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Книга Dhalgren. Содержание - 5

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At Bunny's gesture, Kid closed the door.

"Thank you, thank you. A million times, thank you. I've got to run along to greet my audience with—" Bunny thrust out a hip and closed an eye—"the real thing. You're a perfect love. Ta-ta!" Halfway up the hall Bunny turned back and flung out one hand while the other wound among the optic beads. "And have a fabulous time at your party. You were too good to ask me. Thank you, thank you. You really are too good. Drink a glass of champagne for old Bun-buns, and remember, whatever happens, give 'em hell!"

California and Revelation had stopped to stare. Lady of Spain came out of the front room behind them, leaned on their shoulders, and grinned.

Bunny blew all three kisses, fled to the front door, opened it, turned, sang out, with flourishing arms: " 'The shadow of your smile…' " in an astonishing bass; then shrilled, "Bye-bye!" and was gone.

Pondering, Kid went back to the loft.

Seated Raven had a loop of wire and two screws in his mouth. "Who was that?" he asked, voice mangled by metal.

Kid just laughed and climbed up the post. "God damn," he said. "Couldn't you wait for five minutes to get started?"

Denny, naked, lay on top. Lanya still wore her blouse.

"We haven't started very seriously," Lanya said around Denny's forearm.

"Yeah?" Kid climbed up and pushed his hand between their hips (Denny rocked up, Lanya pulled down). "Oh; yeah." He took off his vest.

They made love, breathing softly with wide mouths. For a while, with his belt and pants open, Kid refused to take his pants off—

("I'm sorry, Lady, you can't go up there. Kid's busy.")

("He ballin'?")

("Yeah. Come back later.")

— but after a while they tickled him and, while he lay laughing, pulled them down. Huddled with their heads together, Denny whispered, "That was nice, huh? Lemme fuck you in the pussy and you can fuck me in the ass again while I'm doing it."

"Marvelous," Lanya said and buried her laughter on Kid's shoulder.

"Sure," Kid said. "If you want. Sure."

But, with knees uncomfortably wide, elbows bent, and the boy's dry back brushing his belly, Kid's penis, pulling along the flexing crevice, lay limp. He started to say something, thought better, and kissed Denny's shoulder, kissed him again.

Lanya opened her eyes and, through her catching and catching breath, frowned. She worked one hand free, and licked and licked her fingers. Then she reached around Denny's back. First just the side of her thumb touched his cock. Then his movement in her fist's tunnel made the thing that was not a muscle tighten (and whole webs above and around his pubis that were, relax). His penis filled through her grip.

"I like that…" Denny panted when Kid was inside him.

"It's pretty good…" Kid got out, shifted his weight, and decided that Lanya had the right idea: Talking was silly. He didn't come in Denny's ass, but in hers.

They lay on their sides, Lanya sandwiched between.

"I can feel him," Denny whispered, "Moving. Inside your cunt, on my dick, I can feel him."

"So," she whispered, "can I," and Shhhhhed him. Both Kid's hands were around her chest. Someone held his thumb. He thought it was her because she always used to, but it was Denny. Once he rose from a half sleep to hear them giggling together. He shifted his fingers on the live warmth of her breast. Someone squeezed his thumb again.

He woke, suddenly and fully. They were both still. His cock was erect; but as he raised his head to look down at himself, he felt it soften. He had rolled slightly to the side. His penis lowered toward Lanya's thigh.

It is not touching her, he thought.

Then, the slightest warmth. And pressure.

It is touching her.

Eyes wide, he rolled back, trying to understand by blunt reason that terrifying and marvelous transition.

I am limited, finite, and fixed. I am in terror of the infinity before me, having come through the one behind bringing no knowledge I can take on. I commend myself up to what is greater than I, and try to be good. That is wrestling with what I have been given. Do I rage at what I have not? (Is infinity some illusion generated by the way in which time is perceived?) I try to end this pride and rage and commend myself to what is there, instead of illusion. But the veil is the juncture of the perceived and perception. And what in life can rip that? Is the only prayer, then, to live steadily and dully, doing and doubting what the mind demands? I am limited, finite, and fixed. I rage for reasons, cry for pity. Do with me what way you will.


He woke…

As Kid sat, Denny's hand fell from his. Lanya rolled back a little to press against him again.

Kid's side cooled.

He thought of her side cooling.

He watched Denny, in sleep, rub his stomach where she had just lain. Kid's pants were wedged against the wall. Hanging his feet over the edge, he shook out the rumpled legs. He lifted one knee and set his heel on the board (his ankle was very dirty) to stare at the circling chain. What circled his mind, what had been running there since sleep, was: "…Susan Morgan, William Dhalgren, Peter Weldon… Susan Morgan, William Dhalgren, Peter Weldon…" Pondering, he shook it out.

He pushed his feet out the cuff, got his boot, his vest, his chains, and swung around to the post and climbed down. Raven was gone.

He noticed the silence just as it ended with voices in the other rooms. He could not decide whether it had been a few coincident seconds, or a protracted hush, begun before his waking, ending. Restless, he walked into the hall.

And recognized her blue sweatshirt as she turned into the service porch. When he reached the door, she was going down the steps into the yard. He followed.

Halfway into evening, the sky above the littered and trampled dirt was without feature.

Angel, Filament, and Thruppence, under Copperhead's supervision, were trying to start a fire.

Raven, Spider, D-t, and Jack the Ripper, with Tarzan the one white among them, sat on crates or stood at the back of the yard, passing two gallon jugs, both half empty, and arguing.

She looked up, saw him at the head of the steps, and (he thought) started. "Hi," she said with a very puzzled look and brushed a feathering of hair back from her face.

"Hey." He came down the steps.

She looked at his foot.

It had been a long time since he had even been around anyone who noticed his half-shod eccentricity. He thought about the coming party, found his mind rummaging again through Bunny's tale of the afternoon, and pushed away the discomfort with laughter.

She looked more uncomfortable. "I just wanted to come over and say hello to some of the guys," she explained. "I'm living over there, now," indicated only with a turned head that turned right back. "You know that commune you guys used to hit up in the park? Well, some of the ones from there come over to our place a lot — our house is just girls — but anybody can come and visit."

Kid nodded.

She folded her arms across the full, faded sweatshirt. "This place is—" she looked around the rubble—"is sort of nice."

"You come over here to see Denny?"

She looked down at her baggy elbow. "What do you. want with him? I mean what are you—" she tightened her arms—"going to do with him? I want him back."

Jack the Ripper glanced across the fireplace, glanced away. Kid thought: She has learned, when she lived like this, to hold such converse in a space full of people.

"I want him. What do you need him for?"

He thought she was going to cry, but she just coughed.

"He just isn't that smart. Those poems you wrote? I read them, all of them. When I was in school, we read poetry and stuff and I liked it. I was the smartest person in my class — one of them, anyway. Denny won't read them because he can't even say the words. You ever hear him try to read the newspaper? But I read them. The part about me bringing you the whisky when you were in the bathtub washing off the blood, and saying good-bye? I read about that and I understood it. But the stuff in there about him, if he read it, he wouldn't even get it I bet. What do you want him for, huh? Why don't you give him back?" She began to look to either side. "I'm sorry."

"I don't keep him from seeing you."

"I know," she said. "I'm sorry. I'm gonna go."

She dropped her arms and went around him to go up the stairs.

Lanya, in jeans and blouse, stood in the doorway. The two girls looked at one another. Then the one in the blue sweatshirt sighed. Lanya glanced after her, then looked back at Kid.

Kid frowned.

Jack the Ripper, by the fire now, looked over, his smile between sympathy and complicity, and shook his head.

Kid walked up the steps. "You just get up?"

"Only seconds, I'm sure, after you did. I heard you talking to her when we came out of the porch; so I decided I'd come out and listen. She seems like a nice kid."

He shrugged. "Denny still asleep?"


Kid sat on the step below her. They both had to move legs when Devastation came down to wander over to the fire, to stand with his hands in his back pockets.

"He got up with me," Lanya explained. "We were going to come out and surprise you while you were wandering around looking preoccupied. I told him we couldn't do it if you were anywhere near a pencil and paper. But then, when we got to the porch, we saw you talking to her."

"Where's Denny?"

"He saw her, covered his mouth with both hands — I thought he was going to blurt out something, God knows what — ducked behind me, and ran. I'm not sure if he's locked himself in the bathroom, or just split. No, the bathroom doesn't have a lock, does it? She didn't see him — he made enough noise!" She rested her chin on her fist. "The poor girl. I feel sorry for her."

"Mean little bastard, isn't he?"

"You think so?"

"He is to her. He is to you. To me. I can take it." Kid shrugged. "What are you going to do when he decides one day when you come to see him he doesn't want to see you?"

"Take it, I suppose." She sighed. "He really should have talked to her. How old is he?"

"Fifteen. And she's seventeen."

"You should tell him to talk to her. If they were really all that close."

"Shit," Kid said. "I never argue with people I screw. She seems to think there isn't anything to say. I don't blame her for wishing there was."

"Maybe." Lanya sounded doubtful. "I sort of took a liking to her, just listening. She lives in the girls' house? Now that is a strange bunch. I've been there a few times."


"No more than here. Do you think she'd be interested in helping with the school?"

"You're just going to get yourself in trouble."

Lanya laughed. "It's so nice to know there're one or two things about which I am more worldly than you are! I think it's fine to have an occasional knock-down, drag-out… discussion with people you're screwing. I never quarrel with the people the people I'm screwing are screwing. Or were screwing. I make a point of being on the best terms possible. Even if you have a knack for it, sometimes it takes a lot of work. But the trouble you avoid—" she turned down her mouth and tapped her knee three times—"is not to be believed!" Then she tugged his hair. "Let's go look for him."

But Denny had left the house.

Back in the yard the fire had been completed. Lanya volunteered to go with Priest, Thruppence and Angel to the liquor store. When they came back, Kid had taken the door out of the back room and set it up on some boxes for a table in the yard. Others had begun food.

"Come on. I want to go back up in the loft."

"Sure." She squeezed his hand and followed.

When they had lain together, when they had talked quietly a while, when they had begun to make love, he was surprised to find her somewhat listless and distracted; small movements she made silently angered him. Till she said, "Hey, what's the matter? You seem so far away. Come on back," which returned the whole thing to the realm of the humorous.

After that it was very good.

After coming, while he lay there and held her, the smell woke him. His waking woke her. He lifted his head at the sound. A third plate, in raised hands, was pushed over the loft edge. Then Denny climbed up, crawled across them, and began to take off his clothes. "We can eat up here," he whispered, as though they might still be sleeping with opened eyes.

There were lots of frankfurters on the plates.

And vegetable hash.

"Where'd you get off to?"

Denny shrugged. "Just wandering around. Thirteen's got a place right down the block and across the street. Pretty nice." He picked up a frank in his fingers and bit. Juice ran down his forearm and dripped from his elbow to his knee.

Kid licked it off. "You're gonna gimme a hard-on," Denny said and pushed one of the plates to Lanya. "Here. You wanna eat?"

"Sure." She rubbed her eyes and pulled out of Kid's arms. "Where… oh, hey. Thanks!" to the bite of Denny's he offered from his hand.

Remembering not a moment of grace, but a moment laced with it, I am thrown back on a present where only the intensity of the senses can justify this warmth, the look of shadow on her shoulder, light on her hip, a reflection on the blackened glass, light up from below. That is not as good. What have I fallen from, perfected by memory into something only possible, I do not want to falsify any more than that. Now there are only the eyes and the hands to fill out.

They drank some of the brandy he'd had her get for Tak. ("You won't believe my dress, either of you. I know you've seen it, Kid. You still won't believe it.") She said she was going to go home soon, but fell asleep. Somebody yelling in the kitchen once woke them hours later and they all made love again in the dark.

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