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Is Carl Bigelow a fresh-faced college kid looking for a room, or is he a poised hit man tracking down his victim? And if Carl is really two people, what about everyone around him? Savage Night is Thompson at his best, with plot reversals and nightmarish shifts of identity.
So…so awfully funny—” 7 He was waiting for me in the living room. When I came in, he eased himself up out of his chair a few inches, as though he was planning on shaking hands. Then, he let himself down again, and I sat down across from him. “I’m sorry I kept you waiting,” I said. “I’ve been down at the bakery lining up a part-time job.” “Uh-hah,” he nodded. “Miss Ruth told me she thought you might be there, but you was already gone when I stopped by. Got you a job, eh?” “Yes, sir,” I
only he didn’t call himself that. He called himself a hockey peddler. “You notice that smell?” he said. “I just got through dumping a load of crap in New York, and I ain’t had time to get fumigated.” All I could smell was the whiz he’d been drinking. He went on talking, not at all grammatical like you might expect a writer to, and he was funny as hell. He said he had a farm up in Vermont, and all he grew on it was the more interesting portions of the female anatomy. And he never laughed or
inside, but there wasn’t any answer. I couldn’t hear anyone stirring around. I turned and glanced around the bare yard—too goddamned lazy to plant a little grass. I looked at the paint-peeled fence with half the pickets knocked off. Then my eyes came up and I looked across the street, and I saw her. I couldn’t let on, but I knew who she was. Even in a jersey and jeans, her hair pulled back in a horse’s tail. She was standing in the door of a little bar down the street, not sure whether I was
nine hundred copies and he would give me ten per cent of the proceeds…when he got around to it.” He spat out the window and took another drink. “How about driving a while?” I slid over him, over behind the wheel, and his hands slid over me. “Let’s see the shiv,” he said. “The what?” “The pig-sticker, the switchblade, the knife, for Christ’s sake. Don’t you understand English? You ain’t a publisher, are you?” I gave it to him. I didn’t know what the hell else to do. He tested the blade with
just about have to. She was me, in a way, and I was seeing myself in her. “…you know I’m right, Carl. She’s trash, stupid, like all the rest of her family. If she really had any brains or guts, she’d—she’d—Well, she’d do something!” “Well, maybe she’s working on it now. Maybe she’s going to grow herself a gang of kids and put them all out to picking cotton.” “All right,” she laughed good-naturedly. “I guess my own family didn’t amount to much, for that matter, but I did do—” “You’d better