Authors: William S. Burroughs
WORKS BYWILLIAMS. BURROUGHSPUBLISHED BYGROVEPRESS
Naked LunchThe Ticket That ExplodedThe Soft MachineNova ExpressThe Wild BoysWord Virus: The William S. Burroughs ReaderLast WordsTHEWILDBOYS
A BOOK OF THE DEAD
William S. Burroughs
Copyright © 1969, 1970, 1971 by William S. Burroughs
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, or the facilitation thereof, including information storage and retrieval systems, without permission in writing from the publisher, except by a reviewer, who may quote brief passages in a review. Any members of educational institutions wishing to photocopy part or all of the work for classroom use, or publishers who would like to obtain permission to include the work in an anthology, should send their inquiries to Grove/Atlantic, Inc., 841 Broadway, New York, NY 10003.
Acknowledgment is due to Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., for permission to quote fromThe Trialby Franz Kafka, translated by Willa and Edwin Muir, copyright © 1937, copyright © 1956 by Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. “Mother and I Would Like to Know” was first published inEvergreen ReviewNo. 67; an earlier version appeared inMayfairand was reprinted inThe Job.
The Wild Boysappeared in the collectionThe Soft Machine, Nova Express, andThe Wild Boys: Three Novels, published as a Black Cat Book in 1980 and an Evergreen Book in 1988.
Published simultaneously in CanadaPrinted in the United States of America
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Burroughs, William S., 1914-1997.
The wild boys : a book of the dead / William S. Burroughs.
Grove Pressan imprint of Grove/Atlantic, Inc.841 BroadwayNew York, NY 10003
Distributed by Publishers Group West
08 09 10 11 12 22 21 20 19 18 17 16 15CONTENTS
Tío Mate Smiles
The Chief Smiles
Old Sarge Smiles
And Bury the Bread Deep in a Sty
The Penny Arcade Peep Show
Le Gran Luxe
The Penny Arcade Peep Show
The Miracle of the Rose
A Silver Smile
The Frisco Kid
The Penny Arcade Peep Show
The Dead Child
“Just Call Me Joe”
“Mother and I Would Like to Know”
The Wild Boys
The Penny Arcade Peep Show
The Penny Arcade Peep Show
The Wild Boys Smile
THEWILDBOYSTío Mate Smiles
The camera is the eye of a cruising vulture flying over an area of scrub, rubble and unfinished buildings on the outskirts of Mexico City.
Five-story building no walls no stairs … squatters have set up makeshift houses … floors are connected by ladders … dogs bark, chickens cackle, a boy on the roof makes a jack-off gesture as the camera sails past.
Close to the ground we see the shadow of our wings, dry cellars choked with thistles, rusty iron rods sprouting like metal plants from cracked concrete, a broken bottle in the sun, shit-stained color comics, an Indian boy against a wall with his knees up eating an orange sprinkled with red pepper.
The camera zooms up past a red-brick tenementstudded with balconies where bright pimp shirts flutter purple, yellow, pink, like the banners of a medieval fortress. On these balconies we glimpse flowers, dogs, cats, chickens, a tethered goat, a monkey, an iguana. Thevecinoslean over the balconies to exchange gossip, cooking oil, kerosene and sugar. It is an old folklore set played out year after year by substitute extras.
Camera sweeps to the top of the building where two balconies are outlined against the sky. The balconies are not exactly one over the other since the top balcony recedes a little. Here the camera stops … ON SET.
It is a bright windy morning China-blue half-moon in the sky. Joselito, themaricónson of Tía Dolores, has propped up a mirror by the rain barrel and is shaving the long silky black hairs from his chest in the morning wind while he sings
“NO PEGAN A MIO.” (“DON’T HIT ME”)
It is an intolerable sound that sets spoons tinkling in saucers and windowpanes vibrating. Thevecinosmutter sullenly.
“Es el puto que canta.” (“It is the queer who sings.”) “The son of Dolores.” She crosses herself.
A young man rolls off his wife despondently.
“No puedo con eso puto cantando.” (“I can’t do it with that queer singing.”)
“The son of Dolores. She has the evil eye.”
In each room the face of Joselito singing“NO PEGAN A MIO” is projected onto the wall.
Shot shows an old paralyzed man and Joselito’s face inches from his screaming“NO PEGAN A MIO.”
“Remember that he is the son of Dolores.”
“And one of Lola’s ‘Little Kittens.’”
Tía Dolores is an old woman who runs a newspaper-and-tobacco kiosk. Clearly Joselito is her professional son.
On the top balcony is Esperanza just down from the mountains since her husband and all her brothers are in prison for growing opium poppies. She is a massive woman with arms like a wrestler and a permanent bucktoothed snarl. She leans over the balcony wall.
“Puto grosero, tus chingoa de pelos nos soplan en la cocina.
(“Vulgar queer, your fucking hairs are blowing into our food.”)
Shot shows hairs sprinkling soup and dusting an omelet like fine herbs.
The epithet“grosero” is too much for Joselito. He whirls cutting his chest. He clutches the wound with an expression of pathic dismay like a dying saint in an El Greco painting. He gasps“MAMACITA” and folds to the red tiles of the balcony dripping blood.
This brings Tía Dolores from her lair under the stairs, a rat’s nest of old newspapers and magazines. Her evil eyes rotate in a complex calendar, and these calculations occupy her for many hours each night settled in her nest she puffs and chirps and twitters and writes in notebooks that are stacked around her bed with magazines on astrology … “Tomorrow my noon eye will be at its full.” … This table of her power is so precise that she has to know the day hour minute and second to be sure of an ascendant eye and to this end she carries about with her an assortment of clocks, watches and sundials on thongs and chains. She can make her two eyes do different things, one spinning clockwise the other counterclockwise or she can pop oneeye out onto her cheek laced with angry red veins while the other sinks back into an enigmatic grey slit. Latterly she has set up a schedule of“ojos dukes” (“sweet eyes”) and gained some renown as a healer though Tío Mate says he would rather have ten of her evils than one of her sweets. But he is a bitter old man who lives in the past.
Dolores is a formidable war machine rather like a gun turret, dependent on split-second timing and the reflector disk of her kiosk, she is not well designed for surprise encounters.
Enter the American tourist. He thinks of himself as a good guy but when he looks in the mirror to shave this good guy he has to admit that “well, other people are different from me and I don’t really like them.” This makes him feel guilty toward other people. Tía Dolores hunches her cloak of malice closer and regards him with stony disapproval.
“Buenas días señorita.”
“Sí … Tribune . . Tribune Americano…”
Silently pursing her lips she folds theHerald Tribuneand hands it to him. Trying not to watch what the woman is doing with her eyes, he fumbles for change. Suddenly his hand jumps out of the pocket scattering coins on the pavement. He stoops to pick them up.
A child hands him a coin.
“Gracias … Gracias.”
The child looks at him with cold hatred. He stands there with the coins in his hand.
He hands her a peso. She drops it into a drawer and pushes the change at him.
“Gracias … Gracias…”
She stares at him icily. He stumbles away. Halfway down the block he screams out
“I’LL KILL THE OLD BITCH.”
He begins to shadowbox and point pistols. People stop and stare.
Children scream after him.
“Son bitch Merican crazy man.”
A policeman aproaches jerkily.
“OLD BITCH … OLD BITCH.”
He lashes out wildly in a red haze blood cold on his shirt.
Enter a pregnant woman. She orders the Spanish edition ofLife. Looking straight at the woman’s stomach, Dolores’ eyes glaze over and roll back in her head.
“Nacido muerto” (“Born dead”) whispers Tío Pepe who has sidled up beside the woman.
On “sweet eye” days she changes her kiosk to a flower stall and sits there beaming the sweetest old flower lady of them all.
Enter the American tourist his face bandaged his arm in a sling.
“Ah! the American caballero wishes theTribune. Today I sell flowers but this paper I have kept for you.”
Her eyes crease in a smile that suffuses her face with gentle light.
“Aquí señor, muchas gracias.”
The paper smells faintly of roses. The coins leap into his hand.
Giving him the change she presses a coin into his palm and folds his fingers over it.
“This will bring you luck señor.”
He walks down the street smiling at children who smile back … “I guess that’s what we come here for … these children … that old flower lady back there
Enter the woman whose male child was born dead. She has come to buy a flower for his grave. Tía Dolores shakes her head sadly.
“Pobrecito.” (“Poor little one.”)
The woman proffers a coin. Tía Dolores holds up her hands.
“No señora … Es de mío…”
However, her timing schedule necessitates a constant shift of props and character … “My sweet eye wanes with the moon” … That day the tourist reached his hotel in a state of collapse for a terrible street boy followed him from the kiosk screaming
“Son bitch puto queer, I catching one clap from fucky you asshole.”
Sometimes half her booth is a kiosk and the other half a flower stall and she sits in the middle, her sweet eye on one side and her kiosk eye on the other. She can alternate sweet and evil twenty-four times a second her eyes jumping from one socket to the other.
Confident from her past victories, Tía Dolores waddles out onto the balcony like a fat old bird.
“Pobrecito” … She strokes Joselito’s head gathering her powers.
“Tell yourmaricónson to shave in the house.”
With a hasty glance at three watches, Dolores turns toface this uncouth peasant woman who dares to challenge her dreaded eye.
“Vieja loca, que haces con tu ojos?” sneers Esperanza.
“Tu te pondrás ciego como eso” (“Oldcrazy one, what are you doing with your eyes? You will blind yourself doing that.”
Dolores gasps out “TÍO PEPE” and sinks to the deck by her stricken son.
And Tío Pepe pops out tying his pants in front with a soggy length of grey rope. Under a travesty of good nature his soul is swept by raw winds of hate and mischance. He reads the newspapers carefully gloating over accidents, disasters and crime he thinks he is causing by his“sugestiónes.” His magic consists in whispering potent phrases from newspapers “ … there are no survivors … condemned to death … fire of unknown origins … charred bodies … This he does in crowds where people are distracted or better, much better right into the ear of someone who is sleeping or unconscious from drink. If no one is around and he is sure of his flop he reinforces his“sugestiónes” by thumping him in the testicles, grinding a knuckle into his eye or clapping cupped hands over his ears.
Here is a man asleep on a park bench. Tío Pepe approaches. He sits down by the man and opens a paper. He leans over reading into the man's ear, a thick slimy whisper.
“No hay supervivientes” The man stirs uneasily.
“Muerto en el acto” The man shakes his head and opens his eyes. He looks suspiciously at Tío Pepe whohas both hands on the paper. He stands up and taps his pockets. He walks away.
And there is a youth sleeping in a little park. Tío Pepe drops a coin by the boy’s head. Bending down to pick up the coin he whispers …“un joven muerto” (“a dead youth.”)
Several times thevecinosshoo him away from a sleeper and he hops away like an old vulture showing his yellow teeth in a desperate grin. Now he has picked up the spoor of drunken vomit and there is the doll sprawled against a wall, his pants streaked with urine. Bending down as if to help the man up, Tío Pepe whispers in both ears again and again …“accidente horrible” … He stands up and shrieks in a high falsetto voice …“EMASCULADO EMASCULADO EMASCULADO” and kicks the man three times gently in the groin.
He finds an old drunken woman sleeping in a pile of rags and claps a hand over her mouth and nose whispering …“vieja borracha asfixiado.” (“old drunken woman asphyxiated.”)
Another drunk is sleeping in dangerous proximity to a brush fire.
Tío Pepe drops a burning cigarette butt into the man’s outstretched hand squatting down on his haunches he whispers slimily …“cuerpo carbonizado … cuerpo carbonizado … cuerpo carbonizado. …” He throws back his head and sings to the dry brush, the thistles the wind …“cuerpo carbonizado … cuerpo carbonizado … cuerpo carbonizado…”
He looks up at Esperanza with a horrible smile.
“Ah! the country cousin rises early.” While he croons a little tune.
“Resbalando sobre un pedazo de jabónSlipping on a piece of soapse precipito de un balcón.” fell over a balcony.
Esperanza swings her great arm in a contemptuous arc and wraps a wet towel around the balcony wall spattering Tío Pepe, Dolores and Joselito with dirty water. Sneering over her shoulder she turns to go inside.
The beaten team on the lower balcony lick their wounds and plot revenge.
“If I can but get her in front of my kiosk at 9:23 next Thursday …”
“If I could find herborracho…”
“And I will have her gunned down bypistoleros…”
This boast of Joselito is predicated on his peculiar relationship with Lola La Chata. Lola La Chata is a solid 300 pounds cut from the same mountain rock as Esperanza. She sells heroin to pimps and thieves and whores and keeps the papers between her massive dugs. Joselito had a junky boy friend who took him to meet Lola.
Joselito danced flamenco screeching like a peacock. Lola laughed and adopted him as one of her “Little Kittens.” In a solemn ceremony he had suckled at her great purple dug bitter with heroin. It was not uncommon for Lola to service customers with two “Little Kittens” sucking at her breasts.
As Esperanza turns to go inside six pimpish young men burst through the door in a reek of brilliantine and lean over the balcony screaming insults at Joselito.
This brings reinforcements to the faltering lower balcony. Tío Mate stalks out followed by his adolescent Ka El Mono.
Tío Mate is an old assassin with twelve deer on his gun. A thin ghostly old man with eyes the color of a faded grey flannel shirt. He wears a black suit and a black Stetson. Under the coat a single action Smith & Wesson tip up forty-four with a seven-inch barrel is strapped to his lean flank. Tío Mate wants to put another deer on his gun before he dies.
The expression a “deer”(un “venado”)derives from the mountainous districts of northern Mexico where the body is usually brought into the police post draped over a horse like a deer.
A young district attorney just up from the capital. Tío Mate has dropped by to give him a lesson in folklore.
Tío Mate (rolling a cigarette): “I’m going to send you a deer,señor abogado.”
The D.A. (he thinks “well now that’s nice of him”): “Well thank you very much, if it isn’t too much trouble …”
Tío Mate (lighting the cigarette and blowing out smoke): “No trouble at allseñor abogado. It is my pleasure.”
Tío Mate blows smoke from the muzzle of his forty-four and smiles.
Man is brought in draped over a saddle. The horse is led by a woodenfaced Indian cop. The D.A. comes out. The cop jerks his head back …“un venado.”
Tío Mate had been the familypistoleroof rich landowners in northern Mexico. The family was ruined by expropriations when they backed the wrong presidential candidate and Tío Mate came to live with relativesin the capital. His room is a bare, white cell, a cot, a trunk, a little wooden case in which he keeps his charts, sextant and compass. Every night he cleans and oils his forty-four. It is a beautiful custom-made gun given to him by thepatrónfor killing “my unfortunate brother the General.” It is nickel-plated and there are hunting scenes engraved on the cylinder and barrel. The handles are of white porcelain with two blue deer heads. There is nothing for Tío Mate to do except oil his gun and wait. The gun glints in his eyes a remote mineral calm. He sits for hours on the balcony with his charts and instruments spread out on a green felt card table. Only his eyes move as he traces vultures in the sky. Occasionally he draws a line on the chart or writes down numbers in a logbook. Every Independence Day thevecinosassemble to watch Tío Mate blast a vulture from the sky with his forty-four. Tío Mate consults his charts and picks a vulture. His head moves very slightly from side to side eyes on the distant target he draws aims and fires: a vulture trailing black feathers down the sky. So precise are Tío Mate’s calculations that one feather drifts down on to the balcony. This feather is brought to Tío Mate by El Mono his Feather Bearer. Tío Mate puts the feather in his hat band. There are fifteen black years in his band.
El Mono has been Tío Mate’s Feather Bearer for five years. He sits for hours on the balcony until their faces fuse. He has his own little charts and compass. He is learning to shoot a vulture from the sky. A thin agile boy of thirteen he climbs all over the building spying on thevecinos. He wears a little blue skullcap and when he takes it off thevecinoshurry to drop a coin in it. Otherwise he will act out a recent impotence, a difficult bowelmovement, a cunt-licking with such precise mimicry that anyone can identify the party involved.
El Mono picks out a pimp with his eyes. He makes a motion of greasing a candle. The pimp licks his lips speechless with horror his eyes wild. Now El Mono is shoving the candle in and out his ass teeth bare eyes rolling he gasps out:“Sangre de Cristo…” The pimp impaled there for all to see. Joselito leaps up and stomps out a triumphant fandango. Awed by Tío Mate and fearful of a recent impotence, a difficult bowel movement, a cunt-licking, the pimps fall back in confusion.
Tío Paco now mans the upper balcony with his comrade in arms Fernández the drug clerk. Tío Paco has been a waiter for forty years. Very poor, very proud, contemptuous of tips, he cares only for the game. He brings the wrong order and blames the client, he flicks the nastiest towel, he shoves a tip back saying “The house pays us.” He screams after a client“Le service n’est-ce pas compris.” He has studied with Pullman George and learned the art of jiggling arms across the room:
hot coffee in a quiet American crotch.
And woe to a waiter who crosses him:
tray flies into the air. Rich well-dressed clients dodge cups and glasses, bottle of Fundador broken on the floor.
Fernández hates adolescents, pop stars, beatniks, tourists, queers, criminals, tramps, whores and drug addicts. Tío Paco hates their type too.
Fernández likes policemen, priests, army officers, rich people of good repute. Tío Paco likes them too. He serves them quickly and well. But their lives must be above reproach.
A newspaper scandal can mean long waits for service.
The client becomes impatient. He makes an angry gesture. A soda siphon crashes to the floor.
What they both love most of all is to inflict humiliation on a member of the hated classes, and to give information to the police.
Fernández throws a morphine script back across the counter.
“No prestamos servicio a los viciosos.” (“We do not serve dope fiends.”)
Tío Paco ignores a pop star and his common-law wife until the cold sour message seeps into their souls:
“We don’t want your type in here.”
Fernández holds a prescription in his hand. He is a plump man in his late thirties. Behind dark glasses his eyes are yellow and liverish. His low urgent voice on the phone.
“Receta narcótica falsificado.” (“A narcotic prescription forged.”)
“Your prescription will be ready in a minuteseñor.”
Tío Paco stops to wipe a table and whispers … “Marijuana in a suitcase … table by the door” … The cop pats his hand.
Neither Tío Paco nor Fernández will accept any reward for services rendered to their good friends the police.
When they first came to live on the top floor five years ago Tío Mate saw them once in the hall.
“Copper-loving bastards,” he said in his calm final voice.
He did not have occasion to look at them again. Anyone Tío Mate doesn’t like soon learns to stay out of Tío Mate’s space.
Fernández steps to the wall and his wife appears at his side. Her eyes are yellow her teeth are gold. Now his daughter appears. She has a mustache and hairy legs. Fernández looks down from a family portrait.
“Criminales. Maricónes. Vagabundos. I will denounce you to the police.”
Tío Paco gathers all the bitter old men in a blast of sour joyless hate. Joselito stops dancing and droops like a wilted flower. Tío Pepe and Dolores are lesser demons. They shrink back furtive and timorous as dawn rats. Tío Mate looks at a distant point beyond the old waiter tracing vultures in the sky. El Mono stands blank and cold. He will not imitate Fernández and Tío Paco.
And now Tía María, retired fat lady from a traveling carnival, comes out onto the lower balcony supporting her vast weight on two canes. Tía María eats candy and reads love stories all day and gives card readings the cards sticky and smudged with chocolate. She secretes a heavy sweetness. Sad and implacable it flows out of her like a foam runway. Thevecinosfear her sweetness which they regard fatalistically as a natural hazard like earthquakes and volcanoes. “The Sugar of Mary” they call it. It could get loose one day and turn the city into a cake.
She looks up at Fernández and her sad brown eyes pelt him with chocolates. Tío Paco tries desperately to outflank her but she sprays him with maraschino cherries from her dugs and coats him in pink icing. Tío Paco is the little man on a wedding cake all made out of candy. She will eat him later.
Now Tío Gordo, the blind lottery-ticket seller, rolls his immense bulk out onto the upper balcony, his wheel chair a chariot, his snarling black dog at his side. Thedog smells all the money Tío Gordo takes. A torn note brings an ominous growl, a counterfeit and it will break the man’s arm in its powerful jaws, brace its legs and hold him for the police. The dog leaps to the balcony wall and hooks its paws over barking, snarling, bristling, eyes phosphorescent. Tía María gasps and the sugar runs out of her. She is terrified of “rage dogs” as she calls them. The dog seems ready to leap down onto the lower balcony. Tío Mate plots the trajectory its body would take. He will kill it in the air.
Tío Pepe throws back his head and howls:
“Perro attropellado para un camión.” (“Dog run over by a truck.”)
The dog drags its broken hindquarters in a dusty noon street.
The dog slinks whimpering to Tío Gordo.
González the Agente wakes up muttering“Chingoa” the fumes of Mescal burning in his brain. Buttoning on his police tunic and forty-five he pushes roughly to the wall of the upper balcony.
González is a broken dishonored man. All thevecinosknow he has much fear of Tío Mate and crosses the street to avoid him. El Mono has acted out both parts.
González looks down and there is Tío Mate waiting. The hairs stand up straight on González’s head.
He snatches out his forty-five and fires twice. The bullets whistle past Tío Mate’s head. Tío Mate smiles. In one smooth movement he draws aims and fires. The heavy slug catches González in his open mouth ranging up through the roof blows a large tuft of erect hairs out the back of González’s head. González folds across thebalcony wall. The hairs go limp and hang down from his head. The balcony wall begins to sway like a horse. His forty-five drops to the lower balcony and goes off.
Shot breaks the camera. A frozen still of the two balconies tilted down at a forty-five-degree angle. González still draped over the wall sliding forward, the wheel chair halfway down the upper balcony, the dog slipping down on braced legs, thevecinostrying to climb up and slipping down.
“GIVE ME THE SIXTEEN.”
The cameraman shoots wildly … pimps scream by teeth bare eyes rolling, Esperanza sneers down at the Mexican earth, the fat lady drops straight down her pink skirts billowing up around her, Tía Dolores sails down her eyes winking sweet and evil like a doll, dog falls across a gleaming empty sky.
The camera dips and whirls and glides tracing vultures higher and higher spiraling up.
Last take: Against the icy blackness of space ghost faces of Tío Mate and El Mono. Dim jerky faraway stars splash the cheek bones with silver ash.Tío Mate smiles.The Chief Smiles
Marrakech 1976 … Arab house in the Medina charming old pot-smoking Fatima drinking tea with the trade in the kitchen. Here in the middle of a film to find myself one of the actors. The Chief has asked me to his house for dinner.
“Around Eight Rogers.”
He received me in his patio mixing a green salad thick steaks laid out by the barbecue pit.
“Help yourself to a drink Rogers.” He gestures to the drink wagon.
“There’s kif of course if you want it.”
I mixed myself a short drink and declined the kif.
“It gives me a headache.”
I’d seen the Chief smoking with his Arab contacts butthat didn’t give me a license to smoke. Besides it does give me a headache.
The Chief’s cover story is an eccentric old Frenchcomtewho is translating the Koran into Provencal and sometimes he will pull cover and bore his guests catatonic. You see, he really knows Provençal and Arabic. You have to study for years on a real undercover job like this. The Chief wasn’t pulling cover tonight. He was expansive and “watch your step, Rogers” I told myself, sipping a weak Scotch.
“‘I think you are the man for a highly important and I may add highly dangerous assignment, Rogers.’ You fell for that crap?”
“Well sir he is impressive,” I said cautiously.
“He’s a cheap old ham,” said the Chief. He sat down and filled his kif pipe with one hand. He smoked and blew the ash out absently caressing a gazelle that nuzzled his knee.
“ ‘Gotta stay ahead of the Commies or everybody’s kids will be learning Chinese.’ What a windbag.”
I endeavored to look noncommittal.
“Have you any idea what we’re doing here, Rogers?”
“Well, no sir.”
“I thought not. Never tell them what you want until you’ve got them where you want them. I’m going to show you a documentary film.”
Two Arab servants carry out a six-foot screen and set it up ten feet in front of our chairs. The Chief gets up turning switches adjusting dials.
A jungle seen through a faceted eye that looks simultaneously in any direction up or down … close-up of a green snake with golden eyes … telescopic lens picks out a monkey caught by an eagle between two vasttrees. The monkey is borne away screaming. I can feel a probing insect intelligence behind the camera, pyramids ahead fields and huts. In the fields workers are planting maize seeds under the direction of an overseer with staff and headdress. Close-up of a worker’s face. Whatever it is that makes a man a man, all feeling and all soul has gone out in that face. Nothing is left but body needs and body pleasures. I have seen faces like that in the back wards of state hospitals for the insane. Faces that live to eat, shit and masturbate. Satisfied with the inspection the camera moves back to observe group patterns of the workers. They are moving through a three-dimensional film of the operation that covers them with a grey sheen. Occasionally the overseer adjusts a slow worker with his eyes.
Next take shows a room in the temple suffused with underwater light. An old priest naked to his pendulous dugs and atrophied testicles sits cross-legged on a toilet seat set in the floor. The seat is cushioned with human skin on which are tattooed pictures of a man turning into a giant centipede. The centipede is eating him from inside legs and claws grow through screaming flesh. Now the centipede is eating his screaming mouth.
“Criminals and captives sentenced to death in centipede are tattooed with those pictures on every inch of their bodies. They are left for three days to fester. Then they are brought out given a powerful aphrodisiac, skinned alive in orgasm and strapped into a segmented copper centipede. The centipede is placed with obscene endearments in a bed of white-hot coals. The priests gather in crab suits and eat the meat out of the shell with gold claws.”
The old priest looks like a living part in an exotic computer.From festering sockets in his spine fine copper wires trail in a delicate fan. The camera follows the wires. Here in a little copper cage a scorpion is eating her mate. Here the head of a captive protrudes through the floor. Red ants have made a hill in his head. They crawl in and out of empty eye sockets. They have eaten his lips away from a gag. A muffled scream without a tongue torn through his perforated palate showers the floor with bloody ants. In jade aquariums human rectums and genitals grafted onto other flesh … a prostate gland quivers rainbow colors through a pink mollusk … two translucent white salamanders squirm in slow sodomy golden eyes glinting enigmatic lust … Lesbian electric eels squirm on a mud flat crackling their vaginas together … erect nipples sprout from a bulbous plant.
“They know an aphrodisiac so potent that it shatters the body to quivering pieces. The Sweet Death is reserved for comely youths and maidens. This wonderful old people had a rich folklore. Well I happened onto this good thing through a Mexican shoe-shine boy … Yoohoo Kiki … Come out and show Mr. Rogers how pretty you are …”
Kiki stands in a doorway smiling like a shy young animal.
“Now that lad … he’s a doll isn’t he? … is one of the best deep trance mediums I have ever handled. Through him I was able to teleport myself to a Mayan set and bring back the pictures. The whole thing was so frantic I cooled it all the way in my reports. All I said was it looks like a lovely WUP. That’s code for Weapon of Unlimited Potential … He’s hotting up now.”
The old priest rocks back and forth. The wires stand up on his spine and his eyes light up inside. His lips part and a dry insect music buzzes out.
“It’s known as singing the pictures. The principle is alternating current. That old fuck can alternate pain and pleasure on a subvocal perhaps even a molecular level twenty-four times a second goading the natives around on stock probes in out up down here there into the prearranged molds laid down in the sacred books. A few singers can deliver direct current and they are only called in an emergency. The control system you have just seen broke down. This happened quite suddenly a whole generation was born that felt neither pain nor pleasure. There were no soldiers to bring captives from other tribes since soldiers would have endangered the control machine. They relied entirely on local criminals for the pain and pleasure pictures. As a last resort they called in the Incomparable Yellow Serpent.”
The Serpent is carried in on his amber throne blue snake eyes skin like yellow parchment two long serpent fangs grafted into the upper jaw. As the current pulses through him he begins to rock back and forth. He shifts from A.C. to D.C. A thin siren wail breaks from his lips now open to the yellow fangs.
DEATH DEATH DEATH
The pictures crash and leap from his eyes blasting worker and priest alike to smoldering fragments.
DEATH DEATH DEATH
A thin siren wail rises and falls over empty cities.
“This secret of the ancient Mayans which few are competent to practice.
When comes such another singer as the Old Yellow Serpent?”
“Now the Technical Department think we are all as crazy as our way of life is reprehensible.
“ ‘Bring us the ones that work* they say ‘facts, figures, personnel.
‘“Put that joker DEATH on the line. Take care of Mao and his gang of cutthroats.’
“I was privileged to assist in a manner of speaking at the Yellow Serpent’s last broadcast in Washington D.C.”
Room in the Pentagon. Generals, CIA, State Department fidget about with that top secret hottest thing ever look open line to the President Strategic and NATO standing by. The Old Yellow Serpent is carried in by four marine guards. He begins to rock back and forth. He breathes in baby coos and breathes out death rattles. He sucks in wheat fields and spits out dust bowls.
“He’s just warming up,” says the CIA man to a five-star general.
The Old Serpent shifts to D.C. blazing like a comet.
DEATH DEATH DEATH
The pictures lash and crackle from his eyes.
DEATH DEATH DEATH
A wall blows out and spills screaming brass eighteen floors to the street.
DEATH DEATH DEATH
And now the Serpent swings his whip in the sky.
Here lived stupid vulgar sons of bitches who thought they could hire DEATH as a company cop … empty streets, old newspapers in the wind, a rustle of darkness and wires.
In the night sky over St Louis the Mayan Death God does a Cossack dance shooting stars from his eyes.The Chief smiles.Old Sarge Smiles
The Green Nun has stopped the unfortunate traveler in front of her red-brick priory set among oak trees, green lawns and flower beds.
“Oh do come in and see my mental ward and the wonderful things we are doing for the patients.”
She walks with him up the gravel drive to the priory door pointing to her flowers.
“Aren’t my primroses doing nicely.”
She opens the door of the priory with a heavy brass key at her belt. Down a long hall and flight of stairs she opens another door with her keys. She shows Audrey into a bare cold ward room crayon drawings on the wall. A nun walks up and down with a ruler. The patients are busy with plasticene and crayons. It lookslike a kindergarten but some of the children are middle-aged. The door clicks shut and her voice changes.
“You’ll find plasticene and crayons over there. You must have permission to leave the room for any purpose.”
“Now see here …”
A paunchy guard with a tin helmet and wide leather belt stands beside her. The guard looks at him with cold ugly hate and says:
“He wants Bob and his lawyers.”
At six o’clock there is a tasteless dinner of cold macaroni that Audrey does not touch. After dinner the night sister comes on.
Cots are set up by the patients and the ward room is converted into a dormitory.
“Anyone want potty before lights out?”
She jangles the keys. The lavatory cubicles stand at one end of the dormitory. The sister on duty unlocks the doors and stands in the open door watching coldly.
“Now don’t try and play with your dirty thing again Coldcliff or you’ll have six hours in the kitchen.”
A dim religious light burns all night in the dormitory. The patients sleep on their backs under a thin blanket. Erections are sanctioned with a sharp ruler tap from the night sister.
And so the years passed. Sometimes as a special treat there were nature walks in the garden, Bob there with three snarling Alsatians on a lead. The patients could watch a praying mantis eat her mate.
Daily confessions were heard by the Green Nun on a lie detector that could also give a very nasty shock inthe nasty places while the Green Nun intoned slowly “Thou shalt not bear false witness.”
These confessions she wrote out in green ink keeping a separate ledger book for each patient. Once after a particularly degraded confession she levitated to the ceiling in the presence of an awed young nun. Every night she put on Christ drag with a shimmering halo and visited some young nun in her cell. She liked to think of herself as the nun in a poem by Sara Teasdale.
“Infinite tenderness infinite irony is hidden forever in her closed eyes.
Who must have learned too well in her long loneliness how empty wisdom is even to the wise.”
She was an inveterate hypochondriac and dosed herself liberally with laudanum. As a result she suffered from constipation which could put a comely young nun on high colonic duty. This honor was invariably followed by a nocturnal visit from Christ with a strap-on. In her youth the Green Nun had toyed with the idea of ordering Bob to raid a sperm bank. Then she could claim the Christ child. She put aside these ambitious thoughts. Her work in the kindergarten was more important than worldly glamor, her picture on the cover ofLife.
You learn not to have a thought you will be ashamed to tell the Green Nun and never to do anything you would be ashamed to do in front of her. And sooner or later you join the Quarter G Club. Converted patients are allowed a quarter grain of morphine every night before lights out, a privilege which is withdrawn for any trespass.
“Now you know that dream about flying is WRONG don’t you? For that you go to bed without your medicine.”
Shivering with junk sickness in the icy ward room all next day he has to look bright and happy as he busies himself with crayons and plasticene. He has learned to draw pictures of the Virgin Mary and Saint Teresa with an unmistakable resemblance to the Green Nun. Crosses are always safe in plasticene. Soon after his commitment he made the error of molding a naked Greek statue. That day sister’s ruler slashed down on his thin blue wrist and he was forced to write outi am a filthy little beastten thousand times in many places.
Dizzy dance of rooms and faces, murmur of many voices smell of human nights … St. Louis backdrop of redbrick houses, slate roofs, back yards and ash pits … As a child he had an English governess with references so impeccable that Audrey later suspected they had been forged by a Fleet Street hack in a shabby pub near Earl’s Court.
“You can’t put in too many Lords and Lydies I always sy.”
Listening back with a writer’s crystal set he picked up mutters of the servant underworld … the pimping blackmailing chauffeur … “You don’t get rid of me that easy Lord Brambletie.”
Overdose of morphine in a Kensington nursing home … “She said that Mrs. Charrington was sleeping and could not be disturbed.”
The governess left quite suddenly after receiving a letter from England.
Then there was an old Irish crone who taught him to call the toads. She could go out into the back yard and croon a toad out from under a stone and Audrey learnedto do it too. He had his familiar toad that lived under a rock by the goldfish pool and came when he called it. And she taught him a curse to bring “the blinding worm” from rotten bread.
Audrey went to a progressive grade school where the children were encouraged to express themselves, model in clay, beat out copper ash trays and make stone axes. A sensitive inspirational teacher is writing the school play out on the blackboard as the class makes suggestions:
SCENE ONE:Two women at the water hole.
Woman 1: “I hear the tiger ate Bast’s baby last night.”
Woman 2: “Yes. All they found was the child’s toy soldier.”
Woman 1: “One doesn’t feel safe with that tiger about.”(She looks around nervously.)“Its getting dark Sextet and I’m going home.”
One of the truly great bores of St Louis was Colonel Greenfield. He had dinner jokes that took half an hour to tell during which no one was expected to eat. Audrey sits there watching his turkey go cold with half a mind to put the “blinding worm” on him. It seems this old black Jew has crashed the Palace Hotel in Palm Beach. At that very moment the night clerk, a new man just in from a Texas hotel school, withers in Major Brady’s cold glare.
“Did you check in Mr. Rogers nee Kike?”
“Why, yes sir, I did. He had a reservation.”
“No, he didn’t. There was a mistake you dumb hick.
Don’t you know a black Jew when you see one?”
Meanwhile the old black Jew has called room service … “Will you please send up a little pepper.”
“I’m sorry sir the kitchen is closed. Why it’s three in the morning.”
“I don’t care is the kitchen closed. I don’t care is it three in the morning. I want a little pepper.”
“I’m sorry sir.”
“I vant to talk with the manager plis” … (The dialect gets heavier as the Colonel warms up.)
Call from the night manager to Major Brady’s office …
“That old black Jew in 23 wants pepper of all things at this hour.”
“All right. We run a first-class hotel here. Open the kitchen and give him anything he wants … Brought his own carp most likely.”
So the night manager calls the old black Jew. “All right sir what kind of pepper do you want? Red pepper? White pepper? Black pepper?”
“I don’t vant red pepper. I don’t vant white pepper. I don’t vant black pepper. All I vant is a little toilet pepper.”
eye in needle needle in eye
The Colonel burned down St Louis. One day when Audrey reluctantly visited Colonel Greenfield’s house to deliver a message he found the Colonel telling his interminable anecdotes to the Negro butler.
“Now on the old Greenfield plantation we had house niggers and field niggers and the field niggers never came into the house.”
“No sir the field niggers never came into the house.”
“The house niggers saw to that didn’t they George?”
“Yes sir. The house niggers saw to that sir.”
“Now wherever I go I always get out the telephonebook and look up anybody who bears the name of Greenfield. There are so few of them and they are all so distinguished. Well some years ago in Buffalo New York I had written down the address of Abraham L. Greenfield and showed it to a nigra cab driver.”
“I think you got the wrong number boss.”
“The address is correct driver.”
“I still think you got the wrong number boss.”
“Shut your black face and take me where I want to go.”
“Yahsuh boss. Here you are boss. Niggertown boss.”
“And that’s where we were right in Niggertown.”
“Yes sir. Right in Niggertown sir.”
“So I get out and knock on the door and an old coon comes to the door with his hat in his hands.”
“With his hat in his hands sir.”
“Good evening Massa and God bless you” he says.
“Is your name Greenfield?” I ask him.
“Yahsuh boss. Abraham Lincoln Greenfield.”
“Well it turns out he was one of our old house niggers.”
“One of your old house niggers sir.”
“He invited me in and served me a cup of coffee with homemade caramel cake. He wouldn’t sit down just stood there nodding and smiling … The right kind of darky.”
“The right kind of darky sir.”And Bury the Bread Deep in a Sty
Audrey was a thin pale boy his face scarred by festering spiritual wounds. “He looks like a sheep-killing dog,” said a St Louis aristocrat. There was something rotten and unclean about Audrey, an odor of the walking dead. Doormen stopped him when he visited his rich friends. Shopkeepers pushed his change back without a thank you. He spent sleepless nights weeping into his pillow from impotent rage. He read adventure stories and saw himself as a gentleman adventurer like the “Major” … sun helmet, khakis, Webley at the belt a faithful Zulu servant at his side. A dim sad child breathing old pulp magazines. At sixteen he attended an exclusive high school known as The Poindexter Academy where he felt rather like a precarious house nigger.Still he was invited to most of the parties and Mrs Kind-heart made a point of being nice to him.
At the opening of the academy in September a new boy appeared. Aloof and mysterious where he came from nobody knew. There were rumors of Paris, London, a school in Switzerland. His name was John Hamlin and he stayed with relatives in Portland Place. He drove a magnificent Dusenberg. Audrey, who drove a battered Moon, studied this vast artifact with openmouthed awe, the luxurious leather upholstery, the brass fittings, the wickerwork doors, the huge spotlight with a pistol-grip handle. Audrey wrote: “Clearly he has come a long way travel stained and even the stains unfamiliar, cuff links of a dull metal that seems to absorb light, his red hair touched with gold, large green eyes well apart.”
The new boy took a liking to Audrey while he turned aside with polished deftness invitations from sons of the rich. This did not endear Audrey to important boys and he found his stories coldly rejected by the school magazine.
“Morbid” the editor told him. “We want stories that make you go to bed feeling good.”
It was Friday October 23, 1929 a bright blue day leaves falling, half-moon in the sky. Audrey Carsons walked up Pershing Avenue …“Simon, aime tu le bruit des pas sur les feuilles mortes?” … He had read that on one of E. Holdeman Julius’s little Blue Books and meant to use it in the story he was writing. Of course his hero spoke French. At the corner of Pershing and Walton he stopped to watch a squirrel. A dead leaf caught for a moment in Audrey’s ruffled brown hair.
“Hello Audrey. Like to go for a ride?”
It was John Hamlin at the wheel of his Dusenberg. He opened the door without waiting for an answer. Hamlin made a wide U-turn and headed West … left on Euclid right on Lindell … Skinker Boulevard City Limits … Clayton … Hamlin looked at his wrist watch.
“We could make St Joseph for lunch … nice riverside restaurant there serves wine.”
Audrey is thrilled of course. The autumn countryside flashes by … long straight stretch of road ahead.
“Now I’ll show you what this job can do.”
Hamlin presses the accelerator slowly to the floor … 60 … 70 … 80 … 85 … 90 … Audrey leans forward lips parted eyes shining.
At Tent City a top-level conference is in progress involving top level executives in the CONTROL GAME. The Conference has been called by a Texas billionaire who contributes heavily to MRA and maintains a stable of evangelists. This conference is taking place outside St Louis Missouri because the Green Nun flatly refuses to leave her kindergarten. The high teacup queens thought it would be fun to do a tent city like a 1917 Army camp. The conferents are discussing Operation W.O.G. (Wrath of God).
At the top level people get cynical after a few drinks. The young man from the news magazine has discovered a good-looking Fulbright scholar and they are witty in a corner over Martinis. A drunken American Sergeant reels to his feet. He has the close-cropped iron-grey hair and ruddy complexion of the Regular Army man.
“To put it country simple for a lay audience … you don’t even know what buttons to push … we take abunch of longhair boys fucking each other while they puff reefers, spit cocaine on the Bible, and wipe their asses with Old Glory. We show this film to decent, church-going, Bible Belt do-rights. We take the reaction. One religious sheriff with seven nigger notches on his gun melted the camera lens. He turned out to be quite an old character and the boys fromLifedid a spread on him—seems it had always been in the family, a power put there by God to smite the unrighteous: his grandmother struck a whore dead in the street with it. When we showed the picture to a fat Southern senator his eyes popped out throwing fluid all over your photographer. Well I’ve been asparagrassed in Paris, kneed in the groin by the Sea Org in Tunis, maced in Chicago and pelted with scorpions in Marrakech so a face full of frog eggs is all in the day’s work. What the Narco boys call ‘society’s disapproval’ reflected and concentrated twenty million I HATE YOU pictures in one blast. When you want the job done come to the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. AND WE CAN TURN IT IN ANY DIRECTION. You Limey leftovers …” He points to a battery of old grey men in club chairs frozen in stony disapproval of this vulgar drunken American. When will the club steward arrive to eject the bounder so a gentleman can read hisTimes?
“YOU’RE NOTHING BUT A BANANA REPUBLIC. AND REMEMBER WE’VE GOT YOUR PICTURES.”
“And we’ve got yours too Yank,” they clip icily.
“MINE ARE UGLIER THAN YOURS.”
The English cough and look away fading into their spectral clubs, yellowing tusks of the beast killed by the improbable hyphenated name, OLD SARGE screams after them … “WHAT DO YOU THINK THIS IS A BEAUTY CONTEST? You Fabian Socialist vegetablepeoples go back to your garden in Hampstead and release a hot-air balloon in defiance of a local ordinance delightful encounter with the bobby in the morning. Mums wrote it all up in her diary and read it to us at tea. WE GOT ALL YOUR PANSY PICTURES AT ETON. YOU WANTA JACK OFF IN FRONT OF THE QUEEN WITH A CANDLE UP YOUR ASS?”
“You can’t talk like that in front of decent women,” drawled the Texas billionaire flanked by his rangers.
“You decorticated cactus. I suppose you think this conference was your idea? Compliments of SID in the Sudden Inspiration Department … And you lousy yacking fink queens my photographers wouldn’t take your pictures. You are nothing but tape recorders. With just a flick of my finger frozen forever over that Martini. All right get snide and snippy about that HUH? … And you” … He points to the Green Nun … “Write out ten thousand times under water in indelible ink OLD SARGE HAS MY CHRIST PICTURES. SHALL I SHOW THEM TO THE POPE?
“And now in the name of all good tech sergeants everywhere …”
A gawky young sergeant is readingAmazing Stories. He flicks a switch … Audrey and Hamlin on screen. Wind ruffles Audrey’s hair as the Dusenberg gathers speed.
“Light Years calling Bicarbonate … Operation Little Audrey on target … eight seconds to count down … tracking …”
A thin dyspeptic technician mixes a bicarbonate of soda.
“URP calling Fox Trot … six seconds to count down …”
English computer programer is rolling a joint.
“Spot Light calling Accent … four seconds to count down …”
Computers hum, lights flash, lines converge.
Red-haired boy chews gum and looks at a muscle magazine.
“Red Dot calling Pin Point … two seconds to count down …“.
The Dusenberg zooms over a rise and leaves the ground. Just ahead is a wooden barrier, steamroller, piles of gravel, phantom tents. DETOUR sign points sharp left to a red clay road where pieces of flint glitter in the sunlight.
“OLD SARGE IS TAKING OVER.”
He looks around and the crockery flies off every table spattering the conferents with Martinis, bourbon, whipped cream, maraschino cherries, gravy and vichysoisse frozen forever in a 1920 slapstick.
End over end a flaming pin wheel of jagged metal slices through the conferents. The Green Nun is decapitated by a twisted fender. The Texas billionaire is sloshed with gasoline like a burning nigger. The broken spotlight trailing white-hot wires like a jellyfish hits the British delegate in the face. The Dusenberg explodes throwing white-hot chunks of jagged metal, boiling acid, burning gasoline in all directions.
Wearing the uniforms of World War I Audrey and Old Sarge lean out of a battered Moon in the morning sky and smile. Old Sarge is at the wheel.The Penny Arcade Peep Show
Unexpected rising of the curtain can begin with a Dusenberg moving slowly along a 1920 detour. Just ahead Audrey sees booths and fountains and ferris wheels against a yellow sky. A boy steps in front of the car and holds up his hand. He is naked except for a rainbow colored jock strap and sandals. Under one arm he carries a Mauser pistol clipped onto a rifle stock. He steps to the side of the car. Audrey has never seen anyone so cool and disengaged. He looks at Audrey and he looks at John. He nods.
“We leave the car here,” John says. Audrey gets out. Six boys now stand there watching him serenely. They carry long knives sheathed at their belts which are studded with amethyst crystals. They all wear rainbow-colored jock straps like souvenir post cards of NiagaraFalls. Audrey follows John through a square where acts are in progress surrounded by circles of adolescent onlookers eating colored ices and chewing gum. Most of the boys wear the rainbow jock straps and a few of them seem to be completely naked. Audrey can’t be sure trying to keep up with John. The fair reminds Audrey of 1890 prints. Sepia ferris wheels turn in yellow light. Gliders launched from a wooden ramp soar over the fair ground legs of the pilots dangling in air. A colored hot-air balloon is released to applause of the onlookers. Around the fair ground are boardwalks, lodging houses, restaurants and baths. Boys lounge in doorways. Audrey glimpses scenes that quicken his breath and send the blood pounding to his groin. He catches sight of John far ahead outlined in the dying sunlight. Audrey calls after him but his voice is blurred and muffled. Then darkness falls as if someone has turned out the sky. Some distance ahead and to the left he sees PENNY ARCADE spelled out in light globes. Perhaps John has gone in there. Audrey pushes aside a red curtain and enters the arcade. Chandeliers, gilt walls, red curtains, mirrors, windows stretch away into the distance. He cannot see the end of it in either direction from the entrance. It is a long narrow building like a ship cabin or a train. Boys are standing in front of peep shows some wearing the rainbow jock straps others in prep school clothes loincloths and jellabas. He notices shows with seats in front of them and some in curtained booths. As he passes a booth he glimpses through parted curtains two boys sitting on a silk sofa both of them naked. Shifting his eyes he sees a boy slip his jock strap down and step out of it without taking his eyes from the peep show. Moving with a precision and ease he sometimes knew in flying dreams Audrey slides onto asteel chair that reminds him of Doctor Moor’s Surgery in the Lister Building afternoon light through green blinds. In front of him is a luminous screen. Smell of old pain, ether, bandages, sick fear in the waiting room, yes this is Doctor Moor’s Surgery in the Lister Building.
The doctor was a Southern gentleman of the old school. Rather like John Barrymore in appearance and manner he fancied himself as a witty raconteur which at times he was. The doctor had charm which Audrey so sadly lacked. No doorman would ever stop him no shopkeeper forget his thank you under eyes that could suddenly go cold as ice. It was impossible for the doctor to like Audrey. “He looks like a homosexual sheep-killing dog” he thought but he did not say this. He looked up from his paper in his dim gloomy drawing room and pontificated “the child is not wholesome.”
His wife went further: “It is a walking corpse,” she said. Audrey was inclined to agree with her but he didn’t know whose corpse he was. And he was painfully aware of being unwholesome.
There is a screen directly in front of him, a screen to his left, a screen to his right, and a screen in back of his head. He can see all four screens from a point above his head.
Later Audrey wrote these notes: “The scenes presented and the manner of presentation varies according to an underlying pattern.
“1. Objects and scenes move away and come in with a slow hydraulic movement always at the same speed. The screens are three-dimensional visual sections punctuated by flashing lights. I once saw the Great Thurston who could make an elephant disappear doan act with a screen on stage. He shoots a man in the film. The actor clutches his ketchup to his tuxedo shirt and falls then Thurston steps into the screen as a detective to investigate the murder, steps back outside to commit more murders, busts in as a brash young tabloid reporter, moves out to make a phone call that will collapse the market, back in as ruined broker. I am pulled into the film in a stream of yellow light and I can pull people out of the film withdrawal shots pulling the flesh off naked boys. Sequences are linked by the presence of some arbitrary object a pin wheel, a Christmas-tree ornament, a pyramid, an Easter egg, a copper coil going away and coming in always in the same numerical order. Movement in and out of the screen can be very painful like acid in the face and electric sex tingles.
“2. Scenes that have the same enigmatic structure presented on one screen where the perspective remains constant. In a corner of the frames there are punctuation symbols. This material is being processed on a computer. I am in the presence of an unknown language spelling out the same message again and again in cryptic charades where I participate as an actor. There are also words on screen familiar words maybe we read them somewhere a long time ago written in sepia and silver letters that fade into pictures.
“3. Fragmentary glimpses linked by immediate visual impact. There is a sensation of speed as if the pictures were seen from a train window.
“4. Narrative sections in which the screens disappear. I experience a series of quite understandable and coherent events as one of the actors. The narrative sequences are preceded by the title on screen then Iam in the film. The transition is painless like stepping into a dream. The structuralized peep show may intersperse the narrative and then I am back in front of the screen and moving in and out of it.”
Audrey looked at the screen in front of him. His lips parted and the thoughts stopped in his mind. It was all there on screen sight sound touch at once immediate and spectrally remote in past time.
THE PENNY ARCADE PEEP SHOW
1. On screen 1 a burning red pin wheel distant amusement park. The pin wheel is going away taking the lights the voices the roller coaster the smell of peanuts and gunpowder further and further away.
2. On screens 2 and 3 a white pin wheel and a blue pin wheel going away. Audrey catches a distant glimpse of two boys in the penny arcade. One laughs and points to the other’s pants sticking out straight at the crotch.
3. On screens 1 2 3 three pin wheels spinning away red white and blue. Young soldier at the rifle range beads of sweat in the down on his lip. Distant firecrackers burst on hot city pavements … night sky parks and ponds … blue sound in vacant lots.
4. On screens 1 2 3 4 four pin wheels spinning away, red, white, blue and red. A low-pressure area draws Audrey into the park. July 4, 1926 falls into a silent roller.
1. On screen 1 a red pin wheel coming in … smoky moon over the midway. A young red-haired sailor bites into an apple.
2. On screens 2 and 3 two pin wheels coming in white and blue light flickers an adolescent face. The pitchmanstirs uneasily. “Take over will you kid. Gotta see a man about a monkey.”
3. On screens 1 2 3 three pin wheels coming in red white and blue. A luminous post card sky opens into a vast lagoon of summer evenings. A young soldier steps from the lake from the hill from the sky.
4. On screens 1 2 3 4 four pin wheels spinning in red white blue red. The night sky is full of bursting rockets lighting parks and ponds and the upturned faces.
“The rocket’s red glare the bombs bursting in air Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.”
A light in his eyes. Must be Doctor Moor’s mirror with a hole in it.
1. A flattened pyramid going away into distant birdcalls and dawn mist … Audrey glimpses bulbous misshapen trees … Indian boy standing there with a machete … The scene is a sketch from an explorer’s notebook … dim in on a stained yellow page … “No one was ever meant to know the unspeakable evil of this place and live to tell of it …”
2. Two pyramids going away … “The last of my Indian boys left before dawn. I am down with a bad attack of fever … and the sores … I can’t keep myself from scratching. I have even tried tying my hands at night when the dreams come, dreams so indescribably loathsome that I cannot bring myself to write down their content. I untie the knots in my sleep and wake up scratching …”
3. Three pyramids going away … “The sores haveeaten through my flesh to the bone and still this hideous craving to scratch. Suicide is the only way out. I can only pray that the horrible secrets I have uncovered die with me forever …”
4. Four pyramids going away … Audrey experienced a feeling of vertigo like the sudden stopping of an elevator … skeleton clutches a rusty revolver in one fleshless hand …
1. A pyramid coming in … Audrey can see stonework like broken lace on top of the pyramid. Damp heat closes round his body a musty odor of vegetable ferment and animal decay. Figure in a white loincloth swims out of the dawn mist. An Indian boy with rose-colored flesh and delicate features stands in front of Audrey. Two muscular Indians with long arms carry jars and tools. “You crazy or something walk around alone? This bad place. This place of flesh plants.”
2. Two pyramids coming in … “You not careful you grow here. Look at that.” He points to a limp pink tube about two feet long growing from two purple mounds covered with fine red tendrils. As the boy points to the tube it turns toward him. The boy steps forward and rubs the tube which slowly stiffens into a phallus six feet high growing from two testicles … “Now I make him spurt. Jissom worth muchdinero. Jissom make flesh” … He strips off his loincloth and steps onto the vegetable scrotum embracing the shaft. The red hairs twist around his legs reaching up to his groin and buttocks …
3. Three pyramids coming in … The mist is lifting. In the milky dawn light Audrey sees a blush spread through the boy’s body turning the skin to a swollenred wheal. Pearly lubricant pours from the head of the giant phallus and runs down the sides. The boy squirms against the shaft caressing the great pulsing head with both hands. There is a soft muffled sound, a groan of vegetable lust straining up from tumescent roots as the plant spurts ten feet in the air. The bearers run around catching the gobs in stone jars.
4. Four pyramids coming in … The flesh garden is located in a round crater four pyramids spaced around it on higher ground North South East and West. Slowly the tendrils fall away the Phallus goes limp and the boy steps free … “Over there ass tree” … He points to a tree of smooth red buttocks twisted together between each buttock a quivering rectum. Opposite the orifices phallic orchids red, purple, orange sprout from the tree’s shaft … “Make him spurt too” … The boy turns to one of the bearers and says something in a language unknown to Audrey. The boy grins and slips off his loincloth … The other bearer followed his movements … “He fuck tree. Other fuck him” … The two men dip lubricant from a jar and rub it on their stiffening phalluses. Now the first bearer steps forward and penetrates the tree wrapping his legs around the shaft. The second bearer pries his buttocks open with his thumbs and squirms slowly forward men and plant moving together in a slow hydraulic peristalsis … The orchids pulse erect dripping colored drops of lubricant … “We catch spurts” … The boy hands Audrey a stone jar. The two boys seem to writhe into the tree their faces swollen with blood. A choking sound bursts from tumescent lips as the orchids spurt like rain. “This one very dangerous” … The boypoints to a human body with vines growing through the flesh like veins. The body of a green pink color excretes a milky substance … The boy draws on parchment gloves … “You touch him you get sores itch you scratch spread sores feel good scratch more scratch self away” … Slowly the lids open on green pupils surrounded by black flower flesh. He is seeing them now you can tell. His body quivers with horrible eagerness … “He there long time. Need somebody pop him.” … The boy reaches up takes the head in both hands and twists it sharply to one side. There is a sound like a stick breaking in wet towels as the spine snaps. The feet flutter and rainbow colors spiral from the eyes. The penis spurts again and again as the body twists in wrenching spasms. Finally the body hangs limp … “He dead now” … The bearers dig a hole. The boy cuts the body down and it plops into the grave … “Soon grow another” … said the boy matter of factly … “over there shit tree” … He points to a black bush in the shape of a man squatting. The bush is a maze of tentacles and caught in these tendrils Audrey sees animal skeletons … “Now I make him asshole” … The boy dipped sperm from a jar and rubbed it between the parted buttocks. Nitrous fumes rise the plant writhes in peristalsis and empties itself … “Very good for garden. Make flesh trees grow. Now I show you good place” … He leads the way up a steep path to an open place by one of the pyramids … In niches carved from rock Audrey sees vines growing in human forms. The figures give off a remote vegetable calm … “This place of vine people very calm very quiet. Live here long long time. Roots reach down to garden.”
The rising sun hits Audrey in the face
Dawn light on a nakedyouthpoised to dive into a pond.———
A thousand Japaneseyouthsleap from a balcony into a round swimming tank.
Audreytaking a shower. Water runs down his lean stomach. He is getting stiff.
Locker room toilet on five levels seen from ferris wheel … flash of white legs, shiny pubic hairs, lean brown arms …boysmasturbating under a rusty shower.
Nakedboyon yellow toilet seat sunlight in pubic hairs a twitching foot.
Boysmasturbating in bleak public school toilets, outhouses, locker rooms … a blur of flesh.
Farjasighs deeply and rocks back hugging his knees against his chest. Nitrous fumes twist from pink rectal flesh in whorls of orange, sepia, rose.
Red fumes envelop thetwo bodies. A scream of roses bursts from tumescent lips roses growing through flesh tearing thorns of delight intertwined the quivering bodies crushed them together writhing gasping in an agony of roses.
What happens between my legs is like a cold drink to me it is just a feeling … cool round stones against my back sunshine and shadow of Mexico. It is just a feeling between the legs a sort of tingle. It is a feeling by whichI amhere at all.
We squat there our knees touching. Kiki looks down between his legs watching himself get stiff. I feel the tingle between my legs and I am getting stiff too.
cadavers. Electron microscope shows cells, nerves, bone.
Telescope shows stars and planets and space. Click microscope. Click telescope.
Hewasn’t there really. Pale the picture was pale. I could see through him. In life used address I give you for that belated morning.
Youngghostsblurred faces boys and workshops the old February 5, 1914.
Iamnot a person and I am not an animal. There is something I am here for something I have to do before I can go.
The deadaround like birdcalls rain in my face.
Flight of geese across a gleaming empty sky … Peter John S … 1882-1904 … the death of a child long ago … cool remote spirit to his world of shades … I was waiting there pale character in someone else’s writing breathing old pulp magazines. Turn your face a little to eyes like forget-me-nots … flickering silver smile melted into air … The boy did not speak again.
Cold stars splash the empty house faraway toys. Sad whisperingspiritsmelt into coachmen and animals of dreams, mist from the lake, faded family photos.
Museum bas-relief of theGodAmen with erection. A thin boy in prep school clothes stands in the presence of the God. The boy in museum toilet takes down his pants phallic shadow on a distant wall.
All theGodsof Egypt
TheGodAmen the boy teeth bare gasping
Clear light touching marble porticos and fountains … theGodsof Greece … Mercury, Apollo, Pan
Light drains into the red walls of MarrakechLe Gran Luxe
April 3, 1989 Marrakech … Unlighted streets carriages with carbide lamps. It looks like an 1890 print from some explorer’s travel book. Wild boys in the streets whole packs of them vicious as famished dogs. There is almost no police force in operation and everyone who can afford it has private guards. My Marrakech contact has kindly lent me two good Nubians and found me suitable quarters.
Waves of decoration and architecture have left a series of strata-like exposed geologic formations. There isn’t a place in the world you can’t find a piece of it in Marrakech, a St Louis street, a Mexican cantina, that house straight from England, Alpine huts in the mountains, a vast film set where the props are continually shifting. The city has spread in all directions up into the Atlasmountains to the east, south to the Sahara, westward to the coastal cities, up into the industrial reservations of the north. There are fantastic parties, vast estates and luxury such as we read about in the annals of the Roman Empire.
The chic thing is to dress in expensive tailor-made rags and all the queens are camping about in wild-boy drag. There are Bowery suits that appear to be stained with urine and vomit which on closer inspection turn out to be intricate embroideries of fine gold thread. There areclochardsuits of the finest linen, shabby-gentility suits, Graham Greene outfits for seedy agents who are bad Catholics on a mission they don’t really believe in, felt hats seasoned by old junkies, dungarees faded on farm boys, coolie clothes of yellow pongee silk, loud cheap pimp suits that turn out to be not so cheap the loudness is a subtle harmony of colors only the very best Poor Boy Shops can turn out tailored to your way of walking sitting down bending over the color of your hair and eyes your house and backdrop. It is the double take and many carry it much further to as many as six takes. Looks like an expensive suit trying rather crudely to look cheap humm the cheapness is rather carefully planned on closer inspection suits that shift changing color and texture before your eyes he is standing in what looks like a rented dress suit now the Billy Graham look no it is 120 dollar knocked down to 69.23 FBI agent suit or it could be a smooth Mexican ‘pocho’ beyond the Glen Plaid stage on the other hand something of an uncomfortable young cop first day in plain clothes the collar too tight the sleeves too short. All these suits were full of gimmicks, retractable sleeves, invisible pockets and not a few of the looners keepsome concealed pet about their person a rat, a mongoose, a cobra, a nest of scorpions that can be suddenly released to enliven a social gathering. He appears say in a raccoon-skin coat from which leaps a live raccoon to kill Bubbles de Cocuera’s six prize Chihuahuas. And Reggie in a blue mutation mongoose cape killed every cobra in the Djemalfna. Funny at first but they run it into the ground. “My God here comes Reggie in a tiger suit! Run for your lives chaps!” They will put on armor or protect themselves some way and dump almost anything into your lap. You learn to stay away from fat citizens in python suits, any swelling or protuberance is something to avoid and pregnant women have the street to themselves. Everyone has reversible linings and concealed pockets and a way to pass a pet from one pocket to the other thus foiling the searches which are now routine at the door of any gathering. The next step is skin suits and men are hunted like animals for their pelts. Then synthetics hit the market. Think of it termite-proof moth-proof age-proof in sixteen tasteful shades furniture and walls to match. People start buying anything they want a red-haired ass a Mexican crotch a Chinese stomach folks is going piebald thin black arms cracker farm boy smile then horns and goat hooves wolf boys lizard boys some frantic character got arms smooth and red as terra cotta ending in lobster claws.
There is almost no petroleum left and gasoline engines are a rarity. Steam cars and electrics are coming back. The silent electric dirigibles of the rich sail majestically across the evening sky the cabin an open-air restaurant wafting a scent of wet lawns and golf courses calm happy voices 1920 music. Le gran luxe flourishes asnever before in history on the vast estates of the rich. The foremost advocate and practitioner of luxury is A.J. who owns a private steam railroad which he stocks with 1890 drummers and bankers, 1920 prep school boys on vacation, 1918 card sharps and con men according to his whim, anyone wishing to travel A.J. is required to report to casting.
“I maintain my railroads for the train whistles at lonely sidings, the smell of worn leather, steam, soot, hot iron and good cigar smoke, for the glass-covered stations and the red-brick station hotels.”
He contributes lavishly to the guerrilla units, maintains a vast training center and hires fugitive scientists to develop new weapons in his laboratories and factories. He thinks nothing of spending millions of dollars to put a single dish on his table. His annual party collapses currencies and bankrupts nations.
“I want a dinner of fresh hog’s liver, fried squirrel, wild asparagrass, turnip greens, hominy grits, corn on the cob and blackberries. The hog must be an Ozark razor-back fed on acorns, peanuts, mulberries and Missouri apples. My hog must be kept under discreet observation round the clock to insure that it does not eat anything unclean like bullshit, baby rabbits or dead frogs the surveillance being unobtrusive so as not to render the animal self-conscious.”
“When you want this by, boss? A year from now?”
“Next Sunday at the latest.”
“But boss how in the hell…?”
“Go to Hell if need be but find me such a hog.”
“Once found he must be brought here. As you know hog’s liver that has been on ice for even a few hours isquite unfit to eat. The hog must be butchered in my kitchens and the twitching liver conveyed immediately to the skillet to be cooked in the bacon grease of another such hog.”
“Well sure boss … We could crate the hog up and jet it out here.”
“Are you mad? My hog would be terrorized and this would surely have an adverse effect on its liver.”
“Well boss we could take over an ocean liner fix it up like an Ozark range and …”
“Are you trying to poison me? The hog would become seasick and I would lose my dinner. Obviously the hog must be gently wafted here on a raft slung between two giant zeppelins, a raft lifted bodily from the Ozark Mountains. My squirrels, blackberries and wild asparagrass will of course accompany the hog and send a farm boy with it a thin boy with freckles. He will tend my hog during the trip. He will shoot and dress my squirrels. Then he will make himself useful in other ways.” “Boss the hog is here.”
A.J. steps onto his balcony and there in the sky suspended between two vast blue zeppelins is a piece of Missouri trailing the smoke of hardwood forests …
“I want a dinner of walleyed pike, yellow perch and channel catfish from clear cold spring-fed rivers.”
“Right boss I’ll have a jet plane lined with aluminum and filled with water.”
“Did you sayajet plane?”
“Mindless idiot the pike would eat the perch and the catfish would eat everything. When the plane landed there would be nothing but one gorged sluggish catfishquite unfit for my inhuman consumption. Three planes must be outfitted.”
“Sorry boss but the catfish crashed. All that water slopping around and the boulders come loose.”
“Praise be to Allah it was not the pike that crashed.”
As a piquant offset to all this luxury there is hunger and fear and danger in the street. A man’s best friends are his Colt and his Nubs experts with their staves jabbing with both ends blocking out teeth with a straight-thrust stave held level.
It is a day like any other. Breakfast in the patio served by my Malay boy. The patio is a miniature oasis with a pool, palms, a cobra, a sand fox, and some big orange lizards mean and snappy which eat melon rinds. So after breakfast I set out for the Djemalfna to meet Reggie. We are going to plan our route to A.J.’s annual party which is tomorrow it will be the do of the season. We call ourselves the “Invited” and we all have punch card invitations around our necks like dog tags that will punch us through A.J.’s electric gates. So I am cutting through the noon market sun helmet Colt cartridge belt the lot flanked by my magnificant Nubs when we run into a pack of twenty wild boys. At sight of us their eyes light up inside like a cat’s will and the hair stands up straight on their heads spitting snarling they are all around us slashing at my Nubs. The leader has a patch over one eye and a hog castrator screwed into a wood and leather stump where his right hand used to be. Quick as a weasel he darts under the Nub’s staff his hand flashes in and up you can feel cold steel cut intestines like spaghetti. Now it is very unchic to lose your head and use the gun for trouble the Nubs should handle like say a pack of diseased beggars. You have to decide and decide quick is this or isn’t ita Colt case. I decide it is definitely a Colt case get my eyes converged on the leader’s skinny stomach and fire. The heavy forty-four slug knocks him ten feet. I shift and fire shift and fire gun empty reach for my snub-nosed thirty-eight in a special leather-lined inside breast pocket when they scatter and fade out like ghosts. Taking inventory I count seven wild boys dead or dying. The priest darts out of a potato bin and starts giving unction. I saw two wild boys spit at him with their last spark of life. The Nub’s eyes are glazing over, intestines steam in the noon sun drawing flies. A policeman approaches reluctantly and I give him some orders in crisp Arabic. I find Reggie on the square sipping a pink gin shaded by a screen of beggars. An old spastic woman twitches and spatters Reggie’s delicate skin with sunlight. “Uncontrolled slut!” he screams. He turns to his henchman. “Give this worthless hag a crust of stale bread and find me a sturdy shade beggar.”
I sit down and order a Stinger. “Rumble in a square. I lost a Nub.”
“Saw it all from here. I think Donald knows about a good Nub.”
“I am burying my Nub in the American cemetery. We can meet there and plan our route to the party. Might have a spot of bother on the way you know.”
“More than likely. A.J. has been criticized for his lavishness by a few ridiculous malcontents the eternal bane of the very rich.”
Next day after the Nub is laid away with taps and all the trimmings thirty of us join forces and set off for A.J.’s compound which is outside the walls. Rather conspicuous we are too with our Nubs clad in aluminum jockstraps and sandals carrying wire shields to screen usfrom stones and at their belts for emergency use the razor-sharp machetes. So we walk along between our Nubs verydégagéas if we aren’t actually there.
“The old man will break a stack of bricks with his karate of course it’s a bore but there’s no stopping him. Any case it’s free meals and drinks for a month. I will say for him when he does a do it’s a do.”
The streets are worse than I ever see them the walking dead catatonic from hunger jammed in like so many sacks of concrete the Nubs shove with the stave the bodies bend and come right back up again they are all shuffling slowly forward and all headed for A.J.’s. From between the legs of this river of flesh the wild boys dart like vicious little cats slashing with razor blades and pieces of glass, slash and then dart back into their burrows of walking flesh. A young agent just down from West Point where they call him the Ferret he can snake through a football line like a ferret down a rat hole follows a wild boy in there and what we found after some fast machete work you don’t tell the next of kin.
There it is just ahead now the electric gates thirty feet high set in a wall of black granite. Stumbling over legs we make the gate and click in while the crowd sticks its hands through the bars and shoves fingers in their mouths drooling like cows with the aftosa.
A.J. resplendent in white robes greets us from a dais over the outer courtyard. He smiles and waves to the slobbering crowd.
“They know the score right enough. The better I eat the better they eat. Le gran luxe makes tasty leavings.” The outer courtyard is a small arena with balconies around the sides. We get up in the balconies and A.J. walks down into the middle of the arena.
“Release the bull.”
There is a blast of music and the bull rushes out a chute sees the old man and heads straight for him. He stands there fist drawn back and there is a light seismic tremor as he plants himself for the kill. Then his fist flashes forward and I see the brains go. The bull stumbles by him and falls on its side one leg in the air kicking spasmodically. Within seconds the carcass is butchered and the raw bleeding meat heaved to the crowd.
We go through the inner gates into the compound. There are open air restaurants serving smórgåsbord, beer, chilled aquavit and the hot fish soups of Peru, quiet riverside restaurants in blue evening shadow, redbrick houses with slate roofs whole blocks serving home-cooked American food the way they used to serve it turkey, fried chicken, iced tea, hot biscuits and corn bread, steak, roast beef, homemade strawberry ice cream, duck, wild rice, hominy grits, creamed chestnuts. There are pools and canals, floating restaurants covered with flowers, old riverboats with a menu of passenger pigeon, lark, woodcocks, wild turkey and venison, zeppelins and dining cars, chateaus of haute cuisine ruled by eccentric tyrants, Russian country sideboards with sturgeon, caviar, smoked eel, vodka, champagne and hock, farm restaurants and all varieties of plain peasant cooking, inaccessible cliff restaurants famous for a pigeon with white meat. And every famous restaurant in the world has been duplicated to the last detail, the 1001 from Tangier, the old Lucullus restaurant from Marseilles, Maxim’s, the Tour D’argent, Tony Faustus from St Louis.
I notice that if anything is left on a plate or in a glass it is scraped or poured by the waiters into hampers onefor liquids the other for solids. After we have circulated and put away what we could we are summoned to a balcony overlooking the main gate where the poor of Marrakech mill around waiting. A.J. harangues us briefly on the importance of maintaining a strong benevolent image in the native mind and at this point a panel slides back in the wall on one side of the gate and a huge phallus slides out pissing Martinis, soup, wine, Coca-Cola, grenadine, vodka, bourbon, beer, hot buttered rum, pink gin, Alexanders, glog, corn whisky into a trough forty feet long labeled DRINKS. From a panel on the other side of the gate a rubber asshole protrudes spurting out Baked Alaska, salted herring, duck gravy, chili con came, peach melba, syrups, sauces, jam, fat bone and gristle into another trough labeled EATS. Screaming clawing drooling the crowd throws itself at the troughs scooping up food and drinks with both hands. The odor of vomit rises in clouds. A.J. presses a button that seals the balcony over. Ventilators whir and a smell of cool summer pools and mossy stones envelops the guests. We all stay a month which isn’t hard to do considering what is inside and what is outside.
In addition to the restaurants of the compound culinary expeditions on location to all parts of the globe are organized for the more vigorous guests. The guests are up at six for a breakfast of fruit juice, fried eggs perfectly cooked so that the yolk runs slowly when you cut it, bacon that bends slightly over the fork neither too crisp nor too limp, homemade bread, tea and coffee a cigarette and a rest and they start out through the flaming autumn hills. It is a bright blue October day. They walk ten miles to a river where the flatboats are waiting.The river is cold and clear and deep. They float downstream fishing along the way in pools and bays and inlets. Tying up the boats for lunch the guests arm themselves with springy clubs and walk along the bank killing frogs and skinning the legs which they fry in bacon grease and eat crisp with cold beer. By late afternoon when they arrive at the farm ferry they have an ample string of jack salmon (also known as walleyed pike), black bass, perch and channel cat. Red-brick house on the hill bourbon and marijuana grown in Missouri summer heat on poor hill soil has a special tang, purple weed they call it. A twilight like blue dust sifting into the river valley as they sit down to a meal of jack salmon steaks, fried perch and bass cooked in bacon grease with a faint smoky tang cider and apples from the farm orchard. They hunt through the autumn woods and return to a dinner of quail, wild turkey and squirrel with chestnuts, spring onions and sweet potatoes. Other locations feature skiing in preparation for smórgåsbord with chilled aquavit, hot chili dishes after a ride through the mountains of northern Mexico, lobsters and clams on the beach, iced tea and fried chicken at The Green Inn.
Food is only one attraction. Every pleasure, sport, diversion, interest, hobby, pursuit or instruction is provided for. To list some of the facilities: computerized libraries with complete references on any subject, expert instructors on any subject, sport or skill. There are gliders, balloons, parachutes, aqualungs and deep-sea diving from the coastal estates. There are sense-withdrawal chambers, immersion tanks, no-gravity capsules simulating space conditions. There are ranges whereyou can practice with every weapon from a laser gun to a boomerang. There are blue movies of incomparable artistry. Every period of history and every place or country is represented in A.J.’s International Pavilion. You can enjoy a trip to the 1920’s, Renaissance Italy, Mandarin China, ancient Greece or Rome. Every sexual taste is provided for in any setting you want. Jack off in the 1920’s? Fuck temple virgin? You make Gemini with nice astronaut? Greek youths clad only in beauty and sunlight? Forecastle on whaling ship? Afternoon in the Roman baths? See me fuck Cleopatra? Kinky Chimu kicks? Sex in a 1910 outhouse? Rumble seat? Bomb shelter in the blitz? Bedroll for two in the Yukon? The old swimming hole? Viking ship? Bedouin tent? Public school toilet? Anything that you like.
This morning after a breakfast of fruit, yogurt and pheasant eggs I walk over to the glider hangar. A.J. has several hundred gliders derived from the early models you launch by running and land on your feet sometimes. There are gliders that can be launched from skis, roller skates and bicycles. In all cases the gliders have been designed to most closely approximate the dream of wings and flight. If you have your own ideas for a new model the designers will make it up for you in a few days. The gliders are of many materials and colors to match different landscapes and sky conditions and many of them are painted with landscapes. There are red models for sunset gliding, transparent plastic for ski gliding, blue wings for the mountains. I select a mountain model that shades from lightest egg blue to blue black. The wings are of ramie fabric. A small electric dirigible takes us to the launching station up in theAtlas mountains. From the station a steep concrete runway slopes down. I put on roller skates and pick up the glider, the wings on each side my hands braced on two struts. The ship is piloted by shifting weight with the hands the pilot being suspended between two struts at the center. When your arms get tired there is a sling seat. I start down the launching run faster faster knees bent I zoom right off across the valley legs dangling over two thousand feet of space. This is really flying like you do in a dream, piloting the glider with both hands feeling it vibrate through me I am out there now in the wings, my wings sailing across the valley. I sit down on the sling seat and see the city spread out between my legs. I bring it down on a cracked weed-grown subdivision street and skate back to the compound for an afternoon in the blue movies.
Some years ago the actors went on strike protesting conditions prejudicial to their dignity.
“Your flesh diseased dirty pictures how long you want us to fuck very nice Meester Slastobitch? We is fucking tired of fuck very nice.” Accordingly the great Slastobitch introduced a series of reforms. Considering the demands of the workers he decided that the blue movies must have story, character development and background in which sex scenes are incidental. For example a story of a whaling voyage 1859 two hours in length contains only eighteen minutes of sex scenes scattered through the film.
“The blue movies as a separate genre have ceased to exist. We show sex as it occurs in the story as a part of life not a mutilated fragment.”
I go to the old Palace Theatre on Market Street. Thefirst number is an educational short showing how le gran luxe can be achieved on a modest income.
“Now here is my immersion trough in the blue room just a trough full of glycerine sheet aluminum I got it all through the PX for almost nothing my dear now if you’ll just slip into this plastic cover Yage and Majoun for this trip Majoun is good on a bluie your first solo my dear and you are well prepared you see it’s all so simple home is where your ass is and if you want to move you move your ass the first step is learning to change homes with someone else and have someone else’s ass. I remember a science-fiction thing about an institute called Fishook given over to paranormal psychic things they have a box they get in and their minds travel to other planets. Well one of these planets is so ‘evil’ it drives an astronaut back to the Bible Belt where he preaches up a holy war against the ‘Parries’ they are called and by now everyone outside Fishook hates the ‘Parries’ and there are signs up ‘Parry, Don’t Let The Sun Set On You Here.’ And Fishook has closed the doors whole villages of nice old ‘Parries’ and the teenage ‘Parries’ all bucking for Fishook will be slaughtered.”
But there is another astronaut on the lam from Fishook security who knows about a nice quiet planet and he wants to rescue all good “Parries” everywhere but how to transport the paranormal assholes? In a flash the know-how comes to him from that “evil” planet and when he tells the villagers what to do they say
“But that’s dirty.”
“Not dirty just alien” he says. “Besides you don’t have much choice.” He points to a long row of headlights approaching the paranormal village. “The vigilantesare on the way. So you see it’s time to move on. And what you find outside is only what you put there in the first place. Time to move into first place.”
He was lying on a bed in his shorts split bamboo walls top floor of the hotel. A knock at the door. The Indian boy stood there a quart beer bottle in one hand.
“Aquí Yage Ayahuasca … muy bueno … muy fuerte…” The boy came in closing the door and put the bottle on a table. The American boy who was thin and blond got two tin cups from his rucksack. The Indian boy poured out the mixture from the beer bottle filling each cup two-thirds full. He passed his hands back and forth over the cups humming a little tune. He stopped humming looked at the American and smiled.
“This very good for fuck Johnny.” He made a tight brown fist and shoved a finger in and out. “We take Yage then fuck.” He unbuttoned his shirt.“Ambos nudo Johnny… both naked.” He dropped his shirt on a chair, kicked off his sandals, shoved his pants and shorts down. He waited until the American was stripped. “Now take Yage … act very fast.” The American drank and shuddered.“Muy amargo sí Johnny.”
Almost at once the American boy felt a blue tide cool evening air on his naked rectum his legs …“Tomamos eso … ambos nudo” … shadows fading hand on a tin cup eyes smiling and knowing the bare rectum the other was looking pressure the groin facing each other …“Vuelvete” … getting hard in the blue light … “Bend over Johnny” … The boy picked up a tin of Vaseline and slowly with a calm intent expression rubbed it on his cock … “Bend over Johnny and spread ass” … feeling the eyes and fingers on his rectum ass hairs spread the slow penetration … “Hand on knees Johnny” … He twisted his body in a slow circle handsbraced on knees stirring whirlpools of blue tighter tighter tighter spurting blue Chinese characters in the purple dusk of Lima gasps“muy bueno” hands on knees Carl’s eyes sputtering blue his face blurred out bone-wrenching spasms popped egg-blue worlds in air a wake of jissom across the sky.
“Now I’ve been thinking of a communal immersion tank in the swimming pool but I may make a fish pond instead. Really it should be filled with raw oysters and …” A trough cut in pink coral dome-shaped room lined with sea shells the boy spread his legs and squirms down into the oysters the tight conch of his nuts spurting pearly gobs sea wind through a porthole. “Yes of course they are soundproof rooms in various degrees but we do have sound tracks and odors now in the blue room ozone and burning leaves and in the red room roses and carbolic soap Lifebuoy isn’t making it any more but you can still get it down here and I’ve laid in several cases now here is the rainbow room for Dim-N and Psylocybin rather tacky isn’t it smell of orange crush plastics and carnivals you come the world’s fair my dear and of course I need a yellow room but there are so few Chinese boys in Casa I haven’t gotten to it but you can see the daffodils and crocuses whiffs of straw and urine and saffron and ambergris the yellow tower of amber chamois pallet the boy yellow hair brown eyes teeth bared coming inside out and of course you mix your skin colors say black and red brown and yellow red and white rather limited here but we don’t do too badly and the sound tracks distant train whistles and fog horns for the blue room sea sounds in the pink room and music special for the two parties and sometimes more than two of course. Is your Majoun working? I need a laboratory to work out all the drug problemssynthesis, blending new formulae now if you are taking Majoun which works so much slower than Yage or Dim-N you have to wait two hours on the Majoun. Oh! here’s Ali … Now if you’ll put on these headphones Genua music in the blue room of course you’ll find the Yage already measured out.”
When the music started in his head the lower half of his body came loose in fluid gyrations come yell cracked his head rainbow room stars on the table knees of amber brown teeth bared.
“And the image track of course we take movies and mix the movies all up with color shots blue mist and attic rooms under slate roofs sunsets autumn leaves apples red moon in the smoky sky all mixed with sex pictures we take five or six cameras one on the face one on the genitals twitching feet coming eyes and usually we project these in the white room which has plain white walls for screens a rainbow cocktail of LSD Majoun Yage very little LSD it isn’t good for you really and the natural plants are better.”
Red-haired boy on his side chewing his knuckles as the Arab boy browns him pictures on the walls and ceilings five projectors a kaleidoscope of legs, spurting cocks, tight nuts, eyes, faces, a twitching foot, sunsets and blue mist, urine in straw, yellow sky, quivering buttocks, sperm spurting vapor trails, snow-capped mountains, rainbows, Niagara Falls, souvenir post cards, Northern lights as the boy turns him with his knees up he is on top looking at the ceiling pictures now on hands and knees both facing the wall come seeing themselves in television mixed in with all the others “right on location but rather over our budget I’m afraid so lucky to find all these dome-shaped rooms rather likethe inside of a huge phallus aren’t they now here is the rose room.”
Red bed cover sprinkled with rose petals feeling the red egg in his groin spurting sunsets, freckles, red hair, autumn leaves, knees up he was coming in the autumn sky.The Penny Arcade Peep Show
1. A round red Christmas tree ornament going away … Indian boy with bright red gums spits blood under the purple dusk of Lima.
“Fight tuberculosis folks.”
Christmas Eve … An old junky selling Christmas seals on North Clark Street. The “Priest” they called him.
“Fight tuberculosis folks.”
2. Two round ornaments going away one blue one green … fading train whistles blue arc lights flickering empty streets half buried in sand … jelly in green brown rectal flesh twisting finger turns to vine tendril ass hairs spread over the tide flats … sea weed … green pullman curtains … blue prep school clothes.
3. Three ornaments going away red, blue, green … Holly wreaths, red ribbons, children bobbing for apples … It was getting late and no money to score he turned into a side street and the lake wind hit him like a knife … a lost street of brick chimneys and slate roofs … heavy blue silence … lawn sprinklers summer golf course …The Green Hatfolded on her knee.
4. Four ornaments going away red, blue, green, gold … freckles, autumn leaves, smoky red moon over the river
“When the autumn weather turns the leaves to flame And I haven’t got time for a waiting game.”
Cab stopped just ahead under a street light and a boy got out with a suitcase thin kid in blue prep school clothes familiar face the “Priest” told himself watching from a doorway reminds me of something a long time ago the boy there with his overcoat unbuttoned reaching into his pants pockets for the cab fare … blue magic of all movies in remembered kid standing at the attic window waving to a train … a sighing sound the empty room … distant smell of weeds in vacant lots little green snakes under rusty iron … pirate chests pieces of eight on golden sands … urine in straw … the Traveller walks on and on through the plain of yellow grass. He stops by a deep black pool. A yellow fish side turns in the dark water.
1. Red ornament coming in … red leg hairs rubbing rose wall paper … Irish terrier under the Christmas tree … light years away the pale skies fall apart. T.B. waiting at the next stop. Spit blood at dawn. I was waiting there.
“Doctor Harrison. They called me.”
Led the way up … stairs worn red carpeting … smell of sickness is in the room.
2. Two ornaments coming in one blue one green … blue evening shadows a cool remote Sunday … dead stars drifting … twisting coming in green brown rectal flesh grass stains on brown knees.
3. Three ornaments coming in red, blue, green … smell of roses, carbolic soap … there was nothing for me to do. Spit blood at dawn. Agony to remember the words … “Too late” … German living room outside the China blue northern sky and drifting clouds … bad seascapes of the dying medical student.
“A schnapps I think Frau Underschnitt.”
Room over the florist shop flower smell green curtains … He was a caddy it seems. His smile across the golf course.
4. Four ornaments coming in red, blue, green, gold … heart pulses in the rising sun … smell of raw meat … the heretic spits boiling blood … 18th Century room … snow at the latticed window … fire in the hearth … An old gentleman wrapped in red shawls is measuring laudanum into a medicine glass … Have you seen Patapon Rose? … blue shadows in the attic room … the boy’s picture is framed in forgetme-nots … dust on the broken greenhouse … in the ruined garden a pool is covered with green slime … thin blond boy … sunlight in pubic hairs … I remember daffodils and yellow wallpaper … a gold watch that played “Silver Threads Among the Gold” … an old book with gilt edges … in golden letters … The Street of Chance.
Dim far away the Star of Bethlehem from the school play.The Miracle of the Rose
June 23, 1988. Today we got safely through the barrier and entered the Blue Desert of Silence. The silence is devastating at first you drown in it our voices are muted as if we were speaking through felt. I have two guides with me Ali a Berber lad with bright blue eyes and yellow hair a wolfish Pan face unreadable as the sky. The other Farja of a dusky rose complexion with long lashes straight black hair gums a bright red color. We are wearing standard costumes for the area: blue silk knee-length shorts, blue silk shirts, Mercury sandals and helmets. The Mercury sandals and helmets once fitted are never removed. We are carrying nothing but light mattresses, mess kits, rations of dried fish, rice, peppers, dates, brown sugar and tea. It is a beautiful country and the predominant color is blue. Like many so-calleddeserts it is far from being a desert. There are wooded areas and we glimpse bodies of water from time to time. In the late afternoon we came to a vast deserted city streets cracked and broken weeds growing through houses and villas all empty overgrown with vines the scent of flowers always heavier in the air like a funeral parlor and no sign of life in the ruined courtyards empty hotels and cafés. As the sun was setting we took a road leading out of the city. None of us wanted to camp for the night in that necropolis of silent flowers. On a hill over the city we came to a ruined villa covered with rose vines. The building was in ruins little more than the walls remaining and it was not a place I would have chosen to camp. But Ali stopped and pointed. He said something in a low voice to Farja who looked down sulkily and bit his lip. Ali took a flute from his belt. Playing a little piper tune he stepped forward and we followed. Exploring the ruin we found a room with rose wallpaper. Two walls remained the support posts and bare beams of the ceiling covered with rose vines formed an arbor. Rose petals had fallen on the faded pink coverlet of a brass bed. As soon as we found this room Ali seemed possessed by a curious excitement. He prowled about like a cat playing his flute. He turned to Farja and said one word I did not catch. Farja stood there his eyes downcast blushing and trembling. He looked at the bed the walls and the rose vines. He nodded silently and the blood rushed to his face. The two boys stripped to their sandals and helmets. Farja’s whole body was blushing to his sandals. His skin is a dusky rose color the genitals perfectly formed neither small nor large black shiny pubic hairs precise as wires. He poised and cleared the bed stand in a leap that carried him to the center of thebed on hands and knees. Then he rolled over and lay on his back with the knees up. Ali stood at the foot of the bed. Like all so-called the boy lay down with his knees up gasping late afternoons deserted streets slow pressure of semen rectal smell of flowers two naked bodies bathed in smoky rose of the dying sun phantom bed from an old movie set long since abandoned to weeds and vines. Their eyes locked and they breathed together. I could see Farja’s heart pulsing under the dusky flesh and Ali’s heart beating with his. Both phalluses stiffened to the blood drums and throbbed erect. On the tip of each phallus a pearl of lubricant squeezed out. Farja sighed deeply and rocked back holding his knees. Nitrous fumes twisted from the pink rectal flesh in whorls of orange and sepia. A musty odor filled the air that sent blood pounding and singing in my ears. The sepia fumes cleared and Farja’s rectum was a quivering breathing rose of flesh. With a quick movement Ali stepped over the bed stand and kneeled in front of the rose breathing deeply his lips swollen with blood. The rose pulled his loins forward and breathed his phallus in. Red fumes enveloped the two bodies. A scream of roses burst from tumescent lips roses growing in flesh tearing thorns of delight intertwined their quivering bodies crushed them together writhing gasping choking in an agony of roses sharp reek of sperm.
Sepia picture in an old book with gilt edges. THE MIRACLE OF THE ROSE written in gold letters. I turn the page. A red color that hurts transparent roses growing through flesh the other leans forward drinking roses from his mouth their hearts translucent roses squirming in naked agony blushing gasping the air of empty hotels mouth speaking of a brass bed luminousexcitement on his back with the knees up red fumes that burn erogenous holes in writhing flesh naked choking in that phantom bed when I came to the room was abandoned to weeds and vines star dust on a bench silent empty room kid of darkness fading over the florist shop flickering look an old wash stand musty house slow smile you there dim jerky bedroom 18 on the top floor : : : my flesh : : : I could : : : the film breaks : : : jerky silent film : : : look at the fading body : : : I looked about nineteen. “But not that one word?” It is getting dark : : : boy : : : remember so intense it hurts : : : sadness in his eyes 1920 movie : : : peanuts : : : “Thank you” : : : the film breaks : : : naked boy on yellow toilet fingers from a long time ago the boy solid quick and silent coming so intense it hurts teeth bared see solid now I could touch my flesh pants down evening sky : : : naked boy fading erased out : : : “Thank you” : : : the film breaks : : : pose is a long time ago memory noises frayed magazine over there room grainy like an old movie dim silver sky : : : the other leans forward laughing comparing : : : pieces of the blurred 1920 afternoon : : : jerky bed twisted feet buttocks quivering phantom boy nods the other straddles rectum exposed squeezed out musty odor luminous bodies quiver together deserted city dying sun old movie set. I turn the page. Sepia of each phallus a drop of the red color that hurts blood pounding singing naked rectum breathing rose flesh mouth speaking prickles of delight. I turn the page each picture framed in roses.
The Proposition. a ruined wall with rose paper the bed. Ali points to the bed. Farja stands there sullen eyes downcast long lashes.
The Agreement. Farja looks at the bed blushing to his bare feet.
The Consummation. Roses and thorns through translucent flesh squirming a slow scream of roses. I turn the page.
The Elixir of the Rose. Farja knees up rectum rose pulsing. The monk drains off a red fluid that flows from his translucent phallus.
The Tree of Flesh. A musty odor rises from the pages. A Mayan priest is drawing the flesh sap from a bulbous phallic tree. He has inserted an obsidian tube into the soft flesh of the tree and is draining the sap into a stone jar.
Discovery of the Jars. A Mayan pyramid. The monks have broken a door and found the jars.
The Flesh Sheets. The monk has rolled sheets of the flesh sap out on a table. The flesh sap is of a pearly grey color.
The Writing. The monk is writing on the sheets the pictures from an old book.
The Body Builder. The monk is wrapping flesh sheets around the two skeletons. Two youths have been formed. Mouth rectum and penis sealed.
The Creation. The monk has arranged the youth on a canopy knees up. He picks up a crystal phallic jar of the elixir. He lets a drop fall between the parted buttocks a drop on the end of the penis. With a crystal rod he rubs a drop on the lips. Where the fluid touches nitrous fumes arise sepia orange dusky rose. The lips part rectum quivers phallus spurts. The youth is breathing. I turn the page.
The Academy. red-brick building over a river autumn leaves the rising sun.
Morning Sleep. Naked boy with a hard-on sleeping lips parted. Roommate stands at the foot of the bed with sheet he has just pulled off the other.
The Awakening. The boy’s eyes looking down at his erection blushing to his bare feet as he sees other standing there.
The Recognition. The other has dropped the sheet from his naked body laughing comparing sepia gobs in air.
The Proposition. Two boys in the room. “That’s kid stuff. I wanta.” One boy with eyes downcast sullen.
The Agreement. Rose of flesh on all fours quivering in a red haze. He pulls Jerry over on top of him Jerry knees up feet in the air kicking like a frog. John reaches down rubs lubricant around the tip of Jerry’s cock pumping his slow deep ecstasy as they squirm together knees up kicking out the spurts. Ali plays the flute. Two boys by a pool on all fours faces turned to the full moon light June knees. Ali points to the silent YES.
At dawn the two boys got up and walked out naked into the ruined garden. Coming to a thick tangle of rosebushes Farja leaped through and emerged untouched by the thorns on the other side and then I jumped a sweet tearing pain landed on hands and knees fell forward on my elbows gasping feeling the rose in my trembling buttocks a red steam along the backs of my thighs as Farja kneeled behind me. Ali sat on the edge of a pool playing his flute dangling his feet in the black water. The boy stands holding a sheet in front of his body turned to the full moon. He drops the sheet. Boys laughing comparing sepia pictures. I turn the page. The Proposition.Ali points to the rectum. Frayed magazine one with eyes down on the pages and pictures quivering mouth turned to the full moon boy just pulled off the other getting browned there coming gobs in the air sulky youth a silent YES blushing buttocks. Ali points to the rectum. Downcast eyes to his bare feet blushing erogenous roses the agony of that color so intense it hurts quivering prickles of delight deserted city rose vines empty hotels boys laughing comparing sepia knees. “Kid stuff. I wanta.” The Agreement on all fours parted buttocks bare feet in an old book dusk by a pool the youth breathing deeply sullen eyes downcast and the slow YES sweet pain blushing red steam along his thighs spasms of delight thorns through the buttocks. I turn the page feeling the rose twist alive in my flesh. Dawn eyes tight knees the youth breathing from his mouth the slow YES erogenous agony the body writes out musty odors squeezed to the full moon. A sighing sound back. The film breaks. An old book with gilt stars silver paper fingers from another memory naked shorts and shirt there a fourteen-year-old boy flesh steaming.
Look at that compass of age and wind. Mister about? Dim jerky bed is there. I am the empty room pieces of the dim picture a rustle of darkness fading. Now I remember so intense it hurts. Mrs Murphy’s rooming house. They got up remembered “Thank you.” Room eighteen on the top floor background grainy like an old movie. The film breaks. Kid standing there talking to another. There are two. They got up naked shorts and shirts there room eighteen on the top floor my flesh steaming.
We tried various ways of slipping the tight blue shortsdown over the Mercury sandals but any way you slip the feathers are being rubbed the wrong way. It is not hot. It is not cold. There are no noxious animals or insects. A fresh wind sprang up and wafted my blue shorts away. So we wave good-by to shirt and shorts. Ali is fucking Farja on all fours. His wolfish eyes light up inside and the hair stands up on his head. Then they did a hot Mercury crackling all over with blue fire and a classic Mercury with porticos and glades and pools. We lie there on the magic carpet of shared bodies the old fear of the border cities still heard still felt. Farja shudders in his sleep.
We are in an area of electric sex currents. Suddenly we get prickles in the crotch and then pictures start of what we are going to do like you are watching a picture of yourself doing it and you plop right into the screen with a delicious squeeze, Ali and Farja chasing and wrestling each other in and out of the film. We camped in a ruined signal tower on a promontory of land jutting out over the desert. We reached it at twilight a blue mist settling on the narrow flagstone path, a rusty gate a sign overgrown with vines: U.S. Army Reservation. Authorized Personnel Only. The old M.P. box still there. The boys give it a push and it crashes into the valley. Here is the old tower. We climb up to the control room great laser guns broken the top of the tower blasted away. We camp there and after the evening meal Ali brings out his flute and we follow the music further and further out into the silence.
The following day we find ourselves walking down a country road red clay pieces of flint here and there. Farja finds an arrowhead. We came to a deserted village of red-brick houses with slate roofs by a stream.
1. An Easter egg with a peephole going away … bits of vivid and vanishing detail … rainbow a post card road … boy there by the creek bare feet twisted on a fence.
2. Two Easter eggs going away … ghostly flower smell by the stagnant creek the boy still there waiting.
3. Three Easter eggs going away … click of distant heels … footsteps on a windy street … sad open hand.
4. Four Easter eggs going away … empty streets half-buried in sand … a house … a weed-grown golf course … blue prep school clothes further and further away.
1. An egg coming in … Road corner stone bridge rainbow over a stream green fields … Boy there naked. He is lying on his stomach eating an apple legs curled over his thighs. He claps his feet together. A book is open in front of him on the grass.
2. Two eggs coming in … sad old human papers I carry … two adolescents by the garage faraway toy cars.
3. Three eggs coming in … Smell of carbolic soap … Three boys in shower. A boy turns mocking him off.
4. Four eggs coming in. Audrey squeezes through the peephole wet dream tension tingling in his crotch. He is in the shower with John on a Saturday afternoon. They are facing each other Audrey uneasy feeling John’s eyes on his body … “Wanta feel something nice Audrey?” … John reaches forward with soapy fingers feeling Audrey’s crotch … sudden raw hard-on.
Dim dead boy so I haunted your old flower smell of young nights on musty curtains empty prep school clothes further and further away. Come closer. Listen across empty back yards and ash pits.
He is bending over in the shower while John washes his back glancing down along his stomach to the crotch biting his lip hoping that John will finish before he gets out of control. John is rubbing soap just above the buttocks. He leans forward and says in Audrey’s ear … “Wanta feel something nice Audrey?” … John slides a finger up his ass and jiggles it to a car horn outside. Audrey drops his head gasping as his body contracts squeezing out the hot spurts.
American house … rain outside … boy standing by the ghost car … sunset … blue clothes … the phone rings … child voice across a distant sky … “Long long expected call from you” … fingers from the phone like wood. Audrey drying himself carefully trying to keep it down. He turned away holding a towel in front of him. John reached out and pulled the towel away looking at Audrey’s half-erection … “You ever been goosed Audrey?” … Audrey shook his head blushing … “Lean over and brace your hands on your knees” … He heard John unscrew a jar then felt the greased finger slide up him. He gasped and threw his head back … “You ever been rosed Audrey?” … Thumbs prying his buttocks apart as John squirmed forward. Pink eggs popped in his crotch.
Souvenir post cards a violet evening sky rising from the boy’s groin … sad 1920 scraps … dim jerky faraway stars splash the stagnant creek … “I was waitingthere” … held a little-boy photo in his withered hand … The boy was footsteps down the windy street a long time ago.
Silver light popped in his eyes.A Silver Smile
Tonight Reggie and I had dinner with the Great Slastobitch and he expounded the new look in blue movies. “The movies must first be written if we are to have living characters. A writer may find it difficult to make the reader see a scene clearly and it would seem easier to show pictures. No. The scene must be written before it is filmed. “The new look in blue movies stresses story and character. This is the space age and sex movies must express the longing to escape from flesh through sex. The way out is the way through.” He switches on a projector. “The scene where Johnny has crabs and Mark makes him undress …
“Who are these boys? Where will they go? They will become astronauts playing the part of American marriedidiots until the moment when they take off on a Gemini expedition bound for Mars, disconnect and leave the earth behind forever” … (It happened a few minutes after take-off. The screen went dead. The radio went dead. The astronauts had disconnected. There was a talk of space madness.)
Mark’s wife told reporters: “He frightened me at times. There was something in him I could never quite reach.” John’s wife said: “He was a dutiful husband but I never got any warmth out of him.” (The FBI did not publicize the fact that they had found in a locked drawer of John’s desk a number of muscle magazines.)
The sex scenes of their adolescence are seen as image dust in space through which they pass to other planets. The set is the 1920’s. Sex scenes are intercut with lawn sprinklers, country clubs, summer golf courses, classrooms, silver stars, morning sleep of detour, frogs in 1920 roads, cocktail shakers, black Cadillacs, cool basement toilets, a boy’s twitching foot, the Charleston, iced tea and fried chicken at The Green Inn, 1920 ponds, naked boy hugging his knees sunlight in pubic hairs.
A suburban room afternoon light bleakly clear. Mark is eighteen. He is stripped to his shorts reading a copy ofAmazing Storiesone leg thrown over the arm of a chair. He is smoking a cigarette. The other boy John is fifteen, thin, pale, his face spattered with adolescent pimples. He is barefoot dressed in khaki pants and a white shirt. Without looking up from his magazine Mark says: “I heard you got laid the other night.”
“Oh! uh! yes … down on Westminster Place.”
“Well uh! I guess it was all right,” says the boy dubiously.
“Maybe it isn’t what you want.”
The boy John is standing by the window looking out.
He scratches his crotch.
“I itch something awful.”
Lazily Mark drops his magazine on the floor. He looks at Johnny through cigarette smoke. “You itch Johnny? Where?”
John turns from the window. “Right here” he says scratching his crotch.
“Come over here Johnny.”
Johnny walks over in front of the chair. Mark spreads his legs. Right here.” Johnny stands in front of him between his knees.
“Drop your pants Johnny.”
“Just drop your pants like I tell you. I wanta see something.”
Johnny fumbles awkwardly with his belt.
“I’ll do it.” Mark unbuckles Johnny’s belt. With gentle precise fingers he unbuttons pants and shorts and shoves them down. They fall to Johnny’s ankles. Johnny stands there his cock half-up from the scratching mouth dry heart pounding. Mark reaches forward and takes Johnny’s cock by the tip with two fingers moving it to one side and with the other hand parts pubic hairs. He points to red mark … “Look there Johnny” … Oh! Christ! it is happening he can’t stop it. Mark looks up at him and Johnny blushes bright red biting his lip. Mark smiles slow and brings his finger up in three jerks as Johnny’s cock stands out all the way up and throbs to his pounding heart.
Sunlight in pubic hairs sad muscle magazines over the florist shop pants down green snakes under rusty ironin the vacant lot the old family soap opera lock of yellow hair stirs in September wind shirt open on the golf course grass squeezed under quivering hard-ons wet grass between his legs pale buttocks sex sweat dim jerky faraway toilet pants down looking down now twisted slow smile … “Relax Johnny. It happens” … The old film stops … naked boy on yellow toilet seat buttocks quivering smell of rectal mucous windy oranges I remember a dim building overgrown with disuse and later in Mexico City I see myself looking at him as if trying to focus to remember who the stranger was standing under a dusty tree lean and ragged ruffled brown hair blue eyes vacant blank I remember London stairs worn red carpeting and I could see his pants were sticking up between his legs colored photo had something written on it …“Vuelvete y aganchete” … I let myself go limp inside blank factual he slid it in out through the little dusty window afternoon hills the old broken point of origin St Louis Missouri emaciated body head on the grimy pillow my face … The film stops in his eyes … blue morning naked boy on yellow toilet seat a quivering foot in front of the wash stand soapy hands turned to me and finished machine gun noises as he came street shadows his distant hand there it is just to my shoulder smell of sickness in the room a shooting star silence floats down on falling leaves and blood spit the smell of decay shredded to dust and memories pieces of legs and cocks and assholes drifting fragments in sunlight ass hairs spread on the bed dust of young hand fading flickering thighs and buttocks smell of young nights.
One day we come home very tired and fall asleep naked in the bed. We wake up and the room is full of moonlight. Kiki is lying there on his face and says he is very stiff and sore from carrying clubs all day will I rub his back. I start at the shoulder and work down to his ass and run my hands along the back of his thighs and he says … “Más Johnny … Más” … So I shove his ass apart with both hands and jiggle it and he keeps saying …“Más … Más” … I dip my finger in Vaseline not letting him see what I am doing and rub my finger around his ass outside at first and he says …“Más … Más” … So I twist my finger around until it sinks all the way in up to his pearl and he sighs and says …“Más … Más” … And I say …“Qué más Kiki?” … He doesn’t want to say it but I keep twisting my finger and he is squirming and finally he says … “Fucking me Johnny” …“Apartate las piernas”. …He spreads his legs and I slide it in slow feeling the ring squeeze me and I can tell when he spurts. Afterward he doesn’t want to turn over and show me but I turn him over and his juice is silver in the moonlight.