(...) Like most men in that situation I realized that I wouldn't get anything out of her - intimate talks, exciting roller-coaster rides, long Sunday afternoon walks - until after I had made some odd promises (...)
Frankly, I was horrified by life, at what a man had to do simply in order to eat, sleep, and keep himself clothed. So I stayed in bed and drank. When you drank the world was still out there, but for the moment it didn't have you by the throat.
wonder," said Jerry, "if I killed him?" "Killed him how?" I
asked. "By mixing water with his vodka. He always drank it
straight. It might have been the water that killed him."
"It might have," I said.
Then I motioned to the barkeep. "Tony," I said, "will you
please serve the plump little lady a vodka and water?"
Grace didn't think that was very humorous.
We lived on the fourth floor of an old apartment house; we had two rooms in the back. The apartment was built at the edge of a high cliff so that when you looked out the back window it seemed as if you were twelve floors up instead of four. It was very much like living on the edge of the world - a last resting place before the final big drop.
"You married, Manny?"
"No way." "Women?"
"Sometimes. But it never lasts."
"What's the problem?"
"A woman is a full-time job. You have to choose your profession."
"I suppose there is an emotional drain."
"Physical too. They want to fuck night and day."
"Get one you like to fuck."
"Yes, but if you drink or gamble they think it's a put-down of their love."
"Get one who likes to drink, gamble and fuck."
"Who wants a woman like that?"
"So now you're a little crazy. No love. Everybody needs love. It's warped you." "People don't need love. What they need is success in one form or another. It can be love but it needn't be." "The Bible says, 'Love thy neighbor.'" "That could mean to leave him alone. I'm going out to get a paper."
I wasn't too good a mopper; often a wad of hair or a crushed cigarette butt would remain conspicuously in one of the corners. I'd leave it there. I was conscientious with the ass-wipe and the paper seat covers, however: I could understand that. Nothing is worse than to finish a good shit, then reach over and find the toilet paper container empty. Even the most horrible human being on earth deserves to wipe his ass. (...)