Chapter 22

Source:  Chapter 22    Tag:  cathode tube ray
THAT OLD SAYING, about how you always kill the thing you love, well, it works both ways.
And it does work both ways.
This morning I went to work and there were police barricades between the building and the parking lot with the police at the front doors, taking statements from the people I work with. Everybody milling around.
I didn't even get off the bus.
I am Joe's Cold Sweat.
From the bus, I can see the floor-to-ceiling windows on the third floor of my office building are blown out, and inside a fireman in a dirty yellow slicker is whacking at a burnt panel in the suspended ceiling. A smoldering desk inches out the broken window, pushed by two firemen, then the desk tilts and slides and falls the quick three stories to the sidewalk and lands with more of a feeling than a sound.
Breaks open and it's still smoking.'
I am the Pit of Joe's Stomach.
It's my desk.
I know my boss is dead.
The three ways to make napalm. I knew Tyler was going to kill my boss. The second I smelled gasoline on my hands, when I said I wanted out of my job, I was giving him permission. Be my guest.
Kill my boss.
Oh, Tyler.
I know a computer blew up.
I know this because Tyler knows this.
I don't want to know this, but you use a jeweler's drill to drill a hole through the top of a computer monitor. All the space monkeys know this. I typed up Tyler's notes. This is a new version of the lightbulb bomb, where you drill a hole in a lightbulb and fill the bulb with gasoline. Plug the hole with wax or silicone, then screw the bulb into a socket and let someone walk into the room and throw the switch.
A computer tube can hold a lot more gasoline than a lightbulb.
A cathode ray tube, CRT, you either remove the plastic housing around the tube, this is easy enough, or you work through the vent panels in the top of the housing.
First you have to unplug the monitor from the power source and from the computer.
This would also work with a television.
Just understand, if there's a spark, even static electricity from the carpet, you're dead. Screaming, burned-alive dead.
A cathode ray tube can hold 300 volts of passive electrical storage, so use a hefty screwdriver across the main power supply capacitor, first. If you're dead at this point, you didn't use an insulated screwdriver.
There's a vacuum inside the cathode ray tube so the moment you drill through, the tube will suck air, sort of inhale a little whistle of it.
Ream the little hole with a larger bit, then a larger bit, until you can put the tip of a funnel into the hole. Then, fill the tube with your choice of explosive. Homemade napalm is good. Gasoline or gasoline mixed with frozen orange juice concentrate or cat litter.
A sort of fun explosive is potassium permanganate mixed with powdered sugar. The idea is to mix one ingredient that will burn very F fast with a second ingredient that will supply enough oxygen for that burning. This burns so fast, it's an explosion.
Barium peroxide and zinc dust.
Ammonium nitrate and powdered aluminum.
The nouvelle cuisine of anarchy.
Barium nitrate in a sauce of sulfur and garnished with charcoal. That's your basic gunpowder.
Bon appetit.
Pack the computer monitor full of this, and when someone turns on the power, this is five or six pounds of gunpowder exploding in their face.
The problem is, I sort of liked my boss.
If you're male, and you're Christian and living in America, your father is your model for God. And sometimes you find your father in your career.
Except Tyler didn't like my boss.
The police would be looking for me. I was the last person out of the building last Friday night. I woke up at my desk with my breath condensed on the desktop and Tyler on the telephone, telling me, "Go outside. We have a car."
We have a Cadillac.
The gasoline was still on my hands.
The fight club mechanic asked, what will you wish you'd done before you died?
I wanted out of my job. I was giving Tyler permission. Be my guest. Kill my boss.
From my exploded office, I ride the bus to the gravel turnaround point at the end of the line. This is where the subdivisions peter out to vacant lots and plowed fields. The driver takes out a sack lunch and a thermos and watches me in his overhead mirror.
I'm trying to figure where I can go that the cops won't be looking for me. From the back of the bus, I can see maybe twenty people sitting between me and the driver. I count the backs of twenty heads.
Twenty shaved heads.
The driver twists around in his seat and calls to me in the back seat, "Mr. Durden, sir, I really admire what you're doing."
I've never seen him before.
"You have to forgive me for this," the driver says. "The committee says this is your own idea sir."
The shaved heads turn around one after another. Then one by one they stand. One's got a rag in his hand, and you can smell the ether. The closest one has a hunting knife. The one with the knife is the fight club mechanic.
"You're a brave man," the bus driver says, "to make yourself a homework assignment."
The mechanic tells the bus driver, "Shut up," and "The lookout doesn't say shit."
You know one of the space monkeys has a rubber band to wrap around your nuts. They fill up the front of the bus.
The mechanic says, "You know the drill, Mr. Durden. You said it yourself. You said, if anyone ever tries to shut down the club, even you, then we have to get him by the nuts."
Picture the best part of yourself frozen in a sandwich bag at the Paper Street Soap Company.
"You know it's useless to fight us," the mechanic says.
The bus driver chews his sandwich and watches us in the overhead mirror.
A police siren wails, coming closer. A tractor rattles across a field in the distance. Birds. A window in the back of the bus is half open. Clouds. Weeds grow at the edge of the gravel turnaround. Bees or flies buzz around the weeds.
"We're just after a little collateral," the fight club mechanic says. "This isn't just a threat, this time, Mr. Durden. This time, we have to cut them."
The bus driver says, "It's cops."
The siren arrives somewhere at the front of the bus.
So what do I have to fight back with?
A police car pulls up to the bus, lights flashing blue and red through the bus windshield, and someone outside the bus is shouting, "Hold up in there."
And I'm saved.
Sort of.
I can tell the cops about Tyler. I'll tell them everything about fight club, and maybe I'll go to jail, and then Project Mayhem will be their problem to solve, and I won't be staring down a knife.
The cops come up the bus steps, the first cop saying, "You cut him yet?"
The second cop says, "Do it quick, there's a warrant out for his arrest."
Then he takes off his hat, and to me he says, "Nothing personal, Mr. Durden. It's a pleasure to finally meet you."
I say, you all are making a big mistake.
The mechanic says, "You told us you'd probably say that."
I'm not Tyler Durden.
"You told us you'd say that, too."
I'm changing the rules. You can still have fight club, but we're not going to castrate anyone, anymore.
"Yeah, yeah, yeah," the mechanic says. He's halfway down the aisle holding the knife out in front of him. "You said you would definitely say that."
Okay so I'm Tyler Durden. I am. I'm Tyler Durden, and I dictate the rules, and I say, put the knife down.
The mechanic calls back over his shoulder, "What's our best time to date for a cut-and-run?"
Somebody yells, "Four minutes."
The mechanic yells, "Is somebody timing this?"
Both cops have climbed up into the front of the bus now, and one looks at his watch and says, "Just a sec. Wait for the second hand to get up to the twelve."
The cop says, "Nine."
I dive for the open window.
My stomach hits the thin metal windowsill, and behind me, the fight club mechanic yells, "Mr. Durden! You're going to fuck up the time."
Hanging half out the window, I claw at the black rubber sidewalk of the rear tire. I grab the wheelwell trim and pull. Someone grabs my feet and pulls. I'm yelling at the little tractor in the distance, "Hey." And "Hey." My face swelling hot and full of blood, I'm hanging upside down. I pull myself out a little. Hands around my ankles pull me back in. My tie flops in my face. My belt buckle catches on the windowsill. The bees and the flies and weeds are inches from in front of my face, and I'm yelling, "Hey!"
Hands are hooked in the back of my pants, tugging me in, hugging my pants and belt down over my ass.
Somebody inside the bus yells, "One minute!"
My shoes slip off my feet.
My belt buckle slips inside the windowsill.
The hands bring my legs together. The windowsill cuts hot from the sun into my stomach. My white shirt billows and drops down around my head and shoulders, my hands still gripping the wheelwell trim, me still yelling, "Hey!"
My legs are stretched out straight and together behind me. My pants slip down my legs and are gone. The sun shines warm on my ass.
Blood pounding in my head, my eyes bugging from the pressure, all I can see is the white shirt hanging around my face. The tractor rattles somewhere. The bees buzz. Somewhere. Everything is a million miles away. Somewhere a million miles behind me someone is yelling, "Two minutes!"
And a hand slips between my legs and gropes for me.
"Don't hurt him," someone says.
The hands around my ankles are a million miles away. Picture them at the end of a long, long road. Guided meditation.
Don't picture the windowsill as a dull hot knife slitting open your belly.
Don't picture a team of men tug-of-warring your legs apart.
A million miles away, a bah-zillion miles away, a rough warm hand wraps around the base of you and pulls you back, and something is holding you tight, tighter, tighter.
A rubber band.
You're in Ireland.
You're in fight club.
You're at work.
You're anywhere but here.
"Three minutes!"
Somebody far far away yells, "You know the speech Mr. Durden. Don't fuck with fight club."

The warm hand is cupped under you. The cold tip of the knife. An arm wraps around your chest. Therapeutic physical contact. Hug time. And the ether presses your nose and mouth, hard. Then nothing, less than nothing. Oblivion.