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Perplexed, Shteyngart recalled a stocky spectral presence, hovering about the fracas at the Brooklyn Public Library—“This is for getting that pretty boy James Franco’s book published,” the curly-haired Godhead had sarcastically intoned. At the time it seemed like another one of Shteyngart’s fever dreams, but it suddenly made sense. Mailer, always quick to enforce his heteronormativity on other artists, had cursed Shteyngart for the professional assistance he had given the heartthrob actor. “Mailer! I curse your name!” But the impassioned rage sounded comical and forced. Mailer had put the old “Don’t Make That Face Or It Will Stay Like That” curse on him. He would never speak in his normal voice again.
Sounding like Yakov Smirnoff was the least of his worries, though. Shteyngart had taken his time fleeing Brooklyn. He had stopped at every hot dog stand and street meat shop between Prospect Park and Soho and had eaten over 14,000 hot dogs in just under 12 hours. By the time he reached Manhattan, he was enormous, he was sweating profusely, and his pants, once artfully pleated, were now coated with a mysterious film—congealed ketchup, he hoped. Shteyngart had dreamed for years of the day when he would wipe out the other members of his clan harnessing the intense power of his seemingly fathomless self-disgust—only Sam Lipsyte would be allowed to survive, as they were pretty much the same person anyways.
Shteyngart sniffed his finger and smirked. “Soon, soon...” in his ominously cursed Russian accent."