American Dream

Excerpt from Party At The World’s End.

Christopher DiSalvatore

Dionysus hunched in front of the microphone, his voice maintaining a conspiratorial whisper throughout. “I know some of you are listening out there. I know you see the signs, though you don’t know how to read them. You’ll have to come to a show for the experience. I can’t read it into you. Doesn’t work like that.

“But think of this. Imagine, a century ago, the first cars were coming off the assembly line. There was an untamed frontier, and that became America’s first unifying myth. America really did git ‘er done. She was willing to do anything to make it happen. Lie, cheat, and steal. Genocide. Anything was possible to the crazy bastard willing to risk it all. At least for those lucky enough to be born rich, white, male, and willing to take on that post-Enlightenment ideal of Manifest Destiny.

“A century later, we see what that myth of has delivered: a white hot moment of high petrol fuel, in geological time just a hit of crack rock. The addict knows only ash will remain, that it was their rent money — that they can’t keep going like this. Yet they do, like a cockroach dragging its broken body across the floor, its abdomen an empty husk, most of its legs floundering as if in severe palsy.

“We all knew. We were all on the take. We burned through the world like addicts. Like addicts, we used each day to leverage the future, and soon started hocking it as well. Next month’s paycheck. Next year’s. Our children. Our children’s children. We used one another, as we always have, like users and pushers. The analogy is so sound that it’s facile. Governments wage false wars on drugs because the psychology of user and abuser is one they’re familiar with. No surprise. And yet the shock in our voice was genuine, when all our accounts ran dry, when our friends were no longer assets we could drain. Then comes denial, bargaining. Then comes the mad power scramble. If we want to know the future, just imagine David Hoyle dragging himself slowly across broken glass in the awkward silence between commercial breaks, and you’ve got a pretty good idea.”

“It’s about to get choppy. Get ready. See you at Rushmore.”