The prick, swollen contortionist, turns up its oily face to his persecutor; there is a defect in its symmetry, the casual smoothness of its wrapper that was once so usual, unremarkable, pale and rosy. The deformed prick puckered its slim slit, took in a premonitory breath, and began, incredibly, to speak:
“Well, evil man, you have used me as a blind man uses his stick–thrust into every slimy obstacle in your periplum’s path! Odysseus did not abuse his wily wits with such prodigal purposelessness as you have used me! A divining rod born to locate vile mud would be cleaner after 300 years of dirty village service than I am at the the end of one day in your pulpy hands! Benedicte! I grew with you, and as you grew, in modest shadowed compartments, listening to the pure mumbled buzz of your mother’s voice above, your own answers polite and tame as an angel’s. This occurred for many years. I was powdered and sweet to smell or look upon.
“Then, from I know not where, a heat, a black lamp, a rising lava, an untamed flame, a fire, began to creep and increase along my veins, one evening after prayers, under the clean linen; up from the fat base, where irritating hairs had only begun to appear that lapping spring, a cauterizing stream began its inevitable flow.–Ah! that night has been the end of all my days since!–Because of you above, and your contemptible lack of imagination! You could have sought out an iron collar, a spike of ice to finish the inferno roasting my pink hide, a snip with a scissors or even, meekly, like a priest, wool underwear would have done the trick and abolished this hazardous destiny you have embarked both of us upon!
“But, no! You became a creature of soft gloves and furtive arrondisments; quick showers and false perfumes. And all the time, I alone would be left to feel the fire. And when it came, in sheets of faces like the shroud of Turin, obliterating the horizon the way a fire races through the forest, leaping even faster uphill than down, high on’ its own heatwaves, then–and then only!–you would turn your spoiled attentions to me, trying to dig myself a common grave in your thigh, or hiding behind the cool coins in your pocket for a minute’s respite. You would uncover me, startled and turgid and scarlet as a new-baked loaf of cinnamon bread, to the frightful ices of the night air. A single moment of relief and reprieve that hurt almost as much as it satisfied! But even this relief was a lie, for no sooner had I stood naked beneath the wan moon’s cynical scowl, than your hand was upon my throat in a wrestler’s chokehold, as if you would tear me from the very root of your ugly being! A feat, by the way, which you never managed, and which would have been best for both of us–and I would be free at last from the omnipresent odure of merde.
“The lavender of your pomp, the plump of your palpating hand soon brought me off in a miasma of fetid regrets. I sank, a shucked and scabbed husk, back into the truncated winter-stubble. If this was all, I would have been satisfied, knowing how adulthood degrades the child, and how pleasure lives leavened with disaster. But, no. This was not the end, nor was it the worst of it. Each night like a vampire I arose, not to suck but to flood the world! And you, my shambling harness, were glib in your approaches, fine in your dandy’s appurtenances–ties of newly drowned silkworms dyed black in the blood of Brahma bulls who died in rut, old with incestuous connections–a waistcoat of pomegranate, textured with the ruffing of pale Italian underaged hands, pointed shoes of the most uncommon cut and polished as a banker’s glance…. All these and all this, just so you could stick me like a sopping candle-end into some skeleton’s eye socket! Pocked debaucheries! Nights of imagined flight only, your soul never leaving, really, its nest of scars. Assignations of gaslamps, wet roads, and stained, undignified sofas. And all the time you held me like a runaway coal being danced across an unlighted room to be the firebucket.
“But now is when I have my satisfaction, my conclusion, my wild apotheosis. Do you feel the bramble-branch pulled through me every time you piss? Do you note the bruise-tinted discharge that chums the chamberpot like a fish-boat? Look at me! Look at what you have done to me! I am no longer the tender ribbon of pink that sat with you in the tub: I am moiled in distortions. My proud crown sags with the fatal lapses of a beached jellyfish. I, pouting dowser,” and here the purpled prick, agitated by his passionate appraisal of our differing powers over our mutual fate, wept a single, large, yellow and grey-pearl tear and continued “…we, have gonorrhea!”
I will record here this one generous, or noble, impulse of the prick in this wayward dream of mine. And that charity consisted in diagnosing itself with a simple case of gonococcal urethritis, and not the virulent madness, the compact degradation and cancellation of future hopes a case of syphilis would prophesy. I have been to the doctor since this dream, a Dr. Revieu, and I have, indeed, gonorrhea and syphilis both.
I passed a paralytic syphilitic this morning on the street. After a few inquiries made of the house owners in whose gutter this human stump rotted, I discovered that the man, who appeared older than my own father had seemed to me as a child (and I was born in my father’s sixtieth year!)–was only thirty four years of age, and wasn’t kicked from his terrible stoop because, like Electra, he was the son of the house-owner.
Two days ago, I passed my eighteenth year.