Excerpt of Back to Blood by Tom Wolfe
(Page 8 of 12)
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¡Caliente! Caliente baby
Got plenty fuego in yo caja china,
Means you needs a length a Hose put in it,
Ain' no maybe
It's his iPhone ringing in his pocket! ::::::What a fool! I'm one slip from death, holding a man up with my legs and hauling him down a hundred-foot cable by handthere's nothing I can turn the goddamn thing off with! A goddamn song by Bulldognot even the real thing, Pitbull!and I still can't keep the words from penetrating my head::::::
Hose knows you burnin' up wit'out it.
Don'tcha try deny it,
'Cause Hose knows you dyin' a try it
when he needs every neuron, every dendrite, every synapse, every gemmule in his mind to concentrate on the horrible fix he's gotten himself into. If he falls seventy feet onto a boat deck because his iPhone is singing
Hose knows all!
Knows you out tryin' a buy it,
But Hose only gives it free
then he damn well better die!
He damn well better not wake up gorked out in an electric-motor-powered hospital bed in some morose intensive-care unit listed as "critical but stable"
the mortifying ignominy of it! Butno choice! He's got to do it! Both hands still grip the cable, his legs grip what?maybe 120 pounds?of panicked-out little homunculus, and here goes! He releases one handand that's itno turning back! The downswingthe centrifugal force::::::I'm done for!:::::: One hand! Unbearable, the centrifugal force ::::::pulling my rotator cuff apart, pulling my arm out of the socket!my wrist away from the arm! my hand away from my wrist! nothing left but
To his fav'rite charity,
Hose' favorite cha-ree-tee, see?
Hose' fav'rite cha-ree-tee,
An' 'at's me.
one hand clutching a cable! I'll crash on the deck from seven stories up, me and the gnome:::::: but a miracle! He grabs the cable with his other hand on the upswingyes, a miracle!it redistributes the weight! Both shoulders, both wrists, both hands are whole again!kept intact only by the slimmest steely cord of unbearable agony!only that cord to save him and the slurry-brown elfin man from falling seven stories and winding up as two shapeless bags of ecchymotic-purple integument full of broken bones! Below, down in the Halusian Gulp, the deck is covered with turned-up faces the size of marbles. From above rain the insults, boos, and disgusting yaaaggggghs of the animals on the bridgebut now he knows! has the power to persevere in a state of morbidly horrifying pain!already into another swingand he makes itfury from
'At's me, see?
An' 'at's me.
abovegawking by the spectators belowbut he thinks of only one soul, the minority Sergeant McCorkle, a mindless Americano but a sergeant all the sameanother swingand he makes itthe damned phone is still ringing. ::::::Idiots! Don't you know
An' 'at's me, see?
An' 'at's me.>br>
you are pumping toxins and messing up my mind? Oh, the hell with it!:::::: Another swinghe makes it. ::::::Dios mío querido, together we look into the web of blood in their eyes, and into the affectless red eyes of the television cameras!:::::: Another swinghe
¡Dios mío!no more than ten feet above the deckthat sea of eyeballs and open mouthswhat the!!?? The slurry little ecchymotic sack of panic has come to lifehe's bucking like a fish in the vise grip of Nestor's legsa regular forest of hands
Excerpted from Back to Blood
by Tom Wolfe. Copyright © 2012 by Tom Wolfe.
Excerpted by permission of Little Brown & Company. All rights
reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted
without permission in writing from the publisher.