Read an Excerpt from ESTABLISHMENT by Gil Soltz


The Meatpacking District

A few steps from Pastis everything is built and done. The trees are all that’s little, everything’s lit. A neverending flow of people line the cobble brick streets. Ladies laugh their way out of clubs wearing long flowing dresses and strong perfume, their silver bracelets keeping time with their heels. Taxis and limos honk.

Take the doll with her bachelorette crown and this cheese dick saddled up in a suit. “Excuse me, your friends are back there,” he says. “Your girlfriend is hot. Oh my Gad.” The tanned doll yawns. She wants to put her friend in a cab and strut back to EFG. “Are you getting out?” she affronts a taxi passenger, pointing to her normal-assed friend and back again. I get emotional that everybody’s here in the first place.

That’s New York, you know. Everybody’s after the energy and the experience. It’s the smell of bodies, not their purpose.

I stomp to shake the blood from my boots and cruds of beef fat spray the street. I have no ambition to watch men peacock in tight jeans or scream after fallen soldiers in white shoes and blue striped jackets. I nod a lot at the strutting stuff on my way home. Like to say, take your time. Don’t worry about the one who got away. Have fun making small connections. All that’s out here now is cloth and concrete, but the brick roads were here before this. And the meat.

“I don’t even know who you are,” says the doll to her admirer. I’m thinking, never trust a guy in a leather hat. “So what’s going on?” the guy says back. She stumbles calling HELLO to taxis that don’t stop.

I get on my bike with the dream of being showered and dressed. When there are no more cows to be slaughtered I think about what is possible between the sexes.


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