Quotes from The Killer Inside Me

Jim Thompson ·  244 pages

Rating: (15.1K votes)


“There are things that have to be forgotten if you want to go on living.”
― Jim Thompson, quote from The Killer Inside Me


“A weed is a plant out of place.”
― Jim Thompson, quote from The Killer Inside Me


“We're living in a funny world kid, a peculiar civilization. The police are playing crooks in it, and the crooks are doing police duty. The politicians are preachers, and the preachers are politicians. The tax collectors collect for themselves. The Bad People want us to have more dough, and the good people are fighting to keep it from us. It's not good for us, know what I mean? If we had all we wanted to eat, we'd eat too much. We'd have inflation in the toilet paper industry. That's the way I understand it. That's about the size of some of the arguments I've heard.”
― Jim Thompson, quote from The Killer Inside Me


“I kissed her, a long hard kiss. Because baby didn't know it, but baby was dead, and in a way I couldn't have loved her more.”
― Jim Thompson, quote from The Killer Inside Me


“You go into the office and take a book or two from the shelves. You read a few lines, like your life depended on reading 'em right. But you know your life doesn't depend on anything that makes sense, and you wonder where in the hell you got the idea it did; and you begin to get sore.”
― Jim Thompson, quote from The Killer Inside Me



“If the Good Lord made a mistake in us people it was in making us want to live when we’ve got the least excuse for it.”
― Jim Thompson, quote from The Killer Inside Me


“If we all had what we wanted to eat... We'd have inflation in the toilet paper industry.”
― Jim Thompson, quote from The Killer Inside Me


“I just learned two things there at that college, Mr. Ford, that was ever of any use to me. One was that I couldn’t do any worse than the people that were in the saddle, so maybe I’d better try pulling ’em down and riding myself. The other was a definition I got out of the agronomy book, and I reckon it was even more important than the first. It did more to revise my thinking, if I’d really done any thinking up until that time. Before that I’d seen everything in black and white, good and bad. But after I was set straight I saw that the name you put to a thing depended on where you stood and where it stood. And…and here’s the definition, right out of the agronomy books: ‘A weed is a plant out of place.’ Let me repeat that. ‘A weed is a plant out of place.’ I find a hollyhock in my cornfield, and it’s a weed. I find it in my yard, and it’s a flower.”
― Jim Thompson, quote from The Killer Inside Me


“It was like being asleep when you were awake and awake when you were asleep. I'd pinch myself, figuratively speaking - I had to keep pinching myself. Then I'd wake up kind of in reverse; I'd go back to the nightmare I had to live in. And everything would be clear and reasonable.”
― Jim Thompson, quote from The Killer Inside Me


“When life attains a crisis, man’s focus narrows. […] The world becomes a stage of immediate concern, swept free of illusion.”
― Jim Thompson, quote from The Killer Inside Me



“You’ve got no time at all, but it seems like you’ve got forever. You’ve got nothing to do, but it seems like you’ve got everything.

You make coffee and smoke a few cigarettes: and the hands of the clock have gone crazy on you. They haven’t moved hardly, they’ve hardly budged out of the place you last saw them, but they’ve measured off a half? two-thirds? of your life. You’ve got forever, but that’s no time at all.

You’ve got forever; and somehow you can’t do much with it. You’ve got forever; and it’s a mile wide and an inch deep and full of alligators.

You go into the office and take a book or two from the shelves. You read a few lines, like your life depended on reading 'em right. But you know your life doesn't depend on anything that makes sense, and you wonder where in the hell you got the idea it did; and you begin to get sore.”
― Jim Thompson, quote from The Killer Inside Me


“I found out long ago that the place where the law is apt to be abused the most is right around a courthouse.”
― Jim Thompson, quote from The Killer Inside Me


“Yeah, Johnnie,’ I said, ‘it’s a screwed up, bitched up world, and I’m afraid it’s going to stay that way. And I’ll tell you why. Because no one, almost no one, sees anything wrong with it. They can’t see that things are screwed up, so they’re not worried about it. What they’re worried about is guys like you.

‘They’re worried about guys liking a drink and taking it. Guys getting a piece of tail without paying a preacher for it. Guys who know what makes ’em feel good, and aren’t going to be talked out of the motion … They don’t like you guys, and they crack down on you. And the way it looks to me they’re going to be cracking down harder and harder as time goes on. You ask me why I stick around, knowing the score, and it’s hard to explain. I guess I king of got a foot on both fences, Johnnie. I planted ’em there early and now they’ve taken root, and I can’t move either way and I can’t jump. All I can do is wait until I split. Right down the middle.”
― Jim Thompson, quote from The Killer Inside Me


“Well. Well?

What are you going to do? What are you going to say?

What are you going to say when you’re drowning in your own dung and they keep booting you back into it, when all the screams in hell wouldn’t be as loud as you want to scream, when you’re at the bottom of the pit and the whole world’s at the top, when it has but one face, a face without eyes or ears, and yet it watches and listens….

What are you going to do and say? Why, pardner, that’s simple. It’s easy as nailing your balls to a stump and falling off backwards. Snow again, pardner, and drift me hard, because that’s an easy one.

You’re gonna say, they can’t keep a good man down. You’re gonna say, a winner never quits and a quitter never wins. You’re gonna smile, boy, you’re gonna show ’em the ol’ fightin’ smile. And then you’re gonna get out there an’ hit ’em hard and fast and low, an’—an’ Fight!”
― Jim Thompson, quote from The Killer Inside Me


“You can't stamp on a man's corns when he's got his feet cut off.”
― Jim Thompson, quote from The Killer Inside Me



“In lots of books I read, the writer seems to go haywire every time he reaches a high point. He’ll start leaving out punctuation and running his words together and babble about stars flashing and sinking into a deep dreamless sea. And you can’t figure out whether the hero’s laying his girl or a cornerstone. I guess that kind of crap is supposed to be pretty deep stuff—a lot of the book reviewers eat it up, I notice. But the way I see it is, the writer is just too goddam lazy to do his job. And I’m not lazy, whatever else I am. I’ll tell you everything.”
― Jim Thompson, quote from The Killer Inside Me


“Rothman gave me another sharp look, and then he looked down at his desk. 'Lou' he said softly, 'do you know how many days a year an ironworker works? Do you know what his life expectancy is? Did you ever see an old ironworker? Did you ever stop to figure that there's all kinds of dying, but only one way of being dead?”
― Jim Thompson, quote from The Killer Inside Me


“You've got no time at all, but it seems like you've got forever. You've got nothing to do, but it seems like you've got everything.
You make coffee and smoke a few cigarettes; and the hands of the clock have gone crazy on you. They haven't moved hardly, they've hardly budged out of the place you last saw them, but they've measured off a half? two-thirds? of your life. You've got forever, but that's no time at all. You've got forever; and somehow you can't do much with it. You've got forever; and it's a mile wide and an inch deep and full of alligators.”
― Jim Thompson, quote from The Killer Inside Me


“Dad always said that he had enough trouble sorting the fiction out of so-called facts, without reading fiction. He always said that science was already too muddled without trying to make it jibe with religion. He said those things, but he also said that science itself could be a religion, that a broad mind was always in danger of becoming narrow.”
― Jim Thompson, quote from The Killer Inside Me


“It’s—it’s always lightest j-just before the dark.”
― Jim Thompson, quote from The Killer Inside Me



“You've got no time at all, but it seems like you've got forever. You've got nothing to do, but it seems like you've got everything.

You make coffee and smoke a few cigarettes; and the hands of the clock have gone crazy on you. They haven't moved hardly, they've hardly budged out of the place you last saw them, but they've measured off a half? two-thirds? of your life. You've got forever, but that's no time at all.”
― Jim Thompson, quote from The Killer Inside Me


“If I had to marry someone, it wouldn't be a bossy little gal with a tongue like barbed-wire and a mind about as narrow.”
― Jim Thompson, quote from The Killer Inside Me


“I'd forgotten about it, and now I forgot it again. There are things that have to be forgotten if you want to go on living.”
― Jim Thompson, quote from The Killer Inside Me


“I knew–though I didn't recognize the fact–that I wasn't all right.”
― Jim Thompson, quote from The Killer Inside Me


“Джонни, откуда ты знаешь, какой я? Разве человек может быть уверен в том, что знает что-то? Малыш, мы живем в забавном мире, в своеобразной цивилизации. В этом мире полицейские становятся проходимцами, а проходимцы выполняют их обязанности. Политики становятся проповедниками, а проповедники - политиками. Налоговые инспекторы собирают налоги для себя. Плохие люди хотят, чтобы у нас было больше денег, а хорошие борются за то, чтобы их отнять. В этом нет ничего хорошего для нас - понимаешь, что я имею в виду? Если бы у всех было на столе то, что они хотят съесть, появилось бы слишком много дерьма. Выросло бы производство туалетной бумаги. Вот так я все это понимаю. Вот таков уровень моих аргументов.”
― Jim Thompson, quote from The Killer Inside Me



“When life attains a crisis, man’s focus narrows.”
― Jim Thompson, quote from The Killer Inside Me


“In lots of books I read, the writer seems to go haywire every time he reaches a high point. He’ll start leaving out punctuation and running his words together and babble about stars flashing and sinking into a deep dreamless sea. And you can’t figure out whether the hero’s laying his girl or a cornerstone. I guess that kind of crap is supposed to be pretty deep stuff - a lot of the book reviewers eat it up, I notice. But the way I see it is, the writer is just too goddam lazy to do his job. And I’m not lazy, whatever else I am. I’ll tell you everything. But”
― Jim Thompson, quote from The Killer Inside Me


“Existence and proof are inseparables. You have to have the second to have the first. I”
― Jim Thompson, quote from The Killer Inside Me


“She wasn't much over five feet and a hundred pounds, and she looked a little scrawny around the neck and ankles. But that was all right. It was perfectly all right. The good Lord had known just where to put that flesh where it would really do some good.”
― Jim Thompson, quote from The Killer Inside Me


“You’ve got forever, but that’s no time at all. You’ve got forever; and somehow you can’t do much with it. You’ve got forever; and it’s a mile wide and an inch deep and full of alligators.”
― Jim Thompson, quote from The Killer Inside Me



About the author

Jim Thompson
Born place: in Anadarko, Oklahoma, The United States
Born date September 27, 1906
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