Monday May 2nd, 2011

A Selection

From Dog Soldiers by Robert Stone:

Converse lay clinging to earth and life, his mouth full of sweet grass. Around him the screams, the bombs, the whistling splinters swelled their sickening volume until they blotted out sanity and light. It was then that he cried, although he had not realized it at the time.

In the course of being fragmentation-bombed by the South Vietnamese Air Force, Converse experienced several insights; he did not welcome them although they came as no surprise.

One insight was that the ordinary physical world through which one shuffled heedless and half-assed toward nonentity was capable of composing itself, at any time and without notice, into a massive instrument of agonizing death. Existence was a trap; the testy patience of things as they are might be exhausted at any moment.

Another was that in the single moment when the breathing world had hurled itself screeching and murderous at his throat, he had recognized the absolute correctness of its move. In those seconds, it seemed absurd that he had ever been allowed to go his foolish way, pursuing notions and small joys. He was ashamed of the casual arrogance with which he had presumed to scurry about creation. From the bottom of his heart, he concurred in the moral necessity of his annihilation.

He had lain there — a funny little fucker — a little stingless quiver on the earth. That was all there was of him, all there ever had been.