On Tuesday, May 22, 1980, a man named Henry Hill did what seemed to him the only sensible thing to do: he decided to cease to exist.
I believe that what separates humanity from everything else in this world — spaghetti, binder paper, deep-sea creatures, edelweiss and Mount McKinley — is that humanity alone has the capacity at any given moment to commit all possible sins.
My father took one hundred and thirty-two minutes to die. I counted.
Probably I would be better off if I didn’t date E women. With me it’s always been Laurie, Jenni, Candy, Maggie, Debbi, Stacey—all my life, just me and the cheerleading squad. You should find yourself a nice A girl, Keeno always tells me.
The flash projected the outline of the hanged man onto the wall.
It began on a train, heading north through England, although I was soon to discover that the story had really begun more than a hundred years earlier.
I’d always thought they would come for me at night, but it was the hottest part of the day when the six men rode onto the plain.
Let’s get something straight, right off the bat: Everything the movies have ever taught you about space travel is garbage.
It was a filthy profession, but the money was addicting, and one addiction led to another, and they were all going to hell.
Some years later, on a tugboat in the Gulf of Mexico, Joe Coughlin’s feet were placed in a tub of cement.
The wind had flung the sand thirty thousand feet into the sky above the desert in a blinding cloud from the Niger to the Nile, and somewhere in it was the airplane.
There is a right way to do things and a wrong way, if you’re going to run a hotel in a smugglers’ town.
The cats nestle close to their kittens,
The lambs have laid down with the sheep.
You’re cozy and warm in your bed, my dear.
Please go the fuck to sleep.
I am nothing but a corpse now, a body at the bottom of the well. Though I drew my last breath long ago and my heart has stopped beating, no one, apart from that vile murderer, knows what’s happened to me.
I slipped the poison dart into its slot under the right collar of my cloak, next to the lockpick. It couldn’t go in too straight, or it would be hard to get to quickly.
I do not love mankind.
People think they’re interesting. That’s their first mistake. Every retiree you meet wants to supply you with his life story.
I often have to cut into the brain and it is something I hate doing.
The very notion of a black hole is so alluring. It combines the thrill of the unknown with a sense of lurking danger and abandon.
Throughout the long summer before my mother’s trial began, and then during those crisp days in the fall when her life was paraded publicly before the county—her character lynched, her wisdom impugned—I overheard much more than my parents realized, and I understood more than they would have liked.
My earliest memories involve fire.
I watched Watts, Detroit, and Atlanta burn on the evening news, I saw oceans of mangroves and palm fronds smolder in napalm as Cronkite spoke of lateral disarmament and a war that had lost its reason.
You missed that. Right now, you are missing the vast majority of what is happening around you. You are missing the events unfolding in your body, in the distance, and right in front of you.
One day you know more dead people than live ones.
Henry and I dug the hole seven feet deep. Any shallower and the corpse was liable to come rising up during the next big flood: Howdy boys! Remember me?
It was me who found her. April 1, 1880. The date is engraved on my story same as it is on the headstone, so cold and solid there under the pines.