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Показать все книги автора/авторов: Palahniuk Chuck
 

«Choke», Chuck Palahniuk

Chapter 1

IF YOU'RE GOING TO READ THIS, DON'T BOTHER.

After a couple pages, you won't want to be here. So forget it. Go away. Get out whileyou're still in one piece.

Save yourself.

There has to be something better on television. Or since you have so much time onyour hands, maybe you could take a night course. Become a doctor. You could make something out of yourself. Treat yourself to a dinner out. Color your hair.

You're not getting any younger.

What happens here is first going to piss you off. After that it just gets worse andworse.

What you're getting here is a stupid story about a stupid little boy. A stupid true lifestory about nobody you'd ever want to meet. Picture this little spaz being about waist high with a handful of blond hair, combed and parted on one side. Picture the icky littleshit smiling in old school photos with some of his baby teeth missing and his first adultteeth coming in crooked. Picture him wearing a stupid sweater striped blue and yellow, abirthday sweater that used to be his favorite. Even that young, picture him biting his dickhead fingernails. His favorite shoes are Keds. His favorite food, fucking corn dogs.

Imagine some dweeby little boy wearing no seat belt and riding in a stolen schoolbus with his mommy after dinner. Only there's a police car parked at their motel so theMommy just blows on past at sixty or seventy miles an hour.

This is about a stupid little weasel who, for sure, used to be about the stupidest littlerat fink crybaby twerp that ever lived.

The little cooz.

The Mommy says, "We'll have to hurry," and they drive uphill on a narrow road,their back wheels wagging from side to side on the ice. In their headlights the snow looks blue, spreading from the edge of the road out into the dark forest.

Picture this all being his fault. The little peckerwood.

The Mommy stops the bus a little ways back from the base of a rock cliff, so theheadlights glare against its white face, and she says, "Here's as far as we're going to get," and the words come boiling out as white clouds that show how big inside her lungs are.

The Mommy sets the parking brake and says, "You can get out, but leave your coatin the bus."

Picture this stupid runt letting the Mommy stand him right in front of the school bus.This bogus little Benedict Arnold just stands looking into the glare of the headlights, and lets the Mommy pull the favorite sweater off over his head. This wimpy little squealerjust stands there in the snow, half naked, while the bus's motor races, and the roar echoesoff the cliff, and the Mommy disappears to somewhere behind him in the night and thecold. The headlights blind him, and the motor noise covers any sound of the trees scraping together in wind. The air is too cold to breathe more than a mouthful at a time sothis little mucous membrane tries to breathe twice as fast.

He doesn't run away. He doesn't do anything.

From somewhere behind him, the Mommy says, "Now whatever you do, don't turnaround."

The Mommy tells him how there used to be a beautiful girl in ancient Greece, the daughter of a potter.

Like every time she gets out of jail and conies back to claim him, the kid and theMommy have been in a different motel every night. They'll eat fast food for every meal,and just drive all day, every day. At lunch today, the kid tried to eat his corn dog while itwas still too hot and almost swallowed it whole, but it got stuck and he couldn't breathe or talk until the Mommy charged around from her side of the table.

Then two arms were hugging him from behind, lifting him off his feet, and theMommy whispered, "Breathe! Breathe, damn it!"

After that, the kid was crying, and the entire restaurant crowded around.

At that moment, it seemed the whole world cared what happened to him. All those people were hugging him and petting his hair. Everybody asked if he was okay.

It seemed that moment would last forever. That you had to risk your life to get love.You had to get right to the edge of death to ever be saved.

"Okay. There," the Mommy said as she wiped his mouth, "now I've given you life."

The next moment, a waitress recognized him from a photograph on an old milk carton, and then the Mommy was driving the evil little squealer back to their motel roomat seventy miles an hour.

On the way back, they'd got off the highway and bought a can of black spray paint.

Even after all their rushing around, where they've arrived is the middle of nowhere inthe middle of the night.

Now from behind him, this stupid kid hears the rattle of the Mommy shaking thespray paint, the marble inside the can knocking from end to end, and the Mommy sayshow the ancient Greek girl was in love with a young man.

"But the young man was from another country and had to go back," the Mommysays.

There's a hissing sound, and the kid smells spray paint. The bus motor changes sounds, clunks, running faster now and louder, and the bus rocks a little from tire to tire.

So the last night the girl and her lover would be together, the Mommy says, the girlbrought a lamp and set it so it threw the lover's shadow on the wall.

The hiss of spray paint stops and starts. There's a short hiss, after that a longer hiss.


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