Philip Dick: Humpty Dumpty in Oakland

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Philip Dick Humpty Dumpty in Oakland
  • Название:
    Humpty Dumpty in Oakland
  • Автор:
  • Издательство:
    Tor
  • Жанр:
    Современная проза / на английском языке
  • Год:
    2007
  • Город:
    New York
  • Язык:
    Английский
  • ISBN:
    0-765-31690-0
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    3 / 5
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Humpty Dumpty in Oakland: краткое содержание, описание и аннотация

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Al Miller is a sad case, someone who can’t seem to lift himself up from his stagnant and disappointing life. He’s a self-proclaimed nobody, a used car salesman with a lot full of junkers. His elderly landlord, Jim Fergesson, has decided to retire because of a heart condition and has just cashed in on his property, which includes his garage, and, next to it, the lot that Al rents. This leaves Al wondering what his next step should be, and if he even cares. Chris Harman is a record-company owner who has relied on Fergesson’s to fix his Cadillac for many years. When he hears about Fergesson’s sudden retirement fund, he tells him about a new realty development and urges him to invest in it. According to Harman, it’s a surefire path to easy wealth. Fergesson is swayed. This is his chance to be a real businessman, a well-to-do, gentleman, like Harman. But Al is convinced that Harman is a crook out to fleece Fergesson. Even if he doesn’t particularly like Fergesson, Al is not going to stand by and watch him get cheated. Only Al’s not very good at this, either. He may not even be right.

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Humpty Dumpty In Oakland

by Philip K. Dick

(Text on the dust jacket)

“A kind of pulp-fiction Kafka, a Prophet.”

—The New York Times

“One of the most original practitioners writing any kind of fiction.”

—The Sunday Times (London)

“Remarkable... echoes of Dick’s contemporaries such as Ralph Ellison, Richard Yates, Rod Serling, Raymond Chandler, and early Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., resonate, and a bonus exists in Dick’s impeccable eye for detail Dick’s fans will be in rapture.”

—Publishers Weekly on Voices from the Street

“It may be hard For some to accept that the same writer who recently snuck into the American canon as a visionary and paranoid pop surrealist also penned a half dozen or more proletarian-realist novels set in the Californio of the ’50s and early ’60s, the best of which occupy a region demarcated by Richard Yates on one side and Charles Willeford on the other. But accept it.”

—Jonathan Letham

“Well written, it is a welcome addition to this author’s large and brilliant canon.”

—Booklist on Voices from the Street

“Philip K. Dick has chosen to handle material too nutty to accept, too admonitory to Forget, too haunting to abandon.”

—The Washington Post

“[Dick] sees all the sparkling-and terrifying—possibilities that other authors shy away from.”

—Paul Williams, Rolling Stone

“Dick was one of the genuine visionaries that North American fiction has produced.”

—L.A. Weekly

“When it comes to intellectually challenging and deeply philosophical grist for contemporary screenwriters, few literary minds have been as reliably fertile as that of the late science fiction master Philip K. Dick.”

—San Francisco Chronicle

“Working in territory later mined by Richard Yates and Raymond Carver—that is, the psyche of the middle-aged white male-Dick acquits himself well.”

—Entertainment Weekly on Voices from the Street

A number of movies have been based on the stories of Philip K. Dick, including the classic Blade Runner. Prior to his death, in 1982, Dick lived in California.


Jacket Photo by George Diebold Photography / Getty Images

Copyright Page

This is a work of fiction. All of the characters, organizations, and events portrayed in this novel are either products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously.
HUMPTY DUMPTY IN OAKLAND
Copyright © 1986 by The Estate of Philip K. Dick
All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book, or portions thereof, in any form.
A Tor Book Published by Tom Doherty Associates, LLC 175 Fifth Avenue New York, NY 10010
www.tor.com
Tor® is a registered trademark of Tom Doherty Associates, LLC.
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Dick, Philip K.

Humpty dumpty in Oakland / Philip K. Dick.—1st U.S. ed. p. cm.

“A Tom Doherty Associates book.”

ISBN-13: 978-0-7653-1690-5

ISBN-10: 0-7653-1690-0

1. Self-deception—Fiction. 2. San Francisco (Calif.)—Fiction. I. Title.

PS3554.I3H86 2007

813’. 54—dc22 2007020866

First U.S. Edition: October 2007 Printed in the United States of America 0 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

Humpty Dumpty In Oakland

1

As he drove, Jim Fergesson rolled down the window of his Pontiac, and, poking his elbow out, leaned to inhale lungfuls of early-morning summer air. He took in the sight of sunlight on stores and pavement as he went up San Pablo Avenue at a slow pace. All fresh. All new, clean. The night machine, the whirring city brush, had come by, gathering up; the broom their taxes went to.

At the curb he parked, turned off the motor, sat for a moment lighting a cigar. A few cars appeared and parked around him. Cars moved along the street. Sounds, the first stirrings of people. In the quiet their movements set up metallic echoes from the buildings and concrete.

Nice sky, he thought. But won’t last. Haze later on. He looked at his watch. Eight-thirty.

Stepping from his car he slammed the door and went down the sidewalk. On his left, merchants rolled down their awnings with elaborate arm motions. A Negro swept trash with a pushbroom across the sidewalk into the gutter. Fergesson stepped through the trash with care. The Negro made no comment . . . early-morning sweeping machine.

By the entrance of the Metropolitan Oakland Savings and Loan Company a group of secretaries clustered. Coffee cups, high heels, perfume and earrings and pink sweaters, coats tossed over shoulders. Fergesson inhaled the sweet scent of young women. Laughter, giggles, intimate words passed back and forth, excluding him and the street. The office opened and the women tripped inside with a swirl of nylons and coats . . . he glanced appreciatively back. Good for business, girl behind counter to meet people. A woman adds class, refinement. Bookkeeper? No, must be where customers can see her. Keeps the men from swearing; keeps them kidding and pleasant.

“Morning, Jim.” From the barbershop.

“Morning,” Fergesson said, without stopping; he held his arm behind him, fingers casually trailing.

Ahead, his garage. Up the cement incline he went, key in hand. He unlocked and with both arms raised the door; it disappeared, a clank and whirr of chains.

Critically, he surveyed his old-fashioned possession. The neon sign was off. Debris from the night lay scattered in the entrance-way. He kicked a pasteboard milk carton out onto the sidewalk. The carton rolled off, caught by the wind. Fergesson put his key away and walked into the garage.

Here it began. He squinted and spat out the first stale breath that hung inside the garage. Bending, he clicked on the main power. The dead things creaked back to life. He fixed the side door open, and a little sunlight came in. He advanced on the night-light and destroyed it with a jerk of his hand. He grabbed a pole and dragged back the skylight. The radio, high up, began to hum and then to blare. He threw the fan into wheezing excitement. He snapped on all lights, equipment, display signs. He illuminated the luxurious Goodrich tire poster. He brought color, shape, awareness to the void. Darkness flew; and after the first moment of activity he subsided and rested, and took his seventh day—a cup of coffee.

Coffee came from the health food store next door. As he entered, Betty rose to get the Silex from the back. “Morning, Jim. You’re in a good mood this morning.”

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