Rachel Kushner (b. 1968, Eugene, Oregon, USA)

Written by Rachel Kushner

The Flamethrowers, 2013

"I miss Los Angeles," Nadine said. "Don’t you?"

"I was only there the one night," I said. "In the City of Industry, which isn’t really Los Angeles, and so —"

"The way the palm trees shake around," she went on, "and it sounds like rain but everything is sun reflecting on metal. I once went to a house in the Hollywood Hills that was a glass dome on a pole, its elevator shaft. Belonged to a pervert bachelor and he had peepholes everywhere. He was watching me in the toilet. Same guy drugged me without asking first. Angel dust. I was on roller skates, which presented a whole extra challenge."

Thurman was laughing. I understood she was his airy nonsense-maker, a bubble machine, and occasionally he would be in the mood for that. "How the hell did you manage, drugged, on skates?" he asked her.

"Like I said, there was an elevator. Anyhow, there’s some use in being doped against your will. Before it happened I didn’t have my natural defenses. Some people don’t get the whole boundaries thing until they’ve had their mind raped by another person. It helped me to establish some kind of minimum standard."


© 2013 Rachel Kushner; New York: Scribner

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