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."
"Parents', guy. It's the parents'."
"I'm buying it from them. Will you fucking turn this up?" he snaps but distractedly at the driver, the Crystals still blaring from the radio.
"It don't go up no higher," maybe the driver says.
Timothy ignores him and irritably continues. "I could stay living in this city if they just installed Blaupunkts in the cabs. Maybe the ODM III or ORC II dynamic tuning systems?" His voice softens here. "Either one. Hip my friend, very hip."
He takes off the expensive-looking Walkman from around his neck, still complaining. "I hate to complain - I really do - about the trash, the garbage, the disease, about how filthy this city really is and you know and I know that it is a sty ..." He continues talking as he opens his new Tumi calfskin attache case he bought at D. F. Sanders. He places the Walkman in the case alongside a Panasonic wallet-size cordless portable folding Easa-phone (he used to own the NEC 9000 Porta portable) and pulls out today's newspaper. "In one issue - in one issue - let's see here... strangled models, babies thrown from tenement rooftops, kids killed in the subway, a Communist rally, Mafia boss wiped out, Nazis" - he flips through the pages excitedly - "baseball players with AIDS, more Mafia shit, gridlock, the homeless, various maniacs, faggots dropping like flies in the streets, surrogate mothers, the cancellation of a soap opera, kids who broke into a zoo and tortured and burned various animals alive, more Nazis... and the joke is, the punch line is, it's all in this city - nowhere else, just here, it sucks, whoa wait, more Nazis, gridlock, gridlock, baby-sellers, black-market babies, AIDS babies, baby junkies, building collapses on baby, maniac baby, gridlock, bridge collapses - " His voice stops, he takes in a breath and then quietly says, his