" The clandestine operation tucked several floors below ground level inside a Los Angeles high-rise had never before made her queasy. Today the copper walls, marble flooring, refrigerated temperature and minimal furnishings took discomfort to a new level. She'd swear Alien was about to burst from her belly. "
" Mary Hepburn was meanwhile murdering herself up in her room, lying on her bed with the polyethylene sheath of her "Jackie dress" swapped around her head. The sheath was now all steamed up inside, and she hallucinated that she was a great land tortoise lying on its back in the hot and humid hold of a sailing ship of long ago. She pawed the air in perfect futility, just as a land tortoise on its back would have done.As she had often told her students, sailing ships bound out across the Pacific used to stop off in the Galàpagos Islands to capture defenseless tortoises, who could live on their backs without food or water for months. They were so slow and tame and huge and plentiful. The sailors would capsize them without fear of being bitten or clawed. then they would drag them down to waiting longboats on the shore, using the animals' own useless suits of armor for sleds.They would store them on their backs in the dark paying no further attention to them until it was time for them to be eaten. the beauty of the tortoises to the sailors was that they were fresh meat which did not have to be refrigerated or eaten right away. "
" The Bear had once confided to me that Durrell's ego could fit snugly in the basilica of St. Peter's in Rome but in very few other public places. This runaway megalomania marked him as a blood member of the fraternity of generals. If looks alone could make generals, Durrell would have been a cinch. He was built lean and slim and dark, like a Doberman. A man of breeding and refrigerated intelligence, he ordered his life like a table of logarithms. "