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His Gray Eminance

Posted to Utterances




"The effect was uncanny. You would see him one time a fresh-faced kid. A week or so later he would turn up so thin, sallow and old-looking, you would have to look twice to recognize him. His face was lined with suffering in which his eyes did not participate. It was a suffering of his cells alone. He himself - the conscious ego that looked out of the glazed, alert-calm hoodlum eyes - would have nothing to do with this suffering of his rejected other self, a suffering of the nervous system, of flesh and viscera and cells.

... I looked at him a long three seconds before I recognized Dupre. He looked older and younger. The deadness had gone from his eyes and he was twenty pounds thinner. His face twitched at intervals like dead matter coming alive, still jerky and mechanical. When he was getting plenty of junk, Dupre looked anonymous and dead, so you could not pick him out of a crowd or recognize him at a distance. Now, his image was clear and sharp. If you walked fast down a crowded street and passed Dupre, his face would be forced on your memory - like in the card trick where the operator fans the cards rapidly, saying, "Take a card, any card," as he forces a certain card into your hand.

-Burroughs