While England takes its rage to the streets I have chosen to exert some digital, i.e. intertextual violence. In a text hacking session I stepped into the interstices of Ken Kesey’s 70s protest and liberation novel One flew over the cuckoo’s nest to embedded some rage-against-the-machine lyrics. To embed, I have silenced the systems voice (nurse Ratched) to put Zack de La Rochas words into her mouth. So evidently, this post needs a soundtrack, which incidently enough makes the streets of London roar with rage against…
A Raging Combine by Chief Bromden
First time for a long, long time I’m in bed without taking that little red capsule. ..
The whole floor goes slipping down, lowering into the building like a platform in a
grain elevator! And that drumming under us is getting louder the farther we go down. It gets
dimmer and dimmer till a faraway scream comes echoing down the sides of the shaft — „stay
backl“ — and the light goes out altogether. The metal door in front of me slides up and behind ita huge room of endless
machines is stretching clear out of sight, swarming with sweating, shirtless men running up and down catwalks, faces blank and dreamy in firelight thrown from a hundred blast furnaces.
A worker appears he is pulling a hook along a trestle overhead, taking giant strides as he swings it along. He goes to the bed and with one hand grabs McMurphy by the ankle only to lift him straight up like McMurphy don’t weight more’n a few pounds; with the
other hand the man thrusts the hook through Mc Murphy’s heel.
Mc Murphy winks at me as the worker sends him past me with a huge push. My eyes are glued to the trolley,
clicking back over the trestle. Only now, I see that Mc Murphy is completely bare except for
the towel wrapped tightly around his hips. I look back to the worker and I see he has already
gotten a second hook and heads for another bed. He stops and with his cold plastic hand
reaches beneath a blanket. When he pulls out his hand with a sudden movement I hear upside-down-Mc Murphy boasting into laughter. A young woman in a yellow and black dress is hanging from the workers arm her teeth dogged down deep into his hand. Brutally a second worker grabs her head and pulls it backwards so far I expect to hear her neck snap like a rotten branch. But it doesn’t. Now she is „hooked up“ and hanging head next to Mc Murphy. She keeps flapping both arms and her free leg till her dress falls around her head. “Fuck it!“ she mumbles. The whole time through McMurphy has watched her with great interest. „Miss Bolt, finally, equal in age, right and position“, he says and I am thinking about the sound of bitter sweet satisfaction in his voice. The girl didn’t pay attention though; instead she keeps struggling with her dress, desperatley trying to put it back in place „Where the fuck am I?” She finally gets a hold of her dress and jerks it up, half to cover her nakedness half to see what’s going on. I hear Mc Murphy. And his voice is smiling „May I introduce myself; my name is McMurphy. Her loose leg stops flapping and her head flies around „Yep, it’s been some time. .. Molly!“ He is sizing her up and down, then up again. It’s Mc Murphy breaking the silence „But you still have a sweet ass my dear — I guess gravity is pulling it the right way now.“ Even from my bed I hear her teeth clenching and I almost feel the clean swing that hits McMurphy right on the chin. Then the fog starts flooding the room again and I know whats gonna happen. The Big nurse materializes in the hall. I haven’t seen her coming in. She is just there. She has probably been there the whole time. The way she is standing there in the metal doorframe, surrounded by fog and white light she looks like an angel. I can’t see her feet in the fog and when she finally starts moving it looks like she is hovering through the room. With her radiating smile she floats around locking every door with the keys hanging heavily from her key ring. With a smooth „click“ the last key turns in the last keyhole and the machine drumming dies. Molly Bolt has turned white. „Where the hell are we and who is that goddamn nurse?“ she whispers. Mc Murphy, still rubbing his reddening chin, thinks a while, before answering
„Welcome to the Rat-shed, Molly”. The Big Nurse turns away from the last door, facing her human cattle. She looks seriously puzzled about what to do next. „What do l have to do, what do l have to do to wake you up?“ She crosses the hall and her words ooz with disgust as they drip from her smiling mouth. „Wake up potential troublemakers. Action must be taken.” (wake up) For the first time I see Molly smiling „Fuck off; shithead. Action must be taken? Action, my ass. What kind of action do you think I can take with a fucking hook driven through my ankle? Oh, and let me tell you this: You will never make me do something I don’t want to and if I decide to sleep for another ten years, then that would be none of your fucking business. It’s just for that fuckin’ hook in my foot I am not beating the crap out of you right here. Now Lady, if you got that, I suggest you unlock the doors and let me outta this freak show. Face it! I don’t have the key to unlock the doors and you don’t have the key to unlock me, that doesn’t exactly leave you with a fat choice, does it?“ In ironic pity the Big Nurse shakes her head. „We don’t need the key. We’ll brake in.“
I know what will be next. McMurphy and Molly are suspecting what will be next. All
our eyes widen. Facing the Big Nurse McMurphy repeats what I heard him say earlier: „I’ve
seen some ball-cutting bitches in my times but you take the cake.“
The Big nurse’ head is nodding, „Thoughts from a militant mind, hard-line after hard-
line.“ (Bombtrack) And into the direction of her she says “He is born of a broken
man, a prize-fighter.“ (born of a broken man) She shakes her head as if she couldn’t believe him having been a danger to anyone. She turns her smile to Molly, hesitating before she continues, „He bought a ring and he owns kin. . . “ The way the Big Nurse speaking so confidentjust like she is above everything makes all air freeze and her words keep hurling through the room. “And now he is swinging and now he is the champion!“ (revolver) It’s getting harder to breathe.
The workers now hold scalpels in their now rubber-gloved hands and another nod
from the Big Nurse makes puts them to action. When they slice up the front of McMurphy and Molly a shower of heavy, red blood floats out of their bodies. I feel sick and my insides are screaming till my stomach revolts. There is no way for me to turn away from the blood, turning- away from my hope. The Big Nurse is standing behind me her hands on my shoulders, protecting my shivering body from withdrawal. But they are not dying. They are just bleeding. They are forced to exhale their resistance. They look pale and their faces are full of emptiness. I hear the Big Nurse speaking to herself: „Through counter-intelligence it should be possible to pinpoint potential troublemakers. .. and neutralise them.“ (wake up). She ties my into my sheets before she moves away from me.
Then the disembowelling of Molly and Mc Murphy follows. Green, rubber gloved hands grabbing, ripping and pulling little objects and showing everything found to the Big Nurse. „Ward policy!“ it strikes me. The Big Nurse is sitting behind her table listing the objects that are given to her. I see McMurphy hollering and laughing at the workers. „Yeah, take that crap out of me, been carrying that shit around for a long time. Ahhh, What a relief!“ There is still some resistance in him “Hey man, come over here, there is my messed up childhood, take
it.“, “What’s wrong with you party removers? You forgot some addiction in here and there is
some sex left for Miss Rat-shed.“
McMurphy even helps them setting his inside apart, reaching into his stomach, he is offering himself away with bloody hands. I see him shuddering when they mine up some broken relationships and I see him shedding tears when they finally drag out his father. A cry of pain slips from his throat when a small black and yellow dress comes to light.
Molly is trying to turn invisible. Her eyes are burning as she sees history repeating in
front of here. I look at McMurphy and he looks straight back at me. I see the huge hole inside
his body. With all the blood and interior gone his inside is just a vast area. And for the first time I can see what holds his backbone straight. Hidden behind his spine there is something secretly twinkling. A moving target hard to hit. Too late I realize the Big Nurse has been following my eyes and so she sees the twinkling as well. She gets up from behind her table. I am rocking around in my bed trying to loosen the sheet that nails me to my destiny.
McMurphy’s voice is clear and strong slapping up against the steel and cement. „Get
away from me. You have everything I owned on your table over there. Take it and lock it
away in the cabinet, next to the toothpaste maybe. This is my own private lie and I want to
believe it. Leave it alone.“ This gets a laugh out of the Big Nurse. „McMurphy, can’t you
see, the lie is my expense. .., the scope of my desire. The party blessed me with its future and
I protect it with fire. I am the noose and the rapist, the field’s overseer, the agent of orange.
It’s the cost of my desire.“ (Sleep now in the fire) Her fingers are clutching around the twinkle. „Sleep now in the fire“ she screams into Mc Murphy’s face and from the back of his spine she pulls a little golden cross out into the machine room. With a sob McMurphy fades away.
To herself the Big Nurse is saying: „Like autumn leaves his sense fell from him. An
empty glass of himself shattered somewhere within. His thoughts like a hundred moths
trapped in a lampshade somewhere within.” (born of a broken man) Now she is piercing me with her eyes and triumphantly continues her curse like a mad witch. „Forever awake he lies shaking and starving, Praying for someone to tum off the light.“ (bullet through the head) Her finger points at the sheat that once covered McMurphy. The cross she takes and dumps it into the trash can next to her desk, There goes devotion, There goes hope. I will be the one to turn off the light. The answer to his prayer. If I have ever been the main target of McMurphys devotion, now I have tumed into the big Nurses target of controlling degradation. She hit me right between the eyes too.
The Big Nurse seems to be satisfied. Her breath goes heavy – the afterglow of cruelty.
„Sorry Molly, no escape from the mass mind rape. A stare full of nails? Your face full of
pale? No shelter if you are looking for shade! This little sistem watching you.” (Maria) The Nurse smiles up and down her. “On the comer we found your weakness and its right outside your door! We found your weakness and its its right outside your door. Now testify!“ (testify)