Exclusive Excerpt

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Return of the Reluctant has obtained an excerpt from Breaking Wind: The Quest for Architectural Hubris in an Age of Terror by noted architect Howard Roark.]

Ellsworth wanted to hurt me. But that was okay. His niece was fond of steely antiseptic sex when I wasn’t flexing my bold, industrial muscles at the drafting table. After a few cigarettes, I marveled over the proud rectilinear vision of a metropolis that others had the temerity to call dull and commercial. Even pro-business. What was wrong with that? What was wrong with money earned rightly over the blood of three thousand people? Art Spiegelman had done it. Why couldn’t I?

When I got the commission to build my distinct vision at Ground Zero, there were, of course, several people to squash, if not outright ignore. Little bugs who wouldn’t listen or appreciate my selfish virtues. Let the insects stay afraid. If they wouldn’t play ball over my grand plans, then they needed help. They were in the way. They watched that terrorist alert move from orange to yellow and they’d vote for the status quo so they wouldn’t shake so much. Which was fine, considering that most of the people who ran the country were socialists hoping to destroy free enterprise.

But I got them to look at and approve my plans because I was better than them. I had muscles, a full head of hair, and lots of sex between meetings. More importantly, I could outtalk them with long speeches about money. We’d build the best steel and use it for the new towers. And the trains that moved the steel all there would not only speed up well beyond government regulations, but even stop the whole of East Coast business itself.

And these fools always said I was delusional. Well, where are their contracts for the World Trade Center? Who is John Galt?