SINISTER LIKE SAINT CAT, the way the speedway, a half-million fans, flash off muck-flecked glasses. Greasy whiskers twine about the stems of eyeless mirrorshades. And from whiskers from the glasses grows a face from grim acne. Craters consume my face from his face, his visage assures me he is going to make me die. It is less from race than envy, it is less from envy than the black jaw he wants to break. Listen to the crack! as the cue meets my skull--nimbly they sing to each other, it remains unexamined just which one makes the noise. I am Meredith Hunter, the almost-dead. I am the next dead for the West Coast, in short line for the world's next dead. The speedway in his eyeless face flashes a stock-car race @ me, vision of tomorrow when what will be happening here will send shudders through my wake. It just proves the world is prepared for me to die, for anyone to die, the speed by which they'll handle the body I soon-to-be implied. I die tonight.
"Murdock!" Patty breathes. Breath is all she has. Even with the raucous, chugging injunction scoring the real show (the best seats are watching my descent to ground beneath boots), all are afraid to make a noise. The silence around me is peculiar for its odd narcotic quality--it isn't just perception, the adrenaline kicking-in, I can tell others taste it too . . . punctuated by the sporadic shouts of the excitable Angels. Sublimely they attenuate the locus of their grim attention on this sacred spot before the stage, emerging onto that avenue of the superconscious that's apportioned for devils and gods. The hour for the sacrifice has come. "Murdock! Keep it in!"
Look at them crawl to the platform, shifting like sand, like rat-ridden floor! Damn! never seen anything so near Dante in life. Shreds of flesh fly from the pit. God! they're making a terrible tribute to those gods. Keith, unprepared for glory, smokes away in his cage, rigid. The Angels don't tread his way. Mick, a fairy, not so lucky. "C'mon' now, y'all, can we just cool out." Red satin flaps menacingly like his ego turned-out. Not unsightly, only perverse. Jagger unprepared for disaster. Luscious lips dissolve like Cinderella's fantasied hips, Mick catches a strap of torn flesh in his beak.
It is for the stocky fellow with the dropping pants that I pull out the gun, a comic gesture to let him know his cock (hardening) is about to show. The woman who seems to be laughing is. She's the most terrified of the lot. The man looking on nonplussed is double-plussed. Only the crouching neophyte is blissed, oblivious to danger. Enamored of pain, he knows by trying to help me he'll get a crack! on the back. And then they'll let him go, blissfully smitten. I know this because I take the shot, as all of us dying watch our deaths from above. I barely have time to return to my body the spirit-breath of my last, melodramatic utterance. The brute responds in a manner admirably characteristic.
There is sympathy. There is confusion. Mick Jagger is near. He looks me in the eye. Incredible gravity sticks me to brutal stone. Mercy wells over. Tell the poor Angel I wasn't going to shoot him. To use a euphemism, I pull out the station. Meant to tell you.