William Burroughs - another extract from Naked Lunch

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The Man who taught his Ass to talk

Did I ever tell you about the man who taught his ass to talk? His whole abdomen would move up and down you dig farting out the words. It was unlike anything I had ever heard.

"This ass talk had sort of a gut frequency. It hit you right down there like you gotta go. You know when the old colon gives you the elbow and it feels sorta cold inside, and you know all you have to do is turn loose? Well this talking hit you right down there, a bubbly, thick stagnant sound, a sound you could smell.

"This man worked for a carnival you dig, and to start with it was like a novelty ventriliquist act. Real funny, too, at first. He had a number he called "The Better 'Ole' that was a scream, I tell you. I forget most of it but it was clever. Like, "Oh I say, are you still down there, old thing?'

"'Nah! I had to go relieve myself.'

"After a while the ass start talking on its own. He would go in without anything prepared and his ass would ad-lib and toss the gags back at him every time.

"Then it developed sort of teeth-like little raspy in- curving hooks and start eating. He thought this was cute at first and built and act around it, but the asshole would eat its way through his pants and start talking on the street, shouting out it wanted equal rights. It would get drunk, too, and have crying jags nobody loved it and it wanted to be kissed same as any other mouth. Finally it talked all the time day and night, you could hear him for blocks screaming at it to shut up, and beating it with his fist, and sticking candles up it, but nothing did any good and the asshole said to him: 'It's you who will shut up in the end. Not me. Because we don't need you around here any more. I can talk and eat AND shit.'

"After that he began waking up in the morning with a transparent jelly like a tadpole's tail all over his mouth. This jelly was what the scientists call un-D.T., Undifferentiated Tissue, which can grow into any kind of flesh on the human body. He would tear it off his mouth and the pieces would stick to his hands like burning gasoline jelly and grow there, grow anywhere on him a glob of it fell. So finally his mouth sealed over, and the whole head would have have amputated spontaneous- except for the EYES you dig. That's one thing the asshole COULDN'T do was see. It needed the eyes. But nerve connections were blocked and infiltrated and atrophied so the brain couldn't give orders any more. It was trapped in the skull, sealed off. For a while you could see the silent, helpless suffering of the brain behind the eyes, then finally the brain must have died, because the eyes WENT OUT, and there was no more feeling in them than a crab's eyes on the end of a stalk.

The Meet Cafe occupies one side of the Plaza, a maze of kitchens, restaurants, sleeping cubicles, perilous iron balconies and basements opening into the underground baths. On stools covered in white satin sit naked Mugwumps sucking translucent, colored syrups through alabaster straws. Mugwumps have no liver and nourish themselves exclusively on sweets. Thin, purple-blue lips cover a razor-sharp beak of black bone with which they frequently tear each other to shreds in fights over clients. These creatures secrete an addicting fluid from their erect penises which prolongs life by slowing metabolism. (In fact all longevity agents have proved addicting in exact ratio to their effectiveness in prolonging life. ) Addicts of Mugwump fluid are known as Reptiles. A number of these flow over chairs with their flexible bones and black-pink flesh. A fan of green cartilage covered with hollow, erectile hairs through which the Reptiles absorb the fluid sprouts from behind each ear. The fans, which move from time to time touched by invisible currents, serve also same form of communication known only to Reptiles.

During the biennial Panics when the raw, pealed Dream Police storm the City, the Mugwumps take refuge in the deepest crevices of the wall sealing themselves in clay cubicles and remain for weeks in biostasis. In those days of grey terror the Reptiles dart about faster and faster, scream past each other at supersonic speed, their flexible skulls flapping in black winds of insect agony.

The Dream Police disintegrate in globs of rotten ectoplasm swept away by an old junky, coughing and spitting in the sick morning. The Mugwump Man comes with alabaster jars of fluid and the Reptiles get smoothed out.

The air is once again still and clear as glycerine.

The Sailor spotted his Reptile. He drifted over and ordered a green syrup. The Reptile had a little, round disk mouth of brown gristle, expressionless green eyes almost covered by a thin membrane of eyelid. The Sailor waited an hour before the creature picked up his presence.

"Any eggs for Fats?" he asked, his words stirring through the Reptile's fan hairs. It took two hours for the Reptile to raise three pink transparent fingers covered with black fuzz.

Several Meat Eaters lay in vomit, too weak to move. (The Black Meat is like a tainted cheese, overpoweringly delicious and nauseating so that the eaters eat and vomit and eat again until they fall exhausted.) A painted youth slithered in and seized one of the great black claws sending the sweet, sick smell curling through the cafe.

There is only one thing a writer can write about: what is in front of his senses at the moment of writing.

. . . I am a recording instrument.... I do not presume to impose "story" "plot" "continuity."...Insofaras I succeed in Direct recording of certain areas of psychic process I may have limited function.... I am not an entertainer....

"Possession" they call it.... Sometimes an entity jumps in the body -- outlines waver in yellow orange jelly -- and hands move to disembowel the passing whore or strangle the nabor child in hope of alleviating a chronic housing shortage. As if I was usually there but subject to goof now and again.... Wrong! I am never here.... Never that is fully in possession, but somehow in a position to forestall ill-advised moves....

Patrolling is, in fact, my principle occupation.... No matter how tight Security, I am always somewhere

Outside giving orders and Inside this straight jacket of jelly that gives and stretches but always reforms ahead of every movement, thought, impulse, stamped with the seal of alien inspection....

Writers talk about the sweet-sick smell of death whereas any junky can tell you that death has no smell . at the same time a smell that shuts off breath and stops blood... colorless no-smell of death... no one can breathe and smell it through pink convolutions and black blood filters of flesh... the death smell is unmistakably a smell and complete absence of smell smell absence hits the nose first because all organic life has smell... stopping of smell is felt like darkness to the eyes, silence to the ears, stress and weightlessness to the balance and location sense....

You always smell it and give it out for others to smell during junk withdrawal.... A kicking junky can make a whole apartment unlivable with his death smell... but a good airing will stink the place up again so a body can breathe.... You also smell it during one of those oil burner habits that suddenly starts jumping geometric like a topping forest fire....

Cure is always: Let go! Jump!

A friend of mine found himself naked in a Marrakech hotel room second floor.... (He is after processing by a Texas mother who dressed him in girl's clothes as a child.... Crude but effective against infant protoplasm.... ) The other occupants are Arabs, three Arabs... knives in hand... watching him . glint of metal and points of light in dark eyes pieces of murder falling slow as opal chips through glycerine... Slower animal reactions allow him a full second to decide: Straight through the window and down into the crowded street like a falling star his wake of glass glittering in the sun... sustained a broken ankle and a chipped shoulder... clad in a diaphanous pink curtain, with a curtain-rod staff, hobbled away to the Commissariat de Police....

Sooner or later The Vigilante, The Rube, Lee The Agent, A. J., Clem and Jody The Ergot Twins, Hassan O'Leary the After Birth Tycoon, The Sailor, The Exterminator, Andrew Keif, "Fats" Terminal, Doc Benway, "Fingers" Schafer are subject to say the same thing in the same words to occupy, at that intersection point, the same position in space-time. Using a common vocal apparatus complete with all metabolic appliances that is to be the same person -- a most inaccurate way of expressing Recognition: The junky naked in sunlight...

The writer sees himself reading to the mirror as always... He must check now and again to reassure himself that The Crime Of Separate Action has not, is not, cannot occur....

Anyone who has ever looked into a mirror knows what this crime is and what it means in terms of lost control when the reflection no longer obeys.... Too late to dial P o l i c e....

I personally wish to terminate my services as of now in that I cannot continue to sell the raw materials of death.... Yours, sir, is a hopeless case and a noisome one.... "Defense is meaningless in the present state of our knowledge, said The Defense looking up from an electron microscope....

Take your business to Walgreen's We are not responsible Steal anything in sight

I don't know how to return it to the white reader You can write or yell or croon about it... paint about it... act about it... shit it out in mobiles. . So long as you don't go and do it, Senators leap up and bray for the Death Penalty with inflexible authority of virus yen.... Death for dope fiends, death for sex queens (I mean fiends) death for the psychopath who offends the cowed and graceless flesh with broken animal innocence of lithe movement....

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