Tuesday, March 1, 2022

the last book I ever read (Harlem Shuffle: A Novel by Colson Whitehead, excerpt nine)

from Harlem Shuffle: A Novel by Colson Whitehead:

Mr. Gibbs smiled and looked over his shoulder at 125th Street. Carney wagered he’d seen more Negroes in five minutes than he had in his whole life.

The sales rep had a friendly manner as he recounted the dull details of his semiannual trip out East. A simple phone call took care of most client relations, he said, but it was good to put names to faces. “You know how it is, Mr. Carney.”

“Call me Ray.”

“Nice operation you got here,” Mr. Gibbs said. It was paramount to visit prospective dealers in person, for obvious reasons. For the right fit. Bella Fontaine had a corporate personality; sometimes certain personalities didn’t mix as well as others. And of course there was the problem of geography, he said. You didn’t want to turn local establishments into rivals so that they’re cannibalizing one another’s business.

The euphemisms made Carney dizzy and he’d have to check with Elizabeth over whether the cannibal thing was a slur.

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