Chapter 19

ALL NIGHT LONG, your thoughts are on the air.
Am I sleeping? Have I slept at all? This is the insomnia.
Try to relax a little more with every breath out, but your heart's still racing and your thoughts tornado in your head.
Nothing works. Not guided meditation.
You're in Ireland.
Not counting sheep.
You count up the days, hours, minutes since you can remember falling asleep. Your doctor laughed. Nobody ever died from lack of sleep. The old bruised fruit way your face looks, you'd think you were dead.
After three o'clock in the morning in a motel bed in Seattle, it's too late for you to find a cancer support group. Too late to find some little blue Amytal Sodium capsules or lipstick-red Seconals, the whole Valley of the Dolls playset. After three in the morning, you can't get into a fight club.
You've got to find Tyler.
You've got to get some sleep.
Then you're awake, and Tyler's standing in the dark next to the bed.
You wake up.
The moment you were falling asleep, Tyler was standing there saying, "Wake up. Wake up, we solved the problem with the police here in Seattle. Wake up."
The police commissioner wanted a crackdown on what he called gang-type activity and after-hours boxing clubs.
"But not to worry," Tyler says. "Mister police commissioner shouldn't be a problem," Tyler says. "We have him by the balls, now."
I ask if Tyler's been following me.
"Funny," Tyler says, "I wanted to ask you the same thing. You talked about me to other people, you little shit. You broke your promise."
Tyler was wondering when I'd figure him out.
"Every time you fall asleep," Tyler says, "I run off and do something wild, something crazy, something completely out of my mind."
Tyler kneels down next to the bed and whispers, "Last Thursday, you fell asleep, and I took a plane to Seattle for a little fight club looksee. To check the turn-away numbers, that sort of thing. Look for new talent. We have Project Mayhem in Seattle, too."
Tyler's fingertip traces the swelling along my eyebrows. "We have Project Mayhem in Los Angeles and Detroit, a big Project Mayhem going on in Washington, D.C., in New York. We have Project Mayhem in Chicago like you would not believe."
Tyler says, "I can't believe you broke your promise. The first rule is you don't talk about fight club."
He was in Seattle last week when a bartender in a neck brace told
him that the police were going to crack down on fight clubs. The police commissioner himself wanted it special.
"What it is," Tyler says, "is we have police who come to fight at fight club and really like it. We have newspaper reporters and law clerks and lawyers, and we know everything before it's going to happen."
We were going to be shut down.
"At least in Seattle," Tyler says.
I ask what did Tyler do about it.
"What did we do about it," Tyler says.
We called an Assault Committee meeting.
"There isn't a me and a you, anymore," Tyler says, and he pinches the end of my nose. "I think you've figured that out."
We both use the same body, but at different times.
"We called a special homework assignment," Tyler says. "We said, `Bring me the steaming testicles of his esteemed honor, Seattle Police Commissioner Whoever."'
I'm not dreaming.
"Yes," Tyler says, "you are."
We put together a team of fourteen space monkeys, and five of these space monkeys were police, and we were every person in the park where his honor walks his dog, tonight.
"Don't worry," Tyler says, "the dog is alright."
The whole attack took three minutes less than our best run-through. We'd projected twelve minutes. Our best run-through was nine minutes.
We have five space monkeys hold him down.
Tyler's telling me this, but somehow, I already know it.
Three space monkeys were on lookout.
One space monkey did the ether.
One space monkey tugged down his esteemed sweatpants.
The dog is a spaniel, and it's just barking and barking.
Barking and barking.
Barking and barking.
One space monkey wrapped the rubber band three times until it was tight around the top of his esteemed sack.
"One monkey's between his legs with the knife," Tyler whispers with his punched-out face by my ear. "And I'm whispering in his most esteemed police commissioner's ear that he better stop the fight club crackdown, or we'll tell the world that his esteemed honor does not have any balls."
Tyler whispers, "How far do you think you'll get, your honor?"
The rubber band is cutting off any feeling down there.
"How far do you think you'll get in politics if the voters know you have no nuts?"
By now, his honor has lost all feeling.
Man, his nuts are ice cold.
If even one fight club has to close, we'll send his nuts east and west. One goes to the New York Tuner and one goes to the Los Angeles Timer. One to each. Sort of press release style.
The space monkey took the ether rag off his mouth, and the commissioner said, don't.
And Tyler said, "We have nothing to lose except fight club."
The commissioner, he had everything.
All we were left was the shit and the trash of the world.
Tyler nodded to the space monkey with the knife between the commissioner's legs.
Tyler asked, "Imagine the rest of your life with your bag flapping empty."
The commissioner said, no.
And don't.
And the space monkey slips the knife in and only cuts off the rubber band.
Six minutes, total, and we were done.
"Remember this," Tyler said. "The people you're trying to step on, we're everyone you depend on. We're the people who do your laundry and cook your food and serve your dinner. We make your bed. We guard you while you're asleep. We drive the ambulances. We direct your call. We are cooks and taxi drivers and we know everything about you. We process your insurance claims and credit card charges. We control every part of your life.
"We are the middle children of history, raised by television to believe that someday we'll be millionaires and movie stars and rock stars, but we won't. And we're just learning this fact," Tyler said. "So don't fuck with us."
The space monkey had to press the ether down, hard on the commissioner sobbing and put him all the way out.
Another team dressed him and took him and his dog home. After that, the secret was up to him to keep. And, no, we didn't expect any more fight club crackdown.
His esteemed honor went home scared but intact.
"Every time we do these little homework assignments," Tyler says, "these fight club men with nothing to lose are a little more invested in Project Mayhem."
Tyler kneeling next to my bed says, "Close your eyes and give me your hand."
I close my eyes, and Tyler takes my hand. I feel Tyler's lips against the scar of his kiss.
"I said that if you talked about me behind my back, you'd never see me again," Tyler said. "We're not two separate men. Long story short, when you're awake, you have the control, and you can call yourself anything you want, but the second you fall asleep, I take over, and you become Tyler Durden."
But we fought, I say. The night we invented fight club.
"You weren't really fighting me," Tyler says. "You said so yourself. You were fighting everything you hate in your life."
But I can see you.
"You're asleep."
But you're renting a house. You held a job. Two jobs.
Tyler says, "Order your canceled checks from the bank. I rented the house in your name. I think you'll find the handwriting on the rent checks matches the notes you've been typing for me."
Tyler's been spending my money. It's no wonder I'm always overdrawn.
"And the jobs, well, why do you think you're so tired. Geez, it's not insomnia. As soon as you fall asleep, I take over and go to work or fight club or whatever. You're lucky I didn't get a job as a snake handler."
I say, but what about Marla?
"Marla loves you."
Marla loves you.
"Marla doesn't know the difference between you and me. You
gave her a fake name the night you met. You never gave your real name at a support group, you inauthentic shit. Since I saved her life, Marla thinks your name is Tyler Durden."
So, now that I know about Tyler, will he just disappear?
"No," Tyler says, still holding my hand, "I wouldn't be here in the first place if you didn't want me. I'll still live my life while you're asleep, but if you fuck with me, if you chain yourself to the bed at night or take big doses of sleeping pills, then we'll be enemies. And I'll get you for it."
Oh, this is bullshit. This is a dream. Tyler is a projection. He's a disassociative personality disorder. A psychogenic fugue state. Tyler Durden is my hallucination.
"Fuck that shit," Tyler says. "Maybe you're my schizophrenic hallucination."
I was here first.
Tyler says, "Yeah, yeah, yeah, well let's just see who's here last."
This isn't real. This is a dream, and I'll wake up.
"Then wake up."
And then the telephone's ringing, and Tyler's gone.
Sun is coming through the curtains.
It's my 7 A.M. wake-up call, and when I pick up the receiver, the fine is dead.

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