Gesper Diamond tasted the way New York City felt. If you closed your eyes and put your lips on his, the world turned into a black and white photograph of a skyline. But it wasn’t black and white because the colors had faded. No; the colors were still there, but they weren’t what mattered. It was the light. The window squares that twinkled to life one by one, thousands by thousands, as soon as the sky went dark. The radiance that reflected onto the river and shimmered as the black waves rippled. The lit-up antennas that soared up toward the stars. You feel the tip of his tongue and it’s the windows again—the promise of millions of stories you could write onto his back with your fingernail.
He bites your lip. A gust of cold night air whips toward your cheeks.
You have photographs of the city you look at sometimes. They’re in a nightstand drawer, and every six months or so you pull them out to remember what life used to be like, in the city.
It’s funny that Gesper Diamond tasted the way New York City felt. Gesper Diamond owned the rubble that now kneeled in the place where skyscapers stood.
The city was dead, nuked down, just like all the other big cities in East America. But I promise you, if you could have seen the way that Gesper Diamond thrived in the shadows of all that once was—led his band of intelligent thugs like a mafia in a neighborhood that didn’t exist—counted his cash sitting like a king upon the giant pile of debris that was San Remo—you would think it was still alive. You would have seen the way he pressed his tongue against his cheek and you would swear the world was as it used to be.
There were dreams, and there was Central Park. Gesper Diamond had both in his hands and he twirled them around his fingers until you couldn’t sleep without seeing green grass and massive rocks and white buildings overlooking it all.
None of it was there anymore. He was all that was left on the map—a speck made with the last ink spurts of a used-up pen. A light in a window you see in your head.