Wednesday, October 1, 2008

On blowgun assassins

Speaking of fucked... I knew I wanted to find this passage in a 600+-page book, grabbed the book, opened it, and was on the exact page of the passage I've been thinking about. It's like when you've been thinking of a song for a few days, you put on your iPod, place it on shuffle, and even though there are 8000 songs on there, it goes right to the song you've been thinking of.

From Denis Johnson's Tree of Smoke:

He turned and saw among the sago fronds a most curious sight: a Western man in Western garb holding a long tube to his lips. Something like a bamboo reed. As Carignan examined this sight and prepared to make some sort of greeting, the man’s cheeks collapsed and something stung the padre in the flesh over his Adam’s apple and seemed to lodge there. He reached up to brush it away. His tongue and lips began to tingle, his eyes burned, and within seconds the sensation was that of having no head at all, and then of losing touch with his hands and feet, and abruptly he didn’t know where any part of him was, every part of him seemed to go away. He did not feel himself collapsing toward the water, and by the time he landed in it he was dead.

If you know of a better one, now's your chance.


Anonymous said...

He did that thing you hate, where he uses the word collapse twice in the same paragraph.

andy.riverbed said...

i think that was too good. using words multiple times like that adds theme and pushes an emotion. in this case the feeling of turning to shit, or as johnson used, collapsing.