T. C. Boyle (b. 1948, Peekskill, New York, USA)

Written by T. C. Boyle

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The Tortilla Curtain, 1995

All at once he wanted to smash something, tear the bushes out of the ground by their roots. This didn’t have to happen. It didn’t. If it wasn’t for those idiots leaving food out for the coyotes as if they were nothing more than sheep with bushy tails and eyeteeth… and he’d warned them, time and again. You can’t be heedless of your environment. You can’t. Just last week he’d found half a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken out back of the Dagolian place — waxy red-and-whitestriped cardboard with a portrait of the grinning chicken-killer himself smiling large — and he’d stood up at the bimonthly meeting of the property owners’ association to say something about it. They wouldn’t even listen. Coyotes, gophers, yellow jackets, rattlesnakes even — they were a pain in the ass, sure, but nature was the least of their problems. It was humans they were worried about. The Salvadorans, the Mexicans, the blacks, the gangbangers and taggers and carjackers they read about in the Metro section over their bran toast and coffee. That’s why they’d abandoned the flatlands of the Valley and the hills of the Westside to live up here, outside the city limits, in the midst of all this scenic splendor.


© 1995 T. C. Boyle; New York: Viking Press

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