Rows of ancient magnates paralyzed in wheelchairs, all lined up to take the morning sun and sip their bug juice from delicate china cups. The sun kisses every wrinkle on their hideous heads as they nod in unison, whispering and mumbling between delicate sips of bug juice and jism, calling out suddenly as one, "YOU ARE MY WILL" and "I AM SELLING YOUR SOULS" - all of the phrases taught them by their years in the brokerages and the demon-exchanges of Hell, where the stocks of the damned are traded and the malign ecstasy of the rich and willful is captured and distilled to make the iridescent bug juice that these selfsame magnates now sip and mumble in their wheelchairs. Handlers and attendants swarm about them like moths, shedding dandruff flakes from their wings in shades of brilliant purple, blue, copper and gold.
Reporters from the front give their best announcers' voices over to the mouthing of obscenities too rancid to be recorded on disc, much less broadcast even on the depths of midnight cable channels - they'd melt the satellite dishes if they sent this stuff spewing over the airwaves. Giant cockroach mandibles spewing venom, the tricks of the trade now exposed - cockroach trenchcoats in pure solid focus, spewing bug juice from their jaws as they talk over the news of the day in Hell, provide an update on the soul exchange... everywhere people tuning in and watching their eyes peel out of their heads in slow motion as the cockroach jaws whirr.
Rows of wheelchairs lined up on the decks of black iron cruise ships. Ancient magnates taking tours on the lake of fire. Their wives, white-haired and dignified society matrons all, fall to their hands and knees, licking up spills of bug juice from the deck. Cockroaches with whips stand over them, flailing with legs (that break off now and then) at the upturned buttocks of the great. The fee they pay for this privilege is tremendous, bankrupting many a magnate before they know what hit them. The black cruise ships are always full as they steam across the lake of fire on businesses dark and malign. The cockroach Captain stands in solitary splendor on the poop deck, wing cases spread to catch the hot salt air, masticating the leg of a hapless passenger like a toothpick as he contemplates the course of his destiny aboard the black ships.
The road ahead is paved with fire, lined with signifiers of terror and ecstasy. Black iron signs beside the road rise on bug legs, artfully carved and woven into symbols of arcane mastery by hands below decks on those very same black cruise ships. Hands go through the belongings of the rich and famous who wallow on their knees above, all aboard giving in to impulses dark and malign, stealing the choicest treasures from the lives of the undead, the damned, the rich and famous who've booked these cruises for the exact opposite of relaxation. From each other.
Never before in the history of the human race have so many people given themselves over to darkness. Never before have the black cruise ships been so full of wrinkled lovers squandering the juices of orgasm on the floor of the gas chambers. Never before has the world been so close to madness and despair. And a cockroach Colossus towers over it all, munching on souls. The bug juice rises to the level of its lipless mouth and spills over onto the throngs waiting below.
The black cruise ships, with their rows of empty wheelchairs lined up on deck, stand off the port side of the vast and darkened city. The last reporter saw his own skull, bleached white with the faintest of red still hiding in the sutures, just before he died. The televisions flicker on, showing empty trenchcoats and logos looping in unreadable alphabets. The cockroach masters and their half-human slaves are on holiday.
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02/03, 02/05, 03/17/2005
Prompted by falling asleep to "Naked Making Lunch," a documentary about the making of David Cronenberg's adaptation of William Burroughs' Naked Lunch, as it appears on the Criterion edition DVD set.
©2005 Alan P. Scott. All rights reserved.
Last updated March 18, 2005.