stood in the back of a truck praising tomatoes, the same being abulge with tomato-muscle and ablaze with minimum daily requirements. Several members of the madman profession made the air sweet with their imprecating and their moans and the subtle music of the tearing of their hair.
    • “Daumier”
  • Then Daumier looked at Celeste and saw that the legs on her were as strong and sweet-shaped as ampersands and the buttocks on her were as pretty as two pictures and the waist on her was as neat and incurved as the waist of a fiddle and the shoulders on her were as tempting as sex crimes and the hair on her was as long and black as Lent and the movement of the whole was honey, and he sank into a swoon.
    • “Daumier”