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No. 3, July 7-20, 1967
Brian Keating: Bust 1
p 6

t must be at best considered a drag to be lying on the kitchen floor at one o'clock in the morning, but when you're there out of sheer terror; curled like a foetus with your eyes closed and your ears plugged against shouting men stomping all about you, you know that instinct has served you well, that folding into the floor offered the only possible refuge from the mayhem charging through the door. Yet for a hysterical moment you don't know what it's all about, why the seven sweating, contorted faces should even exist on human beings, especially now, at this time, especially in your house, unless madness is finally rampant and the crazed have come to get the sane. But then you remember something else, a glimpse of another face, a familiar one, your man's, among the others, only up higher in the crowd and distorted by the fist driving along his cheek toward his popping eye. And then, despite yourself, you begin to grovel and whimper as you realize what it's all about.

It's a bust.

Grovel and whimper you must. You can't control yourself. You keep trying to float back to the quiet of a few moments ago, only your mind won't stop there: Back it must go to when you first had a taste of this, before you should have, when you were thirteen in Texas and fresh into puberty, that time which sentimental myth says is the sweetest of all. Except you know it was just that — a myth, the cruelest of all for you deep in the hell of the horror called your family. Of course you yearned for the myth, wanted some sweetness, at least the littlest bit, so you decided to run away. You told this to the helpful counselor at school, and he,, with the wisdom of a textbook education, advised you to – call the police for help. You foolishly did.

Rescue you the police did. The kindly cops, your saviors, threw you in jail. They delivered you without hesitation to the mustached matrons who immediately, slowly, lovingly, stripped you naked, in all ways but one: they left you your skin. Once finished, the next day they did it again, always with the same running commentary of, well, they are sprouting, aren't they now, and, yes, what's this precious little thing, and, oh, but I bet you know how to use it, and, so does every ... and, ad infinitum, until, ad nauseum, the police doctor arrived for his all too gentle and very physical examination.

There's more, much more, but you can't remember now because you're being pulled by the hair across the kitchen floor. You seem to be screaming only you can't be certain. You're too busy trying to scramble to your feet to notice. Then you're on your feet, yanked up by the hair and you do scream in pain until you smash against a doorjamb and are propelled, spinned by hands firmly grasping your breasts and bottom, into the next room and onto a bed where you hear a panting voice chuckle over you before departing, sorry, but I thought you were one of those long-haired fags.

Almost miraculously it seems, you're alone in the room. Although you know there's more to come, your relief approaches ecstasy. Even the pain from both your body and the sounds of the house being wrecked don't bother you. Even that awful noise from upstairs is nothing. Car-rash! Where's the rest of it, queer? Thar-rump! Oh, godddd! Talk, you freaking swish! Sma-ash! Almost like on Batman, except this isn't camp. It's just the feds playing ping-pong upon the walls with a human head. What of it? Good Jesus, why did you ever come to Boston? Because it's the same wherever you go.

The noise ceases upstairs for a moment before you hear a body tumble down the stairs and into the room. Well, la-di-da, the feds had to quit — he's started to bleed. But no sooner do you reach him when you're shot back into the kitchen by someone in the room you didn't see. Another man — you notice that he is young and Ivy-looking beneath the grimace — greets you with a twist of your arm and marches to a chair. Behind you enter the remainder of the party for a forum in the kitchen. Now, you don't even try to close your eyes — what's the use? All there is to see, anyhow, is the carnage of the search and brutality: utensils, food, garbage, and, oh yes, bruised flesh, oozing slightly in spots. So be it. You're familiar with it all, except for the hand placing the ounce of grass on the table right next to you.

Sirens are wailing outside as the local fuzz come at the beck and call off the feds. Soon the place is full of cops, maybe twenty all together. The locals don't need their uniforms: you could tell them by the way they toady to Uncle Sam's finest. A few brief questions follow — how long have you been a marijuana addict? Where do you inject it, in the ass or the thigh? How many times has this fag been balling you? (the contradictions are superb) a nice girl like, Chrissst! if I had a daughter like you, I'd beat the living hell out of her (four times a day and six on Sunday) how did you get hooked? How long have you been hooked?

The questions are so inane that there's no point in answering. Besides, it's becoming boring. You're still scared, but cops are experts at being tedious. If only they would stop. Finally they do stop and it's off to jail and a week of the same crap (the local matrons are more muscular and never miss a goose) before you're free on bail until the trial.

That's several months off and in the meantime the affair enters the Marx Brothers stage. The perfect ninny of a lawyer assigned to you by the state insists on getting you a speedy trial: apparently he thinks he acts in your best interest (at least in jail you will be forced to turkey your addiction). As for the feds, they outdo themselves in absurdity. For a week after your release they're on the telephone and at the door demanding — demanding — that you sell them some acid. Finally for a joke, your man burns them with liquid aspirin. The next day the farce gets even sillier. They return and wave a pistol about. They want their money back. Ha ha.

Ha ha. It's all so very funny, isn't it. Especially when you're eighteen years old.

Brian Keating