What I always wanted was a good dose! Syphilis, ideally. Although any of the major venereal diseases would have done. All the great writers of history have suffered this way, but, God damn it, I was always cursed with a healthy cock, and I think it shows in my work. All I could ever muster was a half-assed thrush from time to time, or a lousy wart or two. And as a consequence what has there been to talk about? Birth? Marriage? Death? What are these in comparison to a good fuck followed by a truly painful pus-fest? Tell me that.
Now, I hunted them down, these dirty cunts, these mangy whores, these angels of shame and inspiration. But all I ever found were talcum powdered virgins and dried up widows. And not a one who knew how to make a decent soufflé! My precious Mabeline, how I begged her to sleep around, roam the sewers at night in search of a pestilent prick! And all she could say was, “what are you talking about, Henry? What sewers? Our sewers are all chrome lined and sanitised. And what’s with the foul-mouthed alliteration? Have you been writing again?” How could she know, that sweet miracle of youth, that this was the point: I hadn’t written a worthwhile word in forty years! All I wanted was a reason to be alive, a reason to suffer, and much as she loved me she was powerless to give me the one thing I needed. God rest her, that fruit-fart bitch! And then there was June! June, who told me her name was Judith, but I knew it must be June – she always was a ticklish cunt, you had to watch that one! There I am picking the bedbugs from my stockings one rancid day in May, and she says to me: “You know Henry, maybe if you just accepted that it’s not the 30’s anymore, that my name isn’t June and that you are not fucking French, you might get well!” Ha! “Maybe if you got rid of that awful bicycle,” she says, “maybe if you dropped the phoney bohemian shit for a while and got a job, then we’d all be better off!” Well, OK, I said – June my raison d’etre and my bete noire all rolled into one greasy dough ball – just give me the pox and fear no more, ‘Cos then I’ll have a job, you miserable cunt: I’ll be a writer!
But that’s in the past. And I don’t like to dwell on the past. Unless I’m remembering Carstairs and his rot-gut breath, sitting cross-legged in the café of rue de la Morgue, the same damp cheroot dangling from his lips that had been there all week, telling us about his friendship with Nietzsche and of their queer little morality games. I could have listened to that guy whimper on for all eternity, as long as I was upwind! Good god could he talk! And drink too, the skinny bastard; I once watched him finish too full bottles of pernod without once taking a piss! And by that we knew why he kept his legs crossed. But you don’t see it now. Those golden days are gone, replaced by a dull lead that weighs as heavy. So I don’t dwell.
What have we got now worth a rage or a riot? Where are our distempers, our plagues, our pests? Or ones worth having at least? What have we now save media wars and system epidemics? What is there that can’t be fixed, or washed, or replaced? Information makes us strong, ignorance breeds contempt – read a pamphlet, take a class, get insurance! And if you still get sick, if you still can’t cope, then sue the bastards! There’s no point in dying today, because if you do you might miss something; you just might miss an opportunity to win – to win a car, or a cruise around the tropics, or a brand new sandwich toaster, or a lifetime subscription to Life, or Time, or both! Don’t give up, Jack, the movie of the month is right around the corner – take a pill, have the op, get some counselling, hollow out your fetid shell and fill it with computer chips, or sauerkraut, or beaver dung, or whatever is working this month, but do not die, do not miss this masterpiece of sentiment and colourful banality that is right around the corner!
Yes, God damn it, one thing I wish I’d had is a good solid dose. One fine memory of a good old-fashioned fuck and the sting to prove it. But my cock is clean. So clean you can see your face in it. And I can’t write for shit because there’s nothing left worth writing about. Who wants to hear about a nice clean cock? Where’s the joy in that? You see you can try, but you can’t get the clap now, buddy, just a warm round of applause as they lead you to your chair and thank you for nothing.