It was all exteriors, though. I never went inside anywhere.

Eddie knew the corners of Boston and all the shortcuts. It was Eddie who had shown me the knife shop and Raymond’s and the joke shop; my father had shown me the memorial to the black regiment and Hooker’s statue and the Union Oyster House. Between my father and Eddie, Boston held no secrets for me.

It was all exteriors, though. I never went inside anywhere. What would be the point? I had no money, and I was afraid of being confronted. But Eddie had been to all the stores, and had even gone inside the Old Howard for a burlesque show and told me the jokes. A stripper said to a heckler, “Meet me in my dressing room. If I’m late, start without me,” which made Eddie laugh so hard he didn’t notice that I hadn’t understood.

Action, by Paul Theroux.