Alex wants to wake up in a city that doesn't sleep:
The static of carnal kisses did not effect his wearying flesh; and he craved jolts. The static of human = too low a voltage. He wanted the electricity of the entire city coursing-throbbing through him. Jaded jaded each day requiring stronger stimulation / violet wand / transcutaneous electronic neurological stimulator / plasma globe / cattle prod. Need for stronger stimulant.
Need for stronger stimulant. Cut plug from air conditioner. Caress wire. Strip end of wire naked. Strip end of wire naked. Caress naked wire. Naked. Plug in. Pause. Naked. Touch. Tzzzzkk! Touch. Tzzzkk! Toes! Calves. Zzzkk! Heating of body tissue… Burn… ("New York")
Elsewhere in the scattershot minimalism of the 36-city set Metrophilias, Brendan Connell’s tales of misery and imagination, assorted and sundry bolts from the bookish blue, big city ways hold stirring sway for many seeking amenities and necessities. In the chapter/city “Zurich,” Ernest Wyss, the lead flavorist at Zwingli Corp, a trend setter who had invented the “spicy-clovey-smokey flavor so essential for artificial bacon, and whose mountain mint was considered a masterstroke, was about to fool mother nature in a big way – with something that emitted a faintly sweet odor of melons and goats, yet. And in “Quito” ladies’ man Oswaldo Cornejo Tobar comes to find he can’t resist “a certain fragility” in women, so he starts to haunt hospitals, buzzing like a “deranged bee” from one broken flower to the next, seeking out women in neckbraces and casts, those “prostrated beings who had need of a man to help remove their itching.”
The character Oswaldo will find no such fragility in the main character of the standout story “Kinshasa.” The Congo’s largest city and port on the Congo River, the festering and open wound that is Kinshasa has no electricity, sewers, or running water. It does, however, have up to seven million crowded inhabitants, mostly impoverished, living in violent conditions. There are dance bars for escape, full of petty thieves and bootblacks — and this particular night, the seductive and then some Bicha, who dances and flirts and accepts one man’s offer to slip into a room in the back.
But is she merely giving into further throes of passion when she shatters beer bottles on the ground, strips herself naked, and throws herself on the floor: “Bicha lays there sprawling, a writhing blotch of skin, splinters of glass working their way into her back, behind. … ‘I am your flesh dartboard!’ she cries.” Keen on perforation, she wants to be drilled into, punctured, pierced, dressed in barbed wire, sewn to her lovers, desires to copulate with razors and spikes…