Hassan's rumpus room (I) --- The mugwump

By William Burroughs 
(Artwork by Jotto)

Hassan's Rumpus Room constitutes Chapter XIV---the most notorious chapter---of William Burroughs' best known work, The Naked Lunch. Burroughs, along with friends Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg, had been a pioneer of the Beat Generation, and when it came to finding an outlet for the Lunch manuscript, his reputation as iconoclast and raving homosexual had been established too well for an on-shore publication. The book appeared in Paris in 1959. Here we go:

Gild and red plush. Rococo bar backed by pink shell. The air is cloyed with a sweet evil substance like decayed honey. Men and women in evening dress sip pousse-caf├ęs through alabaster tubes. A Near East Mugwump sits naked on a bar stool covered in pink silk. He licks warm honey from a crystal goblet with a long black tongue. His genitals are perfectly formed --- circumcised cock, black shiny public hairs. His lips are thin and purple-blue like the lips of a penis, his eyes blank with insect calm. The Mugwump has no lover, maintaining himself exclusively on sweets.

Mugwump pushes a slender blond youth to a couch and strips him expertly.

“Stand up and turn around,” he orders in telepathic pictographs. He ties the boy’s hands behind him with a silk cord. “Tonight we make it all the way.” “No, no!” screams the boy.
“Yes. Yes.”

His genitals are perfectly formed...

Cocks ejaculate in a silent “yes.” Mugwump parts silk curtains, reveals a teak wood gallows against lighted screen of red flint. Gallows is on a dais of Aztec mosaics.

The boy crumples on his knees with a long “OOOOOOOH,”  shitting as pissing in terror. He feels the shit warm between his thighs. A great wave of hot blood swells his lips and throat. His body contracts into a fetal position and sperm spurts hot into his face. The Mugwump dips hot perfumed water from alabaster bowl, pensively washes the boy’s ass and cock, drying him with a soft blue towel. A warm wind plays over the boys body and the hairs float free The Mugwump puts a hand under the boy’s chest and pulls him to his feet. Holding him by both pinioned elbows, propels him up the steps and under the noose. He stands in front of the boy holding the noose in both hands.

The boy looks into Mugwump eyes blank as obsidian mirrors, pools of black blood, glory holes into a toilet wall closing on the Last Erection.

An old garbage collector, face fine and yellow as Chinese ivory, blows The Blast on his dented brass horn, wakes the Spanish pimp with a hard-on. Whore staggers out through dust and shit and litter of dead kittens, carrying bales of aborted fetuses, broken condoms, bloody Kotex, shit wrapped in bright color comics.

A vast still harbor of iridescent water. Deserted gas well flares on the smoky horizon. Stink of oil and sewage. Sick sharks swim through the black water, belch sulfur from rotting livers, ignore a bloody, broken Icarus. Naked Mr. America, burning frantic with self borne love, screams out: “My asshole confounds the Louvre! I fart ambrosia and shit pure gold turds! My cock spurts soft diamonds in the morning sunlight!” He plummets from the eyeless lighthouse, kissing and jacking off in face of the black mirror, glides oblique down with cryptic condoms and mosaic of a thousand newspapers through a drowned city of red brick to settle in black mud with tin cans and beer bottles, gangster in concrete, pistols pounded flat and meaningless to avoid short-arm inspection of prurient ballistic experts. He waits the slow striptease of erosion with fossil loins.

The Mugwump slips the noose over the boy’s head and tightens the knot caressingly behind the left ear. The boy’s penis is retracted, his balls tight. He looks straight ahead breathing deeply. The Mugwump sidles around the boy goosing him and caressing his genitals in hieroglyphs of mockery. He moves in behind the boy with a series of bumps and shoves his cock up the boy’s ass. He stands there moving in circular gyrations. The guest shush each other, nudge and giggle. Suddenly the Mugwump pushes the boy forward into space, free of his cock. He steadies the boy with hands on the hip bones, reaches up with his stylized hieroglyph hands and snaps the boy’s neck. A shudder passes through the boy’s body. His penis rises in three great surges pulling his pelvis up, ejaculates immediately. Green sparks explode behind his eyes. A sweet toothache pain shoots through his neck down the spine to the groin, contracting the body in spasms of delight. His whole body squeezes out through his cock. A final spasm throws a great spurt of sperm across the red screen like a shooting star.

The boy falls with soft gutty suction through a maze of penny arcades and dirty pictures. A sharp turd shoots clean out of his ass. Farts shake his slender body. Skyrockets burst in green clusters across a great river. He hears the faint put-put of a motor boat in jungle twilight…. Under silent wings of the anopheles mosquito.

The Mugwump pulls the boy back onto his cock. The boy squirms, impaled like a speared fish. The Mugwump swings on the boy’s back, his body contracting in fluid waves. Blood flows down the boy’s chin from his mouth half-open, sweet, and sulky in death. The Mugwump falls back with a fluid, sated plop.

The 2013 film Kill Your Darlings provides a user-friendly introduction to the Beat Generation, with Daniel Radcliffe as Allen Ginsberg and Ben Foster as William Burroughs.