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Fugitives and Refugees: A Walk in Portland, Oregon


Fugitives and Refugees: A Walk in Portland, Oregon Cover

ISBN13: 9781400047833
ISBN10: 1400047838
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: None
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Only 1 left in stock at $9.95!




(a postcard from 1981)

Acid and LSD are the same thing. I'm only telling you this because I didn't know it.

This year, I'm nineteen years old and living in a rented room on the second floor at 2221 NW Flanders Street. The Hampton Court Apartments. My friends and I, we buy our jeans at the Squire Shop on SW Broadway and Alder Street. We wear high-waisted, buckle-back carpenter pants with a loop midway down the thigh, so you can hook a hammer there. The Squire Shop has the white-denim painter pants and the striped engineer jeans. We listen to the Flying Lizards and Pink Floyd.

In high school I'd watched a spooky movie called Focus on Acid. Acid could make you mistake the gas flame on a stove for a lovely blue carnation. You'd have flashbacks years later and wreck your car.

Still, when some friends suggested eating a tab of LSD and watching the Pink Floyd laser light show at the OMSI (Oregon Museum of Science and Industry) planetarium, I said sure. Let's go.

LSD was lysergic acid diethylamide. A simple alkaloid. Just another chemical. It was science.

This was December, when OMSI used to be in the West Hills, high above the city near the zoo. We sat in the cold parking lot at dusk and each ate a little paper stamp impregnated with LSD, and my friends told me what to expect. First, we'd laugh a lot. We'd smile so long and hard our face muscles would ache for days. Then, we'd grind our teeth. This was important to know so you didn't wear down your molars. My friends talked about how each light and color would bleed a little comet trail. The paint would seem to run down the walls. First, we'd watch the laser light show, then we'd wander through the West Hills mansions and trip on the Christmas lights.

In the OMSI planetarium the seats are in circles around the projector in the center of the round room. My friends sit on one side of me. A woman I don't know sits on my other side. Pink Floyd blares out of speakers and red laser squiggles around the dark, domed ceiling, and I'm laughing so hard I can't stop. They play "Dark Side of the Moon," and my jaws start to ache. They play "The Wall," and the friend on my left side says, "Put something in your mouth." He says, "You're going to wreck your teeth."

He's right, my back teeth feel hot and there's that burned-metal taste you get having a cavity drilled. I'm grinding my teeth that hard.

This is December, so we're wearing denim jackets with fake sheepskin lining. Stocking caps and thick, knitted mufflers. With my muffler stuffed in my mouth, I go back to chewing.

The next thing I know, I'm choking. My throat is full of something soft and dry. I'm gagging, and my mouth is stuffed with something chewy and matted. Some kind of fibers. Or hairs.

In the dark, the laser squiggling and Pink Floyd blasting, my muffler doesn't feel right. It's too soft, and I'm spitting and picking bits of animal fur out of my mouth. If it's mink or rabbit, I don't know, but this is fur.

The woman who sat down next to me, she was wearing a fur coat and dropped it into her seat. She dropped it so one sleeve fell across my lap. That's what I've put in my mouth, and here in the dark, I've chewed, gnawed, gobbled up everything between the elbow and the cuff.

Now my friends are trying to pass me some cleaning solvent poured on a bandanna. To huff. It stinks like dirty socks, and people sitting around us are starting to gripe about the smell.

At any minute the lasers and the music will stop. The lights will come up, and people will get to their feet. They'll slip into their hats and gloves. And the stranger beside me will find a drooly mess where her coat sleeve used to be. Me, I'll be sitting here with wet fur all around my mouth. Strands of fur still stuck between my teeth. Coughing up a mink hairball.

My friends are elbowing me, still trying to pass me the stinking bandanna soaked in solvent. Carbon tetrachloride, another simple chemical. And the fur coat woman on my other side says, "Christ, what is that smell?"

As the last song ends, before the lights come on, I stand. I tell my friends, we're going. Now. I'm shoving them out into the aisle. As the lights come up, I'm climbing over them, telling them, "Run. Don't ask questions, just get outside."

Of course, they think this is a game. So we're running. Outside the fire exit doors, the acres of parking lot are dark, and it's started to snow.

With the snow falling in fat clumps around us, we're running. Through Washington Park at night. Past the zoo and the Christmas lights on the big mansions, each spot of color smearing. Trailing. We're running through the rose garden, the downtown stretched out below. And my friends are laughing. Their fingers and faces stinking of chemical solvent, they run through the falling snow, not thinking this is anything but fun.

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Average customer rating based on 8 comments:

Kristina Mageau, August 30, 2012 (view all comments by Kristina Mageau)
A fun and obscure view of Portland. Recommended for those who want to explore Portland in a different way, or for those who are just curious about what is on the unbeaten path.
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(4 of 8 readers found this comment helpful)
Jessica Fee, August 30, 2011 (view all comments by Jessica Fee)
This book is everything that I love about Portland. Palaniuk captures pieces of the real Portland that many people never get to see. It's beautiful and hilarious. This book mentions all those little things that will always make Portland home.
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(4 of 9 readers found this comment helpful)
Annelle Hicks, May 15, 2010 (view all comments by Annelle Hicks)
he's dead on about psycho safeway. go there all the time and its never the same.
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(10 of 20 readers found this comment helpful)
View all 8 comments

Product Details

Palahniuk, Chuck
Crown Publishing Group (NY)
New York
United States - Pacific - Oregon
Essays & Travelogues
Curiosities and wonders
Alternative lifestyles.
United States - State & Local - General
Portland (Or.)
Walking - Oregon - Portland
Pacific Northwest-Oregon
Travel-US Western States
Travel Writing-General
Edition Number:
1st ed.
Crown Journeys
Series Volume:
Publication Date:
July 8, 2003
Grade Level:
8.02x5.23x.75 in. .62 lbs.

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Fugitives and Refugees: A Walk in Portland, Oregon Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$9.95 In Stock
Product details 176 pages Crown Publishers - English 9781400047833 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

Not your typical hotel-gift-shop guidebook, Fugitives and Refugees makes no pretense at objectivity. This is a decidedly idiosyncratic and personal book. Palahniuk's Portland is eccentric, dysfunctional, and perverse. If you're new to Palahniuk's work, this book may win you over.

"Review" by , "Written as much for first-time visitors as for those who already share Palahniuk's passion for the city....Palahniuk's fondness for his not-so-sleepy hamlet comes through in each gritty detail..."
"Review" by , "For Palahniuk, the more acute the angle the better, but his is another solid entry in the Crown Journey series, with its premium on deep-dish subjectivity."
"Review" by , "Fugitives feels like a guide to Portland, but one written by and for a Portland resident....You can't go wrong by picking up a copy yourself, and joining...in the search for the minutia of Palahniuk's Portland."
"Synopsis" by , Kicking off with an introduction featuring Katherine Dunn, author of the bestselling classic Geek Love, and her theory that Portland is highly attractive to America's "fugitives and refugees" — or as Palahniuk sums it up, the "most cracked of the crackpots" — this journey showcases "a little history, a little legend, and a lot of friendly, sincere, fascinating people who maybe should've kept their mouths shut."

Here are strange personal museums, weird annual events, and ghost stories. Tour the tunnels under downtown Portland, used in the 1800s for shanghaiing sailors and smoking opium. Visit swingers, sex clubs, gay and straight. See Francis Gabe's famous 1940s "Self-Cleaning House." Look into strange local customs like the I-tit-a-rod race and the Santa Rampage Oh, the list goes on and on. Readers will also be treated to some of Palahniuk's most humiliating personal Portland moments, making this a must-read for every one of his loyal fans, as well as anyone looking for cheap thrills in the Pacific Northwest.

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