Monday, May 26, 2014

the last book I ever read (Thomas Pynchon's Vineland, excerpt six)

from Vineland by Thomas Pynchon:

With the volume all the way down, Zoyd settled in in front of the Tube, Woody Allen in Young Kissinger, and slowly relaxed, though the absence of marijuana in the place was mystifying. Psychedelicized far ahead of his time, Much Maas, originally a disk jockey, had decided around 1967, after a divorce remarkable even in that more innocent time for its geniality, to go into record producing. The business was growing unpredictable, and his takeoff was abrupt—soon, styling himself Count Drugula, Mucho was showing up at Indolent, down in the backstreet Hollywood flats south of Sunset and east of Vine, in a chauffeured Bentley, wearing joke-store fangs and a black velvet cape from Z & Z, scattering hits of high-quality acid among the fans young and old who gathered daily for his arrival. “Count, Count! Lay some dope on us!” they’d cry. Indolent Records had rapidly become known for its unusual choices of artists and repertoires. Mucho was one of the very first to audition, but not, he was later to add hastily, to call back, fledgling musician Charles Manson. He almost signed Wild Man Fischer, and Tiny Tim too, but others got to them first.

By the standards of those high-riding days of eternal youth, Count Drugula, or Mucho the Munificent, as he also came to be known, figured as a responsible, even sober-sided user of psychedelics, but cocaine was another story. It hit him out of nowhere, an unforeseen passion he would in his alter unhappiness compare to a clandestine affair with a woman—furtive meetings between his nose and the illicit crystals, sudden ecstatic peaks surprising negative cash flow, amazing sexual occurrences. Just as he arrived at that crisis point between wild infatuation and long-term commitment, his nose went out on him—blood, snot, something unarguably green—a nasal breakdown. He did not go into rehab, the resources in those days not yet having achieved the ubiquity they did in later years of national drug hysteria, but instead sought the help of Dr. Hugo Splanchnick, a dedicated and moralistic rhinologist working out of a suite of dust-free upper rooms in Sherman Oaks. “You’ll do me a small favor? I have to take some blood—"


“—only enough for you to dip this pen into here, and sign your name to this short letter of agreement—"

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