WILLIAM S. BURROUGHS


Dr. Benway Operates Lyrics

The lavatory has been locked for three hours solid....
I think they are using it for an operating room....

NURSE: "I can't find her pulse, doctor."

DR. BENWAY: "Maybe she got it up her snatch in a finger
stall."

NURSE: "Adrenalin, doctor?"

DR. BENWAY: "The night porter shot it all up for
kicks." He looks around and picks up one of those
rubber vacuum cups at the end of a stick they use to
unstop toilets.... He advances on the patient.... "Make
an incision, Doctor Limpf," he says to his appalled
assistant.... "I'm going to massage the heart."

Dr. Limpf shrugs and begins the incision. Dr. Benway
washes the suction cup by swishing it around in the
toilet-bowl....

NURSE: "Shouldn't it be sterilized, doctor?"

DR. BENWAY: "Very likely but there's no time." He sits
on the suction cup like a cane seat watching his
assistant make the incision.... "You young squirts
couldn't lance a pimple without an electric vibrating
scalpel with automatic drain and suture.... Soon we'll
be operating by remote control on patients we never
see.... We'll be nothing but button pushers. All the
skill is going out of surgery.... All the know-how and
make-do... Did I ever tell you about the time I
performed an appendectomy with a rusty sardine can? And
once I was caught short without instrument one and
removed a uterine tumor with my teeth. That was in the
Upper Effendi, and besides..."

DR. LIMPF: "The incision is ready, doctor."

Dr. Benway forces the cup into the incision and works
it up and down. Blood spurts all over the doctors, the
nurse and the wall.... The cup makes a horrible sucking
sound.

NURSE: "I think she's gone, doctor."

DR. BENWAY: "Well, it's all in the day's work." He
walks across the room to a medicine cabinet.... "Some
f*cking drug addict has cut my cocaine with Saniflush!
Nurse! Send the boy out to fill this RX on the double!"

Dr. Benway is operating in an auditorium filled with
students: "Now, boys, you won't see this operation
performed very often and there's a reason for that....
You see it has absolutely no medical value. No one
knows what the purpose of it originally was or if it
had a purpose at all. Personally I think it was a pure
artistic creation from the beginning.

"Just as a bull fighter with his skill and knowledge
extricates himself from danger he has himself invoked,
so in this operation the surgeon deliberately endangers
his patient, and then, with incredible speed and
celerity, rescues him from death at the last possible
split second.... Did any of you ever see Dr. Tetrazzini
perform? I say perform advisedly because his operations
were performances. He would start by throwing a scalpel
across the room into the patient and then make his
entrance like a ballet dancer. His speed was
incredible: 'I don't give them time to die,' he would
say. Tumors put him in a frenzy of rage. 'f*cking
undisciplined cells!' he would snarl, advancing on the
tumor like a knife-fighter."

A young man leaps down into the operating theatre and,
whipping out a scalpel, advances on the patient.

DR. BENWAY: "An espontaneo! Stop him before he guts my
patient!"

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