The following passages are from Jim Thompson's The Killer Inside Me. I'm posting these because, even bereft of context, I think these passages have a lot to say. They were a good slap in the face (more like a right cross, actually) when I read them, which is I suppose something at which Thompson excels.
Something else at which he excels? Complex emotions, plainly expressed. And that skill always earns my respect.
"I guess we're a pretty stiff-necked lot out here, Howard," I said. "I suppose it comes from the fact that this country was never very thickly settled, and a man had to be doggoned careful of the way he acted or he'd be marked for life. I mean, there wasn't any crowd for him to sink into--he was always out where people could see him."
"So if a man or woman does something, nothing bad you understand, but the kind of thing men and women have always been doing, you don't let on that you know anything about it. You don't, because sooner or later you're going to need the same kind of favor yourself. You see how it is? It's the only way we can go on being human, and still hold our heads up."
He wasn't exactly right about that, but I knew what he meant. There was other work I'd have liked a lot better. "I don't know, Bob," I said, "there's a couple of kinds of laziness. The don't-want-to-do-nothin' and the stick-in-the-rut brand. You take a job, figuring you'll just keep it a little while, and that while keeps stretchin' on and on and on. You need a little more money before you can make a jump. You can't quite make up your mind about what you want to jump to. And then maybe you make a stab at it, you send off a few letters, and the people want to know what experience you've had--what you've been doin'. And probably they don't even want to bother with you, and if they do you've got to start right at the bottom, because you don't know anything. So you stay where you are, you just about got to, and you work pretty hard because you know it. You ain't young anymore and it's all you've got."
But I guess there's another thing or two to tell you first, and--but I will tell you about it. I want to tell you, and I will, exactly how it happened. I won't leave you to figure things out for yourself.
In lots of books I read, the writer seems to go haywire every time he reaches a high point. He'll start leaving out punctuation and running his words together and babble about stars flashing and sinking into a deep dreamless sea. And you can't figure out whether the hero's laying his girl or a cornerstone. I guess that kind of crap is supposed to be pretty deep stuff--a lot of the book reviewers eat it up, I notice. But the way I see it is, the writer is just too goddam lazy to do his job. And I'm not lazy, whatever else I am. I'll tell you everything.
But I want to get everything in the right order.
I want you to understand how it was.
These are pretty innocent passages on the surface. Read the book, and you'll get a much more twisted experience--something I highly recommend.
Good day, all.