letter to a friend with a domestic problem

Hello Carl:
don’t worry about your wife running away from you
she just didn’t understand you.
I got a flat tire on the freeway today
and had to change the wheel with these coke-
heads breezing their Mazeratis past my
the main thing is to just go about your business
and keep doing what you have to do, or better–
what you want to do.

I was in the dentist’s office the other day
and I read this medical journal
and it said
all you got to do
is to live until the year 2020 a.d. and then
if you have enough money
when your body dies they can transplant your
brain into a fleshless body that gives you
eyesight and movement–like you can ride a
bicycle or anything like that and also you
don’t have to bother with urinating or defe-
cating or eating–you just get this little
tank of blood in the top of your head filled
about once a month–it’s kind of like oil
to the brain.
and don’t worry, there’s even sex, they say,
only it’s a little different (haha) you can
ride her until she begs you to get off!
(she’ll only leave you because of too much
instead of too little.)
that’s the fleshless transplant bit.

but there’s another alternative:   they can
transplant your brain into a living body
whose brain has been removed so that there
will be space for yours.
only the cost for this will be more
as they will have to locate a body
a living body somewhere
say like in a madhouse or a prison or
off the street somewhere–maybe a kidnap–
and although these bodies will be better,
more realistic, they won’t last as long as
the fleshless body which can go on about
500 years before need of replacement.
so it’s all a matter of choice, what you
care for, or what you can afford.

when you get into the living body it isn’t going
to last as long–they say about 110 years by
2020 a.d.–and then you’re going to have to find
a living body replacement (again) or go for one
of the fleshless jobs.

generally, it is inferred in this article I read
in my dentist’s office, if you’re not so rich
you go for the fleshless job but
if you’re still heavy into funds you
go for the living-body type all over again.
(the living-body types have some advantages
as you’ll be able to fool most of the street
people and also
the sex life is more realistic although

Carl, I am not giving this thing exactly as
it was written but I am transferring all that
medical mumbo-jumbo down into something that we
can understand.
but do you think dentists ought to have crap like
laying around on their tables?
anyhow, probably by the time you get this letter
your old lady will be back with you.

anyhow, Carl, I kept reading on
and this guy went on to say that
in both the brain transplants into the
living body and into the fleshless body
something else would happen to these people who
had enough money to do these transfer tricks:
computerized knowledge of the centuries would be
fed into the brain–and any way you wanted to go
you could go:   you’d be able to paint like
Rembrands or Picasso
conquer like Caesar, you could do all the things
those and others like them had done
only better
you’d be more brilliant than Einstein–
there would be very little that you could not do
and maybe the next body around you
could do that.

it gets rather dizzifying about there
the guy goes on
he’s kind of like those guys in their
mazeratis on coke, he goes on to say
in his rather technical and hidden language that
this is not Science Fiction
this is the opening of a door of horror and wonder
never wondered of before and he says that the
Last War of Man will be between the transplanted
computer-fed rich and of the non-rich who are
the Many
who will finally resent being screwed out of
and the rich will want to protect it
in the end
the computer-fed rich will win the last
War of Man (and

then he goes on to say that the next New
War will take shape as the
Immortal fights the Immortal
and what will follow will be an
so that Time as we know it
gives up.

now, that’s some shit, isn’t it
I would like to say
that in the light of all this
that your wife running away doesn’t mean
but I know it does
I only thought I’d let you know
that other things could happen.

meanwhile, things aren’t good here

                 your buddy,


Charles Bukowski
Original manuscript