I look in the jewelry box where Joanie found the drugs. She showed me a miniature Ziploc bag filled with a clear, hard rock. 'What is this?' I said. I never did drugs, so I had no idea. Heroin? Cocaine? Crack? Ice? 'What is this?' I screamed at Alex, who screamed back, 'It's not like I shoot it!' A plastic ballerina pops up and slowly twirls to a tinkling song whose sound is discordant and deformed. The pink satin liner is dirty, and other than a black pearl necklace, the box holds only rusty paper clips and rubber bands noosed with Alex's dark hair. I see a note stuck to the mirror and pick up the jewelry box and move the ballerina aside. She twirls against my finger. The note says, I wouldn't hide them in the same place twice. I let out a short breath through my nose. Good one, Alex. I close the jewelry box and shake my head, missing her tremendously. I wish she never went back to boarding school, and I don't understand her sudden change of plans. What did they fight about? What could have been so bad?
Kaui Hart Hemmings
And when spring comes to the City people notice one another in the road; notice the strangers with whom they share aisles and tables and the space where intimate garments are laundered. going in and out, in and out the same door, they handle the handle; on trolleys and park benches they settle thighs on a seat in which hundreds have done it too. Copper coins dropped in the palm have been swallowed by children and tested by gypsies, but it's still money and people smile at that. It's the time of year when the City urges contradiction most, encouraging you to buy street food when you have no appetite at all; giving you a taste for a single room occupied by you alone as well as a craving to share it with someone you passed in the street. Really there is no contradiction-rather it's a condition; the range of what an artful City can do. What can beat bricks warming up to the sun? The return of awnings. The removal of blankets from horses' backs. Tar softens under the heel and the darkness under bridges changes from gloom to cooling shade. After a light rain, when the leaves have come, tree limbs are like wet fingers playing in woolly green hair. Motor cars become black jet boxes gliding behind hoodlights weakened by mist. On sidewalks turned to satin figures move shoulder first, the crowns of their heads angled shields against the light buckshot that the raindrops are. The faces of children glimpsed at windows appear to be crying, but it is the glass pane dripping that makes it seem so.
Four times during the first six days they were assembled and briefed and then sent back. Once, they took off and were flying in formation when the control tower summoned them down. The more it rained, the worse they suffered. The worse they suffered, the more they prayed that it would continue raining. All through the night, men looked at the sky and were saddened by the stars. All through the day, they looked at the bomb line on the big, wobbling easel map of Italy that blew over in the wind and was dragged in under the awning of the intelligence tent every time the rain began. The bomb line was a scarlet band of narrow satin ribbon that delineated the forward most position of the Allied ground forces in every sector of the Italian mainland. For hours they stared relentlessly at the scarlet ribbon on the map and hated it because it would not move up high enough to encompass the city. When night fell, they congregated in the darkness with flashlights, continuing their macabre vigil at the bomb line in brooding entreaty as though hoping to move the ribbon up by the collective weight of their sullen prayers. "I really can't believe it, " Clevinger exclaimed to Yossarian in a voice rising and falling in protest and wonder. "It's a complete reversion to primitive superstition. They're confusing cause and effect. It makes as much sense as knocking on wood or crossing your fingers. They really believe that we wouldn't have to fly that mission tomorrow if someone would only tiptoe up to the map in the middle of the night and move the bomb line over Bologna. Can you imagine? You and I must be the only rational ones left." In the middle of the night Yossarian knocked on wood, crossed his fingers, and tiptoed out of his tent to move the bomb line up over Bologna.
You are to make up your mind whether it is to be God or man. Whether you are to be free or a slave. Whether it is to be progress or stagnation. As long as man loves a phantom in the sky more than he loves his fellow man, there will never be peace upon this earth; so long as man worships a Tyrant as the "Fatherhood of God, " there will never be a "Brotherhood of Man." You must make the choice, you must come to the decision. Is it to be God or Man? Churches or Homes-preparation for death or happiness for the living? If ever man needed an example of the benefit of the one against the other, he need but read the pages of history for proof of how religion retarded progress and provoked hatred among the children of men. When theology ruled the world, man was a slave. The people lived in huts and hovels. They were clad in rags and skins; they devoured crusts and gnawed bones; the priests wore garments of silk and satin; carried mitres of gold and precious stones, robbed the poor and lived upon the fat of the land! Here and there a brave man appeared to question their authority. These martyrs to intellectual emancipation slowly and painfully broke the spell of superstition and ushered in the Age of Reason and the Dawn of Science. Man became the only god that man can know. He no longer fell upon his knees in fear. He began to enjoy the fruits of his own labor. He discovered a way to relieve himself from the drudgery of continuous toil; he began to enjoy a few comforts of life-and for the first time upon this earth he found a few moments for happiness. It is far more important to learn how to live than to learn how to pray. A new day and a new era dawned for him. His labors produced enormous dividends. He looked at the sky for the first time and saw that it was blue! He searched the heavens and found no God. He no longer feared the manifestations of nature.
In her fantastic mood she stretched her soft, clasped hands upward toward the moon. 'Sweet moon, ' she said in a kind of mock prayer, 'make your white light come down in music into my dancing-room here, and I will dance most deliciously for you to see". She flung her head backward and let her hands fall; her eyes were half closed, and her mouth was a kissing mouth. 'Ah! sweet moon, ' she whispered, 'do this for me, and I will be your slave; I will be what you will.' Quite suddenly the air was filled with the sound of a grand invisible orchestra. Viola did not stop to wonder. To the music of a slow saraband she swayed and postured. In the music there was the regular beat of small drums and a perpetual drone. The air seemed to be filled with the perfume of some bitter spice. Viola could fancy almost that she saw a smoldering campfire and heard far off the roar of some desolate wild beast. She let her long hair fall, raising the heavy strands of it in either hand as she moved slowly to the laden music. Slowly her body swayed with drowsy grace, slowly her satin shoes slid over the silver sand. The music ceased with a clash of cymbals. Viola rubbed her eyes. She fastened her hair up carefully again. Suddenly she looked up, almost imperiously. "Music! more music!" she cried. Once more the music came. This time it was a dance of caprice, pelting along over the violin-strings, leaping, laughing, wanton. Again an illusion seemed to cross her eyes. An old king was watching her, a king with the sordid history of the exhaustion of pleasure written on his flaccid face. A hook-nosed courtier by his side settled the ruffles at his wrists and mumbled, 'Ravissant! Quel malheur que la vieillesse!' It was a strange illusion. Faster and faster she sped to the music, stepping, spinning, pirouetting; the dance was light as thistle-down, fierce as fire, smooth as a rapid stream. The moment that the music ceased Viola became horribly afraid. She turned and fled away from the moonlit space, through the trees, down the dark alleys of the maze, not heeding in the least which turn she took, and yet she found herself soon at the outside iron gate. ("The Moon Slave")