Nick introduces himself
During my young and vulnerable years, my father gave me some advice. “Whenever you want to criticize someone,” he told me, “remember that not everyone has the advantages you have. Some people have never even eaten at Culver’s.”
Nick moves to West Egg
It’s a serendipitous question that I should rent a duplex in the same duplex in the middle of a cornfield. It is in this hard-to-walk neighborhood—which stretches along the interstate exit just half a mile from Hy-Vee—that, among other natural wonders, are two unusual structures: a pair of giant egg-themed breakfasts. Lunch restaurant. The menu is the same, separated only by a Casey gas station, and two locally owned egg shops are open 4 hours a day, 5 days a week, each named after the most obvious egg pun.
Nick meets Daisy and Tom
The house is more refined than I imagined, a three bedroom, two and a half bathroom single family townhouse with luxurious dark vinyl plank floors, fancy sliding barn doors, a refrigerator in the garage, just for the sake of Popularity. The lawn starts from the sidewalk and goes all the way to the start of the public golf course, past 20 feet, past the hostas, mulch, and those folding chairs that must be put in a bag when they’re used up. The front was broken by an old wooden pallet painted with an American flag, and Tom Buchanan stood with his legs apart in front of his lawnmower in chinos and a polo that was too tight.
All summer nights, my neighbor’s house played music: Jimmy Buffet, Kid Rock, Bob Seger, and the Silver Bullet Band. Every Friday, five trays of Bell’s two-heart beer arrive from Meijer, and at least once every two weeks, a group of neighbors come down with hundreds of crock pots and containers of Tupperware. Glittering peppers, pork, and loose Koegel hot dogs on a folding table, all heated up in foil trays in casseroles and hot dishes, charmed by mayo and excess salt. At seven o’clock, the karaoke machine arrived—not a cheap Bluetooth speaker from Five Above, but a revamped Fender amp from Gatsby’s cousin’s cover band. Suddenly, a party-goer in flip-flops and jeans grabs a beanbag from the air, and attentively tosses it up and down, throwing it in an ill-mannered way directly into the corn pit. The party begins.
He saw me looking at his Ford F-150 with admiration. “Haven’t you seen it before, man?” Everyone has. It’s a bright yellow, wrapped to look as if a bird of prey grabbed onto the shiny exterior, reflecting a dozen suns. The rear window is completely blocked by a vinyl sticker in which the Honda emblem is the target of a young man’s urine stream. Its massive slab shows no signs of being used, and two victory metal balls hang from the trailer. We sat behind tinted glass in Oakley and headed to the gas station to socialize and play slot machines.
hotel room standoff
“By the way, Mr. Gatsby, I know you are Illini.”
“Oh yes, I know you went to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.”
“Yes – I’ve been there.”
And then Tom’s voice, disbelieving and insulting: “You must have been there when they stopped having a white college student dressed as an Illinivik chief and running around the football field doing culturally insensitive dances. .”
“I was only there for five months. I dropped out of school after breaking my collarbone in a quad bike accident. That’s why I really don’t know the lyrics to the Oskee Wow-Wow fight song.”
death of gatsby
At two o’clock Gatsby put on his swimming trunks and walked to the above-ground swimming pool he had recently sold at Menards. He stopped in the garage and found an inflatable doughnut tube, which he used to drag his party guests around the lake on his float all summer long. He then instructs his Ford F-150 Raptor not to be taken out of the garage under any circumstances, which is odd since Gatsby never parked his truck in the garage – that’s where the beer pong table is . Using a doughnut tube, he floated in the 20-foot-by-4-foot pool, waiting for Daisy’s call, looking around, where ghosts floated around like powdered sugar on a bowl of puppy food.
So we kept going, rowing up to the neighbor’s jet ski, constantly going back in time.