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Вильям Берроуз. Голый завтрак (engl)
William S.Burroughs. Naked lunch
© Copyright William S.Burroughs
I can feel the heat closing in, feel them out there
making their moves, setting up their devil doll stool
pigeons, crooning over my spoon and dropper I throw
away at Washington Square Station, vault a turnstile
and two flights down the iron stairs, catch an uptown
A train... Young, good looking, crew cut, Ivy League,
advertising exec type fruit holds the door back for me.
I am evidently his idea of a character. You know the
type comes on with bartenders and cab drivers, talking
about right hooks and the Dodgers, call the counterman
in Nedick's by his first name. A real asshole. And right
on time this narcotics dick in a white trench coat (im-
agine tailing somebody in a white trench coat -- trying
to pass as a fag I guess ) hit the platform. I can hear the
way he would say it holding my outfit in his left hand,
right hand on his piece: "I think you dropped some-
But the subway is moving.
"So long flatfoot!" I yell, giving the fruit his B produc-
tion. I look into the fruit's eyes, take in the white teeth,
the Florida tan, the two hundred dollar sharkskin suit,
the button-down Brooks Brothers shirt and carrying
The News as a prop. "Only thing I read is Little Abner."
A square wants to come on hip.... Talks about "pod,"
and smoke it now and then, and keeps some around to
offer the fast Hollywood types.
"Thanks, kid," I say, "I can see you're one of our own."
His face lights up like a pinball machine, with stupid,
"Grassed on me he did," I said morosely. ( Note:
Grass is English thief slang for inform.) I drew closer
and laid my dirty junky fingers on his sharkskin sleeve.
"And us blood brothers in the same dirty needle, I can
tell you in confidence he is due for a hot shot." ( Note:
This is a cap of poison junk sold to addict for liquida-
tion purposes. Often given to informers. Usually the hot
shot is strychnine since it tastes and looks like junk. )
"Ever see a hot shot hit, kid? I saw the Gimp catch
one in Philly. We rigged his room with a one-way
whorehouse mirror and charged a sawski to watch it.
He never got the needle out of his arm. They don't if
the shot is right. That's the way they find them, dropper
full of clotted blood hanging out of a blue arm. The
look in his eyes when it hit -- Kid, it was tasty....
"ъecollect when I am traveling with the Vigilante,
best Shake Man in the industry. Out in Chi... We is
working the fags in Lincoln Park. So one night the Vigi-
lante turns up for work in cowboy boots and a black
vest with a hunka tin on it and a lariat slung over his
"So I says: 'What's with you? You wig already?'
"He just looks at me and says: 'Fill your hand stran-
ger' and hauls out an old rusty six shooter and I take off
across Lincoln Park, bullets cutting all around me. And
he hangs three fags before the fuzz nail him. I mean
the Vigilante earned his moniker....
"Ever notice how many expressions carry over from
queers to con men? Like 'raise,' letting someone know
you are in the same line?
" 'Get her!'
" 'Get the Paregoric Kid giving that mark the build
" 'Eager Beaver wooing him much too fast.'
"The Shoe Store Kid (he got that moniker shaking
down fetishists in shoe stores) say: 'Give it to a mark
with K.Y. and he will come back moaning for more.'
And when the Kid spots a mark he begin to breathe
heavy. His face swells and his lips turn purple like an
Eskimo in heat. Then slow, slow he comes on the mark,
feeling for him, palpating him with fingers of rotten
"The ъube has a sincere little boy look, burns through
him like blue neon. That one stepped right off a Sator-
day Evening Post cover with a string of bullheads, and
preserved himself in junk. His marks never beef and the
Bunko people are really carrying a needle for the ъube.
One day Little Boy Blue starts to slip, and what crawls
out would make an ambulance attendant puke. The
ъube 8flips in the end, running through empty automats
and subway stations, screaming: 'Come back, kid!!
Come back!l' and follows his boy right into the East
ъiver, down through condoms and orange peels, mosaic
of floating newspapers, down into the silent black ooze
with gangsters in concrete, and pistols pounded Hat to
avoid the probing finger of prurient ballistic experts."
And the fruit is thinking: "What a character!! Wait
till I tell the boys in Clark's about this one." He's a char-
acter collector, would stand still for Joe Gould's seagull
act. So I put it on him for a sawski and make a meet to
sell him some "pod" as he calls it, thinking, "I'll catnip
the jerk." ( Note: Catnip smells like marijuana when it
burns. Frequently passed on the incautious or unin-
"Well," I said, tapping my arm, "duty calls. As one
judge said to another: 'Be just and if you can't be just,
be arbitrary.' "
I cut into the automat and there is Bill Gains huddled
in someone else's overcoat looking like a 1910 banker
with paresis, and Old Bart, shabby and inconspicuous,
dunking pound cake with his dirty fingers, shiny over
I had some uptown customers Bill took care of, and
Bart knew a few old relics from hop smoking times,
spectral janitors, grey as ashes, phantom porters sweep-
ing out dusty halls with a slow old man's hand, cough-
ing and spitting in the junk-sick dawn, retired asthmatic
fences in theatrical hotels, Pantopon ъose the old
madam from Peoria, stoical Chinese waiters never show
sickness. Bart sought them out with his old junky walk,
patient and cautious and slow, dropped into their blood-
less hands a few hours of warmth.
I made the round with him once for kicks. You know
how old people lose all shame about eating, and it
makes you puke to watch them? Old junkies are the
same about junk. They gibber and squeal at sight of it.
The spit hangs off their chin, and their stomach rumbles
and all their guts grind in peristalsis while they cook
up, dissolving the body's decent skin, you expect any
moment a great blob of protoplasm will Hop right out
and surround the junk. ъeally disgust you to see it.
"Well, my boys will be like that one day," I thought
philosophically. "Isn't life peculiar?"
So back downtown by the Sheridan Square Station
in case the dick is lurking in a broom closet.
Like I say it couldn't last. I knew they were out there
powowing and making their evil fuzz magic, putting
dolls of me in Leavenworth. "No use sticking needles in
that one, Mike."
I hear they got Chapin with a doll. This old eunuch
dick just sat in the precinct basement hanging a doll of
him day and night, year in year out. And when Chapin
hanged in Connecticut, they find this old creep with his
"He fell downstairs," they say. You know the old cop
Junk is surrounded by magic and taboos, curses and
amulets. I could find my Mexico City connection by
radar. "Not this street, the next, right... now left. Now
right again," and there he is, toothless old woman face
and cancelled eyes.
I know this one pusher walks around humming a
tune and everybody he passes takes it up. He is so grey
and spectral and anonymous they don't see him and
think it is their own mind humming the tune. So the
customers come in on Smiles, or I'm in the 1Mood for
Love, or They Say We're Too Young to Go Steady, or
whatever the song is for that day. Sometime you can see
maybe fifty ratty-looking junkies squealing sick, running
along behind a boy with a harmonica, and there is The
Man on a cane seat throwing bread to the swans, a fat
queen drag walking his Afghan hound through the East
Fifties, an old wino pissing against an El post, a radical
Jewish student giving out leaflets in Washington Square,
a tree surgeon, an exterminator, an advertising fruit in
Nedick's where he calls the counterman by his first
name. The world network of junkies, tuned on a cord
of rancid jissom, tying up in furnished rooms, shivering
in the junk-sick morning. (Old Pete men suck the black
smoke in the Chink laundry back room and Melancholy
Baby dies from an overdose of time or cold turkey with-
drawal of breath.) In Yemen, Paris, New Orleans, Mex-
ico City and Istanbul -- shivering under the air hammers
and the steam shovels, shrieked junky curses at one
another neither of us heard, and The Man leaned out
of a passing steam roller and I coped in a bucket of tar.
(Note: Istanbul is being torn down and rebuilt, espe-
cially shabby junk quarters. Istanbul has more heroin
junkies than NYC. ) The living and the dead, in sick-
ness or on the nod, hooked or kicked or hooked again,
come in on the junk beam and the Connection is eating
Chop Suey on Dolores Street, Mexico D.F., dunking
pound cake in the automat, chased up Exchange Place
by a baying pack of People. ( Note: People is New
Orleans slang for narcotic fuzz. )
The old Chinaman dips river water into a rusty tin
can, washes down a yen pox hard and black as a cinder.
( Note: Yen pox is the ash of smoked opium. )
Well, the fuzz has my spoon and dropper, and I know
they are coming in on my frequency led by this blind
pigeon known as Willy the Disk. Willy has a round,
disk mouth lined with sensitive, erectile black hairs. He
is blind from shooting in the eyeball, his nose and palate
eaten away sniffing H, his body a mass of scar tissue
hard and dry as wood. He can only eat the shit now
with that mouth, sometimes sways out on a long tube
of ectoplasm, feeling for the silent frequency of junk.
He follows my trail all over the city into rooms I move
out already, and the fuzz walks in some newlyweds
from Sioux Falls.
"All right, Lee! I Come out from behind that strap-on!
We know you" and pull the man's prick off straight-
Now Willy is getting hot and you can hear him always
out there in darkness (he only functions at night)
whimpering, and feel the terrible urgency of that blind,
seeking mouth. When they move in for the bust, Willy
goes all out of control, and his mouth eats a hole right
through the door. If the cops weren't there to restrain
him with a stock probe, he would suck the juice right
out of every junky he ran down.
I knew, and everybody else knew they had the Disk
on me. And if my kid customers ever hit the stand: "He
force me to commit all kinda awful sex acts in return for
junk" I could kiss the street good-bye.
So we stock up on H, buy a second-hand Studebaker,
and start West.
The Vigilante copped out as a schizo possession case:
"I was standing outside myself trying to stop those
hangings with ghost fingers.... I am a ghost wanting
what every ghost wants -- a body -- after the Long Time
moving through odorless alleys of space where no life
is only the colorless no smell of death.... Nobody can
breathe and smell it through pink convolutions of gristle
laced with crystal snot, time shit and black blood filters
He stood there in elongated court room shadow, his
face torn like a broken film by lusts and hungers of
larval organs stirring in the tentative ectoplasmic flesh
of junk kick ( ten days on ice at time of the First Hear-
ing) flesh that fades at the first silent touch of junk.
I saw it happen. Ten pounds lost in ten minutes stand-
ing with the syringe in one hand holding his pants up
with the other, his abdicated flesh burning in a cold
yellow halo, there in the New York hotel room...
night table litter of candy boxes, cigarette butts cas-
cading out of three ashtrays, mosaic of sleepless nights
and sudden food needs of the kicking addict nursing his
The Vigilante is prosecuted in Federal Court under
a lynch bill and winds up in a Federal Nut House spe-
cially designed for the containment of ghosts: precise,
prosaic impact of objects... washstand... door...
toilet... bars... there they are... this is it... all
lines cut... nothing beyond... Dead End... And the
Dead End in every face....
The physical changes were slow at first, then jumped
forward in black chunks, falling through his slack tissue,
washing away the human lines.... In his place of total
darkness mouth and eyes are one organ that leaps for-
ward to snap with transparent teeth... but no organ
is constant as regards either function or position... sex
organs sprout anywhere... rectums open, defecate and
close... the entire organism changes color and con-
sistency in split-second adjustments....
The ъube is a social liability with his attacks as he
calls them. The Mark Inside was coming up on him
and that's a rumble nobody can cool; outside Philly he
jumps out to con a prowl car and the fuzz takes one
look at his face and bust all of us.
Seventy-two hours and five sick junkies in the cell
with us. Now not wishing to break out my stash in front
of these hungry coolies, it takes maneuvering and laying
of gold on the turnkey before we are in a separate cell.
Provident junkies, known as squirrels, keep stashes
against a bust. Every time I take a shot I let a few drops
fall into my vest pocket, the lining is stiff with stuff. I
had a plastic dropper in my shoe and a safety-pin stuck
in my belt. You know how this pin and dropper routine
is put down: "She seized a safety pin caked with blood
and rust, gouged a great hole in her leg which seemed
to hang open like an obscene, festering mouth waiting
for unspeakable congress with the dropper which she
now plunged out of sight into the gaping wound. But
her hideous galvanized need (hunger of insects in dry
places) has broken the dropper off deep in the flesh of
her ravaged thigh (looking rather like a poster on soil
erosion). But what does she care? She does not even
bother to remove the splintered glass, looking down at
her bloody haunch with the cold blank eyes of a meat
trader. What does she care for the atom bomb, the bed
bugs, the cancer rent, Friendly Finance waiting to re-
possess her delinquent flesh.... Sweet dreams, Panto-
The real scene you pinch up some leg flesh and make
a quick stab hole with a pin. Then fit the dropper over,
not in the hole and feed the solution slow and careful
so it doesn't squirt out the sides.... When I grabbed
the ъube's thigh the flesh came up like wax and stayed
there, and a slow drop of pus oozed out the hole. And
I never touched a living body cold as the ъube there in
I decided to lop him off if it meant a smother party.
(This is a rural English custom designed to eliminate
aged and bedfast dependents. A family so afflicted
throws a "smother party" where the guests pile mat-
tresses on the old liability, climb up on top of the mat-
resses and lush themselves out. ) The ъube is a drag on
the industry and should be led out into the skid rows of
the world. (This is an African practice. Official known
as the "Leader Out" has the function of taking old
characters out into the jungle and leaving them there. )
The ъube's attacks become an habitual condition.
Cops, doormen, dogs, secretaries snarl at his approach.
The blond God has fallen to untouchable vileness. Con
men don't change, they break, shatter -- explosions of
matter in cold interstellar space, drift away in cosmic
dust, leave the empty body behind. Hustlers of the
world, there is one Mark you cannot beat: The Mark
I left the ъube standing on a corner, red brick slums
to the sky, under a steady rain of soot. "Going to hit this
croaker I know. ъight back with that good pure drug-
store M.... No, you wait here -- don't want him to
rumble you." No matter how long, ъube, wait for me
right on that corner. Goodbye, ъube, goodbye kid....
Where do they go when they walk out and leave the
Chicago: invisible hierarchy of decorated wops,
smell of atrophied gangsters, earthbound ghost hits
you at North and Halstead, Cicero, Lincoln Park, pan-
handler of dreams, past invading the present, rancid
magic of slot machines and roadhouses.
Into the Interior: a vast subdivision, antennae of tele-
vision to the meaningless sky. In lifeproof houses they
hover over the young, sop up a little of what they shut
out. Only the young bring anything in, and they are not
young very long. (Through the bars of East St. Louis
lies the dead frontier, riverboat days.) Illinois and Mis-
souri, miasma of mound-building peoples, groveling
worship of the Food Source, cruel and ugly festivals,
dead-end horror of the Centipede God reaches from
Moundville to the lunar deserts of coastal Peru.
America is not a young land: it is old and dirty and
evil before the settlers, before the Indians. The evil is
And always cops: smooth college-trained state cops,
practiced, apologetic patter, electronic eyes weigh your
car and luggage, clothes and face; snarling big city
dicks, soft-spoken country sheriffs with something black
and menacing in old eyes color of a faded grey flannel
And always car trouble: in St. Louis traded the 1942
Studebaker in (it has a built-in engineering Haw like
the ъube) on an old Packard limousine heated up and
barely made Kansas City, and bought a Ford turned
out to be an oil burner, packed it in on a jeep we push
too hard (they are no good for highway driving) -- and
burn something out inside, rattling around, went back
to the old Ford V-8. Can't beat that engine for getting
there, oil burner or no.
And the U.S. drag closes around us like no other drag
in the world, worse than the Andes, high mountain
towns, cold wind down from postcard mountains, thin
air like death in the throat, river towns of Ecuador, ma-
laria grey as junk under black Stetson, muzzle loading
shotguns, vultures pecking through the mud streets --
and what hits you when you get off the Malmo Ferry in
(no juice tax on the ferry) Sweden knocks all that
cheap, tax free juice right out of you and brings you all
the way down: