1. Brush your teeth: Eli, the contract killer at the centre of this book, is taken with the new craze for tooth powder and oral hygiene. He shares his tooth brush with his killing-partner and brother, Charlie.
Handing back the brush and powder he said, ‘There is a very fine feeling.’
‘That is what I’ve been telling you.’
‘It is as though my entire head has been cleaned.’
‘We might pick you up a brush of your own in San Francisco.’
‘I think we may have to.’
3. Frontier of abandon: Speech of the Book goes to a man holding a chicken in San Francisco, who explains for Eli the mad, expensive, destructive energy of the ‘Go West’ enterprise.
Yesterday I saw a man leap from the roof of the Orient Hotel, laughing all the way to the ground, upon which he fairly exploded. He was drunk they say, but I had seen him sober shortly before this. There is a feeling here, which if it gets you, will envenom your very center. It is a madness of possibilities.
(For a brilliant exploration of this book, visit Bill Nelson's This Is Writing?)