The following is a routine composed for a Council of (Poetic) Experimentation event marking the centenary year of the birth of William Burroughs and scheduled close to the seventeenth anniversary of his death. CO(P)E has proven the most productive venue of cutting-edge performance in this region, staging new as well as older avant-garde work thanks to the work of Steve Roe, Dan Andreana, Al Margolis, Kevin Geraghty, and Detta Andreana.
I am pleased to address the members of the board of directors, our corporate executives, and even you small fry shareholders and hangers-on, and to announce to you another banner year for the Amalgamated Consolidated Holding Company, the ever-swelling big daddy of the NYSE, compared to which yesterday’s multinationals are mere pikers. Our prodigious growth has been continuous since we decided to cut out the middle term in merchandising. Why sell people a product promising pleasure when we might instead market pleasure itself? We realized that the Christers had been making millions for millennia with a simple verbal promise of eternal bliss marketed with just enough mumbo-jumbo to hook the chumps. What would the profit be for the provider that could actually deliver bliss metered and invoiced? Advertisers had used hit-and-miss psychology crap – we went straight to the far more dependable biology.
A bit of history may be useful for new employees. We proceeded from the historic experiments of Olds and Milner which established the territory of the pleasure center in the hitherto untracked regions of the nucleus accumbens. Inspired by the image of their rats frantically pressing the neural reward bar Delgado, Heath and others then extended that work to human subjects. Using prisoners at first, they moved fearlessly into new frontiers, the ventral pallidum and the orbitofrontal cortex, leading to the culminating stage of science, the very jewel of civilization and crown of creation: the hugely profit-making corporation. Our patented process implants neural electrodes into customers adjudged Class B material by our underwriters who have discovered either approved credit lines or exploitable productive capacity and then who then provide first-rate medical supervision for our clients’ twilight years.
Many Class Bs, of course, proved weak-minded, “auto-culls” we call them. Having thought they could joy-pop along for a spell, just taking a week-end zap or two and maybe an extra when feeling low, but before long they were stretched out in one of our hostels, paying hotel rates for a shelf in a room with thousands of their fellows, catheterized, with IVs and bags of various organic fluids, both intake and outgo, hanging all over the place. The minimum wage workers we hire, those, that is, from Class D, without sufficient economic resources to be our customers become our agents in what is popularly called The House of the Lame-os, but unfortunately they can’t possibly cope. The more enterprising, dubbing themselves “forty-niners,” specialize in digging out gold dental work, for they know we can’t be bothered about such petty pilferage. Eventually they wheel the corpses to the back wall where the stench never stops. But we need to keep a heart-beat going until the assets and credit are maxed out.
We have overcome the looming problem of a labor shortage for the production of our own commodities. After years of research by our own Dr. Ungeheuer we developed the precise balance of positive and negative stimulation needed to maintain a functioning production worker. This proprietary algorithm for managing Class C individuals is presently our most valuable intellectual asset. A stream of stimuli, mixing shocks of pain with waves of bliss will keep the subject functioning for a sixteen-hour workday. At a stroke we have eliminated much of the unnecessary cost of labor. Our industrial employees need no clothing or home. Seated on a chamber pot, they are nourished by a wholesome vegan diet administered with computer-controlled technology purchased from the foie gras folks.
We do face challenges in the coming fiscal year. They are pesky bands of hooligans throwing monkey wrenches in sectors 19 and 24, pestilence has swept sectors 9 through 12 to the extent that their territory must be quarantined from all decent society, and the vicious and godless Chinese conglomerate is expected next to turn against us, having already transformed the U.K. into an island of their own drones following the karmically inevitable second Opium War in which daily doses of the drug were forced into every Briton until they capitulated begging for more. We shall rise to meet these difficulties as we have done in the past, using any means necessary to accomplish our mission, for we are the defenders of civilization. You may rest assured that, were Jesus, the real Jesus, not a turn-your-cheek namby-pamby, alive today, he would be a shareholder, a major shareholder, I have no doubt.
And now, I see the hors d’oeuvres are coming – I invite you all to enjoy your dinners, in the confident knowledge that these luxurious dishes are an alchemical transmutation, compounded of the blood, sweat, and tears of our natural inferiors according to God’s holy plan. Our success is the proof that Providence stands with us in the tireless pursuit of profit.