Before you begin, have you read Chapter 5 yet?
I notice the twitch marring his inscrutable expression, an ugly crack in a porcelain jar. But, before I can ask him about it, he’s already off, red-hot on his invisible mountain trail. Whatever anger he could have worked up earlier now simmers in his eyes, glowering softly in the near-darkness, two transparent eels traversing the black waters with nothing but their luminous tantalizers dangling surreptitiously off their sloping heads.
“After that he began waking up in the morning with a transparent jelly like a tadpole’s tail all over his mouth. This jelly was what the scientists call un-D.T., Undifferentiated Tissue, which can grow into any kind of flesh on the human body.”
He paused to clear his phlegmy throat. Then, beginning again, a stop-starting engine nestled in his wrinkly throat: “He would tear it off his mouth and the pieces would stick to his hands like burning gasoline jelly and grow there, grow anywhere on him a glob of it fell.”
The knife falls from his trembling hands. I nearly jump from the sudden sound of the metal clattering against the floor. In such a setting, that sound could have stopped everything in its path, I reckon. Perhaps, even time itself. Had he done it on purpose?
Not wanting to admit my skittishness, I immediately think up of something to say. “Well that was pretty interesting, Bill. Did you know that they have the potential to grow into malignant tumours? That’s what stopping them from using it legitimately. And it sounds a lot like Ditto’s function. Do you know what Ditto does? It’s the amorphous whorehouse of the Pokemon world. It’s apparently sexless. Isn’t it fascinating? You should play Pokemon some time soon.”
I tap his foot impatiently with my index finger. “Do they have video games over here? How the fuck does one come here, anyway?”
He gives me a “well, I never!” sort of look, almost pausing mid-sentence to ask me what the hell a Ditto could possibly be, but his eyes narrow and he chooses to continue his tale.
“So, finally his mouth sealed over, and the whole head would have have amputated spontaneous — (did you know there is a condition occurs in parts of Africa and only among Negroes where the little toe amputates spontaneously?) — except for the eyes you dig.”
“And that reminds me of the chicken which had its head accidently amputated and lived to see a month,” I pipe up.
“Well, you ain’t seen anything yet, you young fool.” he rasped.
“That’s one thing the asshole couldn’t do was see. It needed the eyes. But nerve connections were blocked and infiltrated and atrophied so the brain couldn’t give orders any more. It was trapped in the skull, sealed off.”
He picks up the knife, humming under his breath. Polishing it again with his hanky, he continues, pale blue eyes seeming to glow with an unearthly effect. A horizon that offers nothing to me, the keen follower, but the bright, blue sky –
“For a while you could see the silent, helpless suffering of the brain behind the eyes, then finally the brain must have died, because the eyes went out, and there was no more feeling in them than a crab’s eyes on the end of a stalk.”
Then, without any warning, he flings the knife, which whistles past my ear and hits a giant checkerboard now hanging on the wall – the same shades of black and white as his mask. For the first time, I catch a glimpse of a little black teardrop tattooed below the right eye, smoky iris crouched at a far end of the portico. I turn back to see where his knife has landed.
And I hereby come to the conclusion of Reading Naked Lunch! I’m not very good at writing legible reviews (if you see this attempt over here) so this was my way of compensating somewhat! I wanted to capture the feelings I had when I was writing this, and feel that I could have done better, but this may well become a springboard for future projects.