“William, are you interested in insects?” says Cronenberg, mostly for my benefit, a question that causes Burroughs to regard the two of us warily. “Not entirely,” he finally says. After a few minutes of completely addled discussion, Burroughs exclaims, “Oh, insects! I thought you said ~incest~.
“The most awful creature to me is the centipede,” he says. A number of them crawl slimily through the movie version of ~Naked Lunch~. “I don’t go into hysterics or anything, but I look around for something to smash it with. I used to live out in the country when I first moved here, and there were a lot of centipedes in the house, and I set out to kill them all. A program of genocide. I’d wake up in the middle of the night, and I’d know there’s a centipede in this room. And there always was. And I couldn’t go to sleep until I killed it.” Although he never hunts mammals and is even somewhat of an animal activist, Burroughs is quite an expert on killing bugs, having once held a job as an exterminator.