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Фантастика. Фэнтези
   Зарубежная фантастика
      Вильям Берроуз. Голый завтрак (engl) -
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nally denounce each other in the Embassy where they are referred to the We Don't Want To Hear About It Department, and eased out a back door into a shit-strewn vacant lot, where vultures fight over fish heads. They Hail at each other hysterically. 'You're trying to fuck me out of my commission!" "Your commission! Who smelled out this good thing in the first place?" "But I have the bill of lading." "Monster! But the check will be made out in my name." "Bawstard! You'll never see the bill of lading until my cut is deposited in escrow." "Well, might as well kiss and make up. There's noth- ing mean or petty about me." They shake hands without enthusiasm and peck each other on the cheek. The deal drags on for months. They engage the services of an Expeditor. Finally Marvie emerges with a check for 42 Turkestan kurds drawn on an anonymous bank in South America, to clear through Amsterdam, a procedure that will take eleven months more or less. Now he can relax in the cafes of The Plaza. He shows a photostatic copy of the check. He would never show the original of course, lest some envious citizen spit ink eradicator on the signature or otherwise muti- late the check. Everyone asks him to buy drinks and celebrate, but he laughs jovially and says, "Fact is I can't afford to buy myself a drink. I already spent every kurd of it buying Penstrep for Ali's clap. He's down with it fore and aft again. I came near kicking the little bastard right through the wall into the next bed. But you all know what a sentimental old thing I am." Marvie does buy himself a shot glass of beer, squeez- ing a blackened coin out of his fly onto the table. "Keep the change." The waiter sweeps the coin into a dust pan, he spits on the table and walks away. "Sore head! He's envious of my check." Marvie had been in Interzone since "the year before one" as he put it. He had been retired from some un- specified position in the State Dept. "for the good of the service." Obviously he had once been very good looking in a crew-cut, college boy way, but his face had sagged and formed lumps under the chin like melting paraffin. He was getting heavy around the hips. Leif The Unlucky was a tall, thin Norwegian, with a patch over one eye, his face congealed in a permanent, ingratiating smirk. Behind him lay an epic saga of un- successful enterprises. He had failed at raising frogs, chinchilla, Siamese fighting fish, rami and culture pearls. He had attempted, variously and without success, to promote a Love Bird Two-in-a-coffin Cemetery, to corner the condom market during the rubber shortage, to run a mail order whore house, to issue penicillin as a patent medicine. He had followed disastrous betting systems in the casinos of Europe and the race tracks of the U.S. His reverses in business were matched by the incredible mischances of his personal life. His front teeth had been stomped out by bestial American sailors in Brooklyn. Vultures had eaten out an eye when he drank a pint of paregoric and passed out in a Panama City park. He had been trapped between floors in an elevator for five days with an oil-burning junk habit and sustained an attack of D.T.s while stowing away in a foot locker. Then there was the time he collapsed with strangulated intestines, perforated ulcers and peritonitis in Cairo and the hospital was so crowded they bedded him in the latrine, and the Greek surgeon goofed and sewed up a live monkey in him, and he was gang- fucked by the Arab attendants, and one of the orderlies stole the penicillin substituting Saniflush; and the time he got clap in his ass and a self-righteous English doctor cured him with an enema of hot, sulphuric acid, and the German practitioner of Technological Medicine who removed his appendix with a rusty can opener and a pair of tin snips (he considered the germ theory "a nonsense.") Flushed with success he then began snip- ping and cutting out everything in sight: "The human body is filled up vit unnecessitated parts. You can get by vit one kidney. Vy have two? Yes dot is a kidney.... The inside parts should not be so close in together crowded. They need lebensraum like the Vaterland." The Expeditor had not yet been paid, and Marvie was faced by the prospect of stalling him for eleven months until the check cleared. The Expeditor was said to have been born on the Ferry between the Zone and the Island. His profession was to expedite the delivery of merchandise. No one knew for sure whether his serv- ices were of any use or not, and to mention his name always precipitated an argument. Cases were cited to prove his miraculous efficiency and utter worthlessness. The Island was a British Military and Naval station directly opposite the Zone. England holds the Island on yearly rent-free lease, and every year the lease and permit of residence is formally renewed. The entire population turns out, attendance is compulsory, and gathers at the municipal dump. The President of the Island is required by custom to crawl across the garbage on his stomach and deliver the Permit of ъesidence and ъenewal of the Lease, signed by every citizen of the Island, to The ъesident Governor who stands resplen- dent in dress uniform. The Governor takes the permit and shoves it into his coat pocket: "Well," he says with a tight smile, "so you've decided to let us stay another year have you? Very good of you. And everyone is happy about it?... Is there anyone who isn't happy about it?" Soldiers in jeeps sweep mounted machine-guns back and forth across the crowd with a slow, searching move- ment. "Everybody happy. Well that's fine." He turns jovi- ally to the prostrate President. "I'll keep your papers in case I get caught short. Haw Haw Haw." His loud, metallic laugh rings out across the dump, and the crowd laughs with him under the searching guns. The forms of democracy are scrupulously enforced on the Island. There is a Senate and a Congress who carry on endless sessions discussing garbage disposal and outhouse inspection, the only two questions over which they have jurisdiction. For a brief period in the mid-nineteenth century, they had been allowed to con- trol the dept. of Baboon Maintenance but this privilege had been withdrawn owing to absenteeism in the Senate. The purple-assed Tripoli baboons had been brought to the Island by pirates in the 17th century. There was a legend that when the baboons left the Island it would fall. To whom or in what way is not specified, and it is a capital offense to kill a baboon, though the noxious behaviour of these animals harries the citizens almost beyond endurance. Occasionally someone goes berserk, kills several baboons and himself. The post of President is always forced on some par- ticularly noxious and unpopular citizen. To be elected President is the greatest misfortune and disgrace that can befall an Islander. The humiliations and ignominy are such that few Presidents live out their full term of office, usually dying of a broken spirit after a year or two. The Expeditor had once been President and served the full five years of his term. Subsequently he changed his name and underwent plastic surgery, to blot out, as far as possible, the memory of his disgrace. "Yes of course... we'll pay you," Marvie was saying to the Expeditor. "But take it easy. It may be a little while yet...." "Take it easy? A little while!... Listen." "Yes I know it all. The finance company is repossess- ing your wife's artificial kidney.... They are evicting your grandmother from her iron lung." "That's in rather bad taste, old boy.... Frankly I wish I had never involved myself in this uh matter. That bloody grease has too much carbolic in it. I was down to customs one day last week. Stuck a broom handle into a drum of it, and the grease ate the end off straight away. Besides, the stink is enough to knock a man on his bloody ass. You should take a walk down by the port." "I'll do no such thing," Marvie screeched. It is a mark of caste in the Zone never to touch or even go near what you are selling. To do so gives rise to suspicion of retailing, that is of being a common peddler. A good part of the merchandise in the Zone is sold through street peddlers. "Why do you tell me all this? It's too sordid! Let the retailers worry about it." "Oh it's all very well for you chaps, you can scud out from under. But I have a reputation to maintain.... There'll be a spot of bother about this." "Do you suggest there is something illegitimate in this operation?" "Not illegitimate exactly. But shoddy. Definitely shoddy." "Oh go back to your Island before it falls! We knew you when you were peddling your purple ass in the Plaza pissoirs for five pesetas." "And not many takers either," Leif put in. He pro- nounced it ither. This reference to his Island origin was more than the Expeditor could stand.... He was draw- ing himself up, mobilizing his most frigid impersona- tion of an English aristocrat, preparing to deliver an icy, clipped "crusher," but instead, a whining, whimpering, kicked dog snarl broke from his mouth. His presurgery face emerged in an arc-light of incandescent hate.... He began to spit curses in the hideous, strangled gut- turals of the Island dialect. The Islanders all profess ignorance of the dialect or fiatly deny its existence. "We are Breetish," they say. "We don't got no bloody dealect." Froth gathered at the corners of the Expeditor's mouth. He was spitting little balls of saliva like pieces of cotton. The stench of spiritual vileness hung in the airs about him like a green cloud. Marvie and Leif fell back twittering in alarm. 'He's gone mad," Marvie gasped. "Let's get ont of here." Hand in hand they skip away into the mist that covers the Zone in the winter months like a cold Turk- ish Bath. THE EXAMINATION Carl Peterson found a postcard in his box requesting him to report for a ten o'clock appointment with Doctor Benway in the Ministry of Mental Hygiene and Prophy- laxis.... "What on earth could they want with me?" he thought irritably.... "A mistake most likely." But he knew they didn't make mistakes.... Certainly not mis- takes of identity.... It would not have occurred to Carl to disregard the appointment even though failure to appear entailed no penalty.... Freeland was a welfare state. If a citizen wanted anything from a load of bone meal to a sexual partner some department was ready to offer effective aid. The threat implicit in this enveloping benevolence stifled the concept of rebellion.... Carl walked through the Town Hall Square.... Nickel nudes sixty feet high with brass genitals soaped themselves under gleaming showers.... The Town Hall cupola, of glass brick and copper crashed into the sky. Carl stared back at a homosexual American tourist who dropped his eyes and fumbled with the light filters of his Leica.... Carl entered the steel enamel labyrinth of the Minis- try, strode to the information desk... and presented his card. "Fifth floor... ъoom twenty-six..." In room twenty-six a nurse looked at him with cold undersea eyes. "Doctor Benway is expecting you," she said smiling. "Go right in." "As if he had nothing to do but wait for me," thought Carl... The office was completely silent, and filled with milky light. The doctor shook Carl's hand, keeping his eyes on the young man's chest.... "I've seen this man before," Carl thought.... "But where?" He sat down and crossed his legs. He glanced at an ashtray on the desk and lit a cigarette.... He turned to the doctor a steady inquiring gaze in which there was more than a touch of insolence. The doctor seemed embarrassed.... He fidgeted and coughed... and fumbled with papers.... "Hurumph," he said finally.... "Your name is Carl Peterson I believe...." His glasses slid down into his nose in parody of the academic manner.... Carl nodded silently.... We doctor did not look at him but seemed none the less to register the acknowledgment. ... He pushed his glasses back into place with one finger and opened a file on the white enameled desk. "Mmmmmmmm. Carl Peterson," he repeated the name caressingly, pursed his lips and nodded several times. He spoke again abruptly: "You know of course that we are trying. We are all trying. Sometimes of course we don't succeed." His voice trailed off thin and tenuous. He put a hand to his forehead. "To adjust the state -- simply a tool -- to the needs of each individual citizen." His voice boomed out so unexpectedly deep and loud that Carl started. "That is the only function of the state as we see it. Our knowledge... incomplete, of course," he made a slight gesture of depreciation.... "For example... for example... take the matter of uh sexual deviation." The doctor rocked back and forth in his chair. His glasses slid down onto his nose. Carl felt suddenly uncomfortable. "We regard it as a misfortune... a sickness... certainly nothing to be censored or uh sanctioned any more than say... tuberculosis.... Yes," he repeated firmly as if Carl had raised an objection.... "Tubercu- losis. On the other hand you can readily see that any illness imposes certain, should we say obligations, cer- tain necessities of a prophylactic nature on the authori- ties concerned with public health, such necessities to be imposed, needless to say, with a minimum of incon- venience and hardship to the unfortunate individual who has, through no fault of his own, become uh in- fected.... That is to say, of course, the minimum hardship compatible with adequate protection of other individuals who are not so infected.... We do not find obligatory vaccination for smallpox an unreasonable measure.... Nor isolation for certain contagious dis- eases.... I am sure you will agree that individuals infected with hurumph what the French call 'Les Maladies galantes' heh heh heh should be compelled to undergo treatment if they do not report voluntarily." The doctor went on chuckling and rocking in his chair like a mechanical toy.... Carl realized that he was expected to say something. "That seems reasonable," he said. The doctor stopped chuckling. He was suddenly mo- tionless. "Now to get back to this uh matter of sexual deviation. Frankly we don't pretend to understand -- at least not completely -- why some men and women prefer the uh sexual company of their own sex. We do know that the uh phenomena is common enough, and, under certain circumstances a matter of uh concern to this department." For the first time the doctor's eyes flickered across Carl's face. Eyes without a trace of warmth or hate or any emotion that Carl had ever experienced in himsef or seen in another, at once cold and intense, predatory and impersonal. Carl suddenly felt trapped in this silent underwater cave of a room, cut off from all sources of warmth and certainty. His picture of himself sitting there calm, alert with a trace of well mannered con- tempt went dim, as if vitality were draining out of him to mix with the milky grey medium of the room. "Treatment of these disorders is, at the present time, hurmph symptomatic." The doctor suddenly threw him- self back in his chair and burst into peals of metallic laughter. Carl watched him appalled.... "The man is insane," he thought. The doctor's face went blank as a gambler's. Carl felt an odd sensation in his stomach like the sudden stopping of an elevator. The doctor was studying the file in front of him. He spoke in a tone of slightly condescending amusement: "Don't look so frightened, young man. Just a profes- sional joke. To say treatment is symptomatic means there is none, except to make the patient feel as com- fortable as possible. And that is precisely what we attempt to do in these cases." Once again Carl felt the impact of that cold interest on his face. "That is to say reassurance when reassurance is necessary... and, of course, suitable outlets with other individuals of similar tendencies. No isolation is indicated... the condition is no more directly contagious than cancer. Cancer, my Brst love," the doctor's voice receded. He seemed actu- ally to have gone away through an invisible door leav- ing his empty body sitting there at the desk. Suddenly he spoke again in a crisp voice. "And so you may well wonder why we concern ourselves with the matter at all?" He flashed a smile bright and cold as snow in sunlight. Carl shrugged: "That is not my business... what I am wondering is why you have asked me to come here and why you tell me all this... this..." "Nonsense?" Carl was annoyed to find himself blushing. The doctor leaned back and placed the ends of his fingers together: "The young," he said indulgently. "Always they are in a hurry. One day perhaps you will learn the meaning of patience. No, Carl... I may call you Carl'? I am not evading your question. In cases of suspected tubercu- losis we -- that is the appropriate department -- may ask, even request, someone to appear for a fluoroscopic examination. This is routine, you understand. Most of such examinations turn up negative. So you have been asked to report here for, should I say a psychic fluoro- scope? I may add that after talking with you I feel relatively sure that the result will be, for practical pur- poses, negative.... "But the whole thing is ridiculous. I have always interested myself only in girls. I have a steady girl now and we plan to marry." "Yes Carl, I know. And that is why you are here. A blood test prior to marriage, this is reasonable, no?" "Please doctor, speak directly." The doctor did not seem to hear. He drifted out of his chair and began walking around behind Carl, his voice languid and intermittent like music down a windy street. "I may tell you in strictest confidence that there is definite evidence of a hereditary factor. Social pressure. Many homosexuals latent and overt do, unfortunately, marry. Such marriages often result in... Factor of infantile environment." The doctor's voice went on and on. He was talking about schizophrenia, cancer, here- ditary disfunction of the hypothalamus.

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