Herbert Huncke began smoking cannabis in Chicago at an early age and later introduced marijuana to New York’s Beat Generation.
In The Park recalls Huncke's childhood molestation, circa 1928, before he left Chicago for the road. This was reported to be Allen Ginsberg’s favorite Huncke story. It is arguably Huncke’s most disturbing.
Morning – early – break of dawn – the sky clear and blue – the sun’s rays reaching downward through the leaves and boughs of the trees outside our windows and bird calls prominent above the occasional voices of the early risers and the sounds from the stirring round of those just awakening. I have just returned from a long morning walk through the streets of the city. I have always enjoyed walking and much of my life has been spent roving city streets through the hours of darkness.
Some of my more welcome memories and recollections have to do with my youth in Chicago and many—many—nights spent wandering through the city streets and parks and along the lakefront, finally resting atop a stone piling perhaps or on a bench watching the sunrise. I had adventures and strange experiences—frequently meeting and becoming involved with other night people. I learned much about sex and about the vast number of people who make up the so-called less desirable element in our American way of life. Haunted people—lonely people—misfits—outcasts—wanderers—those on the skids—drunkards—deviates of all kinds—hustlers of every description—male and female—old people and young people—and they come from every section of the country.
Were I requested to select the strangest—the most unusual—the most vicious—the most dangerous—generally the most outstanding—the saddest—the most frightening—the kindest—the one most in need of love—or the one most apt to give love—I would be completely stymied—and at this point—there are many I have forgotten. There is one who stands out from the rest slightly—perhaps because he was my first encounter with someone who was—according to even extreme comparisons with what I have been taught was sane—beyond the limit and undoubtedly very sick and well along toward maniacal. He was unquestionably an excellent example of just what can happen to the human element in a society geared to greed and power where the human element is almost entirely ignored except in lip service to man as an individual—and which remains actively indifferent while spewing forth a constant mounting percentage of the population into the group known as—human waste—which is accounted for by recognising the tragedy as a sociological hazard to be expected in the best of organized societies.
I was about fourteen when I met him, and although I was conscious of his aloneness it wasn’t until considerably many years more were added to my age I realised—with any degree of compassion—the stark horror he himself must have sensed almost constantly regarding his existence.
It was toward dusk of a warm late summer day—walking through a somewhat remote section of the park—thickly wooded and little used by people out near the lakefront—that I first became aware of him. I had left the path that wound around and through the area and was intending to make a shortcut through the trees and bushes to the edge of the lake. I had just pushed through a heavy clump of bushes into a clearer area when I suddenly saw him standing a bit to one side of the trunk of a large tree. He was partially facing toward me and I was rather abruptly halted—mostly because of being surprised by seeing him—he smiled—and said, “Hi.” I answered—saying “Hello—you kind of took me by surprise.” While answering I looked at him more carefully—taking in his appearance in detail. He was thin and not much taller than me—with sharp pointed facial features—and though his thin, rather long mouth carried a smile, his eyes—light blue in color—remained cold and hard. His hair was dark blond—almost brown—straight and long—and part of it fell to one side of his face—covering his ear—and as I watched he raised his hand and pushed it back—only to have it again fall down as before. His hands were large—with exceedingly long fingers—and somehow didn’t seem to go with the rest of his appearance. He was wearing a white shirt—somewhat soiled and haphazardly tucked into his black trousers. He wore an old pair of badly scuffed brown shoes.
As I began moving—intending to continue on my way—he stepped almost directly in front of me and reached out and took hold of my arm—up near the shoulder—and partly over the muscle. His long hard fingers dug deep into my flesh and as he applied pressure I winced with pain. He had taken me almost unaware and—for a moment—I was as intensely frightened as I have ever been—my entire body seemed suffused with panic. I started to struggle—trying to break away. He exerted more force and for an instant I thought—he is going to kill me. He began speaking to me in an imploring tone—begging me not to get scared—he wasn’t going to hurt me—although he could.
“See,” he said, and he raised one of his hands up toward my face—to show me the gleaming blade of a knife, “I won’t hurt you—come on—over this way,” he said as he began pulling me along with him toward some tall bushes.
By then my fear and panic had subsided. Somehow seeing him up close had helped dispel some of the fear. He was younger than he had first appeared—probably somewhere in his late twenties—and also he had stirred my curiosity in some fashion.
I can’t remember all that transpired in the short distance we covered, but I had started talking and had succeeded in establishing a sort of friendly note into the situation, so that as we reached the bushes he removed his hand from my arm and—although he still carried his knife—he seemed less menacing.
It was still quite light and although he whole area was filled with shadows, one could see plainly.
We pushed into the bushes—stooping over a bit to avoid being scratched on the face—with me in the lead. There was a clear space in the center and we stopped. It became obvious to me immediately that he had been there before. Lying on the ground was a black jacked folded—and a leather briefcase. He told me to sit down and as I did he squatted down in front of me for a moment, then sank down to a sitting position on the ground—his legs stretched out in front of him. He was in a position where—although he was in front of me—I was facing his side. He fumbled in his pocket and found a couple of cigarettes—one of which he gave me. Putting his knife down somewhere along his side away from me, he located matches and lighted our cigarettes. He allowed himself to lean back a little and drew deeply on his smoke. We had both been quiet while this had taken place and I was a bit startled when he threw his cigarette down suddenly and said, “Look at this—ever see anything like it?—and he reached down to the fly of his pants—pulled it open—and drew out his cock. It was enormous. “Bet you never saw one that big before,” he said as he began slowly masturbating. He was quite right—I had never seen anything—even remotely comparable in size or length—and my thought was that he was some kind of freak o nature and this was some kind of malformation.
“You’re a nice kid,” he said, “I think you wouldn’t laugh at someone who is different—just because they are different. Here—put your hand on my cock. Just hold it—don’t move it—but squeeze—not to hard—just squeeze. I want you to see some pictures.”
I reached over and held his cock in my hand—complying with his request. He picked up his briefcase—opened it—and began removing stacks of photographs. He put them down by his side and then—putting his briefcase out of the way—he picked up one of the photographs and showed it to me. It was the picture of a little girl maybe seven or eight years old completely nude. Looking at it more closely, I could see where pencil marks had been drawn around the small mound of her pussy to look like hair. “Ain’t she a little doll?” he said. “Do you think I could stick this into her?” And pushing my hand away he grabbed his cock in his hand and furiously jerked it for a minute or two, all the time muttering out statements—about how good it would feel and about it being best and a favor to a girl to get fucked young and especially with a big cock because then—later—no other cock unless bigger could ever hurt her. He threw down the first picture and began picking up one after another—showing them to me. Most were of children and many were of children without clothing. In one there was a little boy and a little girl, and apparently he disliked the idea of the little boy having a penis because he had blotted it out with black ink. There were several of naked women and he described in detail how thrilled they would be if he were to fuck them. Finally he returned to the first picture. This apparently was his favourite and he gazed at it almost tenderly.
All the time he had continued playing with himself and now he reached over and began fumbling with me. The whole experience had been unnerving and I hadn’t had an erection but as he opened my trousers and began playing with me I grew excited. He looked at my cock closely—making comments about my never comparing to him—and that I would never save some little girl from being hurt. He stopped playing with me—telling me to begin jerking myself so he could watch. As I began he applied himself more vigorously to his own masturbation—all the time talking about fucking the little girl. “I got it in her now—oh, it feels good—it’s way up in her belly—I’ve got my big prick in her tight little cunt—it’s in up to the balls—oh, it’s good—I’m going to come in her—I’m getting ready—oh, I feel it coming—all my hot juice is for her—oh, watch.” With that he ejaculated—over and over again—his whole body shaking and quivering—and as he slackened up—he started weeping.