فصل 25

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فصل 25

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Chapter 25

For years now I’ve wanted to fall asleep. The sort of slipping off, the giving up, the falling part of sleep. Now sleeping is the last thing I want to do.

I’m with Marla in room 8G at the Reagent Hotel. With all the old people and junkies shut up in their little rooms, here, somehow, my pacing desperation seems sort of norms and expected.

“Here,” Marla says while she’s sitting cross-legged on her bed and punching a half-dozen wake-up pills out of their plastic blister cart “I used to date a guy who had terrible nightmares. He hated to sleep too.” What happened to the guy she was dating?

“Oh, he died. Heart attack. Overdose. Way too many amphetamines,” Marls says. “He was only nineteen.” Thanks for sharing.

When we walked into the hotel, the guy at the lobby desk had half his hair torn out at the roots. His scalp raw and scabbed, he saluted me. The seniors watching television in the lobby all turned to see who I was when the guy at the desk called me sir.

“Good evening, sir.”

Right now, I can imagine him calling some Project Mayhem headquarters and reporting my whereabouts. They’ll have a wall map of the city and trace my movements with little pushpins. I feel tagged like a migrating goose on Wild Kingdom.

They’re all spying on me, keeping tabs.

“You can take all six of these and not get sick to your stomach,” Marla says, “but you have to take them by putting them up your butt.” Oh, this is pleasant.

Marla says,

“I’m not making this up. We can get something stronger, later. Some real drugs like cross tops or black beauties or alligators.” I’m not putting these pills up my ass.

“Then only take two.”

Where are we going to go?

“Bowling. It’s open all night, and they won’t let you sleep there.”

Everywhere we go, I say, guys on the street think I’m Tyler Durden.

“Is that why the bus driver let us ride for free?”

Yeah. And that’s why the two guys on the bus gave us their seats.

“So what’s your point?”

I don’t think it’s enough to just hide out. We have to do something to get rid of Tyler.

“I dated a guy once who liked to wear my clothes,” Marla says. “You know, dresses. Hats with veils. We could dress you up and sneak you around.” I’m not cross-dressing, and I’m not putting pills up my ass.

“It gets worse,” Marla says. “I dated a guy, once, who wanted me to fake a lesbian scene with his blow-up doll.” I could imagine myself becoming one of Marla’s stories.

I dated a guy once who was a split personality

“I dated this other guy who used one of those penis enlargement systems.”

I ask what time is it?

“Four A.M.”

In another three hours, I have to be at work.

“Take your pills,” Marla says. “You being Tyler Durden and all, they’ll probably let us bowl for free. Hey, before we get rid of Tyler, can we go shopping? We could get a nice car. Some clothes. Some CDs. There is an upside to all this free stuff” Marla.

“Okay, forget it.”

That old saying, about how you always kill the thing you love, well, it works both ways.

And it does work both ways.

This morning I went to work and there were police barricades between the building and the parking lot with the police at the front doors, taking statements from the people I work with. Everybody milling around.

I didn’t even get off the bus.

I am Joe’s Cold Sweat.

From the bus, I can see the floor-to-ceiling windows on the third floor of my office building are blown out, and inside a fireman in a dirty yellow slicker is whacking at a burnt panel in the suspended ceiling. A smoldering desk inches out the broken window, pushed by two firemen, then the desk tilts and slides and falls the quick three stories to the sidewalk and lands with more of a feeling than a sound.

Breaks open and it’s still smoking.’

I am the Pit of Joe’s Stomach.

It’s my desk.

I know my boss is dead.

The three ways to make napalm. I knew Tyler was going to kill my boss. The second I smelled gasoline on my hands, when I said I wanted out of my job, I was giving him permission. Be my guest.

Kill my boss.

Oh, Tyler.

I know a computer blew up.

I know this because Tyler knows this.

I don’t want to know this, but you use a jeweler’s drill to drill a hole through the top of a computer monitor. All the space monkeys know this. I typed up Tyler’s notes. This is a new version of the lightbulb bomb, where you drill a hole in a lightbulb and fill the bulb with gasoline. Plug the hole with wax or silicone, then screw the bulb into a socket and let someone walk into the room and throw the switch.

A computer tube can hold a lot more gasoline than a lightbulb.

A cathode ray tube, CRT, you either remove the plastic housing around the tube, this is easy enough, or you work through the vent panels in the top of the housing.

First you have to unplug the monitor from the power source and from the computer.

This would also work with a television.

Just understand, if there’s a spark, even static electricity from the carpet, you’re dead. Screaming, burned-alive dead.

A cathode ray tube can hold 300 volts of passive electrical storage, so use a hefty screwdriver across the main power supply capacitor, first. If you’re dead at this point, you didn’t use an insulated screwdriver.

There’s a vacuum inside the cathode ray tube so the moment you drill through, the tube will suck air, sort of inhale a little whistle of it.

Ream the little hole with a larger bit, then a larger bit, until you can put the tip of a funnel into the hole. Then, fill the tube with your choice of explosive. Homemade napalm is good. Gasoline or gasoline mixed with frozen orange juice concentrate or cat litter.

A sort of fun explosive is potassium permanganate mixed with powdered sugar. The idea is to mix one ingredient that will burn very fast with a second ingredient that will supply enough oxygen for that burning. This burns so fast, it’s an explosion.

Barium peroxide and zinc dust.

Ammonium nitrate and powdered aluminum.

The nouvelle cuisine of anarchy.

Barium nitrate in a sauce of sulfur and garnished with charcoal. That’s your basic gunpowder.

Bon appetit.

Pack the computer monitor full of this, and when someone turns on the power, this is five or six pounds of gunpowder exploding in their face.

The problem is, I sort of liked my boss.

If you’re male, and you’re Christian and living in America, your father is your model for God. And sometimes you find your father in your career.

Except Tyler didn’t like my boss.

The police would be looking for me. I was the last person out of the building last Friday night. I woke up at my desk with my breath condensed on the desktop and Tyler on the telephone, telling me, “Go outside. We have a car.” We have a Cadillac.

The gasoline was still on my hands.

The fight club mechanic asked, what will you wish you’d done before you died?

I wanted out of my job. I was giving Tyler permission. Be my guest. Kill my boss.

From my exploded office, I ride the bus to the gravel turnaround point at the end of the line. This is where the subdivisions peter out to vacant lots and plowed fields. The driver takes out a sack lunch and a thermos and watches me in his overhead mirror.

I’m trying to figure where I can go that the cops won’t be looking for me. From the back of the bus, I can see maybe twenty people sitting between me and the driver. I count the backs of twenty heads.

Twenty shaved heads.

The driver twists around in his seat and calls to me in the back seat,

“Mr. Durden, sir, I really admire what you’re doing.”

I’ve never seen him before.

“You have to forgive me for this,” the driver says. “The committee says this is your own idea sir.” The shaved heads turn around one after another. Then one by one they stand. One’s got a rag in his hand, and you can smell the ether. The closest one has a hunting knife. The one with the knife is the fight club mechanic.

“You’re a brave man,” the bus driver says, “to make yourself a homework assignment.” The mechanic tells the bus driver, “Shut up,” and “The lookout doesn’t say sh@t.” You know one of the space monkeys has a rubber band to wrap around your nuts. They fill up the front of the bus.

The mechanic says, “You know the drill, Mr. Durden. You said it yourself. You said, if anyone ever tries to shut down the club, even you, then we have to get him by the nuts.” Gonads.

Jewels.

Testes.

Huevos.

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