from THE LONG GOODBYE by Raymond Chandler

When I got home I mixed a stiff one and

stood by the open window in the living room and

sipped it and

listened to the groundswell of traffic on Laurel Canyon Boulevard and

looked at the glare of the big angry city hanging over the shoulder of the hills through which the boulevard had been cut.

Far off the banshee wail of police or fire sirens rose and fell, never for very long completely silent.

Twenty four hours a day somebody is running, somebody else is trying to catch him.

Out there in the night of a thousand crimes,

people were dying,

being maimed,

cut by flying glass,

crushed against steering wheels

or under heavy tires.

People were being

beaten, robbed, strangled, raped, and murdered.

People were hungry, sick; bored, desperate with loneliness or remorse or fear, angry, cruel, feverish, shaken by sobs.

A city no worse than others,

a city rich and vigorous and full of pride,

a city lost and beaten and full of emptiness.

It all depends on where you sit and what your own private score is.

I didn't have one. I didn't care.

I finished the drink and went to bed.

Italo Calvino on Books*

Conversation # 30,107