From Richard Hell’s review of Jim Carroll’s posthumous novel “The Petting Zoo” in today’s New York Times Book Review:
The beautiful excerpt that Carroll presented in 1987 is the strongest example of the book at this raconteur’s set-piece best, but it doesn’t appear in the novel as published (Carroll was still “putting the finishing touches” on the book when he died, an editor’s note says). It told of Billy on a bus in the rain. The young stranger sitting next to him boasts of being a writer. Billy turns “his head to the window to completely seal himself off,” and then turns back, asking, “How many people have you disappointed?” The kid fumblingly calculates on his fingers before replying: “I’ll say eight. Eight people.”
“He faced Billy. Billy was right there waiting.
“ ‘I’ve disappointed thousands.’ Billy spoke firmly, slowly, right at the kid, who seemed suddenly so much younger in every feature, but in his lips especially. ‘Literally thousands.’