'The Darkness thinks ghosts.' Coyle stood and came toward us. His two eyes were not set quite level in his face. 'Stice's explanation that he swore me to discretion but that was before the bed on the ceiling was he thinks he's been somehow selected or chosen to get haunted or possessed by some kind of beneficiary or guardian ghost that resides in and/or manifests in ordinary physical objects, that wants to teach The Darkness how to not underestimate ordinary objects and raise his game to like a supernatural level, to help his game.'Hal thinks of Cosgrove Watt and the JOI film he starred in, Accomplice! A detailed plot of the film is given. Hal watches a weather report on the blizzard and recalls a blizzard roughly a decade earlier (1998). Hal has some recollections from childhood, but "I had no childhood memory of eating fungus." He considers jumping out of a window and ruining his ankle and thus never having to play tennis again.
958: Hugh Steeply lets Joelle leave after her interrogation and she goes back to Ennet House. "She figured if she could speak with Pat M. Pat M. might be prevailed upon to put her in quarantine with Clenette and Yolanda, not let in no law. She could tell Pat about the wheelchairs, try to convince her to dismantle the ramp."
958-960: "I'm Mikey, alcoholic and addict and a sick fuck, you know what I'm saying?" An unnamed AA speaker is described as "rocking the podium slightly, blurred a bit through the linen, smearing one side of his face with a laborer's hand as he tries to think what to say". No date is given. Is it November YDAU or some time in the future? Are we supposed to think Joelle is in attendance?
960-964: Pat M. talks with the Suffolk County A.D.A., who is in recovery (Phob-Comp-Anon) and wants to make amends to Gately.
The A.D.A. leaned forward, hat rotating between his calves, elbows on knees in the odd defecatory posture men used to try to communicate earnestness in their sharing. 'I'm told — I owe the — Mr. Gately — an amend. I need to make an amend to Mr. Gately.' He looked up. 'You too — this remains within these walls, as if it were my anonymity. All right? ... I've harbored a resentment, against this Gately, concerning an incident I'd considered responsible for making Tooty's phobia reflare. ... I've hated, hated this man. You know that Enfield's Suffolk County. This incident with the Canadian assault, the alleged firearm, the witnesses who can't depose because of their own exposure. . . . My sponsor, my entire Group — they say if I act on the resentment I'm doomed. I'll get no relief. It won't help Tooty. ... I need to let it go. I've come to believe that. Not just the prosecution — that's the easy part. I've already tossed the file, though whatever civil liability the — Mr. Gately might face is another matter, not my concern. It's so damnably ironic. The man's going to two-step out of at the very least a probation-violation and prosecution on all his old highly convictable charges because I have to pitch the case, for the sake of my own recovery ...964-971: November 20, Immediately Pre-Fundraiser-Exhibition-Fete. Who is the narrator? Prep for tennis exhibitions. hal is gettting his ankle taped for the exhibition, which has been moved indoors to M.I.T. We hear ETA Head Trainer Barry Loach's story, of how he tried to stop his brother's spiritual decline, to try and demonstrate to his brother "the redeemability of man".
'But listen. I can't do it. Cannot. I've sat outside that hospital room saying the Serenity Prayer over and over and praying for willingness and thinking of my own spiritual interests and believing this amend is my Higher Power's will for my own growth and I haven't been able to go in. I go and sit paralyzed outside the room for several hours and drive home and pry Tooty away from the sink. It can't go on. I have to look that rotten — no, evil, I'm convinced in my heart, that son of a bitch is evil and deserves to be removed from the community. I have to walk in there and extend my hand and tell him I've wished him ill and blamed him and ask for forgiveness — him — if you knew what sick, twisted, sadistically evil and sick thing he did to us, to her — and ask him for forgiveness. Whether he forgives or not is not the issue. It's my own side of the street I need to clean.'
In outline, it eventually boiled down to this: a desperate Barry Loach ... Loach challenges his brother to let him prove somehow — risking his own time, Barry's, and maybe safety somehow — that the basic human character wasn't as unempathetic and necrotic as the brother's present depressed condition was leading him to think. After a few suggestions and rejections of bets too way-out even for Barry Loach's desperation, the brothers finally settle on a, like, experimental challenge. The spiritually despondent brother basically challenges Barry Loach to not shower or change clothes for a while and make himself look homeless and disreputable and louse-ridden and clearly in need of basic human charity, and to stand out in front of the Park Street T-station on the edge of the Boston Common, right alongside the rest of the downtown community's lumpen dregs, who all usually stood there outside the T-station stemming change, and for Barry Loach to hold out his unclean hand and instead of stemming change simply ask passersby to touch him. Just to touch him. Viz. extend some basic human warmth and contact. And this Barry does. And does. Days go by. His own spiritually upbeat constitution starts taking blows to the solar plexus. It's not clear whether the verminousness of his appearance had that much to do with it; it just turned out that standing there outside the station doors and holding out his hand and asking people to touch him ensured that just about the last thing any passerby in his right mind would want to do was touch him. It's possible that the respectable citizenry with their bookbags and cellulars and dogs with little red sweater-vests thought that sticking one's hand way out and crying 'Touch me, just touch me, please' was some kind of new stem-type argot for 'Lay some change on me,' because Barry Loach found himself hauling in a rather impressive daily total of $ — significantly more than he was earning at his work-study job wrapping ankles and sterilizing dental prostheses for Boston College lacrosse players. Citizens found his pitch apparently just touching enough to give him $; but B. Loach's brother — who often stood there in collar less mufti up against the plastic jamb of the T-station's exit, slouched and smirking and idly shuffling a deck of cards in his hands — was always quick to point out the spastic delicacy with which the patrons dropped change or $ into Barry Loach's hand, these kind of bullwhip-motions or jagged in-and-outs like they were trying to get something hot off a burner, never touching him, and they rarely broke stride or even made eye-contact as they tossed alms B.L.'s way, much less ever getting their hand anywhere close to contact with B.L.'s disreputable hand. ...971-972: Undated. Orin has been taken prisoner by the AFR and is trapped under a huge inverted glass tumbler.
[Months go by and] Barry Loach was dangerously close to disappearing forever into the fringes and dregs of metro Boston street life and spending his whole adult life homeless and louse-ridden and stemming in the Boston Common and drinking out of brown paper bags, when along toward the end of the ninth month of the Challenge, his appeal — and actually also the appeals of the other dozen or so cynical stem-artists right alongside Loach, all begging for one touch of a human hand and holding their hands out — when all these appeals were taken literally and responded to with a warm handshake — which only the more severely intoxicated stemmers didn't recoil from the profferer of, plus Loach — by E.T.A.'s own Mario Incandenza, who'd been sent dashing out from the Back Bay co-op where his father was filming something that involved actors dressed up as God and the Devil playing poker with Tarot cards for the soul of Cosgrove Watt, using subway tokens as the ante, and Mario'd been sent dashing out to get another roll of tokens from the nearest station, which because of a dumpster-fire near the entrance to the Arlington St. station turned out to be Park Street, and Mario, being alone and only fourteen and largely clueless about anti-stem defensive strategies outside T-stations, had had no one worldly or adult along with him there to explain to him why the request of men with outstretched hands for a simple handshake or High Five shouldn't automatically be honored and granted, and Mario had extended his clawlike hand and touched and heartily shaken Loach's own fuliginous hand, which led through a convoluted but kind of heartwarming and faith-reaffirming series of circumstances to B. Loach, even w/o an official B.A., being given an Asst. Trainer's job at E.T.A. ...
[T]he remains of whatever had made him fall asleep so hard really were making him sick to his stomach, and in sum this experience was pretty clearly not one of his bad dreams, but Orin, #71, was in deep denial about its not being a dream. It was like the minute he'd come to and found himself inside a huge inverted tumbler he'd opted to figure: dream. The stilted amplified voice that came periodically through the small screen or vent above him, demanding to know Where Is The Master Buried ...As roaches "began pouring blackly and shinily through" the open screen and into the tumbler, Orin shouts "Do it to her! Do it to her!" Who is "her"? Avril? Joelle?
972-981: Gately in hospital. There is a flurry of activity at his bedside.
Human beings came and went. An R.N. felt his forehead and yanked her hand back with a yelp. ... Gately felt physically hotter than he'd ever felt. It felt like a sun in his head. The crib-type railings got tapered on top and writhed a little, like flames. He imagined himself on the House's aluminum platter with an apple in his mouth, his skin glazed and crispy. The M.D. that looked age twelve appeared with others wreathed in mist and said Up it to 30 q 2 and Let's Try Doris [Doryx], that the poor son of a bitch was burning down. He wasn't talking to Gately. The M.D. was not addressing Don Gately. Gately's only conscious concern was Asking For Help to refuse Demerol. He kept trying to say addict. ... Gately felt something rough and cool on his face. A voice that sounded like his own brain-voice with an echo said to never try and pull a weight that exceeds you. Gately figured he might die. It wasn't calm and peaceful like alleged. It was more like trying to pull something heavier than you. ... He was the object of much bedside industry. A brisk clink of I.V. bottles overhead. Slosh of bags. None of the overhead voices talking to him. His input unrequired. Part of him hoped they were putting Demerol in his I.V without him knowing. ... The harsh sound he heard up close was the tape around his unshaved mouth getting ripped off him so quick he hardly felt it. He tried to avoid projecting how his shoulder would feel if they started pounding on his chest like they pound on dying people's chests. ... It occurred to him if he died everybody would still exist and go home and eat and X their wife and go to sleep. ... It was impossible to imagine a world without himself in it. ... Somebody overhead asked somebody else if they were ready, and somebody commented on the size of Gately's head and gripped Gately's head, and then he felt an upward movement deep inside that was so personal and horrible he woke up.That is the last mention of Don Gately in November YDAU. The narrative switches in mid-paragraph, back to Gately's memory of the epic Dilaudid debauch with Facklemann (who knows he will be killed by Sorkin) in the stripped luxury apartment. Bobby C and his crew arrive. There are allusions to both A Clockwork Orange and 1984. Gately is given a huge dose of drugs, not to kill him (Sorkin understands DG was not involved in the Faxster's embezzlement) but to keep him out of the way and unable to prevent C and his crew from torturing and killing Facklemann.
Gately couldn't feel his legs. He could feel C's arm around him taking more and more of his weight. C's arms's muscles rising and hardening: he could feel this. His legs were, like: opting out. Attack of floors and sidewalks. Kite used to sing a ditty called '32 Uses For Sterno Me Lad.' C was starting to let him down easy. Strong squat hard kid. Most heroin-men you can knock down with a Boo. C: there was a gentleness about C, for a kid with the eyes of a lizard. He was letting him down real easy. C was going to protect Bimmy Don from the bad floor's assault. The supported swoon spun Gately around, C moving around him like a dancer to slow the fall. Gately got a rotary view of the whole room in almost untakable focus. Pointgravè was vomiting chunkily. Two of the fags were sliding down the wall they had their backs to. Their red coats were aflame. The passing window exploded with light. Or else it was DesMontes that was vomiting and Pointgravè was taking the TP's viewer off the wall and stretching its fibroid wire over toward Fackelmann against the wall. One of Fax's eyes was as open as his mouth, disclosing way more eye than you ever want to see on somebody. He was no longer struggling. He stared piratically straight ahead. The librarian was starting on his other eye. The bland man had a rose in his Japel and he'd put on glasses with metal lenses and was blind-high and missing Fax's eye with the dropper half the time, saying something to Pointgravè. A transvestal had P.H.-J.'s torn hem hiked up and a spiderish hand on her flesh-colored thigh. P.H.-J.'s face was gray and blue. The floor came up slowly. Bobby C's squat face looked almost pretty, tragic, half lit by the window, tucked up under Gately's spinning shoulder. Gately felt less high than disembodied. It was obscenely pleasant. His head left his shoulders. Gene and Linda were both screaming. The cartridge with the held-open eyes and dropper had been the one about ultra-violence and sadism. A favorite of Kite. Gately thinks sadism is pronounced 'saddism.' The last rotating sight was the chinks coming back through the door, holding big shiny squares of the room. As the floor wafted up and C's grip finally gave, the last thing Gately saw was an Oriental bearing down with the held square and he looked into the square and saw clearly a reflection of his own big square pale head with its eyes closing as the floor finally pounced. And when he came back to, he was flat on his back on the beach in the freezing sand, and it was raining out of a low sky, and the tide was way out.