Thursday, July 12, 2012

The 25th Hour by David Benioff (Plume Books 2000)



Monty locks the door of the small bathroom and sits on the closed toilet seat. Someone has written Fuck you in silver marker above the roll of toilet paper. Sure, he thinks. And fuck you too. Fuck everyone. The French hostess, the diners drinking wine, the waiters taking orders. Fuck this city and everyone in it. The panhandlers, grinning on the street corners, begging for change. The turbaned Sikhs and unwashed Pakistanis racing their yellow cabs down the avenues. The Chelsea faggots with their waxed chests and pumped-up biceps. Fuck them all. The Korean grocers with their pyramid of overpriced fruit, their plastic-wrapped tulips and roses. The white-robed Nigerians selling counterfeit Gucci on Fifth Avenue. The Russians in Brighton Beach, drinking their tea from glasses, sugar cubes clenched between their teeth. Fuck them. The black-hatted Hasidim in their dirty gaberdine suits, selling diamonds on 47th Street, counting their money while they wait for Meshiach. The sidewalk gimps, bodies crooked and spastic. The Wall Street brokers, smug and cologned, reading their folded papers in subway cars. Fuck them all. The skateboard punks in Washington Square Park, wallet chains rattling as they leap the curb. The Puerto Ricans, flags flying and radios howling from the open windows of their cars. The Bensonhurst Italians pomading their hair, with their nylon warm-up suits and St. Anthony medallions. The Upper East Side wives, with their pinched mouths and lifted faces, with their scarves from Hermès and their artichokes from Balducci's. Fuck the uptown brothers, they never pass the ball, they don't play defense, they take four steps on every drive to the hoop. Fuck the prep school junkies, smoking tar in Daddy's kitchen while the old man jets to Tokyo. Fuck the police, the bullyboys in blue with their thick-necked swagger, zooming through red lights on their way to Krispy Kreme. Fuck the Knicks - Patrick Ewing and his blown finger roll against Indiana, Charles Smith and his failed layups against Chicago, John Starks and his thousand missed shots against Houston - fuck them, they'll never beat Jordan, they will never beat Jordan. Fuck Jakob Elinsky, that whining runt. Fuck Frank Slattery, always staring at my girlfriend's ass. Fuck Naturelle Rosario, set free tomorrow when I'm gone. Fuck Kostya Novotny; I trusted him and he dimed me out. Fuck my father, alone in his darkroom, hanging wet prints from a line. Fuck my mother, rotting below the snow. Fuck Jesus Christ, he got off easy, an afternoon on the cross, a weekend in hell, and then the hallelujahs of all the legioned angels. Fuck this city and everyone in it - from the row houses of Astoria to the duplexes of Park Avenue, from the projects in Brownsville to the lofts in Soho, from Bellevue Hospital to the tenements in Alphabet City to the brownstones in Park Slope - let the Arabs bomb it all to rubble; let the waters rise and submerge the whole rat-crazed place; let an earthquake tumble the tall buildings; let the fires reign uncontested; let it burn, let it burn. And fuck you, Montgomery Brogan, you blew it.

Someone is banging on the bathroom door and Monty stands, walks over to the sink, and washes his hands. He stares at his face in the mirror. For all the good it did you, he thinks. Green eyes, high cheekbones, straight nose, perfect white teeth. Pretty white boy. Eyes, bones, nose, teeth. More banging on the door. And Monty knows what he has to do. "Fuck it," he whispers, and waves goodbye to the face in the mirror.

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