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The Middle-Aged Dirtbags Go Underground
Whether you live in Brooklyn or not, you’re probably aware that dozens of miles of caves run beneath its rapidly gentrifying surface (hence its nickname: the “Cave Borough”). Few people, however, know that there is only one entrance to the caves: the basement of Book Thug Nation, the Williamsburg used bookshop famed for its silly name. Actually, only one person knows of the entrance to the subterranean network: Jonathan Ames.
As soon as Lethem’s body hit the floor, Ames knew the caves were the one place where he could keep himself and his trusted lieutenants safe. It was his sole thought; it consumed him. And, in the chaos following Lethem’s assassination, Ames did everything possible to get there: he shoved, he clawed, he stabbed. If he was to claim the crown of Brooklyn, he had to reach the caves.
He fought through his rivals and escaped the fracas with Auster, Klosterman, and Moody. Hours later (Auster wouldn’t pay for a cab; they had to take the train), they reached Book Thug Nation and entered the caves.
Ames led Auster and Moody through the darkness, lighting their passage with the spec scripts for the cancelled fourth season of Bored to Death.
“Just a little farther,” Ames croaked, his beady eyes bulging out of his bald skull. After traveling for what seemed like miles, descending deeper and deeper into the earth, through narrow, curving passages, the paunchy quartet rounded a bend and entered a vast chamber. Auster and Moody gasped.
The Great Hall they entered was Ames’ secret fortress, which he called, with more than just a hint of irony, “THE MAN CAVE,” and in it he housed two of his darkest secrets: the corpse of Hubert Selby Jr. (which he had won in a bet with an HBO studio executive and kept in a glass coffin in the center of the chamber) and his hundreds of illegitimate children.
“It’s time,” Ames told his huddled progeny, who formed around Selby’s corpse, creating a giant human pentagram. Ames then pulled a wad of papers from his distressed leather satchel and began reading the lyrics of every Velvet Underground song aloud (carefully omitting all parts sung by Doug Yule) while bleeding from a self-inflicted wound onto a picture of William Burroughs. For hours, it seemed as though nothing would happen. Then, just as Ames concluded speak-singing “Train Round the Bend,” Selby’s hand shot from its glass prison, giving a stiff thumbs up. “Afaewuh‘aw,” the corpse grunted. Ames boomed with laughter—laughter, he soon realized, that he had not heard since the cancellation of his beloved HBO program.
He does not stop laughing. Ever.