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Excerpts from 85A

Chapter 3:

Soon as I got the money, I went to Rocket 69 and picked up a poster of Johnny shoving his face into the camera, fucking diabolical eyeballs popping out; safety pins all up and down his ripped-up, raggedy coat; T-shirt split down the middle, holes every which fuckin’ way on it. He’s everything the old guard was ever scared of. He’ll throw his scrawny, scavenger dog’s body at any nightstick.


Chapter 4:

I’d walk around my room trying to bring every word from Wilde into my bloodstream.  My shanty blood was becoming more lace-curtain with every word this Irish Protestant jailbird bugger wrote.


Chapter 5:

[Dr. S said:] I sometimes fear you’re setting yourself up for a hard life by always writing about hard lives.


Chapter 9:

As the northbound L came, I told myself, I’ll tell Colby we’ll fly from O’Hare to London. Last I checked in the Sunday Trib, the cheapest fares run about $600—and that’s roundtrip. We only need one-way, so it’ll be a lot cheaper. We’ll get to Heathrow (that’s the airport there). We’ll get on the Tube (that’s what they call the L in London, and, in quids [that’s what they call bucks], it shouldn’t be any more expensive than the L). We’ll find a squat (that’s an abandoned building where you can stay till you have enough quids to pay rent on an apartment; lots of punks live in them) somewhere in Brixton (that’s where David Bowie grew up but it’s mostly Rastafarians now; they got blacks in England too, with British accents, it’s mental!). We’ll find some punks at the squat, ones we can trust to look after our shit. We’ll get back on the Tube and go apply for jobs at some West End pubs (that’s what the Brits call bars). Almost all of them pay you what they call “under the table” (that means you don’t have to worry about being an illegal alien).


Chapter 10:

The bus is on fire. It’s got bloodlust Ozzy Osbourne eyes, Jaws’ razor teeth, and a face like the Soul Train on Soul Train. There’s a white guy in a Gestapo uniform. His eyes are bulging. His tongue is wagging. He’s sticking his finger in the blue bus’ ass. There’s a Red Dawn explosion behind him, a nuclear holocaust. There’s a black hooker painted space-invader green. She’s standing on top of the burning bus with a great big fuckin’ fro, a tight-as-fuck pink mini, ten-stack platform shoes, fists clenched and pinned to her hips.

Too bad you can’t paint that shit on buildings without a permit. It’s cool as fuck. Takes a shitload of talent too. Man, I wish I could paint, but I can’t even doodle out a damn circle. No wonder I’m flunking geometry. If we were in a state of anarchy like we should be, we could paint whatever the fuck we want, wherever the fuck we want. Just listen to Mozart. Did he have to wait till he had a permit to make music?—Well I guess maybe he did. There was that scene in Amadeus where he had a bitch of a time getting approved by the imperial court to do a harem opera. But…whatever, man…it shouldn’t fuckin’ be that way.


Chapter 17:

There’s a fuckin’ earring in Shakespeare’s right ear and he’s wearing an upholstered velvet jacket with puffy, padded shoulders. I take my seat and look around at the class. The football jocks are low-riding into their seats as they hold their pens, casual-like, impressing the little sluts on all sides of them with their macho-man acts. The little sluts let their knee-length skirts ride up in their chairs.


Chapter 26:

I looked out over West Town. All the severe, cagey fire escapes and the graffiti glowing in the dark and the Mexican dads, about to wake up from an hour’s sleep between whatever under-the-table jobs they could get to feed the too-many mouths at their tables, and there were the random apartments that were lit up even at this ungodly hour, probably with all sorts of Cassandras and Oresteses in them, calling it a night after whatever kind of after-hours, head-trip soirees they must’ve all been throwing… I stood up to take one last look down at North Avenue and a little speck of a building a couple blocks away called Café de Sade.