Mac Slater Coolhunter 2, page 1
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 Welcome To New York
Chapter 2 The Big Lemon
Chapter 3 Good Morning America
Chapter 4 Lost
Chapter 5 Imaginator
Chapter 6 Where R U?
Chapter 7 The Ludlow
Chapter 8 Mash
Chapter 9 The Hunt
Chapter 10 Escape
Chapter 11 Dog Bender
Chapter 12 Alphabet City
Chapter 13 Avenue B
Chapter 14 Peanut Butter Sandwiches
Chapter 15 The A Train To Inweird
Chapter 16 The Hive
Chapter 17 The Real World
Chapter 18 Return To The Hive
Chapter 19 Meet Joe Gatt
Chapter 20 Blast-off
Chapter 21 Rollerballs
Chapter 22 Maybe There Is
Chapter 23 Undercover
Chapter 24 Perpetual
Chapter 25 Sliced Emu And Gut Worms
Chapter 26 Upload Or Die
Chapter 27 Trend-spotters
Chapter 28 Me Vs NY
Chapter 29 Broadway
Chapter 30 Run
Chapter 31 Face-off
Chapter 32 Somewhere Over America
Hunt cool. Win stuff. www.macslater.com.au
About the Author
by Tristan Bancks
2:I ♥ NY
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted by any person or entity, including internet search engines or retailers, in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including printing, photocopying (except under the statutory exceptions provisions of the Australian Copyright Act 1968), recording, scanning or by any information storage and retrieval system without the prior written permission of Random House Australia. Any unauthorised distribution or use of this text may be a direct infringement of the author's and publisher's rights and those responsible may be liable in law accordingly.
Mac Slater, Coolhunter 2
ePub ISBN 9781864714845
Kindle ISBN 9781864717426
Original Print Edition
A Random House book
Published by Random House Australia Pty Ltd
Level 3, 100 Pacific Highway, North Sydney, NSW 2060
First published by Random House in 2009
Copyright © Tristan Bancks 2009
The moral right of the author has been asserted.
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted by any person or entity, including internet search engines or retailers, in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying (except under the statutory exceptions provisions of the Australian Copyright Act 1968), recording, scanning or by any information storage and retrieval system without the prior written permission of Random House Australia.
Addresses for companies within the Random House Group can be found at www.randomhouse.com.au/offices.
National Library of Australia Cataloguing-in-Publication Entry
I heart NY / Tristan Bancks.
Bancks, Tristan. Mac Slater, Coolhunter; 2.
Cover and internal illustration and design by Astred Hicks
Map by Amber Melody
Typeset by Midland Typesetters, Australia
Printed and bound by Griffi n Press, South Australia
Hope it inspires you to create.
'I love where I'm from but, to me, if you're gonna go anywhere, you go to New York. Even just to smell the place. That's just the way it is.'
– Mac Slater, The Rules of Cool
Coolhunters are teens and twenty-somethings with their fingers on the pulse of the freshest, hottest ideas and innovations coming off the street. The people who recognise cool stuff way before anyone else sees it. Big companies rely on coolhunters to tell them what's up and to give feedback on shoes, clothes and technology before they hit shelves. Coolhunters influence what we eat, wear, listen to, drive, ride, watch and buy.
Welcome To New York
The lights were blinding. Four lanes of traffic coming right at us. We jerked to a stop in the centre lane. I panicked and looked across to Dad – his scruffy, jetlagged face hot-white in the headlights. And he just sat there.
'Turn around! It's one way,' I screamed. Dad went to flick his indicator on but hit the wipers instead. Then he revved the engine hard, spun the wheel and stalled. The wall of traffic coming down Broadway was about forty metres away now, horns blasting. A car in our lane sped straight towards us.
'Go!' I yelled at Dad.
'What?' my best friend Paul said, waking up in the back seat, planting his glasses back on his nose. Then he saw the traffic heading our way and let out a bloodcurdler.
Dad cranked the engine again but it was too late. The car heading for us veered hard into the right-hand lane, passing so close that our car rocked on its wheels. Then a yellow cab behind it came ripping towards us. I wanted to jump into the back seat to get away. Cars tore by, right and left. I braced, closing my eyes, ready for impact. There was no way the cab wasn't going to hit us.
I heard brakes slam hard, a bunch of cars shredding rubber all over Broadway. But no bang.
I opened my eyes. The cab was nose-to-nose with us. The driver leaned out of the window and blurted all this crazy abuse in a language I couldn't quite catch. Then the insults started from people going by. Thick New York accents. And Italian, Korean, maybe Indian and Irish.
'Get off the road.'
'Get off the #@$%&*! road, you %$^&*@!'
After what seemed like forever the lights changed at the next intersection and the block was suddenly empty. Dad breathed out heavily. Paul and I were mute. There was a single, sharp note from a siren.
'Oh, here we go,' Dad said, looking in the rearview.
Our car was filled with red and blue light. A cop on a motorbike cruised up next to us.
I covered my face with my hands. See, Paul and I were supposed to be here on our first international coolhunt, a week-long trend-spotting mission for Coolhunters, a massive web space getting over a million hits a day. But the trip so far hadn't been as cool as it could have been.
To get here we'd had to stop in Taipei, Honolulu, Los Angeles, Houston and Chicago. Paul was terrified of flying so he sweated and freaked the whole way instead of sleeping. When we landed Dad and Paul's bags weren't on the luggage carousel. Then the customs guy grilled Dad about his dodgy prison record for protesting nuclear, and a woman spent ten minutes pulling my undies out of my bag and laying them on a table for everyone to see, including the cute girl who'd been sitting across the aisle from me on the plane. Finally a dude gave me a Mickey Mouse stamp in my passport (Paul got Minnie) and said, 'Welcome to New York.'
Speed and Tony, our Coolhunters bosses, had promised to meet us off the plane but they were nowhere. We tried their phones but they went to message. We hung at the airport for two and a half hours, waiting. Around 11:30 p.m. we went to grab a cab and discovered there was a taxi strike, so we hired a car. (We got a hybrid, which was cool. Paul and I planned to invent our own biofuel some day.) But, the thing is, my dad's way-sketchy behind the wheel. He doesn't even own a car. Says they trash the planet. But tonight he
Famous last words.
The cop arrived at Dad's window.
'Whaddya doin' there, sir?'
Dad fumbled for the electric window button. I don't know if he'd ever used one before. Once the window was down a crack he said, 'I've ... I've never driven on this side of the road.'
'It's a one-way street. Don't matter which side you're on, sir. You do have to be movin' in the correct direction, however. You don't have one-way streets in England?'
'Australia,' said my dad. 'And, no. Not where we live.'
It was true, Kings Bay didn't even have a traffic light.
'Well, you got about seven seconds before that traffic signal changes again, sir. I suggest you move. Have a nice night.'
Motorbike guy waited as my dad dropped the clutch and spun the car around, tyres squealing.
'That was cool,' I said, grinning.
Dad shot me a dark look.
I had a habit of laughing at the wrong time, just when things were going wrong. My folks never seemed to like it much. I stuck my head out the window and sucked in a deep breath. New York smelt good. Like fumes and possibility.
We headed back down Broadway to find a hotel. We scoured the city for an hour and finally found a room we could almost afford in a dump called The Big Apple Hotel.
But, throughout it all, no matter what went wrong, I couldn't wipe the smile off my face. I swear I started dreaming about this city before I came out of the womb and, somehow, the more things screwed up, the more I loved it. We were on a week-long mission to hunt cool in New York City. Does it get any better than that?
The Big Lemon
'Two hundred and fifty-seven dollars and thirty-seven cents, including taxes, thank you, sir.'
'You don't have a standby rate or anything, do you?' my dad asked.
'No, sir. We are almost fully booked this evening and The Big Apple represents some of the best value in the city.'
Dad rummaged through his paper-thin, brown leather wallet, then shoved a handful of greenbacks through a small opening in a cage separating us from the chirpy receptionist. His neat hair, cheery voice and bright blue sports coat with gold buttons clashed with the surroundings. The lobby, if you could call it that, was more like a broom closet with an elevator and a snack machine. We could barely fit in there. The room was lit by a flickering fluoro mounted on the wall. Jazz music played quietly on a crackly, old-skool ghetto blaster that had a ginger cat sitting on top of it.
'There you go, sir,' said Happy Guy, dropping a few coins back through the slot. I grabbed them. Quarters, nickels and pennies. Twenty-five, five-and one-cent pieces. I had a few stuck into my little homemade New York book in my back pocket. It was going to be our guide to the city.
'Your room key, sir. Room 606 on the sixth floor. Please familiarise yourselves with the hotel's fire evacuation procedures on the back of your door. Breakfast will be –'
'Fire?' Paul whispered to me.
'It's just a precaution, sir,' said Neat-hair Guy. 'Coffee and doughnuts will be available between 7:30 and 8:30 a.m.'
Paul nudged me and I grinned. How American is that? Who else in the world eats doughnuts for breakfast? My mum was a raw food freak so all I ever got at home was a bowl of uncooked oats with homemade rice milk. Lately she'd been making organic pine needle smoothies. So wrong. There's a reason normal people don't drink trees.
Dad hit the lift button. There was a groan of ancient machinery as it lumbered down the shaft. Through a barred gate we could see the old lift cables swing and rattle.
Paul was starting to panic. Small spaces were one of his many fears.
'Can we take the stairs?' he asked.
'No, sir,' said the receptionist. 'They are on the exterior of the building and are only to be used in case of fire.'
The lift arrived. It was about the size of an old phone booth. Dad wrestled with the double swinging doors and squeezed inside. I followed, backpack on.
'I can't go in there,' Paul said.
'It's all right, man. It'll be OK,' I said.
'I'm not coming in.'
'Dude. Get in,' I said sharply, then whispered, 'or you can sleep down here with Gold Buttons and the cat.'
The receptionist looked up. The cat meowed. Paul got into the lift. He was allergic to cat hair. And weird receptionists.
Dad's massive frame took almost every square centimetre of space. He plucked his arm out from behind my back, swung the doors shut and hit number six, the top floor. Nothing happened so he hit the button again.
'My throat's closing up,' Paul said.
I clenched my teeth. This was classic Paul Porter. When the chips are down, pull out a random phobia. As Dad reached to hit the button a third time, there was a high-pitched whine and the lift heaved us upward.
'Hey, look. Maximum load: two passengers,' I said with a grin, pointing to a sticker on the wall.
Paul looked as sick as two dogs. Dad tried to act relaxed but even his beard looked concerned. Then he farted. He often did that when he was nervous.
'Sorry. Plane food,' he said.
'I'm gonna die!' Paul whined, unable to move his arms to cover his nose.
I started laughing, thinking what a bad way to die this would be. It was particularly foul, even by my dad's standards. Enough to make you question vegetarianism as a lifestyle choice.
When we hit the sixth floor, the door flung open and we exploded into a darkened hallway. It looked like the scene of a crime, lit by a sickly yellow glow from a single bulb over room 606 at the far end. Along the grimy left-hand wall there were stacks of toilet paper and soft drink boxes. The rooms were on the right-hand side. There was shouting coming from behind one of the doors; two men having an argument.
'Is that TV or real people?' I asked.
No one answered. I grabbed my bag and we moved quickly down to the end of the hall. Our room was next to the screamers. Great. Dad fiddled with the key, shoved open the door, stabbed the light switch and we stopped in our tracks. I swear it had to be the only room in New York smaller than the lobby. At home I live in a double-decker bus with my mum so, believe me, I know small.
'S'pose this is it,' Dad said.
We stepped inside. There was a double bed with a sag in the middle like a horse had been sleeping in it. I edged my way along the thirty-centimetre gap between the side of the bed and the wall. I peered out through the tiny uncurtained window. The view was of bricks, less than a metre away. The 'bathroom' was the size of a shower but they'd somehow squeezed a toilet and sink in there too. And the place reeked of cigarette smoke and urine.
'This is nice,' I said.
No one laughed.
'It's disgusting,' Paul said. 'We're leaving.'
'What? To go where?' I asked him. 'You want to get back in the car and look at more hotels?'
'I can't breathe in here,' he said.
'It's fine,' I said firmly.
'What about them?' Paul asked, referring to the screamers next door.
'It's just TV.'
There was a massive bang and a picture fell off the wall in our room. Someone had smashed into the other side. I swear I heard one of the dudes say, 'Gimme the freakin' money.' Did people really say 'Gimme the freakin' money' in New York?
'It's just for tonight,' Dad grunted.
The door to the next room slammed and then someone started banging on our door.
'Open up! Now!' the voice said again, more angry than scared.
We all stayed quiet. Dad flicked off the light. Should we open the door? Did this guy really need our help?
'Open up! Now!' the voice said again, more angry than scared.
We all stood there in the dark. Now I felt my throat closing up. The smell of the place melted away. Hearing was my only sense. There was one more loud bang on the door and then muttering as footsteps disappeared down the hall. A minute later we heard the lift heave into life.
I tried to breathe deeply and sleep, too, but I couldn't even close my eyes. I pulled my New York book out from under my pillow and flicked through it in the yellow glow spilling through the crack under the door. The book was filled with maps and photos I'd sticky-taped in, notes I'd jotted, stuff printed off the web, all the things that juiced me about New York. It had a chick wearing an 'I ♥ NY' T-shirt on the cover.
I shut the book and lay there listening to sirens yowling in the distance and the echo of traffic bouncing up between buildings. I tried not to think about the fact that our Coolhunters bosses had ditched us. From the beginning I'd had this feeling they were kind of dodgy.
'Blood! Blood!' someone screamed.
I rolled over and fell down the gap between the bed and the wall, onto Paul's makeshift cot.
'Blood!' came the shriek again.
My dad jumped out of bed and trod on my face on his way to the bathroom. I dragged myself up and followed him. Paul was standing there – hair like a mad professor, bath mat around his waist – looking at all this red water pouring from the shower.
'It's not blood. It's rust!' my dad growled.
'It's blood!' Paul said.
'It's rust,' I croaked. I knew. Our bus at home had rusty water, too. 'What'd you wake us up for?' I asked, only then really remembering where we were. I went straight to the window and looked out, searching for any sign of New Yorkiness, but it was all wall.
There was a TV up high at the end of the bed and I flipped it on. I needed to see something to prove that we were actually here and not in some cheap dive in Coffs Harbour. An infomercial for a DVD called You Power flicked up onscreen. A guy with capped teeth was asking a woman in orange-and-black lycra some fake questions about taking control of her life. It was cool.
Other author's books:
- My Life and Other Massive MistakesOn the RunTwo WolvesMac Slater Coolhunter 1The Fall
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