Waiting Period: A Novel

Waiting Period: A Novel

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by Hubert Selby Jr.

A blood-chilling excursion into the twisted mind of a serial killer by the acclaimed author of Last Exit to Brooklyn, Hubert Selby Jr.

When the oppressiveness of his memories becomes too hard to bear, a traumatized veteran decides to die. But he grows impatient during the legal waiting period to purchase the gun that will end his sad life…  See more details below


A blood-chilling excursion into the twisted mind of a serial killer by the acclaimed author of Last Exit to Brooklyn, Hubert Selby Jr.

When the oppressiveness of his memories becomes too hard to bear, a traumatized veteran decides to die. But he grows impatient during the legal waiting period to purchase the gun that will end his sad life. Then he grows angry, resentful of those he blames for his misery and those he feels simply don’t deserve to live. Suddenly a man with no future has a new purpose and a new role as avenging angel. As he spirals deeper into the darkest regions of his twisted imagination, his grisly obsession will give him a reason to live, propelling him relentlessly forward on his great mission to cleanse the dirty city of the unworthy.
A brilliant and terrifying nightmare from the author of the critically acclaimed classics Last Exit to Brooklyn and Requiem for a Dream, Hubert Selby Jr.’s Waiting Period views a grim modern world of pain and injustice through the eyes of a maniac whose mind is rapidly deteriorating. A dark and haunting work of raw, savage power, it provides further testament to the greatness of one of America’s most original contemporary literary artists.
This ebook features an illustrated biography of Hubert Selby Jr. including rare photos from the author’s estate.

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Open Road Media
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Waiting Period

By Hubert Selby Jr.


Copyright © 2005 Hubert Selby Jr.
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4532-9780-3


Hi, what can I do for you?

Well ... I was thinking of buying a gun.

Yeah, well thats something we have plenty of. Funny how thats true of gun shops, eh? So, what did you have in mind, AK-47, pellet pistol, elephant gun, bazooka, bubble gum that is, what can I do you for?

Well, Im not sure, you know. I mean—

You thinking in terms of a rifle, a handgun, a—

Oh yeah. A handgun. Nothing big, you know. A handgun.

Well, come over here. Got a whole display case of handguns. Target pistols, semiautomatics, revolvers, 22s, 38s, 357s, 45s.

Damn, sure are a lot of them, arent there?

Yeah, something for every need. I assume youre not a hit man, right?

Huh? What—

Relax. Only kidding. I mean you really dont know from guns, right?


Well, depends on what you want it for. Protection, right? Something to have around the house in case the moving men from B&E show up at 3 in the morning, right?

Huh, I dont—

Intruders. Burglars. 2nd storey men. Sneak thieves.

Oh ... yes, yes. Protection. Cant be too careful these days, uh can you?

Thats right buddy. I got one of each of these at home.


Joshing man. Just putting you on. A little joke.

Oh. Yeah.

So, what do you think youd like? Personally, I think you should go for this 357 here. Good weight. Good accuracy. Plenty of stopping power. Hit a guy anywhere and hes not moving. Bet your ass on that. Here give it a heft.

Oh, I dont—

Hey, its not loaded. Comeon, Im crazy not stupid. Relax. Here. Just see how it feels in your hand. Yeah, thats it.

Oh, its heavy. I had no idea handguns were so heavy.

Yeah, they look light in the movies, dont they? The way they run around firing at everything that moves.

Yeah ...

Youll get used to the weight. I assume youre going to take it to a range and get used to firing it—

Oh yes—

Which reminds me, youll need a cleaning kit. Important you keep your weapon cleaned and oiled. Dont want it blowing up in your face.

Oh my god, no. Absolutely not. Oh no, no.

Dont worry about anything you buy here. All guaranteed. No weapon you purchase from me will ever misfire due to a defect in the weapon. Guaranteed. Go ahead, check it out. Imagine having someone shove that in your face. Youd shit a brick, right?

The more I look at it the bigger it gets.

Go ahead, hold it out in front of you and pull the trigger a few times.

It doesnt work, I cant pull it back.

You got the safety on.


Yeah. Haha, you really are a novice. Look, see this, its the safety, so it cant accidentally be discharged. Have to push it over like this.

Oh, I see. But does a set of instructions come with it, I mean how will I know what to do??

I/ll be sure to give you some diagrams and a pamphlet. With the cleaning kit. But make sure you go to the range like I said.

Oh yes. Definitely. Dont want any mishaps.

Right. So, I assume youll want a box of ammo with that.

I guess so, if you think I should.

No good without it, right?

Not much.

Okay, let me fill in this form so we can get you approved. Put this information into the computer and we/ll get the ok before I finish wrapping this up. Great system now, no more waiting period. Check you out just like that. Unless youre an excon or escaped murderer or something.

No, no problem with—

Damn, now what in the hell does that mean?

Something wrong?

With the system. Cant process the request. Let me give them a call ...

Well, whats wrong? What did they say?

Theres some sort of glitch in the software. Its new and I guess they havent ironed out all the wrinkles. Afraid youre going to have to wait a few days until they straighten out the problem.

A few days?

I/ll give you a call. This number, right?

What???? Oh yeah, thats my number. But theres nothing I can do? Go to the police station?

Wont do you any good. Its all the same system and the computer aint working.

Oh ...

Hey, its alright. Dont look so glum. I/ll have this all ready for you as soon as the ok comes in an all youll have to do is come an pick it up. Hey, its alright buddy. Comeon, perk up. You look like you just lost your best friend or something. Its just a couple of days. Hey, if you get robbed before I get the ok, I/ll give you the gun for nothing, gratis. Hows that?

I just thought ...


So now I just sit here and wait. The rotten system isnt functioning. Always the system. Cant escape it. This stinking lousy life. Just wants to torture me. I finally find a purpose to my life and they thwart me. Wont even let me kill myself for krists sake. What kind of madness is that? They just keep squeezing until theres nothing left. The torturous world just gets smaller and smaller until youre locked in a fucking closet, sealed in the son of a bitch. A living horror story. Buried alive. Hearing every grain of dirt falling on your coffin, thumping through your ears, your head and down through your body to your toes and back again, thump, thump ... and scratch ... scratch the wood, a dead tree, trying to get out jesus krist, how can they do that to you? Can you imagine what it must sound like to be nailed in a casket with a ton of dirt on top of you and youre scratching the wood? It must feel like ice picks going into your ears and eyes, long thin picks of pure ice o krist, how long will it take them to give me an ok? Assholes and their corrupt systems. Theyre never bothered by their mistakes. We/re the ones who always have to pay. No matter what they do they get away with it and we have to pick up the pieces and pay their bills. They make your life unbearable and then they mangle their system so you cant even kill yourself. The Inquisition never dies. I finally get to that point where I have a purpose, a plan, I know I can stick a gun in my mouth and pull the trigger, and get a gun and they pull this shit. DAMN. DAMN!!!! First they make it impossible to live, then impossible to die. Wait. Yeah, sure, just wait. Sit and let the air force itself into your lungs. If only I could just stop breathing, but no, that would be too easy. Those rotten bastards! Theyre the ones who should die. Theyre the ones I should use the gun on. Maybe one of those automatic ones. Mow them down just like in the movies. Yeah ... thered be no way they could connect the killings to me. I dont know them and they dont know me. No connection. No notes, no warnings, and certainly no letters to the press. No declaration of purpose and intent. Just apparently random killings. I really understand those post office employees who go berserk and start shooting coworkers. But thats stupid. The result of being crazed with rage. No, thats not the way to go about it. Calm and quiet. First select the ones who are responsible for this mess, well, yeah, thats dumb. There are millions of them. Most of them you cant get to. You just cant go too far up the ladder. Have to accept that simple fact. But there are plenty who perpetuate the oppression and who are accessible. There are thousands of them. No pattern. Always random. Different organizations, different agencies. Different parts of the country. One from column A and one from column B. Obviously cant use the same gun. Except maybe for a few in one area ... like out on the coast. Let them concentrate on one obvious area while I/ll cover the rest of the country, using different means of eliminating the vermin. Best to start with the VA and HMOs. Just shoot a couple of those bastards. Nothing fancy. Just blow their rotten heads off. Bam! Just 3 or 4. Well ... maybe half a dozen, or so. Theyll know one person killed them all and never tie them in with an occasional bank president or CEO or redneck cop. Can use several guns. And knives. Fire. Garottes. Explosives. They say you can learn how to make bombs on the Internet. And poisons. Biological weapons. Contaminate a needle and stick someone in a crowd. Or a blow-gun type thing. Like the old dart guns. Strong spring in a cigarette holder. Walk by and hit them in the neck. Theyd probably brush that area as if they were bitten by a bug and knock the little dart away and there would be no evidence of the sting. They would simply suddenly have a deadly virus and die of natural causes. Not too many. Nothing obvious. E.coli. Salmonella. That sort of thing and not in the same area. One in Oregon. Florida. Yeah. Floridas great for explosions. Boats always catching fire and blowing up. Drunken accidents. Or Cubans, pro or anti Castro. And Colombians. Those goddamn drug dealers are always killing each other. Easy enough to make it look like a drug hit. How long can it take me to learn how to make a little plastique? Sure as hell dont need tons of explosives like those animals in Oklahoma City. Or letter bombs. Can probably figure out how to make a small delivery system for a little plastique. Nothing fancy. Wood. Cant be detected. No rush. One here, one later. Have plenty of time. Can even get a few mafiosi. Make it look like it was another mafioso. Start a war and have those greaseballs shooting each other. Should be simple. Start with the VA. Its loaded with pricks who need killing. Though killings too good for some of them. They should be tortured the way theyve tortured millions of helpless guys. Krist, what a bunch of rotten scumbags. Better do that out on the coast. No point in having them hunting around here. Can take in some HMO bastards too. It feels good just thinking about it.


Finally got it. He was true to his word, said it would only be a few days, and he was right. Hmm ... couple of days ... Miraculous ... perhaps mystical days. So much changed in those days. How extraordinary ... the change ... yes, definitely mystical and miraculous. I would have killed the wrong person. Getting even with the real culprits by killing myself and blaming them is truly madness. If there must be killing, then let it be appropriate. Killing myself is tantamount to murder ... the execution of an innocent individual ... at best the accidental killing of an innocent bystander. I am certainly not the one who needs killing simply because I could find no purpose to my life. How unbelievably extraordinary the change in just a few days. Remarkable. I dont think the magnitude of the change has as yet fully registered. Will take time to fully assimilate, to see my past state of hopelessness clearly. Perhaps, even with time, it will be as simple as it appears to be now: my life had no meaning. How far can money and cars and homes and all the other toys take you? There must be something of substance in a persons life, a reason to get up, to wash, to dress, to eat, to look at the day, mingle with people, do whats needed. A person must contribute to the world in some way or life is worse than meaningless ... its ... yeah, I guess its nothing more than an obscene joke. Yeah, but whos laughing? Yes indeed, the laborer is worthy of his hire and peace of mind and the joy of living are the worthy result of a life of service ... a life well-lived ... Hmmm, yes, yes indeed, truly a fortuitous glitch in the system ... Life is truly a wonder ...

Wonder how you buy an illegal handgun? They say theres thousands, hundreds of thousands floating around the streets. Who knows? Got to know all about this one before I worry about more. When I know all about this one and feel really comfortable with it, I/ll probably be able to nose out some gun sellers. I/ll intuitively know where they are, or recognize them. Thats usually how these things work. But first Ive got to do what that guy said and go to a range and get familiar with it. Learn to shoot it and take it apart and clean it and all that. In the army those guys learn how to take their weapons apart blindfolded ... and put them back together again. Just take my time. Dont rush. Plenty of time. Plenty of time now that I know what to do with my time ...


Yeah, taking my times paid off. Pretty good shot. Good enough for my purposes. And I can take this apart and put it together with my eyes closed. Got to stay nice and calm. No more getting excited and angry. As a matter of fact I no longer feel angry. Dont want to kill myself either. Now I know who needs killing, and its not me. So I/ll stay nice and calm ... focused. Yeah, thats the secret, staying focused and not dissipating my energies with anger. I/ll simply continue to download the info I need—my god, what a great tool the Internet is. There really is everything on it. Nice and steady ... and calm. But it would be nice to strangle that son of a bitch Barnard at the VA, to just wait for him some night and force him to drive out of town and slowly choke the bastard ... oh just thinking of my hands around his throat is so sweet—No! No! Cant allow that. This is not going to be some sort of ego trip. Insane to go to prison, or even be killed, for eliminating a parasite like Barnard. Nice and calm and never be noticed. If he dies from food poisoning how can I possibly be implicated or incriminated? No leaving a record for posterity, or even plans or notes. Everything destroyed as soon as possible. No manifestos. Now theres real madness. As if killing a couple of people is going to change the basic structure/foundation of this world. No crusade for the betterment of mankind ... Ach, betterment of mankind. What drivel ... what rubbish. All animals. Some just bigger than others. But everyone is always looking for someone to push around, someone lower on the food chain. Someone to feel superior to. And if you cant do it at work then do it at home. Thats the beauty of having a family. A wife to slap around, kids to punish and whip. Seems like the only reason people get married is to have someone they can abuse in private, undetected. Especially those christians! Boy, do they love to punish. Whip their ass! Yeah, lets have a party. Dont forget to invite the children

there I go again. Cant do that. Dont want to get too personal. No causes. Just a quiet, simple, satisfying way to get back at this world for suffocating me, for crushing me, for trying to kill my spirit. But they havent and they wont. They came close. Oh they came close. Was all set to put a gun in my mouth and pull the trigger. But there was a computer glitch. Isnt that something? A stupid glitch and I had to wait a few days and then I saw the errors of my ways, saw so clearly that I was killing the wrong person. Its not me that needs killing, its them. Funny how things can change in the wink of an eye.


... yeah, E.coli is the best way to go. Other food poisonings too difficult and sort of specialized. And nobody would think it could be deliberate, not with all the outbreaks we/ve had these last years ... and it should be easy ... Eating meat, especially ground beef, that has not been cooked sufficiently to kill E.coli can cause infection. Contaminated meat looks and smells normal. Although the number of organisms required to cause disease is not known, it is suspected to be very small.

Very small. Wonder if the CIA has ever used this for ... elimination? Maybe they should have tried that instead of cigars with Castro. Then we wouldnt have to live in constant fear of being invaded by the forces of communism only 90 miles away ... We will fight them on the beaches, we will fight them in the streets, we will fight them in the book depository—OOPS, we fucked up there. Oh well, as long as they dont get to Wall Street everything is fine. What fools ... we couldve sued the Cuban cigar makers for billions of dollars. Wonder if some enterprising legal beagle has already thought of that and is waiting for 'normal relations' between us. Normal relations? Guess that means face to face. Yuck ... that sounds disgusting. All that hair and garlic breath ... sounds revolting ... to coin a phrase. Enough, enough. Back to work.


Excerpted from Waiting Period by Hubert Selby Jr.. Copyright © 2005 Hubert Selby Jr.. Excerpted by permission of OPEN ROAD INTEGRATED MEDIA.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Meet the Author

Hubert Selby Jr. (1928–2004) was a celebrated author of nine novels, including the classic bestseller Last Exit to Brooklyn. His other novels include Requiem for a Dream, The Room, and The Demon. Selby’s fiction, which was championed by writers such as William S. Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg, was noted for its gritty portrayal of addiction and urban despair, and has influenced generations of authors, artists, and musicians. Born and raised in Brooklyn, Selby died in Los Angeles in 2004. 

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