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Vulture People

Dreamed 1962 by Jack Kerouac

VULTURE PEOPLE, a dream to end all dreams---really horrible---must write it down for the horrible record---

Begins me and two kids are hired to work in the mountains on the same "ridge" as Desolation (i.e., Mien Mo Mountain again) & start with a cliffside river crew who tell us two workers have apparently sunk in the cliftside snow and we must lean over sheer drops and see if we can "dump them out" or haul them in---All we do is lie there on crumbly snow a thousand foot fall to the river crumbling the snow off in slabs so big you wouldnt know if men were trapped in em or not---Not only that the bosses have special shoes on sliders that are holding them to the safe shore (like ski clamps) so I begin to realize they're only fooling us poor kids & we could have fallen too (I almost do)--(did)---(almost) ---

As observer of the story I see it's just an annual ritualistic joke to fool the new kids on the job who are then dispatched to the other side of the river to slump off more snow from sheer banks in hopes of finding the lost workmen---So we start there on a big trip, downriver first, but en route all the peasants tell us stories of the God Monster Machine on the other shore who makes sounds like certain birds & owls & has a million infernal contraptions enough to make you sick with all the slipshod windmill rickery details, as "Observer of the Story" again I see it's just a trick to make us scared when we get there at night & hear actual natural sounds of birds, owls etc. thinking as green rookies in the country it's that 'Monster'--- photo of writer Jack Kerouac

Meanwhile we sign on to go to the main mountain but I promise myself if I dont like the work there I'll come back get my old job on Desolation---Already our employers have shown a murderous sense of humor---I arrive at Mien Mo Mountain which is like Bixby Canyon (Raton Canyon in "Big Sur") again but has a large tho dry rot river running in the wide hole & down there on many rocks are huge brooding vultures---

Old bums row out to them & pull them clumsily off the rocks & start feeding them like pets, bites of red meat or red mite, tho at first I thought the eccentric old town bums wanted them to eat or to sell (still maybe so) because before I study this I look & see hundreds of slowly fucking Vulture couples on the town dump---These are now humanly formed vultures with human shaped arms, legs, heads, torsos, but they have rainbow colored feathers & the men are all quietly sitting behind Vulture Women slowly somehow fucking at them in all the same slow obscene movement--- Both man & woman sit facing the same direction & somehow there's contact because you can see all their feathery rainbow behinds slowly dully monotonously fucking on the dumpslopes---As I pass I even see the expression on the face of a youngish blond vulture man eternally displeased because his Vulture Mistress is an old yakker whot been arguing with him all this time---His face is completely human but inhumanly pasty like uncooked pale pie dough with dull seamed buggy horror that he's doomed to all this enough to make me shudder in sympathy, I even see her awful expression of middleaged pie dough tormentism---They're so human!---

But suddenly me & the two kid workers are taken to the Vulture People respectable quarter of town to our apartment where a Vulture Woman & her daughter show us our rooms---Their faces are leprous thick with pie dough but painted with makeup to make them like thick Christmas dolls & dull & fuzzy but human expressions, like with thick lips of rubber muzz, fat expressions all crumbly like pie dough, yellow pizza puke faces disgusting us tho we say nothing---The apartment has dirty beatnik beds & mattresses everywhere but I walk thru the back looking for a sink---It's huge---an endless walk thru long greasy pantries & vast washrooms with single filthy sink all dark & slimy like underground Lowell Hi School crumbling basements---

Finally I come to the kitchen where we "new workers" are sposed to cook little meals all summer---It's vast stone fireplaces & stone stoves all rancid & greasy from a month-old Vulture People Banquet Orgy with still dozens of uncooked chickens lying around on the floor, among garbage &.bottles---Rancid stale grease everywhere, nobody's ever cleaned it up or knew how & the place as big as a garage---I push my way out of there pushing a huge greasystink foodstained tray of some sort hurrying away from the big stinky emptiness & horror---The fat golden chickens lie rotten upsidedown on littered stone slabs---I hurry out never having seen such a dirty sight in my life---

Meanwhile I learn the two boys are studying a hamper full of Vulture Food for us & one of them wisely says "Blisters in our sugar," meaning the Vultures put their blisters in our sugar so we'll "die" but instead of being really dead we'll be taken to the Underground Slimes to walk neck deep in steaming mucks pulling huge groaning wheels (among small-forked snakes) so the Devil with the long ears can mine his Purple Magenta Square Stone that is the secret of all this kingdom---You end up down there groaning & pulling thru dead bodies of other people even your own family floating in the ooze---If you succeed you can become a pasty Vulture Person obscenely fornicating slowly on the dump above, I think, either that or the Devil just invents the Vulture People with what's gleaned out of the underground Hell

Beans anyone?

--Jack Kerouac

Editor's Notes

Source: page 332-5 of Book of Dreams by Jack Kerouac, expanded (2001) edition, City Lights Books.
Date: from note, "Orlando 1962".

--Chris Wayan



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