“Look,Mister, no O’Brien no Hauser in this bureau. Now what do you want?”
“Look, this is important. . . I’ve got info on a big shipment of H coming in. . . I want to talk to Hauser or O’Brien . . . I don’t do business with anybody else. . .”
“Hold on. . . I’ll connect you with Alcibiades.”
I began to wonder if there was an Anglo-Saxon name left in the Department. . .
“I want to speakk to Hauser or O’Brien.”
“How many times I have to tell you no Hauser no O’Brien in this department. . . Now who is this calling?”
I hung up and took a taxi out of the areas. . . In the cab I realized what had happened. . .I had been occluded from space-time like an eel’s ass occludes when he stops eating on the way to Sargasso. . . Locked out. . . Never again would I have a Key, a Point of Intersectiom. . . The heat was off me from here on out. . .relegated with Hauser and O’Brien to a landlocked junk past where heroin is always twentyeight dollars an ounce and you can score for yen pox in the Chink Laundry of Sioux Falls. . . Far side of the world’s mirror, moving into the past with Hauser and O’Brien. . . clawing at a not yet of Telephatic Bureaucracies, Time Monopolies, Control Drugs, Heavy Fluid Addicts:
“I thought of that three hundred years ago.”
“Your plan was unworkable then and useless now. . . Like Da Vinci’s flying machine plans. . .”
ing for him only with reference to his need. Then he makes his abrupt intrusion into the time of others, and, like all Outsiders, all Petioners, he must wait, unless he happens to mesh with non-junk time.
“What can I say to him? He knows I’ll wait,” Nick laughed.
I spent the night in the Ever Hard Baths-(homosexuality is the best all-around cover story an agent can use)-where a snarling Italian attendant creates such an unnerving atmosphere sweeping the dormitory with infra red see in the dark fieldglasses.
(“All right in the North East corner! I see you!” switching on floodlights,sticking his head through trappedoors in the floor and wall of the private rooms, tah mant a queen has been carried out in a straitjacket. . .)
I lay there in my open top cubicle room looking at the ceiling . . . listened to the grunts and squeals and snarls in the nightmare halflight of random, broken \ lust.. . .
“Fuck off you!” ‘
“Put on two pairs of glasses and maybe you can see * something!”
Walked out in the precise morning and bought a paper. . . . Nothing. . . . I called from a drugstore ; phone booth . . . and asked for Narcotics:
“Lieutenant Gonzales . . . who’s calling?”
“I want to speak to O’Brien.” A moment of static, dangling wires, broken connections . . . “Nobody of that name in this department. . . . Who are you?”
“Well let me speak to Hauser.”
hand and copped the package, then I slipped a fiftydollar bill into Nick’s palm. He glanced at it and showed his gums in a toothless smile: “Thanks a lot. . . . This
will put me in the clear. . .
I sat back letting my mind work without pushing it.
Push vour mind too hard, and it will fuck up like an overloaded switch-board, or turn on you with sabotage. . . And I had no margin for error. Americans have a special horror of giving up control, of letting things happen in their own way without interference. They
would like to jump down into their stomachs and digest the food and shovel the shit out.
Your mind will answer most questions if you learn to relax and wait for the answer. Like one of those thinking machines, you feed in your question, sit back, and wait. . . .
I was looking for a name. My mind was sorting through names, discarding at once F.L.—Fuzz Lover, B.W.—Bom Wrong, N.C.B.C.—Nice Cat But Chicken; putting aside to reconsider, narrowing, sifting, feeling for the name, the answer.
“Sometimes, you know, he’ll keep me waiting three hours. Sometimes I make it right away like this.” Nick had a deprecating little laugh that he used for punctuation. Sort of an apology for talking at all in the telepathizing world of the addict where only the quantity factor—How much $? How much junk?—requires verbal expression. He knew and I knew all about waiting. At all levels the drug trade operates without schedule. Nobody delivers on time except by accident. The addict runs on junk time. His body is his clock, and
junk runs through it like an hour-glass. Time has mean
We were in the cab heading North. Nick was talking in his flat, dead voice.
“Some funny stuff we’re getting lately. It’s not weak exactly. . . I don’t know. . . It’s different. Maybe they’re putting some synthetic shit in it . . . Dollies or something. . .”
“Huh?. . . But this I’m talking you to know is O.K. In fact it’s about the best deal around that I know of. . . Stop here.”
“Please make it fast,” I said.
“It should be a matter of ten minutes unless he’s out of stuff and has to make a run. . .Better sit down over there and have a cup of coffee. . . This is a hot neighborhood.”
I sat down at a counter and ordered coffee, and pointed to a piece of Danish pastry under a plastic cover. I washed down the stale rubbery cake with cofee, praying that just this once,please God, let him make it now, and not come back to say the man is all out and has to make a run to East Orange or Greenpoint.
Well here he was back, standing behind me. I looked at him, afraid to ask. Funny, I thought, here I sit with perhaps one chance in a hundred to live out the next 24 hours- I had made up my mind not to surrender and spend the next three or four months in death’s waiting room. And here I was worrying about a junk score. But I only had about five shots left, and without junk I would be immobilized. . . Nick nodded his head.
” Don’t give it to me here,” I said, “Let’s take a cab.”
We took a cab and started downtown. I held out my
action-and shot him in the middle of his red forehead about two inches below the silver hairline. His air had been grey the last time. I saw him. That was about 15 years ago. My first arrest. His eyes went out. He fell off the chair onto his face. My hands were already reaching for what I needed, sweeping my notebooks into a briefcase with my works, junk, and a box of shells. I stuck the gun into my belt, and stepped out into the corridor putting on my coat.
I could hear the desk clerk and the bell boy pounding up the stairs. I took the self-service elevator down, walked through the empty lobby into the street.
It was a beautiful Indian Summer day. I knew I didn’t have much chance, but any chance is better than none, better than being a subject for experiments with ST(6) or whatever the initials are.
I had to stock up on junk fast. Along with airports, R.R. stations and bus terminals, they would cover all junk areas and connections. I took a taxi to Washington Square, got out and walked along the 4th street till I spotted Nick on a corner. You can always find the pusher. You need conjures him up like a ghost. “Listen, Nick,” I said, “I’m leaving town. I want to pick up a piece of H. Can you make it right now?”
We were walking along the 4th street. Nick’s voice seemed to drfit into my consciousness from no particular place. An eerie, disembodied voice. “Yes, I think I can make it. I’ll have to make a run uptown.”
“We can take a cab.”
“O.K. but I can’t take you in to the guy, you understand.”
“I understand, Let’s go.”
every nerve and muscle. They were not watching me. I filled the syringe with the alcohol.
Hauser was juggling his snub-nosed detective special, a Colt and looking around the room. He could smell danger like an animal. With his left hand he pushed the closet door open and glanced inside. My stomach contracteed. I thought, “If he looks in the suitcase now, I’m done.”
Hauser turned to me abruptly. “You through yet?” he snarled. “You’d better not try to shit us on Marty.”
The words came out so ugly he surprised and shocked himself.
I picked up the syringe full of alcohol, twisting the needle to make sure it was tight.
“Just two seconds,” I said.
I squirted a thin jet of alcohol, whipping it across his eyes with a sideways shake of the syringe. He let out a bellow of pain. I could see him pawing at his eyes with the left hand like he was tearing off an invisible bandage as I dropped to the floor on one knee reaching for my suitcase. I pushed the suitcase open, and my left hand closed over the gun butt- I am righthanded but I shoot with my left hand. I felt the concussion of Hauser’s shot before I heard it. His slug slammed into the wall behind me. Shooting from the floor, I snapped two quick shots into Hauser’s belly where his vest had pulled up showing an inch of white shirt. He grunted in a way I could feel and doubled forward. Stiff with panic, O’Brien’s hand was tearing at the gun in his shoulder holster. I clamped my other hand around my gun wrist to steady it for the long pull-this gun has the hammer filed off round so you can only use it double
pervert, gathering all the negative evil of O’Brien’s ambigous function.
” I mught could set up Marty Steel for you, ” I said.
I knew they wanted Marty abd. He’d been pushing for five years, and they couldn’t hang one on him. Marty was an oldtimer, and very careful about who he served. He had to know a man and know him well before he would pick up his money. No one can say they ever did time because of me. My rep is perfect, but still Marty wouldn’t serve me because he didin’t kwon me long enough. That’s how skeptical Marty was.
“Marty!” said O’Brien. “Can you score from him?”
“Sure I can.”
They were suspicious. A man can’t be a cop all his life without developing a special set of intuitions.
O.K.,” said Huaser finally. “But you’d better deliver,Lee.”
“I’ll deliver all right. Believe me I appreciate this.”
I tied up for a shot, my hands trembling with eagerness, an archetype dope fiend.
“Just an old junky,boys, a harmless old shaking wreck of a junky.” That’s the way I put it down. As I had hoped, Hauser looked away whe I started probing for a vein. It’s a wildly unpretty spectacle.
O’Brien was sitting on the arm of a chair smoking an Old Gold, looking out the window with that dreamy what I’ll do when I get my pension look.
I hit the vein right away. A column of blood shot up int the syringe for an instant sharp and solid as a red cord. I pressed the plunger down with my thumb, feeling the junk pound through my veins to feed a milion junk-hungry cells, to bring strenght ans alertness to
least O’Brien wasn’t. O’Brien was the con man, and Hauser the tough guy. A vaudeville team. Hauser had a way of hitting you before he said anything just to break the ice. Then O’Brien gives you an Old Gold- just like a cop to smoke Old Golds somehow. . . and starts putting down a cop con that was really bottled in bond. Not a bad guy, and I didn’t want to do it. But it was my only chance.
I was just tying up for my morning shot when they walked in with a pass key. It was a special kind you can use even when the door is locked from the inside with a key in the lock. On the table in front of me was a packet of junk, spike, syringe- I got the habit of using a regular syringe in Mexico and never went back to using a dropper- alcohol,cotton and a glass of water.
“Well well,” says O’Brien. . . “Long time no see eh?”
“Put on tour coat,Lee,” says Hauser. He had his gun out. He always has it out when he makes a pinch for the psychological effect and to forestall a rush fr toilet, sink or window.
“Can I take a bang first, boys?” I asked. . .”There’s plenty here for evidence. . .”
I was wondering how I could get to my suitcase if they said no. The case wasn’t locked,but Hauser had the gun in his hand.
“He wants a shot,” said Hauser.
“Now you know we can’t do that, Bill” said O’Brien in his sweet con voice, dragging out the name with an oily, insinuating familiarity, brutal and obscene.
He meant, of course, “What can you do for us,Bill?”
He looked at me and smiled. The smile stayed there too long,hideous and naked, the smile of an old painted
when the junky cops and even the Commuter buzzes clogged lines of cholesterol for contact. Signal flares of orgasm burst over the world. A tea head leaps up screaming ” I got the fear!” and runs into Mexican night bringing down backbrains of the world. The Executioner shits in terror at sight of the condemmned man.
The Torturer screams in the ear of his implacable victim.
Knife fighters embrace in adrenalin. Cancer is at the door with a Singing Telegram. . .
HAUSER AND O’BRIEN
When they walked in on me that morning at 8 o’clock, I knew it was my last chance, my only chance. But they didn’t know. How could they? Just a routine pick-up- But not quite routine.
Hauser had been eating breakfast when the Lieutenant called: “I want you and your partner to pick up a man named Lee, William Lee, on your way downtown. He’s in the Hotel Lamprey. 103 just off B way.”
“Yeah I know where it is. I remember him too.”
“Good. Room 606. Just pick him up. Don’t take time to shake the place down. Except bring in all books, letters, manuscripts, Anything printed, typed or written. Ketch?”
“Ketch. But what’s the angle. . . Books. . .”
“Just do it.” The Lieutenant hung up.
Hauser and O’Brien. They had been on the City Narcotic Squad for 20 years. Oldtimers like me. I been on the junk for 16 years. They weren’t bad as laws go. At
peccary on his lance. The elegant fag patronizes his neighborhood bar to receive a bulletin from Dead Mother lives on in synapses and will evoke the exciting Nanny Beater. Boys jacking off in the school toilet know each other as agents from Galaxy X, adjourn to a second-run night spot where they sit shabby and portentus drinking wine vinegar and eating lemons to confound the tenor sax, a hip Arab in blue glasses suspect to be Enemy Sender. The world network of junkies, tuned on a cord of rancid jissom. . . tying up in furnished rooms. . . shivering in the sick morning . . .
(Old Pee men suck the Black Smoke in a Chink laundry back room. Melancholy Baby dies from an overdose of Time or cold turkey withdrawal of breath- in Arabia-Paris-Mexico City-New York-New Orleans-) The living and the dead. . . in sickness 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. . .drunking pound cake in Bickfords. . .chased up Exchange Place by a baying pack of people. Malarials of the world bundle in shivering protoplasm. Fear seals the turd message with a cuneiform account. Giggling rioters copulate to the screams of a burning Nigra. Lonely librarians unite in soul kiss of halitosis. That grippy feeling brother? Sore throat persistent and disquieting as the hot afternoon wind?
Welcome to the International Syphilis Lodge-“Methodith Epithcopal God damn ith” (phrase used to test for speech impairment typical of paresis ) or the first silent touch of chancre makes you a member in good standing. The vibrating soundless hum of deep forest and orgone accumulators, the sudden silence of cities