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American Dream Serialization (Early Chapters)
Introduction to Jim Chaffee's Studies in Mathematical Pornography by Maurice Stoker
Introduction to Jim Chaffee's Studies in Mathematical Pornography by Tom Bradley
Studies in Mathematical Pornography: American Dream Title Page by Jim Chaffee
Studies in Mathematical Pornography: Chapter 1 by Jim Chaffee
Studies in Mathematical Pornography: Chapter 2 by Jim Chaffee
Studies in Mathematical Pornography: Chapter 3 by Jim Chaffee
Studies in Mathematical Pornography: Chapter 4 by Jim Chaffee
Studies in Mathematical Pornography: Chapter 5 by Jim Chaffee
Studies in Mathematical Pornography: Chapter 6 by Jim Chaffee
Studies in Mathematical Pornography: Chapter 7 by Jim Chaffee
Studies in Mathematical Pornography: Chapter 8 by Jim Chaffee
Studies in Mathematical Pornography: Chapter 9 by Jim Chaffee
01-01-2015
Modern Tragedy, or Parodies of Ourselves by Robert Castle
01-11-2014
Totally Enchanté, Dahling by Thor Garcia
01-04-2014
Hastini by Rudy Ravindra
The Satyricon of Petronius Arbiter Volume 5 Translation by W. C. Firebaugh
01-01-2014
Unexpected Pastures by Kim Farleigh
10-01-2013
Nonviolence by Jim Courter
The Satyricon of Petronius Arbiter Volume 4 Translation by W. C. Firebaugh
07-01-2013
The Poet Laureate of Greenville by Al Po
The Apocalypse of St. Cleo, Part VI by Thor Garcia
The Satyricon of Petronius Arbiter Volume 3 Translation by W. C. Firebaugh
04-01-2013
The Apocalypse of St. Cleo, Part V by Thor Garcia
The Apocalypse of St. Cleo, Part IV by Thor Garcia
The Satyricon of Petronius Arbiter Volume 2 Translation by W. C. Firebaugh
01-01-2013
The Apocalypse of St. Cleo, Part I by Thor Garcia
The Apocalypse of St. Cleo, Part II by Thor Garcia
The Apocalypse of St. Cleo, Part III by Thor Garcia
The Satyricon of Petronius Arbiter Volume 1 Translation by W. C. Firebaugh
10-01-2012
DADDY KNOWS WORST: Clown Cowers as Father Flounders! by Thor Garcia
RESURRECTON: Excerpt from Breakfast at Midnight by Louis Armand
Review of The Volcker Virus (Donald Strauss) by Kane X Faucher: Excerpt from the forthcoming Infinite Grey by Kane X Faucher
01-07-2012
Little Red Light by Suvi Mahonen and Luke Waldrip
TEXECUTION: Klown Konfab as Killer Kroaked! by Thor Garcia
Miranda's Poop by Jimmy Grist
Paul Fabulan by Kane X Faucher: Excerpt from the forthcoming Infinite Grey by Kane X Faucher
01-04-2012
Operation Scumbag by Thor Garcia
Take-Out Dick by Holly Day
Patience by Ward Webb
The Moon Hides Behind a Cloud by Barrie Darke
The Golden Limo of Slipback City by Ken Valenti
01-01-2012
Chapter from The Infinite Atrocity by Kane X. Faucher
Support the Troops By Giving Them Posthumous Boners by Tom Bradley
01-10-2011
When Good Pistols Do Bad Things by Kurt Mueller
Corporate Strategies by Bruce Douglas Reeves
The Dead Sea by Kim Farleigh
The Perfect Knot by Ernest Alanki
Girlish by Bob Bartholomew
01-07-2011
The Little Ganges by Joshua Willey
The Invisible World: René Magritte by Nick Bertelson
Honk for Jesus by Mitchell Waldman
01-04-2011
Red's Dead by Eli Richardson
The Memphis Showdown by Gabriel Ricard
Someday Man by John Grochalski
01-01-2011
I Was a Teenage Rent-a-Frankenstein by Tom Bradley
Only Love Can Break Your Heart by Fred Bubbers
10-01-2010
Believe in These Men by Adam Greenfield
The Magnus Effect by Robert Edward Sullivan
Performance Piece by Jim Chaffee
07-01-2010
Injustice for All by D. E. Fredd
The Polysyllogistic Curse by Gary J. Shipley
How It's Done by Anjoli Roy
Ghost Dance by Connor Caddigan
Two in a Van by Pavlo Kravchenko
04-01-2010
Uncreated Creatures by Connor Caddigan
Invisible by Anjoli Roy
One of Us by Sonia Ramos Rossi
Storyteller by Alan McCormick
01-01-2010
Idolatry by Robert Smith
P H I L E M A T O P H I L I A by Traci Chee
They Do! by Al Po
Full TEX Archive
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The Apocalypse of St. Cleo, Part IV

By Thor Garcia

In which our heroine becomes a model, meets the love of her life, and is beaten bloody.

Eleven

One evening about a month later, the severely bearded artist Romero Mario Tuttle Grippenswoggle "Steve" Vander Buttle, who hadn't had an erection since at least 1988, sauntered by. He had woken up earlier that evening by the northern train tracks and, not knowing what he was doing there, had decided to walk home."Good evening, good sir?" said Cleo, accosting him salaciously in mid-saunter. She permitted one of her swollen, milky breasts to slip from the bustier and bounce wondrously before Vander Buttle's nose, which resembled a hunched-over old snowy-haired woman wearing a red jacket.

"I wonder, um, might you be looking for some, um, a companion tonight?" She leaned close, thrusting hot breath into his ear: "Suck-suck… ball wrap… squirt-slurp… Mmm, mmm, ooh, ooh…"

The tart blond vixen spun away, flashed her tongue between her teeth, made a series of cat-like licking motions. She released her second breast from the dress, permitting the lovely, milky orb to bounce in coordinated majesty with the other.

The 44-year-old Vander Buttle roared out a laughing cough. He removed his whiskey canteen from his overcoat pocket and offered Cleo a belt.

"My my my. Oh, my my. Well, my dear, you are a lovely peach indeed. How much is it? And what do I get?"

"Half a franc, sir, or three-quarers of a kroner, that's all. I'll pee on your face, if that be your fancy. I'll butter your testicles, fricassee and fry them and hold them before a flame and stick them with a fork. I'll do anything you ask. We do so need food."

Vander Buttle chortled. "For all that? Why, I'll give you four forints, my dear. Come with me."

"Four whole forints?" said a beguiled Cleo.

Vander Buttle chortled, veered down a suddenly appearing alleyway. He opened the door to his four-story warehouse compound.

Cleo was astonished to see a large variety of farm and zoo animals roaming about the complex in various states of undress. Following a few further hits from his thermos, Vander Buttle explained that he was presently engaged on A Short History of Absence, a planned series of sixteen life-sized triptychs that he intended to sell on the internet for $6 million, the profits of which he planned to use to pay off his fines for burning down nine sport-utility vehicle dealerships as part of his animal-rights protest campaign.

Cleo sat on a wooden trough, lifted her dress and began to finger herself. It had become an automatic action at this point. Most of the men and women seemed to enjoy it, after all, and Cleo rarely thought about it any longer. A curious cow called Cordelia came over for a look, swishing her tail vaguely.

"Oh, please, cover up, girl," said Vander Buttle, who was arguably well-known in parts of the Swiss-speaking world for his controversial multi-platform works including Your Banal Banelieus Have No Meaning, Stroopwafel: Trinity, Russian Milkshake, Ding-Dong of Doom and Homage Soft du Gingrich (Can Be Used as a Firefly Model) VII & IX.

"Girl!" proclaimed the artist. "Girl! Dear me, missy, I can think of nothing more disgusting than playing about with your secreting holes. Ugh! No, my dear - I just want to photograph them and thou, to capture you en toilet flagrante with the godless and divine animals. They are very popular motifs these days - tout au courant, yet primal. Everyone can see a bit of themselves, but in a bright and new light - for everyone, in their secret heart of hearts, wishes to rut, romp and wrassle with a Rottweiler… Ha ha! Yes yes, exactly my point - Noah's Ark meets the Garden of Eden in the pages of Skanky Queens and Bestial Sodomy Digest Dot Com. Do you visualize with me? I will photograph it then paint it then rephotograph it and shellac it and sprinkle it with pixie dust and set it floating in a gigantic tank and tie it with a bow. And then finally, heroically, to title: A Short History of Absence. Or perhaps, no, yes: Abstinence: A Short History of Absinthe. Or perhaps: Absinthe: A Short Story in History. Yes! No! Yes! In any case, they will pay me millions… Very common people kind of thing, yet appropriated appropriately by the elites - in other words, a goldmine. It shall sell everywhere, especially in Panama, Belgium and the waffle states, according to our surveys. It will boom like a sex-bomb in fussy petite Japan! They are so fussy, always better seen at a distance than close up. Not that sales matter at all. Not at all! Money, my love, doesn't matter!"

"You do not wish to sell and acquire money?" inquired the quizzical Cleo.

"No! Yes! No! Yes! And please do not forget. It is the very essence of commercialism to deny the existence of commerce in the art market. How old are you, girl, haven't you heard? Money doesn't matter! Money changes everything! Money doesn't matter! Show me the money! By the way, are you hungry, my dear? I'm afraid all I've got here is whisky, wine, rum, cocaine, marijuana and vanilla yogurt. But we can order a pizza. I insist, though - no mushrooms. They are vile and disgusting. Who knows who has shat on them? Worms or lizards or aardvarks or mink? Either way, we are at the disadvantage…"

Cleo was happy. She had three yogurts and all of the pizza. Vander Buttle, meanwhile, attempted to organize the animals and decorate the latrines. Finally prepared, he announced: "To your knees, my dear, and bend over. Now we shall interrogate the universe."

Over the next two hours, Vander Buttle snapped a series of what would later be acclaimed as genre classics: Cleo spread-eagled, gripping Jerry the jackal in her fist… Cleo clutching Olaf the ostrich between her breasts… A close-up of Cleo slurping sangria with Sealo the Seal… Cleo holding Hernando the hyena's haunches while Hernando hollered hysterically… Cleo on the trapeze with Garth the garrulous goat… Cleo costumed in a snorkel, using a drill press to carry out a heart-removal operation on Chalmers the chimpanzee…

"Yes, yes!" enthused Vander Buttle, snapping away. "I love the fire, the energy! Sulky! Silly! Brimming with slapdash! Yes! Yay! Yes! I say, 'Yay!'"

Even Cleo, who had seen many things in the past half-year, was disturbed by the amount of liquor and cocaine the artist ingested in between his arrangings.

"Drink up, my dear," said Vander Buttle, handing Cleo a bottle. "If you do not drink now, you shall regret it."

"Mr Vanden Buttle, must you drink so much?" inquired Cleo, taking a timid sip. "I fear you are getting drunk."

"Firstly, it's Van-DER Buttle, young missy… But, ah - drunk, drink? Yes, I do. And so the question is why - why drink? Because I've got hope? Because I've got no hope? Because it helps? Because it doesn't help? Ah, my dear - it's just a way to waste time! Which is what we are here to do on this pathetic, soiled platform… To gambol about willy-nilly, furiously wasting time - first and last and forever. Anything else is foolishness, foolishness! Some days me want boy, some days me want girl, some days trembling little gopher - so fondly do they love to tremble. Oh, the travesty and confusion! But all days, me want booze - puzzlement be banished. The main goal, my dear, is to age disgracefully, however and whenever. If you have any luck. God speed. Full stop."

"Yes?"

"Yes! Please, would you kindly mount that prone pig? His name is Floofy and he will not nip, I assure you - And yes, the goggles on the pig. And you, my dear, may wear the riding harness. And now you may lift your dress - "

"Okay."

"All teaching, but especially teaching about art and beauty, is false," declared Vander Buttle, spooning out several lines of rhinoceros tranquilizer for himself. "Pay no attention to anything, my dear, for it is all quite worthless. You will do yourself a favor. Human beings change ideas and beliefs, even our so-called eternal scientific proofs, like we change our pantyhose. Daily, hourly - Black today, white tomorrow. Up is down on Tuesday, down is to the left on Thursday. We shall henceforth carry on as if we're the most brilliant and don't know the difference. We understand nothing - we are amoral, slutty baboons, my dear…"

"Yes?"

"Of course - my, you are young… you are! Please, listen: Do yourself a favor and forget all people. They do not care - it is an act. We must be frank: Other people are only interested in our misfortunes. They will kill us over any perceived success - for to be successful these days means to be corrupt. And they are not wrong, not by a long shot… Yet laugh I do, for it has been obvious for many years now that in this terrifying world, a failure is often considered a wonderful success, and yes, yes! - vice versa. And thus it is only our madness, percolating ceaselessly everywhere, which permits us to begin each day anew."

"Yes?"

"Yes! I assure you, my dear Cleo - the artist has one thing and one thing only to say: Nothing. Make no mistake: One necessarily must be an arsehole to be an artist. Look at us arsehole artists, so busy trying to say what cannot be said… And conservative, conservative! Look at us, trying to make some kind of sense, to impose some kind of order, on the chaos of the world. Yes, my cherry pie - the unreasonable chaos of the world. Such is a task only for fools and conservatives! Always denouncing, declaring what is insufficient, speaking of dreams of a better, more orderly and beautiful world. Trying to break on through to the other side, and other such idiocies… As if the thoughts and desires of your so-called soul had any meaning - as if anyone would or should care about such sentimental and illusory, flighty bollocks!"

"My gosh!" said Cleo, observing as Vander Buttle dropped a quantity of frog adrenal gland into his mouth.

"The artist is like the gangster - a defiant individual, a mythical hero worshipped by the masses, who only crave to see him destroyed at the height of their alleged powers. All that matters, my sweet, is the drawing - the quality of the composition. Just as there are no good or bad books, only well written or badly written, so there are no good or bad art pieces&mdah;only well drawn or badly drawn. Oh, the humanity! - these bipedal herd animals, pit-a-patting about and secreting from their holes, hoping no one and nothing kills them, and killing anyone who gets in the way… Ha-ha-ha! It could be funny, I imagine, if it wasn't so dull."

"Really?"

"Of course, my dear. All the evidence proves we are in the world to do exactly this: Nothing. And to fritter away our time, such as by sexually and violently posing animals with virginal blond whore-maidens, in pursuit of a few bucks and a little fame and infamy… Death seems much more preferable - yet death - death, death, death! Death is so boring. It always comes much too late."

"Yes," said Cleo.

Vander Buttle snapped shut his tranquilizer case and returned to work, dashing around the space and utilizing Cleo alongside nearly all members of his animal staff: Cleo with her head and torso inside Algernon the Alligator… Cleo dancing with Barry the bear, laughing with Larry the llama, kibbitzing with Carmelina the cobra… Cleo sitting sublimely with Orangeburt the owl on her left shoulder… Cleo crucified on wooden beams, milky breasts covered in crawling caterpillars… Cleo triumphantly riding Horace the hawk for three full loops around the warehouse, as Vander Buttle simultaneously captured video and multiple-exposures from five camera angles… Skippy the scorpion, Redd the fox, Boniface the boar, Pliny the peacock and Gibby the gazelle also each had a moment in the spotlight with the comely Cleo.

"Ah, the arsehole is the most important thing in the world!" said Vander Buttle during a gin and coke break. "The very most! The arse 'tis the true window of the soul. The face will lie, the eyes will cry - but everyone is exactly as their ass is… Your arse, Cleo, has such wonderful, sad dimples, yet is so firm and bouncy, even haughty - it seem you know not whether to cry or cackle at the world."

"Yes?"

"Yes! Each human anus, I assure you, my dear, has thirty-five or thirty-seven of those darling little creases - as opposed to the twelve to fifteen wrinkles of the elephant, and the forty-five to forty-nine creases of the cheetah! None quite like the other, as intimately individual as a snowflake, fingerprint or testicular sac. You, my dear, have exactly thirty-fve. What a delight!"

"Thirty-five?"

"Yes, indeed. Have no doubt, I have carefully counted, my love. Never thirty-six! The beautiful fact is, there is absolutely no telling whom may have thirty-five and whom thirty-seven. Rich or poor, beautiful or ugly, male or female or combo-pack, smart or dumb as a doorstop. I call it the Creator's one true magical miracle - and fuck Her! Never thirty-six or thirty-four or thirty-eight. Never!"

"How interesting."

"Nay, 'tis of no interest, my dear - 'tis just a thing. Now then, here are your forints, and I wish you a most pleasant, delightful evening." The estimable artist added: "Never forget, my wonderful dear Cleo, that no blonde is an island. Ha-ha!"

Cleo had been in the warehouse for six hours. She found Mother Magda passed out in a pool of her own vomit, surrounded by a number of empty bottles.

So that's where Cleo's earnings had been going - the schnapps demon!

Cleo chased away several street children who had been half-heartedly molesting the matriarch, then roused her mother. After a few minutes of coughing and sobbing, they began the long walk home.

When Mother Magda inquired about the evening's earnings, Cleo gave her half a forint, keeping the three and a half others for herself.

Twelve

As requested, Cleo returned to the warehouse the next evening at ten. She had used the previous night's earnings to gorge all day on popcorn and candy bars, but she was still hungry as ever. Vander Buttle ordered out for fried chicken and champagne, and they resumed the photo-shoot.

Around two a.m., the door beeped, heralding the arrival of none other than the investment banker, real estate executive and all-around dandy, Sir Didier Ross O'Sullivan E. Neumann "Larry" Duclos-Dutroux. Sir Didier was accompanied by Count Rodrigue Artemis "Bill" Archimedes di Anchovie VII, who, like his friends Vander Buttle and Sir Didier, was a member in good standing of the Fashion International & Environmental Protection Collective.

"Who, my dear brilliant artiste, might the blond bunny be?" said Didier, who had famously skated through the Sedgwick School for Boys, Harvard, Yale Medical, Princeton Law and the London School of Aphorisms.

"Oh, you," said Vander Buttle grandly, chortling and spooning out welcome lines of Octogel, otherwise known as extract of orangutan sedative. "You you you you you… Why is it that the world now only produces drab businessmen like yourself pimps and dobermans, shameful racketeers and guilty plastic-pushers with your empty eyes and fanged smiles? Has it really happened to the world that everyone and I mean, everyone must sell something that no one else wants or needs? That our value is in what part of our arse we can pretend to sell? In what we can trick others into buying? And that gentlemen like you insist on inappropriately and illegally seizing the mainstay of the profits?"

Sir Didier laughed. He joined the squat, troll-like Bill Anchovie in inhaling a bit more of Vander Buttle's rare sedative. The pair observed in mute wonder as Vander Buttle clicked off a series of shots of an entirely nude Cleo having honey licked from her breasts and thighs by Maurice the Mole.

"I see another vision of utopia," said a laughing Didier, who happened to have erections nearly hourly, as he had never been married, played rugby or joined a revolution. "What have we here? How thoroughly distasteful, my good sir. My compliments to the artiste."

"My good sir," said Vander Buttle. "I do believe you expel armies of corpses whenever you choose to urinate, which thankfully is quite often. I thank you for answering the question of: What to do? Where to go? You provide the answer en excelsior: Do nothing and go nowhere. Problem solved."

The men laughed. Cleo, rising from the mattress and clutching the honey-maddened mole, was captivated by the sardonic, brightly blue-eyed Didier.

"Stacks and stacks of money, that's what I want," announced Sir Didier. "Money money money. And I do not wish to work for it. At the same time, I desire to bequeath unto myself loads of satisfaction and self-worth. So let's recap: Money and money and getting drunk and getting stoned and murder and money and climbing on the little girls. I agree, good sir, nothing matters but if something did, that would be it."

"Ah, my truculent little tyrant," said Vander Buttle, "you are but a mere plutocrat in the oligarchy. Do not, my venomously vapid friend, think you have succeeded in whitewashing anything."

"I whitewash nothing, my esteemed compeer," said Sir Didier. "I merely state facts: The world is my poozle, just waiting to be humped. Are you on the square, my buoyantly bearded bouffant?" "Aye, aye! Aye, aye! On the square we are! On the square are we!"

The men laughed with great abandon. Floofy the pig scrambled over and began dancing on Vander Buttle's bare belly. The porcine youngster raised himself up on his hind legs and began to sing:

Oh, the camptown ladies sing this song
doo-dah, doo-dah
Camptown racetrack's five miles long
oh, de-doo-da-day

"How delightful!" said a delighted Didier. "That is a masterpiece! How does it work?"

The little pig continued to warble:

Gonna run all night
Gonna run all day
I'll bet my money on the bobtail nag
Somebody bet on the bay
Oh, the camptown ladies sing this song
doo-dah, doo-dah
Camptown racetrack's five miles long
oh, de-doo-da-day

"Oh, delightful!" said Didier, grabbing Cleo by the waist and dancing her about the room. "Ah, I feel so good I wish to tell a joke: Why do girls rub their eyes when they get up in the morning? Because, me lads, they don't have balls to scratch! Or do you, my dear Cleo?"

"Oh, no!" said Cleo.

Count Anchovie, who had been busy mounting Sandra the sheep for the last ten or fifteen minutes, suddenly rose and announced: "The revolution must commence! The world will be remade at the moment when the animals dance! Thus spake the Octagel!"

"Yes, and which revolution shall you desire?" chuckled Sir Didier, stroking Cleo's cheek and suckling her and Levanda the Lamb with a bottle of vodka. "There are so many editions on offer 1776, 1789, 1848, 1917, 1969, 1989, 2011 … have I left any out?"

"Fair justice!" screamed Anchovie. "Fair peace!"

"Let me assure you," said Sir Didier, "that your dear Gandhi killed more than our fine friends Hitler and Stalin combined. 'Tis an indisputable factoid of the record."

"Hogwash!" said Vander Buttle dismissively. "As Art is a man's name, so is Revolution just the name of a Fruttles song famously played in advertisements for neck warmers. These days, everything is a revolution. A revolution in television, a revolution in fat-free biscuits, a revolution in cashmere, a revolutionary new way to remove unwanted blemishes and funds from those who need them. Revolution? Says who? He who dare speaks in the name of the people is always an impostor and fraud. The great mass of people much prefer slavery much. It is simple make them slaves, then tell them they're free. They won't know the difference. Freedom is a road seldom traveled by the multitude. Who said that?"

"This time," declared Anchovie, "the revolution must be televised. For the sake of our country and peoples."

"Oh, you," retorted Vander Buttle. "The make-up never dries on revolutionary eyes. When I see a so-called patriot, I see nothing but a man who hopes for the deaths of half of his countrymen. And maybe that's okay! Please reserve a place for me in the front lines of the barricades, my dear Anchovie."

"Jus' 'cos you got 'airs 'round your lips," said a well-pleased and giddy Sir Didier, "don't mean you got to talk like a coont! Ha-ha-ha!"

"How much can I give you for the revolution, my dear Bill?" asked the esteemed financier.

"Fifty million?" said Anchovie, dismounting from Camilla the Camel.

"Let's make it a clean 100 million," said Sir Didier, taking out his checkbook. "And aye, I do expect a return on the investment when you have had your little overthrow of the existing system. I shall require get-out-of-jail free cards, contracts, loans, free parking, ministerial positions and everything that goes with them."

"Consider it done, my friend," said Anchovie, smiling and shaking Didier's hand.

"Ah," said Sir Didier, "now I wish to get drunk and to violate this young blond schoolgirl in each of her velvety orifices. And beat her as well, leaving her body bruised and slightly bloodied." Sir Didier stuck his tongue down Cleo's throat. Everyone laughed.

A taxi was summoned and they arrived at the trendy new Clubbe at Andropov Lane. Cleo gorged herself on wine and chocolate, while Didier and Anchovie mounted several clowns, strippers and reindeer. Vander Buttle did a series of pirouettes and handstands, to the delight of the gathered sybarites. Sir Didier dismounted, grabbed an umbrella, and began to angrily lash the buttocks of a French waitress. The crowd roared.

"Take care, my lovely sweet, for what you now witness is what happens to merry men with money," Vander Buttle whispered to Cleo during a pause to inject himself with wolverine testosterone. "If you don't have it, the idea of freedom is as fundamental as oxygen and the anus. For those of us who have it, it is merely a strange illusion. Make no mistake: 'Tis an iron truth, my dear. 'Tis what the history of art and history teaches, for those who may read."

As dawn broke, Didier swept Cleo off her feet and whisked her to his home at St. Hill Manor in Antonio Bay. Once there, he raised his hand and struck the young girl to the ground. As Cleo struggled to her knees, Didier kicked her back down.

"Life is hard," snarled Sir Didier. "But it's harder if you're stupid. You'd do well to learn that, my dear blond bunny."

"I think I love you," said Cleo meekly.

"Worry not, my sugarplum nymphet," Didier Sir cooed, welcoming her into his bed. "My heart has turned blond."

The exhausted Cleo swam under the bedcovers, warm and happy and bleeding ever so slightly from her nose and ears.

"I am involved with capital investments, mainly, as well as leech and mosquito futures," Sir Didier explained the next afternoon, as he prepared for his daily hour of making business decisions and looking at the internet. "If we invest in mosquitoes, we guarantee the future of humankind, do you see? And thus the economy grows. Or thus the economy contracts, depending on the profit-taking cycle and the currency manipulation. Do you see? That is the magic hand that controls the market, which is what we are involved with. Which goes tongue in foot with my other investments in toxic waste management and amusement parks. The people work under slavery conditions and they must be made to be happy, and we must be prepared to accept their hard-earned money by offering them cheap rides, plastic products and toxic foods at exorbitant prices. People will meet there, commit sexual intercourse, marry, have children, divorce, hang themselves and die of cancer. We shall repurchase the toxic wastes produced in this

exchange, then resell it to the highest bidder, and thus the world goes round and around and around and around. Whee!"

"Oh?" said Cleo.

"Furthermore," continued Didier, "I spend a small portion of each day passing along several billions to my friends who run specialist companies that use other people's money to predict the future. The government will gladly pay to the have the future predicted. My friends produce mathematical models that predict the risk of global loans and investments, and then, having seen their investments, we invest in the opposite, counter-intuitively, then manipulate the currency, and end up making billions more. They are muy inteligente and they have shown 60 percent success rates, which is pretty good if you ask me, and so they are deserving of the funds, which they return to me quarterly at a 35 percent profit rate. At the other end of the spectrum, I fill out an application and my friends in the government give me $2.5-3.3 billion per month, tax free, depending on what services I claim my companies shall perform. When they don't perform such forenamed services as they definitely will not I simply fill out a form requesting an extension, and return five percent of the fee as a down-payment penalty to my government friends. We launder the remainder and everyone prospers. Win-win-win-and-win-again, we call it, when we see each other."

"How interesting," said Cleo.

"As we like to say in our line of work," said Didier, "If you aren't getting something for nothing, you're not getting your fair share."

As he walked out, Sir Didier gave Cleo a 5,000-euro bill.

"But," said Cleo, "I don't wish to be paid. I wish to be with you."

"Ho, ho. Come now, lady. Silly be not. I want you to get some nice dresses. Nice and slutty things with sprinkles and sparkles. Something that will make me wonder if you've washed your knickers."

"You mean it?"

"Yes, of course," he cooed. "If you're going to be the Princess of the World, why not? Dance to the music, my dear."

to be continued

This is an excerpt from the short story collection Only Fools Die of Heartbreak published by Equus Press:

cover

© Thor Garcia 2013