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Big Machine by Victor LaValle

By Victor LaValle

Ricky Rice is a middling hustler with a lingering junk behavior, a bum knee, and a haunted brain. A survivor of a suicide cult, he scrapes by way of as a porter at a bus depot in Utica, manhattan, till at some point a mysterious letter arrives, summoning him to enlist in a band of paranormal investigators created from former addicts and petty criminals, all of whom had sooner or later of their wasted lives heard what could have been the voice of God.

Infused with the beauty of a disquieting dream and laced with Victor LaValle’s fiendish comedian sensibility, Big Machine is a mind-rattling secret approximately doubt, religion, and the monsters we supply inside us.

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Sample text

I can’t say I felt less guilty, but there was no one left to remind me of my shame. This wasn’t a resolution, but it was a relief. When we arrived at the Vermont Transit bus station in Burlington, I recognized the place. Not that I’d been there before, but places like it. This wasn’t Utica, with its marble columns and historic landmark status. More similar to the stations in Kingston, Elmira, and Troy. By which I mean sleazy, greasy, and small. Sleazy is a little harsh. The Burlington station was just a forest-green one-story not much bigger than the private homes across the street.

Then I waited for him to get all the way through. The guy wheezed and huffed as the thickest part of him met with the unyielding frame. He tugged and strained. I turned off the flame under the frying pan as the eggs hardened into an omelet. His legs came through, and he crashed to the floor, then turned toward my closed bedroom door cautiously. “I think he heard you,” I said. He looked at me, and his eyes fluttered nervously. “Well, shit,” he said. ” He nodded. ” He wore a blue sweat suit, top and bottom.

He sneered to seem defiant, but already his voice had weakened. It looked cold out there. The bus driver disappeared inside the luggage bay. Only one foot stuck out, and it kicked around as he searched. As if the bus was devouring him. Then a brown suitcase flew out, onto the shoulder, like a bit of indigestible beef. At that, the passengers applauded. Me too, I must admit. The bus driver shut the bay door, another grinding squawk, then made his way back inside. The bum dragged himself toward the front right away.

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