Part 2 of the Ballad of JC Hibbing
Midday, June 05, 1967
Middle Earth Club, London, England
Except for the false eyes and teeth, it looks just like Naked Lunch novelist William S. Burroughs — no surprise considering the fact that Burroughs summoned the thing into our dimension in the first place. Daddy Burroughs: sire of the insectian demon-spawn that now hold a rather sizable stake in the war for reality, may his contributions to global consciousness be forever remembered.
To that old junkie’s credit, he did try to warn us. It’s right there loud and clear in his books if you look for it.
Too little, too late, though, Old Bull Lee. Take pride, though, old man, no writer besides Lovecraft has had more impact on this little war, for better or for worse.
Plus, for what it’s worth, I’m betting on the Burroughs Boys winning, Will. That’s why I do the job I do. I had my pick of employers.
The thing that looks like Burroughs sits in its booth in the Middle Earth Club pretending to smoke a cigarette — pretending to be hip, human. It’s preposterous plastic eyes roll around in their sockets and its teeth almost fall out its mouth. The whole thing would be hilarious if it wasn’t for what those badly done disguises hide or for how deadly faux-Burroughs is.
I’ve seen what’s behind the plastic. Not a damn thing funny about it.
My name’s Alfred Axiom, by the way. Liaison to the Stars, they call me, which is something of an inside joke. Yea, I manage music stars, but it’s really the interdimensional bug-things that I answer to.
I sit across the table from it and slide over a photo of JC Hibbing, our new folkie.
The insect Burroughs grabs hold of the photograph and chitters happily. “Good girl,” it says in its weird metallic voice.
“Yes,” I say. “True believer in the whole flower-child peacenik bit. Really thinks love and music can change the world.”
The thing sucked and wheezed in excitement. “It does what we need it to do,” it says.
“Oh yea,” I say. “She’s perfect for it. We’ll play off this good girl peacenik thing for the plebs and then have her go all money-hungry and fame-crazy. Mind-fuck ’em to Saturn. We’ll get her pushing the whole drugs, free sex, and communism angle, too. Yea, she’s going to do just fine.”
The picture shakes in the thing’s hand as the creature tremors with sexual agitation. “And then the suicide?” Its voice goes real high with that, like tin being torn in half.
“Oh yes,” I said. “Then the suicide.”
The thing’s fake teeth pop out onto the table as its mandibles go crazy with chomping excitement. It grabs the teeth and shoves them back in.
The club is mostly empty, and the few people in there are either zonked out on head drugs or exchanging sexual favors in dark corners. No one notices the bug’s indiscretion.
“We’ll make this a violent one, too,” I add. “Traumatize her teeny bopper fanbase into lifelong submission.”
In the beginning, dirty talking these things disgusted me, to say the very least. Like anything else, though, I got used to it. I can adapt to anything that keeps me breathing. I consider myself a Machiavellian and am proud of it.
See, here’s how the game works: the rock stars engineer the masses in the direction that the Burroughs Boys desire, all the while unwittingly setting themselves up for the old rock star suck-off, lives of misery and substance abuse that feed the alien-demon-things. It’s a win-win for the Burroughs Boys.
I stand up to leave.
“Her song’s titled ‘Hey There, Dreamy Girl.’ Real brain-cracker. Mixes up the peace thing with blood and bodies. Get the pleb’s heads spun up real good. Whole ‘there is no right or wrong only different perspectives’ gag.”
“And what of the Typhonians and the Enochians? Has there been any indication of what their next moves may be?”
“Nothing definite. Our people are still watching them.”
The thing holds its cigarette to its mouth and takes an actual drag. That’s an advancement of sorts on its part. It used to just pretend to smoke.
“Nothing,” I say. “They seem to have gone underground for the time being. Something big is in the works, I’m sure.”
I make it a few strides before the Burroughs Boy stops me.
“Mr. Axiom,” it says.
“Bring the girl here. To London. I must have her scent.”
It says that hesitantly, not liking to reveal its weakness. There’s nothing tactical to be gained by its meeting her. This is pure masochistic lust.
“Will do,” I say.
I don’t like any of this, by the way, and I feel bad for JC Hibbing even as I start plotting how to get her here to London.
It’s her fault, though, for being so naïve. Any jack ass that wears a goddamn flower in her hair deserves to be eaten by demonic interdimensional centipede men.