And I mean I'm all for dismantling the eighteen levels of bullshit that make up Celia's outer carapace, but doing it this way... At some point won't it just, you know, kill her? No, she's an immovable object, exquisitely disciplined, hard as nails and twice as sharp. The world has never stood a chance with Celia Hodes, which is the problem and always has been. The smarter you are, the crazier you get to be without anybody stopping you: she needs to die to get anywhere. You can't miss the bear:
He thought of certain human hearts, their climb/ Through violence into exquisite disciplines/ Of which, as it now appeared, they all expired.
Back to the back room, the tunnel, the truth. You already know. Guillermo hustles girls out of the tunnel, with their purses and eyes wide. I think they're speaking Russian. He grunts at Nancy, hisses, bitches about changing the combination. She spits back that she's just putting money in the safe, with which he can't argue, and then looks at the girls. Looks right at them, finally. ("Is she buying us?" they ask. Yes. Buying and selling and standing right there.) "More cousins? You girls okay?" He hustles them out and into the van, and tells her the day is over: go home.
The tunnel has always been this: Wonderland, where nothing is true and everything is permitted. Lacey died down there; Nancy was born again. Every night when you go to sleep, that's the tunnel that you go into. All the things you can't look at in the sunlight.
Nancy locks the door of Maternity World behind her, and walks out into the San Ysidro strip mall, where everything's on sale. She waves to another storeowner. She's just a girl. She's just a girl in love with a boy.
The last chord fades. The night is cold and fine.
His master's voice rasps through the grooves' bare groves.
Obediently, in silence like the grave's
He sleeps there on the still-warm gramophone...