Last Call, First Paragraph (quote)

One of the better openings of a book:

The streets of San Francisco were jammed. A frenzy of cars, trucks, wagons, and every other imaginable form of conveyance crisscrossed the town and battled its steepest hills. Porches, staircase landings, and sidewalks were piled high with boxes and crates delivered on the last possible day before transporting their contents would become illegal. The next morning, the Chronicle reported that people whose beer, liquor, and wine had not arrived by midnight were left to stand in their doorways “with haggard faces and glittering eyes.” Just two weeks earlier, on the last New Year’s Eve before prohibition, frantic celebrations had convulsed in the city’s hotels and private clubs, its neighborhood taverns and wharfside saloons.  It was a spasm of desperate joy fueled, said the Chronicle by great quantities of “bottled sunshine” liberated from “cellars, club lockers, bank vaults, safety deposit boxes and other hiding places.” Now on January 16, the sunshine was surrendering to darkness. (page 1)

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