“Things quiet down after one o’clock. The corner newsboys, some of them over fifty, speak sadly of the horses, and the small fortunes they would have made if they had played their own hunches instead of the suggestions of their sincere but annoying friends. Monday’s paper is about Cuba and a murder somewhere. The real news isn’t in Monday’s paper. It won’t be in Tuesday’s paper. It will never be in any newspaper. It has been going on so long that no one is noticing it any more. It is not even a subject anymore, being the fact, the essence of the whole business, and having been forgotten when it seemed too frightening to dwell upon: the maddening desire in the heart of man for precision or death, the possession of all loveliness or complete disintegration.
Only the girls are able to speak of the matter intelligently. They seem to understand how it is, and at two o’clock in the morning they seem to be the only decent people alive. The way they talk, the accuracy of the unprintable language they use, begins to seem noble and eloquent, and they themselves acquire a loveliness that is universal. Up and down the stairs of small hotels, old men and boys. Money is involved, but that is simply because this is a capitalistic society, and because the medium of exchange, even in questions of love and lust, has conveniently assumed the materiality of coin and currency. It is impossible to understand the absolute failure of capitalism until one has studied the manner in which the girls carry love and death to clerks and bookkeepers.”
- william saroyan