Abandon all hope ye who enter here is scrawled in blood red lettering on the side of the Chemical Bank near the corner of Eleventh and First and is in print large enough to be seen from the backseat of the cab as it lurches forward in the traffic leaving Wall Street and just as Timothy Price notices the words a bus pulls up, the advertisement for Les Miserables on its side blocking his view, but Price who is with Pierce & Pierce and twenty-six doesn't seem to care because he tells the driver he will give him five dollars to turn up the radio, "Be My Baby" on WYNN, and the driver, black, not American, does so.
"I'm resourceful," Price is saying. "I'm creative, I'm young, unscrupulous, highly motivated, highly skilled. In essence what I'm saying is that society cannot afford to lose me. I'm an asset." Price calms down, continues to stare out the cab's dirty window, probably at the word FEAR sprayed in red graffiti on the side of a McDonald's on Fourth and Seventh. "I mean the fact remains that no one gives a shit about their work, everybody hates their job, I hate my job, you've told me you hate yours. What do I do? Go back to Los Angeles? Not an alternative. I didn't transfer from UCLA to Stanford to put up with this. I mean am I alone in thinking we're not making enough money?" Like in a movie another bus appears, another poster for Les Miserables replaces the word - not the same bus because someone has written the word DYKE over Eponine's face. Tim blurts out, "I have a co-op here. I have a place in the Hamptons, for Christ sakes."
"I'm not sure, guy, but I don't think dyslexia is a virus."
"Oh, who knows? They don't know that. Prove it."
Outside this cab, on the sidewalks, black and bloated pigeons fight over scraps of hot dogs in front of a Gray's Papaya while transvestites idly look on and a police car cruises silently the wrong way down a one-way street and the sky is low and gray and in a cab that's stopped in traffic across from this one, a guy who looks a lot like Luis Carruthers waves over at Timothy and when Timothy doesn't return the wave the guy - slicked-back hair, suspenders, horn-rimmed glasses - realizes it's not who he thought it was and looks back at his copy of USA Today. Panning down to the sidewalk there's an ugly old homeless bag lady holding a whip and she cracks it at the pigeons who ignore it as they continue to peck and fight hungrily over the remains of the hot dogs and the police car disappears into an underground parking lot.
"But then, when you've just come to the point when your reaction to the times is one of total and sheer acceptance, when your body has become somehow tuned into the insanity and you reach that point where it all makes sense, when it clicks, we get some crazy fking homeless nigger who actually wants - listen to me, Bateman - wants to be out on the streets, this, those streets, see, those " - he points - "and we have a mayor who won't listen to her, a mayor who won't let the bitch have her way - Holy Christ - let the fking bitch freeze to death, put her out of her own goddamn self-made misery, and look, you're back where you started, confused, f**ked... Number twenty-four, nope, twenty-five... Who's going to be at Evelyn's? Wait, let me guess." He holds up a hand attached to an impeccable manicure. "Ashley, Courtney, Muldwyn, Marina, Charles - am I right so far? Maybe one of Evelyn's 'artiste' friends from ohmygod the 'East' Village. You know the type - the ones who ask Evelyn if she has a nice dry white chardonnay - " He slaps a hand over his forehead and shuts his eyes and now he mutters, jaw clenched, "I'm leaving. I'm dumping Meredith. She's essentially daring me to like her. I'm gone. Why did it take me so long to realize that she has all the personality of a goddamn game-show host?... Twenty-six, twenty-seven... I mean I tell her I'm sensitive. I told her I was freaked out by the Challenger accident - what more does she want? I'm ethical, tolerant, I mean I'm extremely satisfied with my life, I'm optimistic about the future - I mean, aren't you?"