May 20, 2014

Cocktail Talk: The Crazy Kill

Part two of my re-reading and Cocktail Talk-ing from Chester Himes books continues (part 1 here) continues with a quote from the awesome book, The Crazy Kill. I talk about it more in the first Crazy Kill Cocktail Talk (see it when you look at all Chester Himes Cocktail Talks), but as a quick refresher, it starts at a wake where a man is found dead in a bread basket. And goes from there. Actually, I’m going to be put in two quotes, but the first one is really short – and so perfect if you know a bunch of bartenders. Like I do (luckily). The second is an overview of the wake, and is a dandy party quote (even if a wake isn’t, I suppose, always a party).

‘I ain’t interested in that whiskey jockey,’ Doll Baby said.

The table, sink, sidestands and most of the available floor space were strewn with empty and half-filled bottles – gin, whiskey and rum bottles, pop bottles, condiment bottles; pots, pans and platters of food, a dishpan containing leftover potato salad, deep iron pots with soggy pieces of friend chicken, fried fish, fried pork chops; baking pans with mashed and mangled biscuits, pie pans with single slices of runny pies; a washtub containing bits of ice floating about in trashy water; slices of cake and spongy white-bread sandwiches, half eaten, lying everywhere – on the table, sink and floor.

— Chester Himes, The Crazy Kill

October 26, 2010

Cocktail Talk: The Crazy Kill

Chester Himes is one fantastic and fantastically varied writer. He’s written novels a plenty, known for their rigorous politics, but never getting bogged down by them, more rollicking stories, and pure polemics. But he’s probably best known for his series of Harlem crime books, which star two unforgettable police detectives, Coffin Ed Johnson and Grave Digger Jones. These books, for me, manage what most “crime” books don’t, which is to create a universe so complete and entertaining and real that the mysteries or crimes become, not secondary, but only a part of the whole, instead of the only thing tying a book together. The fact that many characters hit a variety of bars and have drinks a’poppin’ doesn’t hurt either. This quote is from The Crazy Kill, and if you don’t always want your drinks ice-cold, you’ll appreciate it (really, you’ll appreciate it no matter what I’ll bet).

When Johnny sat down the waitress came with the menu, and PeeWee brought in a big glass pitcher of lemonade, with slices of lemons and limes and big chunks of ice floating in it.

‘I want a Singapore Sling,’ Dulcy said.

Johnny gave her a look.

‘Well, brandy and soda then. You know good and well that ice-cold drinks give me indigestion.’


–Chester Himes, The Crazy Kill

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