American Psycho

Page 149

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...in Tribeca it's misty out, sky on the verge of rain, the restaurants down here empty, after midnight the streets remote, unreal, the only sign of human life someone playing a saxophone on the corner of Duane Street, in the doorway, of what used to be Duplex, which is now an abandoned bistro that closed last month, a young guy, bearded, white beret, playing a very beautiful but cliched saxophone solo, at his feet an open umbrella with a dollar, damp, and some change in it, unable to resist I move up to him, listening to the music, something from Les Miserables, he acknowledges my presence, nods, and while he closes his eyes - lifting the instrument up, leaning his head back during what I guess he thinks is a passionate moment - in one fluid motion I take the.357 magnum out of its holster and, not wanting to arouse anyone in the vicinity, I screw a silencer onto the gun, a cold autumn wind rushes up the street, engulfing us, and when the victim opens his eyes, spotting the gun, he stops playing, the tip of the saxophone still in his mouth, I pause too, then nod for him to go on, and, tentatively, he does, then I raise the gun to his face and in midnote pull the trigger, but the silencer doesn't work and in the same instant a huge crimson ring appears behind his head the booming sound of the gunshot deafens me, stunned, his eyes still alive, he falls to his knees, then onto his saxophone, I pop the clip and replace it with a full one, then something bad happens...

...because while doing this I've failed to notice the squad car that was traveling behind me - doing what? god only knows, handing out parking tickets? - and after the noise the magnum makes echoes, fades, the siren of the squad car pierces the night, out of nowhere, sending my heart into palpitations, I start walking away from the trembling body, slowly, casually at first, as if innocent, then I break into a run, full-fledged, the cop car screeching after me, over a loudspeaker a cop shouts uselessly, "halt stop halt put down your weapon," ignoring them I make a left on Broadway, heading down toward City Hall Park, ducking into an alleyway, the squad car follows but only makes it halfway as the alley narrows, a spray of blue sparks flying up before it gets stuck and I run out the end of the alley as fast as I can onto Church Street, where I flag down a cab, hop in the front seat and scream at its driver, a young Iranian guy completely taken by surprise, to "get the hell out of here fast - no drive," I'm waving the gun at him, in his face, but he panics, cries out in mangled English "don't shoot me please don't kill me," holding his hands up, I mutter "oh shit" and scream "drive" but he's terrified, "oh don't shoot me man don't shoot," I impatiently mutter "fuck yourself" and, raising the gun to his face, pull the trigger, the bullet splatters his head open, cracks it in half like a dark red watermelon against the windshield, and I reach over him, open the door, push the corpse out, slam the door, start driving...

...in an adrenaline rush causing panting, I can only get a few blocks, partly because of panic, mostly because of the blood, brains, chunks of head covering the windshield, and I barely avoid a collision with another cab on Franklin - is it? - and Greenwich, veering the taxi sharply to the right, swerving into the side of a parked limousine, then I shift into reverse, screech down the street, turn on the windshield wipers, realizing too late that the blood sprayed across the glass is on the inside, attempt to wipe it away with a gloved hand, and racing blindly down Greenwich I lose control entirely, the cab swerves into a Korean deli, next to a karaoke restaurant called Lotus Blossom I've been to with Japanese clients, the cab rolling over fruit stands, smashing through a wall of glass, the body of a cashier thudding across the hood, Patrick tries to put the cab in reverse but nothing happens, he staggers out of the cab, leaning against it, a nerve-racking silence follows, "nice going, Bateman," he mutters, limping out of the store, the body on the hood moaning in agony, Patrick with no idea where the cop running toward him across the street has come from, he's yelling something into his walkie-talkie, thinking Patrick is stunned, but Patrick surprises him by lunging out before the cop can get to his gun and he knocks him over onto the sidewalk...

...where people from the Lotus Blossom are now standing, staring dumbly at the wreckage, no one helping the cop as the two men lie struggling on the sidewalk, the cop wheezing from exertion on top of Patrick, trying to wrestle the magnum from his grasp, but Patrick feels infected, like gasoline is coursing through his veins instead of blood, it gets windier, the temperature drops, it starts raining, but softly they roll into the street, Patrick keeps thinking there should be music, he forces a demonic leer, his heart thumping, and manages quite easily to bring the gun up to the cop's face, two pairs of hands holding it but Patrick's finger pulls the trigger, the bullet blowing a crease in the top of the officer's skull yet failing to kill him, but lowering his aim with the aid of the loosening grip of the officer's fingers Patrick shoots him in the face, the bullet's exit casting a lingering pinkish mist while some of the people on the sidewalk scream, do nothing, hide, run back into the restaurant, as the cop car Patrick thought he evaded in the alley careens toward the deli, red lights flashing, screeching to a halt right when Patrick trips over the curb, collapsing onto the sidewalk, at the same time reloading the magnum, hiding behind the corner, the terror he thought had passed engulfing him again, thinking: I have no idea what I've done to increase my chances of getting caught, I shot a saxophonist? a saxophonist? who was probably a mime too? for that I get this? and in the near distance he can hear other cars coming, lost in the maze of streets, the cops now, right here, don't bother with warnings anymore, they just start shooting and he returns their gunfire from his belly, getting a glimpse of both cops behind the open doors of the squad car, guns flashing like in a movie and this makes Patrick realize he's involved in an actual gunfight of sorts, that he's trying to dodge bullets, that the dream threatens to break, is gone, that he's not aiming carefully, just obliviously returning gunfire, lying there, when a stray bullet, sixth in a new round, hits the gas tank of the police car, the headlights dim before it bursts apart, sending a fireball billowing up into the darkness, the bulb of a streetlamp above it exploding unexpectedly in a burst of yellow-green sparks, flames washing over the bodies of the policemen both living and dead, shattering all the windows of Lotus Blossom, Patrick's ears ringing...

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