in the end

Or lie in a breeze from the backyard window and page through The Inhumans, waiting for their mute leader Black Bolt to open his mouth and bring it all crumbling down, with one shattering doomsday utterance: the bridge, the towers, the schools, all the public concrete Mono and Lee and Dose had tagged with spray paint for future demolition.
When Black Bolt at last sang it would level the city and there’d be only the subway running underneath through its theorem of tunnels, the one true neighborhood.
Dose could lie on his bedspread in the rotten-ailanthus breeze and dream it for hours.
Or, alternately, rush onto the street on the broilingest of days to join in directing, with a tin can open at both ends, a stream from a wrenched hydrant through the window of a passing car. Driver hectically rolling it if he saw what was in store, never fast enough.
But the stories you told yourself—which you pretended to recall as if they’d happened every afternoon of an infinite summer—were really a pocketful of days distorted into legend, another jailhouse exaggeration, like the dimensions of those ballpoint-crosshatched tits or of the purported mountains of blow you once used to enjoy, or how you’d bellowed an avenger’s roar when you squeezed the trigger of a pistol you’d actually brandished in self-pissing terror. How often had that hydrant even been opened? Did you jet water through a car window, what, twice at best? Summer burned just a few afternoons long, in the end.


Jonathan Lethem
The Fortress of Solitude
Doubleday, 2003


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