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Naked Lunch is a novel by American writer William S. Burroughs, originally published in 1959. The book is structured as a series of loosely connected vignettes. Burroughs stated that the chapters are intended to be read in any order. wikipedia

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WSB reads 23 random sentences from Naked Lunch

1 Equilibrists suck each other off deftly, balanced on perilous poles and chairs tilted over the void. A warm wind brings the smell of rivers and jungle from misty depths.

2 “Hollywood, Siam.”

3 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.

4 So the clients are quietly dying of botulism…. Then A. J. returns with an entourage of Arab refugees from the Middle East. He takes one mouthful and screams:

5 Careful autopsies of Bang-utot victims have revealed no organic reason for death. There are often signs of strangulation (caused by what?); sometimes slight hemorrhages of pancreas and lungs — not sufficient to cause death and also of unknown origin. It has occurred to the author that the cause of death is a mis-placement of sexual energy resulting in a lung erection with consequent strangulation…. [See article by Nils Larsen M.D., The Men with the Deadly Dream in the Saturday Evening Post, December 3, 1955. Also article by Erle Stanley Gardner for Time Magazine.] )

6 “And how do we know that?”

7 P.L.: “You see? This is pure uncut boy in the street.”


9 “The boys stand at the tenement window, their arms around each other, looking at the Brooklyn Bridge. A warm spring wind ruffles Jim’s black curls and the fine hennaed hair of Brad.

10 An electrode attached to one testicle glowed briefly and NG woke up in the smell of burning flesh and reached for a loaded syringe. He rolled into a foetal position and slid the needle into his spine. He pulled the needle out with a little sigh of pleasure, and realized that Lee was in the room. A long slug undulated out of Lee’s right eye and wrote on the wall in iridescent ooze: ” The Sailor is in the City buying up TIME.”

11 “Handicapped somewhat by lack of legs.”

12 He Hips out mother of pearl opera glasses — Aztec mosaic in the sun.

13 Mark is standing in the doorway. He wears a turtle-neck black sweater. Cold, handsome, narcissistic face. Green eyes and black hair. He looks at Johnny with a slight sneer, his head on one side, hands on his jacket pockets, a graceful hoodlum ballet. He jerk his head and Johnny walk ahead of him into the bedroom. Mary follow. “All right, boys,” she say, sitting down naked on a pink silk dais overlooking the bed. “Get with it!”

14 I recall once after an overdose of Majoun (this is Cannabis dried and finely powdered to consistency of green powdered sugar and mixed with some confection or other usually tasting like gritty plum pudding, but the choice of confection is arbitrary… ). I am returning from The Lulu or Johny or Little Boy’s Room (stink of atrophied infancy and toilet training) look across the living room of that villa outside Tanger and suddenly don’t know where I am. Perhaps I have opened the wrong door and at any moment The Man In Possession, The Owner Who Got There First will rush in and scream:

15 NURSE: “I can’t find her pulse, doctor.”

16 “As far as the eye can see, nothing but replicas,” he says, crawling around on his terrace and speaking in strange insect chirps. “I don’t have to skulk around like a nameless asshole growing replicas in my cesspool and sneaking them out disguised as plumbers and delivery men…. My replicas don’t have their dazzling beauty marred by plastic surgery and barbarous dye and bleach processes. They stand forth naked in the sun for all to see, in their incandescent loveliness of body, face and soul. I have made them in my image and enjoined them to increase and multiply geometric for they shall inherit the earth.”

17 A contingent of howling simopaths swing from chandeliers, balconies and trees, shitting and pissing on passersby. (A simopath — the technical name for this disorder escapes me — is a citizen convinced he is an ape or other simian. It is a disorder peculiar to the army, and discharge cures it.) Amoks trot along cutting off heads, faces sweet and remote with a dreamy half smile. …Citizens with incipient Bang-utot clutch their penises and call on the tourists for help…. Arab rioters yipe and howl, castrating, disembowelling, throw burning gasoline…. Dancing boys striptease with intestines, women stick severed genitals in their cunts, grind, bump and Hick it at the man of their choice…. Religious fanatics harangue the crowd from helicopters and rain stone tablets on their heads, inscribed with meaningless messages…. Leopard Men tear people to pieces with iron claws, coughing and grunting…. Kwakiutl Canni-bal Society initiates bite off noses and ears….

18 Doctor Benway pauses at the door and looks back at the IND’s. “Our failures,” he says. “Well, it’s all in the day’s work.”

19 Schafer: “I tell you I can’t escape a feeling… well, of evil about this.”

20 Jack The Ripper, Literal Swordsman of the 1890s and never caught with his pants down… wrote a letter to The Press.

21 The Inspector opens his fly and begins looking for crabs, applying ointment from a little clay pot. Clearly the interview is at an end. “You’re not going?” he exclaims. “Well, as one judge said to the other, ‘Be just and if you can’t be just be arbitrary.’ Regret cannot observe customary obscenities.” He holds up his right hand covered with a foul-smelling yellow ointment.

22 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.

23 “Can you score off him?” Diddle? Diddle?