RARA-AVIS: RE: Last Lines

From: dlochte ( dlochte@adelphia.net)
Date: 04 May 2002

I've always had a fondness for this last line from Ross Macdonald's "The Instant Enemy," published in 1968. It follows the hero's tearing up his client's check and tossing the pieces out of the window onto the Sunset Strip. "It drifted down on the short hairs and the long hairs, the potheads and the acid heads, draft dodgers and dollar chasers, swingers and walking wounded, idiot saints, hard cases, foolish virgins."

But my all-time favorite is from "Saloon Society" by Bill Manville, a collection of his lightly-fictionalized autobiographical New York stories (circa 1960) that he later cannibalized for a powerful noir tale, "Goodbye." It's the end of a story involving a party tossed for the narrator by a friend named Kugleman:

 "We kept alive, we kept moving, we crowded against each other, lied and flirted and left each other when we were bored; the poets went into the bedroom to read aloud, the politicians formed splinter parties in the hallway, the booze poured like sunshine, the cigarette smoke was thick as dreams, an amorous couple locked themselves in the can, Henry Harris ate the flowers in the icebox, the clocks were smashed and stopped, the shades were down, I was single again, it was only Saturday morning, and A.E. Kugleman had made us happy."

Dick Lochte

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