Text Trailers: Bullet Park by John Cheever

–“How is your horrid country?”

–“You can look all over the world but you won’t find neighbors as kind and thoughtful as the people in Bullet Park.”

–He possesses for a moment the curious power of being able to frighten himself.

–“Oh, I wish it would never get dark—never. I suppose you know all about that lady who was mistreated and strangled on Maple Street last month. She was my age and we had the same first name. We had the same horoscope and they never found the murderer…”

–I heard her swear and a moment later I heard the noise of falling glass, and why is this sound so portentous, so like a doomcrack bell?

–He turned on a light and saw how absorbed his son was in the lisping clown.

—society had become so automative and nomadic that nomadic signals or means of communication had been established by the means of headlights, parking lights, signal lights and windshield wipers. Hang the child murderer. (Headlights.) Reduce the state income tax. (Parking lights.) Abolish the secret police. (Emergency signal.) The bishop had suggested that churchgoers turn on their windshield wipers to communicate their faith in the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come.

–The place had long ago gone to seed and had then been abandoned. The water traps were dry, the windmill had lost its sails and the greens were bare concrete but most of the obstacles were intact and on summer nights men and boys still played the course although there were no trespassing signs all over the place.

–“I was feeling good too but we have a problem here and we can’t evade it just because the veal birds smell good.”

–The man explained that he was after draft evaders because he had spent a year and a half in a POW camp in Germany, eating rats and mice. He wanted the younger generation to learn what it was all about.

–“Alchemy is, of course, the transmutation of base metals into noble ones and when an extract of beaver musk, cedar bark, heliotrope, celery and gum resin can arouse immortal longings in a male we are close to alchemy, wouldn’t you say?”

–She’d keep saying hello all through the preliminaries and then when we came to the main feature she’d keep on saying hello only louder and louder and finally she’d sort of yell hello, hello. Then when I got dressed and said good night she’d keep on saying hello.

–Rainwater had collected in one of the commemorative urns or ewers and he scooped enough up with his hand to get the pill down.

–“I suppose I’d drug him or poison him at some cocktail party. I wouldn’t want him to suffer.”

–Snowcapped toilet seats.

— It was the turtle’s lawn, the turtle’s sky, the turtle’s creation, and Nailles seemed to have wandered mistakenly onto the scene. He fired again and missed.

—looking through my handbag I found an invitation to spend a weekend with Robert Frost. Of course he’s dead and buried and I don’t suppose we would have gotten along for more than five minutes but it seemed like some dispensation or bounty of my imagination to have invented such a visit.

–Out of the window he can see his lawns in the starlight. HOPE, HOPE, HOPE, HOPE. Their voices sound like drums. His lawns and the incantations came from different kingdoms. Nothing made any sense.

–“Where’s the body?” “I don’t know.” “There’s his loafer. He was standing right there and the train came through and he was gone.”

–She claimed only last month that her windshield wiper urged her to invest in Merck Chemicals which she did, making a profit of several thousand. I suppose she lies about her losses as gamblers always do.

–Boarding a DC-7 one night in Innsbruck I distinctly heard the engines produce some exalting synthesis of all life’s sounds—boats and train whistles and the creaking of iron gates and bedsprings and drums and rainwinds and thunder and footsteps and the sounds of singing all seemed woven into a rope or cord of air that ended when the stewardess asked us to observe the No Smoking sign–

–“I would entertain in order to conceal my purpose.”

–That road and all the rest of the freeways and thruways were engineered for clowns and drunks. If you’re not a nerveless clown then you have to get drunk. No sensitive or intelligent man or woman can drive on those roads. They ought to sell pot and bourbon at the gas stations. Then there wouldn’t be so many accidents.

–He enjoyed maneuvering the howling, screaming engine and its murderous teeth.

–Had she gone mad? She watched the procession until it had wound out of sight. Shit was the last placard she saw.

–“I heard him talking to himself. ‘I can’t stand it any longer,’ he said. I still don’t know what he meant. Then he went out into the garden and shot himself.”

–They were merely acquaintances but the casualty had thrust them into an intimate relationship.

–We do not fall in love—I thought—we re-enter love, and I had fallen in love with a memory—a piece of white thread and a thunderstorm. My own true love was a piece of white thread and that was so.–

–I sat in a chair by the window feeling the calm of the yellow walls restore me.

–The woman who dreamed of a mink coat had more sense than the woman who dreamed of heaven. The nature of man was terrifying and singular and man’s environment was chaos.

–“Get out of here,” the swami said. “Get out of the Temple of Light.”

–“Mr. and Mrs. Hammer, may I present your neighbor Mr. Nailles.”