|The Story||The Authors|
The song rumbled through the building shaking plaster from the ceilings and
causing the large jars of dates, stuffed green olives and special jellies to
burst on their pantry shelves. It rose and spread out from Lully like the
aftershock of a powerful explosion. The strong liberating words of the distant
Brill Building song thrush burst through the open windows and out across the
city. The neighborhod dogs looked up tremulously from their incessant vigil
around Akhbar the Leper waiting for a tasty snack to once again fall from his
disintegrating flesh to whimper quietly. The song roiled and tumbled through
the streets scattering old newspapers and butcher's flyers, roughly tugging at
the veils of the first few pedestrians on their way to market before their
husbands awoke. It overturned laundry baskets sending filthy stinking socks and
brown streaked boxer shorts to wallow in the gutters. It insinuated itself into
every nook and cranny. Lept headlong into morning breakfast pans causing great
gobs of grease to spit and spatter the walls. It rushed like a torrent through
the open spaces building and gaining strength as it moved. It tripped Zebulah
the muezzlin as he rose bleary eyed from his pallet to call the faithful
to prayer. It spun and ruffled the long hems of jellabahs exposing
tempting bare ankles to lascivious gazes. Long and louder and stronger it grew.
Children cowered under covers. Husbands shifted uneasily in their beds and
pretended to still sleep. Onward and outward it crashed through the city
overturning flowerpots and knocking musky cigarettes from the lips of taxi
drivers. It rose and split itself into a thousand ripples of scourging sound
until the entire city had been covered in its wake.
Then silence. From somewhere a lowly cricket began a half hearted chirp but stopped.
Then the humming began. As one the woman found their tongues and the secret song that they had kept and nutured in the deepest darkest wombs of their secret souls shifted in its slumber and they gave birth to song
I AM WOMAN
HEAR ME ROAR
IN NUMBERS TOO BIG
There was, however -- as there always is -- a pale moist underside to this casbahwide conflagration of aethereal estrogen. This is meant to imply, of course, that the inner William S. Burroughs inherent in the cultural unconscious of Lully and Aben's dear country was not about to be undone. There remained a great many young boys to be anally deflowered, then trained gently yet firmly in the complex arts of pleasing gentlemen of a certain age and a certain mindset, and this old croakthroat, this human snake slithering through the tall uncut lawngrass of the cultural Id was certainly not going to be put down by a bunch of -- eccchhh, just the microthought of it was enough to turn his delicate stomach, already sour with the 35,863 cigarettes and 4538 urns of coffee he'd consumed thus far that evening -- a bunch of hairy, fired-up women.
He went to the nearest payphone and slipped in a dime. It made a hollow vertiginous rattling sound, a sound like your last Dilaudid tablet made rattling around your spoon before you added water for it to dissolve. The sound that said You're gonna be real sick in just a while, kid...
A thin neurotic nasal voice answered on the other end. "Hullo? Hullo? I'm meditating here, fer the love a Krishna! What the hell d'ya want?"
"Pipe down, Allen, and take the butt-plug outta yer ass. We got trouble in Interzone."
"Worse than Mugwumps, Ginzy -- feminists! Get Jackie and Huncke and get the hell over here on the double."
|Inevitably, traffic this time of day was hell. It took nearly 45 minutes just to make the 5 mile trek from Allen's place. "Jesus", Allen said to himself. "I could've freakin crab walked faster". After picking up Jackie & Huncke ( a nickname given in college for his insatiable taste for Big Hunk candy bars), they passed the auquaduct overlooking Franklin Park. "Hey Al, look at those jugs!" pointing to a passing jogger being dragged by her rugged St. Bernard dog. "Cripes Huncke, you're right! And by golly, the chick ain't half bad either"|
This was typical behavior for the young Allen Ginsberg -- joining in on "male-bonding" conversationswith just a bit too much enthusiasm in a naive attempt to disguise the latent homosexuality which was scratching frantically at the inside of his closet-door, yowling its lispy feline yowl to be let out.
|Too afraid and unsure over coming out of the closet however, he would have settle for continuing to give himself hand jobs while fantasizing about Liberace. His favorite was the fantasy where Liberace blurted out "I wish my brother George was here" during bed busting sex with Allen, and to Allen's delight George actually showed up to make it a 3 flamer menage a trois orgy.|
|It was hard staying in the closet and keeping his dark secret to himself. The everyday world was full of incidents that Allen had to watch what he said or did to avoid spilling the beans. He had come closest to revealing his homosexuality last Thansgiving. His Grandmother had asked "Do you like stuffing?" Allen, unthinking, had replied "Oooooh yeah...I love butt stuffing!" he realized too late what she was really talking about, and scrambled to cover his error. "Uh...you know...the uh...stuffing you... scoop out from... the birds backside...as opposed to...um...Stove Top or something..." His Grandma's shocked look had faded, as Allen's quick cover had apparently worked. Still, he had to constantly be on his guard to make sure a situation like that never arose again. Still, he hoped to someday have the courage to out himself and move to San Francisco, where he'd heard they seperate the men from the boys with crowbars and their football team is excellent at coming from behind. "Ah", he thought with a smile creeping over his face, "Someday...."|
So he had gone on as he had always gone on, dating nice Jewish girls who
puzzled over his seemingly dim and watery libido but never puzzled too
much -- he was, after all, a poet, and a handsome young poet at that, and an
extraodrinaryily good listener. "He just seems to understand," they would tell
their friends over eggcreams at the Schrafts where they gathered in dozeny
gaggles to discuss their current boyfriends, faces glowing with youth and
health and that brutal winter of 1947. "There's something kinda funny about
him, I dunno what it is... But he's such a nice boy. Such a sweet man. And
This emotionally sugarglazed side of his character contrasted so sharply with Allen's other life, all those late nights sitting in the Times Square automat with Huncke and Kerouac and pudgy published Homes and the rest of them, yabbering on and goofball-endlessly on about books and poems and the secrets of the Orient; the twenty-odd ethical-aesthetic cancers eating away at the tinny heart of America, and the Grendelly beast lording over New York City like a nucleus from atop a thronelike heap of its own oily black dung; the A-bomb and the H-bomb and the Russians and the sutras and the translucent ghosts of martyred IWW flunkies which had at that time been doubling and plagueing the old tired streets of Brooklyn and Queens to the extent of being about to be declared a public health hazard what with their unreadable Byzantine tracts and pamphlets half-matter/half-antimatter clogging the gutters and clothing the winterbare sycamores like some mangy secondary foliage of cheap aphotosynthetic newsprint which shed not itself but only its letters and Martian alphabets into the wind whereby they were scattered into the myriad textbooks of grammar schools and Hebrew schools and afterschool CCD classes, confusing all the growing young minds to such extents that the poor things ultimately never really trusted their own eyes again... And then Burroughs would come lurching in like the product of the woody knock-kneed union between a scarecrow and a revenant, and Allen's heart would begin to flutter in its holding-tank like a swarm of Monarch butterflies picked up for drunk-driving somewhere in the Sonoran desert and left to rot and breed and fume and rot in some Mexican ghost-jail for all time... Let me out, it groaned to him... He swallowed, tossed back the dregs of his coffee with an evident mixture of guilt and nervousness, and lit a cigarette.
"Back in Lowell," Kerouac was saying...
"things were different" He swallowed a wad of phlegm that had lodged in the
back of his throat. "Everything was backwardsy, topsy-turved, turned around. We
never knew if we were coming or going."
|"The cause of that can be easily narrowed down to the fact that you're another goddamned Arcadian whose family tree resembles nothing so much as a Moebius strip," croaked Burroughs wryly from the back of his throat with a tonal range that made Allen shiver and summoned to his mind the exotic Brazilian noisemakers used in secret midnight candomble ceremonies in the teeming humid forests of Bahia. An erection made itself known to him between the crisp pleats of his chinos, and so pulled and divided had his attention become among the conflicting gravities of desire, duty and persona, that he was surprised to look up and see Kerouac and Burroughs in the panting aftermath of the latest bout of fisticuffs, a bemused Irish cop holding them benevolently apart, Kerouac holding a bloody handkerchief to his nose and Burroughs holding his bruised sides with a sore look having less to do with physical pain than it involved the fact that Jack's unexpectedly low hook had crushed a plastic baggie full of 50 mg Dilaudid tablets into fine powder which had run through the hole in his pocket and was now dispersing freely among the dark linty world inside the lining of his jacket. He'd have to tear the lining out again -- somehow this always seemed to happen everytime he and Kerouac came to blows -- and resign himself to injecting a lint-Dilaudid speedball, and he hated that because the adulterating lint always gave him visions wherein the molecular structure underlying the universe was revealed to his eyes alone to have as its structural lowest common denominator what else but tiny green pingpong balls? -- It was enough to give a man the willies and make him turn away from the sensible business of pest control in favor of art, or writing, or some such nonsense... And what was more, Joan was decidedly NOT going to be pleased when he got home. The money he'd used to cop the Dilaudid had, of course, been hers, and she hated her dope in any form but tablets and suppositories... In any form but suppositories, really, becuase when he got pills she just shoved them up her ass anyway and let them dissolve. Bill found the habit both odd and compulsive, but when he questioned her about it, unable to stop his nose from wrinkling up in disgust, she merely said "It gives me a more tingly high," and smiled with a faraway look and a little smile and went back to painting her nails then licking the nailpolish off before it had a chance to dry with staring out the sootbegrimed window and down the unrelenting yellowgrey canyon-length of Columbus Avenue.|
The nubian sexual experience was the best thing that ever happened to her.
there is no way that she could find any substitute.
Her search for the seven fingered leper would be relentless. Once found
she knew her life would never be the same again.
|Her days would stretch endlessly and loneliness would be her fate.|
|She would sit in her kitchen in the mornings and drink Oolong tea with her cat, Rhett, a handsome grey tabby with a bright pink nose and an uncanny ability to predict the woman's thoughts. She would stare at the rain falling endlessly outside and reach the dregs of the teapot and be utterly unable to decide whether she should make a new pot of Oolong or switch to green tea, which she had heard was extremely anticarcinogenic. Especially if you bought the Celestial Seasonings variety with added antioxidents... It was so nice the ways these small grass-roots organizations actually looked out for their customers, actually meant what their advertising said, even while sitting quietly in the cold dark shadow of the evil corporate empire, which only seemed to get eviler and more corporate every day... Life was scary, and she spent a large portion of her days worrying about the different types of cancer she might be slowly but inexorably contracting, and filling her CD changer with the complete Carole King catalogue and putting it on shuffle-play... Ah, and the rain fell, and she felt langourous, luxuriantly melancholy, almost in need of a bout of good old-fashioned swooning... At times like this she would fill the bathtub with steaming water, and scented oils, and float rose-petals across its surface... She would light candles, and dim the lights, and perfume her whole body... And rise glistening wet from the heady waters like a dryad, and stand before the full-length Queen Anne mirror which had been her dear grandmother's last bequest to her... and then she would get on the phone and call Jimmy to come over, Jimmy who was hung like a bull rhinoceros, and in her most deperate tones she would plead with him to please do it the only way she'd ever really been able to like it, the undertaking of which required, on Jimmy's part, sustained action combing the words unlubricated, posterior, and brutal... When it was all over she would be back to her old self again and scarecely able to look him in the eye... She would send him on his way with a generous tip and then -- so sore from her libidinous exertions she had no recourse to anything else -- shut all the curtains guiltily and tip-toe to the medicine cabinet, where -- hidden behind an eternity of useless creams and cremes and Sudafeds and outdated flasks of Dymatap -- she kept her secret cache of heroin suppositories... And drawing not one but two from their bed of castor-oil which glinted in the light of the candles still burning in the bathroom, and retire to the more private seclusion of her bedroom, even as the hourse itself seemed to shrink to the flaccidly uninspiring dimensions of a mere house, and the walls closed in around her...|
And there she lay on the floral patterned daybed in a limp torpor watching the
light of the day make a slow sweeping arc across the ceiling until it was
replaced with the quick flash of headlights. The Chintz curtains brushed her
face gently with a breeze and the far off flatulent stench of the city. All her
cares were far away. Even the dull throbbing pain of her deliciously ravaged
rectal passage had receded to a point that she could examine it with a cool
detatchment as if it were some bright and burnished beetle.
Far off in the other room the Cd player continued with its endless recapitulation of the songs of Carole King from the most recent "tribute" and backwards to the earliest days of her songwriting career deep within the bowels of the Brill Building penning multifarious hits for the increasingly demented Phil Spector.
He hit me
and it felt like a kiss
He hit me
And I knew he loved me...
crooned the Crystals gently to her. She sighed. Now there was love.
|So enthralled was she in these roundabout explorations of her inner fantasy world, and so loud did the stereo pound in her head, with the wine already pound-pound-pounding in their veins in her temples, that she failed to hear the downstairs window sliding open, nor hear the slouch-hatted, raincoated, ghoul-thin figure slip in from the drizzle, remove his shoes, and pad soundlessly across the living-room carpet and the stairs toward her bedroom, fingering something large and of almost-but-not-quite-familiar shape in the side pocket of his dark blue, rainslicked Burberry.|
His hand came out and was holding the biggest gun he had ever seen. He
if it had been put in there at the resturant. Just then he decided to see if his wallet was still there, he pulled it out but it wasn't his. He decided to go back to the resturant and try to streighten this all out, but before he could get to the resturant he was knocked down and the gun was stolen from him
|Temporarily stunned, he quickly jumped to his feet in time to see a short man dressed in army fatiques bolting around the corner. He gave chase, but it was no use. By the time he reached the corner, the man had disappeared into the darkness. He returned to the spot where he had been slugged, reaching down slowly to retrieve his bookbag. At first glance, the bookbag looked like his, but upon closer examination he noted a difference in the color of the straps. What had happened to the gun? Everthing happened so fast, he surmised that the thug who hit him must have taken it. Seeing it only briefly and not knowing much about guns, he thought that it had looked like a 38 cal. At least it looked like the ones police toted around in the movies. He seemed to remember that those were 38's. He picked up the wallet opening it, hoping to find some identification inside. Approx. $200 was still inside the wallet. Was this a robbery attempt? Why wasn't the money taken if it was? Why was only the gun taken? A drivers license in the wallet displayed the photo of a young woman. Blond hair and blue eyed, she appeared to be in her early twenties. Looking at the birthdate, he found that she was born in 1976. Still groggy, he decided to return to the restaurant to find his own bookbag and hopefully locate the owner of the wallet. He started back toward the restaurant but had to stop momentarily. Maybe he was hurt worse than he thought. He felt a twinge of dizziness and struggled to get his thoughts straight. As he proceeded back toward the restaurant, he tried to piece together in his groggy mind the incidents leading up to this mugging. Thats all he could call it until he could find out more details. He didn't understand why all this had happened. Reaching the door of the Odyessy Restaurant, he pushed on the door. As he entered the restaurant, he slowly scanned the customers at each table failing to find anyone who resembled the photo on the drivers license. He went to the cashier and asked if she had seen anyone within the last 30 minutes or so who resembled the girl in the picture. The cashier could not remember if this individual had been there that evening. She didn't remember anyone looking like her ever having been in the place, but admitted that her memory was not the best. What should he do? Contact the police? Why would a girl like her have a gun in her bookbag, if indeed he had picked up her bookbag. It could have been someone else's. The wallet could have been stolen earlier from the girl in the wallet. He looked at the driver's license and looked at the address. 222 Summer Sun Rd. Cocoa Beach, Fla. Cocoa Beach was approximately 60 miles from Orlando. What was the girl doing in Orlando? Maybe just visiting. The Odyssey was certainly not the type of place someone would travel 60 miles to eat at. It was average at best. Maybe the girl was visiting some of the attractions for the day. Maybe she hadn't been here at all. Maybe her wallet had been stolen by someone else who had been in Orlando for some reason. Seaching the wallet further, he found typical things that a women would carry in a purse, but not necessarily in a bookbag! He made a quick decision to wait on calling the police. He decided to follow his instinct and go to Cocoa Beach to search for the girl and hopefully return her wallet in person. Maybe he could find out the solution to his mugging.|
|Or maybe he could put on his Speedos and cruise the beach looking for other hot chicks.|
Over and over he rehearsed potential cover stories in his head. He knew it was
futile. She'd be able to sniff him out instantly. "That goddam woman's worse
than an airport German Shepard." he'd often growl to Ginsberg late on one of
their binges. "She can nail a linty pinhead size piece of black hash in a
jacket pocket at fifty paces and hound you like a jackal till you cough it up.
If she'd become a narc we'd all be doing hard time right now. And that damn
Carole King obsession. Enough to drive any man to heroin." He tried to slink
into the kitchen to find a clean spoon to dissolve the Dilaudid.
"Is that you Bill?" she called from the other room without opening her eyes. "You blew it didn't you, you bastard?"
He rattled the pills in their plastic container by way of reply.
|"Watch your tongue, bitch...or you'll get 5 knuckles across the forehead!" He replied viciously. "I'm through listening to your bullshit, you two bit whore! I wear the pants in this relatonship and from now on when I say Jump, you say how high...or I'll slap your ass around until you get it right!" "I want peace and quiet tonight, one more word out of you and you'll regret it...don't test my patience, wench!" Silence engulfed the house, she was apparently too stunned at his outburst to test whether he was serious or not. Why that particular comment of hers had caused him to snap he didn't know, but from now on he wasn't taking any shit from anyone. He was looking out for number one, and god help whoever tried to get in his way.|
...But then -- as usual -- she slipped into the kitchen with all the oozy
medicated grace of Mata Hari herself, a blue silk kimono barely tied about her
tiny waist and one of her trackmark-pocked tits hanging out of it for all the
world to see, blowing a jet of blue smoke straight into his eyes just as he was
tapping the needle in, causing him to miss the vein... As he
watched/felt/imagined in horror (for he had no more, save the linty, powdered
mess in the lining of his jacket) the shot dispersed among sundry capillaries
and he just knew it would hardly even hold off the sickness for half of what
remained of this blighted evening... Damned bitch. Every time. He'd be damned
though if he'd let he glean one whit of it form his face.
"Wrap yourself up for Ah Pook's sweet sake, Joan -- the whole your can see your cleavage!"
"Mmmm -- I kind of like that idea, Bill."
"You would -- what kind of a world d'you think the world would be if it were a world where anyone could go around with themselves flopping out all over the place, Joan? If I could walk around with my fly open and my cock and balls flopping out for anyone to see or fondle?"
"I think there'd be quite a few happy sailors, Bill -- or if not happy, at least with a bit more protein in their diets."
"You disgust me..." What high he actually had gotten from the shot hit him then, the bicarbonate taste of the cut fizzing in the back of his throat, the overworked endorphin receptors in his brain going once ahgain into high gear, like a car that should have been taken off the road months ago... He leaned back against the kitchen counter and let him body slacken to the drug and it played him in turn like a washtub bass, with the thousand buzzings as of busy bees in his veins and the little eyelid movies sending their axe-wielding Looney Toons platoons down the dirty back alleys of his mind... He barely heard when she spoke:
"You only do that stuff becuase you're broken, Bill -- I used to think you was only queer, but now I know -- you just don't got it in the first place. Never did. You got about as much libido as a cold beached fish, Bill -- and you're about as much of a turn-on. That's why you care about that stuff more than anything else... Gawd, how predictable, too -- and I thought I'd married a man who might make something of himself..."
"Ah, tell it to your dumb dyke broad girlfriends, Joan -- you sound like a fucking Suffrage pamphlet."
She slapped him -- hard, twice, on each cheek -- but he didn't feel a thing."
FrMcCullough's knock, most untimely, penetrated their ringing ears.
He was due to bless the baby, and in their peccadillo-petting, they'd forgotten about the baptism. Neither had withdrawn enough cash to tip the good
father, to send him out with a bit of "trinkgeld" as the Germans say. "I'll say," said Bill, "the man would drink pitch dripping from a tree if it had fermented a bit in the sun. Let him do his own penances...! Pttttui!"
Joan sanpped into her former Catholic self at the thought of priests with babies, esp. her own baby, Bamboozle. She rushed upstairs to find...
... that the "baby" -- in fact, a ragged, stuffed toy from her girlhood to
which she had clung with ever more desperate and illogical fervor since Bill
had woodenly carted her home from that last Mexican abortion, wrapped in a
tattered serape smelling of horses, piss-soured straw and cheap
mezcal, with that by-now familiar ache riding up all the way through her
midsection and still stinging a bit with the clipped parting words of the
bruja who had performed what was still an illegal operation in that vile
dark winter of 1947 -- "You know, senora, each time you do dees ting,
choo make a hole een to dee udder side -- mucho easier for dee fantomas
to get eento dees mundo and no to go back -- all dee yanqui
mujeres dey come to Mexico to get dey yanquitos sent back to dee
place before leefing, soon dey make dee whole world filled weet ghosts. I
escared I be sharing my hacienda weeth my whole ancestors, everybody
muerto no longer muerto. An' dee worse part, damn fantomas
gotta eat! Eat me to death myself, denn I come back a muerta too.
Fucking loco ees what I teenk. Mujeres americanas gotta get dey
own brujas up where dey come from -- eet's America what needs las
fantomas, not Mexico -- Mexico got too many goddamn ghosts already..."
"Shut up, ya old bag," growled Bill. "We already paid ya. What the hell else do ya want?"
But the bruja's words had stayed rattling around Joan's mind like a set of polished knucklebones the whole trip back, and once they were back in New York she had dug Mary Bamboozle, the favorite ragdoll of her girlhood, from a trunk at the back of the hall closet. Bill had a good dope source then -- he was bringing home real heroin suppositories that one of his co-workers' wives, a nurse, filched from the hospital dispensary via the crafty ministrations of her lover, the Chief of Pharmacology -- and so every morning after Bill left for work she would insert one of them, and fetch Bamboozle, and as the hroin dissolved into her bloodstream she would sit in the window and begin to rock, rock, rock the baby, crooning to it, singing songs her nursemaid Lizabelle had sung to her, Joan, when she was a girl... Bill would come home and find her completely nodded out that way, framed by the endless freezing rain of the dark weeks of a January which later calculations showed to have inexplicably taken over four months to complete its 31 days... And the more he teased her about it, the closer to her bosom she hugged the doll the instant he was out the door...
So now she climbed the steps and entered the "nursery" (a peeling walk-in closet with a wooden orange crate serving the function of crib) only to find it empty -- no Mary Bamboozle! Instantly she snapped 180 degrees to where Kit, Bill's beloved Spaniel as well as chief suspect for Joan's "child's" disappearance -- but Kit was snoring on the rug, and no shredded rag-doll hung between his speckled lips, and her heart speeded up a bit as she thought But who?, when she heard the tapping at the window.
She spun again. Branches rattled in the hail, sodden newspapers spun with limp brown leaves in a danse macabre, and rain ran vicious diagonals down the windowpanes... And there, in the midst of it, tap-tap-tapping on the windowglass...
...Was Mary Bamboozle. The doll. Her child. Floating. Beneath an umbrella which seemed somehow crazily logically the source of her aloftness. Tapping. "Mommy?" she purred through the thick glass. "Mommy are you coming with me Mommy? Mommy we have to fly. Today. Up. Over. Over there. Soon. Mommy."
"Oh my baby," said Joan and she could scarcely believe the emotions her voice betrayed as it broke and the sobs came. "Oh my baby of course I'm coming. Oh Mary Bamboozle let me just get my shawl and we can go..." And it wasn't until she was frantically prying the window open with a crowbar (Bill had nailed it shut)and felling the first freezing raindrops on her skinny wrists that she had time or mind to ponder just how they were going to get there, not to mention where it was they were headed.
Mary Bamboozle sensed her hesitation.
"It's OK, Mommy, take my hand. Take it."
Joan slowly reached a shaking hand across the breach towards the stubby baby fingers. The chill of the damp November rain seeping through her skin and into her blood.
"Take it Mommy. Hurry! He's coming!"
Behind her Joan could hear the heavy footsteps and then the rattling of the doorknob.
"Joan, just what in the Ah Pook are you doing in there. I hear voices. Who the fuck have you got stashed in there. Open this goddam door."
She grabbed Mary Bamboozle's hand and before she could even take a breath they were away above the rooftops under Mary's umbrella.
|Unfortunately, Mary wasn't real, her umbrella wasn't magic, she couldn't fly, and they were 4 floors up. Joan hit the ground, heard a terrible cracking sound before succumbing to unconsciousness, and woke up in the hospital paralyzed below the neck. The realization suddenly came to her that this was not some drug induced nightmare...it was reality hitting her harder than ever before. How could I have fallen so far, she wondered. She had been an intelligent and talented young woman with immense promise, she took a wrong turn somewhere and became a drug addict with a shattered life, and was now a quadriplegic. What would the future hold, and would it be worth living to experience? Surely there was nowhere for her life to go but up, yet she had thought this before and found out much to her horror that there was still a long way to go to hit rock bottom. One question kept repeating itself in her mind..."What now?"|