From Pynchon's short story Entropy:

"[T]he front door flew open and the place was invaded by five enlisted personnel of the U.S. Navy, all in varying stages of abomination. 'This is the place,' shouted a fat, pimply seaman apprentice who had lost his white hat. 'This here is the hoorhouse that chief was telling us about.' A stringy-looking 3rd class boatswain's mate pushed him aside and cased the living room. 'You're right, Slab,' he said. [1] [...]
"'No,' Meatball was still saying, 'no, I'm afraid not. This is not a house of ill repute. I'm sorry, really I am.' Slab was adamant. 'But the chief said,' he kept repeating. The seaman offered to swap the moonshine for a good piece." [2]

According to David Seed, "Pynchon probably took Slab's name from Philosophical Investigations where Wittgenstein hypothesizes a minimal language between a builder and his assistant which would consist of nouns like 'block' or 'slab'." [3]


  1. Pynchon, Thomas, Slow Learner, Jonathan Cape, 1985, p. 92
  2. Ibid., p. 94
  3. Seed, David, The Fictional Labyrinths of Thomas Pynchon, University of Iowa Press, 1988, p. 75
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