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.I drank some water in my room to try to cool myself down but my temperaturewas way up.I was feverish and ill.I tried to concentrate on the TV, but thecolors hurt my eyes and I turned it off before the late night news bulletincame on with the first details of the killings of three men in a bar nearCaina, Georgia.Instead, I lay down in bed and tried to sleep but the heat wastoo much, even with the a/c on full.I found myself drifting in and out ofconsciousness, unsure of whether I was awake or dreaming when I heard a knockat the door and saw, through the peephole, the figure of a little girl inPage 123 ABC Amber Palm Converter, http://www.processtext.com/abcpalm.htmlblack waiting at my door, her lipstick smearedhey mister, I got a place we can goand when I tried to open the door I found that I was holding the chrome of aCoupe de Ville.I smelled the stench of rotting meat as I heard the lockrelease with a click.And all was darkness within.13THEY HAD TRAVELEDseparately to the motel, the tall black man driving there ina three-year-old Lumina, the shorter white man arriving later in a cab.Theyeach took a standard double room on different levels, the black man on thefirst floor, the white man on the second.There was no communication betweenthem, nor would there be until they departed from this place the followingmorning.In his room, the white man checked his clothes carefully for traces of bloodbut could find none.When he was satisfied that they were clean, he tossedthem on the bed and stood naked before the mirror in the small bathroom.Slowly, he turned his body, wincing a little as he did so, to reveal the scarson his back and his thighs.He stared at them for a long time, gently tracingthe pattern of them against his skin.He watched himself blankly in themirror, as if he were looking not at his own reflection but at a distinctentity, one that had suffered terribly and was now marked not onlypsychologically but physically as well.Yet this man in the glass was no partof him.He himself was unblemished, untouched and, as soon as the lights wentout and the room grew dark, he could walk away from the mirror and leave thescarred man behind, remembering only the look in his eyes.He allowed himselfthe luxury of the fantasy for a few moments longer, then quietly wrappedhimself in a clean towel before the glow of the television.There had been a great many misfortunes in the life of the man named Angel.Some of them, he knew, could be attributed to his own larcenous nature, to hisonce strongly held belief that if an item was saleable, moveable, andstealable, then it was only to be expected that a transfer of ownership shouldoccur in which he, Angel, would play a significant if fleeting part.Angel hadbeen a good thief, but he had not been a great one.Great thieves do not endup in prison, and Angel had spent enough time behind bars to realize that theflaws in his character prevented him from becoming one of the true legends ofhis chosen profession.Unfortunately he was also an optimist at heart and ithad taken the combined efforts of prison authorities in two different statesto cloud his naturally sunny predisposition toward crime.Yet he had chosenthis path, and he had taken his punishment, when possible, with a degree ofequanimity.But there were other areas of his life over which Angel had been grantedlittle control.He had not been allowed to choose his mother, who haddisappeared from his life when he was still crawling on all fours, whose nameappeared on no marriage certificate, and whose past was as blank andunyielding as a prison wall.She had called herself Marta.That was all heknew of her.Worse, he had not been able to choose his father, and his father had been abad man: a drunk, a petty criminal, an indolent, solitary character who hadkept his only son in filth, feeding him on breakfast cereals and fast foodwhen he could remember, or work up the enthusiasm, to do so.The Bad Man.Rarely father, in his memories, and never dad.Page 124 ABC Amber Palm Converter, http://www.processtext.com/abcpalm.htmlJust the Bad Man.They lived in a walk-up on Degraw Street, in the Columbia Street waterfrontdistrict of Brooklyn.At the turn of the last century it had been home to theIrish who worked the nearby piers.In the 1920s, they had been joined by thePuerto Ricans, and from then on Columbia Street had remained relativelyunchanged until after World War II, but the area was already in decline whenthe boy was born.The opening of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway in 1957 hadsundered working-class Columbia from the wealthier districts of Cobble Hilland Carroll Gardens, and a plan to build a commercial containerization port inthe neighborhood had led many residents to sell up and move elsewhere.But thecontainer port did not materialize; instead, the shipping industry moved toPort Elizabeth, New Jersey, with the result that there was massiveunemployment in Columbia Street.The Italian bakeries and the grocery storesbegan to close, Puerto Ricancasitas instead springing up in the empty lots.The solitary boy moved through this place, claiming boarded-up buildings andunroofed rooms as his own, trying always to stay out of the path of the BadMan and his increasingly volatile moods.He had few friends and attracted theattentions of the more violent of his peers the way some dogs attract maulingsfrom others of their kind, until their tails remain forever fastened betweentheir legs, their ears plastered low to their heads, and it becomes impossibleto tell if their attitude is a consequence of their sufferings or the veryreason for them.The Bad Man lost his delivery job in 1958 after he attacked a union activistduring a drunken brawl and found himself blacklisted.Men had come to theapartment some days later and beaten him with sticks and lengths of chain.Hewas lucky to get away with some broken bones, for the man he had attacked wasa union leader in name only and the office that bore his name was rarelytroubled by his presence.A woman, one of the few who passed like unwelcomeseasons through the life of the boy, trailing cheap scent and cigarette smokebehind them, nursed him through the worst of it and fed the boy on bacon andeggs fried in beef fat [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]

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