the coming of the purple better one (wm burroughs)

The scene is Grant Park, Chicago, 1968. A full-scale model of the Mayflower, with American flags for sails, has been set up. A.J., in his Uncle Sam suit, steps to a mike on the deck:

“Ladies and gentlemen, it is my coveted privilege and deep honour to introduce to you the distinguished senator and former Justice of the Supreme Court, Homer Mandrill, known to his friends as The Purple Better One. No doubt you are familiar with a book called The African Genesis, written by Robert Ardrey, a native son of Chicago, and, I may add, a true son of America. I quote to you from his penetrating work: ‘When I was a boy in Chicago, I attended the Sunday School of our neighbouring church. I recall our Wednesday night meetings with simplest nostalgia. We would meet in the basement. There would be a short prayer and a shorter benediction, then we would turn out the lights, and, in total darkness, hit each other with chairs.’ Mr. Ardrey’s early training tempered his character, to face and make known the truth about the origins and nature of mankind: ‘Not in innocence and not in Asia was mankind born. The home of our fathers was the African Highland. The most significant of all our gifts was the legacy bequeathed us by our immediate forebears, a race of terrestrial flesh-eating killer apes.’

“Raymond A. Dart of the University Of Johannesburg was the strident voice from South Africa that would prove the southern ape to be the human ancestor. Dart put forward the simple thesis that man emerged from the anthropoid background for only one reason: ‘because he was a killer. A rock, a stick, a heavy bone, was to our ancestral killer ape the margin of survival.’ (And now we sat in his office at the wrong end of the world). ‘Man’s original nature imposes itself on any human solution. The aggressive nature of the southern ape, suh, glowing with menace, fought your battles on the perilous veldts of Africa, 500,000 years ago. Had he not done so, you would not be living here, in this great city, in this great land of America, raising your happy families in peace and prosperity.’

“Who more fitted to represent our Simian heritage in all its glory than Homer Mandrill, himself a descendent of that illustrious line? Who else can restore to this nation the spirit of true conservatism, that imposes itself on any human solution? And at a time when this great republic is threatened by enemies foreign and domestic? Actually, there can be only one candidate: The Purple Better One, your future President!”

To The Battle Hymn Of The Republic, an American flag is drawn aside to reveal a purple-assed mandrill. (thunderous applause) Led to the mike by secret service men in dark suits that bulge suggestively here and there, The Purple Better One blinks in bewilderment.

The technician mixes a bicarbonate of soda and belches into his hand. He is sitting in front of three instrument panels, one labelled PA for Purple Ass, one labelled A for audience, a third labelled P for police. (crude experiments with rhesus monkeys have demonstrated that small currents of electricity passed through electrodes into the appropriate brain areas can elicit any emotional or visceral response : rage, fear, sexuality, vomiting, sleep, defecation. No doubt with further experimentation these techniques will be perfected and electromagnetic fields will supersede the use of actual electrodes embedded in the brain.) He adjusts dials as Homer’s mouth moves to a dubbed speech from directional mikes. The features of other candidates are projected onto Homer’s face from a laser installation across the park, so that he seems to embody them all:

“At this dark hour in the history of the Republic, there are grave questions troubling all our hearts. I pledge myself to answer these questions. One question is the war in Vietnam, which is not only a war, but a Holy Crusade against the godless forces of communism. And I say this to you: if these forces are not contained they will engulf us all. (thunderous applause) And I flatly accuse the Administration of criminal diffidence in the use of atomic weapons. Are we going to turn a red and blue ass to the enemy? (NO! NO! NO!) Are we going to fight through to victory at any cost? (YES! YES! YES!) I say to you, we will win, if it takes ten years. We will win, if we have to police every blade of grass and every gook in Vietnam. (thunderous applause) And after that, we’re going to wade in and take care of Chairman Mao, and his band of cut-throat slave-drivers. (thunderous applause) And if any country shall open its mouth to carp at the great American task, well, a single back-handed blow from our mighty Seventh Fleet will silence that impotent puppet of Moscow and Peking. Another question is so-called Black Power. I want to go on record that I am a true friend of all good darkies everywhere.” (to wild applause, a picture of the world famous statue of Natchitochas Louisiana flashes on screen) “As you all know, this statue shows a good old darkie with his hat in his hand.” (Homer’s voice chokes with emotion, and tears drip off his nose) “Why, when I was fourteen years old, our old yard Nigrah Jones got runned over by a laundry truck, and I cried my decent American heart out. And I have a deep conviction that the overwhelming majority of Nigrahs in this country is good Darkies like Rover Jones. However, we know that there is in this country today another kind of Nigrah, and, as long as there is a gas pump handy, we all know the answer to that. (thunderous applause)

“And I would like to say this to followers of the Jewish religion. Always remember we like nice Jews with Jew jokes. As for nigger-lovin’ communistic agitating Sheeneys, well, just watch yourself, Jew-boy, or we’ll cut the rest of it off. (That’s telling ’em, Homer. What about the legalisation of marijuana?) Marijuana! Marijuana! Why, that’s deadlier than cocaine! And what are we going to do about that vile America-hating hoodlums who call themselves Hippies, Yippies and Chippies? We are going to put this scum behind bars, like the animals they are. (thunderous applause) An’ I tell you something else: a bunch of queers, dope-freaks, degenerates and dirty writers is living in foreign lands under the protection of American passports, from the vantage point of which they do not hesitate to spit their filth on Old Glory. Well, we’re gonna pull the passports of those dope freaks. (the technician pushes a sex button and the Simian begins to masturbate) Bring them back here and teach them to act like decent Americans. (the Simian ejaculates, hitting the lens of a Life-Time reporter) And I denounce as communist-inspired rumours that the dollar collapsed in 1959. I pledge myself to turn the clock back to 1899, when a silver dollar bought a steak dinner and a good piece of ass. (thunderous applause as a plane writes September 17th 1899 in the sky in smoke) I have heard it said that this is a lawless nation, that if all the laws in the land were enforced truly, we would have 30% of the population in jail, and the remaining 70% in the cops. I say to you, if there is infection in this great land, it must be cut out by the roots. I pledge myself to uphold the laws of America, and to enforce these hallowed statutes on all violators, regardless of race, creed, colour or religion. (thunderous applause) We will overcome all our enemies foreign and domestic, and stay armed to the teeth, for years, decades, centuries.”

The Simian bares his canines, shits on the deck, and wipes his ass with Old Glory. A phalanx of blue-helmeted cops shoulders its way through the crowd. They stop in front of the deck. The lead cop looks up at A.J. and demands: ” Let’s see your permits for that purple-assed son of a bitch.”

“Permits? We don’t have any stinking permits. You are talking about the future president of America.”

The lead cop takes a slip of paper from his shirt pocket and reads:”MUNICIPAL CODE OF CHICAGO, Chapter 98, Section 14: No person shall permit any such dangerous animal with a chain, rope or other appliance, whether such animal be muzzled or unmuzzled, in any public way or public place.” He folds the paper and shoves it into his pocket. He points at The Purple Better One: “It’s dangerous, and we got orders to remove it.” A cop moves forward with a net. The technician shoves the Rage Dial all the way up. Screaming, farting, snarling, the Simian leaps off the deck onto the startled officer, who staggers back and goes down, thrashing wildly on the ground, while his fellow pigs stand helpless and baffled, not daring to risk a shot for fear of hitting their comrade. Finally the cop heaves himself to his feet, and throws off the Simian. Panting and bleeding, he stands there, his eyes wild. With a scream of rage, The Purple Better One throws himself at another patrolman, who fires two panicky shots, which miss the Simian and crash through a window of the Hilton, into the campaign headquarters of a conservative southern candidate. A photographer from the London Times is riddled with bullets by secret service men, under the misconception that he has fired from a gun concealed in his camera. The cop throws his left arm in front of his face. The Simian sinks his canines into the cop’s arm. The cop presses his gun against the Simian’s chest and pumps in four bullets. Homer Mandrill thumps to the ground and bloody grass, he ejaculates, shits and dies. A.J. points a finger at the cop: “Arrest that Pig!” he screams, “Seize the assassin!”

A.J. was held on $100,000 bail, which he posted from his pocket in cash. Further disturbances erupted at the funeral, when a band of vigilantes who called themselves the White Hunters attempted to desecrate the flag-draped body, as it was carried in solemn procession through Lincoln Park, on the way to its final resting place in Grant Park. The hoodlums were beaten off by A.J.’s elite guard of Korean karate experts. A group of society women who had gathered in front of the Sheraton to protest the legalisation of marijuana were charged by police, screaming “Chippies! Chippies! Chippies!” and savagely clubbed to the side-walk, in a litter of diamonds, teeth, blood, mink stoles and handbags. As the Simian was laid to rest under a silver replica of the Mayflower, a statue of The Purple Better One at the helm, A.J. called for five minutes of silent prayer in memory of our beloved candidate: “Cut down in Grant Park by the bullets of an assassin … A communistic Jew Nigger inflamed to madness by injections of marijuana … The fact that the assassin had, with diabolical cunning, disguised himself as a police officer, indicates the working of a far-flung, communistic plot, the tentacles of which may reach into the White House itself. This foul crime shrieks to heaven high. We will not rest until the higher-ups are brought to justice, whoever they are and wherever they may be. We will realise the aspirations and dreams every American cherishes in his heart. The American Dream can be and will be realised. I say to you that Grant Park will be a shrine to all future Americans. In the words of the all-American poet, James Whitcombe Riley: “Freedom shall a-while repair, To dwell a weeping hermit there.”

One Comment

  1. Posted July 11, 2016 at 11:25 pm | Permalink

    WOW! On the eve of the next DNC and the upcoming RNC, and in light of all the violence and nut nuttery of late, I tremble in fear and loathing.

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