So the New York Public Library bought the William S. Burroughs archive, with “11,000 pages of manuscript and typescript material,” most of it from the 1960s and ’70s, and never seen by scholars. The purchase likely cost millions. The report doesn’t mention the price. It does mention Burroughs’s cut-up experiments and his sense of humor. I wonder whether the collection includes the manuscript for this tasty morsel from HARD/1, a little mimeo mag that appeared in the summer of 1972, which I have in my files.
Lie Lie Lie
By William Burroughs
Xolotl and Ouab are organizing guerrilla resistance in South America. First step is to weed out the proliferating CIA infiltrators …
A jungle camp. The CIA volunteer with a dead man’s cover story is escorted into a thatched hut by two guerrillas.
Xolotl is sitting on a stool the shrunken heads of other CIA agents on shelf behind him a tiny American flag at half mast planted by each head. The CIA man’s cover story stirs queasily. Xolotl is a black salamander boy with yellow electric eyes. A Ouab bird is perched on his shoulder. He motions the CIA man to a stainless steel stool in front of him. The two escorts stand in the doorway of the hut machine guns cradled chewing coca juice.
“Welcome friend if you are one. Sit here and hold my hands …”
Ouab the cat boy with quick precise fingers is making adjustments on an improvised switchboard. A dome-shaped metal reflector descends from the ceiling and stops two feet above the CIA man’s head. He looks up nervously.
Xolotl: “Are you connected with the CIA or any related intelligence service?”
“No senor. Those cabrones killed my brother …”
“Lie Lie Lie” screams the Ouab bird. Ouab electrocutes the CIA man with a blast of DC.
“That’s the way they should have made electric chairs in the first place. DC not AC.”
Ouab perfects a small portable lie detector that can be used by anyone after a few weeks training.
“Are you connected to the CIA? That reads. What do you consider this could mean?”
The CIA man’s head shrinks to the size of an orange. Doktor Kurt Unruh von Steinplatz holds the head in his hand as he addresses intelligence agents.
“So a stupid head … We can inflitrate as well and better …”
Here is the seedy generalissimo in a Miami cocktail lounge with two CIA men.
“Yes I will have another double whisky. Yes we will resist the slave driver Mao and his gang of cut throats with the help of our American FRIENDS” …
And here is a top-level defector with his brief case. Hot biological weapon. Just one little piece of misdirection …
PS from Herr Doktor von Steinplatz: “We are on course so using the cold war nonsense for our own purposes.”
Which is a lie within a lie within a lie.
Burroughs always said real events do not occur until a writer writes them. Curveball, anyone? (“Top-level defector with his brief case. Hot biological weapon. Just one little piece of misdirection.”) To say nothing of the Viet-‘Raq connection (“… dishonesty and deception …” etc.) Furthermore, I normally wouldn’t think of yoking Bill Burroughs and Ted Sorenson in the same sentence. But given Sorensen’s emphatic remark yesterday about the mendacity of the current U.S. regime and this old Burroughs satire in my files, I think their names fit well together.