THE CAMP OF THE SAINTS (Le Camp des Saints) By Jean Raspail CHAPTER FOUR

Four

It was a curious night for New York, more calm and peaceful than the city had been in well over thirty years. Central Park stood deserted, drained of its thousands of Cams on the prowl. Little girls could have gone there to play, pert towheads, soft and pink in tiny skirts, delighted that, finally, they could romp through its grass. The black and Puerto Rican ghettos were quiet as churches …

Dr. Norman Hailer had opened his windows. He was listening to the city, but there wasn’t a sound. It was that time of night when he would always hear the dreadful notes of what he called the “infernal symphony” rising up from the street below: the cries for help; the click-clack of running heels; the frantic screams; the gunshots, one by one, or in bursts; the wail of police cars; the savage, less-thanhuman howls; the whimpering children; the vicious laughter; the shatter of glass; the horns of distress as some Cadillac, sleek and airconditioned, would stop for a light and find itself buried in a sea of black silhouettes, brandishing picks; and then the shouts of no! no! no!, those desperate shouts shrieked into the darkness and suddenly stilled, snuffed out by a knife, a razor, a chain, by a club full of spikes, by a pounding fist, or fingers, or phallus …

It had been that way for thirty years. Statistics in sound, and each year louder than the one before. That is, until those last few days, when the graph had taken a sudden plunge, down to an unheard-of zero on the night in question. Thirty years for Dr. Norman Haller! Frustrating years, through no fault of his own. As consulting sociologist to the city of New York, he had seen it coming, predicted it to the letter. The proof was there, in his lucid reports, ignored one and all. There was really no solution. Black would be black, and white would be white. There was no changing either, except by a total mix, a blend into tan. They were enemies on sight, and their hatred and scorn only grew as they came to know each other better. Now they both felt the same utter loathing. … And so the consulting sociologist would give his opinion and pocket his money. The city had paid him a handsome price for his monumental study of social upheaval, with its forecast of ultimate doom. “No hope, Doctor Hailer?” “No hope, Mr. Mayor. Unless you kill them all, that is, because you’ll never change them. How about that?” “Good God, man, hardly! Let’s just wait and see what happens, and try to do the best we can …

Plush as could be, that suite of Dr. Norman Hailer’s, on the twenty- sixth floor of Central Park’s most elegant apartment building. Protected from the jungle, cut off from the outside world, with its dozen armed guards in the lobby, electronic sensors in every corner, invisible rays, and alarms, and attack dogs. And the garage, like a kind of hermetic chamber. Drawbridge between life and death, between love and hate. Ivory tower, moon base, bunker de luxe. At quite a price. Thousands and thousands of dollars for a few hundred pages, written for the city of New York by the pen of America’s most eminent consulting sociologist. Dr. Norman Haller had built himself a perfect world in the eye of the cyclone, and through that eye he could watch the storm that would sweep it all away. … Whiskey, crushed ice, soft music Go on, darling, go put on that nice expensive little thing you call a dress A telephone call. The mayor of New York.

“Don’t tell me, Jack, let me guess. You’re sitting there, all dressed up. You in your tux, Betty in a gown. Almost takes your breath away, she looks so good. Never better … On your third drink, I’d say … Fancy glasses … Just the two of you, nice and cozy … No special reason … Spur of the moment … Right?”

“Exactly! But how on earth.

“Look. The old familiar jungle shuts up tight. The white man gets scared. What else can he do? One last fling for his white prestige. One final tribute to his useless millions, to his precious position above it all! So here’s to you, Jack! Hear the tinkle? Hear the ice in my glass? My most expensive crystal. Scotch at a hundred bucks a throw! And my wife’s eyes … Never been greener! … So green, I’m going to jump in and drown .

“Listen, Norman. It’s all up to the French now, right? Do you really think they can kill off a million poor, defenseless bastards, just like that? I don’t. And frankly, I hope they can’t 11 tell you something else. The ghettos here in the city don’t think so either. Or in L.A., or Chicago … They may be caged like wildcats, but believe me, they’re quiet as lambs. Calm as can be. They just sit at their radios and listen to the news. That is, when they’re not in their churches, singing up a storm and praying like crazy for those goddamn ships …

Ever been swept off your feet by a herd of stampeding lambs? No, I tell you, Norman, the Third World’s turned into a bunch of lambs, that’s all.”

“And the wolf is tired of being a wolf, is that what you’re saying? Well, do like me, Jack. Have yourself another drink, and run your fingers up and down your wife’s white skin, nice and slow, like something very precious. And wait …”

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