Hello friends. This post is a collection of quotes from the book - Deacon King Kong by James McBride. Deacon King Kong is a book about a community under threat, about the ways people pull together in an age when the old rules are being rewritten. It is very funny in places, and heartbreaking in others.
Think of a horse. Now think of a fly on the horse’s back. That’s you.
You got to have a principle or you ain’t nothing. What you think of that?
It ain’t smart to shoot a man’s ear off. A man ain’t got but two.
I don’t get in a knot over the fibbing and twiddling things folks say about me. I got my own thoughts about things.
Moving hot goods while cops were running an investigation in your backyard was like being the dumbest kid in class who always raises his hand anyway. No matter how stupid you are, it’s only a matter of time before the teacher calls on you.
May your health always be fine, and the wind at your back. May the road rise up to meet you. And may God hold you in the palm of His hand.
Everything you are, everything you will be in this cruel world, depends on your word. A man who cannot keep his word is worthless.
My job is to clean. It don’t matter what I clean. Dirt’s the same wherever it goes.
I’m a house cleaner, see. I work in dirt. I chase dirt all day. Dirt don’t like me. It don’t set there and say, ‘I’m hiding. Come get me.’ I got to go out and find it to clean it out. But I don’t hate dirt for being dirt. You can’t hate a thing for being what it is. Dirt makes me who I am. Wherever I try to rid the world of it, I’m making things a little better for somebody.
Everybody went to jail in the Cause eventually. You could be the tiniest ant able to slip into a crack in the sidewalk, or a rocket ship that flew fast enough to break the speed of sound, it didn’t matter.
A true Irishman knows the world will one day break your heart.
A man who doesn’t trust cannot be trusted.
All the experience of thirty-two years on the NYPD and all the formal police training in the world was useless when the smile of someone you suddenly care about finds the bow that wraps your heart and undoes it.
Everything under God’s sun got a purpose in this world. Everything wants to live. Everything deserves life, really.
I reckon I’m like most folks. Most times I don’t know what I’m doing. Sometimes I feel like I don’t hardly know enough to tie my own shoes.
These drug lords are a different breed. They don’t play by the rules like the old crooks did. There’s no handshake or silent agreements, no looking the other way. Nobody’s safe. Nothing’s sacred. There’s too much money involved.
Nothing in the world is normal. I can’t understand why you’d even hope for that.
Money’s not everything. If you have enough to live, that’s enough.
You can’t take the love of ball out of a ballplayer. Can’t be done. There’s a baseball player in that boy.
Baseball was a pitcher’s game. Your basic batter knew the pitcher had to throw the ball over the plate in order to get him out of the game. When you did, the batter would try to clobber it. So you had to keep him guessing. Was the batter looking for a curve? A fastball? A curve outside? Or a fastball inside? Hitters, like most people, were guessers. The good hitters studied pitchers, watched their moves, anything that might give them a hint of what pitch was coming. But the good pitchers were smarter than that. They kept the hitters guessing. Throw inside? Outside? Curveball? Splitter? Fastball up and away? Guess wrong and the hitter knocks your pitch out of the yard. Guess right and the guy’s out and you’re a baseball millionaire.
Nothing here would change. Life in the Cause would lurch forward as it always did. You worked, slaved, fought off the rats, the mice, the roaches, the ants, the Housing Authority, the cops, the muggers, and now the drug dealers. You lived a life of disappointment and suffering, of too-hot summers and too-cold winters, surviving in apartments with crummy stoves that didn’t work and windows that didn’t open and toilets that didn’t flush and lead paint that flecked off the walls and poisoned your children, living in awful, dreary apartments built to house Italians who came to America to work the docks, which had emptied of boats, ships, tankers, dreams, money, and opportunity the moment the colored and the Latinos arrived. And still New York blamed you for all its problems. And who can you blame? You were the one who chose to live here, in this hard town with its hard people, the financial capital of the world, land of opportunity for the white man and a tundra of spent dreams and empty promises for anyone else stupid enough to believe the hype.
All intangibles are forgiven, I accept them and more - your faults, your dips and turns, everything, because our love is a hammer forged at the anvil of God and not even your most foolish, irrational act can break it.
There is nothing on this earth so low as a mother or father who treats their child cruel.
He was white, so his word was the gospel. Nothing in this world happens unless white folks says it happens. The lies they tell each other sound better to them than the truth does when it comes out of our mouths.
Isn’t it something, what ol’ New York really is? We come here to be free and find life’s worse here than back home. The white folks here just color it different. They don’t mind you sitting next to ’em on the subway, or riding the bus in the front seat, but if you asks for the same pay, or wants to live next door, or get so beat down you don’t wanna stand up and sing about how great America is, they’ll bust down on you so hard pus’ll come out your ears.
Prayer. And insurance. The only two things a good Catholic ever needs.
In my business, trouble creeps up on you like an old charge account. So you work it out with the guys who won’t knife you in the back and hope the rest that you owe have amnesia. That’s how it works.
You walk in here without a can of sardines, nor gift, nor bowl of beans, not even a glass of water to offer somebody who is aiming to give you a free hand to the thing you come for. And you don’t even know if you gonna hit the bull’s-eye on that or not. You is like most white men. You believes you is entitled to something you ain’t got no hand in. Everything in the world got a price, mister.
I can’t stand it when somebody who got a reputation for blasting hot air suddenly grows cold when they know something you don’t.