Tuesday, April 20, 2021 Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 licence.

Joseph Heller

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I get the willies when I see closed doors. Even at work, where I am doing so well now, the sight of a closed door is sometimes enough to make me dread that something horrible is happening behind it, something that is going to affect me adversely; if I am tired and dejected from a night of lies or booze or sex or just nerves and insomnia, I can almost smell the disaster mounting invisibly and flooding out toward me through the frosted glass panes. My hands may perspire, and my voice may come out strange. I wonder why.
Something must have happened to me sometime.
--
Opening Lines

 
Joseph Heller

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There was a desert wind blowing that night. It was one of those hot dry Santa Anas that come down through the mountain passes and curl your hair and make your nerves jump and your skin itch. On nights like that every booze party ends in a fight. Meek little wives feel the edge of the carving knife and study their husbands' necks. Anything can happen. You can even get a full glass of beer at a cocktail lounge.

 
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When you want the score
When you need a helping hand
And you find closed doors
And you're back where you began
Keeping those secrets
Telling those lies...
Can anybody tell me
What's the big surprise?

 
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