Kaseks is staring at his toes protruding out the end of the sheets. The sheets are obviously too short for him and he should complain to his landlady Mrs. Fluck. Kaseks thinks Mrs. Fluck was once a man or a camel that underwent a sex change operation. She punches him on the head when he asks for seconds at dinner. He does not complain, he knows that Mrs. Fluck would raise his rent or poison his soup if he complains. Beyond Kaseks’s naked toes there is an out of focus door. The door leads to the hallway of the boarding house. He decides to stare at the door which is more amusing than his pathetic bony toes. Kaseks’s father always made fun of his son’s toes, he joked they looked like sparrow’s feet. Kaseks had tried to please his father and he jumped from the roof to prove he was a good sparrow and fly. He had ended up at the hospital with a cranial trauma instead. Kaseks focus his eyes on the door and realizes it is open and that two men in grey raincoats are looking at him from the hallway. They were not there before, he thinks. Kaseks is not such an idiot to spend time with his feet if two strangers in raincoats are watching him.
‘ Who are you?’ He asks alarmed.
‘ We are the kind of men who do not take kindly perverts that get excited by having strangers in grey raincoats watching them play with their dirty feet’ Answers the man in the door.
‘ What? What are you doing in my bedroom?’ Says Kaseks.
‘ Do not panic Mr. Kaseks, we are policemen. We are with the vice brigade’ Says the second man and the first man enters the room without being invited, the second man follows and closes the door.
‘ This is my room and I was trying to sleep’ Protests Kaseks.
‘ Do not get all cocky with us. We are here to question you. You have been accused of stealing stocks from a bank of sperm. This is considered multiple kidnapping and carries out a life sentence. Did you know that Mr. Kaseks?’ Says the taller man who seems the boss.
‘ What are you talking about? I was sleeping. I did not rob anything. ‘ Says Kaseks visibly startled by the accusation, he is fidgeting with the sheet’s hem and looking alternatively first to one man and then to the other searching for understanding or any sign of sympathy.
‘ Do you deny the charges Mr.. Kaseks?’ Says the second man and lazily begins to rub his back against the wall. He obtains a great pleasure out of that and starts to moan loudly.
‘ Of course I do. I am a decent citizen. I have never done anything illegal in my life. I work at a barber shop. We do pubic hair of porn stars but we never touch them. They send us their hair by courier and we cut it’ Retorts Kaseks.
‘ So you deny the charges. You will speak to the inspector Mr. Kaseks. He will have you suck his dick all night long to get you off the hook.’
‘ Pardon me? Did you just say the inspector will have me suck his dick?’
‘ Look what we have here Mike’ says the older policeman to his colleague who stops rubbing against the wall. ‘A smart ass pervert that wants to suck the inspector’s dick.’
‘ I didn’t say that! You did. You did say he would make me suck is dick.’ Protests vehemently Kaseks.
‘ What sort of fucking pervert are you? You keep insisting in sucking other man’s cock and you will get in so much trouble that you will… ‘
‘ What is all this sucking cock business here? This is a decent house and it is six in the morning.’ Mrs. Fluck is in the door wearing her stained nightgown and pink rolls in her head in spite of the fact that she wears a wig because she is totally bald. She lost her hair as a consequence of a shock when she found her husband‘s body crushed under a hippopotamus in their bed.
The policemen turn around and take off their hats but their heads remain covered with smaller hats they wear under the bigger ones as backup. The fat and shorter man speaks.
‘ I apologize for the disturbance Mrs. Fluck, but it was your guest here that was telling us he wanted to suck our superior’s dick to get off the hook.’
‘ I won’t tolerate such a talk in my house Mr. Kaseks! If there is any dick-sucking in this house I want to be warned in anticipation and get my share. I like to suck dick too, you know?’
Kaseks is perplexed that an octogenarian widow that looks like a broom might still have sexual urges and that she expresses them so freely in front of the police officers who don’t find this unusual. Mrs. Fluck has always been to him like a petrified sequoia with silicon breasts in her back after she had an implant made by a myopic surgeon. Mrs. Fluck obtained a substantial compensation in court but still she is always complaining about money and raises the rent at the slighter provocation or disagreement. As to increase Kaseks’s perplexity she draws her hand to her groin and begins to caress it sensually while with her trembling free hand she holds her cat that also wears a wig and seems bored.
‘ I must apologize gentlemen’ she says in between moans ‘but I always get very horny when I think of sucking cock, it is a hobby of mine. My grandmother taught me how to suck cock and every time I think of cock-sucking I get very emotional ‘
‘ No need to apologize madam. It is this degenerate who started the whole conversation. Do you still want to suck anybody’s cock, you pervert? Look what you did! Now this poor woman is bitting the door frame and she is about to come in front of us.’ Says the smaller man. Meanwhile the taller man has begun searching the chest drawer. He is holding a piece of Kaseks’s underwear under his nose.
‘ I can smell fresh sperm here. What did you do last night Mr. Kaseks? Were you jerking off?’ Says the detective and takes a deep breath burying his nose in Kaseks’s shorts. Kaseks is understandably mystified.
‘ Can I see your identification please? ‘ Asks Kaseks. He gets out of bed and realizes too late the pants of his pajamas are gone and his limp dick is hanging between his legs for all to see. The policemen stare at is dangling member as does Mrs. Fluck who comes on the spot and collapses.
‘ You have a big dick Mr. Kaseks but that does not impress us. This incident won’t look good in our report. Upsetting your poor old landlady with your dirty talk. I will make sure she presses charges for exhibitionism against you’ Says the taller man unmoved and Kaseks darts back under the sheets while his face reddens visibly.
‘ I am sorry. I had my pants on when I went to sleep. I must apologize. Somebody may have stolen them while I was asleep’ babbles Kaseks.
‘ You always find a good excuse to show your big dick, don’t you Mr. Kaseks? Do you want us to get horny and suck your cock too? ‘
‘ No, no, no.’ Stutters Kaseks ‘Wait a minute. Do not start again, I didn’t say anything about sucking anybody’s cock. I do not want anybody to get horny. Somebody stole my pants. That’s all. ‘
‘ Are you pressing charges? ‘ Says the senior policeman.
‘ Yes. Well, I should. I do not want strangers sneaking into my room while I sleep to steal my pants. ‘
‘ Are you accusing us of stealing your filthy pants?’ Screams infuriated the smaller policeman drawing closer to Kaseks’ bed.
‘ No. I didn’t say that. I didn’t say you stole my pants’ Protests Kaseks.
‘ Are you implying that we sneaked here by night, not to steal you pants for monetary profit, but to check the size of your cock and get excited and suck it all night long while you were sleeping? Is that what you have in mind, you dirty fuck? I’m going to blow your degenerate brains up your dirty motherfucker’s skull! ‘
Now the fat little policeman is screaming and holds Kaseks’ pajama lapels. He begins shaking them vigorously. Kaseks is trying to shake his head in denial but with all the shaking he seems to be nodding or so the policeman seems to think. The senior officer motions his colleague to stop and he lets him go.
‘ My friend here is just kidding Mr. Kaseks. We go by the book in this business. You will have to accompany us to the precinct and be processed. We have big sticks there to soften tough guys like you. Please get dressed. ‘
‘ Can I have some privacy to dress?’ Asks Kaseks.
‘ You think we want to take a better look to your big cock, don’t you? ‘
‘ No. I am sorry, I should have guessed you would say that. I will get dressed. ‘
Twenty minutes later Kaseks is sitting on the backseat of a car. The senior officer is driving and the smaller fat policeman is speaking to him in mumbled tones. Kaseks can’t hear what they say but he sees the driver is having fun because sometimes the back of his head shakes with laughter. He is separated from the two policeman on the front seat by a dirty Plexiglas slab. There are holes in the pane but they are blocked with a sliding door that prevents their voices from reaching him. The smaller man draws closer to the driver as they speak and now he has his head almost in the other man’s shoulder. Through the narrow slit between the two men’s bodies Kaseks can see the hand of the fat policeman stroking the driver’s thigh first and then slide into the space between the legs. They stop talking but the spastic movements of the driver’s body a few minutes later leave little doubt to Kaseks about what is going on in the front seat. Little doubt that evaporates as the fat policeman reaches for the glove compartment and produces a pack of paper napkins. After he is done cleaning his sticky fingers he turns around with a big grin on his piggy face and slides the pane to speak to baffled Kaseks whose mind is still struggling to understand what is happening to him. He always thought the vice brigade was named as such for completely different reasons.
‘ You know, with shit like you just put in for us you are headed for a very long sentence. Judges do not like a bit perverts that get their kicks out of old landladies. With shit like that in our report you are in for big time. Not to mention trying to bribe two police officers with sexual favors. You are going to have a hard time in prison. They will go crazy for a bitch like you in there.’
The man keeps talking and grinning as if he were obtaining a great pleasure out of tormenting Kaseks who is getting scared by the minute. This situation is much worse than the time somebody hanged his underwear from the top of a telephone pole with him still inside. Kaseks tries to think of cakes, thinking of cakes always eases his mind but he can’t concentrate with the man grinning and giving him sordid details about the treatment that awaits him in jail.
‘ I have been talking to my colleague here. We think you are a poor fuck. Not a dangerous guy, just a poor fuck with a sick mind. We have an offer for you, we will drop you back at home and forget all about what just happened but you will have to do something nice for us in return…’
Three days later Kaseks’ head is reclined on a barber chair and his tongue is feeling the inside of his mouth. He believes he can still detect in some spots the salty taste of the officer’s balls. Nevertheless they had kept their promise and drove him home. They burned their reports in front of him but still made Kaseks eat the cinders, just to make sure. After they had left he ran to his house and emptied two bottles of mouthwash. Mrs. Fluck had been taken to the hospital with an embolism and since the incident the other guests looked at Kaseks with suspicion. Kaseks took a three days sick leave to recover from the ordeal and tried to figure out what had happened. He spent the three days locked in his room and although he spoke to his fiancee on the phone he didn’t mention the incident for obvious reasons.
His fiancee Fiona Wong is a deeply conservative Chinese woman, daughter of an even more conservative Chinese accountant who still uses an abacus to do his job. Fiona’s parents always had wanted to have a squared accounting sheet but got a daughter instead and educated her to be as squared as a tax return rejection. If Fiona ever knew what Kaseks had inside his mouth that ominous morning three days ago she would never let him kiss her on the lips again, which was everything she ever allows Kaseks to do and just once at the end of the date. If she judges the date successful, which she does by applying a ten-questions evaluation quiz from Cosmopolitan, she allows Kaseks to kiss her on her lips with mouths closed for a period equivalent in seconds to the number of questionnaire positive answers. This means that kisses are never shorter than seven seconds but never last longer than ten, because less than seven points fails the test and he receives only a icy admonition and a farewell handshake. After a failed date Kaseks must address his fiancee as Miss Wong, they pretend it is their first date and Fiona tells Kaseks about her life’s details as if he hadn’t heard them dozens of times already.
Kaseks is now at the barber shop where he works as a barber assistant. His father had a beard and Kaseks, always trying to please his father who he idolized, chose this job to be closer to his father’s beard and spend time with him every time he needed a trim. After Kaseks got his license he trimmed his father’s beard in is maiden haircut. He was so nervous about the prospect of touching his father’s beard for the first time that his hands shook badly and he tried to finish the haircut with his feet. He did a lousy job: the beard came uneven and his father lost one hear. He never spoke to Kaseks again. Since the fateful amputation incident he didn’t even acknowledge to have a son and referred to Kaseks only as ‘ That horrible man who cut my ear’ .
The barber shop has been quiet all day and his boss Mr. Weaselman went out after lunch to attend some business. Closing time is near and Kaseks is trying to forget about the incident three days ago by thinking of cakes. He is thinking of a big pink weeding cake several stories tall with white cream garlands on top of every story. Kaseks does not like sweets too much and he never eats cake but the view of cakes is comforting to him, in the presence of a cake he feels nothing can go wrong. As in many other things he is wrong. At the precise moment his mind’s eye is hovering around a chocolate flat birthday tart with honeyed nuts a man enters the barber shop and heads straight to Kaseks who is daydreaming on one of the barber chairs.
‘ Are you Mr. Kaseks? ‘ Says the man who dresses a cheap navy blue suit and looks like a petty official or an insurances salesman. He is carrying a Manila envelope in his hand.
‘ Yes I am. Do you want a haircut? ‘ Answers Kaseks
‘ No, thank you very much. I am with the committee of moral abuses of the department of control of sexual diseases and epidemics. We have a report that indicates that you have been taking advantages on the underage clientele of this business. A group of outraged mothers has filed a complaint against you for the clearly sexual nature of topics that you use with children that have their hair cut in this establishment. Also we have witnesses who declared you caress children’s head and neck in an inappropriate manner using sometimes utensils of sexual nature. I am here to deliver you a citation for the committee board where you will be tried of this charges tomorrow at 09:00 AM. I wish you a good day Mr. Kaseks and I advice you to get a lawyer before tomorrow morning. Goodbye.’
The man leaves a speechless Kaseks sitting on the chair and holding the envelope in his petrified hand. In his mind he can picture a big brown tart smashed on the barber shop floor. He is dragged out his absolute stupefaction ten minutes later by the clanking of the shop’s door. Mr. Weaselman, his boss, is back.
‘ Look at these!’ Mr. Weaselman says pointing to his chest grinning. At first Kaseks is too baffled to notice what is that his boss seems so proud about but then he realizes the bulging shape of breast sticking out Mr. Weaselman’s shirt arching the trajectory of his tie.
‘ Aren’t they neat? I went to the shopping mall to buy a comb and they had a one-day special offer at the 24 hours plastic surgery boot. You pay for two and get one free. I had another one in my calf, but smaller. I was unsure at first but my wife always tells me how much she likes big tits and our wedding anniversary is in two week. Doris loves surprises, you wait until she sees these. Hey, what is wrong with you? You look pale. You like them, don’t you? Come here, I will let you touch them…’ Says Mr. Weaselman unbuttoning his shirt and showing two oversized breasts that look like hairy footballs.
‘ No, thank you Mr. Weaselman. That is okay. I can see them just fine from here. Wow! They are really big. ‘ Says Kaseks waving both his hands and trying to compose himself. He begins to feel as being more and more estranged from reality. First the recent episode with the lascivious law enforcement agents, then the citation and now a man he has known for years as a peaceful and sober husband with two daughters decides to have three breasts implanted in his body. Why is everybody acting as if sex was everything in their minds, Kaseks wonders. Is this the way a sexual revolution takes place, he asks himself. Or a sexual epidemic to be precise, he concludes.
Mr. Weaselman is absorbed admiring his brand new breast on the barber mirror. He is pressing and massaging them against the glass. Kaseks grabs the television’s remote and tunes the news to check if there is any mention of an epidemic of lust.
‘ Zap… Man had his daughter locked inside the basement for fourteen years and forced her into all sort of perversions. The incestuous rapist fathered three children with her that were soon included in their orgies. A limited edition high-definition DVD with exclusive uncensored footage of their orgies will be soon available on the stores… Zap… Daughter of billionaire who faked her own kidnapping has been found dead. With clear signs of violence and raping she is believed to… Zap… Disclosure of chain of prostitution that catered the highest financial circles. The ringleader of this underground organization appears to be a senator who hired the services of his fellow senate members for an exclusive clientele of financiers and bankers with a liking for extravagant sexual services that common prostitutes refused to perform… Zap… Goalkeeper has been suspended after performing oral sex on the referee during the second half of the match… Zap… Group of naked women congregated today in front of the United Nations building to menstruate simultaneously. The reunion ended up abruptly when their leader, a famous feminist writer, jumped from the roof to her death… Zap… Pastor who paid a group of male prostitutes to have his body smeared with excrement… Zap… Billions of dollars in economic compensations for the sexual abuses that senior members of the Catholic…Click ‘
Kaseks begins to feel queasy. The news had said nothing of a sexual epidemic but he feels positive that something really strange is happening around him and its sexual connotations seem evident. Kaseks’s problem is that he seems to be the only person to notice it. He turns in Mr. Weaselman’s direction and sees him sitting on the barber chair. He had undressed and he is naked waist up. While with his right hand is playing with his brand new breasts the left hand is clasped around the handler of the hair dryer. The hair dryer is on and Mr. Weaselman inserts repeatedly his erect penis inside the hot muzzle. Kaseks can’t believe his eyes and decides he needs some fresh air. Mr. Weaselman don’t even registers his excuses when he grabs his coat and leaves.
As soon as he is on the street he extracts his mobile phone from his pocket and speed-dials Fiona’s number. The phone rings for a while and an unfamiliar female voice takes the call.
‘ She doesn’t want to speak to you Mr. Kaseks’ says the stern voice at the other end of the line.
‘ Who are you? Where is Fiona? ‘ Demands Kaseks.
‘ She is very upset with what has happened. I am mother Annal, the mother superior of Saint Raphelent’s Home for the Poor. Mrs. Wong and her family have been friends and generous donors of our charitable institution for many years. She came to us for comfort after the shameful events that you have unleashed upon her. We would be most grateful if you do not bother her with your calls in the future. Good evening Mr. Kaseks’
‘ No. Wait a minute. I insist in speaking to Fiona. I don’t know what shameful events you are talking about. I don’t even know what unleashing is. ‘
‘ I am a senior member of the Catholic church, an institution that stands for the highest moral values and standards. If you believed for an instant that my mouth would utter for your sexual gratification the words necessary to describe the despicable nature of your acts, I must inform you that you were utterly mistaken. What you have done, Mr. Kaseks, is an abomination, a crime against God and Nature. I sincerely hope with all my Christian faith that you will burn in hell. Don’t call this number ever again. Fiona is a decent and virtuous woman and I just hope that under our care and tutelage she will regain the happiness you have taken from her. Good evening again, Mr. Kaseks.’
The line goes dead and when Kaseks dials Fiona’s number again the phone has already been turned off. He is standing in the middle of a busy commercial street. Salary men are coming out from the office buildings and shops are turning the first lights of the evening. Kaseks feels dizzy with hanger and looks around him for clues of the world as he expects to be. What he sees is fast paced men and women walking in all directions. People cross paths a million times every second around him, beyond them the buildings’ walls are hidden behind the advertising billboards that compete for the attention of Kaseks’s eyes.
‘FCUK. OBSESSION. DO IT NOW. A PLEASURE FOR YOUR SENSES. FEEL IT. TOUCH IT.’
It is as if even advertising were spiraling with the rest of the world into a pit of lust. Kaseks feels as if every passerby was taking furtive glances at him. As if everyone of them new knew better than himself in which sort of trouble he is, although he is clueless of what is it or why he is being singled out as sort of ultimate pervert in a world of growing perversion. He signals a taxi and gives the driver the address of Saint Raphelent’s Home for the Poor.
The taxi driver is a brownish foreign man in his fifties who speaks a broken English. In spite of the fact that Kaseks is in no mood for small talk the driver is very chatty and begins asking questions to Kaseks as soon as the cab joins the slow moving traffic of rush hour.
‘ What are you going to in miserable church mister? I see Saint Raphelent from my car sometime. Bad place, only poor peoples and nuns. They give free food to poor lazy man, they work in taxi and they learn to sweat bread. That I say you. I sweat bread every day and here I am. I drive my taxi and do fuck many hot bitch in back seat. I like fucky-fucky. I like fucky-fucky very much. My cock is big and strong like young man. Do you like fucky-fucky mister?’
Kaseks begins to panic seeing the direction the conversation is going to but nods to everything the driver says. They leave uptown and the taxi climbs up the highway ramp. They begin to cross a six-lanes bridge heading for the docks at the other side of the river. It is the worst part of town, occupied by abandoned warehouses and derelict tenant buildings. The driver keeps talking.
‘ Me come to America because Takistan woman smell bad. They have blanket on the head and if you take blanket you see like a goat. America woman good. Strong and beautiful woman! I see movie in my country name Horny American Housewife. American housewife hair is like gold and can take many cock at the time. I like American housewife but she cannot milk goat. You cannot have everything say the prophet, peace be on him. I see American woman in movie and I come here to do fuck. I make money and I fuck. No money, no fuck. I have wife now. Big and fat blind woman. She think me rich because she blind. I say her taxi my car and she believes. She fat but very good fucky-fucky. Big ass. Big tits. Big pussy. Everything big and she never say no do fuck. I can show you. What do you think mister? Me no lie. You give me some money and you can try big fat fucky-fucky. Fucky-fucky good for you mister, I see you and I see mister is sad. Mister do fucky-fucky, mister is no more sad. House me very near. What do you say mister?’
Kaseks is perspiring and trying to focus his thought in a stately and solemn strawberry cream cake but the constant fucky-fucky of the driver drilling his ears makes impossible for him to focus in other that lustful images that bring memories of the recent events that threaten to ruin his peaceful existence.
‘ No, thank you very much. I am in a hurry, maybe some other day.’ Kaseks replies while trying to stop his hands from shaking.
‘ Mister no like fat woman. Me understand, me know America. American like skeleton woman with big plastic tits. I have daughter. No very big tits but she young. She do fucky-fucky for you all night. Very good, she is sexy bitch. I know. I go always room her for more fucky-fucky when fat wife sleeps. Young pussy for mister and mister very happy. You like young pussy mister?’
Kaseks stomach feels as if a giant cold fist where squeezing it and he thinks that if the driver does not stop talking about fucky-fucky he will puke or jump out the window to the river. The lustful driver is watching his passenger’s pale contorted face in the mirror and the grin in his face dissolves slowly. He stops speaking for a second. He mutters something to himself in a foreign language and then begins talking to Kaseks in a patronizing tone.
‘ What your problem mister? You not like fucky-fucky? American all like fucky-fucky! Why not you like? My country many people not like fucky-fucky and cut cock if you fuck woman not your wife or goat not yours. People primitive in my country. I tell you old story of very wise man from Takistan. Very old man and very old story. This is story: man is raped by very cruel man and wants justice. Man goes to justice but door closed and big man is in front. He security man with big stick. Security man says stop, no entry. Man waits. Man waits days. Man waits weeks. Man asks security man when he can go inside. Security man says wait or big stick for you. Man waits months. Man waits years. Door always closed and security man always say no. Man is old because years waiting. Man is weak and sick. Man ask security man why he wait so long. Security man says you suck my cock you go in. You suck not my cock you wait. The old man puts cock of security man in mouth and gives blowjob, but he too old and cock very big. Old man dies and security man uses hand to finish. Very sad story but very true mister.’
Kaseks feels too sick to appreciate the beauty of the driver’s story or to understand its meaning but manages to nod in agreement. They have finally crossed the river and through the car windows he can see a landscape of large buildings and skeletons of buildings. The sidewalks are cracked and littered with papers and garbage. Almost indistinguishable from the trash filthy men and women wander the streets like zombies or gather in cluster around oil drums to pass around bottles of liquor. The taxi stops in front of a walled compound that surrounds a crumbling warehouse. Over the metallic gate that gives access to the courtyard there is cast iron arch with a printed billboard that reads: Saint Raphelent Home for the Poor. There is a short line of old men in rags waiting in silence. Kaseks stumbles out the car and takes a deep breath of air. It smells of dirty sea water and oil but it is an improvement over the suffocating smell of sandalwood air freshener and cheap cologne that permeates the cab’s interior. Kaseks picks himself up and pays the driver.
‘ Good luck mister. You need fucky-fucky you call me. My name Ilick. You have my card. Bye.’ Says the driver and the cab leaves Kaseks standing in front of the imposing rusty gate. In one corner, at the bottom of the closed cargo gates there is a smaller open door that offers a line of sight to the courtyard and of the large featureless masonry building at its end. As Kaseks heads to the door he realizes the first man waiting in line is different from the old beggars. He is a tall and muscular man with a bald head. He is wearing jeans and a black tank top. His thick tattooed arms are crossed over his chest and holds a clipboard in one of his hands. He is watching Kaseks coming towards him from behind his sunglasses. When Kaseks is just a few steps from him and about to enter the door by his side the man speaks.
‘ Wait in line!’ Says the doorkeeper in a commanding voice but without moving a muscle other than his mouth’s. Kaseks stops in his tracks and the doorkeeper adds. ‘ The soup will be here any minute. Get on the line.’
‘ I am not here for the soup. I am here to see my fiancee. She is inside and I need to speak to her.’ Says Kaseks.
‘ What is your name sir? Are you on the list?’ Says the doorman in more polite but still firm tone while he examines the paper sheets on the clipboard.
‘ What list? No. I am not on the list. What is this? A homeless’ club? I told you. I need to see my fiancee, she is in here with some nun, mother Annal.’ Explains Kaseks to the doorman who stops checking his clipboard.
‘ Sorry sir, if you are not on the list I can’t let you in at this moment. ’ Says the doorkeeper in a still polite but assertive tone.
‘ What do you mean I can’t get in at this moment? Can I get in later?’ Asks Kaseks repressing a fit of anger.
‘Maybe sir, but not now. Now you have to wait.’
Kaseks does not want to wait and sprints to the door only to smash his face against the rock solid fist of the doorman.
‘ Do not try a trick like that again or I will be forced to break your legs sir.’ Says the doorman in a calm voice. Kaseks is laying on his back on the dirty sidewalk feeling his nose, it is bleeding but not broken. He stands up and begins pacing the in front of the door. The doorman remains silent and inscrutable. Kaseks stretches his head in different angles trying to see what is beyond the gate.
‘ Are you very interested in getting inside sir? ‘ Asks the doorman
‘ Of course I am very interested! Didn’t you hear what I just said? I must get inside.’ Shouts Kaseks in impotent anger.
‘ You can try to enter by force sir, although I don’t think you have a chance to overpower me. Even if you did you do not know what sort of other security measures we have inside. There are machine gun nests manned by nuns on top of the building. There are vicious dogs and also vicious nuns that walk in all fours and are trained to kill trespassers on sight. I myself wouldn’t dare to get inside without authorization. Do you still want to get in sir?’
‘Yes I do!’ Screams in despair Kaseks. Then he reaches for his wallet in the inside pocket of his coat and produces some bills. ‘Take these. I have money I can pay you if you let me in.’ He says placing the wad of notes in his outstretched hand in front of the doorman’s face who remains unmoved. After a few seconds of waiting the doorkeeper grabs the money, counts it without saying anything and introduces the wad in his jeans’ back pocket.
‘ I will take this money so you know I did everything in my power to let you in, but you still have to wait a little longer sir’ Says the doorkeeper as he motions his arms to their trademark position across his chest.
‘Why? Why do I have to wait?’ Begins Kaseks in despair, then a black sedan car with tainted windows comes to an halt by the sidewalk. An old man in a suit gets out and walks towards them. The elegant man does not pay any attention to Kaseks and just tells his name to the doorman and the doorman checks his clipboard and nods.
‘ Come in sir ‘ He says. The man walks into the door and walks along the courtyard towards the building.
‘ Why did you let him in?’ Asks Kaseks
‘ His name is on the list sir ‘ Answers the doorman.
‘ Is it my name on the list?’ Asks Kaseks in despair.
‘ I can’t tell you sir. I asked you before but you refused to give me an answer.’ Chuckles the doorman.
‘ Kaseks, my name is Kurt Kaseks.’
The doorman check his list and speaks. ‘You should have told me before. They are waiting for you inside. I will show you the way, follow me please Mr.. Kaseks’
Kaseks is baffled but the doorman has already crossed under the door and he is walking into the compound. Kaseks would be furious about the absurdity of his situation if he wasn’t so tired. He crosses inside and follows the doorman. Beyond the door the courtyard reveals as a vast flat expanse of cracked concrete littered with discarded machinery and garbage. Pools of black water and oil had formed inside the holes on the tarmac. A few skinny old men and women who wear what looks to Kaseks as dirty diapers are wandering listlessly among the piles of garbage seemingly oblivious of their surroundings. In Kaseks’s eyes they look like animals searching for food on a wasteland of debris.
Kaseks follows the doorman. They are heading straight towards the masonry building that reveals its true magnitude as they get closer. It is a massive blackened warehouse with a line of loading docks at floor level but no windows on the high walls. They reach the front of the building and the doorman climbs the staircase to the dock platform motioning Kaseks to wait at ground level. The doorman knocks the steel rolling door and it rolls up with a humming of machinery. A nun appears out the darkness inside. Kaseks watches how the doorman tells something to the nun an she nods repeatedly without speaking. Then the doorman beckons him to join them.
‘ Sister Asshes will take you to your destination. Do not speak to her, she has taken a bow of silence and don’t even think of trying any of your dirty tricks with her, remember that nuns have magical powers.’ The doorkeeper advises and then leaves.
Kaseks follows sister Asshes into the shadowy interior of the warehouse while the rolling door closes behind them until they are submerged in total darkness. Kaseks can hear the echo of their steps bouncing off distant walls but he is unable to see anything but darkness and a patch of dirty cement floor that extends a few paces around them, as if an invisible spotlight were illuminating their path. After a few minutes walking in silence they reach a rectangular hole on the floor with a staircase that disappears into the underground. The nun stops by the entrance and with her eyes trained on the floor and no expression in her face she motions Kaseks to descend the stairs with her extended hand.
Kaseks descends the steep narrow staircase feeling the walls with his hands because it is dark and he doesn’t need to break his neck to top a day of calamities. His fingers feel the touch of wet and sticky fabric, like rotten upholstery. The stairs end in what only could be described as a extraordinarily dark auditorium. There is a red velvety curtain dimly illuminated with low lights at the far end and as Kaseks’ eyes get used to the scarcity of light he recognizes the shape of parallel rows of armchairs aligned in front of the curtain. Some random seats are occupied by silent men and women that seem to be waiting for something to happen. While Kaseks is feeling his way along the dark aisle something does happen: the curtain raises. Kaseks sits down and looks towards whatever the curtain was hiding behind.
He sees a large glass pane that looks like an empty aquarium. Behind the glass there is a small stage with a stained mattress placed on the center of the linoleum floor. The walls are black and in spite of the dim light the scene seems to glare in contrast to the almost total darkness of the theatre. The light coming from the room allows Kaseks to see some of the faces in the auditorium. They are old people, men and women, and they are all well dressed and carefully groomed. They do not look like the men waiting in line at the entrance for a bowl of hot soup. One of the men is the same elegant man that came in just before him. They are all gazing fixedly at the stage and they seem oblivious of the presence of each other.
Then a group of nuns enters the stage in silence through a side door and they begin to undress. Kaseks watches perplexed how they walk to the dirty mattress in the centre and lay there together. They begin touching each other’s bodies and kiss in absolute silence. Neither in the room or in the auditorium a noise is heard, as if the men and women around him had stopped to breath. There are seven or height nuns on the mattress but Kaseks can’t say for sure how many they are because their shaved heads renders them identical and the bodies are interlocked in such a heap that it is impossible to know how many there is. They stick to their slow and sensual routine with mechanical precision, almost in a trance. Not a single sound is heard for a while, then the side door opens again with a loud clank.
Kaseks looks towards the side door. A tall naked woman enters the room carrying a nightstick in her hand. Kaseks can’t see her face hidden under a leather hood with just two narrow slits at eye level. The hood ends in a pointed shape, like an executioner’s mask. She walks towards the cluster of naked nuns and begins beating them as if they were cattle. The girls disperse around the room crawling but none of them makes any real effort to run or hide. Kaseks realizes that all their actions are part of a pantomime. The hooded woman singles one of the girls who is curling on the floor in a submissive position and orders her with a gesture of her stick to lick her body. She obeys meekly and soon every naked nun on stage has gathered at the newcomer’s feet kissing every inch of her anatomy with devotion, as if she was some pagan goddess of fertility of an obscure lesbian cult. The masked woman lays then on the mattress followed by the group of naked nuns whose mouths travel her skin in a slow-motion frenzy of mute lust. Contorting her body and moaning she lets them explore freely her convulsing body. Soon the orgy is resumed and only her leather hood makes her identifiable under the mass of sweaty flesh clustered over her. Kaseks begins to perspire and his breathing becomes heavy. He is feeling understandably excited by the pageant although its ultimate meaning escapes his understanding. The men and woman in the auditorium do not seem impressed by the scene and they remain motionless and in silence.
The masked woman buries her hooded head between the legs of one of the young nuns but the mask impedes her attempt to perform oral sex. She snatches the top of the hood and with a prompt swinging motion throws it away freeing a long mop of black hair. Then she buries her head again between the girl’s thighs, who welcomes the caresses of her tongue with clear pleasure but in obdurate silence. Kaseks speculates those deeply religious women must keep her vow of silence even in these unusual circumstances. After a few minutes the face of the unmasked woman emerges from between the sweaty buttocks of the girl and Kaseks sees her face.
‘ Fiona!’ His scream of recognition echoes in the otherwise noiseless auditorium. He jumps off his seat and runs along the aisle towards the glass, crashes against it nose first and bounces back. This time the bone’s nose cracks and he shouts again an even louder scream of pain.
The echo of his screams is still bouncing off the walls when the naked nuns begin an stampede with panicked faces but still in stubborn silence. The spectators remain equally silent but almost simultaneously they stand up, pick up their belongings calmly and begin to leave. In less than a minute and before Kaseks has recovered from his state of shock only Fiona remains on the stage while the last naked nun is crossing the stage door. Fiona is standing up on top of the mattress looking towards Kaseks in disbelief. Her naked body is covered in sweat and her breast shake at the cadence of her heavy breathing. In her face there is an expression of recognition and barely repressed anger. Kaseks knows very well that expression. It precedes a fit of rage and he realizes how furious she is, like the time he bought a box of chocolates that turned out to be expired. Fiona got a three days diarrhea and forced Kaseks to eat the whole box. He winded up at the hospital to have the contents of his stomach pumped out.
‘ What are you doing in here, you dirty pervert? Didn’t mother Annal told you that I don’t want to see you again? Are you stupid? I am decent woman and I don’t have anything to do with your repugnant sexual practices.’ Screams Fiona.
‘ What are you talking about? You were just performing a lesbian sex-show with underage nuns in front of an audience of senior citizens!’
‘ What I was doing here has nothing to do with you! This was a charitable performance for the institution’s benefactors. My parents were among the public. They came specially from the Bahamas to see my debut on the stage and you have ruined everything. You are just a dirty-minded pervert. You think everything is about sex. Well, it is not. The sisters and I have devised this performance to help me healing the psychological scars that my relationship with you has left on me. You come here uninvited and see me laying in bed with a group of naked girls and the first thing that comes to your lustful mind is sex. Not charity! Not love! Sex! Isn’t there any other thing you can think about? You are repulsive! You are despicable! You are the lowest form of life I ever thought possible. Now those generous donors will retire their contributions to the work of charity we are doing here. All the poor and hungry people we help will be left to their own devices only because your filthy obsession with sex.’
Kaseks realizes how lucky he is to be separated from his fiancee by a thick bulletproof glass. Otherwise Fiona would jump and beat him to pulp with the stick she is brandishing in her hand. He backs off up the aisle and runs towards the stairs. In the murky shadows at the foot of the stairs he sees a group of nuns barring the exit. They are in silence and with eyes trained on the floor but for the older of them who is staring sternly into Kaseks’s eyes.
‘ I am mother Annal and I very much fear that you can be no other than infamous Mr.. Kaseks and the cause of this costly disturbance. Am I correct? ‘
‘ Yes, mother… Er… I am sorry. I do not… I was… ‘ Babbles Kaseks intimidated by the mute condemnation of the silent nuns.
‘ And to what evil reasons do we owe the dubious honor of your visit Mr.. Kaseks? Didn’t I warned you personally myself that Miss Wong didn’t want to see you ever again? Don’t you feel that you have caused this virtuous woman enough suffering with your behavior? Ms. Wong has decided to join our order and retire from the outside world. As you have seen she is very fond of the other nuns and we feel very pleased to have her for as much time as she finds suited to enjoy our tenderness and loving care. Now leave! I will remember your wicked soul in my prayers to God and I will point out the Almighty what a suited place Hell would be to dispose of it when you die.’
The chorus of silent nuns opens like a fan of black and white feathers at an invisible signal of mother Annal and Kaseks runs up the stairs. He is still running when he reaches the proximity of the rolling door. At first he thinks it is closed but as he nears he realizes his mistake: little light comes from the outside because it is already dark. The door is rolled up and sister Asshes is waiting by the lever with the door wide open to facilitate his escape. He goes outside and resting his hands on his knees tries to catch his breath while the door rolls down behind him.
He is still in that position when he notices several dark shapes coming towards him in the distance. He sprints through the courtyard towards the main gate. First he thinks he is being chased by dogs but as the dark shapes get closer he realizes they are old nuns with distorted faces and sharp false teeth running in all fours. The demented expression on their wrinkled faces is more frightening than any dog Kaseks has ever seen and he runs with all the strength he can muster towards the exit. His blind race ends when he crashes against the fuming cauldron of hot soup that is being served to the homeless gathered around the entrance. Great confusion ensues when the boiling contents spill on the sidewalk and over some of the men waiting in line. They scream in pain and soon an infuriated mass of angry and hungry hobos is kicking and beating viciously helpless Kaseks who is curled on the pavement. He tries to protect his body from the blows that come from all sides until he passes away.
When Kaseks wakes up his body is in pain and covered with dry blood mixed with dirt. His coat, his watch, his cell phone and his shoes are gone. He has lost some teeth and he is bruised all over, although none of his injuries is life threatening. He looks at his surroundings and sees he has been dumped on a vacant lot not far from the sinister mission of Saint Raphelent. He stands up and walks towards the sidewalk. The streets are deserted but for some babbling drunkards wandering against the background of dark warehouses and clusters of cheap hookers waiting in some corners. Not a single taxi is in sight, only trucks darting from the docks and a few cars cruising slowly and stopping here and there to negotiate with prostitutes. The cars slow down and the women gather around the open windows. Words are exchanged and sometimes one or several women board the car and then leave.
Kaseks begins to walk along the road searching with his sight for a place where he can phone a taxi or an ambulance. In the corner of a building he glimpses the neon sign of a strip bar: The Cunthouse. On top of the neon lettering the shape of a naked blindfolded woman is holding a pairs of scales. Every time the neon switches the scales vanish in the dark and her hand reappears in her groin. Kaseks feels he has enough sex for the rest of his life but the strip club is the only place where he can detect any signs of life. He limps toward the club’s front that is painted in a dull shade of gold and peeling off in many spots. There is two big men standing guard but they do not blink an eye when they see him heading for the door and Kaseks enters the establishment unmolested.
The place is almost deserted and in an obvious state of disrepair. If it wasn’t because a handful of clients that sit in silence by the small tall circular tables scattered at random, he would have believed the place to be abandoned. There is some lighting but almost exclusively concentrated on the stage. The stage extends into the center of the hall following a classical strip club layout, with a long catwalk and a chrome pole at the end. Everything is covered by a layer of dust and the faces of the customers are hidden in the shadows. There is no music and no talk, only eerie silence. Kaseks walks to the bar. A man is behind the bar and Kaseks walks towards him ready to beg for a free phone call. Then he notices something strange. Behind the man instead of the usual bottles of liquor the shelves are occupied by long rows of dusty files. A long line of decaying cardboard spines with diminutive stenciled letters and numbers.
‘ Welcome Mr. Kaseks. You are too early. Your eagerness will be taken into account’ Says the man behind the bar.
‘ Who are you? How do you know who I am?’ Says Kaseks alarmed and certain that some new calamity is about to befall upon him. Then he recognizes the man behind the bar. Now he is wearing a stained short sleeves pink T-shirt with a printed pattern of small human figures copulating in different positions but his face is the face of the man in a cheap suit who delivered his citation at the barber shop a few hours ago and he is smiling to Kaseks.
‘ I see you have ignored my advice and decided to represent yourself using just your cock. Bravo! ‘ Says the man.
‘ What are talking about? What is this place? What are you doing here? ‘ Demands Kaseks.
‘ This is The Cunthouse, as it is clearly indicated on the billboard outside. But as I told the hearing of your case is at nine o’clock in the morning. You are seven hours early. As I said your eagerness to see your case tried will count in your favor during the hearing. We are more than ready to accommodate and we can open the session for you now.’
‘ Are out of your mind? Is this a courthouse? This is a strip joint and this trial is a farce! This place is just a shit hole populated by madmen. This is a lunatic asylum and smells like an open latrine. You are all crazy!’ Kaseks burst in a hysterical fit. He laughs and feels he is beginning to lose his mind. He is laughing and crying at the same time. He feels the joints of his bones vibrate at every laugh he makes. The other man is seemingly unmoved and shows no reaction.
‘ Showing contempt for the authority of this tribunal won’t help your case. As I said this is not a courthouse, this is The Cunthouse. Only sexual offenders stand trial in this court. There are so many of those that we are overworked and underfunded. We double as strip club outside office hours every evening until midnight. Those sitting there are our standing jury and there is always a judge on duty in case somebody shows up for a speedy trial. Your judge tonight will be Madam Slavesalyer, one of our most experienced judges who also performs the seven o’clock SM show.’
‘ What? Are you crazy. The judge is a stripper? ‘ Protests Kaseks almost in tears of indignation.
‘ Why not? Who knows more about sex and perversions than a hooker? Well, maybe a priest but they charge far more for their services and do badly as strippers. A hooker knows with one single look what kind of pervert you are, she knows far more about those matters than a fat septuagenarian who wears a wig and who had spent his life behind a desk reading jurisprudence books.’
‘ No, stop. This is insane! I do not recognize your authority. Who are you to judge me? ‘
‘ Oh, I am not going to judge you, I am just the trial’s deejay. Madam Slavesalyer will do the judging and I will announce her on the speakers. ‘ Says the deejay picking up his bag full of records and motioning to leave the bar.
‘ And what make you think that I will let a bunch of lunatics to do that Mr. Deejay?’ Laughs Kaseks.
‘ I was hoping that your civic sense and love of justice would be enough but if those are insufficient motivation for you the armed men behind you will help you to the stand. ‘
Kaseks feels the cold touch of a gun’s muzzle on his temple while a second set of strong hands grab his wrists. The two silent men who were guarding the door drag away Kaseks who is laughing helplessly and had almost lost his mind. They lift him to the catwalk, undress him and handcuff his hands to the pole like the sacrificial victim of some obscure pagan cult. On the meanwhile the deejay has reached the sound boot and he begins to speaks on the microphone.
‘ Ladies and gentleman! Madame et monsieur! Damas y caballeros! Welcome to the Cunthouse! Welcome to our first trial of the day. Mr. Kaseks’ Trial. Tonight the fate of a pervert will be decided before your eyes. For those who are new let me inform you the defendant is the naked man tied to the pole. His name is Kurt Kaseks and he has a big cock as you can see. He stands accused of many crimes. All of them are related to his big cock. All of them are big crimes too. He stole sperm to use in obscure sexual experiments. He bribed police officers with oral sex. He drove his landlady into a coma using only his cock. He made propositions to a senior member of the Catholic church and witnessed an orgy performed by nuns in which he had forced his fiancee to participate. He stands accused of abusing hundreds of children entrusted to him for a simple haircut. He has been seen in the company of an illegal immigrant with a long criminal record of sex-related crimes and who uses his cab as front for his activities as a pimp. To top it today he spilled hot soup over some innocent bystanders causing them to become destitute cripples. The defendant has chosen to represent himself using his big cock as a lawyer. He has shown up seven hours early without tie, barefoot and dirty. The defendant also has expressed doubts about the legitimacy of this trial and about the mental soundness of its participants. Nevertheless we will do our best to offer this unworthy man a fair trial. How the defendant declares himself?’
‘ Fuck you!’ Screams Kaseks foaming through his mouth in anger and despair.
‘ The defendant has declared himself guilty. For the record, the defendant has misspelled the word ‘guilty’. The trial is about to start. Prepare all to stand up and cheer Her Honor Madam Slaveslayer. Does the defendant has any musical petition for his trial? ‘
‘ Do you have something about cakes. Cakes relax me. ‘ Says Kaseks giving up any pretense of sanity.
‘ A very good choice Mr.. Kaseks. For the record, the defendant wants to hear Relax, the eighties classic of Frankie Goes To Hollywood, one of my favorites and the only record I have in my bag. ‘ The electronic beat of the song hits the speakers as the stroboscopic lights on the stage ignite. The deejay speaks again. ‘Ladies and gentlemen, for your pleasure and delectation, the master of swift justice, the queen of the justice hall, the woman with golden tongue. I give you Her Honor Madam Slaveslayer!’
The silvery curtains at the end of the stage part and a woman wearing a black velvet cloak steps comes out. She is moving at the rhythm of the song. Madam Slaveslayer is a dyed blonde with a bright grin of false teeth on her face. She wears glistering makeup and has long black fake lashes. She salutes the audience and raises her arms on the hair. The cloak falls to the floor revealing her naked body clad only with elaborated black stockings and a diminutive thong printed with a leopard pattern. She walks slow and sensually along the catwalk towards Kaseks who is immobilized and naked. Her silicon breasts have two caps attached to her nipples and hanging from each of them there a tiny scale at the end of a short silver chain. She shakes them at the electronic tune and the scales spin wildly in front of Kaseks’ eyes like an hypnotic device. In such a close proximity she reveals not so young, probably near her forties, but still her shiny body is magnificent and she smiles at Kaseks looking straight into his eyes with mischievous complicity. Nobody had smiled to Kaseks for a long time. Nobody had looked into his eyes for a long time either. She is the first person to be so physically close to Kaseks’ body since his mother bathed him as a baby. Her lustrous glittering skin gets closer and closer to his naked body and begins a sensual rubbing motion against it. Kaseks can smell vanilla and clove in her perfume. She smells and looks like a real cake. The thought of a cake eases Kaseks’ body and his tension recedes traveling from his aching muscles towards his groin to gather inside his penis that begins to harden. Slowly at first, like a washbasin emptying its contents down the drain his worries and pain spiral and vanish, all that is left is an overwhelming feeling of sexual desire. Madam Slaveslayer mouth kisses lustfully Kaseks lips and then it descends along his neck and torso leaving a trail of scarlet saliva tainted with lipstick. When her mouth reaches his groin it finds the expectant cock of the defendant ready for judgment. Her Honor swallows its prodigious length and begins a sensual motion that makes Kaseks feel he would like to be judged like this on a daily basis. In less than a minute Kaseks’ brain explodes in a fire storm of light as he discharges his sperm into his judge’s mouth. The music comes to an abrupt halt and a microphone plunges from the dark ceiling in front of Madam Slaveslayer. She grabs the microphone and swallows Kaseks’ cum in her mouth with a slight twitch of her face but her perennial smile remains unchanged.
‘ It tastes guilty to me boys!’ Says on the microphone cheerfully. The public nods in silence and the deejay announces the verdict on the speakers system.
‘ Well, ladies in gentlemen, justice is done and it seems we have a big guilty cock here. For the record, once more the defendant has shown contempt for the jury and the judge. He had forced his big cock inside Her Honor’s mouth. The tribunal nevertheless wishes to show some clemency and consider as an extenuating circumstances the fact that Her Honor is a hot bitch. A big applause for her folks! A big applause for Her Honor Madam Slaveslayer! Remember folks you can see her again later today in the her SM show at nine sharp. Let’s see how many bulbs she can insert in her pussy tonight after this tough trial. ‘
The public claps and Madam Slaveslayer flashes her fake smile around while waving her hand to the jury. Her face is contorted in a Botox smile and she seems very happy, in the verge of tears of joy. She grabs her black cape from the floor and vanishes behind the curtain, totally oblivious of Kaseks who is almost unconscious. His naked body dangles on the pole like a broken crash-test dummy. In the murkiness of the hall he imagines to recognize some faces on the tables through the narrow slit of his half closed eyelids. In one of the tables there are two women kissing, they look like Fiona and the mother superior. On another table two men wearing overcoats and hats are also kissing. Kaseks thinks they are the policemen of the vice brigade but he is not sure any more of what he sees. It might be his perverted mind playing on tricks on him again.
He barely registers the sentence announced on the speaker system: extraordinary rendition. He hardly notices how the doormen free his hands from the pole. He is almost sleep when they carefully lift his limping body and introduce it inside a large wooden box. When the men nail the box’s top he is already passed out. He never hears the sound their hammers driving nails on the lid neither sees the stenciled letters on the top of the box: PERVERT.
Seventeen hours later a box marked pervert is parachuted by a military plane on the highlands of remote Takistan. The area is the stronghold of a religious fundamentalist guerrilla army. The violent impact of the box on the rocky ground awakes Kaseks. When he regains consciousness is body buried among the collapsed sides of the box. He struggles to reach the sunlight that pours through the cracked wood planks and with a final supreme effort he frees himself and stands up naked under the sun. The first and last thing he feels is the burning trail of an AK-47 bullet piercing his chest. Then he is only guilty of being dead.
The pride of the dead is thick as mist and sticks to your bones. It is dark and made of laughter. It is the light behind the bones blinding you with lies. It wastes no time and it is merciless. And now you can buy it in a three pack with one for free. Isn’t that neat? You can read about it in the internet and even has its own web page. It does not mind it is gloomy because the packaging is good and it is appealing. The pride of the dead is on discount these days folks, do not miss the opportunity. Once in a lifetime, money back guarantee. Pride like this does not decay or expires, it is tax free and odorless. If you can find better than this don’t hesitate, purchase it now on credit.
I am thinking this while watching the traffic dead on the streets, dead quiet in the dead air. The buildings in the distance are the shapes taken of the city’s perspiration, ghosts of smoke that causes pulmonary diseases. I feel nausea and I feel drawn to the noise and smoke. I look down to the street. Just some passerby’s tiny figures moving in the pavement. That is what a passerby does better, to pass by leaving no trace of his passing. I could leave a big splashing trace of red blood in the pavement down there. That would last in the mind of one of those strangers: a big pink mushroom-shaped pink cloud blossoming in a perfect dead instant before their horrified eyes. The sudden realization that life can vanish in a gory fraction of a second. But that sure would hurt so I back away from the railing of my balcony and look inside my room. Now it is in shadows and empty but if I had looked inside my room twenty minutes ago I would have seen myself and there would have been somebody there with me. Now the shadow of that person is fading inside of me and it is becoming something else. It is becoming a memory and that memory is struggling to fit in the great scheme of things. The scheme of things as we see them. We all have one. Some are more convoluted than others, but they are all pretty convoluted and they only make sense to ourselves.
Shycunt was beginning to worry about her husband’s fate. He had left six years ago and his dinner had gotten cold at first but now was certainly rotten as the corpse of a Pharaoh. She busied herself doing tasks around the house. She swept the earth floor that was perpetually covered with a layer of sand that reached her ankles. The dust blowing from the desert slipped continually through the cracked dry mud walls of their tiny one-room house. She fed the two chickens and one sick retarded son that constituted all the household and were also the family’s only wealth.
Her husband Mouthmad never had achieved a great deal in his multiple professional pursuits. He tried farming tomatoes but the sand dunes were too dry for tomatoes and besides tomatoes hadn’t been discovered yet. It took him six years to realize this when he spoke to a merchant in the bazaar and asked him about the wholesale price for tomatoes and the merchant told him tomatoes didn’t exist. Mouthmad was perplexed by this revelation because he was sure he had heard somebody speaking him about tomatoes, and he was positive he saw a tomato once. It was like a big red fruit covered with sharp spikes and it could be used to play ball or as sex toy. Was he seeing things that didn’t exist, he wondered. Maybe he had seen a tomato in a dream and mistook later the dream for a memory. He decided farming was not a good option in the desert, because plants needed water and water was scarce. Mouthmad had a brilliant inspiration: to plant something that didn’t need water. He carried and planted an expansive field with boulders confident that they would grow to become bricks that could be sold in the market. He was sorely disappointed the next year when the crop failed and all the boulders had sunk in the sand. Another business venture that failed.
But Mouthmad wasn’t the kind of man that gave up easily. He decided to try his luck in show business. He always had liked the rare occasions when people paid attention to him and public performances were a good way to get paid for it. He purchased a second-hand cobra and a flute that were on offer in a market stall and began his career as snake charmer. His career lasted one performance when he placed the flute inside his rattan basket and tried to blow the snake’s tail. The cobra bit his testicles and the basket was stolen in the confusion with the flute still inside. He got very sick and his balls swelled to the size of watermelons. He had to walk with his legs arched for months afterwards and he certainly got the attention and laughter of his neighbors, although they found pertinent to enjoy the show for free. But still he didn’t give up and had another brilliant idea: the problem with snakes was that they bite. To bypass that inconvenience he should do the show with something harmless, like a boulder.
He decided to become the greatest boulder charmer of the known world that comprised his own town and the neighboring town whose inhabitants everybody hated. He spent one year training the most promising boulder he could find but in spite of its potential the stone seemed interested only in laying under the sun watching the sandy landscape. Mouthmad spoke to the boulder for hours every day and the boulder listened and pondered never expressing neither agreement or disagreement, which kept Mouthmad’s hope he would eventually persuade it to work for him. He would have liked to persuade people to do things for him, so he wouldn’t have to do them himself but to the date only his wife listened to him and did his bidding. Sometimes at night he spied the boulder in the yard through the window. He had made his wife build a little sack to protect his stony pupil from the rain, in spite of the fact that the temperature never dropped bellow forty degrees and last time their lands had seen rain the dinosaurs were caught under it without umbrellas. Although Mouthmad didn’t know those things because he lived in the sixth century and never heard of degrees, either Celsius or Fahrenheit, and the only dinosaur he would ever know was his wife. Sometimes during his nights of vigil he thought he saw the boulder chasing around a rabbit or jumping a fence, but it never performed for him any useful trick until one day he woke up and the boulder had run away.
He decided to invest his savings hidden under a stone to buy half a dozen of pigs in the market place. He had his wife build a pigsty in one side of the house. This time around things went better and soon the pigs had little piglets and he could make a profit by selling them for the tribesmen’s barbecues. He went to the bazaar and before nightfall he had sold all his stock and his purse was full of coins. He went to the tavern to celebrate with some prejudiced villagers who until then had treated him like a leper just because his father had been a leper. They drank and laughed and made up stories until past midnight. He enjoyed the company of people that listened to his nonsensical tales as long as he paid the drinks. He got very drunk and when he arrived home he made love to his wife in the dark and fell sleep. Next day he woke up to find himself sleeping in the pigsty, his arms around the naked waist of his fattest pig. His scream of horror was heard in town and the pigs ran away in panic never to be seen again. Mouthmad was so horrified by his hideous act that took an oath never to drink a drop of alcohol and developed a superstitious terror towards swine. Since that fateful night he couldn’t see a pig without climbing to the closest tree, although usually he had to run many miles in the desert to find one and was too tired to climb it when he got there.
The lost of the pigs meant he had lost his investment and had to try a new occupation. He chose fishing and sold one of his daughters to make the down payment of a small boat. He couldn’t pay the total amount for his boat because he sold his ugliest daughter and kept the pretty one in case his financial situation worsened. He spent months in the desert sitting in his boat trying to catch some fish but only managed to fish some boulders out of the sand, probably from his failed crop that sank in the sand. Mouthmad was a very stubborn man and he still would be sitting there in his boat had not a traveler on camelback passed by and told him that fishing was done in the water and that he was wasting his time. The man went away laughing at him but still Mouthmad didn’t give up. He sold his less unappealing daughter and bought all the water that he could find. He made a big hole in the ground and filled it with his water but the liquid soaked up down the sand before he had time to drag the boat inside. He realized with despair that he was in big trouble. He still had to make the payments for the boat and he had no daughters left to sell. He had a son but he was an drooling idiot and nobody would buy one of those. According to the law of the land if a debtor couldn’t pay his debt he would be impaled upside down in a pit full of scorpions.
His only hope was to get the money from his wealthy uncle Sadandvile the merchant. He could work for him as he had done as a child when his own father had to quit his job as holes salesman because poor sales due to his leprosy. His father sent him to work for his brother Sadanvile who was balding at the time and needed an assistant. Mouthmad spent his childhood and teens following his uncle around to catch his falling locks of hair and stuff them back under his turban. It wasn’t an easy task, specially not for a child, because his uncle moved around and little Mouthmad required of a stool to put them back in his head. His uncle was stingy and mean and he slapped Mouthmad with a sick when his hair came back dusty, but now this man was his only hope to evade the stake.
Uncle Sadandvile was now completely bald and the sight of Mouthmad who had attended his sorely missed falling hair softened his heart and he hired him to help him pay his debt. Mouthmad joined his uncle’s entourage in his business trips in the position of pack mule apprentice, although he would be allowed to eat with the slaves who ate half rations. His uncle promised he would get promoted if he showed capacity to carry heavy responsibilities.
His uncle’s only trading was made with the nearby town of Melilla, because it was the only place were people were poorer and more gullible than in Ceuta. Of course Melillians hated Ceutans to the bone because they said they looked down on them, which was exactly what they did because there wasn’t anybody else around they could possibly look down on. Melillans needed the trade to buy swords because Melilla was still in the Bronze Age while Ceutans had just recently admitted into the Iron Age. Ceutan swords and spoons made of iron were of superior quality to Melillan utensils. Iron swords didn’t bend when trying to pierce somebody’s stomach in battle and baby’s teeth were not knocked down as with the heavy bronze spoons.
Mouthmad accompanied his uncle on his trips to Melilla and although he hated Melillans as much as any of his countrymen he enjoyed the visits because people there didn’t consider him an idiot yet, at least on the first trip. He progressed rapidly at his uncle’s service and quickly excelled in his performance for being the only one in the pack of mules that didn’t kicked the merchandise with his hooves, although he usually got tired faster than the other quadrupeds. He was promoted to slave and allowed to wear a cloth, and later to personal servant of his uncle ,who bought him a turban with a feather on top and a lash for his neck.
It was during one of these trips that he meet a holy man that would change his life. The caravan was camping on an oasis on a trip back from Melilla and they were exhausted of bargaining and cheating Melillans. Under the starry sky of the desert everybody was sound sleep and the encampment was silent but for the laughter of some drunk merchants raping a camel. But Mouthmad couldn’t sleep, he was worried he couldn’t master the refined art of bargaining and he was the only member of the entourage that got overpriced goods from the dumb Melillans. He wandered into the desert and away from the drunkards laughter and camel’s wailings that brought him painful memories of the crazy episode with his pig.
He walked towards the dunes and saw a faint light in the distance. He walked towards the pale glare and found it was produced by a little fire inside a shallow hole in the sand. Inside the hole there was naked old man with wild white hair and a long scrawny beard covered with dust. First Mouthmad thought the man was one of the evil spirits that legends said roamed the desert at night looking for men to eat their genitals, but the man spoke to him and he realized it was only a naked dirty old man. The man explained he was a hermit who had come to the desert to speak with God. The man told him there were many other like him who came to the desert alone and lived like wild animals all their lives hoping to exchange a few words with God. For some obscure reason God seemed to prefer communicate with dirty bearded old men that lived in holes in the desert. He said it was because God was shy and He didn’t like crowds so He never went to communicate with people in town because townspeople were too busy with their work anyway and didn’t have the time to spare hearing thundering voices from the sky asking for things and complaining about their behavior. He liked better to speak to humble crazy folk that had nothing better to do and spend their lives sitting in the dust in a hole in the middle of nowhere. Although God hadn’t find suited yet to communicate with him. The hermit thought it was because he wasn’t still humble or dirty enough to be worthy, in spite of the fact that he took cinder showers every morning and followed a raw scorpion’s legs diet. Mouthmad was instantly enchanted with this lifestyle and with the idea of speaking to God. If he could speak to God he could ask Him what to do with his life and how not to be a total loser.
Back in is hometown he purchased in the bazaar a scroll with teachings about hermit techniques and practices titled Revelation For Beginners but he had to eat it for dinner because he had forgotten he was illiterate and couldn’t understand what was written on the parchment. Obstinate as always he didn’t desist and abandoned his uncle’s service to join an order of wandering holy men that walked the desert in rags and ate only goat droppings to show God about their meekness and lack of dignity, qualities God certainly valued more than anything else besides stupidity. They introduced him to the basic techniques of self-mortification and self-stultification that pleased God and make communication with Him easier. Mouthmad soon surpassed all of them with his limitless capacity for idiocy and very soon his brothers considered him a very holy man indeed. But as the man in the hole had said to him God was not only the creator of the Universe but so bashful that He only would speak to single individuals and one at a time. So Mouthmad departed to the desert to live in solitude and find his timid God and then disappeared for six years in the dunes.
His wife Shycunt waited for him all those years. She kept his husband’s missed dinner on the table until it was mummified. Other women moved by her situation came to talk to her about her hardships, although none of them offered to help doing any sort of lifting. They told her about other cases of men with unsound heads who had wandered into the desert to begin a career as hermit. The few that ever came back were always in a pitiful state and smelled like a dead horse.
That particular morning a woman with a jar in his head had stopped at Shycunt’s home to gossip about the last case of a neighbor who had spent two years in the desert. He had came back and said God had commanded him to tell the villagers they should wear a bone pierced through their noses and give him all their pocket change every Sunday. Nobody had believed him but he had been very insistent and finally he had been stoned to death by an angry mob. Not even his wife had believed him and she had been seen throwing him the biggest stones.
The woman complained about the weight of the jar in her head and told Shycunt that if his husband was ever back she would do better to agree with any nonsense he claimed to have spoken with God. It was at that precise moment that Shycunt saw a plume of dust on top of one of the dunes. Under the plume of dust was the not less dusty shape of a man dressed in rags coming towards the house. The man was in his bones and wore dirty drags. She thought the man was a leper and kneeled to pick up a rock to throw him when she noticed the man was carrying something very carefully in his arms. She couldn’t see what it was because it was hidden under a cloth. She thought the man was a salesman and picked up a bigger and sharper rock but when he was at rock throwing distance the man turned out to be her long lost husband Mouthmad.
Mouthmad looked like a disinterred corpse but he still was trying to speak and only dust came out his mouth every time he tried. He grabbed the woman’s jar and drank the water inside by introducing his head in the amphora and his neck almost got stock inside. He recovered his breath and then he said.
‘ Shycunt, open an amphora of our best water. We have a lot to celebrate. All our problems are solved. I have spoken to God, praised be His name because He got me a job, a very good one. I am His Prophet now… and He gave me something to prove it ‘ he said patting confidently his burden hidden under the black cloth.
Episode One: Wellcome to Resaca
The territory of the Republic of Resaca, capital city San Dalia, comprises the dozen of islands of the Resacoso archipelago. The biggest of the islands is called Resaca Mayor and is three times bigger than all the other smaller island put together and the only one with a population of other than seagulls. The archipelago is located in the Caribbean Sea, north of Cuba and south of Jamaica which makes very difficult to find the place from a plane and causes great embarrassment to the locals living abroad when they cannot pinpoint their birthplace on a map.
I am inside of a plane headed to San Dalia International Airport a facility that has the dubious honor of being the only airport to double as the biggest free range chicken farm in the world. My government has sent me to this little Caribbean republic in a sensitive and highly classified mission, so secret I am clueless myself about what it consist in. I was chosen to this mission as the leading expert in this nation’s people and customs of whose existence I learned just yesterday although I was the only agent that could spell Resaca with less than two mistakes. I don’t know which is the nature of my mission but I am sure there is something subversive in the insistence of those little American republics to speak foreign languages making their names so hard to spell.
I can’t reveal the identity of the government that employs my services. Suffice to say is a big one and that it just loves to intervene in the internal affairs of smaller countries, specially if they are in the Caribbean because meddling there is more fun, and handy because the close proximity. Just one clue in case you are not very bright and haven’t guessed which country I am talking about: my boss lives in house all painted white.
The speaker systems of the plane babbles something unintelligible in Spanish and then the pilot repeats the message in even more unintelligible English. I guess we are about to land on San Dalia.
San Dalia is the main and only city of the republic. For what I’ve read in the inflight magazine of Katacras Airlines, the national Resacosan airline and the only company that dares to flight and land at San Dalia International, the Republic of Resaca is a parliamentary democracy in which all the members of parliament took a fishing trip organized by the President in their honor to reward them for the great job they were doing in limiting his dictatorial powers. Apparently they didn’t catch anything and were so ashamed to show up empty-handed before the President who has a great liking for tuna sandwich that they haven’t come back yet. Also according to the magazine San Dalia is renowned for its Spanish colonial architecture and cheap underage prostitutes that rank second in the Middlesex guide of sex tourism with four and half phalluses out of five.
I look through the window to have a look to San Dalia and I see the dusty landing strip dotted with small white spots that run in panic and I realize they are chickens. Katacras airlines is so poorly funded that they had to rent the strip between flights to a chicken farm. In fact i had noticed some crew are chickens that make some extra income working for the airline. This became a problem when I ordered the feathered hostess a martini and got an egg instead.
The plane touches down with a loud noise of tyre screeching in the sand and a not less loud and certainly more piercing of chicken screams being suctioned into the turbines. After the plane taxies to the terminal I see a team of four man approaching the plane carrying a folding ladder while a much numerous group darts from the terminal and begins to fight over the chunks of dead chicken. At I first think they are clearing the turbine but then I see they are using their mouths to do so and I realize they are having lunch. I fear I have landed in a country populated by barbarians until the hostess informs me that my first guess was correct. Those people are the land crew in charge of maintenance and they are paid in chicken minced meat, a thought that eases my concern but that makes her feathers stand up.
Outside the plane the passengers are welcomed by a blaring sun that would melt our luggage if it hadn’t been stolen already. We carefully descend the ladder while the locals hold it against the fuselage of the plane. They wear the local traditional dress: an stained promotional T-shirt and baggy charity shorts complemented with one single rubber flip-flop sandal. I am told people is so poor in Resaca that most of them can afford just one sandal and that I should be careful in the streets because there are gangs of barefoot kids that bite off your feet to steal your shoes. A cart with a single rickety donkey is waiting to drive us to the terminal although it is only three paces away. The driver informs me that the limousine is part of the VIP service for the first tourist to land in Resaca in ten years and that he will drive me inside the terminal to the passport check point. There is a long line of people waiting and I fear a long wait until we get closer and I realize the crowd are locals watching the customs official sleeping in his boot buried in beer bottles. He is snoring and stroking a cat that struggles to escape to safety while the crowd watches the spectacle with clear amusement.
In the arrival hall I see a small man hopping up and down and waving his hands. Hanging from his neck there is a cardboard with something written with felt pen. It says:
” El agente secreto señor Estrak”
My name is Stark, not Estrak and I don’t think a midget screaming my name in the crowd is the best way to conduct a covert operation. I should talk to my supervisor and tell him not to send to welcome me somebody from a mental institution. He is still an improvement over my contact in Nairobi, a blind octogenarian cannibal that used leeches as hair dressing and spat when he spoke. His name was Cerebrino Hogan and he stole my underwear to buy beer. He got drunk and insisted in telling me funny stories about his grandmother and how she skinned reptiles.
The bouncing midget introduces himself and tells me his name is Dr. Hongo. He is running a mental asylum in the city outskirts. The institution is the front of the local agency’s outfit and it is run by a Christian charity that is also a covert agency operation of psychological warfare: they teach the Wall Mart catalog is the most sacred text of Christianity. Dr. Hongo is in charge of the asylum although he is not a real physician or has a degree of any kind. He was selected because he had the same size of coat that his predecessor who was a veterinarian midget. He tells me he was recruited by the agency because his condition of political refugee. He had been intercepted by U.S. customs officials when he tried to enter the country illegally by smuggling himself inside a shoe box disguised as a pair of slippers. He was sent back to Resaca to be the liaison with the agency. He begins complaining of the lack of resources and the scarcity of nutcase shipments, barely enough to keep the asylum running. He tells me he has to double himself as patient and act crazy to cover some interns that act sane sometimes.
I follow him to his car, a heap of rusty metal that belongs to a museum of scrap and we drive into the traffic. The road is crowded and most vehicles lack wheels but still the drivers push them along leaving deep scars on the earth behind them which makes the road’s surface bumpy and the traffic flow slow. I ask Dr. Hongo if he knows why I had been sent to this forsaken island.
‘ No, señor Strak, I don’t know. They never tell me anything. They say I am too idiota but I think is because the rebeldes tried to kill the presidente. They put a bomba under his pillow and he couldn’t sleep well that night because the tic-tac. The bomb went off after he went to the kitchen for some milk and cookies. The presidente got very loco because the blast spilled his milk glas over his best pijama and had some political prisoners shot as reprisals next morning before breakfast. The presidente is a good man but he really has mucho amor for his pijama.’
I listen to his ramblings and I wonder how I am going to accomplish my mission whatever it is with the help of this little demented midget. We leave dowtown for the outskirt climbing up a narrow mountainside of thick jungle dotted with dusty cardboard shacks that my excited driver insist in calling houses. The sneaky road is narrow and in one side there is a bloodcurdling ravine that we barely miss every time we negotiate a curve. Almost miraculously we finally sight our destination: El Manicomio Nacional de Resaca, the only mental institution in the country and it is located in an old Spanish hacienda called Casa Pollastre. Surrounded by high walls some peeling off spots reveal it was pink once but now it looks like a giant piece of decaying meat.
We drive through the gates that are guarded by a dog that stands still as a gargoyle in spite of the flies that hover around him. Dr. Hongo explains that he stuffed the dog last huracan season when the animal got carried away by the wind and crashed against the bell tower of the church. He tells me that since there was no budget for a new dog he devised this system to scare possible intruders. We park the car inside the patio and get out. There is a cracked old fountain with a circular pond and a naked man is taking a bath in spite of the fact that the fountain is dry and littered with all sort of garbage. Dr. Hongo explains me that the naked man is a patient who was a film critic that went mad when he found out that Fellini’s movies were in Italian and now believes he is Anita Ekberg in La Dolce Vita. He tells me he cannot persuade the patient otherwise and that there is no money to pay for breast augmentation surgery either.
We go into the house and he shows me to his office behind the reception desk where a dummy dressed as a nurse stands at attention. The place is a mess, the drawers are on the floor and there are files spread al over the room. My first thought is that the place has been searched but Dr. Hongo apologizes because the maid left when her ear was bitten off by a patient and he cannot find neither a replacement for her nor the missing ear. He believes the patient swallowed it because next day he found a hearing in the toilette.
We turn up to rattan chairs and sit down on them. He opens a cigar box and offers me a big cigar that looks like a mummified giant caterpillar. We light the cigars and watch through the balcony open door how the sun sets. I guess that they have pretty decent sunsets in this place and I am right. From the window we have a commanding view of the city like a pile of dark brown garbage spilling into the orange sea. We smoke and watch the spectacle until there is knock on the door. I stand up and turn around. I see a bearded man in his pajamas banging with his head on the door frame. One of the asylum patients I guess.
‘ The cranes are coming on flocks, and many of them bring their offspring with them’ he says looking straight into my eyes. It takes an instant for me to make the connection, he has just uttered the emergency password of the agency.
‘ You are Stark, aren’t you’ he says when he realizes the tip of my cigar is about to burn my fingers. He grabs the cigar and tosses it away in one corner. It lands into some scattered files and a small fire starts. He stamps it out with his bare foot and he does not seems to register any pain. He holds my wrist and speaks into my ear with a demented expression in his eyes but with cold precission and exactitude.
‘ Listen Stark. There is not time for fucking around here. You thought you were to spend your time here to drinking rum under a palm tree with some local tropical pussy in your lap. Well, these are the bad news, you thought wrong. We are in deep shit in here. I have been passing for a madman for three weeks waiting for you to show up and brief you. I am sick of it. I am not even sure what is real and what is fake in this shit hole. There is a place in the mountains. They perform unnatural acts with animals in there. That is why they sent you here, to stop that madness. The president is about to close a deal with the TV men. That is why we tried to kill him but failed. The fucking insomniac went away and now security has tightened. You have to stop that deal from happening or shit is gonna pile up so high that you will have to spend the rest of your life wearing a snorkel mask.’ He says and motions to leave. This turn it is me who grabs his beard and holds him.
‘Wait a minute! What do I have to do? What are you talking about? What is my mission? Is everybody crazy around here?’
‘Find Kika Matraca and she will tell you what to do next. She is with the resistance. ‘ he says and turns making the greasy beard hairs to slip off my grip.
I let him go and I turn toward the balcony doors. Dr.Hongo is still in the veranda, his diminutive silhouette drawn against the fast darkening tropical sky. He hasn’t even noticed my quick encounter with the scrawny patient and he is still speaking and smoking. Beyond him I can see the palm tree tops with their spiked leaves swaying slowly on the sea breeze. I might like this place after all.