See below to listen to or read the prologue of The 90th Kill

Prologue

​

THEY CAME.

    The halt, the lame, the hopeless. The confused, the sad.

    In their dogged clumps of twos and threes, in their steady streams that added up to a river of disgruntled thousands.

    The bannered, the logoed, the creeded, the messaged.

    On t-shirts, on scarves, on caps, on jackets.

    Reload America! Fuck You Wall Street! Waterboard ‘Em All! Hands Off My Rifle, Punk! Old Sparky Appreciation Society. Damn Right I’m White! God Wants Him Re-elected. We’re Not Poor, We’re Broke.

    The dispossessed, the disappointed, the uninsured, the unemployed. The forsaken and the foreclosed, the wheelchair-bound who were sure this was their best shot at being the wheelchair-bound-for-glory.

    By car, by bus, by train. Some even committed the last great American nonconformist sin and walked, wheezing and struggling, up the hot, steep hill, egged on by the approaching thunder, venting their arthritic litany of grievance as they came.

    Fairness faded, promise perjured, greatness gone, oh, so long gone…

    Were they a crusade? They thought so. Or were they a pogrom, or a lynch mob? Plenty who watched them were ready to think that, but there were others, touched by pity, who saw them for what they really were—the detritus of a dream, the discarded peelings of prosperity, the squeezed rinds of commerce, no longer capable of turning a big enough buck for their betters, and thus left to stew in the sour juice of their sullen, unprofitable resentment. Most of them wore the same expression.

    It was a scowl. A defensive scowl, heavy-jowled. It only began to soften as they neared the stadium gates, as they realised that, surrounded by goddamn liberals or not, they had ceased to be in that worst of American states.

    The state of Alone.

    In their thousands, they came…

    And waited with desperate patience, their cellphone cameras primed.

    To have their bitterness blessed, to touch the hem and believe.

    The fanfare came. It drowned in a roar of release as he marched on to the stage. The spots flashed on, following his progress, the feral slab of face appeared on the huge screens to either side of the podium.

    “MY FELLOW AMERICANS! Today marks the rebirth—“