(Close Calls) Burroughs

David Saxe and I drove to New York for the weekend. His parents were gone so we got the car, disconnected the odometer, and were gone.

Can you believe this, you could find a parking spot and leave the car for two or three days, come back and there it was, as perfect as before? Maybe the neighbourhood kids even washed the thing, who knows?

The idea was to split up and meet back at the car and get it back home before the parents showed up. I don’t know what David got up to but I spent the weekend looking up poets. All the talk was about Bill Burroughs, back in New York after all those bug and drug infested years in Tangier, Paris, etc., writing Naked Lunch and whatnot.

Go see Burroughs!

Oh right, now I remember. David Cull and I were going to publish a magazine, Two Thieves. I was digging up contributors. Everyone said to go see Burroughs. Finally, on the Sunday I hooked back up with Saxe we had about three hours before we had to get back on the road.

I gotta make a call.

I ducked into a payphone and dialed the Chelsea Hotel.

William Burroughs’ room, please.

Believe it or not, Burroughs gets on the phone. I mention some names he knows, people who said I had to see him. I’m only here for a few hours and can I come up and visit?

He’s got what to me sounds almost like a British accent, perfect speech and manners. I’m very sorry but I’m engaged this afternoon. Why don’t you come by about six? We can have dinner.

Oh, sorry. It’s impossible. I have to leave town in a couple of hours.

That’s unfortunate. Well, please be sure to call me next time you’re in New York.

I hang up and tell David I was just talking to William Burroughs. David reaches for the phone, picks up the receiver, and stares at it in awe for two seconds. Nothing else to say.

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