Carpet Call Quotes

We've searched our database for all the quotes and captions related to Carpet Call. Here they are! All 100 of them:

Ever since we had arrived in the United States, my classmates kept asking me about magic carpets. - They don't exist-I always said. I was wrong. Magic carpets do exist. But they are called library cards.
Firoozeh Dumas (Laughing Without an Accent: Adventures of an Iranian American, at Home and Abroad)
They called themselves the Munrungs. It meant The People, or The True Human Beings. It's what most people call themselves, to begin with. And then one day the tribe meets some other People or, if it's not been a good day, The Enemy. If only they'd think up a name like Some More True Human Beings, it'd save a lot of trouble later on
Terry Pratchett (The Carpet People)
Wanted, wanted: Dolores Haze. Hair: brown. Lips: scarlet. Age: five thousand three hundred days. Profession: none, or "starlet" Where are you hiding, Dolores Haze? Why are you hiding, darling? (I Talk in a daze, I walk in a maze I cannot get out, said the starling). Where are you riding, Dolores Haze? What make is the magic carpet? Is a Cream Cougar the present craze? And where are you parked, my car pet? Who is your hero, Dolores Haze? Still one of those blue-capped star-men? Oh the balmy days and the palmy bays, And the cars, and the bars, my Carmen! Oh Dolores, that juke-box hurts! Are you still dancin', darlin'? (Both in worn levis, both in torn T-shirts, And I, in my corner, snarlin'). Happy, happy is gnarled McFate Touring the States with a child wife, Plowing his Molly in every State Among the protected wild life. My Dolly, my folly! Her eyes were vair, And never closed when I kissed her. Know an old perfume called Soliel Vert? Are you from Paris, mister? L'autre soir un air froid d'opera m'alita; Son fele -- bien fol est qui s'y fie! Il neige, le decor s'ecroule, Lolita! Lolita, qu'ai-je fait de ta vie? Dying, dying, Lolita Haze, Of hate and remorse, I'm dying. And again my hairy fist I raise, And again I hear you crying. Officer, officer, there they go-- In the rain, where that lighted store is! And her socks are white, and I love her so, And her name is Haze, Dolores. Officer, officer, there they are-- Dolores Haze and her lover! Whip out your gun and follow that car. Now tumble out and take cover. Wanted, wanted: Dolores Haze. Her dream-gray gaze never flinches. Ninety pounds is all she weighs With a height of sixty inches. My car is limping, Dolores Haze, And the last long lap is the hardest, And I shall be dumped where the weed decays, And the rest is rust and stardust.
Vladimir Nabokov (Lolita)
Nina threw herself into a chair at the table and wriggled her feet out of her jewelled slippers, digging her toes into the plush white carpet. “Ahhh,” she said contentedly. “So much better.” She shoved one of the cakes from the coffee service into her mouth and mumbled, “What do you want, Kaz?” “You have crumbs on your cleavage.” “Don’t care,” she said, taking another bite of cake. “So hungry.” Kaz shook his head, amused and impressed at how quickly Nina dropped the wise Grisha priestess act. She’d missed her true calling on the stage.
Leigh Bardugo (Six of Crows (Six of Crows, #1))
Do not listen to her," Alaric said. "She is going to tell you in some kind of code only the two of you will understand, because you are siblings, to call the police on your cell phone. But if you do that, I will kill you and dispose of your body in a place where no one will find it. The river, I think. Your doorman is so stupid, he won't notice if I leave this building carrying a body in a rolled-up carpet.
Meg Cabot (Insatiable (Insatiable, #1))
Where am I?" Magnus croaked. "Nazca." "Oh, so we went on a little trip." "You broke into a man's house," Catarina said. "You stole a carpet and enchanted it to fly. Then you sped off into the night air. We pursued you on foot." "Ah," said Magnus. "You were shouting some things." "What things?" "I prefer not to repeat them," Catarina said. "I also prefer not to remember the time we spent in the desert. It is a mammoth desert, Magnus. Ordinary deserts are quite large. Mammoth deserts are so called because they are larger than ordinary deserts." "Thank you for that interesting and enlightening information," Magnus croaked. "You told us to leave you in the desert, because you planned to start a new life as a cactus," Catarina said, her voice flat. "Then you conjured up tiny needles and threw them at us. With pinpoint accuracy." "Well," he said with dignity. "Considering my highly intoxicated state, you must have been impressed with my aim." "'Impressed' is not the word to use to describe how I felt last night, Magnus." "I thank you for stopping me there," Magnus said. "It was for the best. You are a true friend. No harm done. Let's say no more about it. Could you possibly fetch me - " "Oh, we couldn't stop you," Catarina interrupted. "We tried, but you giggled, leaped onto the carpet, and flew away again. You kept saying that you wanted to go to Moquegua." "What did I do in Moquegua?" "You never got there," Catarina said. "But you were flying about and yelling and trying to, ahem, write messages for us with your carpet in the sky." "We then stopped for a meal," Catarina said. "You were most insistent that we try a local specialty that you called cuy. We actually had a very pleasant meal, even though you were still very drunk." "I'm sure I must have been sobering up at that point," Magnus argued. "Magnus, you were trying to flirt with your own plate." "I'm a very open-minded sort of fellow!" "Ragnor is not," Catarina said. "When he found out that you were feeding us guinea pigs, he hit you over the head with your plate. It broke." "So ended our love," Magnus said. "Ah, well. It would never have worked between me and the plate anyway. I'm sure the food did me good, Catarina, and you were very good to feed me and put me to bed - " Catarina shook her head."You fell down on the floor. Honestly, we thought it best to leave you sleeping on the ground. We thought you would remain there for some time, but we took our eyes off you for one minute, and then you scuttled off. Ragnor claims he saw you making for the carpet, crawling like a huge demented crab.
Cassandra Clare (The Bane Chronicles)
The intellectual is called on the carpet... Don't you conceal something? You talk a language which is suspect. You don't talk like the rest of us, like the man in the street, but rather like a foreigner who does not belong here. We have to cut you down to size, expose your tricks, purge you.
Herbert Marcuse
Time machines, magic portals, transporters, worm holes, flying carpets, relocation charms—such things do exist. They're called books.
Richelle E. Goodrich (Making Wishes: Quotes, Thoughts, & a Little Poetry for Every Day of the Year)
There is evidence that the honoree [Leonard Cohen] might be privy to the secret of the universe, which, in case you're wondering, is simply this: everything is connected. Everything. Many, if not most, of the links are difficult to determine. The instrument, the apparatus, the focused ray that can uncover and illuminate those connections is language. And just as a sudden infatuation often will light up a person's biochemical atmosphere more pyrotechnically than any deep, abiding attachment, so an unlikely, unexpected burst of linguistic imagination will usually reveal greater truths than the most exacting scholarship. In fact. The poetic image may be the only device remotely capable of dissecting romantic passion, let alone disclosing the inherent mystical qualities of the material world. Cohen is a master of the quasi-surrealistic phrase, of the "illogical" line that speaks so directly to the unconscious that surface ambiguity is transformed into ultimate, if fleeting, comprehension: comprehension of the bewitching nuances of sex and bewildering assaults of culture. Undoubtedly, it is to his lyrical mastery that his prestigious colleagues now pay tribute. Yet, there may be something else. As various, as distinct, as rewarding as each of their expressions are, there can still be heard in their individual interpretations the distant echo of Cohen's own voice, for it is his singing voice as well as his writing pen that has spawned these songs. It is a voice raked by the claws of Cupid, a voice rubbed raw by the philosopher's stone. A voice marinated in kirschwasser, sulfur, deer musk and snow; bandaged with sackcloth from a ruined monastery; warmed by the embers left down near the river after the gypsies have gone. It is a penitent's voice, a rabbinical voice, a crust of unleavened vocal toasts -- spread with smoke and subversive wit. He has a voice like a carpet in an old hotel, like a bad itch on the hunchback of love. It is a voice meant for pronouncing the names of women -- and cataloging their sometimes hazardous charms. Nobody can say the word "naked" as nakedly as Cohen. He makes us see the markings where the pantyhose have been. Finally, the actual persona of their creator may be said to haunt these songs, although details of his private lifestyle can be only surmised. A decade ago, a teacher who called himself Shree Bhagwan Rajneesh came up with the name "Zorba the Buddha" to describe the ideal modern man: A contemplative man who maintains a strict devotional bond with cosmic energies, yet is completely at home in the physical realm. Such a man knows the value of the dharma and the value of the deutschmark, knows how much to tip a waiter in a Paris nightclub and how many times to bow in a Kyoto shrine, a man who can do business when business is necessary, allow his mind to enter a pine cone, or dance in wild abandon if moved by the tune. Refusing to shun beauty, this Zorba the Buddha finds in ripe pleasures not a contradiction but an affirmation of the spiritual self. Doesn't he sound a lot like Leonard Cohen? We have been led to picture Cohen spending his mornings meditating in Armani suits, his afternoons wrestling the muse, his evenings sitting in cafes were he eats, drinks and speaks soulfully but flirtatiously with the pretty larks of the street. Quite possibly this is a distorted portrait. The apocryphal, however, has a special kind of truth. It doesn't really matter. What matters here is that after thirty years, L. Cohen is holding court in the lobby of the whirlwind, and that giants have gathered to pay him homage. To him -- and to us -- they bring the offerings they have hammered from his iron, his lead, his nitrogen, his gold.
Tom Robbins
On the day you couldn't hold yourself together anymore, you called for me, voice crackling like two sets of knuckles before an altercation. I found you, looking like a damaged wine glass. I hugged your shatter, I cut all of my fingers trying to jigsaw puzzle you back together. When it was over, you looked at the stains on the carpet and blamed me for making a mess.
Rudy Francisco (Helium (Button Poetry))
That summer, Titanic fever gripped Kabul. People smuggled pirated copies of the film from Pakistan- sometimes in their underwear. After curfew, everyone locked their doors, turned out the lights, turned down the volume, and reaped tears for Jack and Rose and the passengers of the doomed ship. If there was electrical power, Mariam, Laila, and the children watched it too. A dozen times or more, they unearthed the TV from behind the tool-shed, late at night, with the lights out and quilts pinned over the windows. At the Kabul River, vendors moved into the parched riverbed. Soon, from the river's sunbaked hollows, it was possible to buy Titanic carpets, and Titanic cloth, from bolts arranged in wheelbarrows. There was Titanic deodorant, Titanic toothpaste, Titanic perfume, Titanic pakora, even Titanic burqas. A particularly persistent beggar began calling himself "Titanic Beggar." "Titanic City" was born. It's the song, they said. No, the sea. The luxury. The ship. It's the sex, they whispered. Leo, said Aziza sheepishly. It's all about Leo. "Everybody wants Jack," Laila said to Mariam. "That's what it is. Everybody wants Jack to rescue them from disaster. But there is no Jack. Jack is not coming back. Jack is dead.
Khaled Hosseini (A Thousand Splendid Suns)
She had been seized with a sudden existential horror. The house had white carpets and white furniture and, most significantly, no books.
Alexander McCall Smith (Friends, Lovers, Chocolate (Isabel Dalhousie, #2))
we, with our propensity for murder, torture, slavery, rape, cannibalism, pillage, advertising jingles, shag carpets, and golf, how could we be seriously considered as the perfection of a four-billion-year-old grandiose experiment? perhaps as a race, we have evolved as far as we are capable, yet that by no means suggests that evolution has called it quits. in all likelihood, it has something beyond human on the drawing board. we tend to refer to our most barbaric and crapulous behavior as "inhuman," whereas, in point of fact, it is exactly human, definitively and quintessentially human, since no other creature habitually indulges in comparable atrocities. this negates neither our occasional virtues nor our aesthetic triumphs, but if a being at least a little bit more than human is not waiting around the bend of time then evolution has suffered a premature ejaculation.
Tom Robbins (Half Asleep in Frog Pajamas)
Where am I?" Magnus croaked. "Nazca." So Magnus was still in Peru. That indicated that he had been rather more sensible than he'd feared. "Oh, so we went on a little trip." "You broke into a man's house," Catarina said. "You stole a carpet and enchanted it to fly. Then you sped off into the night air. We pursued you on foot." "Ah," said Magnus. "You were shouting some things." "What things?" "I prefer not to repeat them," Catarina said. She was a weary shade of blue. "I also prefer not to remember the time we spent in the desert. It is a mammoth desert, Magnus. Ordinary deserts are quite large. Mammoth deserts are so called because they are larger than ordinary deserts." "Thank you for that interesting and enlightening information,
Cassandra Clare (The Bane Chronicles)
Just as when we step into a mosque and its high open dome leads our minds up, up, to greater things, so a great carpet seeks to do the same under the feet. Such a carpet directs us to the magnificence of the infinite, veiled, yet never near, closer than the pulse of jugular, the sunburst that explodes at the center of a carpet signals this boundless radiance. Flowers and trees evoke the pleasures of paradise, and there is always a spot at the center of the carpet that brings calm to the heart. A single white lotus flower floats in a turquoise pool, and in this tiniest of details, there it is: a call to the best within, summoning us to the joy of union. In carpets, I now saw not just intricacies of nature and color, not just mastery of space, but a sign of the infinite design. In each pattern lay the work of a weaver of the world, complete and whole; and in each knot of daily existence lay mine.
Anita Amirrezvani (The Blood of Flowers)
My books have been part of my life forever. They have been good soldiers, boon companions. Every book has survived numerous purges over the years; each book has repeatedly been called onto the carpet and asked to explain itself. I own no book that has not fought the good fight, taken on all comers, and earned the right to remain. If a book is there, it is there for a reason.
Joe Queenan
A true suicide is a paced, disciplined certainty. People pontificate, “Suicide is selfishness.” Career churchmen like Pater go a step further and call it a cowardly assault on the living. Oafs argue this specious line for varying reasons: to evade fingers of blame, to impress one’s audience with one’s mental fiber, to vent anger, or just because one lacks the necessary suffering to sympathize. Cowardice is nothing to do with it—suicide takes considerable courage. Japanese have the right idea. No, what’s selfish is to demand another to endure an intolerable existence, just to spare families, friends, and enemies a bit of soul-searching. The only selfishness lies in ruining strangers’ days by forcing ’em to witness a grotesqueness. So I’ll make a thick turban from several towels to muffle the shot and soak up the blood, and do it in the bathtub, so it shouldn’t stain any carpets. Last night I left a letter under the manager’s day-office door—he’ll find it at eight A.M. tomorrow—informing him of the change in my existential status, so with luck an innocent chambermaid will be spared an unpleasant surprise. See, I do think of the little people
David Mitchell (Cloud Atlas)
Janet stood and began a wide navigation of turning one hundred and eighty degrees to enter her vehicle, her slow toddles calling to mind a sleepwalking badger. Her weak forearms often came alive to shoo away invisible hindrances, pawing the air with disgruntled choler. Before beginning the climb up the van’s two carpeted steps, the most athletic portion of her adieu, she unceremoniously dropped her cigarette butt to the ground without extinguishing it. I got the feeling she hoped it might roll beneath the vehicle’s gas tank and give her a true Viking burial.
Alissa Nutting (Tampa)
If I were you, Mr. Lascelles," said Childermass, softly, "I would speak more guardedly. You are in the north now. In John Uskglass's own country. Our towns and cities and abbeys were built by him. Our laws were made by him. He is our minds and hearts and speech. Were it summer you would see a carpet of tiny flowers beneath every hedgerow, of a bluish-white colour. We call them John’s Farthings. When the weather is contrary and we have warm weather in winter or it rains in summer the country people say that John Uskglass is in love again and neglects his business. And when we are sure of something we say it is as safe as a pebble in John Uskglass’s pocket.” Lascelles laughed. “Far be it from me, Mr. Childermass, to disparage your quaint country sayings. But surely it is one thing to pay lip-service to one’s history and quite another to talk of bringing back a King who numbered Lucifer himself among his allies and overlords? No one wants that, do they? I mean apart from a few Jihannites and madmen?” “I am a North Englishman, Mr. Lascelles,” said Childermass. “Nothing would please me better than that my King should come home. It is what I have wished for all my life.
Susanna Clarke (Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell)
The staff did have a little difficulty adjusting to Mr. Churchill’s way of living. The first thing in the morning, he declined the customary orange juice and called for a drink of Scotch. His staff, a large entourage of aides and a valet, followed suit. The butlers wore a path in the carpet carrying trays laden with brandy to his suite. We got used to his “jumpsuit,” the extraordinary one-piece uniform he wore every day, but the servants never quite got over seeing him naked in his room when they’d go up to serve brandy. It was the jumpsuit or nothing. In his room, Mr. Churchill wore no clothes at all most of the time during the day.
J.B. West (Upstairs at the White House: My Life with the First Ladies)
Only two weeks since he had left, and it was already happening. Time, blunting the edges of those sharp memories. Laila bore down mentally. What had he said? It seemed vital, suddenly, that she know. Laila closed her eyes. Concentrated. With the passing of time, she would slowly tire of this exercise. She would find it increasingly exhausting to conjure up, to dust off, to resuscitate once again what was long dead. There would come a day, in fact, years later, when Laila would no longer bewail his loss. Or not as relentlessly; not nearly. There would come a day when the details of his face would begin to slip from memory's grip, when overhearing a mother on the street call after her child by Tariq's name would no longer cut her adrift. She would not miss him as she did now, when the ache of his absence was her unremitting companion—like the phantom pain of an amputee. Except every once in a long while, when Laila was a grown woman, ironing a shirt or pushing her children on a swing set, something trivial, maybe the warmth of a carpet beneath her feet on a hot day or the curve of a stranger's forehead, would set off a memory of that afternoon together. And it would come rushing back. The spontaneity of it. Their astonishing imprudence... It would flood her, steal her breath. But then it would pass. The moment would pass. Leave her feeling deflated, feeling noting but a vague restlessness.
Khaled Hosseini (A Thousand Splendid Suns)
Niphon, standing with a glass of wine, regarded me with curious amusement as I headed straight for him.Considering I usually avoided him if it all possible, my approach undoubtedly astonished him. But not as much as when I punched him. I didn’t even need to shape-shift much bulk into my fist. I’d caught him by surprise. The wineglass fell out of his hand, hitting the carpet and spilling its contents like blood. The imp flew backward, hitting Peter’s china cabinet with a crash. Niphon slumped to the floor, eyes wide with shock. I kept coming. Kneeling, I grabbed his designer shirt and jerked him toward me. “Stay the fuck out of my life, or I will destroy you,” I hissed. Terror filled his features. “Are you out of your fucking mind? What do you—” Suddenly, the fear disappeared. He started laughing. “He did it, didn’t he? He broke up with you. I didn’t know if he could do it, even after giving him the spiel about how it’d be better for both of you. Oh my. This is lovely. All your so-called charms weren’t enough to—ahh!” I’d pulled him closer to me, digging my nails into him, and finally, I felt an emotion. Fury. Niphon’s role had been greater than I believed. My face was mere inches from his. “Remember when you said I was nothing but a backwoods girl from some gritty fishing village? You were right. And I had to survive in gritty circumstances—in situations you’d never be able to handle. And you know what else? I spent most of my childhood gutting fish and other animals.” I ran a finger down his neck. “I can do it for you too. I could slit you from throat to stomach. I could rip you open, and you’d scream for death. You’d wish you weren’t immortal. And I could do it over and over again.” That wiped the smirk off Niphon’s face.
Richelle Mead (Succubus Dreams (Georgina Kincaid, #3))
All this is the carpet of life. You are sitting on it. Each of those knots represents one plant or animal. They, and the air we breathe, the water we drink, and our groceries are not manufactured. They are produced by what we call nature. This rug represents that nature. If something happens in Asia or Africa and a cheetah disappears, that is one knot from the carpet. If you understand that, you’ll realize that we are living on a very limited number of species and resources, on which our life depends.” In
Alan Weisman (Countdown: Our Last, Best Hope for a Future on Earth?)
By now it was too late to call St. Jude. He chose an out-of-the-way patch of airport carpeting and lay it down to sleep. He didn't understand what had happened to him. He felt like a piece of paper that had once had coherent writing on it but had been through the wash. He felt roughened, bleached and worn out along the fold lines. He semi-dreamed of disembodied eyes and isolated mouths in ski masks. He'd lost track of what he wanted, and since who a person was was what a person wanted, you could say that he'd lost track of himself.
Jonathan Franzen (The Corrections)
It was as easy as breathing to go and have tea near the place where Jane Austen had so wittily scribbled and so painfully died. One of the things that causes some critics to marvel at Miss Austen is the laconic way in which, as a daughter of the epoch that saw the Napoleonic Wars, she contrives like a Greek dramatist to keep it off the stage while she concentrates on the human factor. I think this comes close to affectation on the part of some of her admirers. Captain Frederick Wentworth in Persuasion, for example, is partly of interest to the female sex because of the 'prize' loot he has extracted from his encounters with Bonaparte's navy. Still, as one born after Hiroshima I can testify that a small Hampshire township, however large the number of names of the fallen on its village-green war memorial, is more than a world away from any unpleasantness on the European mainland or the high or narrow seas that lie between. (I used to love the detail that Hampshire's 'New Forest' is so called because it was only planted for the hunt in the late eleventh century.) I remember watching with my father and brother through the fence of Stanstead House, the Sussex mansion of the Earl of Bessborough, one evening in the early 1960s, and seeing an immense golden meadow carpeted entirely by grazing rabbits. I'll never keep that quiet, or be that still, again. This was around the time of countrywide protest against the introduction of a horrible laboratory-confected disease, named 'myxomatosis,' into the warrens of old England to keep down the number of nibbling rodents. Richard Adams's lapine masterpiece Watership Down is the remarkable work that it is, not merely because it evokes the world of hedgerows and chalk-downs and streams and spinneys better than anything since The Wind in the Willows, but because it is only really possible to imagine gassing and massacre and organized cruelty on this ancient and green and gently rounded landscape if it is organized and carried out against herbivores.
Christopher Hitchens (Hitch 22: A Memoir)
This was their favorite place to meet. It always felt hidden, forgotten. The gold-lettered World Book encyclopedias from the 1980s. The smell of old glue and crumbling paper, the industrial carpet burning her palms. It reminded her of what you did when you were a little girl, making little burrows and hideaways. Like boys did with forts. Eli and his friend, stacking sofa cushions, pretending to be sharpshooters. With girls, you didn’t call them forts, though it was the same.
Megan Abbott (The Fever)
A whole new life at fifty, all because I had become entranced with both the Turkish culture and with Kazim—who one friend called a careening festival of a human being and another called an alcoholic Kurdish carpet salesman. I called him a catalyst.
Irfan Orga (Portrait of a Turkish Family)
But you won’t abdicate." Of course not. It’s my duty to go on, to maintain the line. I can’t possibly fail in that. It’s as if you and I were throwing a ball back and forth to establish a record, and had been doing so for a millennium. You cannot drop a ball that has remained airborne through good effort for most of a thousand years. You cannot stop an unlikely heart that has been beating for so long. I would rather die than betray continuity, for its own sake if for nothing else. And Britain needs a king, just as it needs motormen and cooks and a prime minister. Just as it needs soldiers who will die for it if they must. It’s my job, or it will be, but you should know that I’ve never wanted it. I was only born to it, as if with a deformity, to which I hope I can respond with grace." Fredericka had been running her finger over the carpet, tracing a pattern in the way children do when they have learnt something overwhelming and are moved, but cannot say so. Freddy expected her to look up, with tears, and that in this moment she might have begun the long and arduous process of becoming a queen. She was so beautiful. To embrace her now, with high emotion flowing from her physical majesty, was all he wanted in the world. Her finger stopped moving, and she turned her eyes to him. Freddy?" Yes?" he answered. What’s raw egg? I read a recipe in She that called for a cup of raw egg. What is that?" After a long silence, Freddy asked, "Which part of the formulation escapes you? Egg? Raw? The link between the two?" The two what?" Fredericka?" Yes, Freddy?" Would you like to go dancing?" Oh, yes Freddy!" Come then. We will.
Mark Helprin (Freddy and Fredericka)
Do you realize what a beacon you’ve become?” “A—I beg your pardon?” “A beacon of hope,” says the woman, smiling. “As soon as we announced we’d be doing this interview, our viewers started calling in, e-mails, text messages, telling us you’re an angel, a talisman of goodness . . .” Ma makes a face. “All I did was I survived, and I did a pretty good job of raising Jack. A good enough job.” “You’re very modest.” “No, what I am is irritated, actually.” The puffy-hair woman blinks twice. “All this reverential—I’m not a saint.” Ma’s voice is getting loud again. “I wish people would stop treating us like we’re the only ones who ever lived through something terrible. I’ve been finding stuff on the Internet you wouldn’t believe.” “Other cases like yours?” “Yeah, but not just—I mean, of course when I woke up in that shed, I thought nobody’d ever had it as bad as me. But the thing is, slavery’s not a new invention. And solitary confinement—did you know, in America we’ve got more than twenty-five thousand prisoners in isolation cells? Some of them for more than twenty years.” Her hand is pointing at the puffy-hair woman. “As for kids—there’s places where babies lie in orphanages five to a cot with pacifiers taped into their mouths, kids getting raped by Daddy every night, kids in prisons, whatever, making carpets till they go blind—
Emma Donoghue (Room)
My wife, Sue, and I once set off on a 3000-mile journey from California to New York. We drove a black Chevy Suburban, the type they call SUVs nowadays. When we could afford to we stayed in shitty little motels just off the road, with biker bars next door and ladies of the night on the corner. I remember one motel where we didn’t dare walk on the carpet barefoot, putting on our shoes to walk from the bed to the bathroom, but mostly we pulled off at rest stops and slept in the car between the big trailers where no one could see us.
Karl Wiggins (Wrong Planet - Searching for your Tribe)
It was a common complaint amongst the Arts students that their library was in dire need of refurbishment. To call the old building shabby chic was being kind. It didn’t have automated stacks or self-service machines like the Management and Sciences library the other side of campus and the carpets and bookcases looked like they were probably the Victorian originals. But on days like this one, where the springtime sunshine streamed in through the high windows and set the dust motes dancing, Harriet sincerely felt that those BSc lot could stuff their vending machines and state of the art study pods. The Old Library was clearly suited for those who had poetry in their souls, rather than numbers in their heads.
Erin Lawless (Little White Lies)
It’s an invention of mine… I call it… Shag Carpet. Women will LOVE it. At first, anyway… And then they’ll be STUCK with it! But I’m saving that for the ‘70s.” --Lucifer from Angela’s Coven
Bruce Jenvey
Dear Pighead,   The reason I am so distant is because, well, there are two reasons actually. The first reason is my drinking. I require alcohol, nightly. And nothing can get in the way. The second reason is your disease. I can’t stand the idea of getting close to you, or closer, only to have you up and die on me, pulling the carpet out from under my life. You’re my best friend. The best friend I ever had. I have to protect that. I don’t call you or see you much because I’m killing you off now, while it’s easier. Because I can still talk to you. It makes sense to me to separate now, while you’re still healthy, as opposed to having it just happen to me one night out of the blue. I’m trying to evenly distribute the pain of loss. As opposed to taking it in one lump sum.
Augusten Burroughs (Dry)
If she does call, would you please explain to her that turning the sofa into a pygmy hippo for the afternoon might be very good transfiguration, but it’s rather hard on the carpets and it confuses the hippo.
Tanya Huff (Summon the Keeper (Keeper Chronicles, #1))
According to Finger, the panel in which Batman mows down his enemies from on high led to an editorial crackdown on firearms. “I was called on the carpet by [editorial director] Whit Ellsworth. He said, ‘Never let us have Batman [use] a gun again.’ 
Glen Weldon (The Caped Crusade: Batman and the Rise of Nerd Culture)
— If love wants you; if you’ve been melted down to stars, you will love with lungs and gills, with warm blood and cold. With feathers and scales. Under the hot gloom of the forest canopy you’ll want to breathe with the spiral calls of birds, while your lashing tail still gropes for the waes. You’ll try to haul your weight from simple sea to gravity of land. Caught by the tide, in the snail-slip of your own path, for moments suffocating in both water and air. If love wants you, suddently your past is obsolete science. Old maps, disproved theories, a diorama. The moment our bodies are set to spring open. The immanence that reassembles matter passes through us then disperses into time and place: the spasm of fur stroked upright; shocked electrons. The mother who hears her child crying upstairs and suddenly feels her dress wet with milk. Among black branches, oyster-coloured fog tongues every corner of loneliness we never knew before we were loved there, the places left fallow when we’re born, waiting for experience to find its way into us. The night crossing, on deck in the dark car. On the beach wehre night reshaped your face. In the lava fields, carbon turned to carpet, moss like velvet spread over splintered forms. The instant spray freezes in air above the falls, a gasp of ice. We rise, hearing our names called home through salmon-blue dusk, the royal moon an escutcheon on the shield of sky. The current that passes through us, radio waves, electric lick. The billions of photons that pass through film emulsion every second, the single submicroscopic crystal struck that becomes the phograph. We look and suddenly the world looks back. A jagged tube of ions pins us to the sky. — But if, like starlings, we continue to navigate by the rear-view mirror of the moon; if we continue to reach both for salt and for the sweet white nibs of grass growing closest to earth; if, in the autumn bog red with sedge we’re also driving through the canyon at night, all around us the hidden glow of limestone erased by darkness; if still we sish we’d waited for morning, we will know ourselves nowhere. Not in the mirrors of waves or in the corrading stream, not in the wavering glass of an apartment building, not in the looming light of night lobbies or on the rainy deck. Not in the autumn kitchen or in the motel where we watched meteors from our bed while your slow film, the shutter open, turned stars to rain. We will become indigestible. Afraid of choking on fur and armour, animals will refuse the divided longings in our foreing blue flesh. — In your hands, all you’ve lost, all you’ve touched. In the angle of your head, every vow and broken vow. In your skin, every time you were disregarded, every time you were received. Sundered, drowsed. A seeded field, mossy cleft, tidal pool, milky stem. The branch that’s released when the bird lifts or lands. In a summer kitchen. On a white winter morning, sunlight across the bed.
Anne Michaels
We call them groundsharks." Sanguine shook his head immediately. "That's a stupid name. Makes them sound like little shark fins slicing through the living room carpet." "I wanted to call them razorworms," said Persephone. "That's a damn sight better than groundsharks." (Eyes of the Beholder)
Derek Landy (Armageddon Outta Here (Skulduggery Pleasant, #8.5))
We went through the Happy Valley to the little cove. The azaleas were finished now, the petals lay brown and crinkled on the moss. The bluebells had not faded yet, they made a solid carpet in the woods above the valley, and the young bracken was shooting up, curling and green. The moss smelt rich and deep, and the bluebells were earthy, bitter. I lay down in the long grass beside the bluebells with my hands behind my head, and Jasper at my side. He looked down at me panting, his face foolish, saliva dripping from his tongue and his heavy jowl. There were pigeons somewhere in the trees above. It was very peaceful and quiet. I wondered why it was that places are so much lovelier when one is alone. How commonplace and stupid it would be if I had a friend now, sitting beside me, someone I had known at school, who would say “By the way, I saw old Hilda the other day. You remember her, the one who was so good at tennis. She’s married, with two children.” And the bluebells beside us unnoticed, and the pigeons overhead unheard. I did not want anyone with me. Not even Maxim. If Maxim had been there I should not be lying as I was now, chewing a piece of grass, my eyes shut. I should have been watching him, watching his eyes, his expression. Wondering if he liked it, if he was bored. Wondering what he was thinking. Now I could relax, none of these things mattered. Maxim was in London. How lovely it was to be alone again. No, I did not mean that. It was disloyal, wicked. It was not what I meant. Maxim was my life and my world. I got up from the bluebells and called sharply to Jasper. We set off together down the valley to the beach. The tide was out, the sea very calm and remote. It looked like a great placid lake out there in the bay. I could not imagine it rough now, any more than I could imagine winter in summer. There was no wind, and the sun shone on the lapping water where it ran into the little pools in the rocks.
Daphne du Maurier (Rebecca)
It was called the “Vietnam Syndrome.” The Vietnam Syndrome, a term that began to come up around 1970, has actually been defined on occasion. The Reaganite intellectual Norman Podhoretz defined it as “the sickly inhibitions against the use of military force.” There were these sickly inhibitions against violence on the part of a large part of the public. People just didn’t understand why we should go around torturing people and killing people and carpet bombing them. It’s very dangerous for a population to be overcome by these sickly inhibitions, as Goebbels understood, because then there’s a limit on foreign adventures. It’s necessary, as the Washington Post put it rather proudly during the Gulf War hysteria, to instill in people respect for “martial value.” That’s important. If you want to have a violent society that uses force around the world to achieve the ends of its own domestic elite, it’s necessary to have a proper appreciation of the martial virtues and none of these sickly inhibitions about using violence. So that’s the Vietnam Syndrome. It’s necessary to overcome that one.
Noam Chomsky (Media Control: The Spectacular Achievements of Propaganda)
Like a child, I close my eyes as if they can't see me either. The fire from the kiss broadcasts itself all over me in the form of a full-body blush. Galen laughs. "There it is," he says, running his thumb over my bottom lip. "That is my favorite color. Wow." I'm going to kill him. "Galen. Please. Come. With. Me," I coke out. Gliding past him, my bare feet slap against the tile until I'm stomping on carpet in the hallway, then up the stairs. I can tell by the prickles on my skin that he's following like a good dead fish. As I reach the ladder to the uppermost level, I nod to him to keep following before I hoist myself up. Pacing the room until he gets through the trap door, I count more Mississipis than I've ever counted in my whole life. He closes the door and locks it shut but makes no move to come closer. Still, for a person who's about to die, he seems more amused than he should. I point my finger at him, but can't decide what to accuse him of first, so I put it back down. After several moments of this, he breaks the silence. "Emma, calm down." "Don't tell me what to do, Highness." I dare him with my eyes to call me "boo." Instead of the apology I'm looking for, his eyes tell me he's considering kissing me again, right now. Which is meant to distract me. Tearing my gaze from his mouth, I stride to the window seat and move the mountains of pillows on it. Making myself comfortable, I lean my head against the window. He knows as well as I do that if we had a special spot, this would be it. For me to sit here without him is the worst kind of snub. In the reflection, I see him run his hand through his hair and cross his arms. After a few more minutes, he shifts his weight to the other leg. He knows what I want. He knows what will earn him entrance to the window seat and my good graces. I don't know if it's Royal blood or manly pride that keeps him from apologizing, but his extended delay just makes me madder. Now I won't accept an apology. Now, he must grovel. I toss a satisfied smirk into the reflection only to find he's not there anymore. His hand closes around my arm and he jerks me up against him. His eyes are stormy, intense. "You think I'm going to apologize for kissing you?" he murmurs. "I. Yes. Uh-huh." Don't look at his mouth! Say something intelligent. "We don't have any clothes on." Fan-flipping-tastic. I meant to say he shouldn't kiss me in front of everyone, especially half naked. "Mmm," he says, pulling me closer. Brushing his lips against my ear, he says, "I did happen to notice that. Which is why I shouldn't have followed you up here.
Anna Banks (Of Poseidon (The Syrena Legacy, #1))
Things were different back then. Today if a woman was asked to do the things we did back then, she would revolt, declare that she wasn’t anyone’s slave, wouldn’t be put upon in that fashion. But you have to remember that this was before automatic washers and dishwashers, before blenders and electric knives. If the carpet was going to get cleaned, someone, usually a woman, would have to take a broom to it, or would have to haul it on her shoulders to the yard and beat the dirt out of it. If the wet clothes were going to get dry, someone had to hang them in the yard, take them down from the yard, heat the iron on the fire, press them, and finally fold or hang them. Food was chopped by hand, fires were stoked by hand, water was carried by hand, anything roasted, toasted, broiled, dried, beaten, pressed, packed, or pickled, was done so by hand. Our version of a laborsaving device was called a spouse. If a man had a woman by his side, he didn’t have to clean and cook for himself. If a woman had a man by her side, she didn’t have to go out, earn a living, then come home and wrestle the house to the ground in the evening.
Susan Lynn Peterson (Clare)
The chokecherries -- gregarious and chatty, perched on their branches calling out to everyone to strip them off. Wild plums -- sarcastic and timid at the same time -- called out from behind their leaves only to retreat into the brushy brambles where they lived. Raspberries and blackberries -- royal and corrupt princes -- braved it out in the full sun of forest clearings. Gooseberries and huckleberries -- reticent, tradition-bound and private -- lived on unbothered in the swamps. Cranberries and pincherries (those party-goers) draped themselves over the furniture of the branches and invited all passerby, birds and people, to join the party. The blueberries and wintergreen grew undisturbed -- calmly bourgeois -- in the carpeted hush of the big woods.
David Treuer (The Translation of Dr Apelles: A Love Story)
A cell phone rang from the end table to my right and Kristen bolted up straight. She put her beer on the coffee table and dove across my lap for her phone, sprawling over me. My eyes flew wide. I’d never been that close to her before. I’d only ever touched her hand. If I pushed her down across my knees, I could spank her ass. She grabbed her phone and whirled off my lap. “It’s Sloan. I’ve been waiting for this call all day.” She put a finger to her lips for me to be quiet, hit the Talk button, and put her on speaker. “Hey, Sloan, what’s up?” “Did you send me a potato?” Kristen covered her mouth with her hand and I had to stifle a snort. “Why? Did you get an anonymous potato in the mail?” “Something is seriously wrong with you,” Sloan said. “Congratulations, he put a ring on it.” She seemed to be reading a message. “You found a company that mails potatoes with messages on them? Where do you find this stuff?” Kristen’s eyes danced. “I don’t know what you’re talking about. Do you have the other thing though?” “Yeeeess. The note says to call you before I open it. Why am I afraid?” Kristen giggled. “Open it now. Is Brandon with you?” “Yes, he’s with me. He’s shaking his head.” I could picture his face, that easy smile on his lips. “Okay, I’m opening it. It looks like a paper towel tube. There’s tape on the—AHHHHHH! Are you kidding me, Kristen?! What the hell!” Kristen rolled forward, putting her forehead to my shoulder in laughter. “I’m covered in glitter! You sent me a glitter bomb? Brandon has it all over him! It’s all over the sofa!” Now I was dying. I covered my mouth, trying to keep quiet, and I leaned into Kristen, who was howling, our bodies shaking with laughter. I must not have been quiet enough though. “Wait, who’s with you?” Sloan asked. Kristen wiped at her eyes. “Josh is here.” “Didn’t he have a date tonight? Brandon told me he had a date.” “He did, but he came back over after.” “He came back over?” Her voice changed instantly. “And what are you two doing? Remember what we talked about, Kristen…” Her tone was taunting. Kristen glanced at me. Sloan didn’t seem to realize she was on speaker. Kristen hit the Talk button and pressed the phone to her ear. “I’ll call you tomorrow. I love you!” She hung up on her and set her phone down on the coffee table, still tittering. “And what did you two talk about?” I asked, arching an eyebrow. I liked that she’d talked about me. Liked it a lot. “Just sexually objectifying you. The usual,” she said, shrugging. “Nothing a hot fireman like you can’t handle.” A hot fireman like you.I did my best to hide my smirk. “So do you do this to Sloan a lot?” I asked. “All the time. I love messing with her. She’s so easily worked up.” She reached for her beer. I chuckled. “How do you sleep at night knowing she’ll be finding glitter in her couch for the next month?” She took a swig of her beer. “With the fan on medium.” My laugh came so hard Stuntman Mike looked up and cocked his head at me. She changed the channel and stopped on HBO. Some show. There was a scene with rose petals down a hallway into a bedroom full of candles. She shook her head at the TV. “See, I just don’t get why that’s romantic. You want flower petals stuck to your ass? And who’s gonna clean all that shit up? Me? Like, thanks for the flower sex, let’s spend the next half an hour sweeping?” “Those candles are a huge fire hazard.” I tipped my beer toward the screen. “Right? And try getting wax out of the carpet. Good luck with that.” I looked at the side of her face. “So what do you think is romantic?” “Common sense,” she answered without thinking about it. “My wedding wouldn’t be romantic. It would be entertaining. You know what I want at my wedding?” she said, looking at me. “I want the priest from The Princess Bride. The mawage guy.
Abby Jimenez (The Friend Zone (The Friend Zone, #1))
People used to call me an attention whore, it’s like, is that what you call authors who try to sell their book? Do you call a movie star that when they walk the red carpet? Would you ever call a man that?’ I was trying to get people to read my columns so I could pay rent on my $2,500 studio apartment. Even that word, ‘whore,’ everyone uses it so much about me. She’s an attention whore.
Taylor Lorenz (Extremely Online: The Untold Story of Fame, Influence, and Power on the Internet)
The lovelorn, the cry-for-helpers, all mawkish tragedians who give suicide a bad name are the idiots who rush it, like amateur conductors. A true suicide is a paced, disciplined certainty. People pontificate, “Suicide is selfishness.” Career churchmen like Pater go a step further and call it a cowardly assault on the living. Oafs argue this specious line for varying reasons: to evade fingers of blame, to impress one’s audience with one’s mental fiber, to vent anger, or just because one lacks the necessary suffering to sympathize. Cowardice is nothing to do with it—suicide takes considerable courage. Japanese have the right idea. No, what’s selfish is to demand another to endure an intolerable existence, just to spare families, friends, and enemies a bit of soul-searching. The only selfishness lies in ruining strangers’ days by forcing ’em to witness a grotesqueness. So I’ll make a thick turban from several towels to muffle the shot and soak up the blood, and do it in the bathtub, so it shouldn’t stain any carpets.
David Mitchell (Cloud Atlas)
Geralt looked around, and quickly and easily found what he was hunting for. A second, identical arrow, lodged in the trunk of a pine tree, around six paces behind the corpse. He knew what had happened. The boy had not understood the warning, and hearing the whistle and thud of the arrow had panicked and begun to run the wrong way. Towards the one who had ordered him to stop and withdraw at once. The hissing, venomous, feathered whistle and the short thud of the arrowhead cutting into the wood. Not a step further, man, said that whistle and that thud. Begone, man, get out of Brokilon at once. You have captured the whole world, man, you are everywhere. Everywhere you introduce what you call modernity, the era of change, what you call progress. But we want neither you nor your progress here. We do not desire the changes you bring. We do not desire anything you bring. A whistle and a thud. Get out of Brokilon! Get out of Brokilon, thought Geralt. Man. No matter that you are fifteen and struggling through the forest, insane with fear, unable to find your way home. No matter that you are seventy and have to gather brushwood, because otherwise they will drive you from the cottage for being useless, they will stop giving you food. No matter that you are six and you were lured by a carpet of little blue flowers in a sunny clearing. Get out of Brokilon! A whistle and a thud. Long ago, thought Geralt, before they shot to kill, they gave two warnings. Even three. Long ago, he thought, continuing on his way. Long ago. Well, that’s progress.
Andrzej Sapkowski (Sword of Destiny (The Witcher, #0.7))
until the very moment when catastrophe overtook everything and everybody, it was covered up not by realities but by the highly efficient talk and double-talk of nearly all official representatives who, without interruption and in many ingenious variations, explained away unpleasant facts and justified concerns. When we think of dark times and of people living and moving in them, we have to take this camouflage, emanating from and spread by “the establishment”—or “the system,” as it was then called—also into account. If it is the function of the public realm to throw light on the affairs of men by providing a space of appearances in which they can show in deed and word, for better and worse, who they are and what they can do, then darkness has come when this light is extinguished by “credibility gaps” and “invisible government,” by speech that does not disclose what is but sweeps it under the carpet, by exhortations, moral and otherwise, that, under the pretext of upholding old truths, degrade all truth to meaningless triviality.
Hannah Arendt (Men in Dark Times)
one hand, he holds both of mine over my head. He looks into my eyes. His are screaming: what? He thumbs my slick folds, parting them, then plunges in—hard! So very hard. “I—” he thrusts— “am no one—” he thrusts— “that you know. I never will be. I will hurt you—” he thrusts— “for my pleasure—” he thrusts— “I will make you pay—” thrust— “Every day you fuck me, I will make you pay.” He thrusts brutally hard, so hard the carpet burns my ass. So hard I can feel him buried deeper than anyone before. I moan. “Your call, Angel. Your choice.
Ella James (Beast, Part One (Beast, #1))
The Undivided Wholeness of All Things Most mind-boggling of all are Bohm's fully developed ideas about wholeness. Because everything in the cosmos is made out of the seamless holographic fabric of the implicate order, he believes it is as meaningless to view the universe as composed of "parts, " as it is to view the different geysers in a fountain as separate from the water out of which they flow. An electron is not an "elementary particle. " It is just a name given to a certain aspect of the holomovement. Dividing reality up into parts and then naming those parts is always arbitrary, a product of convention, because subatomic particles, and everything else in the universe, are no more separate from one another than different patterns in an ornate carpet. This is a profound suggestion. In his general theory of relativity Einstein astounded the world when he said that space and time are not separate entities, but are smoothly linked and part of a larger whole he called the space-time continuum. Bohm takes this idea a giant step further. He says that everything in the universe is part of a continuum. Despite the apparent separateness of things at the explicate level, everything is a seamless extension of everything else, and ultimately even the implicate and explicate orders blend into each other. Take a moment to consider this. Look at your hand. Now look at the light streaming from the lamp beside you. And at the dog resting at your feet. You are not merely made of the same things. You are the same thing. One thing. Unbroken. One enormous something that has extended its uncountable arms and appendages into all the apparent objects, atoms, restless oceans, and twinkling stars in the cosmos. Bohm cautions that this does not mean the universe is a giant undifferentiated mass. Things can be part of an undivided whole and still possess their own unique qualities. To illustrate what he means he points to the little eddies and whirlpools that often form in a river. At a glance such eddies appear to be separate things and possess many individual characteristics such as size, rate, and direction of rotation, et cetera. But careful scrutiny reveals that it is impossible to determine where any given whirlpool ends and the river begins. Thus, Bohm is not suggesting that the differences between "things" is meaningless. He merely wants us to be aware constantly that dividing various aspects of the holomovement into "things" is always an abstraction, a way of making those aspects stand out in our perception by our way of thinking. In attempts to correct this, instead of calling different aspects of the holomovement "things, " he prefers to call them "relatively independent subtotalities. "10 Indeed, Bohm believes that our almost universal tendency to fragment the world and ignore the dynamic interconnectedness of all things is responsible for many of our problems, not only in science but in our lives and our society as well. For instance, we believe we can extract the valuable parts of the earth without affecting the whole. We believe it is possible to treat parts of our body and not be concerned with the whole. We believe we can deal with various problems in our society, such as crime, poverty, and drug addiction, without addressing the problems in our society as a whole, and so on. In his writings Bohm argues passionately that our current way of fragmenting the world into parts not only doesn't work, but may even lead to our extinction.
Michael Talbot (The Holographic Universe)
Aunt Dove stepped behind her and looked at her reflection in the cheval glass. “You haven’t been to India, pet, but in the Nilgiri Hills, there’s a flower called a kurinji flower. It doesn’t bloom often. In fact, you can go a dozen years or more without seeing a single blossom. But then, just when you’ve given up hope of ever seeing one, they burst into flower, whole mountainsides at the same time, carpeted in the most astonishing shades of purple. It’s as if God himself shook out a rug of petals and spread it at your feet. It’s unexpected and magnificent, and very much worth the wait.
Deanna Raybourn (Whisper of Jasmine (City of Jasmine, #0.5))
The guard locks the gates of the turbeh, letting the heavy sound of the lock fall into the dark interior, as though leaving the name of the key inside. Dispirited, like me, he sits down on the stone beside me and closes his eyes. Just when I think he has dozed off in his part of the shade, the guard lifts his hand and points to a moth fluttering above the entrance to the tomb, having come out of our clothes or the Persian carpets in the turbeh. "You see," he says to me casually, "the moth is way up there by the white wall of the doorway, and it is visible only because it moves. From here it almost looks like a bird in the sky. That's probably how the moth sees the wall, and only we know it is wrong. But it doesn't know that we know. It doesn't even know we exist. You try to communicate with it if you can. Can you tell it anything in a way it understands; can you be sure it understood you completely?" "I don't know," I replied. "Can You?" "Yes," the old man said quietly, and with a clap of his hands he killed the moth, then profered its crushed body on the palm of his hand. "Do you think it didn't understand what I told it?" "You can do the same thing with a candle, extinguish it with your two fingers to prove you exist," I commented. "Certainly, if a candle is capable of dying... Now, imagine," he went on, "that there is somebody who knows about us what we know about the moth. Somebody who knows how, with what, and why this space that we call the sky and assume to be boundless, is bounded-- somebody who cannot approach us to let us know that he exists except in one way-- by killing us. Somebody, on whose garments we are nourished, somebody who carries our death in his hand like a tongue, as a means of communicating with us. By killing us, this anonymous being informs us about himself. And we, through our deaths, which may be no more than a warning to some wayfarer sitting alongside the assassin, we, I say, can at the last moment perceive, as through an opened door, new fields and other boundaries. This sixth and highest degree of deathly fear (where there is no memory) is what holds and links us anonymous participants in the game. The hierarchy of death is, in fact, the only thing that makes possible a system of contacts between the various levels of reality in an otherwise vast space where deaths endlessly repeat themselves like echoes within echoes...
Milorad Pavić
I take another step toward the serpent. And then another. This close, I am stunned all over again by the creature's sheer size. I raise a wary hand and place it against the black scales. They feel dry and cool against my skin. Its golden eyes have no answer, but I think of Cardan lying beside me on the floor of the royal rooms. I think of his quicksilver smile. I think of how he would hate to be trapped like this. How unfair it would be for me to keep him this way and call it love. You already know how to end the curse. 'I do love you,' I whisper. 'I will always love you.' I tuck the golden bridle into my belt. Two paths are before me, but only one leads to victory. But I don't want to win like this. Perhaps I will never live without fear, perhaps power will slip from my grasp, perhaps the pain of losing him will hurt more than I can bear. And yet, if I love him, there's only one choice. I draw the borrowed sword at my back. Heartsworn, which can cut through anything. I asked Severin for the blade and carried it into battle, because no matter how I denied it, some part of me knew what I would choose. The golden eyes of the serpent are steady, but there are surprised sounds from the assembled Folk. I hear Madoc's roar. This wasn't supposed to be how things ended. I close my eyes, but I cannot keep them that way. In one movement, I swing Heartsworn in a shining arc at the serpent's head. The blade falls, cutting through scales, through flesh and bone. Then the serpent's head is at my feet, golden eyes dulling. Blood is everywhere. The body of the serpent gives a terrible coiling shudder, then goes limp. I sheath Heartsworn with trembling hands. I am shaking all over, shaking so hard that I fall to my knees in the blackened grass, in the carpet of blood. I hear Lord Jarel shout something at me, but I can't hear it. I think I might be screaming.
Holly Black (The Queen of Nothing (The Folk of the Air, #3))
If I were you, Mr Lascelles," said Childermass, softly, "I would speak more guardedly. You are in the north now. In John Uskglass's own country. Our towns and cities and abbeys were built by him. Our laws were made by him. He is in our minds and hearts and speech. Were it summer you would see a carpet of tiny flowers beneath every hedgerow, of a bluish-white colour. We call them John's Farthings. When the weather is contrary and we have warm weather in winter or it rains in summer the country people say that John Uskglass is in love again and neglects his business. And when we are sure of something we say it is as safe as a pebble in John Uskglass's pocket.
Susanna Clarke (Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell)
Astarte has come again, more powerful than before. She possesses me. She lies in wait for me. December 97 My cruelty has also returned: the cruelty which frightens me. It lies dormant for months, for years, and then all at once awakens, bursts forth and - once the crisis is over - leaves me in mortal terror of myself. Just now in the avenue of the Bois, I whipped my dog till he bled, and for nothing - for not coming immediately when I called! The poor animal was there before me, his spine arched, cowering close to the ground, with his great, almost human, eyes fixed on me... and his lamentable howling! It was as though he were waiting for the butcher! But it was as if a kind of drunkenness had possessed me. The more I struck out the more I wanted to strike; every shudder of that quivering flesh filled me with some incomprehensible ardour. A circle of onlookers formed around me, and I only stopped myself for the sake of my self-respect. Afterwards, I was ashamed. I am always ashamed of myself nowadays. The pulse of life has always filled me with a peculiar rage to destroy. When I think of two beings in love, I experience an agonising sensation; by virtue of some bizarre backlash, there is something which smothers and oppresses me, and I suffocate, to the point of anguish. Whenever I wake up in the middle of the night to the muted hubbub of bumps and voices which suddenly become perceptible in the dormant city - all the cries of sexual excitement and sensuality which are the nocturnal respiration of cities - I feel weak. They rise up around me, submerging me in a sluggish flux of embraces and a tide of spasms. A crushing weight presses down on my chest; a cold sweat breaks out on my brow and my heart is heavy - so heavy that I have to get up, run bare-foot and breathless, to my window, and open both shutters, trying desperately to breathe. What an atrocious sensation it is! It is as if two arms of steel bear down upon my shoulders and a kind of hunger hollows out my stomach, tearing apart my whole being! A hunger to exterminate love. Oh, those nights! The long hours I have spent at my window, bent over the immobile trees of the square and the paving-stones of the deserted street, on watch in the silence of the city, starting at the least noise! The nights I have passed, my heart hammering in anguish, wretchedly and impatiently waiting for my torment to consent to leave me, and for my desire to fold up the heavy wings which beat inside the walls of my being like the wings of some great fluttering bird! Oh, my cruel and interminable nights of impotent rebellion against the rutting of Paris abed: those nights when I would have liked to embrace all the bodies, to suck in all the breaths and sup all the mouths... those nights which would find me, in the morning, prostrate on the carpet, scratching it still with inert and ineffectual fingers... fingers which never know anything but emptiness, whose nails are still taut with the passion of murder twenty-four hours after the crises... nails which I will one day end up plunging into the satined flesh of a neck, and... It is quite clear, you see, that I am possessed by a demon... a demon which doctors would treat with some bromide or with all-healing sal ammoniac! As if medicines could ever be imagined to be effective against such evil!
Jean Lorrain (Monsieur De Phocas)
I roll over on my back and clutch the book against my chest; then I chuck it on the carpet. It's too heavy to rest on me, too full of history. Not all of it is bad. Some of the memories make me smile. Some of them make me mad. But more dangerously, some of them make me wonder what my life would be like as a girlfriend, what it would be like to have a regular relationship, with all its ups and downs and awkward moments. I switch out my lamp and stare at the ceiling in the dark, taking a series of shaky breaths. I know that it’s better this way, being the one in control. The one in control calls the shots, and the one in control sets the pace. Most important of all, the one in control doesn’t get hurt.
Laurie Elizabeth Flynn (Firsts)
But as yet, the neighbourhood was shy to own the Railroad. One or two bold speculators had projected streets; and one had built a little, but had stopped among the mud and ashes to consider farther of it. A bran-new Tavern, redolent of fresh mortar and size, and fronting nothing at all, had taken for its sign The Railway Arms; but that might be rash enterprise—and then it hoped to sell drink to the workmen. So, the Excavators’ House of Call had sprung up from a beer shop; and the old-established Ham and Beef Shop had become the Railway Eating House, with a roast leg of pork daily, through interested motives of a similar immediate and popular description. Lodging-house keepers were favourable in like manner; and for the like reasons were not to be trusted. The general belief was very slow. There were frowzy fields, and cow-houses, and dunghills, and dustheaps, and ditches, and gardens, and summer-houses, and carpet-beating grounds, at the very door of the Railway. Little tumuli of oyster shells in the oyster season, and of lobster shells in the lobster season, and of broken crockery and faded cabbage leaves in all seasons, encroached upon its high places. Posts, and rails, and old cautions to trespassers, and backs of mean houses, and patches of wretched vegetation stared it out of countenance. Nothing was the better for it, or thought of being so. If the miserable waste ground lying near it could have laughed, it would have laughed it to scorn, like many of the miserable neighbours.
Charles Dickens (Dombey and Son)
Only two weeks since he had left, and it was already happening. Time, blunting the edges of those sharp memories. Laila bore down mentally. What had he said? It seemed vital, suddenly, that she know. Laila closed her eyes. Concentrated. With the passing of time, she would slowly tire of this exercise. She would find it increasingly exhausting to conjure up, to dust off, to resuscitate once again what was long dead. There would come a day, in fact, years later, when Laila would no longer bewail his loss. Or not as relentlessly; not nearly. There would come a day when the details of his face would begin to slip from memory's grip, when overhearing a mother on the street call after her child by Tariq's name would no longer cut her adrift. She would not miss him as she did now, when the ache of his absence was her unremitting companion - like the phantom pain of an amputee. Except every once in a long while, when Laila was a grown woman, ironing a shirt or pushing her children on a swing set, something trivial, maybe the warmth of a carpet beneath her feet on a hot day or the curve of a stranger's forehead, would set off a memory of that afternoon together. And it would all come rushing back. The spontaneity of it. Their astonishing imprudence. Their clumsiness. The pain of the act, the pleasure of it, the sadness of it. The heat of their entangled bodies. It would flood her, steal her breath. But then it would pass. The moment would pass. Leave her deflated, feeling nothing but a vague restlessness.
Khaled Hosseini (A Thousand Splendid Suns)
I meet so many ambitious young politicians and leaders who want to jump to the head of the line. They do not know how we arrived at this point in our history as a nation, but they believe they should be appointed to lead us into the future. They think that because they are educated, articulate, and talented someone should usher them down the red carpet to a throne of leadership. But real leaders are not appointed. They emerge out of the masses of the people and rise to the forefront through the circumstances of their lives. Either their inner journey or their human experience prepares them to take that role. They do not nominate themselves. They are called into service by a spirit moving through a people that points to them as the embodiment of the cause they serve.
John Lewis (Across That Bridge: Life Lessons and a Vision for Change)
I meet so many ambitious young politicians and leaders who want to jump to the head of the line. They do not know how we arrived at this point in our history as a nation, but they believe they should be appointed to lead us into the future. They think that because they are educated, articulate, and talented someone should usher them down the red carpet to a throne of leadership. But real leaders are not appointed. They emerge out of the masses of the people and rise to the forefront through the circumstances of their lives. Either their inner journey or their human experience prepares them to take that role. They do not nominate themselves. They are called into service by a spirit moving through a people that points to them as the embodiment of the cause they serve.
John Lewis (Across That Bridge: A Vision for Change and the Future of America)
He smiled and pulled the ugly white fichu from her neck. She blinked and looked down at the simple, square neckline of her bodice as if she'd never seen it. Perhaps she hadn't. Perhaps she dressed in the dark like a nun. "What are you doing?" He sighed. "I confess, I find your naïveté perplexing. How have you arrived at the advanced age of six and twenty without having anyone attempt seduction upon yourself? I'm of two minds on the matter: One, utter astonishment at my sex and their deaf disregard for your siren call. Two, glee at the thought that your innocence might signal that you are indeed innocent. Why this should excite me so, I don't know- virginity has never before been a particular whim of mine. I think perhaps it's the setting. Who knows how many virgins were deflowered here by my lusty ancestors? Or," he said as he deftly unpinned and tossed aside her apron, "maybe it's simply you." "I don't..." Her words trailed off and then, interestingly, she blushed a deep rose. Well. That question settled, then. His little maiden was really a maiden. "What?" "I think it's you," he confided, pulling the strings tying her hideous mobcap beneath her chin. She made a wild grab for it, but he was faster, snatching the bloody thing off- finally, and with a great deal of satisfaction. She might've deprived him of a wife that it'd taken him half a year and a rather large sum of money to entangle, but by God, he'd taken off her awful cap. And underneath... "Oh, Séraphine," he breathed, enchanted, for her hair was as black as coal, as black as night, as black as his own soul, save for one white streak just over her left eye. But she'd twisted and braided and tortured the strands, binding them tight to her head, and his fingers itched to let them free. "Don't!" she said, as if she knew what he wanted, her hands flying up to cover her hair. He batted them aside, laughing, pulling a pin here, a pin there, dropping them carelessly to the carpet as she squealed like a little girl and backed away from him, trying frantically to ward off his fingers. He might've taken pity on her had he not just spent an hour on a freezing moor, wondering if he was going to find her dead, neck broken, at the bottom of a hill. Her hair came down all at once, a tumbling mass, tousled and heavy and nearly down to her waist. "Wonderful," he murmured, taking it in both hands and lifting it.
Elizabeth Hoyt (Duke of Sin (Maiden Lane, #10))
My family had been in a refugee camp for a year and I was thirty-one years old when the government of Israel arranged through secret channels to fly all the Jews of Yemen to Israel. It was unofficially called Operation Magic Carpet, and officially called Operation On Wings of Eagles. When our people refused to enter the airplanes out of fear—for especially our brethren from the North had no experience with modernity—our rabbis reminded them of divine passages. “This is the fulfillment of ancient prophecy,” they said. “The eagles that fly us to the Promised Land may be made of metal, but their wings are buoyed aloft by the breath of God.” Between June 1949 and September 1950 almost fifty thousand Yemenite Jews boarded transport planes and made some 380 flights from Aden to Israel in this secret operation.
Nomi Eve (Henna House)
No, I’d open a refuge for mothers. A retreat. Concrete 1970s brutalism, an anti-domestic architecture without flounces. Something low with big windows and wide corridors, carpets to deaden sound. There will be five or six rooms off the corridor, each with a wall of glass and sliding doors looking on to a cold, grey beach. Each room has a single bed in the corner, a table and chair. You may bring your laptop but there is no internet access and no telephone. There are books with a body count of zero and no suffering for anyone under the age of eight. A cinema where everything you wanted to see in the last eight years is shown at a time that allows you to have an early night afterwards. And the food, the kind of food you’re pleased to have eaten as well as pleased to eat, is made by a chef, a childless male chef, and brought to your room. You may ask him for biscuits at any moment of the day or night, send your mug back because you dislike the shape of the handle, and change your mind after ordering dinner. And there is a swimming pool, lit from below in a warm, low-ceilinged room without windows, which may be used by one mummy at a time to swim herself into dream. Oh, fuck it, I am composing a business plan for a womb with a view. So what? I’ll call it Hôtel de la Mère and the only real problem is childcare. Absent, children cause guilt and anxiety incompatible with the mission of the Hôtel; present, they prevent thought or sleep, much more swimming and the consumption of biscuits. We need to turn them off for a few days, suspend them like computers. Make them hibernate. You can’t uninvent children any more than you can uninvent the bomb.
Sarah Moss (Night Waking)
I start referring to sums of money as a pony, a bottle, a carpet or a monkey, quite unselfconsciously. Probably sounds ridiculous in my posh voice. One time, in the £50 game at the Vic, I try to bet a cockle and (once the word has crashed against the accent barrier and slumped unconscious on the baize) it goes as a call. Stupid really, since I’m the only one who actually pronounces the ‘ck’ in the middle. But this is the language, it feels normal to use it. I can’t sound any funnier than Bambos does when he bets ‘sirillo’. Three, or three hundred, or three thousand = a carpet, because people used to get a carpet in their cell if they were jailed for three years or more. And there used to be a carpet manufacturer called Cyril Lord. So when Bambos, in his heavy Cypriot accent, bets ‘a sirillo’, everyone knows exactly what he means.
Victoria Coren (For Richer, For Poorer: A Love Affair with Poker)
Daily study of the scriptures is [an] important family activity. I remember when my son was seven years old. He was taking a shower one night during a storm when we lost the power in our home. My wife called to him and told him to hurry to finish his shower and to then take a candle and come slowly downstairs for our family prayer. She warned him to be careful to not drop the candle on the carpet because it could start a fire and the house could burn down. Several minutes later he came down the stairs struggling to hold the candle in one hand, and with his other arm he was carrying his scriptures. His mother asked him why he was bringing his scriptures. His answer to her was 'Mom, if the house burns down, I must save my scriptures!' We knew that our efforts to help him to love the scriptures had been planted in his heart forever.
Claudio Costa
Good lord, you’re bleeding!” the woman called. “Dovie, sit him down before he dies.” Dovie pulled a chair out from the kitchen table, situated between the kitchen and living room. She raised an eyebrow at him and her glittered shadow caught the light. He slipped out of his shoes, though she’d left hers on, and walked across the living room, leaving depressions in the green carpet. The woman disappeared down a hall and came back with a first aid kit and a wet washcloth. “These the only boo-boos?” He looked at her, uncomprehending. “Yuri’s Russian,” Dovie said, then explained, “she wants to know where you’re hurt.” “Oh. I have multiple superficial abrasions and small laceration to forehead and left lateral mouth, with localized swelling. So, compromised skin integrity and risk for infection, but no skeletal issues.” “I see,” Mrs. Collum said, smiling.
Katie Kennedy (Learning to Swear in America)
Nope.' He grabs my hand and places it over his heart. 'I already know the truth. We’re dating.' His eyebrows waggle. 'Exclusively.' 'Gross.' 'Do you want to wear my letterman’s jacket?' 'I’m going to vomit.' '“Should I buy you a corsage?' 'Seriously. Gagging.' 'Okay, no corsage.' He laughs. 'Just the matching tattoos, then?' 'Seriously.' I fight the urge to stomp my foot. 'Let it go, Parker. Let it go.' 'Hey, Elsa, don’t quote Frozen to me unless you’re prepared to listen to the entire soundtrack in my car on the way to Seaport.' I stare up at him. 'I’m not sure whether I should be disturbed or turned on by the fact that you know all the words to Let It Go.' He grins. 'Definitely turned on.' 'Downloaded in your iTunes library, no doubt.' I shake my head. 'This is nearly as disturbing as the time I learned the song A Whole New World from Aladdin is a metaphor for mind-blowing sex.' 'I’m sorry, what?' 'I can open your eyes? Lead you wonder by wonder? Over, sideways, and under?' I snort. 'Come on. That’s basically soft-core porn.' 'Thank you, Zoe, for ruining a beloved Disney classic for me.' 'Anytime.' 'For the record…' He trails off. I wince, anticipating the worst. 'What?' 'I’ll take you on my magic carpet ride any time you want, snookums.' 'Pass.' 'So, that’s a no on rubbing my lamp then?' 'You know, I think I’ll just find my own way to Nate’s…' I turn and start walking to the elevator. 'Oh, come on.' Parker twines his fingers with mine and pushes the call button, humming under his breath. 'I’m a genie in a bottle, baby, gotta rub—' 'AH!' I stare at him in horror as the elevator arrives. 'So help me god if you start singing vintage Christina Aguilera lyrics right now, I will murder you with my bare hands.
Julie Johnson (One Good Reason (Boston Love, #3))
His house was certainly peculiar, and since this was the first thing that Fenchurch and Arthur had encountered it would help to know what it was like. It was like this: It was inside out. Actually inside out, to the extent that they had had to park on the carpet. All along what one would normally call the outer wall, which was decorated in a tasteful interior-designed pink, were bookshelves, also a couple of those odd three-legged tables with semicircular tops which stand in such a way as to suggest that someone just dropped the wall straight through them, and pictures which were clearly designed to soothe. Where it got really odd was the roof. It folded back on itself like something that M. C. Escher, had he been given to hard nights on the town, which it is no part of this narrative’s purpose to suggest was the case, though it is sometimes hard, looking at his pictures, particularly the one with all the awkward steps, not to wonder, might have dreamed up after having been on one, for the little chandeliers which should have been hanging inside were on the outside pointing up. Confusing. The sign above the front door said “Come Outside,” and so, nervously, they had. Inside, of course, was where the Outside was. Rough brickwork, nicely done pointing, guttering in good repair, a garden path, a couple of small trees, some rooms leading off. And the inner walls stretched down, folded curiously, and opened at the end as if, by an optical illusion which would have had M. C. Escher frowning and wondering how it was done, to enclose the Pacific Ocean itself. “Hello,” said John Watson, Wonko the Sane. Good, they thought to themselves, “hello” is something we can cope with. “Hello,” they said, and all, surprisingly, was smiles.
Douglas Adams (So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish (The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, #4))
GOD I am ready for you to come back. Whether in a train full of dying criminals or on the gleaming saddle of a locust, you are needed again. The earth is a giant chessboard where the dark squares get all the rain. On this one the wet is driving people mad—the bankers all baying in the woods while their markets fail, a florist chewing up flowers to spit mouthfuls here and there as his daughter’s lungs seize shut from the pollen. There is a flat logic to neglect. Sweet nothings sour in the air while the ocean hoots itself to sleep. I live on the skull of a giant burning brain, the earth’s core. Sometimes I can feel it pulsing through the dirt, though even this you ignore. The mind wants what it wants: daily newspapers, snapping turtles, a pound of flesh. The work I’ve been doing is a kind of erasing. I dump my ashtray into a bucket of paint and coat myself in the gray slick, rolling around on the carpets of rich strangers while they applaud and sip their scotch. A body can cause almost anything to happen. Remember when you breathed through my mouth, your breath becoming mine? Remember when you sang for me and I fell to the floor, turning into a thousand mice? Whatever it was we were practicing cannot happen without you. I thought I saw you last year, bark wrapped around your thighs, lurching toward the shore at dawn. It was only mist and dumb want. They say even longing has its limits: in a bucket, an eel will simply stop swimming long before it starves. Wounded wolves will pad away from their pack to die lonely and cold. Do you not know how scary it can get here? The talons that dropped me left long scars around my neck that still burn in the wind. I was promised epiphany, earth- honey, and a flood of milk, but I will settle for anything that brings you now, you still-hungry mongrel, you glut of bone, you, scentless as gold.
Kaveh Akbar (Calling a Wolf a Wolf)
Hamilton provided the blueprint for US economic policy until the end of the Second World War. His infant industry programme created the condition for a rapid industrial development. He also set up the government bond market and promoted the development of the banking system (once again, against opposition from Thomas Jefferson and his followers.) It is no hyperbole for the New-York Historical Society to have called him 'The Man Who Made Modern America' in a recent exhibition. Had the US rejected Hamilton's vision and accepted that of his archrival, Thomas Jefferson, for whom the ideal society was an agrarian economy made up of self-governing yeoman farmers (although this slave-owner had to sweep the slaves who supported this lifestyle under the carpet), it would never have been able to propel itself from being a minor agrarian power rebelling against its powerful colonial master to the world's greatest super power.
Ha-Joon Chang (Bad Samaritans: The Myth of Free Trade and the Secret History of Capitalism)
To avoid being mistaken for a sellout, I chose my friends carefully. The more politically active black students. The foreign students. The Chicanos. The Marxist professors and structural feminists and punk-rock performance poets. We smoked cigarettes and wore leather jackets. At night, in the dorms, we discussed neocolonialism, Franz Fanon, Eurocentrism, and patriarchy. When we ground out our cigarettes in the hallway carpet or set our stereos so loud that the walls began to shake, we were resisting bourgeois society’s stifling conventions. We weren’t indifferent or careless or insecure. We were alienated. But this strategy alone couldn't provide the distance I wanted, from Joyce or my past. After all, there were thousands of so-called campus radicals, most of them white and tenured and happily tolerant. No, it remained necessary to prove which side you were on, to show your loyalty to the black masses, to strike out and name names.
Barack Obama
Now everyone knows that to try to say something in the mainstream Western media that is critical of U.S. policy or Israel is extremely difficult; conversely, to say things that are hostile to the Arabs as a people and culture, or Islam as a religion, is laughably easy. For in effect there is a cultural war between spokespersons for the West and those of the Muslim and Arab world. In so inflamed a situation, the hardest thing to do as an intellectual is to be critical, to refuse to adopt a rhetorical style that is the verbal equivalent of carpet-bombing, and to focus instead on those issues like U.S. support for unpopular client re­gimes, which for a person writing in the U.S. are somewhat more likely to be affected by critical discussion. Of course, on the other hand, there is a virtual cer­tainty of getting an audience if as an Arab intellectual you passionately, even slavishly support U.S. policy, you attack its critics, and if they happen to be Arabs, you invent evi­dence to show their villainy; if they are American you confect stories and situations that prove their duplicity; you spin out stories concerning Arabs and Muslims that have the effect of defaming their tradition, defacing their history, accentuating their weaknesses, of which of course there are plenty. Above all, you attack the officially ap­ proved enemies-Saddam Hussein, Baathism, Arab na­tionalism, the Palestinian movement, Arab views of Israel. And of course this earns you the expected accolades: you are characterized as courageous, you are outspoken and passionate, and on and on. The new god of course is the West. Arabs, you say, should try to be more like the West, should regard the West as a source and a reference point. · Gone is the history of what the West actually did. Gone are the Gulf War's destructive results. We Arabs and Mus­lims are the sick ones, our problems are our own, totally self-inflicted. A number of things stand out about these kinds of performance. In the first place, there is no universalism here at all. Because you serve a god uncritically, all the devils are always on the other side: this was as true when you were a Trotskyist as it i's now when you are a recanting former Trotskyist. You do not think of politics in terms of interrelationships or of common histories such as, for instance, the long and complicated dynamic that has bound the Arabs and Muslims to the West and vice versa. Real intellectual analysis forbids calling one side innocent, the other evil. Indeed the notion of a side is, where cultures are at issue, highly problematic, since most cultures aren't watertight little packages, all homogenous, and all either good or evil. But if your eye is on your patron, you cannot think as an intellectual, but only as a disciple or acolyte. In the back of your mind there is the thought that you must please and not displease.
Edward W. Said (Representations of the Intellectual)
We both took some adjusting to Egyptian notions of friendliness. Stepping outside our Cairo hotel, we were greeted by a host of amiable young men saying, ‘Where you from, mis-tah? Australia? Ah, my brother, he is in Australia! From Sydney, yes? No? Ah, Adelaide! So too my brother! Adelaide is a very fine city, yes, very fine. And your name, mis-tah? Ah, San-dee! My brother, he too is called San-dee! He is an astrophysicist! Please, we are friends! Come to my shop and drink tea!’ Three out of five such invitations will surely lead straight to a carpet or perfume shop, where you will be badgered into buying wares at a very special low price, as is fitting between friends. But the other two are likely to lead to a long, gentle afternoon drinking mint tea in some tiny home, being shown the family albums, meeting the wife and five kids and, sure enough, being shown a photo of the improbable brother, San-dee, standing outside Adelaide University and waving a degree in astrophysics at the camera.
A.J. Mackinnon (The Well at the World's End: The Epic True Story of One Man's Search for the Secret to Eternal Youth)
Jack took two steps towards the couch and then heard his daughter’s distressed wails, wincing. “Oh, right. The munchkin.” He instead turned and headed for the stairs, yawning and scratching his messy brown hair, calling out, “Hang on, chubby monkey, Daddy’s coming.” Jack reached the top of the stairs. And stopped dead. There was a dragon standing in the darkened hallway. At first, Jack swore he was still asleep. He had to be. He couldn’t possibly be seeing correctly. And yet the icy fear slipping down his spine said differently. The dragon stood at roughly five feet tall once its head rose upon sighting Jack at the other end of the hallway. It was lean and had dirty brown scales with an off-white belly. Its black, hooked claws kneaded the carpet as its yellow eyes stared out at Jack, its pupils dilating to drink him in from head to toe. Its wings rustled along its back on either side of the sharp spines protruding down its body to the thin, whip-like tail. A single horn glinted sharp and deadly under the small, motion-activated hallway light. The only thing more noticeable than that were the many long, jagged scars scored across the creature’s stomach, limbs, and neck. It had been hunted recently. Judging from the depth and extent of the scars, it had certainly killed a hunter or two to have survived with so many marks. “Okay,” Jack whispered hoarsely. “Five bucks says you’re not the Easter Bunny.” The dragon’s nostrils flared. It adjusted its body, feet apart, lips sliding away from sharp, gleaming white teeth in a warning hiss. Mercifully, Naila had quieted and no longer drew the creature’s attention. Jack swallowed hard and held out one hand, bending slightly so his six-foot-two-inch frame was less threatening. “Look at me, buddy. Just keep looking at me. It’s alright. I’m not going to hurt you. Why don’t you just come this way, huh?” He took a single step down and the creature crept forward towards him, hissing louder. “That’s right. This way. Come on.” Jack eased backwards one stair at a time. The dragon let out a warning bark and followed him, its saliva leaving damp patches on the cream-colored carpet. Along the way, Jack had slipped his phone out of his pocket and dialed 9-1-1, hoping he had just enough seconds left in the reptile’s waning patience. “9-1-1, what’s your emergency?” “Listen to me carefully,” Jack said, not letting his eyes stray from the dragon as he fumbled behind him for the handle to the sliding glass door. He then quickly gave her his address before continuing. “There is an Appalachian forest dragon in my house. Get someone over here as fast as you can.” “We’re contacting a retrieval team now, sir. Please stay calm and try not to make any loud noises or sudden movements–“ Jack had one barefoot on the cool stone of his patio when his daughter Naila cried for him again. The dragon’s head turned towards the direction of upstairs. Jack dropped his cell phone, grabbed a patio chair, and slammed it down on top of the dragon’s head as hard as he could.
Kyoko M. (Of Fury & Fangs (Of Cinder & Bone, #4))
It had a perfectly round door like a porthole, painted green, with a shiny yellow brass knob in the exact middle. The door opened on to a tube-shaped hall like a tunnel: a very comfortable tunnel without smoke, with panelled walls, and floors tiled and carpeted, provided with polished chairs, and lots and lots of pegs for hats and coats — the hobbit was fond of visitors. The tunnel wound on and on, going fairly but not quite straight into the side of the hill — The Hill, as all the people for many miles round called it — and many little round doors opened out of it, first on one side and then on another. No going upstairs for the hobbit: bedrooms, bathrooms, cellars, pantries (lots of these), wardrobes (he had whole rooms devoted to clothes), kitchens, dining-rooms, all were on the same floor, and indeed on the same passage. The best rooms were all on the left-hand side (going in), for these were the only ones to have windows, deep-set round windows looking over his garden, and meadows beyond, sloping down to the river.
J.R.R. Tolkien (The Hobbit)
Hermione!” She stirred, then sat up quickly, pushing her hair out of her face. “What’s wrong? Harry? Are you all right?” “It’s okay, everything’s fine. More than fine. I’m great. There’s someone here.” “What do you mean? Who--?” She saw Ron, who stood there holding the sword and dripping onto the threadbare carpet. Harry backed into a shadowy corner, slipped off Ron’s rucksack, and attempted to blend in with the canvas. Hermione slid out of her bunk and moved like a sleepwalker toward Ron, her eyes upon his pale face. She stopped right in front of him, her lips slightly parted, her eyes wide. Ron gave a weak, hopeful smile and half raised his arms. Hermione launched herself forward and started punching every inch of him that she could reach. “Ouch--ow--gerroff! What the--? Hermione--OW!” “You--complete--arse--Ronald--Weasley!” She punctuated every word with a blow: Ron backed away, shielding his head as Hermione advanced. “You--crawl--back--here--after--weeks--and--weeks--oh, where’s my wand?” She looked as though ready to wrestle it out of Harry’s hands and he reacted instinctively. “Protego!” The invisible shield erupted between Ron and Hermione: The force of it knocked her backward onto the floor. Spitting hair out of her mouth, she leapt up again. “Hermione!” said Harry. “Calm--” “I will not calm down!” she screamed. Never before had he seen her lose control like this; she looked quite demented. “Give me back my wand! Give it back to me!” “Hermione, will you please--” “Don’t you tell me what to do, Harry Potter!” she screeched. “Don’t you dare! Give it back now! And YOU!” She was pointing at Ron in dire accusation: It was like a malediction, and Harry could not blame Ron for retreating several steps. “I came running after you! I called you! I begged you to come back!” “I know,” Ron said, “Hermione, I’m sorry, I’m really--” “Oh, you’re sorry!” She laughed, a high-pitched, out-of-control sound; Ron looked at Harry for help, but Harry merely grimaced his helplessness. “You come back after weeks--weeks--and you think it’s all going to be all right if you just say sorry?” “Well, what else can I say?” Ron shouted, and Harry was glad that Ron was fighting back. “Oh, I don’t know!” yelled Hermione with awful sarcasm. “Rack your brains, Ron, that should only take a couple of seconds--” “Hermione,” interjected Harry, who considered this a low blow, “he just saved my--” “I don’t care!” she screamed. “I don’t care what he’s done! Weeks and weeks, we could have been dead for all he knew--” “I knew you weren’t dead!” bellowed Ron, drowning her voice for the first time, and approaching as close as he could with the Shield Charm between them. “Harry’s all over the Prophet, all over the radio, they’re looking for you everywhere, all these rumors and mental stories, I knew I’d hear straight off if you were dead, you don’t know what it’s been like--” “What it’s been like for you?” Her voice was now so shrill only bats would be able to hear it soon, but she had reached a level of indignation that rendered her temporarily speechless, and Ron seized his opportunity. “I wanted to come back the minute I’d Disapparated, but I walked straight into a gang of Snatchers, Hermione, and I couldn’t go anywhere!” “A gang of what?” asked Harry, as Hermione threw herself down into a chair with her arms and legs crossed so tightly it seemed unlikely that she would unravel them for several years.
J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter, #7))
This, to me, is the point of the confession and absolution in the liturgy. When I first experienced it—the part where everyone in church stands up and says what bad people they are, and the pastor, from the distance of the chancel and the purity of her white robe says, “God forgives you”—I thought it was hogwash. Why should I care if someone says to me that some God I may or may not really believe in has erased the check marks against me for things I may or may not even think are so-called sins? This obviously is the problem with religion for so many: It makes you feel bad enough that you will need the religion to help you feel good again. But eventually the confession and absolution liturgy came to mean everything to me. It gradually began to feel like a moment when truth was spoken, perhaps for the only time all week, and it would crush me and then put me back together. One Sunday in 2006, after the last night I spent at Candace’s house, I stood in the blue-carpeted sanctuary at my husband’s church and for the first time I really paid attention to the confession. We have sinned by what we have done and by what we have left
Nadia Bolz-Weber (Pastrix: The Cranky, Beautiful Faith of a Sinner & Saint)
Lymond knelt. The Tsar lifted his head and unlooking, let the staff go. It fell unregarded, with a crack, bouncing on the thin carpet. Ivan leaned forward and, stretching both hands, gripped the bright hair on either side of his Voevoda’s cool face, the thin skin lightly browned by the sun. ‘You are not afraid,’ said Ivan. He pulled one hand sharply away and Adashev, Viscovatu, Sylvester saw Lymond’s lips tighten, but he did not call out or speak, as Ivan opened his palm and showed a feathering of snatched yellow hair. There was blood at the side of the Voevoda’s brushed head. ‘You are not afraid,’ repeated the Tsar. ‘You are not afraid of the boyars. You are not afraid of me, but for me.… ‘I am twenty-six,’ said the Tsar. He put out his hand, letting the lock fall from his palm, and gripped Lymond’s shoulder. ‘I confessed. I confessed to my rages, my sins against my people, and Dmitri my firstborn was taken from me, and my friends quarrelled and plotted about me when they thought I lay dying. I have no friends.’ ‘You have the men in this room,’ Lymond said. ‘The men in this room are afraid of me. All except you,’ the Tsar said.
Dorothy Dunnett (The Ringed Castle (The Lymond Chronicles, #5))
Imagine a latter-day Helmholtz presented by an engineer with a digital camera, with its screen of tiny photocells, set up to capture images projected directly on to the surface of the screen. That makes good sense, and obviously each photocell has a wire connecting it to a computing device of some kind where images are collated. Makes sense again. Helmholtz wouldn’t send it back. But now, suppose I tell you that the eye’s ‘photocells’ are pointing backwards, away from the scene being looked at. The ‘wires’ connecting the photocells to the brain run all over the surface of the retina, so the light rays have to pass through a carpet of massed wires before they hit the photocells. That doesn’t make sense – and it gets even worse. One consequence of the photocells pointing backwards is that the wires that carry their data somehow have to pass through the retina and back to the brain. What they do, in the vertebrate eye, is all converge on a particular hole in the retina, where they dive through it. The hole filled with nerves is called the blind spot, because it is blind, but ‘spot’ is too flattering, for it is quite large, more like a blind patch, which again doesn’t actually inconvenience us much because of the ‘automatic Photoshop’ software in the brain. Once again, send it back, it’s not just bad design, it’s the design of a complete idiot.
Richard Dawkins (The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution)
They put me in jail. Holy shit. They put me in fucking jail. Call my mother and tell her I love her, call my father and tell him I can’t loan him any more money, call my grandmother and tell her she needs to stop day drinking. I am never getting out of this. All right, on the plus side, it’s not like I’m sitting in a city jail. It’s a hotel holding room, which basically means beige-colored carpet with beige walls and a beige futon. In Vegas, if they put you in beige, you are seriously fucked. No sequins or rhinestones anywhere means I must have done something abominable. Okay. I take three deep breaths, trying to achieve my zone neutrality. Or something. I don’t know! Okay, keep calm, Julia. Maybe they can help. Maybe they can help piece together whatever insane stuff you did last night. Or rather, the weird shit that your David Tennant personality did. On second thought, maybe talking about Doctor Who would be a very bad thing right now. The door opens, and Gray Suit— his name’s actually Todd, but I’m sticking with Gray Suit— enters and sits down in a chair opposite me. “Now Ms. Stevens—” “I’m not going to prison,” I blurt out. “I’m too soft. I watched Orange is the New Black. I don’t want to eat tampon sandwiches.” Gray Suit blinks slowly. “Okay. I’ll bear that in mind.” “Look, what the hell am I even doing here?” I snap. Great, Julia. Get snippy with the authorities. This’ll go down swimmingly. “What is happening?” Gray Suit sighs. “It’s about what you did last night, Ms. Stevens.
Lila Monroe (Get Lucky (Lucky in Love, #1))
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The thing is, I don't really have any coming-out narratives of my own. I never felt as though anyone was entitles to a red-carpet presentation of who I am and how I identify. When I initially found myself attracted to women in college, for example, I simply showed up at the next family function with my first girlfriend in tow and introduced her as such. I didn't call each family member ahead of time and instruct them to brace themselves, nor did I write lengthy letters detailing the intricacies of my new desires. Likewise, when I'm meeting people for the first time at parties or other social engagements and they post the inevitable, "So what do you do?" I respond as routinely as possible: "Oh, I work in the sex industry. You?" I'm not trying to be provocative; rather, I've always believed that being "out" is the most powerful tool of activism available to disadvantaged minority communities, sex workers included, I find that when you approach a supposedly radical issue (queerness, nonmonogamy, atheism, gender nonconformity) with the same nonchalance as you would a less controversial topic (accounting, marriage, the weather), you give the other party permission to treat it with the same accepting ambivalence. We're pack animals, and we're constantly comparing ourselves to one another. We look for approval from our peers, and in many cases we use their reactions and opinions to help guide our own. I often observe people, who I've just disclosed to, pause to shift their eyes and gauge the receptiveness of those around them before responding. It'd be a fascinating study if it weren't so disheartening.
Andre Shakti (Coming Out Like a Porn Star: Essays on Pornography, Protection, and Privacy)
Favorite painting...?" "Painting? Odalisque," I said. "Really.His non-nude nude. Interesting." It was,to me. Edward's most famous painting of Diana is Troie, where he painted her as Helen of Troy: naked except for the diamond bracelet and the occasional tendril of auburn hair. It had caused quite a stir at its exhibition. Apparently, Millicent Carnegie Biddle fainted on seeing it. It wasn't quite what she was used to viewing when she sat across from Mrs. Edward Willing every few weeks, sipping tea from Wedgewood china cups. Odalisque was more daring in its way, and infinitely more interesting to me. Most of the Post-Impressionist painters did an odalisque, or harem girl, reclining on a sofa or carpet, promising with their eyes that whatever it was that they did to men, they did it well. An odalisque was almost compulsory material.But unlike any of them,Edward had painted his subject-Diana-covered from neck to ankle in shimmery gauze.Covered,but still the ultimate object of desire. "Why that one?" Dr. Rothaus asked. "I don't know-" "Oh,please.Don't go all stupid teenager on me now.You know exactly why you like the painting.Humor me and articulate it." I felt myself beginning the ubiquitos shoulder dip. "Okay. Everyone is covering up something. I guess I think there's an interesting question there." "'What are they hiding?'" I shook my head. "'Does it make a difference?'" "Ah." One sharp corner of her mouth lifted. I would hesitate to call it a smile. "That is interesting.But your favorite Willing piece isn't a painting." "How-" "You hesitated when I asked. Let me guess...Ravaged Man?" "How-" "You're a young woman. And-" Dr. Rothaus levered herself off the desk-"you went through the 1899 file. I know the archive.
Melissa Jensen (The Fine Art of Truth or Dare)
Not only was the four-poster- a lofty structure that would have put princesses and peas to shame- a place of rest and relaxation but it was, and had been for quite some time now, a portal for her magic carpet escapades. It was there that Estelle first began to practice what Marjan had called "eating at the edge of a ready 'sofreh'." Estelle always followed the same routine when assembling her dinner 'sofreh' on her bed. First, she would spread the paisley blanket Marjan had given her, tucking the fringed ends in tight around the sides of her mattress. Then, having already wetted a pot of jasmine tea, she would dig a trivet into the blanket's left corner and place the piping pot on top of it. Following the Persian etiquette of placing the main dishes at the center of the 'sofreh', Estelle would position the plate of saffron 'chelow' (with crunchy 'tadig'), the bowl of stew or soup that was the day's special, and the 'lavash' or 'barbari' bread accordingly. She would frame the main dishes with a small plate of 'torshi', pickled carrots and cucumbers, as well as a yogurt dip and some feta cheese with her favorite herb: balmy lemon mint. Taking off her pink pom-pom house slippers, Estelle would then hoist herself onto her high bed and begin her ecstatic epicurean adventure. She savored every morsel of her nightly meal, breathing in the tingle of sumac powder and nutmeg while speaking to a framed photograph of Luigi she propped up on its own trivet next to the tea. Dinner was usually Persian, but her dessert was always Italian: a peppermint cannoli or marzipan cherry, after which she would turn on the radio, always set to the 'Mid-West Ceili Hour', and dream of the time when a young Luigi made her do things impossible, like when he convinced her to enter the Maharajah sideshow and stand on the tallest elephant's trunk during carnival season in her seaside Neapolitan town.
Marsha Mehran (Rosewater and Soda Bread (Babylon Café #2))
Except then a local high school journalism class decided to investigate the story. Not having attended Columbia Journalism School, the young scribes were unaware of the prohibition on committing journalism that reflects poorly on Third World immigrants. Thanks to the teenagers’ reporting, it was discovered that Reddy had become a multimillionaire by using H-1B visas to bring in slave labor from his native India. Dozens of Indian slaves were working in his buildings and at his restaurant. Apparently, some of those “brainy” high-tech workers America so desperately needs include busboys and janitors. And concubines. The pubescent girls Reddy brought in on H-1B visas were not his nieces: They were his concubines, purchased from their parents in India when they were twelve years old. The sixty-four-year-old Reddy flew the girls to America so he could have sex with them—often several of them at once. (We can only hope this is not why Mark Zuckerberg is so keen on H-1B visas.) The third roommate—the crying girl—had escaped the carbon monoxide poisoning only because she had been at Reddy’s house having sex with him, which, judging by the looks of him, might be worse than death. As soon as a translator other than Reddy was found, she admitted that “the primary purpose for her to enter the U.S. was to continue to have sex with Reddy.” The day her roommates arrived from India, she was forced to watch as the old, balding immigrant had sex with both underage girls at once.3 She also said her dead roommate had been pregnant with Reddy’s child. That could not be confirmed by the court because Reddy had already cremated the girl, in the Hindu tradition—even though her parents were Christian. In all, Reddy had brought seven underage girls to the United States for sex—smuggled in by his brother and sister-in-law, who lied to immigration authorities by posing as the girls’ parents.4 Reddy’s “high-tech” workers were just doing the slavery Americans won’t do. No really—we’ve tried getting American slaves! We’ve advertised for slaves at all the local high schools and didn’t get a single taker. We even posted flyers at the grade schools, asking for prepubescent girls to have sex with Reddy. Nothing. Not even on Craigslist. Reddy’s slaves and concubines were considered “untouchables” in India, treated as “subhuman”—“so low that they are not even considered part of Hinduism’s caste system,” as the Los Angeles Times explained. To put it in layman’s terms, in India they’re considered lower than a Kardashian. According to the Indian American magazine India Currents: “Modern slavery is on display every day in India: children forced to beg, young girls recruited into brothels, and men in debt bondage toiling away in agricultural fields.” More than half of the estimated 20.9 million slaves worldwide live in Asia.5 Thanks to American immigration policies, slavery is making a comeback in the United States! A San Francisco couple “active in the Indian community” bought a slave from a New Delhi recruiter to clean house for them, took away her passport when she arrived, and refused to let her call her family or leave their home.6 In New York, Indian immigrants Varsha and Mahender Sabhnani were convicted in 2006 of bringing in two Indonesian illegal aliens as slaves to be domestics in their Long Island, New York, home.7 In addition to helping reintroduce slavery to America, Reddy sends millions of dollars out of the country in order to build monuments to himself in India. “The more money Reddy made in the States,” the Los Angeles Times chirped, “the more good he seemed to do in his hometown.” That’s great for India, but what is America getting out of this model immigrant? Slavery: Check. Sickening caste system: Check. Purchasing twelve-year-old girls for sex: Check. Draining millions of dollars from the American economy: Check. Smuggling half-dead sex slaves out of his slums in rolled-up carpets right under the nose of the Berkeley police: Priceless.
Ann Coulter (¡Adios, America!: The Left's Plan to Turn Our Country into a Third World Hellhole)
Now, we’ll begin,’ interrupted Mr. Torkingham, his mind returning to this world again on concluding his search for a hymn. Thereupon the racket of chair-legs on the floor signified that they were settling into their seats,—a disturbance which Swithin took advantage of by going on tiptoe across the floor above, and putting sheets of paper over knot-holes in the boarding at points where carpet was lacking, that his lamp-light might not shine down. The absence of a ceiling beneath rendered his position virtually that of one suspended in the same apartment. The parson announced the tune, and his voice burst forth with ‘Onward, Christian soldiers!’ in notes of rigid cheerfulness. In this start, however, he was joined only by the girls and boys, the men furnishing but an accompaniment of ahas and hems. Mr. Torkingham stopped, and Sammy Blore spoke,— ‘Beg your pardon, sir,—if you’ll deal mild with us a moment. What with the wind and walking, my throat’s as rough as a grater; and not knowing you were going to hit up that minute, I hadn’t hawked, and I don’t think Hezzy and Nat had, either,—had ye, souls?’ ‘I hadn’t got thorough ready, that’s true,’ said Hezekiah. ‘Quite right of you, then, to speak,’ said Mr. Torkingham. ‘Don’t mind explaining; we are here for practice. Now clear your throats, then, and at it again.’ There was a noise as of atmospheric hoes and scrapers, and the bass contingent at last got under way with a time of its own: ‘Honwerd, Christen sojers!’ ‘Ah, that’s where we are so defective—the pronunciation,’ interrupted the parson. ‘Now repeat after me: “On-ward, Christ-ian, sol-diers.”’ The choir repeated like an exaggerative echo: ‘On-wed, Chris-ting, sol-jaws!’ ‘Better!’ said the parson, in the strenuously sanguine tones of a man who got his living by discovering a bright side in things where it was not very perceptible to other people. ‘But it should not be given with quite so extreme an accent; or we may be called affected by other parishes. And, Nathaniel Chapman, there’s a jauntiness in your manner of singing which is not quite becoming. Why don’t you sing more earnestly?
Thomas Hardy (Two on a Tower)
Moms?’ ‘I am right here with my attention completely focused on you.’ ‘How can you tell if somebody’s sad?’ A quick smile. ‘You mean whether someone’s sad.’ A smile back, but still earnest: ‘That improves it a lot. Whether someone’s sad, how can you tell so you’re sure?’ Her teeth are not discolored; she gets them cleaned at the dentist all the time for the smoking, a habit she despises. Hal inherited the dental problems from Himself; Himself had horrible dental problems; half his teeth were bridges. ‘You’re not exactly insensitive when it comes to people, Love-o,’ she says. ‘What if you, like, only suspect somebody’s sad. How do you reinforce the suspicion?’ ‘Confirm the suspicion?’ ‘In your mind.’ Some of the prints in the deep shag he can see are shoes, and some are different, almost like knuckles. His lordotic posture makes him acute and observant about things like carpet-prints. ‘How would I, for my part, confirm a suspicion of sadness in someone, you mean?’ ‘Yes. Good. All right.’ ‘Well, the person in question may cry, sob, weep, or, in certain cultures, wail, keen, or rend his or her garments.’ Mario nods encouragingly, so the headgear clanks a little. ‘But say in a case where they don’t weep or rend. But you still have a suspicion which they’re sad.’ She uses a hand to rotate the pen in her mouth like a fine cigar. ‘He or she might alternatively sigh, mope, frown, smile halfheartedly, appear downcast, slump, look at the floor more than is appropriate.’ ‘But what if they don’t?’ ‘Well, he or she may act out by seeming distracted, losing enthusiasm for previous interests. The person may present with what appears to be laziness, lethargy, fatigue, sluggishness, a certain passive reluctance to engage you. Torpor.’ ‘What else?’ ‘They may seem unusually subdued, quiet, literally “low.” ’ Mario leans all his weight into his police lock, which makes his head jut, his expression the sort of mangled one that expresses puzzlement, an attempt to reason out something hard. Pemulis called it Mario’s Data-Search Face, which Mario liked. ‘What if sometime they might act even less low than normal. But still these suspicions are in your mind.
David Foster Wallace
There is a porter at the door and at the reception-desk a grey-haired woman and a sleek young man. 'I want a room for tonight.' 'A room? A room with bath?' I am still feeling ill and giddy. I say confidentially, leaning forward: 'I want a light room.' The young man lifts his eyebrows and stares at me. I try again. 'I don't want a room looking on the courtyard. I want a light room.' 'A light room?' the lady says pensively. She turns over the pages of her books, looking for a light room. 'We have number 219,' she says. 'A beautiful room with bath. Seventy-five francs a night.' (God, I can't afford that.) 'It's a very beautiful room with bath. Two windows. Very light,' she says persuasively. A girl is called to show me the room. As we are about to start for the lift, the young man says, speaking out of the side of his mouth: 'Of course you know that number 219 is occupied.' 'Oh no. Number 219 had his bill before yesterday.' the receptionist says. 'I remember. I gave it to him myself.' I listen anxiously to this conversation. Suddenly I feel that I must have number 219, with bath - number 219, with rose-coloured curtains, carpet and bath. I shall exist on a different planet at once if I can get this room, if only for a couple of nights. It will be an omen. Who says you can't escape from your faith? I'll escape from mine, into room number 219. Just try me, just give me a chance. 'He asked for his bill,' the young man says, in a voice which is a triumph of scorn and cynicism. 'He asked for his bill but that doesn't mean that he has gone.' The receptionist starts arguing. 'When people ask for their bills, it's because they are going, isn't it?' 'Yes,' he says, 'French' people. The others ask for their bills to see if we're going to cheat them.' 'My God,' says the receptionist, 'foreigners, foreigners, my God. ...' The young man turns his back, entirely dissociating himself from what is going on. Number 219 - well, now I know all about him. All the time they are talking I am seeing him - his trousers, his shoes, the way he brushes his hair, the sort of girls he likes. His hand-luggage is light yellow and he has a paunch. But I can't see his face. He wears a mask, number 219. ... 'Show the lady number 334.
Jean Rhys (Good Morning, Midnight)
I continued my explorations in a cobbled yard overlooked by broken doors and cracked windows. Pushing open a swollen door into a storeroom, I found a stream running across paving stones and a carpet of slippery green moss. My explorations took me beneath a gateway surmounted by a clock face, standing with hands fixed permanently at eleven o'clock. Beyond stood derelict stables; then the park opened up in an undulating vista, reaching all the way to a swathe of deep forest on the horizon. In the distance was the twinkle of the river that I realized must border my own land at Whitelow. The grass was knee-high and speckled with late buttercups, but I was transported by that first sight of the Delafosse estate. In its situation alone, the Croxons had chosen our new home well. I dreamed for a moment of myself and Michael making a great fortune, and no longer renting Delafosse Hall but owning every inch of it, my inheritance spinning gold from cotton. Turning back to view the Hall I took a sharp breath; it was as massive and ancient as a child's dream of a castle, the bulk of its walls carpeted in greenery, the diamond-leaded windows sparkling in picturesque stone mullions. True, the barley-twist chimneys leaned askew, and the roofs sagged beneath the weight of years, but the shell of it was magnificent. It cast a strange possessive mood upon me. I remembered Michael's irritation at the house the previous night, and his eagerness to leave. Somehow I had to entice Michael into this shared dream of a happy life here, beside me. Determined to explore the park, I followed the nearest path. After walking through a deep wood for a good while I emerged into the sunlight by a round hill surmounted by a two-story tower. A hunting lodge, Mrs. Croxon had called it, but I thought it more a folly. It had a fantastical quality, with four miniature turrets, each topped with a verdigris-tarnished dome. Above the doorway stood a sundial drawn upon a disc representing a blazing sun. It was embellished with a script I thought might be Latin: FERREA VIRGA EST, UMBRATILIS MOTUS. I wondered whether Michael might know the meaning, or Anne's husband perhaps. As for the sundial's accuracy, the morning light was too weak to cast a line of shadow.
Martine Bailey (A Taste for Nightshade)
went off, without waiting for serving men, and unsaddled my horse, and washed such portions of his ribs and his spine as projected through his hide, and when I came back, behold five stately circus tents were up—tents that were brilliant, within, with blue, and gold, and crimson, and all manner of splendid adornment! I was speechless. Then they brought eight little iron bedsteads, and set them up in the tents; they put a soft mattress and pillows and good blankets and two snow-white sheets on each bed. Next, they rigged a table about the centre-pole, and on it placed pewter pitchers, basins, soap, and the whitest of towels—one set for each man; they pointed to pockets in the tent, and said we could put our small trifles in them for convenience, and if we needed pins or such things, they were sticking every where. Then came the finishing touch—they spread carpets on the floor! I simply said, "If you call this camping out, all right—but it isn't the style I am used to; my little baggage that I brought along is at a discount." It grew dark, and they put candles on the tables—candles set in bright, new, brazen candlesticks. And soon the bell—a genuine, simon-pure bell—rang, and we were invited to "the saloon." I had thought before that we had a tent or so too many, but now here was one, at least, provided for; it was to be used for nothing but an eating-saloon. Like the others, it was high enough for a family of giraffes to live in, and was very handsome and clean and bright-colored within. It was a gem of a place. A table for eight, and eight canvas chairs; a table-cloth and napkins whose whiteness and whose fineness laughed to scorn the things we were used to in the great excursion steamer; knives and forks, soup-plates, dinner-plates—every thing, in the handsomest kind of style. It was wonderful! And they call this camping out. Those stately fellows in baggy trowsers and turbaned fezzes brought in a dinner which consisted of roast mutton, roast chicken, roast goose, potatoes, bread, tea, pudding, apples, and delicious grapes; the viands were better cooked than any we had eaten for weeks, and the table made a finer appearance, with its large German silver candlesticks and other finery, than any table we had sat down to for a good while, and yet that polite dragoman, Abraham, came bowing in and apologizing for the whole affair, on account of the unavoidable confusion of getting under way for a very long trip, and promising to do a great deal better in future! It is midnight, now, and we break camp at six in the morning. They call this camping out. At this rate it is a glorious privilege to be a pilgrim to the Holy Land.
Mark Twain (The Innocents Abroad - Mark Twain [Modern library classics] (Annotated))
I would rather face the devil himself than that man,” Elizabeth said with a repressed shudder. “I daresay,” Lucinda agreed, clutching her umbrella with one hand and the side of the cart with her other. The nearer the time came, the more angry and confused Elizabeth became about this meeting. For the first four days of their journey, her tension had been greatly allayed by the scenic grandeur of Scotland with its rolling hills and deep valleys carpeted in bluebells and hawthorne. Now, however, as the hour of confronting him drew near, not even the sight of the mountains decked out in spring flowers or the bright blue lakes below could calm her mounting tension. “Furthermore, I cannot believe he has the slightest desire to see me.” “We shall soon find out.” In the hills above the high, winding track that passed for a road, a shepherd paused to gape at an old wooden wagon making its laborious way along the road below. “Lookee there, Will,” he told his brother. “Do you see what I see?” The brother looked down and gaped, his lips parting in a toothless grin of glee at the comical sight of two ladies-bonnets, gloves, and all-who were perched primly and precariously on the back of Sean MacLaesh’s haywagon, their backs ramrod-stiff, their feet sticking straight out beyond the wagon. “Don’t that beat all,” Will laughed, and high above the haywagon he swept off his cap in a mocking salute to the ladies. “I heered in the village Ian Thornton was acomin’ home. I’ll wager ‘e’s arrived, and them two are his fancy pieces, come to warm ‘is bed an’ see to ‘is needs.” Blessedly unaware of the conjecture taking place between the two spectators up in the hills, Miss Throckmorton-Jones brushed angrily and ineffectually at the coating of dust clinging to her black skirts. “I have never in all my life been subjected to such treatment!” she hissed furiously as the wagon they were riding in gave another violet, creaking lurch and her shoulder banged into Elizabeth’s. “You may depend on this-I shall give Mr. Ian Thornton a piece of my mind for inviting two gentlewomen to this godforsaken wilderness, and never even mentioning that a traveling baroche is too wide for the roads!” Elizabeth opened her mouth to say something soothing, but just then the wagon gave another teeth-jarring lurch, and she clutched at the wooden side. “From what little I know of him, Lucy,” she managed finally when the wagon righted, “he wouldn’t care in the least what we’ve been through. He’s rude and inconsiderate-and those are his good points-“ “Whoa there, whoa,” the farmer called out, sawing back on the swayback nags reins and bringing the wagon to a groaning stop. “That’s the Thornton place up there atop yon hill,” the farmer said, pointing.
Judith McNaught (Almost Heaven (Sequels, #3))
Evie shook her head in confusion, staring from her husband’s wrathful countenance to Gully’s carefully blank one. “I don’t understand—” “Call it a rite of passage,” Sebastian snapped, and left her with long strides that quickly broke into a run. Picking up her skirts, Evie hurried after him. Rite of passage? What did he mean? And why wasn’t Cam willing to do something about the brawl? Unable to match Sebastian’s reckless pace, she trailed behind, taking care not to trip over her skirts as she descended the flight of stairs. The noise grew louder as she approached a small crowd that had congregated around the coffee room, shouts and exclamations renting the air. She saw Sebastian strip off his coat and thrust it at someone, and then he was shouldering his way into the melee. In a small clearing, three milling figures swung their fists and clumsily attempted to push and shove one another while the onlookers roared with excitement. Sebastian strategically attacked the man who seemed the most unsteady on his feet, spinning him around, jabbing and hooking with a few deft blows until the dazed fellow tottered forward and collapsed to the carpeted floor. The remaining pair turned in tandem and rushed at Sebastian, one of them attempting to pin his arms while the other came at him with churning fists. Evie let out a cry of alarm, which somehow reached Sebastian’s ears through the thunder of the crowd. Distracted, he glanced in her direction, and he was instantly seized in a mauling clinch, with his neck caught in the vise of his opponent’s arm while his head was battered with heavy blows. “No,” Evie gasped, and started forward, only to be hauled back by a steely arm that clamped around her waist. “Wait,” came a familiar voice in her ear. “Give him a chance.” “Cam!” She twisted around wildly, her panicked gaze finding his exotic but familiar face with its elevated cheekbones and thick-lashed golden eyes. “They’ll hurt him,” she said, clutching at the lapels of his coat. “Go help him— Cam, you have to—” “He’s already broken free,” Cam observed mildly, turning her around with inexorable hands. “Watch— he’s not doing badly.” One of Sebastian’s opponents let loose with a mighty swing of his arm. Sebastian ducked and came back with a swift jab. “Cam, why the d-devil aren’t you doing anything to help him?” “I can’t.” “Yes, you can! You’re used to fighting, far more than he—” “He has to,” Cam said, his voice quiet and firm in her ear. “He’ll have no authority here otherwise. The men who work at the club have a notion of leadership that requires action as well as words. St. Vincent can’t ask them to do anything that he wouldn’t be willing to do himself. And he knows that. Otherwise he wouldn’t be doing this right now.” Evie covered her eyes as one opponent endeavored to close in on her husband from behind while the other engaged him with a flurry of blows. “They’ll be loyal to him only if he is w-willing to use his fists in a pointless display of brute force?” “Basically, yes.
Lisa Kleypas (Devil in Winter (Wallflowers, #3))
One day, because I was bored in our usual spot, next to the merry-go-round, Françoise had taken me on an excursion – beyond the frontier guarded at equal intervals by the little bastions of the barley-sugar sellers – into those neighbouring but foreign regions where the faces are unfamiliar, where the goat cart passes; then she had gone back to get her things from her chair, which stood with its back to a clump of laurels; as I waited for her, I was trampling the broad lawn, sparse and shorn, yellowed by the sun, at the far end of which a statue stands above the pool, when, from the path, addressing a little girl with red hair playing with a shuttlecock in front of the basin, another girl, while putting on her cloak and stowing her racket, shouted to her, in a sharp voice: ‘Good-bye, Gilberte, I’m going home, don’t forget we’re coming to your house tonight after dinner.’ That name, Gilberte, passed by close to me, evoking all the more forcefully the existence of the girl it designated in that it did not merely name her as an absent person to whom one is referring, but hailed her directly; thus it passed close by me, in action so to speak, with a power that increased with the curve of its trajectory and the approach of its goal; – transporting along with it, I felt, the knowledge, the notions about the girl to whom it was addressed, that belonged not to me, but to the friend who was calling her, everything that, as she uttered it, she could see again or at least held in her memory, of their daily companionship, of the visits they paid to each other, and all that unknown experience which was even more inaccessible and painful to me because conversely it was so familiar and so tractable to that happy girl who grazed me with it without my being able to penetrate it and hurled it up in the air in a shout; – letting float in the air the delicious emanation it had already, by touching them precisely, released from several invisible points in the life of Mlle Swann, from the evening to come, such as it might be, after dinner, at her house; – forming, in its celestial passage among the children and maids, a little cloud of precious colour, like that which, curling over a lovely garden by Poussin,15 reflects minutely like a cloud in an opera, full of horses and chariots, some manifestation of the life of the gods; – casting finally, on that bald grass, at the spot where it was at once a patch of withered lawn and a moment in the afternoon of the blonde shuttlecock player (who did not stop launching the shuttlecock and catching it again until a governess wearing a blue ostrich feather called her), a marvellous little band the colour of heliotrope as impalpable as a reflection and laid down like a carpet over which I did not tire of walking back and forth with lingering, nostalgic and desecrating steps, while Françoise cried out to me: ‘Come on now, button up your coat and let’s make ourselves scarce’, and I noticed for the first time with irritation that she had a vulgar way of speaking, and alas, no blue feather in her hat.
Marcel Proust (In Search of Lost Time: Swann's Way)
pleasure’, his enchanting voice was pleasing to her ears.Meanwhile, the maid brought two glasses of fresh mango juice. She placed it on the table and went inside. Laurie handed her a glass and helped himself to another. Alice took the juice and started sipping slowly. It tasted awesome. She found it difficult to look at him, especially in his eyes. So she suddenly became interested in the carpet and started pondering it up and down the huge hall. Laurie sat still, observing her with a smile playing hide and seek at the corner of his lips. He didn’t disturb her from her mission. Five minutes later they placed their empty glasses on the table and went to the garden. Laurie called out to the gardener and asked him to give Alice whatever she wanted. He dragged her into a casual conversation, asking her about her family’s well being, her father’s work and her little sister’s music classes. He remembers everything, Alice thought. It was comforting and she felt special as she answered him. The gardener having done with his job, handled her a pile of the plants she asked for. Alice took them with thanks. She looked at Laurie and was about to thank him when he gestured her to stop.‘Please don’t mention it’, his smile was inviting. Alice had no other option but to join him in his smile4
Jenny is super duper” was the answer back. Jenny knew how to humor the missus, calling her a slip of a girl and drawing attention to every feature of her attire, down to the velvet shoes, that would you believe it were called mules, mules with a field of flowers and medallions on them, like a carpet.
Edna O'Brien (The Light of Evening)
Karla found me as a pup in a pet store over at the town center, barely a mile from here. She said I was special and stood out from the crowd. Compared to the other uglies they had behind bars there, of course I was irresistible. When I walked in the front door for the first time I was welcomed with open arms, except for Matt who stepped on my foot. He gets a pass on that one since he wasn't yet a year old. I'm lucky to have such a good family to live with. Of course, there are areas of improvement I've identified for each of them, but since I can't write or talk, the odds of getting my recommended changes implemented are nonexistent. For me, as long as I don't pee on the carpet I'm meeting standards. They call me Beckham after David Beckham, the superstar soccer player.
Patrick Yearly (A Lonely Dog on Christmas)
Merle took off to hide his front end under a dining room chair, ass in the air like always, as I scooped up the shoe he’d been gnawing on like a damn rawhide bone. “Just a shoe?” I asked in a deadly-quiet voice. “Just a shoe? This is a goddamned Manolo Blahnik! It cost four hundred and seventeen dollars!” I stared down at the ravaged shoe in my hand and felt a whimper bubble up from my chest. I swear to God, I was this close to crying as I looked down at my poor, ruined baby. “Holy shit! You paid four hundred and seventeen dollars for a pair of friggin’ shoes?” Trevor asked in astonishment. “Are you insane!” “Nooo, I said this shoe cost four hundred and seventeen dollars. As a pair, they cost eight thirty-five!” I shouted like the math made the situation more understandable. “Fuck me, cher. It’s a shoe. You walk around with it on your foot; you don’t live in the damn thing! You’re telling me that ugly-ass thing cost more than I paid in rent for a month at my apartment?” I sucked in an audible gasp. How dare he call my precious ugly. “Take it back,” I whispered. “What?” Trevor looked at me like I was a crazy person. “Take it back. This shoe is not ugly. It’s stunning,” I said, holding it to my chest and giving it a loving stroke. He let out a sarcastic grunt and eyeballed the pump like it was garbage. “Not so stunning covered in dog slobber,” he laughed. And I was a second away from stabbing him with the chewed-up stiletto heel. Those shoes deserved to be praised. They deserved to be worn to the most expensive restaurants and balls and red carpet premiers! And they deserved to be buried with dignity in the backyard under my pretty oak tree. And I didn’t think I was being ridiculous at all!
They were failing by the hundreds and thousands in their attempt to fill the shoes of a man like the Emperor, but she dared to call the Archive chaos. What did she call the mess the self-appointed Provisional Council was creating out there? What word did she have for the infinite loss of direction in the souls of the people whose lives they had destroyed? What word for the deterioration of morality, for the spreading degeneracy? How would she describe the results of their limitless failure?
Andreas Eschbach (The Carpet Makers)
Immigrants from the Arab countries arrived simultaneously - from Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia in North Africa and from Yemen as well as from the Middle East, namely Iraq, Iran and Syria. The Yemenis were brought in by plane, in an undertaking called the "flying carpet." Later would arrive the Jews from India, called "Bnei Israel." The newcomers needed everything that sustains life: food, shelter, work and the knowledge of the new language, a means of communication.
Pearl Fichman (Before Memories Fade)
The Omanis had feasts called haflas where they’d bring a goat in and cook it in the fire. It was always a fantastic gathering. They’d turn up in their Land Cruisers in the middle of nowhere, put the carpets out, and start a fire up. Sometimes they’d tow in a small water bowser as well. There was a huge amount of ritual involved; the animal was treated with immense respect before it was killed, in accordance with Islam.
Andy McNab (Immediate Action: The Explosive True Story of the Toughest-and Most Highly Secretive-Strike Force in the World)
I remember my first date, aged fifteen, with a girl called Hilary Gidding. A coin fell down the back of the cinema seats and we both slipped our hands into the tight fuzzy gap of the chairs past popcorn kernels and sticky ticket stubs and our hands met, stroking the carpet feeling for the coin, and it was electric. The wrist being clamped by upholstery, the darkness, the accident, the lovely dirt of public spaces.
Max Porter (Grief Is the Thing with Feathers)