An excerpt from The Final Testament of the Holy Bible, ©2011 James Frey
ome people just ain’t made for the world. Can’t fucking take it. Can’t deal with Momma and Dadda and school teaching you nothing and a fucking job with some motherfucking boss going blah blah blah and bills and neighbors and some kind of bullshit church and having a good credit score and a mortgage and getting married with kids and some kind of mysterious motherfucking retirement plan that don’t ever let you do nothing but put more in and get none back. Lotta people ain’t made for it. They the people you see on the streets, in dirty clothes, talking to themselves, screaming on the corner like they demonized, mumbling and crying, they the ones in your family and your town you always scared of and feeling sorry for and making excuses about, the ones you don’t even thinks is fucking human. They is, they just ain’t made like the rest of you and they can’t deal with it so they go to drinking and getting fucking high and being criminal and getting locked-the-fuck-up and just saying who gives a fuck to all of it. People be thinking they’re crazy and be needing some kind of fucking help, but the help ain’t nothing ’cause a motherfucking soup kitchen or some kind of shelter that can’t hold enough or a nuthouse where we get beat or some charity that’s really about motherfuckers’ friends knowing how good they is and how much they care ain’t nothing but bullshit. And don’t even bring up that made-up motherfucker people be calling God, ’cause that motherfucker don’t even exist, and don’t be bringing up all these so-called houses of God, ’cause they more about killing and hating than they is about helping and loving. Sorry to break the motherfucking news if you ain’t heard it, but that’s it motherfucker, that’s the fucking news.
I been living underground for a long-ass motherfucking time. Living underneath New York fucking City, where there’s tunnels, and there’s tunnels underneath the tunnels, and there’s some more fucking tunnels under those tunnels. Some of ’em empty, some still got trains rolling through ’em, some of ’em gots the subways and some of ’em gots peoples. And then there’s some so dark, so goddamn dark, darker than the darkest night, and blacker than what you see when your eyes closed, that most peoples, even underground peoples, won’t go into ’em. And those are the tunnels where miracles happen, where people like Yahya and Ben go and come back something different, where motherfuckers who got the gift go and in the blackness they see. I know it be sounding crazy, but the ones with gifts got to go into blackness, ’cause that’s where they learn to see.
I was born in New Haven, Connecticut. My daddy was a respectable motherfucker who had him a college degree and worked his ass off as a bank teller. My momma finished high school and spent her life being his bitch. He wasn’t never around when I was growing up, saying he was always working to get promoted and going out with clients and his boss. When he was around, he was drinking and yelling and ignoring me and my two sisters and telling my momma she wasn’t pretty enough or skinny enough or dressing well enough or getting them invited to the right parties with the right people and every now and then if she talked back to him he’d hit her in the fucking face. He didn’t think nothing about me ’cept that I was a piece of shit, which was fine with me ’cause I didn’t think nothing about him ’cept he was a piece of shit too. They sent me to all sorts of different schools, thinking the better name or more of ’em would make a difference, but it didn’t make nothing ’cept them real pissed. When I was seventeen, I left ’em for good. Just walked the fuck away. I was figuring I’d do fine on my own, and even if I didn’t, I’d rather be doing real bad my own way than be an asshole doing what other people thought I should be doing. I convinced myself I was breaking out in the name of some kind of fucking freedom. I hadn’t learned yet that everybody’s locked up some way or another. That’s how life is; we’re all imprisoned by something.
I lived in a park for a while. Lived in a cardboard box. Lived under a highway. Got my ass beat and got robbed and got addicted and got locked up a few times and got raped more than once or twice. Learned what I already knew, that the world is an ugly motherfucking place where people’ll spit on you and fuck you up before they’ll be good to you. I found my way into the tunnels just wanting to get the fuck away, lived like a fucking rat, scrounging for food, eating fucking garbage, taking what other people didn’t want and using it to survive. First time down was for three years. Just by myself. Living by the trains that went to Long Island. Had a sleeping bag and flashlight and a baseball bat. Then I got busted for being in a fight with a knife over some pizza in a dumpster and had some crack in my pocket and got sent upstate for three years. Got out and came back to my tunnel and found some other motherfucker in my sleeping bag and wasn’t in no mood for fighting after fighting the whole time in prison and went further down and found me an old electrical closet on an abandoned IRT track and stayed there for three years. I got back on the rock and drinking again and spent my days begging and going through dumpsters trying to find some shit to sell. One day I came back from up top and I had me a couple nice rocks and a bottle of wine and I see two motherfuckers sitting on the ground outside my closet. They wasn’t in uniforms and they definitely wasn’t working with the MTA or Amtrak, so I figured it was some undercover pig motherfuckers coming to drag me back to prison ’cause I didn’t never go see my parole officer, and I think about running away but figure they’d shoot me or some shit like they always do to poor supposedly crazy homeless motherfuckers.
So I just walked over to ’em and asked them what the fuck was up and when I was close I could see for sure they wasn’t no fucking cops ’cause they had these scars that was identical and looked like someone had put two long slices on each of their arms and they said some motherfucker named Yahya wanted to see me. I asked them who the fuck Yahya was and where Yahya was at and they said they would show me. And that’s what they did. They fucking took me down into the blackness and showed me.