Comfort Station

By Donald E. Westlake

In the relief station at Bryant Park, worlds collide and lives are replaced forever
Look previous the grandeur of the well-known long island Public Library and you may see the genuine architectural surprise of Forty-Second road: the relief station. A small development, modest in its proportions yet indisputable in its value, its handful of stalls and urinals offer a haven for wealthy and terrible alike. The restroom’s keeper is Mo Mowgli, a meek guy whose merely difficulty is persistent tardiness, and who's approximately to have the come across of a lifetime.
Today, an odd forged of characters descends at the convenience station: a mobster and a cop, a countess and a dictator, colliding with a strength that may upend Mo Mowgli’s global. whilst this globetrotting workforce will get jointly, no stall is just too small for adventure.
Written within the form of Hotel, Airport, and—perhaps extra accurately—Airplane!, Comfort Station shows the genius of Donald E. Westlake at his comedian best.

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In the event you everyone is going to move on slumming expeditions,” Fred introduced savagely, “you’re going to need to anticipate to take the tough with the graceful. Now, i've got a time table to maintain—are you coming alongside in this voyage into the unknown or aren’t you? ” “Oh, certain! ” Carolina cried. “I needs to! i need to! ” “Well, I don’t supply swap. you would like cash or token. ” “You see,” Carolina defined, “for the 1st seven years of my marriage, i assumed every little thing was—” “If you don’t brain, lady,” Fred declaimed imperviously, “I’d get pleasure from it if you’d restrict your memories to inner monologue. You’re now not purported to check with the driving force whereas the motor vehicle is in movement, and as of now this automobile is in movement. ” Then he winked and acknowledged, “I received this bus in a crap online game with Vincent Impelliteri, far-seeing then-Mayor of this effective city. ? ” “You can maintain your memories buttoned up too, younger man,” Carolina answered, with the type of haughty grandeur that is going a ways towards explaining the Russian Revolution. frustrated, Fred operated the powerful omnibus in a ahead demeanour in a manner so abrupt as to reason Carolina to lose her stability and totter backwards 3 tottering steps right into a eco-friendly plastic seat, which thankfully occurred on the time to be unoccupied. Sitting there, shaken by way of her event, Carolina paused a second to seize her breath and reorganize her shattered strategies. “You haven’t paid your fare yet,” Fred reminded her, now not unkindly, having now regretted the impetuosity which had produced his impetuous habit of a second prior to. “Just a minute,” Carolina acknowledged. She was once nonetheless clutching the deal with of the valpack containing all of that element of her worldly items which she had selected to take together with her in this Grand experience, this holiday with the earlier, the never-ending around of misunderstandings, jealousy, petty bickering, which her marriage had eventually come all the way down to. If basically … No. This was once no time for memory, now not even within the type of inner monologue. This used to be a time for motion. establishing the valpack and spreading it out alongside the vital aisle of the bus was once an issue of some seconds’ livid job. Then, protective her activities from the gaze of curious passengers all approximately her, Carolina knelt upon the opened valpack and delved into the pocket containing the entire funds she possessed on the planet: 2 hundred sixty-two thousand 80 money, plus her early life piggybank. no longer a lot, however it must be sufficient, adequate for the clean commence with Roland. It was once to the piggybank that Carolina instinctively became now, in her second of desire. The piggybank was once the final reminder of Imperial Russia, the Russia of her adolescence: satisfied days at the Volga, and so forth. maintaining the artifact in her palms as she knelt there at the spread-eagle valpack within the bus aisle, Carolina notion again to these halcyon years, and a hint of a tear seemed within the nook of 1 eye. the precise one. communicate, reminiscence! Carolina idea, and clutched the piggybank—named Rosebud, due to its curly tail—to her bosom.

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