"Some trillions of years ago, a sloppy, dirty giant flicked grease from his fingers. One of those globs of grease is our universe, on its way to the floor.


This short story by William S. Burroughs occurs in the same world as one of his other works, Cities of the Red Night. A pirate (Captain Mission) lives on the island of Madagascar, where the Articles have replaced other man-made laws. Mission is an avid lover of the indigenous life of the island, most of all the multitude of lemurs which populate it's trees and forest floors. He and the natives of Madagascar live in harmony with the animals of the island until the day when one of the visitors to their village shoots a lemur for stealing his lunch, a mango. This infuriates the captain, and he demands that he leave. From this point the story takes on the signature Burroughs' psychedelic quality which permeates most of his works.

Also a strong commentary on Christianity and it's supposed poisoning of mankind, this short story explores man's unrelenting subconcious desire to destroy all that surrounds him. The miracles performed by Christ are described as wasted on those undeserving of his healing powers.

"AND A MAN came unto Me with a sick monkey in his arms, and said: 'Heal my monkey.'
'I cannot heal animals, they have no soul.'
'They have grace and beauty and innocence. What are the people You heal but animals? Animals without grace, ugly animals deformed and diseased by the hate that has caused their sickness...'
He cuddled his sick monkey and turned away. Then he looked back and said, 'Go heal Your lepers. And Your stinking beggars. Heal until You have nothing left to heal with.

"How much of this precious coinage did Christ borrow on human futures to heal one lousy idiot leper, one stinking, drooling, cross-eyed, harelipped beggar? Did Christ ever seek out a man who deserved to be healed because he had a special gift, a one-in-a-million talent? Unh-uh, Christ was concerned with quantity, not quality."

This text is a wonderful addition to Burroughs' already prestigious line up, displaying even more of the mind which created a powerful lineage of beat era literature. A good short read with a powerful message for non-believers such as myself...

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