It's hard to say whether James Purdy's campy conte is more of an intoxicant or an irritant; whether it's to be taken seriously with all that droll, fussy exotica; or whether it can be taken as comedy since it is also quite feral -- almost as startling as the discovery of a rat behind that faded, pomponed slipper in the back of the closet. Not that anything is commonplace to begin with after ""reggplant"" colored Albert Peggs is hired as go-between by an ancient hellbiteh Millicent De Frayne in her sixty, or is it seventy, year courtship of Elijah Thrush. He's known as the Mime and still puts on performances where he projects an illusion of youth; he's had many young men in his time and he's now madly in love with his great-grandson, a mute called Bird of Heaven, behind the bars of the ""Alimentary Foundation, A Home for the Unwanted."" Then there's Albert himself, a beautiful, black young man from Alabama and healthier were it not for the habit he supports -- the golden eagle which pecks away at his viscera. And then -- but why go on with this gilded poppycock were it not for the fact that it catches the eye it offends simultaneously.