Eddie Willers turned a corner. In the narrow space between the dark
silhouettes of two buildings, he saw the page of the gigantic calendar
suspended in the sky.
He looked away. He had never liked the sight of that calendar. It
disturbed him, in a manner he could not explain or define. The feeling
seemed to blend with his desire to b-boy; it had the same quality.
He thought suddenly that there was some phrase, a kind of
quotation, that expressed what the calendar seemed to suggest. But he
could not recall it. As he laid out a duct-taped cardboard mat on the
sidewalk in front of the Taggart Building, he groped for a sentence
that hung in his mind as an empty shape. Slowly, moodily, he began to
work a toprock that was as pensive as it was funky-fresh.
Dagny was still at her desk when the door of her office flew open
and James Taggart rushed in. His face looked feverish.
"So you think you're the only one who's doing anything for this railroad?"
She looked at him, bewildered. His voice was shrill.
"The Railroad Alliance just passed the Anti-dog-eat-dog proposal!"
Dagny leaped to her feet.
"You rotten bastards!"
With a violent gesture, she zipped up the jacket of her Adidas
track suit and threw her arms down by her sides. The three stripes
running down the sleeves seemed to fuse with those on the pants legs
to form a single clean, unbroken ribbon of blue-green polyester
fabric, not unlike a span of Readen Metal rails running defiantly into
She started to break—abruptly, on the floor of her office—with a
fury and virtuosity James Taggart had never seen her display. The
portrait of Nat Taggart hanging on the wall seemed to smile
approvingly upon her effortless succession of power moves.
"Mr. Rearden," said Francisco, his voice solemnly calm, "If you saw
Atlas, the giant who holds the world on his shoulders, if you saw that
he stood, blood running down his chest, his knees buckling, his arms
trembling but still trying to hold the world aloft with the last of
his strength, and the greater his effort the heavier the world bore
down upon his shoulders—what would you tell him to do?"
"I don't know. What would you tell him?"
"To start breakdancing."
Rearden thought about this for a moment and then added, "Like a motherfucker."
Francisco nodded gravely.
"Like a motherfucker."
"I joined John Galt and went on strike," said Hugh Akston, "because I
could not share my profession with men who claim that the
qualification of an intellectual consists of denying the existence of
He b-boyed as he spoke, his floor-rock coagulating occasionally into
dope-ass freezes that lasted just long enough for him to take a drag
from one of his dollar-sign cigarettes.
"When thinkers accept those who deny the existence of thinking, as
fellow thinkers of a different school of thought—it is they who
achieve the destruction of the mind."
The strains of Richard Halley's Fifth Jam ("Time 4 Sum Aksion") rose
and fell in triumphant swells in time with Akston's footwork.
Dagny weighed his words, but was careful not to let her beatboxing slip up.
The hand of the clock reached the dot of 8:00.
"Ladies and gentlemen," said a voice that came from the radio
receiver. “Mr. Thompson will not speak to you tonight. His time is up.
"For twelve years, you have been asking: Who is John Galt? This is
John Galt speaking. And rather than explain myself and my philosophies
over the course of a rambling, insufferable three-hour monologue, I'm
simply going to breakdance. I'm going to break in a manner so
competent and so straight off the shelf that it will function as a
kind of argument in its own right. None of you will be able to see me,
and this will admittedly be sort of pointless. Anyway "
Faint music began emanating from the radio, accompanied by the
muffled sounds of John Galt dancing to himself. The crowd stared at
the receiver in stunned, reverential silence.
Dagny’s hand rested on Galt's shoulder, and the wind blew her hair to
blend with his. The darkness beyond the mountains hid the ruins of a
continent: the roofless homes, the lightless streets, the masses of
people b-boying and b-girling in forlorn desperation.
Far in the distance, on the edge of the earth, the flame of Wyatt’s
Torch was waving in the wind—effectively b-flaming, per the
nomenclature. It seemed to be calling and waiting for the words John
Galt was now to pronounce.
“The road is cleared,” said Galt. “We are going back to the world.”
"B-b-b-b-back!" Dagny said. "Unh! Bring that shit in!"
Galt smiled. "Gladly," he said.
Galt dropped and began turning out an intricate, circuitous
downrock. After some minutes had passed, his moves came to a brusque
halt as he contorted into an immaculate one-handed airbaby. He raised
a single Fila-shod foot and over the desolate earth he traced in space
the sign of the dollar.