Shut Up, Little Man!

Interviews with Eddie Lee, Peter Haskett - Shut Up, Little Man!

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Eddie Lee Sausage, interviewed by Seymour Glass — for Bananafish, March 1992

eddie badlands box
Eddie Lee Sausage
on a good day

Bananafish: How long did you and Mitchell D. live in the apartment adjacent to Raymond and Peter?
Eddie Lee: For 17 months about three or four years ago. We lived directly next door. My bedroom was on the other side of the wall from theirs. We both became completely obsessed. Mitchell would actually take off work just to be around. Usually around the first of the month , like clockwork, there’d be an explosion because the rent was due. You could bank on it. People would come over on Friday nights and hang out and listen to them fight.
Bananafish: How long were you there before you started tape-recording them?
Eddie: I’d say about six to seven weeks. I’d already experienced six weeks of terror, lying in bed every night, through chorus after chorus of "Shut up, little man, shut up little man." And then I had a confrontation with Ray. He threatened to kill me.
Bananafish: By what method?
Eddie: With his hands.
Bananafish: Is that why you started taping them?
Eddie: He said, "I was a killer before you were born, I’ll be a killer after you’re dead."
Bananafish: Do you have that line on tape?
Eddie: Yes. It was one of the limited library of phrases that he would repeat. That’s when I decided to tape them for our own safety, in case something did happen and I had to have evidence of an assault situation.
Bananafish: You were definitely intimidated at first?
Eddie: Scared the shit out of me. They used to beat each other up all the time. I couldn’t sleep because they were so loud and I couldn’t stop listening.
Bananafish: Did you ever see Tony?
Eddie: Yeah.
Bananafish: Who is he? Peter mentions him on tape, but he rarely speaks.
Eddie: He’s a 40-year-old Vietnam vet, going on 70. A parasite, basically, who lives with them on and off when he has a painting job in San Francisco. He’s a Kentucky white-trash character who is evidently lovers with Pete. We have one tape where Tony arrives and then you hear sexual sounds. Then Ray comes home, drunk as hell, and starts screaming, "I hear them suckin’ sounds in the back room, goddamn it. You fuckin’ queers. I will destroy all queers." And then he’s off on his Hitler routine, which is a recurring motif in his monologues. You know, "I don’t believe Hitler was right, but goddamn it, he knew that he should kill all queers. Cuz they ain’t decent."
Bananafish: Do you think Ray was a bit of a homo himself?
Eddie: I do believe so, yes. He was an ex-convict, perhaps initiated into sodomy while in jail.
Bananafish: Think Ray and Pete ever did it together?
Eddie: The exact nature of their relationship is something we struggled with the entire time we lived there. I always saw it as being similar to Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? or in The Stranger where the neighbor of Merisault always beats his dog and calls it a filthy cur, but when it dies, he crumbles.
Bananafish: Do you have any idea why Ray was in jail?
Eddie: Well, he did actually murder somebody. Got off on manslaughter.
Bananafish: How do you know?
Eddie: I have a tape of a wonderful soliloquy where he’s smashed on port wine and he’s talking calmly, trying to work through a confession. He says, "I didn’t want to kill him, but goddamn it, I had to kill him. Threw a glass of ice in my face, the cocksucker. I didn’t want to kill him!" He’s trying to convince himself.
Bananafish: By what method did he kill the cocksucker?
Eddie: He hit him over the head with a bottle.
Bananafish: Do you know if Peter was really kicked out of the Army for bein’ a fuckin’ queer?
Eddie: He was kicked out because he wasn’t a decent human bein.’

Bananafish: At one point on the tape, the police show up.
Eddie: The police came about once every two weeks. Ray and Pete were legendary with the SFPD.
Bananafish: How severely did they beat each other?
Eddie: At one point, Peter almost killed Ray. He was in the hospital for a long time.
Bananafish: I hate to sound like a broken record, but by what method?
Eddie: One Christmas Eve we could hear them bickering in their typical fashion. Then something struck the metal railing on the balcony. It was reverberating, you know, rrrrroonnngggg. Then I heard a thud. Pete had thrown Ray off the balcony. Dropped 15 feet down onto the cement. The paramedics came.
Bananafish: Who’s the stronger of the two?
Eddie: Initially it seemed like Ray was, but later Pete came on strong and seemed like the better bet.
Bananafish: How do you account for that?
Eddie: A friend of mine called them a while ago with some Veteran’s Administration routine. He was trying to get Ray to meet him down on Market Street to counsel him. That’s when Ray said he’s got cancer and couldn’t meet him. Kind of gives the whole thing a dark tone.
Bananafish: Did you ever hear them having fun together, like sharing a laugh or listening to music?
Eddie: Never [that I remember]. One time they were watching television, Angela Landsbury reruns, and Pete said, "I’m trying to watch Angela Landsbury, shut up , little man." But it was kind of a playful thing. The Wheel of Fortune came on. It was after Pat Sajak had left, and Ray started talking about how he’s read that the replacement for Pat Sajak, some talking head, was a fuckin’ queer. He went into his "I despise all queers" routine again. At the same time there were stories in the tabloids about Merv Griffin’s gay lover and Ray was going on and on about that too.
Bananafish: What kind of food do they eat?
Eddie: I watched Ray through the window one night. He was smashed, hovering sailor-legged over the stove, cooking up some corned beef hash. He had a streamer of saliva about a foot long hanging off his lower lip as he was cooking.
Bananafish: Think it might have been intentional?
Eddie: I doubt it. These guys were operating on the most basic and animal functioning level. They knew they were being taped, but overall, I don’t think they’re aware of much of anything, frankly. One Thanksgiving Day, I took them a couple of 40-ouncers. Ray opened the door and had puked all over himself sometime prior. The vomit had dried on this flannel shirt that he wore all the time and never washed. Big dried chunks of corned beef hash.
Bananafish: Do you remember any details about their apartment?
Eddie: They had a human skull in the window. There’s also a six-foot stuffed bunny rabbit sitting on the couch that Ray hugs while he watches television.
Bananafish: I’m starting to feel weird.
Eddie: Another issue I’ve struggled with its invasion of privacy. My privacy was certainly infringed upon repeatedly.
Bananafish: You have to wonder how much right to privacy a person who’s screaming at the top of the lungs expects.
Eddie: They knew a lot of people could hear what they were saying. One of Ray’s threats on my life was delivered through the wall. "You know that skinny little cocksucker next door that thinks he’s tough? I’ll kill him. Come to my door right now! Any of you queers in the building who think you’re tough come to my door. I’ll kill all of you." On and on and on. Once, they became aware and acknowledged the taping. I felt justified.
Bananafish: They were undaunted by the mic?
Eddie: Not at all. It encouraged them.