Chicago 1893

As they came in low over the Stockyards, the smell found them, the smell and the uproar of flesh learning its mortality–like the dark conjugate of some daylit fiction they had flown here, as appeared increasingly likely, to help promote. Somewhere down there was the White City promised in the Columbian Exposition brochures, somewhere among the tall smokestacks unceasingly vomiting black grease-smoke, the effluvia of butchery unremitting, into which the buildings of the leagues of city lying downwind retreated, like children into sleep which bringeth not reprieve from the day. In the Stockyards, workers coming off shift, overwhelmingly of the Roman faith, able to detach from earth and blood for a few precious sec­onds, looked up at the airship in wonder, imagining a detachment of not necessarily helpful angels.
Beneath the rubbernecking Chums of Chance wheeled streets and alley­-ways in a Cartesian grid, sketched in sepia, mile on mile. “The Great Bovine City of the World,” breathed Lindsay in wonder. Indeed, the backs of cattle far outnumbered the tops of human hats. From this height it as if the Chums, who, out on adventures past, had often witnessed the vast herds of cattle adrift in ever-changing cloudlike patterns across the Western plains, here saw that unshaped freedom being rationalized into movement only in straight lines and at right angles and a progressive reduction of choices, until the final turn through the final gate that led to the killing-floor.

Thomas Pynchon: Against the Day (2006); hier: Penguin Books 2007, S. 10