Chapter 16

THE FIGHT CLUB mechanic is standing on the gas, raging behind the wheel in his quiet way, and we still have something important to do, tonight.
One thing I'll have to learn before the end of civilization is how to look at the stars and tell where I'm going. Things are quiet as driving a Cadillac through outer space. We must be off the freeway. The three guys in the back seat are passed out or asleep.
"You had a near-life experience," the mechanic says.
He takes one hand off the steering wheel and touches the long welt where my forehead bounced off the steering wheel. My forehead is swelling enough to shut both my eyes, and he runs a cold fingertip down the length of the swelling. The Corniche hits a bump and the pain seems to bump out over my eyes like the shadow from the brim of a cap. Our twisted rear springs and bumper bark and creak in the quiet around our rush down the night road.
The mechanic says how the back bumper of the Corniche is hanging by its ligaments, how it was torn almost free when it caught an end of the truck's front bumper.
I ask, is tonight part of his homework for Project Mayhem?
"Part of it," he says. "I had to make four human sacrifices, and I have to pick up a load of fat."
"For the soap."
What is Tyler planning?
The mechanic starts talking, and it's pure Tyler Durden.
"I see the strongest and the smartest men who have ever lived," he says, his face outlined against the stars in the driver's window, "and these men are pumping gas and waiting tables."
The drop of his forehead, his brow, the slope of his nose, his eyelashes and the curve of his eyes, the plastic profile of his mouth, talking, these are all outlined in black against the stars.
"If we could put these men in training camps and finish raising them.
"All a gun does is focus an explosion in one direction.
"You have a class of young strong men and women, and they want to give their lives to something. Advertising has these people chasing cars and clothes they don't need. Generations have been working in jobs they hate, just so they can buy what they don't really need.
"We don't have a great war in our generation, or a great depression, but we do, we have a great war of the spirit. We have a great revolution against the culture. The great depression is our lives. We have a spiritual depression.
"We have to show these men and women freedom by enslaving them, and show them courage by frightening them.
"Napoleon bragged that he could train men to sacrifice their lives for a scrap of ribbon.
"Imagine, when we call a strike and everyone refuses to work until we redistribute the wealth of the world.
"Imagine hunting elk through the damp canyon forests around the ruins of Rockefeller Center.
"What you said about your job," the mechanic says, "did you really mean it?"
Yeah, I meant it.
"That's why we're on the road, tonight," he says.
We're a hunting party, and we're hunting for fat.
We're going to the medical waste dump.
We're going to the medical waste incinerator, and there among the discarded surgical drapes and wound dressings, and ten-year-old tumors and intravenous tubes and discarded needles, scary stuff, really scary stuff, among the blood samples and amputated tidbits, we'll find more money than we can haul away in one night, even if we were driving a dump truck.
We'll find enough money to load this Corniche down to the axle stops.
"Fat," the mechanic says, "liposuctioned fat sucked out of the richest thighs in America. The richest, fattest thighs in the world."
Our goal is the big red bags of liposuctioned fat we'll haul back to Paper Street and render and mix with lye and rosemary and sell back to the very people who paid to have it sucked out. At twenty bucks a bar, these are the only folks who can afford it.
"The richest, creamiest fat in the world, the fat of the land," he says. "That makes tonight a kind of Robin Hood thing."
The little wax fires sputter in the carpet.
"While we're there," he says, "we're supposed to look for some of those hepatitis bugs, too."

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