“Are you there, Satan? It’s me, Madison,” declares the whip-tongued thirteen-year-old narrator of Damned, Chuck Palahniuk’s subversive new work of fiction. The daughter of a narcissistic film star 13 страница

“Are you there, Satan? It’s me, Madison,” declares the whip-tongued thirteen-year-old narrator of Damned, Chuck Palahniuk’s subversive new work of fiction. The daughter of a narcissistic film star 13 страница

That said, I did wear the belt of King Ethelred II, the dagger of Vlad III, the hook with which Gilles de Rais murdered so many children. Emily, dressed as a fairy princess, wears the diamond ring of Elizabeth Bathory. Leonard trades everyone for their candy corn. First we went to the town where Archer had last lived, someplace with houses lined up along streets brimming with alive children. Maybe some are dead children, returned like us for a few hours of nostalgia. For one millisecond I could swear I saw JonBenet Ramsey wearing sequined tap shoes and waving hi to “Are you there, Satan? It’s me, Madison,” declares the whip-tongued thirteen-year-old narrator of Damned, Chuck Palahniuk’s subversive new work of fiction. The daughter of a narcissistic film star 13 страница us.

Surrounded as we are by the marauding packs of costumed urchins, it’s unsettling to know that some of these diminutive living goblins will die in drunk-driving accidents. Some little cheerleaders and angels will develop eating disorders and starve to death. Some geishas and butterflies will marry alcoholic husbands who beat them to death. Some little vampires and sailors will stick their necks through nooses or get shanked in prison riots or be poisoned by jellyfish while on dream vacations snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef. Of the lucky superheroes and werewolves and cowgirls, old age will bring them “Are you there, Satan? It’s me, Madison,” declares the whip-tongued thirteen-year-old narrator of Damned, Chuck Palahniuk’s subversive new work of fiction. The daughter of a narcissistic film star 13 страница diabetes, heart disease, dementia.

On the porch of one brick house, a man answers the doorbell, and the group of us shout, “Trick or treat!” in his face. As he gives us chocolate bars, this man effuses over Emily’s fairy costume… Babette’s bejeweled Marie Antoinette outfit… Patterson as a Greek foot soldier. As his eyes settle on me, the man scans the strip of Hello Kitty condoms twisted around my neck. Placing a candy bar in my bloodstained hand, the man says, “Wait, don’t tell me......” He says, “You’re supposed to be that girl “Are you there, Satan? It’s me, Madison,” declares the whip-tongued thirteen-year-old narrator of Damned, Chuck Palahniuk’s subversive new work of fiction. The daughter of a narcissistic film star 13 страница, the movie star’s kid, who got choked to death by the psycho brother, right?”

Standing beside me on the man’s porch, Goran wears a turtleneck sweater and a beret. Goran smokes an empty pipe. Even shielded behind heavy, horn-rimmed spectacles, Goran’s sultry eyes look wounded.

It’s possible that Satan scripted this moment. Or it might really be happening.

“No, sir,” I tell the man. “I happen to be Simone de Beauvoir.” Motioning to Goran, I add, “And this, of course, is the much-celebrated Monsieur Jean-Paul Sartre.”

Even now I’m “Are you there, Satan? It’s me, Madison,” declares the whip-tongued thirteen-year-old narrator of Damned, Chuck Palahniuk’s subversive new work of fiction. The daughter of a narcissistic film star 13 страница lost. Was I just being clever and compassionate, or was I reading smart-ass dialogue written by the Devil? Leaving the porch, our group continues down the street. Almost without notice, Archer has veered away in a different direction, so I sprint after him to collect him and herd him along with the rest of us. Catching him by one black leather sleeve, I tug for him to follow me, but Archer only continues to walk in the opposite direction, clearly on his own mission, putting more and more distance between the two of us and the larger group of our peers “Are you there, Satan? It’s me, Madison,” declares the whip-tongued thirteen-year-old narrator of Damned, Chuck Palahniuk’s subversive new work of fiction. The daughter of a narcissistic film star 13 страница. Abandoning the Breakfast Clubbers. Without further words, I follow until the streetlights occur only irregularly, then not at all. We continue until the concrete sidewalk ends, until the houses end and the two of us are walking along the gravel shoulder of an empty, dark road.

Archer looks at me and asks, “Maddy? Are you okay?”

Is he being concerned, or is he playing a role? Is Satan writing our walk? I don’t know, so I don’t respond.

A wrought-iron gateway rises near us in the shadows, and Archer turns into it. We pass “Are you there, Satan? It’s me, Madison,” declares the whip-tongued thirteen-year-old narrator of Damned, Chuck Palahniuk’s subversive new work of fiction. The daughter of a narcissistic film star 13 страница through a wrought-iron fence, and we’re instantly surrounded by tombstones, treading on mown grass, listening to crickets chirp. Even in near-total darkness, Archer marches without a false step. Only by clutching the sleeve of his leather jacket can I follow, and even with such guidance I’m stumbling over grave markers. I’m kicking aside bouquets of cut flowers, my high-heeled shoes wet from the damp.

Archer comes to an abrupt stop, and I collide with his legs. Not saying a word, he stands looking down on a grave, the stone carved with a picture “Are you there, Satan? It’s me, Madison,” declares the whip-tongued thirteen-year-old narrator of Damned, Chuck Palahniuk’s subversive new work of fiction. The daughter of a narcissistic film star 13 страница of a sleeping lamb, engraved with two dates only a year apart. “My sister,” Archer says. “She must’ve gone to Heaven, because I ain’t ever seen her.”

Beside the grave a second stone bears the name Archibald Merlin Archer.

“Me,” says Archer, tapping the second stone with the toe of his boot.



We stand there, silent. The moon hovers, throwing a weak light over the scene around us, countless headstones spread in every direction. Moonlit grass covers the ground. Uncertain how to respond, I study Archer’s face for clues. The moonlight glows blue in his “Are you there, Satan? It’s me, Madison,” declares the whip-tongued thirteen-year-old narrator of Damned, Chuck Palahniuk’s subversive new work of fiction. The daughter of a narcissistic film star 13 страница Mohawk and glints silvery off his safety pin. Finally, I say, “Your name was Archie Archer?”

Archer says, “Don’t make me punch your lights out.”

The night after his baby sister was buried, Archer explains how he’d returned to the grave site. That night a storm was rolling in, pushing along thunderclouds, so Archer had hurried to shoplift a spray bottle of herbicide, the aerosol kind used to kill weeds and grass. He’d spritzed his motorcycle boots until the leather was sodden, and then walked to the newly mounded grave. Once there, his boots squishing and squirting poison with “Are you there, Satan? It’s me, Madison,” declares the whip-tongued thirteen-year-old narrator of Damned, Chuck Palahniuk’s subversive new work of fiction. The daughter of a narcissistic film star 13 страница every step, Archer had done a primitive shuffle, a rain dance in the last hour before the storm would hit. He’d pirouetted and leaped. His leather jacket flapping, he’d cursed, craning his neck and rolling his eyes. Stomping his toxic feet, Archer had ranted and bellowed, bounding and capering in the growing onslaught of wind. With the storm building, he’d pranced and cavorted and gamboled. He’d raved and howled. As the first raindrops touched his face, Archer had felt the air surrounding him crackle with static electricity. His blue hair had stood to its “Are you there, Satan? It’s me, Madison,” declares the whip-tongued thirteen-year-old narrator of Damned, Chuck Palahniuk’s subversive new work of fiction. The daughter of a narcissistic film star 13 страница full, straight-up height, and the safety pin in his cheek had sparked and vibrated.

A white finger of light had zigzagged down from Heaven, Archer says, and his whole body had cooked around the oversize safety pin. “Right here,” he says, standing beside his sister’s tombstone, on the spot which would become his own grave. He smirks and says, “What a rush.”

In that swath of mown grass extending over a dozen graves in either direction, that allee, a ghost of Archer’s dance steps still lingers. There, a new generation of grass, greener, softer, like the first “Are you there, Satan? It’s me, Madison,” declares the whip-tongued thirteen-year-old narrator of Damned, Chuck Palahniuk’s subversive new work of fiction. The daughter of a narcissistic film star 13 страница fresh blades grown to cover a battlefield, this new grass traces every toxic footstep Archer left before being struck down by lightning. Everywhere he’d stomped his poisoned boots, he says, the grass had died, and it was only now growing back, reseeded, to erase his late-night choreography.

There, only days after he’d been rendered a giant heretical, sacrilegious shish kebab skewered around his own red-hot piercing, in time for his own funeral, his final words had already surfaced as poisoned yellow letters clearly legible in the manicured green. Even as the pallbearers bore “Are you there, Satan? It’s me, Madison,” declares the whip-tongued thirteen-year-old narrator of Damned, Chuck Palahniuk’s subversive new work of fiction. The daughter of a narcissistic film star 13 страница his casket to the grave, they marched across these last angry dance steps, this shuffling, stumbling path which spelled—in dead-yellow letters too tall for anyone except a deity to read: Fuck Life.

“Two kids in one week...” says Archer, “… my poor mom.”

In the silence which follows, I begin to hear my name streaming on the nighttime breeze, as thin as the distant smell of candle flames cooking carved pumpkins from the inside. From somewhere over the nighttime horizon, a chorus of three faint voices seems to call me. In the distant, faraway dark, three different voices “Are you there, Satan? It’s me, Madison,” declares the whip-tongued thirteen-year-old narrator of Damned, Chuck Palahniuk’s subversive new work of fiction. The daughter of a narcissistic film star 13 страница chant repeatedly: “Madison Spencer… Maddy Spencer… Madison Desert Flower Rosa Parks Coyote Trickster Spencer...” With this siren’s song entrancing, captivating, luring me into the unknown, I stagger in pursuit of the bait. I’m edging between tombstones, hypnotized, listening. Thoroughly pissed off.

Behind me, Archer calls, “Where are you going?”

I have an appointment, I call back. I don’t know where.

“On Halloween?” Archer shouts. “We’ve all got to be back in Hell by midnight.”

Not to worry, I shout to reassure him. Still drifting, dazed, in pursuit of the mysterious voices, drawn along by “Are you there, Satan? It’s me, Madison,” declares the whip-tongued thirteen-year-old narrator of Damned, Chuck Palahniuk’s subversive new work of fiction. The daughter of a narcissistic film star 13 страница the sound of my own name, I call back to Archer, “Don’t worry.” Distracted, I shout, “I’ll see you in Hell......”

XXXVIII

Are you there, Satan? It’s me, Madison Desert Flower Rosa Parks Coyote Trickster Spencer.

You’ve thrown down the gauntlet. You’ve brought my wrath down upon your house. Now, to prove that I exist I must kill you. As the child outlives the father, so must the character bury the author. If you are, in fact, my continuing author, then killing you will end my existence as well. Small loss. Such a life, as your puppet, is “Are you there, Satan? It’s me, Madison,” declares the whip-tongued thirteen-year-old narrator of Damned, Chuck Palahniuk’s subversive new work of fiction. The daughter of a narcissistic film star 13 страница not worth living. But if I destroy you and your dreck script, and I still exist… then my existence will be glorious, for I will become my own master.

When I return to Hell, prepare to die by my hand. Or be ready to kill me.

My worst fears have been realized. In the Swiss boarding school where I found myself locked out-of-doors, naked in the snowy night, I have become the ghost rumored into being by silly rich girls.

Why is it that I occur as a story to everyone except myself?

Crowded into the “Are you there, Satan? It’s me, Madison,” declares the whip-tongued thirteen-year-old narrator of Damned, Chuck Palahniuk’s subversive new work of fiction. The daughter of a narcissistic film star 13 страница small residence hall room I once occupied, the various classes of students—these giggling, nervous girls—spend this Halloween around my former bed. Seated upon the bed in approximately the same positions in which they held me and suffocated me and baited me back to life, there are the three Miss Whorey

Vanderwhores. It is their trio of little Miss Skanky Von Skankenberg voices that recite, “We summon the everlasting soul of the late Madison Spencer.”

In unison, they say, “Come to us, Madison Desert Flower Rosa Parks Coyote Trickster Spencer......” And they all three snicker over my “Are you there, Satan? It’s me, Madison,” declares the whip-tongued thirteen-year-old narrator of Damned, Chuck Palahniuk’s subversive new work of fiction. The daughter of a narcissistic film star 13 страница ludicrous name. They intone, “We demand the ghost of Maddy Spencer come and do our bidding.....”

Skanks or Satan. Why am I always called to do someone’s bidding?

Centered on the bed, a plate stolen from the dining hall holds a few burning candles, but otherwise my former room is dark. The curtains are open, revealing the ragged trees and wintry night. The door to the hallway is closed.

One Miss Slutty MacSlutski leans off the side of the bed. She reaches under the mattress and retrieves a book. A dog-eared book. “With this personal object,” the “Are you there, Satan? It’s me, Madison,” declares the whip-tongued thirteen-year-old narrator of Damned, Chuck Palahniuk’s subversive new work of fiction. The daughter of a narcissistic film star 13 страница Skanky Skankerpants says, “We exercise our power to control you, Maddy Spencer.

The book? It’s my beloved copy of Persuasion. A collection of characters who’ve long outlived their author.

At the sight of my personal possession, my favorite book, the other giggling, wide-eyed witnessing girls fall silent. Their eyes flicker with candlelight.

It’s on that cue, just as I’d press Ctrl+Alt+C on my mother’s laptop computer, that I begin to slowly draw the curtains closed, and with the first hint of movement the assembled girls scream. The smaller girls scramble and tumble “Are you there, Satan? It’s me, Madison,” declares the whip-tongued thirteen-year-old narrator of Damned, Chuck Palahniuk’s subversive new work of fiction. The daughter of a narcissistic film star 13 страница over one another in their hurry to escape the room. As easy as pressing Ctrl+Alt+A, I increase the air-conditioning, dropping the room temperature until the remaining girls can see their breath hang, hazy, in the candlelight. In the same way I’d toggle Ctrl+Alt+L, I flash the room’s overhead lights on and off, on and off, strobing the lights as fast as lightning. Filling the room with the equivalent of every flash photograph of every People magazine photographer who’d ever snapped my picture. I blind the assembled girls as would an army of mercenary “Are you there, Satan? It’s me, Madison,” declares the whip-tongued thirteen-year-old narrator of Damned, Chuck Palahniuk’s subversive new work of fiction. The daughter of a narcissistic film star 13 страница paparazzi.

With this, the remaining girls claw their way to the open door, spilling out into the hallway, screaming and wailing like doomed souls locked within the soiled cages of Hell. They skin their knees and elbows climbing over each other, leaving only the three evil Miss Pervy Vanderpervs still seated around the candles on my bed.

Yes, here I am, the legendary naked girl who left the ghost prints of her dead hands on the doorknobs of this very residence hall. Miss Madison Desert Flower Rosa Parks Coyote Trickster Spencer. Here I am, returned to you for “Are you there, Satan? It’s me, Madison,” declares the whip-tongued thirteen-year-old narrator of Damned, Chuck Palahniuk’s subversive new work of fiction. The daughter of a narcissistic film star 13 страница just this one night, the dummy dumb-ass spoiled daughter of a movie star. I gaze down at these three with their pointed ballet feet smudging my bed and the knobby hip bones of their anorexic butts digging into my old mattress, and as easy as keystroking Ctrl+Alt+D, I slam and lock the hallway door. I seal them inside my room just as my mother would hold some Somali maid hostage until the bathroom tile truly gleamed.

In the time-honored ageless way the dead have always sent messages to the living, I wail my subsonic “Are you there, Satan? It’s me, Madison,” declares the whip-tongued thirteen-year-old narrator of Damned, Chuck Palahniuk’s subversive new work of fiction. The daughter of a narcissistic film star 13 страница attack on their shriveled Miss Sleazy O’Sleaznoid bowels, roiling and boiling the watery contents of their so-abused digestive tracts, bubbling and churning the stewed refuse contained in their intestines, stomachs, colons. I push the mess in violent peristaltic waves, making the three grab at their own midsections, their nether orifices erupting in methane clouds, exploding the tiny candle flames, dousing the room in stinking, suffocating darkness. I force outward the hot slop of their past meals, pushing it against their clenched oral and anal muscles. Trumpeting this scalding putrescence in a slurry against those confining fleshy walls.

Their hands “Are you there, Satan? It’s me, Madison,” declares the whip-tongued thirteen-year-old narrator of Damned, Chuck Palahniuk’s subversive new work of fiction. The daughter of a narcissistic film star 13 страница clamped to cover their burning mouths, the girls scream between their fingers, wailing and calling for aid. They clutch their bloating midriffs. In the hallway, beyond the locked door, the assembled students and faculty wrestle with the locked knob.

Only then do I announce myself, that I am arrived. I am Madison Spencer, the nominal ruler of Hell. Making my soprano voice all eerie and wailing-ethereal, I warn that the three Harlot Von Harlotty girls must make all efforts to not find themselves damned… for if they do, they will suffer my wrath for all eternity. They “Are you there, Satan? It’s me, Madison,” declares the whip-tongued thirteen-year-old narrator of Damned, Chuck Palahniuk’s subversive new work of fiction. The daughter of a narcissistic film star 13 страница will be subject to my whims and endure the endless tortures which I shall decree. Like Archer ranting and railing in his cemetery at night, a human lightning rod, I decree that should these three girls find themselves condemned to Hades, I will force them to stand lips-deep alongside Hitler and Company in the Swamp of Partial-birth Abortions, forever.

The acrid, sulfurous stench of Hell already wafting out, spouting, issuing from their own lithesome, ballet-trained bodies, the three girls weep and beg for forgiveness and release. The locked door reverberates with the pounding fists and shouted “Are you there, Satan? It’s me, Madison,” declares the whip-tongued thirteen-year-old narrator of Damned, Chuck Palahniuk’s subversive new work of fiction. The daughter of a narcissistic film star 13 страница entreaties of those students and teachers excluded in the hallway

“Heed my words,” I tell them. From this moment forward, in order to save themselves, they must utilize the slang terms nigger and fag at every opportunity. They must never wash their hands after using the toilet. They must refrain from ever covering their mouths when they cough or sneeze, especially while aboard crowded airplanes during in-flight meal service and filmic presentations of The English Patient. Oh, I just go on and on. Damn, but I’m having so much fun. And at the last possible instant before “Are you there, Satan? It’s me, Madison,” declares the whip-tongued thirteen-year-old narrator of Damned, Chuck Palahniuk’s subversive new work of fiction. The daughter of a narcissistic film star 13 страница they choke totally to death, mired in their own pungent filth, I throw open the door, allowing every one of their peers full view of what these three Miss Twatty Twatlanders have become.

There they sprawl, moaning in their own slippery degradation for all the world to observe.

And yes, I am petty and vengeful, but I have places to be and flowering trees to plant. I have evil hordes and bloodthirsty armies to command. According to my sensible, durable wristwatch it’s twenty minutes to Halloween midnight.

To anyone reading this who isn’t already dead, I wish you “Are you there, Satan? It’s me, Madison,” declares the whip-tongued thirteen-year-old narrator of Damned, Chuck Palahniuk’s subversive new work of fiction. The daughter of a narcissistic film star 13 страница luck. Honestly, I do. You just keep swallowing your vitamins. Keep jogging around reservoirs and avoiding secondhand cigarette smoke. Cross your fingers… maybe death won’t happen to you.

And yes, I am thirteen and dead and a girl. I might be a touch of a sadist and a little bit jejune… but at least I’m not a victim, not any longer. I hope. I hope, therefore I am. Thank God for hope.

For the rest of you, please don’t be afraid. If you go to Heaven, bully for you. But if you don’t—well, look me “Are you there, Satan? It’s me, Madison,” declares the whip-tongued thirteen-year-old narrator of Damned, Chuck Palahniuk’s subversive new work of fiction. The daughter of a narcissistic film star 13 страница up. The only thing that makes earth feel like Hell, or Hell feel like Hell, is our expectation that it ought to feel like Heaven. Earth is earth. Dead is dead. Another insider fact about the afterlife: If you miss your midnight curfew on All Hallows’ Eve you’ll be stuck wandering the earth, a ghost trapped among the living, until the next Halloween.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, it’s late, and I’m in a terrible, terrible hurry to go kick some satanic ass.

To be continued…

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Документ “Are you there, Satan? It’s me, Madison,” declares the whip-tongued thirteen-year-old narrator of Damned, Chuck Palahniuk’s subversive new work of fiction. The daughter of a narcissistic film star 13 страница