3/23/13

The Franchiser by Stanley Elkin

"For people need junk," he said. "There's a hunger for the secondhand, the used, the abused. I don't understand this need, me—give me a shiny motel by the side of the road and be a friend to man. But others, our others, the people who come here, there is a flotsam tropism in such people. The jetsam set. A longing deep as lust for the overboard, the castoff, what's found in the plane wreck, what's seared in the riot or ruined in the hold. The dead man's new suit, the suicide's coat, her shoes and her slip. People want such things. They have a sweet tooth for remnant, for rubbish, remainder. All the derelict and marooned, the ditched and scavenged. Debris, dregs, lees. Dregs addicts. All the multitudinous slag of the ordinary. Is it economy that puts this thirst in them? I don't know but I don't think so. I think acquisition, some squirrel vestige in the instincts, something miserly and niggardly, basic but not base, the things of the world as heirloom. The world as heirloom, handed down and continuing. History's hugged dower. A sort of pin money in the shit in the attic."