This work is part of a series of language-based black-and-white paintings Wool began making in the mid-1980s. While he wrote many of the phrases he used in these works himself, he borrowed or adapted others from alternative sources. This line appears in the 1957 movie Sweet Smell of Success, written by Ernest Lehman and Clifford Odets. It is a bit of code uttered by one of the characters to indicate that a dirty job has been completed. Wool recalls being struck by the poetry of the phrase and its sinister terseness.
Gallery label from What is Painting? Contemporary Art from the Collection, July 7–September 17, 2007 .