William Burroughs: The Junky Christmas Objective summary This short story of William Burroughs is about Danny the Car Wiper, a Junky, who tries to “score a fix” on Christmas day. At first he tries to break open someone’s car and steal everything from it, but the owner arrives, so Danny has to flee away. Then he steals a suitcase from a doorway, but as he opens it he notices that a woman’s legs are in the suitcase. He quickly throws the body parts away and heads to Sorrows Cafeteria, where he manages to sell the empty suitcase for some money.
Unfortunately for Danny, his former dealer got locked in prison so now he has to find someone who can sell him some heroin. After wandering on the streets he meets a friend of his, who tells Danny that nobody is around selling drugs. Danny has to visit a doctor, P. H. Gunning, who gives him a “quarter-grain tablet” free for his facial neuralgia.
After this Danny rents a room in a motel and starts to inject himself, but he hears groaning from the other room.
Another Junky lays there, a young man, who suffers from kidney stones. Danny pities him and injects the man with his morphine. At the end he feels the effect of the “immaculate fix” in his body, caused by his good deed, and falls asleep in his room. Subjective summary The Junky Christmas is a moving peace of literature, in which the characters are authentic and their problem seems to be realistic.
It is easy to assume that the writer, Burroughs got in this kind of situation several times when he was an addict.
A parallel can be found between The Junky Christmas and traditional Christmas- hemmed tales: the poor protagonist hardly reaches his goal by acquiring something he lacks of (food, present, or in this case: heroin), but when he finds someone who is in even worse situation than him, he pities this person and presents him/her. These tales have a happy ending, as the protagonist finds relief and Joy in his good deed. In the case of Burroughs’ short story, the ending is rather ironical, as the protagonist is a Junky, who helps another Junky by giving him morphine. Because of this act, his reward is the feeling of the perfect heroin shot.