W.A.S.T.E. Quotes in The Crying of Lot 49
“It’s the principle,” Fallopian agreed, sounding defensive. “To keep it up to some kind of a reasonable volume, each member has to send at least one letter a week through the Yoyodyne system. If you don’t, you get fined.” He opened his letter and showed Oedipa and Metzger.
Dear Mike, it said, how are you? Just thought I’d drop you a note. How’s your book coming? Guess that’s all for now. See you at The Scope.
“That’s how it is,” Fallopian confessed bitterly, “most of the time.”
“Then the watermark you found,” she said, “is nearly the same thing, except for the extra little doojigger sort of coming out of the bell.”
“It sounds ridiculous,” Cohen said, “but my guess is it's a mute.”
She nodded. The black costumes, the silence, the secrecy. Whoever they were their aim was to mute the Thurn and Taxis post horn.
“Why put in a deliberate mistake?” he asked, ignoring—if he saw it—the look on her face. “I've come up so far with eight in all. Each one has an error like this, laboriously worked into the design, like a taunt. There's even a transposition—U. S. Potsage, of all things.”
Either you have stumbled indeed, without the aid of LSD or other indole alkaloids, onto a secret richness and concealed density of dream […] Or you are hallucinating it. Or a plot has been mounted against you […] all financed out of the estate in a way either too secret or too involved for your non-legal mind to know about even though you are co-executor, so labyrinthine that it must have meaning beyond just a practical joke. Or you are fantasying some such plot, in which case you are a nut, Oedipa, out of your skull.
Those, now that she was looking at them, she saw to be the alternatives. Those symmetrical four. She didn’t like any of them, but hoped she was mentally ill; that that’s all it was. That night she sat for hours, too numb even to drink, teaching herself to breathe in a vacuum. For this, oh God, was the void. There was nobody who could help her. Nobody in the world. They were all on something, mad, possible enemies, dead.