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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 V

By Thor Garcia

In which our heroine becomes wealthy, rejects her family, and loses the love of her life.

Thirteen

Cleo was what was known as a Cardinal People now. Cardinal People, hmm,how to describe? It started with the words "interesting" and "unique"… and ended with "superstar."

Also: The fittest survive… but the exceptional win. Irrefutable Truth: One's uniqueness cannot be hidden within. Inevitably, it bursts to thesurface, compelling those who will to do – to dare, to dream, to create, to overcome… to triumph. To change stereotypes and break down existing social systems. To create new stereotypes and modified social systems that will benefit the unique and those similar to them… and the rest of the world. Because Cardinals emit a special light, which serves to bring out the talent and beauty of all.

It was understood that one should never wear socks with sandals. Nor mix patterns with prints. A jacket with studs or multiple zippers makes one look rebellious – but, beware: a fine line still separates style and clichι. Never coordinate – for this is annoying. Say no to bling – but if it feels right, wear it. Good taste changes – but a little black dress is always on target. Invest in quality shoes and handbags – but clothes need not be brand name. It is not the quality of the material, but the quality of the wearer that reveals taste and style. Slip into a nice grey blazer, and belt it. Frankly: Only women under 30 should wear fur. A dark trench coat, navy sweater and light blue or yellow tank top tend to be mistake-free. Accessorize as you see fit. And smile, smile, smile – anything goes with a smile.

Little Argument Here: One's outer beauty derives from one's inner magnificence – because you are how you feel… and you feel how you look. A broad-spectrum sun block is the cornerstone of any good skin-care regimen (along with herbs and oils). Nasty, toxic fat cells – I command thee to vanish! Apply Preparation H liberally, as its yeast extract will remove wrinkles and heal dry skin. A salicylic-acid toner will expunge dead skin cells and dissolve excess oil. Injections of unborn sheep glands are guaranteed to make your eyesight sharper and soften the skin… as well as enhance genital sensitivity. The Truth Remains: Plenty of water, plenty of sleep and, above all, a clear mental state, are the essential ingredients of good skin health. No smoking!

The pursuit of happiness necessarily involves a daily regimen of Kegel Exercises to strengthen the muscles that support the bladder, urethra, uterus and rectum… because one hates to inappropriately squander urine. Wisdom of the Sages: Orgasms are divine. Orgasms achieved through or with another person (or persons) give one greater vibrancy and clearance of mind than orgasms achieved through or with animals.

Cardinals are always teaching – because we wish to learn . Uncontestable Fact: An herbal tea bag placed in your underwear drawer will keep your panties smelling delicious. General Advice: Turquoise and lavender hues calm stressed nerves. Truism: Men should never wear shorts, except when on the beach or playing tennis (and even then, it may be open to question). (Also, men should never wear sandals – never.) Practical Advice: Never date people who live with dogs or who wear headphones in public, because their goals remain undefined. They prefer numbness. Practical Advice Part 2: Never throw waste into a waste bin when a filthy, homeless person is nearby or is digging through said waste bin in search of life-sustaining material… for this is simply rude.

Hard Fact: People who are fixated on food and drink are obsessed with their own bodily waste. We should feel sad for them, and assist in their healing. Hard Fact No. 2: People who abuse drugs and alcohol are failed idealists and dreamers. We should feel sad for them, and assist in their healing. Hard Fact No. 3: People loudly denounce and condemn others over what they are themselves are guilty of, or fear most in their own hearts. We should feel sad for them, and assist in their healing.

Love those around you, yes – but above all, always: love yourself . Celebrate: Let your identity be your religion. Do not waste time on hating people or things. Instead, understand there are many kinds of love, and love is a way of opening doors to the future and to success. Helpful Hint: What matters is fearless fulfillment of dreams… and helping others not afraid to pursue their dream. Question Not: Success is never temporal – it is a way of seeing, of feeling, of conceiving, that lasts one's whole life. We may be slashed to ribbons by the bullets and arrows of those who use hate as a weapon – but our hearts will continue to beat, our success will continue to emanate…

They glided through the park, dancing to the music of the bees and hummingbirds. Sir Didier Duclos-Dutroux took Cleo by the hand and led her down the stately, rose-shrouded pathway. They went up. They went down. They circled and bumped noses. They giggled and kissed. They paused at a shop, where Didier purchased a flask of cinnamon-pear vodka and a new ruby-encrusted riding crop for Cleo.

They had a sip, shared a snap, kissed once more and bumped noses – and then their reverie was interrupted.

"Aye, well lookit here," said a squat, tubercular man wearing a maroon beret who roared up in a white golf cart. "If it 'tisn't Cleo, my sweet goldenhaired trollop. Espied her from a goodly 250 meters down the path. Indeed, did I. Aye, and well – don't know if I've ever seen her until just this moment standing on two legs or without something 'tween those luscious pinks – but verily, aye, I do recognize the pretty face. Lovely mug, recognize it anywhere, with or without what we used to refer to as the ‘obligatory semen smears.' Aye, did we. Cleo the Curious Come-Eater, we called her, and not without affection nor all due respect. And then some, if I verily daresay so meself."

The gentleman was none other than Sir John Peter Illyich Lynch Leopold VIII, noted graduate of the Gorton School for Friends and the University of Southern Cunningliffe. Most recently, he had acquired funding through an appointment as an indentured partner at the law firm Nielsen Curtis Leslie Mayweather Boorman Martin Zitterer – until his ouster last February for gross obsequiousness to terriers.

"Pardon, my dear sir?" said a clearly shaken Sir Didier. The esteemed magnate gargled with the vodka, then spat the mouthful on to the stately pathway, his berry-colored blues burning. "Again, please, finest sir. I am quite certainly sure I did not ascertain your statement in the correct amplitude. Perhaps it is the warm weather. The bees and fleas, affecting the ear funnels, as it were. Come again?"

"Aye, my good man," continued Sir Leopold, "‘Come again' 'twas used to be Cleo's favored comeback. Back in the day, why, pretty little Cleo was quite capable of sucking a golf ball up a twizzle stick. Surely you must be aware. Aye, that's what we used to say. Twizzle Stick Cleo, a-one of her kind. The whole lot of us in the legal affairs and arbitrage communities. Little Golf 'N Stuff Cleo we called her, from time to time, verily, such was our fancy."

Sir Leopold chuckled. "Aye, and I reckon there's a goodly portion of truth to it. The Americans call it ‘know-how,' if ye understand me proposition. Or do the charming Uncle Sammers refer to it as ‘elbow grease'? I daresay, they may be wholly correct. A little ‘know-how' here, a little ‘elbow grease' over there – it's fine world, verily indeed. Everyone with a piece of salty steak to nibble, pink or well-done, whatever requireth your fancy thus. And Cleo – I daresay, she knows how, with or without a little grease deposited in the joint of your choice. Verily."

"My dear man," said a now visibly agitated Sir Didier, "I shall not have my whore called a prostitute. Not on the public land of this great state. I've paid good American money and I properly own her, esteemed friend. She's mine to use as I wish, fair and square. I shall kindly ask you to retract your scurrilous statement."

"Aye, used to we call it a nickel for the dime, we would, and then some," said Sir Leopold, chuckling. "In for a dime, in for a dollar. Here cometh Curious Cleo the Twizzle Stick Maker – or rather, here we come, on to Cleo, and where art thou, me twizzle sticks? Free run of all the orifices, if you knew who to pay and where to pay it. Aye, Cleo the Frenulum Fanatic, as she was rapturously known in particular quarters of the monetarist minority. The Frenulum Fanatic, Cleo she – alternately referred to as Healer of the Frenula, Cleo be. Aye, 'twas were the days. Aye, always a secret, always a bit of info, insider – 'twas our specialty, and not without good reason. Due diligence, my daring sir, such was our credo. You'll get no contrary opinion from me, good sir."

"I repeat, noble friar," said Didier. "I shall not have my whore called a prostitute. I've paid good American money, my dear interlocutor, and I properly own her. I shall respectfully request that you retract your statement of inrectitude."

"Oh, indeed – shall you?" chuckled Sir Leopold. "Well, forthwith you shall, evidently. And so shall ye. In any happenstance, I see the price for dear Cleo has gone up. Cluck-cluck, yet such 'tis the way of world capitalism, I assure you – verily, you'll earn no dissenting opinion from me, dear lord mine. Skilled is she, come-eating young Cleo, and deserveth she a fair penny for her services. Aye, she does. 'Tis not my place to offer a contrary disquisition. 'Tis the way of the world nowaday. So saith my uncle."

Sir Didier removed his Bushmaster-47 from his waistband and shot Sir Leopold in the face.

The police were called, and after they arrived, Didier ordered them to clean it up, pronto. And he did not wish, at the moment, to be bothered with any bothersome questions. The police would handle it just kosher, because that's what they got paid for.

"No worries," said Sir Didier, taking Cleo by the arm. "This too shall pass. The world will die and millions will cry. Ho-hum. I simply shall not have you called a prostitute. A man must a draw a line, however delicate it must necessarily be."

"Of course, my love," said Cleo.

"Over here," said Sir Didier. "I want to buy this unicorn. How much is it?"

"Ten million," said the attendant.

"Why," said Sir Didier, gazing upon Cleo with unrestrained admiration and pride, "it's almost free."

He gave the man his card. The payment cleared. Cleo stepped into the stirrup and climbed on. Sir Didier boarded behind her. And away they flew on wings.

"Magnificent," said Sir Didier, gazing down upon the town, the lake, the Ferris wheel, the church and the shopping mall. "Later, my dear, we shall do our part by distributing broken glass at the children's beach. The world must learn to be careful."

"Delightful," said Cleo.

Fourteen

Times were hard, oh they were rough – but not so much for Cleo any longer, or so it seemed. She returned to the basement for the first time in three months. She found Mother Magda hunched over a cardboard box. Mother Magda's bony, shaking hands flapped around inside, struggling to make sense of a small collection of watermelon seeds and bottle caps.

"Mother, what are you doing?"

"This… it's, for your father, it's… earrings, I am making… for sale." Cleo found her father's ass on top of the stove. What remained of his body had been dumped in two chairs at the kitchen table. Father Bill had been forcibly beheaded by the authorities after launching a failed one-man invasion to reclaim his leg from the Three Bluffs Nuclear Research Institute. "Do what your mother asks, Cleo," said Father Bill. "We need your help, blessed daughter. Please ye, please beith be much as a good daughter may beith. Have you any money, my dear?"

"Where's Jeremy?" said Cleo.

"Your younger brother Jeremy?" said Mother Magda. "Why, he done left us like a no-goodnik son. Aye, he ran off, leaving your mother to cry out her tender, ever-lovin' heart. Said he never wanted to see us again. Said he was goin' go out to the world to see how could sell his own self to the government and corporations."

"Where's Shamela?" said Cleo.

"In the corner," said Father Bill, "next to the mop."

Cleo went over for a look. Shamela Madonna Paris Bunga-Bunga Hilton Shnooki Blump was naked and dead, her eyes pulled from their sockets. Her head had been shaved and her body turned into a tattoo of a spider. Cleo pushed the body with her foot. Dozens of dead flies and worms fell out.

Cleo's young brothers and sisters sat glumly on the couch in front of the television, heads bowed. Their emaciated spines were no longer strong enough to resist gravity's pull and support their heads.

"Well… so what should we do now, Cleo?" said Father Bill.

"Ummm… maybe write a symphony about what life will be like in the year 2000?" said Cleo. "Paint a mustache on the Mona Lisa? I'm leaving. For good."

"But what about the children?" said Mother Magda. "They need food."

"You can't leave us," said Father Bill. "Please, Cleo!"

"They're not my children," said Cleo. "Maybe you lot should have screwed and drank less… and loved more. Don't you know love is the answer to everything?"

"Why," said Mother Magda, clutching at Cleo's azure and gold cape as her daughter walked up the stairs, "we loved ye as much as we may."

Cleo kicked her mother down the stairs.

Fifteen

Back at Saint Hill Manor a few days later, Cleo discovered Sir Didier in the bathroom. The wealthy speculator had dyed his hair and mustache orange and was now curling them. In the sink was a bloodied syringe, laying next to an empty plastic bottle labeled CLEO'S BREASTS.

"My dear," said Sir Didier, "I have decided to marry Annabella Moreno Guadeloupe de Agricola y Manchichi, the beautiful daughter of Esteban de Berlusconi Kleindorf Sanchez y Manchichi – you may know him as the world's most profitable drug dealer."

"But," stammered Cleo, "but – we – but –"

"Aye, my lovely. Please hear me out. I have so, so enjoyed your lovely blond orifices. But this is business. It is a match."

"But – we –"

"As you know, my dear, I come from an immaculate family – Harvard Legal, Princeton Business and the London School of Phonographs. Annabella Guadeloupe has more money at the moment, because the masses so do enjoy their drugs, and her old man is vicious little cunt who has not the slightest qualm about amputation. So you see: Prestige, elites, intermarriage, control of the banks, arms manufacture, drug distribution, the old and new media – a very clubby club indeed. We are a plundering, blundering bunch, and we enjoy it. A deal has been done. Yes, it is a good match."

"But – but –"

"And yes, I have begun injections of your mammalian stem cells. For longevity, testosterone and progesterone. My doctors tell me your stems are of the highest quality. I shall live to be 300 years old, and nothing shall stop me."

"B-b-b-but… d-d-d-do you love her?" said Cleo. "This Annabella?" She clutched at her bosoms, sighed and sobbed.

"Love, hah! You are so, so, so sweet, my dear missy. You speak of love – and we must suppress our laughter. Love is a wonderfully strange and false thing that was dreamt up at Disneyland, alongside cheeseburgers and baseball, light beer, Knott's Berry Farm, the Beach Boys and Australia. It is clearly not realistic. Love, my love, is a nonexistent thing that has been invented by the uncreative and those looking for a handout, and we use it now as a concept in our films to appease the masses. Love is a code-word that, at one time, two people used as a way of saying they wanted to raise babies together – and that's just not done much anymore, is it? Simply, one cannot do business with love – it does not honor its contracts. Love is only a word that we use to describe opportunity and socio-economic consensus, inspired by the fantasy of free sexual access and the crushing fear of going forward in this world alone. So yes, I do love her, with all my heart."

"But – but – but –" stammered Cleo.

"Tut-tut, my dear! What's love? What's a woman? What's a man? A woman has holes in the center of their bodies into which men stick things. The rest is only money, my dear – the female attempting to acquire as many resources as she can as she struggles vainly to protect herself for the moment when she may squirt her baby."

Sir Didier sucked from his hash pipe and cackled. "And that is all, my sweet."

Tears were running down Cleo's face.

"Worry not, my blond bunny," Sir Didier continued. "Only fools die of heartbreak, and I do believe I shall permit you to survive. My new beloved and I shall fund a little fuck-pad – don't you worry. We shall, we shall! I shall attempt to see you as much as I can, perhaps twice a year, to keep abreast of your orifices. And I shall request – I shall insist! – that my new drug friends visit you there as well. You are really quite lucky, my dear." Sir Didier slipped on a new nose, complete with rose balloons and a rare ostrich feather.

"Do you like my new nose? My good friend McGree of Ye Olde Nose Shoppe, which my firm recently acquired, recently acquired it especially for me. I quite like it. And now my dear, I must ask you to vacate my premises. At once. Chop-chop, or I shall have you arrested!"

Cleo stumbled into the street. The people remained poor, afflicted and drug-addicted. She passed by the Human Repair Shop, which had so many clients they had been forced to open an annex in the dirt field next door.

The people sat amongst the piles of broken glass and cigarette butts, murmuring, poking and slapping at one another. Cleo felt humiliated by the shabby, dysfunctional used noses they were being forced to apply – stupid, soggy noses that fell to pieces at the slightest touch.

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