Chuck Palahniuk is the bestselling author of fifteen fictional works, including Fight Club, Invisible Monsters, Survivor, Choke, Lullaby, Diary, Haunted, Rant. Read and Download Ebook Lullaby PDF. Lullaby PDF by Chuck Palahniuk. Lullaby by Chuck Palahniuk.» Download / Read Online «. PDF File: Lullaby. 1. The ChuckPalahniuk community on Reddit. Invisible Monsters Remix Lullaby Make Something Up Phoenix Pygmy Rant Snuff Stranger Than.
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Lullaby By Chuck Palahniuk Prologue At first, the new owner pretends he never looked at the living room floor. Never r. «I need to rebel against myself. It's the opposite of following your bliss. I need to do what I most fear.» Beleaguered reporter Carl Streator is stuck writing about. Ever heard of a culling song? It's a lullaby sung in Africa to give a painless death to the old or infirm. The lyrics of a culling song kill, whether spoken or even just.
Helen Hoover Boyle. How long until it's read over the radio to thousands of people? Fight Club Choke The French Normandy at Weston Heights has arched windows, a butler's pantry, leaded-glass pocket doors, and a body that appears in the upstairs hallway with multiple stab wounds. And I say, so? He always knows the snow conditions and has a lift pass dangling from every coat he owns. Streator," she says.
And I raise both my hands, spread open toward her, and start backing away. I just need to make sure every copy of this book is destroyed. And she says, "Mona, please call the police. Babies do not smother in their blankets. In the Journal of Pediatrics, in a study published in called "Mechanical Suffocation During Infancy," researchers proved that no baby could smother in bedding. Even the smallest baby, placed facedown on a pillow or mattress, could roll enough to breathe.
Even if the child had a slight cold, there's no proof that it's related to the death. There's no proof to link DPT—diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus—inoculations and sudden death. Even if the child had been to the doctor hours before, it still may die. A cat does not sit on the child and suck out its life. All we know is, we don't know. Nash, the paramedic, shows me the purple and red bruises on every child, livor mortis, where the oxygenated hemoglobin settles to the lowest part of the body.
The bloody froth leaking from the nose and mouth is what the medical examiner calls purge fluids, a natural part of decomposition. People desperate for an answer will look at livor mortis, at purge fluids, even at diaper rash, and assume child abuse. The shortcut to closing any door is to bury yourself in the little details. The facts.
The best part of becoming a reporter is you can hide behind your notebook. Everything is always research. At the county library, in the juvenile section, the book is back on the shelf, waiting. And on page 27 there's a poem. A traditional African poem, the book says. It's eight lines long, and I don't need to copy it. I have it in my notes from the very first baby, the trailer house in the suburbs. I tear out the page and put the book back on the shelf.
In the City Room, Duncan says, "How's it going on the dead baby beat? Three columns by six inches deep, the copy says: If so, please call the following number to be part of a class-action lawsuit. Tissue loss or damage. Be as specific as possible. There's no rash. I say, I'm not calling to be in the lawsuit. For whatever reason, Helen Hoover Boyle comes to mind.
When I say I'm a reporter for the newspaper, the man says, "I'm sorry, but we're not allowed to discuss the matter until the lawsuit is filed. I call the Treeline Dining Club from the earlier ad, but they won't talk. The phone numbers in both ads are the same one. With the weird cell phone prefix. In journalism school, they teach you to start with your most important fact. The inverted pyramid, they call it. Put the who, what, where, when, and why at the top of the article.
Then list the lesser facts in descending order. That way, an editor can lop off any length of story without losing anything too important. All the little details, the smell of the bedspread, the food on the plates, the color of the Christmas tree ornament, that stuff always gets left on the Composing Room floor.
The only pattern in crib death is it tends to increase as the weather cools in the fall. This is the fact my editor wants to lead with in our first installment.
Something to panic people. Five babies, five installments. This way we can keep people reading the series for five consecutive Sundays. We can promise to explore the causes and patterns of sudden infant death. We can hold out hope. Some people still think knowledge is power. We can guarantee advertisers a highly invested readership. Outside, it's colder already. Back at the City Room, I ask my editor to do me a little favor. I think maybe I've found a pattern.
It looks as if every parent might have read the same poem out loud to their child the night before it died. I say, let's try a little experiment. This is late in the evening, and we're both tired from a long day. We're sitting in his office, and I tell him to listen. It's an old song about animals going to sleep. It's wistful and sentimental, and my face feels livid and hot with oxygenated hemoglobin while I read the poem out loud under the fluorescent lights, across a desk from my editor with his tie undone and his collar open, leaning back in his chair with his eyes closed.
His mouth is open a little, his teeth and his coffee mug are stained the same coffee brown. What's good is we're alone, and it only takes a minute. At the end, he opens his eyes and says, "What the fuck was that supposed to mean? His spit lands in little cold specks on my arm, bringing germs, little wet buckshot, bringing viruses.
Brown coffee saliva. I say I don't know. The book calls it a culling song. In some ancient cultures, they sang it to children during famines or droughts, anytime the tribe had outgrown its land.
You sing it to warriors crippled in battle and people stricken with disease, anyone you hope will die soon. To end their pain. It's a lullaby. As far as ethics, what I've learned is a journalist's job isn't to judge the facts. Your job isn't to screen information.
Your job is to collect the details.
Just what's there. Be an impartial witness. What I know now is someday you won't think twice about calling those parents back on Christmas Eve. Duncan looks at his watch, then at me, and says, "So what's your experiment? A real pattern. It's just my job to tell the story. I put page 27 through his paper shredder.
Stick and stones may break your bones, but words will never hurt you. I don't want to explain until I know for sure. This is still a hypothetical situation, so I ask my editor to humor me.
I say, "We both need some rest, Duncan. Some people grab their coats and head for the elevator. Some grab a magazine and head for the bathroom. Other people duck behind their computer screens and pretend to be on the phone while Henderson stands in the center of the newsroom with his tie loose around his open collar and shouts, "Where the hell is Duncan? I pick up my phone.
The details about Henderson are he's got blond hair combed across his forehead. He dropped out of law school. He's an editor on the National desk. He always knows the snow conditions and has a lift pass dangling from every coat he owns.
I ask the dial tone, is that B as in "boy"? Of course I'm not telling anybody about how I read Duncan the poem. I can't call the police. About my theory. I can't explain to Helen Hoover Boyle why I need to ask about her dead son. My collar feels so tight I have to swallow hard to force any coffee down. Even if people believed me, the first thing they'd want to know is: What poem? Show it to us. Prove it. The question isn't, Would the poem leak out?
The question is, How soon would the human race be extinct? Here's the power of life and a cold clean bloodless easy death, available to anyone. To everyone. An instant, bloodless, Hollywood death. Even if I don't tell, how long until Poems and Rhymes from. Around the World gets into a classroom? How long until page 27, the culling song, gets read to fifty kids before nap time? How long until it's read over the radio to thousands of people?
Until it's set to music? Translated into other languages? Hell, it doesn't have to be translated to work. Babies don't speak any language.
No one's seen Duncan for three days. Miller thinks Kleine called Duncan at home. Kleine thinks Fillmore called. Everybody's sure somebody else called, but nobody's talked to Duncan. He hasn't answered his e-mail. Carruthers says Duncan didn't bother to call in sick.
Another cup of coffee later, Henderson stops by my desk with a tear sheet from the Leisure section. It's folded to show an ad, three columns by six inches deep. Henderson looks at me tapping my watch and holding it to my ear, and he says, "You see this in the morning edition? And Henderson says, "You're Mr. Special Features. I ain't your bitch. You don't become a reporter because you're good at keeping secrets. Being a journalist is about telling. It's about bearing the bad news.
Spreading the contagion. The biggest story in history. This could be the end of mass media. The culling song would be a plague unique to the Information Age. Imagine a world where people shun the television, the radio, movies, the Internet, magazines and newspapers. People have to wear earplugs the way they wear condoms and rubber gloves. In the past, nobody worried too much about sex with strangers. Or before that, bites from fleas. Or untreated drinking water.
Imagine a plague you catch through your ears. Sticks and stones will break your bones, but now words can kill, too. The new death, this plague, can come from anywhere.
A song. An overhead announcement. A news bulletin. A sermon. A street musician. You can catch death from a telemarketer.
A teacher. An Internet file. A birthday card. A fortune cookie. A million people might watch a television show, then be dead the next morning because of an advertising jingle.
Imagine the panic. Imagine a new Dark Age. Exploration and trade routes brought the first plagues from China to Europe. With mass media, we have so many new means of transmission. Imagine the books burning.
And tapes and films and files, radios and televisions, will all go into that same bonfire. All those libraries and bookstores blazing away in the night. People will attack microwave relay stations. People with axes will chop every fiber-optic cable. Imagine people chanting prayers, singing hymns, to drown out any sound that might bring death. Their hands clamped over their ears, imagine people shunning any song or speech where death could be coded the way maniacs would poison a bottle of aspirin.
Any new word. Anything they don't already understand will be suspect, dangerous. A quarantine against communication. And if this was a death spell, an incantation, there had to be others.
I'm not the pioneer brain of anything. How long until someone dissects the culling song and creates another variation, and another, and another? All of them new and improved. Until Oppenheimer invented the atom bomb, it was impossible.
Now we have the atom bomb and the hydrogen bomb and the neutron bomb, and people are still expanding on that one idea. We're forced into a new scary paradigm. If Duncan's dead, he was a necessary casualty. He was my atmospheric nuclear test.
He was my Trinity. My Hiroshima. Still, Palmer from the copy desk is sure Duncan's in Composing. Jenkins from Composing says Duncan's probably in the art department. Hawley from Art says he's in the clipping library.
Schott from the library says Duncan's at the copy desk. Around here, this is what passes for reality. The kind of security they now have at airports, imagine that kind of crackdown at all libraries, schools, theaters, bookstores, after the culling song leaks out.
Anywhere information might be disseminated, you'll find armed guards. The airwaves will be as empty as a public swimming pool during a polio scare. After that, only a few government broadcasts will air. Only well-scrubbed news and music. After that, any music, books, and movies will be tested on lab animals or volunteer convicts before release to the public. Instead of surgical masks, people will wear earphones that will give them the soothing constant protection of safe music or bird-songs.
People will pay for a supply of "pure"' news, a source for "safe" information and entertainment. The way milk and meat and blood are inspected, imagine books and music and movies being filtered and homogenized. Approved for consumption. People will be happy to give up most of their culture for the assurance that the tiny bit that comes through is safe and clean.
White noise. Imagine a world of silence where any sound loud enough or long enough to harbor a deadly poem would be banned. No more motorcycles, lawn mowers, jet planes, electric blenders, hair dryers.
A world where people are afraid to listen, afraid they'll hear something behind the din of traffic. Some toxic words buried in the loud music playing next door. Imagine a higher and higher resistance to language. No one talks because no one dares to listen. The deaf shall inherit the earth. And the illiterate. The isolated. Imagine a world of hermits. Another cup of coffee, and I have to piss like a bastard. Henderson from National catches me washing my hands in the men's room and says something.
It could be anything. Drying my hands under the blower, I yell I can't hear him. Over the sound of water and the hand dryer, he yells, "We have two dead bodies in a hotel suite, and we don't know if it's news or not. We need Duncan to make the call. There's so much noise. In the mirror, I check my tie and finger-comb my hair. In one breath, with Henderson reflected next to me, I could race through the culling song, and he'd be out of my life by tonight.
Him and Duncan. It would be that easy. Instead, I ask if it's okay to wear a blue tie with a brown jacket. Chapter 8 When the first paramedic arrived on the scene, the first action he took was to call his stockbroker. This paramedic, my friend John Nash, sized up the situation in suite 17F of the Pressman Hotel and put in a sell order for all his shares of Stuart Western Technologies.
He says if I got shares of Stuart Western to dump them and then get my ass over to this bar on Third, near the hospital. If Turner hadn't been there, Turner my partner, I don't know. According to the ticker, shares of Stuart Western Tech are already sliding into the toilet. Last night, the Stuarts had dinner at seven o'clock at Chez Chef. This is all easy enough to bribe out of the hotel concierge.
According to their waiter, one had the salmon risotto, the other had Portabello mushrooms. Looking at the check, he said, you can't tell who had what. They drank a bottle of pinot noir.
Somebody had cheesecake for dessert. Both of them had coffee. At nine, they drove to an after-hours party at the Chambers Gallery, where witnesses told police the couple talked to several people including the gallery owner and the architect of their new house. They each had another glass of some jug wine. At ten-thirty they returned to the Pressman Hotel, where they'd been staying in suite 17F for almost a month since their wedding. The hotel operator says they made several phone calls between ten-thirty and midnight.
At twelve-fifteen, they called the front desk and asked for an eight o'clock wake-up call. A desk clerk confirms that they used the television remote control to order a pornographic movie.
At nine the next morning, the maid found them dead. A big guy wearing a heavy coat over his white uniform, he's wearing his white track shoes and standing at the bar when I get there. Both elbows on the bar, he's eating a steak sandwich, on a kaiser roll with mustard and mayo squeezing out of the far end.
He's drinking a cup of black coffee. His greasy hair is pulled into a black palm tree on top of his head. And I say, so?
I ask, was the place ransacked? Nash is just chewing, his big jaw going around and around. He holds the sandwich in both hands but stares past it at the plate full of mess, dill pickles and potato chips. I ask, did he smell anything in the hotel room? He says, "Newlyweds like they were, I figure he fucks her to death, and then has himself a heart attack. Five bucks says they open her and find air in her heart. And Nash says, "No can do. Not on a hotel phone. He says, "Still warm, too, under the covers.
Warm enough. No death agonies. The husband had a fine-looking ass, if that's what floats your boat. No leakage. No livor mortis. No skin slippage. He says, "Both of them naked. A big wet spot on the mattress, right between them. Yeah, they did it. Did it and died. Alive or a virgin. If Duncan is dead, I hope it's not Nash who responds to the call.
Maybe this time with a rubber. Maybe they sell them in the bathroom here. Since he had such a good look, I ask if he saw any bruises, bites, beestings, needle marks, anything. A suicide note? No apparent cause of death," he says.
Nash turns the sandwich around in his hands and licks the mustard and mayo leaked out the end. He says, "You remember Jeffrey Dahmer. He just thought you could drill a hole in somebody's skull, pour in some drain cleaner, and make them your sex zombie. Dahmer just wanted to be getting more. I give him two twenties and a ten. With his teeth, he pulls a slice of steak out of the sandwich. The meat hangs against his chin before he tosses his head back to flip it into his mouth.
Chewing, he says, "Yeah, I'm a pig," and his breath is nothing but mustard. He says, "The last person to talk to them, their call history on both their cell phones, it said her name is Helen Hoover Boyle. According to the note card taped to the front, it's black lacquered pine with Persian scenes in silver gilt, round bun feet, and the pediment done up in a pile of carved curls and shells.
It has to be the same cabinet. We'd turned right here, walking down a tight corridor of armoires, then turned right again at a Regency press cupboard, then left at a Federal sofa, but here we are again. Helen Hoover Boyle puts her finger against the silver gilt, the tarnished men and women of Persian court life, and says, "I have no idea what you're talking about.
She called them on their cell phones sometime the day before they died. She read them each the culling song. Her suit is yellow today, but her hair's still big and pink.
Her shoes are yellow, but her neck's still hung with gold chains and beads. Her cheeks look pink and soft with too much powder. It didn't take much digging to find out the Stuarts were the people who'd bought a house on Exeter Drive. A lovely historic house with seven bedrooms and cherry paneling throughout the first floor. A house they planned to tear down and replace. A plan that infuriated Helen Hoover Boyle. Streator," she says.
Beyond that, each corridor turns or branches into more corridors, armoires squeezed side by side, sideboards wedged together. Anything short, armchairs or sofas or tables, only lets you see through to the next corridor of hutches, the next wall of grandfather clocks, enameled screens, Georgian secretaries. This is where she suggested we meet, where we could talk in private, one of those warehouse antique stores.
In this maze of furniture, we keep meeting the same William and Mary bureau cabinet, then the same Regency press cupboard. We're going in circles. We're lost. And Helen Boyle says, "Have you told anyone else about your killer sons'? And she says, "What a surprise. Frayed wires twist where their chains hook onto each roof beam.
The severed wires, the dusty dead lightbulbs. Each chandelier is just another ancient aristocratic head cut off and hanging upside down. Above everything arches the warehouse roof, a lot of bow trusses supporting corrugated steel. The Rococo vitrines, the Jacobean bookcases, the Gothic Revival highboys, all carved and varnished, the French Provincial wardrobes, crowd around us. The Edwardian walnut curio cabinets, the Victorian pier mirrors, the Renaissance Revival chifforobes.
The walnut and mahogany, ebony and oak. The melon bulb legs and cabriole legs and linenfold panels. Past the point where any corridor turns, there's just more. Queen Anne chiffoniers. More bird's-eye maple. Mother-of-pearl inlay and gilded bronze ormolu.
Our footsteps echo against the concrete floor. The steel roof hums with rain. And she says, "Don't you feel, somehow, buried in history? She makes a fist around the keys so only the longest and sharpest juts out between her fingers. But furniture, fine, beautiful furniture, it just goes on and on, surviving everything. The sound is as quiet as anything sharp slashing something soft. The scar is deep and shows the raw cheap pine under the veneer.
She stops in front of a wardrobe with beveled-glass doors. They aged in that mirror. They died, all those beautiful young women, but here's the wardrobe, worth more now than ever. A parasite surviving the host. A big fat predator looking for its next meal. Everyone rich and successful enough to prove it. All of their talent and intelligence and beauty, outlived by decorative junk.
All the success and accomplishment this furniture was supposed to represent, it's all vanished. She says, "In the vast scheme of things, does it really matter how the Stuarts died? Was it because her son, Patrick, died? And she just keeps walking, trailing her fingers along the carved edges, the polished surfaces, marring the knobs and smearing the mirrors. It didn't take much digging to find out how her husband died. Helen had acquired it years earlier in the estate of the publisher of Poems and Rhymes Around the World whom she had killed with the culling spell as revenge for the deaths of her husband and child.
Initially, Mona attempts to persuade Helen and Carl to allow her to translate the book, but they are distrustful of her relationship with Oyster, leaving Mona infuriated. Helen with the resources she obtained from the publisher's estate translates the book, which in addition to the culling song contains other spells, such as a flying spell and a spell that allows the user to possess others. Carl and Helen have a romantic moment where they declare their love for each other, but Carl later is left skeptical of the relationship after Mona convinces him that Helen was using a love spell to control him.
After confronting Helen about the accusation Carl decides to kill Nash, a paramedic who he inadvertently gave knowledge of the culling song to, who has been murdering beautiful models, so he can have sex with their bodies.
After his confrontation with Nash, Carl surrenders himself to the police who place him in a high security prison. During a rectal exam the sergeant of the police force asks him if "he is up for a quickie"; to Carl's astonishment Helen has possessed the officer's body and helps Carl escape. During this time Oyster steals the grimoire with the exception of the culling song with the help of Mona and uses it to possess Helen and commit suicide.
With her last amount of energy Helen possesses the police sergeant and joins Carl to kill Mona and Oyster who have been using the spells to promote their extremist views. Lullaby uses a framing device , alternating between the normal, linear narrative and the temporal end after every few chapters. Palahniuk often uses this format alongside a major plot twist near the end of the book which relates in some way to this temporal end what Palahniuk refers to as "the hidden gun".
Lullaby starts with Mr. Streator talking to the reader, narrating where he is today and why he is going to tell us the backstory that will give us perspective on his current situation. Me, the Sarge, the Flying Virgin. Helen Hoover Boyle. What I'm writing is the story of how we met.
How we got here". This present tense information that makes this book a frame story is incorporated every few chapters as its own chapter, entirely italicized. Palahniuk uses these segments as a way to set up his "hidden gun" and as a means to foreshadow where the story is going. His present seems disconnected from the past that he narrates throughout the rest of the novel. The final chapter concludes in the present, providing the puzzle-piece that strings together all the events and makes sense out of the backstory and their current workings searching for "phenomenons".
Fontaine had recently put her ex-husband Dale Shackleford in prison for sexual abuse. Shackleford had vowed to kill Fontaine as soon as he was released.
After his release, Shackleford followed Fred Palahniuk and Fontaine home from a date to her apartment in Kendrick, Idaho. After shooting Fred Palahniuk in the abdomen and Fontaine in the back of the neck, Shackleford left them to die, though he allegedly returned to the scene multiple times to attempt to start a fire large enough to destroy the evidence.