I recently overcame my writer's block and began writing the chapter in which Allen Ginsberg and Lucien Carr visit Joan Volmer during William Burrough's hiatus down in the Amazon. This is an experpt and unedited, of course. So, please refrain from any judgement. I like this chapter, because in lieu of research, it will be bitter-sweet and funny opposed to the dire depression of the previous chapter. A well deserved holiday for our intrepid and well inhebriated characters. Enjoy.
FIRE AND BRIMSTONE
an unedited exert from Blew the Shot
While William and Marker roamed around South America and explored the lush jungles of the Amazon basin for yagé, Allen Ginsberg and Lucien Carr, accompanied with Lucien’s dog, Pasky, made a surprise visit to Mexico City in a beat-up old Chevrolet to visit Joan.
In apartment 8 at 210 Orizaba, Joan lay in the gloom on the sagging couch. Her body, though numb from the excessive alcohol intake, still throbbed from a discomfort overtly visceral; mostly from boredom and loneliness. Joan glanced over toward the dusty writing desk cluttered with unanswered correspondence. Billy Jr., who had just turned four, sat on the foul carpet in soiled underpants rolling a toy car back and forth. The front right wheel long missing. Frail Julie slumped in the adjacent chair listening quietly to her stomach growl. It was early morning and Joan was gathering strength to prepare a simple breakfast for herself and children when a series of loud knocks issued from the front door. Joan remained immobile, staring up at the stained ceiling, taking a long drag from her cigarette. The pounding repeated itself.
“Mommy, someone’s at the door.” Julie faintly stated.
“I hear that, sweetie.” Joan croaked.
Bam! Bam! Bam!
“Aren’t you going to see who it is?” Julie asked. “It could be daddy.”
Joan took another puff and sighed. “Your daddy wouldn’t knock.”
Bam! Bam! Bam!
“Well.” She looked at Julie and smirked, “I assume it must be important.”
Julie giggled and with a weary groan and a bit of effort, Joan wobbled to her feet. Clutching her cane, she awkwardly ambled toward the door. Cracking it, all anxieties and depression dissolved as she screamed in glee when she flung the door open to reveal her old friends Allen and Lucien standing on the landing.
“Oh, my Lord!” She squealed as she leapt onto each man with a tight embrace.
“Joanie!” Lucien said. The force of her actions nearly knocked the dangling cigarette from his lips.
“Didn’t you receive my letter?” Allen asked. “I never heard anything back.”
She smiled a toothless smile, coyly brushing down the wrinkles of her rumpled skirt. “And I do wish to apologize for that, Allen. I never got around to mailing my answer. You said you were coming down with Jack, though.” She glanced quickly past him expecting her friend to be lurking in the shadows. “Where is Kerouac?”
Lucien dropped his duffle bag next to his dusty shoes. “Oh, that kook dropped out at the last minute. Some ordeal concerning his mother. I’m here because I was invited to attend the wedding of a friend from UPI who is staying down here. So, not wanting to go alone, I simply drove around to where Allen was living and said, ‘Al, it’s time to take a couple of weeks off and go to Mexico.’ He drolly agreed, ‘Fine, I’ll have to pick up a sweater.’”
She smiled at her old roommate. His hair was thinning a bit and he sported a black beard. Yet, the same passionate fire broadcasted past those thick horn-rimmed glasses. “Same old Allen.”
“It was a nice sweater.” Allen sniffed. He said to Joan, “You gave it to me, remember? Anyway, as you well recall, I don’t drive, so it was down to Lucien, fueled by alcohol, to get us there.”
She took Allen’s hand, pressed the delicate fingers with her own. “How was the trip? It must had been long and painful for you, dearest Allen.”
“Allen is no stranger to things long and painful.” Lucien interjected, dropping his cigarette butt onto the floor, squishing it with the toe of his shoe.
Allen ignored the jib and stated feyly with eyes closed, “Entirely uneventful. We only stopped to sleep in the car and grab quick meals. The solitary calamity being the top of the Chevrolet’s thermometer blew off as we drove through a dreadful Texas heat wave. Other than that, it was pleasant. Well worth the trip to come and see you and Bill.”
“Where are my manners…please, do come in.” Joan said.
Allen forlornly examined Joan as she gauchely turned to usher the two in. After several years of not seeing his old roommate, he noticed she had deteriorated strikingly, akin to a withered potted flower uncared for and left to rot on a windowsill.
Allen and Lucien entered the dank apartment, glanced around the unkempt room. Allen immediately noticed little Julie sitting on the overstuffed chair. She looked like a dirty doll gazing at him with oversized eyes.
“Is that Julie?” Allen smiled warmly at the child.
“Indeed, she is.” Joan croaked. “Julie, you remember Allen, don’t you? He visited us when we lived in Texas?”
The child remained silent and actually seemed as if she was attempting to sink farther back into the cushions.
“She’ll be giving you competition soon,” Allen told Joan upon noticing the girl’s blossoming beauty.
“Oh, I assure you, Allen, I’m out of the running,” responded Joan, glancing out the corner of her eye at the unopened bottle of tequila that stood on the table.
“Billy? Is that you?” Allen boomed at the small boy. Billy Jr. shot a startled glance up toward Allen and then scampered quickly into the bedroom, slamming the door after him.
“They’ll warm up to you.” Joan sighed apologetically. “They’re just hungry. I was about to prepare breakfast. Care to join us?”
“I could eat.” Lucien smirked, rubbing his stomach.
Allen frowned at the shut bedroom door, “Lucien brought his dog. He’s still in the car. Perhaps after breakfast I can bring Pasky up and the kids can play with him. Would you like that, Julie?”
Julie simply shrugged.
Joan made her way into the kitchen and as she noisily began pulling pots out from the cupboards, she called, “Well, sit and make yourselves at home, fellahs. To commemorate your arrival in Mexico City, I’ll whip up a time honored breakfast of huevos rancheros. Lucien, grab some glasses and pour us a shot of that tequila there, then you can astound and amuse me with your tales of high adventure and romance.”
Lucien found three tumbler glasses, wiped them with the front of his dusty shirt and began pouring the shots, “Speaking of adventure and romance, I heard Bill went to South America. Is he back, yet?”
Allen flinched as he heard a skillet loudly being slammed onto the stoves range.
“I regret to inform you he has not.” Joan casually responded. “You know Bill, his addiction to junk is only surpassed by his addiction to the boys.”
Allen took the glass offered by Lucien and sipped the contents, wincing. “Well, that’s a fucking bummer. I really wanted to see him. Lucien and I have about a week to waste, you think he’ll return by then?”
“Of that day and hour knows no man, no, not even the angels of heaven. Lucien, you mentioned something about being down here for a wedding?”
Lucien handed a glass to Allen, strode into the kitchen and handed one to Joan. “Shit. Bill’s not here? What a fag. He knew at least Allen was coming down. He should be here.”
Joan cracked two eggs into a greased skillet and said, “So, what about that wedding?”
“As I stated, a coworker from the newspaper lives down here and is tying the knot. He invited me. I invited Allen.” Lucien handed the glass to Joan. “And now, I am inviting you.”
Automatically, Joan gulped the shot and held the empty glass to Lucien. “Oh, I don’t know. I have to tend to the kids. Bill is due back any day, I am certain…”
Lucien returned to the living room to refill the glass. He swallowed his own and replenished Joan and his glass, “Screw Bill. He left you here to rot in boredom.” He returned to the kitchen holding out the glass to Joan. “You need a little diversion. I’ll pay for someone to mind the kids. I insist you go, Joanie.” He smiled, “There’ll be unlimited booze.”
“Unlimited booze?” She repeated flopping tortillas onto the open range to heat them. She turned and took the tequila from Lucien, instantly throwing it back.
“Unlimited.” He stated coyly, tossing his own shot down. He took the glass from Joan and went to refill them both. “Plus, it would be good for you to get out and meet some new people. I insist.” He walked back into the kitchen slightly wavering. Tequila dripped off his hand onto the grimy tiled floor. “I am certain you will wow those squares with your vast intellect and razor sharp, witty repartee, just like you did back home.”
“Please, Joanie?” Allen pleaded as he began clearing dirty dishes off the dining table and placing them in the already over-filled sink. “It won’t be cool if you stood us up, too.”
Joan took the glass from Lucien and glanced at them both, smiling. “Because I missed both of you and because you are both so sweet to me, how could I refuse such a temptation? And as you both realize, I can resist anything but.”