Across the street somebody had delirium tremens in the front yard and a mixed quartet tore what was left of the night into small strips and did what they could to make the strips miserable. While this was going on the exotic brunette didn't move more than one eyelash.
(Philip Marlow is interviewing the brunette. The wild party with the mixed quartet across from hers is part of the sitz im leben of the interview.)
I can't figure out the meaning of strip here. (It's from "Red Wind" by Raymond Chandler.)