dilluns, 27 de gener de 2014

Tenth Of December de George Saunders (2013)

“Am I a monster?” he said. “Do I remember birthdays around here? When a certain individual got athlete’s foot on his groin on a Sunday, did a certain other individual drive over to Rexall and pick up a prescription, paying for it with his own personal money?”
That was a nice thing he’d done, but it seemed kind of unprofessional to bring it up now.
“Jeff,” Abnesti said. “What do you want me to say here? Do you want me to say that your Fridays are at risk? I can easily say that.”
Which was cheap. My Fridays meant a lot to me, and he knew that. Fridays I got to Skype Mom.
“How long do we give you?” Abnesti said.
“Five minutes,” I said.
“How about we make it ten?” Abnesti said. (pàg. 68)

“Jeff,” Abnesti said. “I know you’ve done a lot of work on this with Mrs. Lacey. On killing and so forth. But this is not you. This is us.”
“It’s not even us,” Verlaine said. “It’s science.”
“The mandates of science,” Abnesti said. “Plus the dictates.”
“Sometimes science sucks,” Verlaine said.
“On the one hand, Jeff,” Abnesti said, “a few minutes of unpleasantness for Heather—”
“Rachel,” Verlaine said. “A few minutes of unpleasantness for Rachel,” Abnesti said, “years of relief for literally tens of thousands of underloving or overloving folks.”
“Do the math, Jeff,” Verlaine said.
“Being good in small ways is easy,” Abnesti said. “Doing the huge good things, that’s harder.”
“Drip on?” Verlaine said. “Jeff?”
I did not say “Acknowledge.”
“Fuck it, enough,” Abnesti said.
“Verlaine, what’s the name of that one?
The one where I give him an order and he obeys it?”
“Docilryde™,” Verlaine said.
“Is there Docilryde™ in his Mobi-Pak™?” Abnesti said.
“There’s Docilryde™ in every Mobi-Pak™,” Verlaine said.
“Does he need to say ‘Acknowledge’?” Abnesti said.
“Docilryde™’s a Class C, so—” Verlaine said.
“See, that, to me, makes zero sense,”Abnesti said. “What good’s an obedience drug if we need his permission to use it?”
“We just need a waiver,” Verlaine said.
“How long does that shit take?” Abnesti said.
“We fax Albany, they fax us back,” Verlaine said. “Come on, come on, make haste,”
Abnesti said, and they went out, leaving me alone in the Spiderhead. (pàg. 74)

My only regret was Mom. I hoped someday, in some better place, I’d get a chance to explain it to her, and maybe she’d be proud of me, one last time, after all these years.
From across the woods, as if by common accord, birds left their trees and darted upward. I joined them, flew among them, they did not recognize me as something apart from them, and I was happy, so happy, because for the first time in years, and forevermore, I had not killed, and never would. (pàg. 80)

It was a lunchtime auction of Local Celebrities, a Local Celebrity being any sucker dopey enough to answer ‘Yes’ when the Chamber of Commerce asked, ‘Willing to participate in community antidrug effort Celebrity Auction event tentatively entitled Boys of Summer? (pàg. 92)

You had to let the healing begin. Everyone knew that. You had to love yourself. What was positive? The shop: thinking up ways to improve it, make it halfway decent, bring it back to life. He’d put in a coffee bar. Tear out that old stained rug. There, he was feeling better already. You had to have joy. Joy kept a guy going. Once he got the shop viable, he’d go beyond that, make it great. Lines of people would be waiting when he arrived every morning. As he pushed his way through the crowd in his mind, everyone seemed to be asking, with smiles and pats on his back, would he consider running for mayor? Would he do for the town what he'd done for Bygone Daze? Ha ha, what a fun deal that would be, running for mayor. What colors would his banners be? What was his slogan?
AL ROOSTEN, FRIEND TO ALL.
That was good.
AL ROOSTEN, THE BEST AMONG US.
Little vain.
AL ROOSTEN: LIKE YOU, ONLY BETTER.
Ha ha.
Here was the shop. Nobody was waiting to get in (pàg. 106)

Have to do better! Be kinder. Start now. Soon they will be grown and how sad, if only memory of you is testy stressed guy in bad car. (pàg. 112)

Just then father (Emmett) appears, holding freshly painted leg from merry-go-round horse, says time for dinner, hopes we like sailfish flown in fresh from Guatemala, prepared with a rare spice found only in one tiny region of Burma, which had to be bribed out, and also he had to design and build a special freshness-ensuring container for the sailfish (pàg. 114)

Note to self: Try to extend positive feelings associated with Scratch-Off win into all areas of life. Be bigger presence at work. Race up ladder (joyfully, w/smile on face), get raise. Get in best shape of life, start dressing nicer. Learn guitar? Make point of noticing beauty of world? Why not educate self re. birds, flowers, trees, constellations, become true citizen of natural world, walk around neighborhood w/kids, patiently teaching kids names of birds, flowers, etc. etc.? Why not take kids to Europe? Kids have never been. Have never, in Alps, had hot chocolate in mountain café, served by kindly white-haired innkeeper, who finds them so sophisticated/friendly relative to usual snotty/rich American kids (who always ignore his pretty but crippled daughter w/braids) that he shows them secret hiking path to incredible glade, kids frolic in glade, sit with crippled pretty girl on grass, later say it was most beautiful day of their lives, keep in touch with crippled girl via email, we arrange surgery here for her, surgeon so touched he agrees to do surgery for free, she is on front page of our paper, we are on front page of their paper in Alps? (pàg. 139)

Household in freefall, future reader. Everything chaotic. Kids, feeling tension, fighting all day. After dinner, Pam caught kids watching “I, Gropius,” (forbidden) = show where guy decides which girl to date based on feeling girls’ breasts through screen with two holes. (Do not actually show breasts. Just guy’s expressions as he feels them and girl’s expression as he feels them and girl’s expression as guy announces his rating. Still: bad show.) Pam blew up at kids: We are in most difficult period ever for family, this how they behave? (pàg. 165)

"Sweet little Martney. Kid's super-cute."
"Although what the beep kinda name is that?" Ma said. "I told Renee that. I said that."
"Is that a boy or a girl name?" Harris said.
"What the beep you talking about?" Ma said. "You seen it. You held it."
"Looks like a elf," Harris said.
"But girl or boy elf?" Ma said. "Watch. He really don't know."
"Well, it was wearing green," Harris said. "So that don't help me."
"Think," Ma said. "What did we buy it?"
"You'd think I'd know boy or girl," Harris said. "It being my freaking grandkid."
"It ain't your grandkid," Ma said. "We bought it a boat."
"A boat could be for boys or girls," Harris said. "Don't be prejudice. A girl can love a boat. Just like a boy can love a doll. Or a bra."
"Well, we didn't buy it a doll or a bra," Ma said. "We bought it a boat." (pàg. 174)

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