Jun. 16th, 2017

Oh and also Sully's one-legged attorney friend.
  • To Rub’s mind, Sully’s one human flaw was that he didn’t seem to want much more than he had, which seemed unaccountable. If you were standing outside in the cold and wet, it was only natural to wish you were inside where it was warm and dry, so Rub wished it, and not just selfishly for himself, but for Sully too. That was friendship. Maybe Peter was Sully’s son, but Rub was pretty sure Peter had no such strong feelings for Sully.
  • The problem seemed to be that the animal’s good side, which responded as it always had, was impatient with the defective side, which refused to function at high speed, causing the dog to circle itself, like a boat with only one oar in the water, until finally the animal collapsed and had to start over again. Only when the dog was sufficiently exhausted for the functioning side of his body to go slowly enough to meet the requirements of the stroke-damaged side could he stand. By then he was ready for another nap.
  • But all this had been before Thanksgiving, before Peter showed up needing things and bringing his own needy little boy with him, before Janey had come looking for him when she needed a place to hide, before he learned of Ralph and Vera’s troubles and that Wirf was sick. Maybe there were strings. Maybe you caused things even when you tried hard not to. If that was the case, he probably should find a new place to live.
  • Miss Beryl studied the child too, thinking, as she often had when she surveyed her eighth-grade classes, that maybe people did wear chains of their own forging, but often those chains were half complete before they’d added their own first heavy link. Maybe completing other people’s work was the business of life.
  • li>“Probably not. I’d make them enter the tape into evidence, and my guess is a tape showing you at work would do us as much good as them. They’d be going to a lot of trouble for nothing. See, we got one of the original Ten Commandments on our side.” “Only one?” “Thou Canst Not Get Blood from a Turnip.”
  • For Rub there were a great many mysteries, but none was more perplexing than the way his best friend would team up with any human being on earth against himself. It was almost enough to make Rub doubt that they were best friends... Rub was contemplating all of this, including the unfairness of his own reflection being inside the car while he was kept out,
  • Rub’s wishes didn’t travel well. They came out best when he didn’t have to raise his voice, when he was in a ditch, for instance, and Sully was there in the same ditch a few feet away and ready to receive them. He didn’t like to expel wishes forcefully but rather to release them gently, allow them to locate Sully of their own impetus, on their own struggling wings. Like recently hatched birds, Rub’s wishes were too new to the world and too clumsy to sustain extended flight. They liked the nest.
  • The next morning, the bright morning sun streaming in the bedroom window, Sully saw that his father was right. Swiping a slender, gold-plated letter opener from a dead priest was something a person could do. But you couldn’t steal the whole world.
  • Across the street a pickup truck was driving on the sidewalk, two of its wheels on the concrete, the other two on her neighbors’ terraces. A few short paces in front of the truck, a short, almost dwarflike man, looking maniacally determined, bent forward into the teeth of the wind which had been making the ancient elms moan all afternoon.
  • But he made the mistake of getting out again and grinning triumphantly at Sully, who, when he saw this, saw too that he was not through with his stupid streak. I’m about to fuck up, he thought clearly, and his next thought was, but I don’t have to. This was followed closely by a third thought, the last of this familiar sequence, which was, but I’m going to anyway. And, as always, this third thought was oddly liberating, though Sully knew from experience that the sensation, however pleasurable, would be short-lived.
  • But at such moments of liberation, the clear knowledge that he was about to do himself in coexisted with the exhilarating, if entirely false, sense that he was about to reshape, through the force of his own will, his reality.
  • Rub’s wishes, when you totaled them up, meant simply that he’d have preferred a different sort of world, one where he got his share—of money, pussy, food, warmth, ease. Sully’s job, as he perceived it, was to defend the world they were stuck with, a task made infinitely easier by Rub’s presence.
  • “I need a few paying customers to offset my pro bono work.” “Meaning me?” “No,” Wirf said. “You’re my pro bonehead work. You I do strictly for laughs.” Sully ignored this
  • in human nature that sought to ignore or absolve obvious guilt on the one hand even as it sought to establish connections and therefore responsibility in the most unrelated things.
  • though he doubted making people feel good was much of a talent. More tellingly, he understood that the mechanism behind making people feel good was providing them with an object lesson that things could be worse.
  • He felt again, without fear, the play in the wheel, that he was neither in nor out of control. So this, he reflected, was what it felt like to be Sully.
  • It wasn’t even as powerful as the affection mixed with aggravation that he felt toward Carl Roebuck. Strangely, it was closer to his feeling for Carl’s wife, Toby, a feeling he couldn’t articulate that resided in the pit of his stomach and made him feel foolish, warning him away—perhaps for the same reason, the deep-down knowledge that these were things he couldn’t have, that would not be granted him, a beautiful young woman he had no right to expect, a son he didn’t deserve.
  • An imperfect human heart, perfectly shattered, was her conclusion. A condition so common as to be virtually universal, rendering issues of right and wrong almost incidental.
  • Will had talked of nothing but the leg, and Ralph knew that touching it, bringing the limb to the crippled lawyer, was the bravest thing his grandson had ever done and that the boy was full of pride.



September 2017

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