he van died shortly after San Francisco. We hitchhiked all the way to
San Diego. Scott was now pretty much completely off the heroin, though
he was shivering and vomiting with regularity. Larry McCaffery wants to
talk, we kept saying to each other, standing on many shoulders of the
California Highway System, Larry McCaffery wants to talk. After a bit of a
fistfight near Oakland (before the van broke down), Scott and William had
convinced Dirk to send his disciples home (though this was not to last,
un/fortunately). Obviously, when the van broke down they felt like
assholes, and missed Dirk’s disciples, who surely would have gotten them
out of the jam (or at least Dirk).
We were roaded-out when we met McCaffery up at the University. McCaffery was dressed all in leather, and still down about the Kathy Acker thing. Taken before time. Which he considered a movement stopped. He was in the market for a new movement. He wanted to know what we had to offer.
Frankly, Larry, Dirk began, Avant-Pop is by now dead, dead, dead. You need something with more chutzpah! Have you heard of The Unknown? (as he proffered a copy).
No thanks, you freakin freak, said McCaffery. Ive already bought two copies, and several for members of my family and inner circle of the hip. It’s damn funny, the hypertext, and the book is very good, but that’s not a movement, boys, just three guys and their friends having fun. Tangentially transgressive, but no Avant-Pop.
Dirk spat on the ground and began to manifest his telepathic powers. McCaffery began shivering. Scott began to wonder if this was all part of the withdrawal. William began to wonder if McCaffery was actually named William. McCaffery sat down at his computer and wrote a thirty page article about The Unknown, on the spot. He actually titled it The Unknown, on the Spot, and it was brilliant.
We read at Bluedorn’s (sic) and at Dauntiful Books (sic). At Dauntiful Books, Mary Leary, local reading organizer, was very impressed with the way Dirk handled the audience. But she got hurt during the press to the stage and she got blamed. McCaffery, though, had in fact caused all the trouble by trying to buy speed off of his grad students, and then distributing it to Dirk (and the rest of us). Not that the idea of a speed-reading was a bad one altogether. By now we were getting fairly tired of these things, so the quicker the applause subsided and the volumes of The Unknown anthology were moved off the shelves and autographed three times, the better. In our book. But Dirk on speed caused some kind of hyper-reaction among the crowd members, to whom Dirk was manifesting his psychic powers as he read a series of sestinas. It was a mad rush and bodies were merely obstacles to be stepped on, even nearly crushed, as was the case with Mary, whose leg was broken and who was then chastised by the bookstore owner for making a scene and by McCaffery who said she had Broken up the mosh pit, Mary, with your pathetic whining.
Me and William walked out on the coast and watched the dolphins jumping up from the waves. Something clearly had to be done about Dirk. Something. But what? I phoned Marla and she set us up with a new vehicle, a white Chrysler sedan, which was not the best but which was delivered to our beachside location. We picked up Dirk, who had already recruited about a dozen new cult members, all of them grad students of McCaffery. They trailed us halfway back to Illinois before we got rid of them.