The Intuitionist: A Novel by Whitehead Colson

The Intuitionist: A Novel by Whitehead Colson

Author:Whitehead, Colson [Whitehead, Colson]
Language: eng
Format: azw3
ISBN: 9780307819963
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Published: 2012-05-22T16:00:00+00:00

Part ONE

Aspirants to luxury often opt for red and gold, hues long-soaked into their mentalities as the spectra of royalty. There are no kings these days, in these cities. Just moles. Red drapes two stories tall hang from assembly-line pins, floor to ceiling, cinched at the waist by gold sashes and shod with gold tassels. Gold trim traipses the edges of the red tablecloths, a scheme repeated in miniature on the napkins nuzzling the men’s crotches. In the deep red carpet beneath their feet gold creatures, refugees of no identifiable myth-system, writhe in pools of lava. Red and gold, damnation and greed. Gold the trumpets and saxophones, red the cheeks and noses of the musicians from all their plangent huffing. In case anyone finds himself lost, in case anyone wonders what this spectacle is that proceeds in Banquet Room Three of the Winthrop Hotel, a humble placard just inside the chamber offers, FUNICULAR FOLLIES. Gold script on red. The hapless wayfarer, en route to the hotel cocktail lounge, has been duly warned.

Rick Raymond and the Moon-Rays, smart in white tuxedos, summon ditties upbeat in tempo and inconsolate in lyric from the instruments they have purchased on lay-away. Rick Raymond notices that the elevator inspectors do not dance. This is not a solid rule among their clan so much as the tasteless fruit of learned helplessness. They don’t know where to place their feet, have untold psychic bruises still tender from adolescent embarrassments and don’t, collectively, dance. It is a shame, for they love the music despite their unfortunate malady. This is the music they no longer hear on the radio; it has been crowded out into unstable frequencies by new rhythms. It is slipping away. But Rick Raymond and the Moon-Rays are pros. They’ve weathered much worse gigs than this. The unpleasantness at the Mortonswieg wedding, to name one recent example. With a crowd this sedentary, so intent on flagging down the help for refills, the band needn’t worry about nettlesome requests. The music required for the upcoming acts is uncomplicated, the format of the festivities loose. A no-hassle night before an audience of drunks—Rick Raymond is glad, for his band is notoriously sloppy.

Rick Raymond pushes the blue ruffles of his tuxedo shirt away from his chin, where they tickle. He sings about a girl named Mary Lou and her eyes so blue. The band gets a lot of gigs on account of Rick’s preternatural resemblance to a popular singer and matinee idol. He is not above stealing some of that singer’s more famous moves, like he is now, cradling the microphone stand as if it were some swooning lass, petting invisible blonde hair. Your eyes so blue, he croons.

Quite the ham, Rick Raymond, but look at these pigs. This affair is a few bubbles short of champagne. The snouts of these men are up at their plates, nudging shrimp cocktails, which look like bones floating in blood. Their tuxedos have identical wide lapels, and a close inspection of all


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