BRADLEY THE BUYER
EXCERPT FROM NAKED LUNCH
By William S. Burroughs
"Selling is more of a habit than using," Lupita says.
Non-using pushers have a contact habit, and that's one you can't kick.
Agents get it too. Take Bradley the Buyer. Best narcotics agent in the
industry. Anyone would make him for junk. (Note: Make in the sense of
dig or size up.) I mean he can walk up to a pusher and score direct. He
is so anonymous, grey and spectral the pusher don't remember him
afterwards. So he twists one after the other...
Well the Buyer comes to look more and more like a junky. He can't drink.
He can't get it up. His teeth fall out. (Like pregnant women lose their
teeth feeding the stranger, junkies lose their yellow fangs feeding the
monkey.) He is all the time sucking on a candy bar. Baby Ruths he digs
special. "It really disgust you to see the Buyer sucking on them candy
bars so nasty," a cop says.
The Buyer takes on an ominous grey-green color. Fact is his body is
making its own junk or equivalent. The Buyer has a steady connection. A
Man Within you might say. Or so he thinks. "I'll just set in my room,"
he says. "Fuck 'em all. Squares on both sides. I am the only complete
man in the industry."
But a yen comes on him like a great black wind through the bones. So the
Buyer hunts up a young junky and gives him a paper to make it.
"Oh all right," the boy says. "So what you want to make?"
"I just want to rub up against you and get fixed."
"Ugh... Well all right... But why cancha just get physical like a
Later the boy is sittig in a Waldorf with two colleagues dunking pound
cake. "Most distasteful thing I ever stand still for," he says. "Some
way he make himself all soft like a blob of jelly and surround me so
nasty. Then he gets wet all over like with green slime. So I guess he
come to some kinda awful climax... I come near wigging with that green
stuff all over me, and he stink like a old rotton cantaloupe."
"Well it's still an easy score."
The boy sighed resignedly; "Yes, I guess you can get used to anything.
I've got a meet with him again tomorrow."
The Buyer's habit keeps getting heavier. He needs a recharge every half
hour. Sometimes he cruises the precincts and bribes the turnkey to let
him in with a cell of junkies. It gets to where no amount of contact
will fix him. At this point he recieve a summons from the District
"Bradley, your conduct has given rise to rumors -- and I hope for your
sake they are no more than that -- so unspeakably distasteful that... I
mean Caesar's wife... hrump... that is, the Department must be above
suspicion... certainly above such suspicions as you have seemingly
aroused. You are lowering the entire tone of the industry. We are
prepared to accept your immediate resignation."
The Buyer throws himself on the ground and crawls over to the D.S. "No,
Boss Man, no... The Department is my very lifeline."
He kisses the D.S.'s hand thrusting his fingers into his mouth (the D.S.
must feel his toothless gums) complaining he has lost his teeth "inna
thervith." "Please Boss Man. I'll wipe your ass, I'll wash out your
dirty condoms, I'll polish your shoes with the oil on my nose...."
"Really, this is most distasteful! Have you no pride? I must tell you I
feel a distinct revulsion. I mean there is something, well, rotten about
you, and you smell like a compost heap." He put a scented handkerchief
in front of his face. "I must ask you to leave this office at once."
"I'll do anything, Boss, ANYTHING." His ravaged green face splits with a
horrible smile. "I'm still young, Boss, and I'm pretty strong when I get
my blood up."
The D.S. retches into his handkerchief and points to the door with a
limp hand. The Buyer stands up looking at the D.S. dreamily. His body
begins to dip like a dowser's wand. He flows forward...
"No! No!" screams the D.S.
"Schlup... schlup schlup." An hour later they find the Buyer on the nod
in the D.S.'s chair. The D.S. has disappeared without a trace.
The Judge: "Everything indicates that you have, in some unspeakable
manner uh... assimilated the District Supervisor. Unfortunately there is
no proof. I would recommend that you be confined or more accurately
contained in some institution, but I know of no place suitable for a man
of your caliber. I must reluctantly order your release."
"That one should stand in an aquarium," say the arresting officer.
The Buyer spreads terror throughout the industry. Junkies and agents
disappear. Like a vampire bat he gives off a narcotic effluvium, a dank
green mist that anesthetizes his victims and renders them helpless in
his enveloping presence. And once he has scored he holes up for several
days like a gorged boa constrictor. Finally he is caught in the act of
digesting the Narcotics Commissioner and destroyed with a flame thrower
-- the court of inquiry ruling that such means were justified in that
the Buyer had lost his human citizenship and was, in consequence, a
creature without species and a menace to the narcotics industry on all
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