choke by palahniuk link-marketing.info - Ebook download as PDF File .pdf) or read book online. Victor Mancini, a medical-school dropout, is an antihero for our deranged times. Needing to pay elder care for his mother, Victor has devised an ingenious scam: . PDF | On Jan 1, , Çağrı Tuğrul Mart and others published “Choke” Chuck Palahniuk Book Review.
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Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk Chapter 1 TYLER GETS ME a job as a waiter, after that Tyler's pushing a gun in my mout. Choke: A Novel. Home · Choke: A Novel Author: Palahniuk Chuck. 62 downloads Views KB Size Choke · Read more · Choke. Read more · Choke. Victor Mancini, a medical-school dropout, is an antihero for our deranged times. Needing to pay elder care for his mother, Victor has devised an ingenious.
She doesn't fill his. See all books by Chuck Palahniuk. Even the crippled chickens have clucked off to find somewhere dry. To establish our own alternate reality. No matter what else you came up against, if you could smile and laugh while a monkey did you with chestnuts in a dank concrete basement and somebody took pictures, well, any other situation would be a piece of cake. Become a doctor. This adoption.
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Are you sure you want to Yes No. Be the first to like this. The innkeeper deals acid to the busloads of bored teenagers who get dragged here on school field trips. These kids sit in rapt attention watching while Mistress Halloway cards wool and spins it into yarn, the whole time she's lecturing them on sheep reproduction and eating hashish johnnycake.
These people, the potter on methadone, the glassblower on Percodans, and the silversmith popping Vicodins, they've found their niche.
The stableboy, hiding his headphones under a tricorner hat, plugged in on Special K and twitching to his own private rave, they're all a bunch of hippie burnouts peddling their agrarian bullshit, but okay, that's just my opinion. Even Farmer Reldon has his plot of prime weed out behind the corn and the pole beans and junk.
Only he calls it hemp. The only funny part about Colonial Dunsboro is maybe it's too authentic, but for all the wrong reasons. To establish our own alternate reality. Weren't the Pilgrims pretty much the crackpots of their time? For sure, instead of just wanting to believe something different about God's love, the losers I work with want to find salvation through compulsive behaviors.
Or through little power and humiliation games. Witness His Lord High Charlie behind lace curtains, just some failed drama major. Here, he's the law, watching whoever gets bent over, yanking his dog with one white-gloved hand.
For sure, they don't teach you this in history class, but in colonial times, the person who got left in the stocks overnight was nothing less than fair game for everybody to nail. Men or women, anybody bent over had no way of knowing who was doing the ram job, and this was the real reason you never wanted to end up here unless you had a family member or a friend who'd stand with you the whole time.
To protect you. To watch your ass, for real. The rain's wet Denny's shirt flat to his skinny back so the bones of his shoulders and the trail of his spine show through, even whiter than the unbleached cotton material. The mud's up around the tops of his wooden clogs and spilling in.
Even with my hat on, my coat's getting soaked, and the damp makes my dog and dice all wadded up in the crotch of my wool breeches start to itch. Even the crippled chickens have clucked off to find somewhere dry. Pulmonary edema. It starts raining harder, from clouds so dark that people start lighting lamps inside.
Smoke settles down on us from chimneys. The tourists will all be in the tavern drinking Australian ale out of pewter mugs made in Indonesia. In the woodwright's shop, the cabinetmaker will be huffing glue out of a paper bag with the blacksmith and the midwife while she talks about fronting the band they dream of putting together but never will.
We're all trapped. Its always All of us, we're stuck in the same time capsule, the same as those television shows where the same people are marooned on the same desert island for thirty seasons and never age or escape. They just wear more makeup.
In a creepy way, those shows are maybe too authentic. In a creepy way, I can see myself standing here for the rest of my life. It's a comfort, me and Denny complaining about the same shit, forever. In recovery, forever. Sure, I'm standing guard, but if you want to get really authentic about it, I'd rather see Denny locked in the stocks than let him get banished and leave me behind.
I'm not so much a good friend as I'm the doctor who wants to adjust your spine every week. Or the dealer who sells you heroin. Denny's wig flops to the ground, again.
The words "Eat me" bleeding red in the rain, running pink down behind his cold, blue ears, trickling pink around his eyes and down his cheeks, dripping pink into the mud. I'm not so much a good friend as I'm the savior who wants you to worship him forever. Denny sneezes, again, a long hank of yellowy goob that snakes out of his nose and lands on the wig in the mud, and he says, "Dude, do not put that nasty rug back on my head, okay?
Then coughs, and his glasses drop off his face into the mess. Nasal discharge means Rubella. Whooping cough.
His glasses remind me of Dr. Marshall, and I say how there's this new girl in my life, a real doctor, and for serious, worth the effort to bag. And Denny says, "You still stuck on doing your fourth step? You need any help remembering stuff to write in your notebook? Oh, yeah, that. Every lame, suck-ass moment. And I say, "Everything in moderation, dude. Even recovery.
And facedown, Denny says, "It helps to remember the first time for everything. I looked down at my sloppy handful of junk and thought, This is going to make me rich. The incomplete inventory of my crimes. Just another incomplete in my life full of incompletes.
And still facedown, blind to everything in the world except the mud, Denny says, "Dude, you still there? Just a painted wall in somebody's basement.
The mon- key looked tired and patchy with mange. The guy was in lousy shape, pale with rolls around his middle, but there he was, relaxed and bent over with his hands braced against his knees and his poochy gut hanging down, his face looking back over his shoulder at the camera, smiling away. What the little boy first loved about pornography wasn't the sex part. It wasn't the pictures of beautiful people dorking each other, their heads thrown back, making those fake orgasm faces.
Not at first. He'd found all those pictures on the Internet even before he knew what sex was. They had the Internet in every library. They had it at all the schools. The way you can move from city to city and always find a Catholic church, the same Mass said everywhere, no matter what foster place the kid was sent, he could always find the Internet.
The truth was, if Christ had laughed on the cross, or spat on the Romans, if he'd done anything more than just suffer, the kid would've liked church a lot more.
As it was, his favorite website was pretty much not sexy, at least not to him.
You could just go there, and there would be about a dozen photographs of this one dumpy guy dressed as Tarzan with a goofy orangutan trained to poke what looked like roasted chest- nuts up the guy's ass. The guy's leopard-print loincloth is tossed to one side, the elastic waistband sunk into his tubby waist.
The monkey's crouched there, ready with the next chestnut. There's nothing sexy about it. Still, the counter showed more than a half million people had been to see it. The monkey and the chestnuts wasn't anything the kid could understand, but he sort of admired the guy.
The kid was stupid, but he knew this was something way beyond him. The truth was, most people wouldn't even want a monkey to see them naked. They'd be terrified about how their asshole might look, if it might look too red or baggy. There's no way most people would ever have the nerve to bend over in front of a monkey, much less a monkey and a camera and lights, and even then they'd have to do about a zillion sit- ups first and go to a tanning booth and get their hair cut.
After that, they'd spend hours bent over in front of a mirror, trying to determine their best profile. And then, even with just chestnuts, you'd have to stay somewhat relaxed. Just the thought of auditioning monkeys was terrifying, the possibility of being rejected by monkey after monkey. Sure, you can pay a person enough money and they'll stick stuff into you or they'll take pictures.
But a monkey. A monkey's going to be honest. Your only hope would be to book this same orangutan, since it obviously didn't look too picky. Either that or it was exceptionally well trained. The point was, there'd be nothing to this if you were beautiful and sexy. The point was, in a world where everybody had to look so pretty all the time, this guy wasn't.
The monkey wasn't.
What they were doing wasn't. The point was, it's not the sex part of pornography that hooked the stupid little boy. It was the confidence. The courage. The complete lack of shame.
The comfort and genuine honesty. The up-front-ness of being able to just stand there and tell the world: Yeah, this is how I chose to spend a free afternoon. Posing here with a monkey putting chestnuts up my ass. And I really don't care how I look. Or what you think. So deal with it. He was assaulting the world by assaulting himself.
And even if the guy wasn't loving every moment, the ability to smile, to fake your way through this, that would be even more admirable. The same way every porno movie implies a score of people standing just off camera, knitting, eating sandwiches, looking at their wristwatches, while other people do naked sex only a few feet away.
To the stupid little boy, that was enlightenment. To be that comfortable and confident in the world, that would be Nirvana. That's the kind of pride and self-assurance the little boy wanted to have.
If it was him in those pictures with the monkey, he could look at them every day and think: If I could do this, I could do anything. No matter what else you came up against, if you could smile and laugh while a monkey did you with chestnuts in a dank concrete basement and somebody took pictures, well, any other situation would be a piece of cake.
Even hell. More and more, for the stupid little kid, that was the idea. That if enough people looked at you, you'd never need anybody's attention ever again. That if someday you were caught, exposed, and revealed enough, then you'd never be able to hide again.
There'd be no difference between your public and your private lives. That if you could acquire enough, accomplish enough, you'd never want to own or do another thing. That if you could eat or sleep enough, you'd never need more.
That if enough people loved you, you'd stop needing love. That you could ever be smart enough. That you could someday get enough sex. These all became the little boy's new goals. The illusions he'd have for the rest of his life. These were all the promises he saw in the fat man's smile.
So after that, every time he was scared or sad or alone, every night he woke up panicked in a new foster home, his heart racing, his bed wet, every day he started school in a different neighborhood, every time the Mommy came back to claim him, in every damp motel room, in every rented car, the kid would think of those same twelve photos of the fat man bent over.
The monkey and the chestnuts. And it calmed the stupid little shit right down. It showed him how brave and strong and happy a person could become. How torture is torture and humiliation is humiliation only when you choose to suffer. And it's funny how when somebody saves you, the first thing you want to do is save other people. All other people. The kid never knew the man's name. But he never forgot that smile. Until I tell her I'm still not married, and she says that's a shame.
The next visit, I'm still Fred but married and with three children. That's better, but three children. Three is too many. People should stop at two, she says. The next visit, I have two. Every visit there's less and less of her under the blanket. In another way, there's less and less of Victor Mancini sitting in the chair next to her bed. The next day, I'm myself again, and it's only a few minutes before my mom rings for the nurse to escort me back to the lobby.
We sit not talking until I pick up my coat, then she says, "Victor? You remember Fred, don't you? These days, he has a wife and two perfect children. It was such a pleasure, my mom says, to see life work out for such a good person. On my way out, I find Dr. Marshall waiting in the hallway. She's standing just outside my mom's door, leafing through notes on her clipboard, and she looks up at me, her eyes beady behind her thick glasses. Her one hand is clicking and unclicking a ball- point pen, fast.
She folds her glasses and puts them in the chest pocket of her lab coat and says, "It's important that we discuss your mother's case. From the nurse's station down the hallway, three staffers watch us, their heads tilted together.
One named Dina calls, "Do we need to chaperon the two of you? Marshall says, "Mind your own business, please. Clare, RN. Pearl, CNA. The magic of sex is it's acquisition without the burden of possessions.
No matter how many women you take home, there's never a storage problem. To Dr. Marshall, her ears and nervous hands, I say, "I don't want her force-fed. Marshall cups a hand behind my arm and walks me farther away from them, saying, "I've been talking to your mother. She's quite a woman. Her political actions. All her demonstrations. You must love her very much. Marshall whispers something so I have to step closer to hear. Too close. The nurses still watching. And breathing against my chest, she says, "What if we could completely restore your mother's mind?
And not thinking how it sounds, I say, "God forbid. And down the hall, the nurses are laughing, their hands cupped over their mouths. And from even that far away, you can hear Dina say, "It would serve him right. That week, Mrs. Hastings is painting our dining room green. We live on East Pine Street. We're Catholics. We save our money at City First Federal. We drive a Chrysler. All at my mom's suggestion. The next week, I start writing things down, the details, so I won't forget who I'm supposed to be from one week to the next.
The Hastings always drive to Robson Lake for our vacation, I write. We fish for steelhead. We want the Packers to win. We never eat oysters. We were buying land. Each Saturday, I first sit in the dayroom and study my notes while the nurse goes to see if my mom is awake. Whenever I step into her room and introduce myself as Fred Hastings, she points the remote control to turn the television off.
Boxwoods around a house are fine, she tells me, but privets would be better. And I write it down. The best kind of people drink scotch, she says. Clean your gutters in October, then again in November, she says. Wrap your car's air filter in toilet paper for longer service life. Prune evergreens only after the first frost. And ash makes the best firewood. I write it all down.
I inventory what's left of her, the spots and wrinkles and her swollen or empty skin and flakes and rashes, and I write reminders to myself. Every day: Wear sunblock.
Cover your gray. Don't go insane. Eat less fats and sugars. Do more sit-ups. Don't start forgetting stuff. Trim the hair in your ears. Take calcium. Every day. Freeze time to stay in one place forever. Do not get frigging old. She says, "Do you hear anything from my son, Victor? Do you remember him? I feel my heart ache, but I've forgotten what that feeling means.
Victor, my mom says, never comes to visit, and if he does, he never listens. Victor's busy and distracted and doesn't care. He's dropped out of medical school and is making a big mess out of his life. She picks at the lint on her blanket. She sighs, and her terrible yellow hands find the remote control. I ask, wasn't Victor looking after her? Didn't he have a right to live his own life? I say, maybe Victor is so busy because he's out every night, literally killing himself to pay her bills for constant care.
That's three grand each month just to break even. Maybe that's why Victor left school. I say, just for the sake of argument, that maybe Victor's doing his frigging best. I say, it could be that Victor does more than anybody gives him credit for.
And my mom smiles and says, "Oh Fred, you're still the defender of the hopelessly guilty. The bottle doesn't even mess her hair, but it gives her amnesia. Maybe Victor's struggling with problems of his own, I say. The one beautiful woman reprograms the amnesia woman into thinking she's a killer robot that must do the beautiful woman's bidding.
The killer robot accepts her new identity so easy you have to wonder if she's just faking the amnesia and was always looking for a good reason to go on a killing spree. Me talking to my mom, my anger and resentment just sort of piddles out as we sit and watch. My mother used to serve eggs scrambled with dark flakes of the nonstick coating from the frying pan.
She cooked with aluminum pots, and we drank lemonade out of spun aluminum cups while we chewed on their soft cold lips. We used underarm deodorants made with aluminum salts. For sure, there's about a million ways we could've got to this point. During a commercial, my mom asks for just one good thing about Victor's personal life.
What did he do for fun? Where did he see himself in another year? Another month? Another week? By now, I have no idea. With the candles and the crystal. With all the extra specialty forks. Nobody suspects a thing. My lips crack, trying to get around the chunk of steak, the meat salty and juicy with fat and crushed pepper.
My tongue pulls back to make more room, and the drool in my mouth wells up. Hot juice and drool slop out on my chin. People who say red meat will kill you, they don't know the half of it. Denny looks around quick, and says, through his teeth says, "You're getting greedy, my friend.
When the woman's wine is gone, she reaches for the bottle to fill her own glass. She doesn't fill his. The husband's wearing a thick gold wristwatch. Denny sees me watching the old couple and says, "I'll warn them.
I swear. He's glaring at me with his bottom teeth stuck out. The bite of steak is so big my jaws can't come together. My cheeks bulge. My lips pucker tight to close, and I have to breathe through my nose while I try to chew.
The waiters in black jackets, each with a nice towel folded over one arm. The violin music. The silver and china. This isn't the normal kind of place we'd do this, but we're running out of restaurants. There are only so many places to eat in any town, and this is for sure the kind of stunt you never repeat in the same place. I drink a little wine. At another table near us, a young couple hold hands while they eat. Maybe it will be them, tonight. At another table, a man in a suit eats staring off into space.
Maybe he'll be tonight's hero. I drink some wine and try to swallow, but the steak's too much. It sits in the back of my throat. I don't breathe. In the next instant, my legs snap straight so fast my chair flies over behind me. My hands go to gripping around my throat. I'm on my feet and gaping at the painted ceiling, my eyes rolled back.
My chin stretches out away from my face. With his fork, Denny reaches over the table to steal my broccoli and goes, "Dude, you are way overacting. Already people are half out of their seats. Maybe the woman with the wrist corsage. Maybe the man with the long neck and wire-framed glasses. This month, I got three birthday cards, and it's not even the fifteenth. Last month, I got four. The month before, I got six birthday cards.
Most of these people I can't remember. God bless them, but they'll never forget me. From not breathing, the veins in my neck swell. My face gets red, gets hot. Sweat springs up on my forehead. Sweat blots through the back of my shirt. With my hands, I hold tight around my neck, the universal sign language for someone choking to death. Even now, I get birthday cards from people who don't speak English.
The first few seconds, everybody is looking for someone else to step in and be the hero. Denny reaches over to steal the other half of my steak. With my hands still tight around my throat, I stagger over and kick him in the leg. With my hands, I yank at my tie.
I rip open my collar button. And Denny says, "Hey, dude, that hurt. No heroics for him. The violinist and the wine steward are neck and neck, headed my way. From another direction, a woman in a short black dress is pushing through the crowd. Coming to my rescue. From another direction, a man strips off his dinner jacket and charges forward.
Somewhere else, a woman screams. This never takes very long. The whole adventure lasts one, two minutes, tops. That's good, since that's about how long I can hold my breath with a mouthful of food. My first choice would be the older man with the thick gold wristwatch, somebody who will save the day and pick up our check for dinner. My personal choice is the little black dress for the reason she has nice tits. Even if we have to pay for our own meal, I figure you have to spend money to make money.
Shoveling food into his face, Denny says, "Why you do this is so infantile. Why I do this is to put adventure back into people's lives. Why I do this is to create heroes. Put people to the test. Like mother, like son. Why I do this is to make money. Somebody saves your life, and they'll love you forever. It's that old Chinese custom where if somebody saves your life, they're responsible for you forever. It's as if now you're their child.
For the rest of their lives, these people will write me. Send me cards on the anniversary. Birthday cards. It's depressing how many people get this same idea. They call you on the phone. To find out if you're feeling okay. To see if you maybe need cheering up. Or cash. It's not as if I spend the money phoning up escort girls. Keeping my mom in St. Anthony's Care Center costs around three grand each month.
These Good Samaritans keep me alive. I keep her. It's that simple.
You gain power by pretending to be weak. By contrast, you make people feel so strong. You save people by letting them save you. All you have to do is be fragile and grateful. I just sat there, and even though everyone was supposed to limit their sharing to a few minutes, we always ran out of time before everyone had to speak. People were so hungry to share their pain. Several months after meeting Bill, after his story about blow jobs on Christmas Day, he came to the group upset.
The fourth step in the twelve-step process is to keep a record of your addiction, recording all your transgressions, past and present. Bill was frantic and his only way out, he told everyone, was to go home and kill her and kill himself. He seemed so resolved.
I kept thinking, This is how it happens. The group got Bill calmed down. He wept. A few weeks later, he and his wife had resolved to stay married and face his addiction, together. During this time, a friend introduced me to a woman. This was at breakfast in a restaurant, and it was funny because her name was Marla. Like Marla Singer in "Fight Club. Piece by piece, the ideas and themes of "Choke" were coming together. I wanted to write about the moment when your addictions no longer hide the truth from you.
When your whole life breaks down. Doping yourself with sex or drugs or food, or choosing something like writing, body building, gardening.
Funny, but all my former junkie friends are either fervent Christians or triathletes. Nothing in half measures. As Paige Marshall says in the book, "You have to trade your youth for something. I want you to know how happy it felt to see Bill resolve to save his marriage.
I want to tell you how my father spent years with my brother and I, building huge model train sets with paper mache mountain ranges and working street lights. Here at the end, I want to thank you, for your time and attention. And thank you for taking a chance with my books. This is the story behind the story.
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