LEVEL CHANGE

***UPDATE – a slightly more polished and beautifully typeset version is part of the MORE LOVE book.

(made available to read online for free once-in-a-while or generally with a donation based password.)


[ a short story ]

 

LEVEL O – Personal Feelings

a. The Politician

It was a busy house, a busy party and busy people. He didn’t like any of it but job was job. Luckily, the Politician’s had really good coaching for all those years, so the smiles reeled off his face as if they were truly real and meant. But even if that weren’t the case, people would still buy them because that’s what they were here for and that’s what they wanted to see. Everybody got to see whatever they wanted. That was the basic rule. Surprises and unknown factors were only for losers.


Standing over there, talking to a sexy, yet already middle-aged press lady, was the prime minister. The Politician raised his champagne flute in his direction and let loose another one of his real-fake smiles. Smashing – the minister’s seen it and done the same thing. Job done, basically. Funds raised, another year work’s worth sorted, mission fully accomplished, old friend. Time to go home. He looked at his wrist watch. Yeah. Better get on with another pitiful duty.

He sat down at the table. The woman coming in, who they’d hired to cook the meals, looked actually more tasty than the wife sitting opposite him, who’d originally been supposed to cook them. She’d probably spent her day polishing her nails again. They indeed were unusually glittery, silvery-greenish today. They were the only thing distinctly noticeable, really, while he looked over all the riches spread out in front of him.
The Politician forced himself to a more obvious fake smile and took some of the broiled reindeer from the gold-plated platter. Surprisingly, his wife deigned to smile back today. Maybe she’s found a lover? Ha ha ha, he had to laugh at the thought. Poor sod, if that really was the case. The only thing he could get out of this was to boast to his beer buddies that he’d shagged the wife of a politician.
Anyway, food was good. He had to remember to stroke the maid’s curl from her forehead next time he saw her. Would brushing her cheek with his crooked finger be too much, or inappropriate? Maybe disproportionate.
He indicated that he had some more reading to do when his wife left the table to recline into her daily night-time routine. It was of course a lie. He composed an elaborate text message to his lover, and after three or four exchanges that got him excitingly hard and hot (yet still left him peacefully cool and tender), he finally joined his wife, who thankfully was already fast asleep from the silver-green tablets that her doctor had prescribed her, at the exact opposite side of their shared marital bed.

His peer was sweet but a moron. True, his daughter looked smashing and his pubescent boy was really quite smart. But the wife that he had them with was a hag and he himself, despite handsome face and cultured manners, ultimately proved bland and spineless. Despite all of this, the job he held was the same as his. And while they were meeting face-to-face and considering their verbal exchanges as close to a friendship as it could get – in reality, they never even remotely were communicating on any kind of eye-level. It wasn’t a matter of competition, since the peer certainly was none for him. What it was, well – what was it?
The Politician was actually at a loss. He didn’t himself know anymore what actually drove him, nor what still continued to drive him onwards and forward. Something it was, so much was clear. He didn’t even know where that ‘it’ was supposed to be driving him. Higher, yeah. And more, also. Did he still kind-of ‘like’ his job?
Hang on, his peer just dropped the word ‘people’. He nodded and smiled – fake, of course. When did he genuinely smile last time? Actually yesterday, on all three occasions of unzipping new text messages from his lover while wifey was thankfully popping her pills.
Back to the subject. Yeah, the peer. He still kept talking. That’s what they were here for, he said. The ‘people’. They had voted them here. Haha, sure stuff. Party time. Free drinks, yahoo. I’m hungry, I’m thirsty. My back aches. I want this, I want that. Rohy-ohy-zingh-tzyhhh. Maybe he was going crazy. The Politician touched the pin-striped cashmere suit of his peer’s grey upper arm, smiled, and then excused himself. The toilet. So sorry. A break. Just gimme a fucking break. Maybe an upper, as well. And another naughty text message, of course. Fuck it, life’s just really too short.

 

b. The Artist

Wow, that collector guy really was fucking cute. Crude bare-knuckle-fighter-style face and body, but with a purple, old-fashioned velvety silk-suit, and some of those super-sexy puffed-up hippie sideburns. Inherited money, he said. Well, that’s how it should be, innit? Thanks for the millions.
The Artist invited him to his studio in London, maybe things will take some wetter turns there. He looked over the head of the cute stocky guy to fully breathe in the panoramic view of his first solo show in Sydney’s most prestigiou venue. The whole bunch seemed to be really enjoying themselves. A supermodel waved her Marlboro-Light-thinned arm over to him, and he twinkled his fingers back, while contorting his Dali-moustached mouth as camp as he could.  The collector kept talking about how interested he was in collecting him and he was standing so close to him that he was in actuality spurting his whetted enthusiasm all over the permed chest fluff peeking out of the artist’s unbuttoned Hawaii shirt.
Another model. And then a famous actor. They’d done it a couple of years ago, and their smiles were bouncing back and forth, lewd and insinuating. Two or three faces in the crowd who saw this and knew about them, smiled in return to themselves, happy to having been granted the privilege of sharing such intimate moments at such a grand public gathering.
Some press people passed and shook the artist’s limp and vaseline-drenched hands. Their faces presented themselves in respect and solemn admiration. What a great show. Another glorious triumph. Sydney’s at your feet.
Nearby, someone who must’ve drunk too much spilled his Japanese lager over one of the Artist’s erect and hard rubbish sculptures, and security effortlessly removed him.

One guy obviously recognized him, tongue-flicking challengingly, while the Artist, on his way to the toilets, passed rows of seats on the spacious intercontinental plane back from Sydney. This guy was certainly hot and looked like your stereotypical body-building investment-banker. His tie was probably worth more than ten of those shoddy return tickets, the Artist thought. His Johnnymemnonic jerked in the loose-cut scarlet Lagerfeld khakis, before he ceremonially relieved him in the antiseptics-drenched business-class toilet.
And then, it really did knock. And of course, he really did open. After all, being done on a plane, that’s a sure-fire first-timer and definitely topping-off that whole Australian miracle burnout. The incoming stranger pressed him against the door, fondling Johnny, even delightfully maltreating him, and then bent him face down into the bowl. It happened fast and furious and it was simply divine.
Afterwards, the stranger knelt before the Artist sitting on the throne, disheveled. He took off his expensive tie and after quickly blowing him, wiped off his mouth with it and told him to keep it. What a great story, the Artist thought. His boyfriend in London will be dying to hear this.

The woman’s accent on the phone had this totally cool Brooklyn slant in her wordings and pronunciations that made English sound even more cosmopolitan than his own North London slang. Phone interviews weren’t his cup of tea but, well anyway, she was only a woman and the magazine definitely top of the cream. Whether they can put him into their main feature? Sure, that’s okay with him. As long as they mention his representing galleries and some of his recent museum purchase histories. You know, rights and stuff. Was he at ease with his seemingly increasing public image as a ‘concerned’ artist, a ‘caring voice’ among the mainstay self-centred art-crowd? Sure, he said. You bet, he thought, that little shop in Hampstead was working their asses off to get that into your top-level-educated little head, sweetie. And are curators still fulfilling their mission of correctly amplifying all relevant trends of contemporary art making, or are they no longer needed with people like you, bonding directly with the common cause again, and giving people new hope and aspirations for a better world? As long as his art was still featured by them he couldn’t say they were outdated, he told her. But those who can’t properly handle sausage were pretty useless, was what he thought and he stupidly smirked at that.
The Artist looked at his watch. Here in his studio, it was getting late. He felt tired. Where was his bloody boyfriend to pick him up? He presented the New-Yorkese with a couple more chunks of his wisdom to take note of – and on board, obviously – before he apologized himself for having to go to a meeting. Just when he clicked off the phone, the doorbell rang its stereophonic Tibetan chime-chords and a couple of moments later, this season’s delicious young boy stood at the entrance and was prompt at teasingly smiling. Things were still good, after all.

 

c. The Environmentalist

The day looked really promising from the large window out to her front yard. Early and crisp morning sun never failed to make her hormones run wild. The organic cereals had enough bite on them to leave the impression that the first fruitful activity of the day had already been undertaken just by eating them. The second activity was to go over to her new boyfriend, a young guy from downstairs, the hard-working phone crew, who’d just emerged from her open-space bedroom with sweet, dizzy eyes and a hairless worked-out body glistening above his unbleached cotton yoga-trousers. The Environmentalist brushed over those firm and soft pectoral muscles with manicured, aloe-vera-moisturized lover’s hands. The boyfriend smiled. It was the same smile again, that had caused her to fall in love with this guy a couple of months ago. Another few flicks with her nails on his nipples, of course occasioned the yoga trousers to bulge at the front. Haha, gotta go to work, my baby. A deep kiss will have to suffice.
The Environmentalist went back to the breakfast table. The massive oak surface was now reflecting off almost with pride the rays from a pristine morning sun scattering in from the outside. She hastily finished her bowl with the last three mouthfuls of scoops, before leaving him, a bit startled but still brazenly smiling, in her lavish five-bedroom home, all on his own. As long as he pleases, this was all for him, too. No need to keep-on phoning obnoxious random people and ask them for generous donations out of their hard-earned money. He’s now got what he really deserved, and since it was her who made all of these miracles happen, the Environmentalist was well pleased.

Such a heated discussion, but they really were just selfish and stupid. It was always the same when you got a bunch of politicians and a bunch of environmentalists in the same room. They really didn’t want to understand the simple truth that what we were doing was by far more political, from start to finish, than what they could ever hope to achieve. Who’d want to live in a world where nature had ceased to function? Where would the people be that they were supposed to ‘govern’? Deep down, they knew this and that’s why they can’t tell us to fuck off. And unfortunately, we can’t tell them to fuck off either, since it was through their backing that we were able to remain aboveboard and publicly acknowledged.  Never mind. Pollution through cars and industry has hit a new height last month. What are you gonna do about it and what are you gonna do if we made this public? Which side was the press on? Who was lobbying on whose behalf?
The politicians say that what they do is the best for the people. But of course, everyone knows that they were lying. What we are doing ist the best for the people. Nature and the environment are man’s primal entitlement. The very least he can hope for.
Were politicians generating work? Hardly. But of course, they need to claim that they do. Anyway, they were puppets and they knew it. Without us, it would’ve all ended a long time ago and that was also something they knew. And they couldn’t stand it. Come over to my side, baby – it wouldn’t be the first time.
They’d met before, a couple of years ago, and the Environmentalist had already noticed back then that they had a lot in common. Any lunch at the recluse tapas bar downtown was always an idyllic occasion.
The press-lady was keen to feature some of the de-monetarization projects that the headquarters of her charity were working on around test-sites in Africa and the South Americas. Those were indeed interesting projects. If they were to be successful, whole areas could be made completely independent. And that new entrepreneurial spirit, with the same model, could swap into the cities easily. Nobody would need banks anymore. And politics would be akin to the swapping of Bitcoins from each person’s own hands. It could even be done with smartphones. We environmentalists had nothing against them. She smiled and cast a glance at her ivory scratch-proof / water-proof baby on the table right next to her plate. Ah, a new message from boyfriend. She really couldn’t wait to read it. Probably he was missing her and put this into fabulous outpourings of smart, sexy verse. Deep in his heart, this boy was a true poet.
The press-lady, after they were finished with interviewing and adjourned to the girly bits, confided in her that she was also seeing a much younger boy. Well, here we go. A lot in common. Of course, they didn’t tell each other’s love-lives in detailed full-colour but they made it clear to the other that they were both ‘happy’ girls. Getting themselves sorted every night allowed them to keep themselves straight and on legs continually bouncing, during however long and arduous working days. Meetings that seemed dreadful and never-ending were over in the blink of an eye now. And causes that had seemed entirely lost were now already won before they even entered. Such were the miracles of ‘true love’.
They hugged each other for a long time before they parted. The press lady’s phone had impressive 18 karat gold-inlays to frame its scratch-proof incandescent ivory. They swapped their favourite screen-savers and promised to meet-up sometime soon again. Maybe a true friendship was emerging? True friends were really hard to find in this entire tough business.

 

d. The Banker

This club was just great. They let you take your gear right into the pool so that brokers won’t lose out on deals while Roman steam-bathing. And there it was, the dices kept rolling – food stock futures from a French bio-tech firm which had cut this major deal with Chinese government for delivering modified crops – up 15 hundred. Great stuff. The Banker hovered over the ‘Sell’ button on his smartphone. It kept waiting for input, languidly blinking like a man-eating woman’s eye-lashes. Done! What the hell. Another ten millions richer. What to do? Buy a newspaper? What for? Change the world? What for? Better seed half of it back into motherfucking crypto-currency and the other half into motherfucking jewels. Bloody old-school money is dead, I’m telling ya. He was gonna meet his friend in Hatton Gardens tomorrow anyway. Hasn’t held a bunch of rubies and sapphires in his hands for a while now. Let’s buy houses and land later.
The Banker swam a few lengths. Water was splendid. No other bathers were around so he could completely indulge in what this moment held for him, unimpeded and in total freedom. In the end, he was sure he swam at least ten more of those lengths as usual, without even realising, which would make this another one of his records. How fucking sweet.

The special girl for this occasion was from Ukraine, the Banker learnt. She had an absolute hearing and used to be child prodigy on the piano back in her days. Those days surely weren’t that long ago. She looked like sixteen or seventeen, at most. But then again, she was only eleven, she said, when she won first prize at Moscow’s prestigious music conservatory. Body flawless. Manners like a princess. She even cast her eyes to the floor when he judged her soft and firm melons.
The Banker didn’t take Viagra pills for this, otherwise he could’ve probably gone for three or four of those magnificent girls. He also didn’t really want to ‘fake’ it. If it was like this, simple and pure, it was always easy to imagine that he might’ve been happily married to a girl as awesome as this. And for a moment, he thought why not actually marry her? But then again, who’d marry a whore? And, why marry anyway?
Her turned her over and stuck it in. The Banker felt entitled to pull hard on her hair in exchange for the five grand he’d laid out for this so-called ‘virgin’. He knew that he was being ripped off on that account – you’re only a virgin once, aren’t you – and those blood-filled silicone tampons certainly couldn’t fool him. If he would’ve been a real asshole, he’d have made her sing a couple of Ave Marias for that betrayal, while he fucked her up the arse until it bled dry. But he was essentially a nice guy.
The Banker lied down and made her blow him for a while. Suddenly, he had the uncanny vision of a little girl on stage, playing Chopin preludes, naked on a grand piano, all for him alone to hear. Was he now getting sick? I’m not a fucking pedo. He had to break this off and pulled out, using her silken hair to clean himself. Then he transferred the five grand to her agency in Kiev while she got herself dressed again. Her cheeks were still reddened from action when the girl left. Maybe she’d also gotten something out of it? Well, at least she could carry-on studying hard, for about another year or so, in fucking cesspool London. Tell me all about it.

There was this one weakness that he just couldn’t do anything about. He otherwise didn’t care much about so-called ‘normal’ things in this world anymore. But the compulsive buying of explicit closed-circuit footage from shady darknet traders was doing him in, lately. He really just couldn’t get enough of it. They even made it into collections.
The hoodie who sold that stuff was actually quite a sweet kid. They hadn’t exchanged a lot of words, though. From his olden days, scoring charlie and dope, the Banker got used not to talk about bullocks just to keep up appearances. A dark trade was just a dark trade. Why pretend to be doing something apparently civilized and noble? It’s what you do, not what you talk about, isn’t it?
The banker bought some five minutes of ‘prime minister under wife’ edits. The guy who compiled that one had meanwhile gotten himself a name of presenting him with the most vivid narrative edge on each intimate ‘job’ on record. The Banker then got himself three juicy minutes of a straight-laced newcomer-actress in British cinema. And another one of ‘random’ nature. The latter were so-called ‘editor’s choices’ that came out lately, for only a hundred quid each, and they always turned out to be very enlightening and entertaining. Definitely well worth the money.
Cash being exchanged, the kid in the black hood disappeared back into his dark alley and the Banker pocketed his new colour-coded memory sticks. Those would certainly keep him going for at least another couple of days.

 

LEVEL -1 – Karmic Connections

a. Environmentalist | Artist

One of those tasks that weren’t too bad. She took her boyfriend to the opening but told him to entertain himself on his own while she was gonna get on with business. The Artist was hugely talented. She’d just read a cover feature in New York’s biggest art title about him. Not that he seemed particularly humble but he did come across massively self-critical and genuinely anti-celebrity – even anti-self-propaganda.
The Environmentalist looked round the walls. When they’d put the hanging up a week ago, they didn’t even look as good as they did now, with all the lighting put in place and all those important people parading in front and below. Some of the rubbish sculptures reached up very high to the ceiling of the former Victorian chocolate factory. Her bosses had been given a free 100 year lease for it, the other day, from a major developer who felt a good standing with Charity wouldn’t do any harm, in order to offset dodgy deals and environmental hazards.
“Oh, hi”, the Artist stepped forward to shake hands with the allocated host for this event. They’d exchanged a few words during the preparations but never got a proper chance to talk. She looked small and shy but a certain springiness to her steps and a radiance around her cheeks were unmistakably a sign for her getting laid alright. The Artist smiled to himself. Would love to meet your boyfriend, my lovely.  The charity people’s photographer caught a nice shot of their handshake. They kept shaking hands a bit longer and the Artist changed his expression from formal serenity to being a jovial benefactor of the downtrodden. Until he finally settled into a charismatic, caring approachability – the latter with a broad flirtatious grin towards the photographer who didn’t entirely seem as straight as he pretended to be.  “I’m so glad we could find a way to do this together”, the Environmentalist said to the Artist. Somewhere the press lady friend wasn’t remote enough to not overhear what she had to say. “It’s just so rare, these days, where all the artists have sold out to self-interest and glossy lifestyle coverage, to still find someone who genuinely cares about the world and all the problems we are presently facing.”
“I couldn’t agree more”, the Artist said. He bent closer to the sweet-smelling and warm Environmentalist, avoiding to get as close as to touch any of that heavy chest package that she was exhibiting to the gallery crowd. “I let you in on a secret”, he said with a voice pretending to be for her only, “oftentimes, I feel really quite alone in this world. A lot of famous colleagues, of course, pretend to be friends, but really, they all talk about themselves at the end of the day. I wish to be living in a world where that was not the case anymore. Where people like yourself, who still genuinely care about this planet and its people, would actually be the artists. We could all together work for a better world. Wouldn’t that be great?”
“Ha ha ha”, the Environmentalist laughed. She felt a bit uncomfortable and caught herself, with additional alarm and embarrassment, looking for her boyfriend to help her out with this. Maybe he was around? But she was woman enough to drag herself back from such patheticness and straightened-up quickly. Her chest brushed the Artist’s arm ever so slightly and he jerked back from it as if bitten by an adder. Oh my, that’s really frighteningly gay you are there, blimey. But so what, it’s a free world. We can all do what we want with our love lives.
Was my boyfriend chatting to that blonde and laughing at her jokes, over there?
“I wish I had your talent”, she finally brought herself to say, smiling, while the flash of the camera went off again at the precisely perfect moment. If he were straight she’d have touched his arm with the tip of one finger to help the tease, but he wasn’t and it was already enough for herself to feel uneasy. “But luckily, I really love my job, ha ha ha”, the Environmentalist added.
“Ha ha ha”. Also the Artist decided to appear cool and loose in an attempt to hide his tension from having to converse with this large-chested, warm and hyper-soft woman. “Is that your boyfriend?”, he asked while he followed her glance towards that handsome stud flirting with a blond model. The model was bored and on coke, the Artist knew her, and it wouldn’t have been the first time to go for one of those slick and bland pretty boys on one of his exhibitions. For a moment, the thought of his host being tormented by jealousy caused funny sensations in his guts. What a sick bastard he was. The Artist smiled.
“Yeah, that’s him. Speaking of talent, he’s actually quite talented. His collection of poems is about to be released hopefully anytime soon. Granta and Faber have already expressed their interest.”
“Oh, really”, the Artist said, making sure to be sounding most interested and concerned. What a fucking idiot, he couldn’t even compose toilet prose with that natty nubile front-coil in his hairdo. I better go and find the shrimps nibbles if I don’t want to be listening to any more of this shite.
“Yes, they’re very powerful. Dismantling a lot of the hypocrisy we oftentimes find when it comes to people interacting and conversing. All the polie-tics, if you know what I mean.”
“Yeah, I know exactly what you mean. Listen – uuh, haha. I know, this sounds like polie-tics too but I need to quickly go for the big boys. Those martinis are always driving my bladder wild, I’m telling you, hahaha.”
“Haha, yes, sure. See you in a bit.”

 

b. Banker | Politician

“I know, I don’t come at the most convenient time”, the Banker said to the Politician, stretching out his hand while he stepped on the parquet of the antechamber that was surrounded, to the point of being fenced-in, by heavy and fragrant irises. He had a really hard time now, to suppress the fresh images that he’d watched twice on his black Samsung while being driven here in BGN brothers limousine, of the Politician’s nose between the legs of his utterly absurd lover, where she furiously ruffled his white, balding hair in the futile attempt to hopefully double-up the waning convincing powers of his sagging tongue.
“Never mind, we usually take it easy in our party and always have an open-door policy going, no matter how inconvenient the visit.” The Politician shook the Banker’s hand.
“Inconvenient, I don’t know, sir. Can we be honest and open? I quite like your TV presence, it always makes you feel good.”
“Thanks, I don’t believe you but that doesn’t change the fact that I appreciate you ice-breaking techniques.” The Politician pointed to a confortable sofa that the PR guys spiked in the most banker-friendly way possible. Even sky-blue pop-corn were served in a Swarovsky crystal-bowl that was inlaid with holograms of monetary emblems from all over the world. The Banker took a popped corn and chewed on it.
“As you know, we’re not the small-talking kind. Too busy, too serious. Too open and honest. So, I was instructed to tell you that the 25 millions will come through when you agree to cut welfare bu another 2.5 percent. That’s for the party pocket. I personally don’t know why our masters are so keen to get the buggers off the streets and off the city, but fuck – what do we know about the reasonings of echelons as lofty as theirs, huh?” The Banker was almost about to pat the Politician’s shoulder, who was gazing for help to some of the party assistants eavesdropping in the shadow somewhere further down the room, at their respective ends of discreetly mounted security cameras. Shit, the Banker thought. He should’ve had that additional pure line before stepping out of the limousine. Now it’s too late.
Those fucking assholes, thought the Politician. It’s not enough for them to own the world, they somehow get a pleasure out of humiliating us. I should’ve quit a long time ago. Go private. Was the chair, they offered him at aerospace five years ago, still available?
A tall and thin guy in an expensive hand-tailored pinstripe-suit came near their table. He greeted them both and smiled friendly. Then he bent down to the Politician’s ear to whisper something.
“I’m just told the conditions are fine. We’d planned something along those lines anyway. Our finance guys don’t know where else to put the knife on”, the Politician then said. “We’re already running like a banana republic behind the scenes and it gets increasingly harder to keep up a constantly growing, prospering face to our populace. So your masters understand that, I’m sure, to this extent, equally. Without shoving most of our coal into highly visible growth, we’re all fucked, as they say in sports.”
“Haha, sure my masters know that. That’s what they want, too. Nice for their retirement packages as well, all this growth going everywhere, ha ha ha.” Then the Banker bent down to pick up the company suitcase. He dialed the combination and let the latches flip open. One look confirmed that his office was cheerful as ever and had only put this one single sheet of paper into it. That was all. He took it out of the case and passed it on to the Politician without a further glance. “That’s the contractual blurb for the Billion that was supposed to help the country overcome the imminent crisis.”
The Politician’s hands were terribly shaking as he took the paper. The tall thin guy was still standing put behind him and pored over it at the same time as the Politician attempted to focus his mind and his pupils on reading it.
The Banker thought about the naked teenager playing Rachmaninov for him in empty Carnegie Hall. Then back to amusing memories of the Politician extracting pubic hair off his mouth after looking awfully wretched from two hours of useless oral services. He had the same wretched look on his face when he now faced him after deciphering and registering the half-page of bailout conditions.
“That’s totally unacceptable”, the Politician said. The tall thin guy shook his head in silence to officially confirm what the Politician had just said.
The Banker closed the suitcase and leisurely looked at his indestructible Swiss wristwatch. He got up. “I don’t think so”, he said. “Take your time, gentlemen. There are still three months to go until the next elections. But rest assured, if you don’t do it, the other guys will. You know that we’re not playing some stupid game here.” Before he reached the door, he helped himself to one of the large-headed irises, holding her up in front of his nose. Aaah, if only coke could do that as well, on top of what it already does so well. Maybe that’s actually a new line of business? He got excited, enjoying the sudden rush of frenzy crawling up his spine. More opportunities. Wow. This world just rocks. He looked back at the devastated bunch of political scoundrels, said, “thanks for your time. Have a nice day, gentlemen”, and then, before he fully exited, “you’ve got until Monday 10 am.”
The Politician and the tall ministerial adviser looked through the page they held in hand into the abyss that lurked behind it. If it weren’t sweat that had everywhere stained the single-page contract, both could’ve sworn that it was blood.

 

c. Politician | Artist

Wow, that call he certainly didn’t expect, but hey – it probably was about time. After the environment show and all that. Why not? One day it was sure to happen. The Artist stepped into the antechamber and the oak parquet gnarled under his buffalo suede loafers.
It was really good to see that gay guy after the unbelievably dark run-in with the banker. Of course, the terms had finally been agreed by his ministerial team and everyone’s pretty fucked now, but – let’s meanwhile still give them more hopes and aspirations. Tomorrow he was going to meet the Environmentalist. Today, he was gonna buy into the Artist that everyone was holding in so much esteem at present. The PR agency had advised him, ‘paint yourself green until grass starts spurting out of your ears, if you’re gonna survive this election.’ Of course, they didn’t tell them that with those new 25 millions fireworks money to play with, pulling the strings of the forthcoming elections will be more like a nursery-school engagement.
“Hi, nice to meet you”, the Politician stretched out his hand to greet the Artist fellow.
“Hi, nice to meet you too”, the Artist said and promptly slumped into the sofa without being asked to sit down. Since they badly wanted it, wanted him, he might as well play some little games, just to make sure. The Politician guy seemed a little uptight, he certainly was a null in bed. But, hey, this was much better than Hollywood, man. This was the top of the mountain. Knighthood might even be in store at the end of this golden line.
“Would you like something to drink?”, the Politician asked, sitting down opposite him. He snipped with his fingers and an aristocratic looking waiter came by to take their orders.
That guy is bloody cute and gay also, the Artist instantly thought. He felt so great in this government couch, he was almost as close as to pat the waiter’s ass, for all he knew. “Just a soda for me”, he told him, with an environmentally concerned hint in his facial expression.
The Politician smiled. Whether or not that guy was genuine, he couldn’t care less. Gay guys are gay guys and politics is politics. Who cared about any of the real things? “Same for me”, he told the waiter who duly went off and a couple of minutes later came back with the orders.
There were a few old oil paintings of English landscapes and a couple of portraits on the walls of the chamber. Otherwise the room was just stuffed with white irises that exuded an intoxicatingly sweet and aromatic smell throughout the whole room. Should he start saying something? In the end, the Artist decided to just play the game of being lofty and super-confident.
“Have my advisers made their choice at your studio?”, the Politician asked him after seemingly focusing his attention from other surrounding tasks to the one at hand.
“Yes. I think, they made great choices. Is it you deciding where to put them in the end?”
“Ha ha ha, no, of course not. Some specialists from our team will do that. Most of them go to public spaces. Quite a few people will have to have a say on this. You know, what we’re doing here is all very political.” The Politician giggled away as he found this little joke just too hilarious. The Artist stayed cool and took a couple of sips from his fizzy water. “We were mainly fascinated by your grand vision of world improvement. Also, our experts say, you’re very capable of expressing it also from a theoretically sound level of modern conceptualism. Excuse me, but I’m not an expert in those things. My wife likes art and I once bought her a Warhol print as a wedding anniversary present. I think that’s the only thing she ever loved about me, ha ha ha”. He didn’t know where all this funny stuff came up from today. Was it because that guy opposite him was gay? And there came another one, “ha ha ha ha”.
Maybe that guy is actually crazy. Very different from what you get to see on the screen. He had some bloody good acting coaching, that was for sure. “Yeah, that might be the case. I did a degree in philosophy before I went to art school. A lot of people on my course, including most of the teachers, couldn’t really deal with this. You have no idea how bitchy and jealousy-driven the whole art-scene is. Not at all like politics, where people always seem so rational and sober.”
“Ha ha ha”, this Artist guy made him laugh without even wanting to. No, he knew where it came from. It was the pent-up tension from the banking guy that suddenly came out now. Phew. And he already thought that he might’ve gotten insane. But then, maybe he was insane now. After what they’d agreed to in order to grab the bailout cash …
The Artist started to feel a bit uncomfortable with this totally uncool guy who kept laughing as if he’d lost a few marbles. He switched from side to side on the sofa, tried to think about sweet things. Hope the waiter comes back soon. What will I do with all the cash they’re giving me? Buy an estate in southern Spain? Or better in Greece. Yeah, the Greeks knew how to relax the cultivated minds of the poor brain-workers. “Anyway, I leave you to it. Gotta have to go back to work”, the Politician finally said.
What a relief, thought the Artist.
The Politician shook his hand again, careful to not get too close to the unsettling gayness of this flamboyantly clad lad. “Nice to meet you, again”, he said. Then he left.
A few minutes later, the waiter came back. “Do you desire anything else?”, he asked the Artist. You bet, cutie. He relaxed back into the couch. “How about a margherita, perhaps? Don’t usually drink but I think I’ve got something to celebrate now. You can join me if you’d like.”
“Thank you, sir, but I’m on duty. I’ll come back with your drink very shortly.” He left him slouching there all on his own. ‘They’re a bit like in a morgue, all those flowers’, it suddenly shot into the Artists’ head. Afterwards, he had a hard time to relax again, until finally the margherita came at exactly the same time as the text message from his boyfriend waiting outside. He missed him, it said. How fucking sweet.

 

d. Environmentalist | Banker

Those glass-and-steel high-rises weren’t her cup of tea. How much carbon footprint was that? Top of the cream of sinners. But that’s what they were, the banks and money-makers. Of course, she was quite clear on that. On some of the top floors, maybe it was almost the last one, she stepped from the lift directly into a spacious, or better quite vast office space. It was crazy. She had to cross a little minigolf field before walking towards the comparatively small desk with the Banker behind it. The skyline of the city was grandly laid out in front of her through the entire length of the office window. The Banker stood up to greet her. “Hi. Very nice to meet you. Sit down, please.” He pointed at the ergonometric osteopathy designer-chair in front of his desk. Of course, he’d done his homework about the client. Cute little woman. A shame, she wasn’t twenty years younger.
“Thanks”, the Environmentalist said. And sat down. Bastards, trying to impress with all that fake eco-stuff. She felt disgust at the bogusness and the pretense. But then, hey, were their own PR ventures any different? You just had to go with the flow and now they affiliated with the ‘other side’. Who cared? Survival was everything in this business and those bastards were also just doing their job.
“So you’d like to offer a substantial donation to our organization?”, the Environmentalist said. She had her phone switched off completely. No interference for that one.
“Yes, that’s correct”, the Banker said. “It will be quite a bit more than substantial. Our current restructuring and change of course involves opening our hearts to the needs of our planet a bit more. We feel that banks have been kept in unfairly shady and anxiety-laden connotations with the general public for long enough. It’s time to show people our real face.”
“I see”, the Environmentalist said. If she were still smoking it would now have been time for a cigarette. “So what could we do for you to show our gratitude?”
“You don’t have to do anything. It’s enough to just be saying ‘yes’ and thus be affiliated with us, maybe show our logos here and there on your material, only informally, of course. Or for instance, you might also want to be present at some of our events. And likewise, we might be showing our presence at some of yours. Nothing fancy. We don’t need to get married like in the olden days, ha ha ha.” For a while he had the image flare up in his head of how it would be to still be following through such ancient rituals. I mean, she was definitely cute. A bit old but certainly cute. If he tied her up, it would’ve been quite an interesting experience to fuck her. And she surely wouldn’t mind his one or the other Russian virgins on the side. Married life. What a strange and funny idea.
And there it was again, the uncomfortable sensation of being in waters that would try and dissolve you. Cloaking, rancid waters of decay and acidity. Like the ones the dodgy factories would spew out day-in and day-out, before they’d come along and done their work. “Sorry, do you have something to drink, a glass of water, maybe? I suddenly feel my mouth is all dry.”
“Sure.” The Banker got up and went to a stainless-steel Absolut ice-maker. He came back with a crystal champagne flute, filled to the brim with ultra-chilled water.
The Environmentalist took it and forced herself to smile. After all, negotiating this deal would mean her future in the organization to be rather quite a bit more than just bright. Their operations would go global in no time with that new fund under their belt and if they were sharp enough to set-up shop at the right places, their efficiency and reach would at least tenfold, perhaps hundredfold. What’s there to feel uncomfortable about?
The Banker smiled and looked her over insouciantly. Her breasts really were something. He perfectly understood that they’d just unspokenly swallowed their world, so he turned around and faced the glass overlooking the city. Give her some time. He folded his hands behind his back and stood there almost majestically.
“I can’t give you our decision straight away”, the Environmentalist said after drinking up like a good girl. “Obviously, this needs to go through our directorial board, etc. But I’m sure it’ll be fine.” To escape the ongoing sensation of drowning in acid waters, she needed to change the subject. “You’ve also met the Politician, I was told? I’m going to see him on some environmental behalf tomorrow.”
The Banker turned just about his head, so that she could clearly make out his profile stenciled against the city backdrop. “Yes, he seems to be a very nice man in private. Like on TV, there really isn’t much difference. We’re very lucky to have such genuine people running our country. It definitely gives you hope. Along with what you guys are doing, obviously … should be good, you meeting him. Perhaps by then you’ll already be carrying our banners on you somewhere, which I’m sure – the way it’s been left between us and the Politician – should help your cause tremendously. They benefited greatly from our generous hand, this much I can tell you.”
“Ah”, the Environmentalist said. “Let’s see if our lawyers and graphics department are that swift. Otherwise, I’ll just say hello from you if that’s okay.”
“Sounds good.” Now he turned. “Any more water for you?” He was to see his dealer in a bit. Really couldn’t wait to get the new ‘chef’s special’ chopped footage for this bloody weekend.
“Thanks. I better get going.” She took her smartphone out of the Hermes fake-crocodile special-edition handbag and switched it on. My goodness. Three text messages. Her boyfriend must be getting some additional inspiration from somewhere. Was she sure that he hadn’t swapped numbers with that model-slut at the Artist’s soiree a couple of days ago? She can’t really be inspiring him that much, given how the acidity of present circumstances is wrapping them up – ‘things’.
The Banker went over to a bag with golf caddies and took out one of them. “We should play sometimes. You have no idea how beautiful nature can be on some of our African or South American courses. When you get round to play around sunset at our Johannesburg course, for instance, the whole sky is completely flooded with blood-orange. You’ll never forget that sight until the end of your days, I swear.” He really needed to get that bitch out of his office before he runs late for the dealer downtown.
“Haha, yes, maybe we’ll get a chance one day”, the Environmentalist said. She stood up, eager to check-up on those messages that were sealed and stored in the phone she held in her left hand, while her right hand stretched out to undergo routine goodbye-rituals of Western urban establishment. Then she left.
‘Great’, the Banker said to himself and chucked the golf caddy into a corner beofre getting his overcoat from the solid-gold hanger.
‘Great’, the Environmentalist thought, confirmingly fondling various ‘yes’ buttons on the miniscreen while the elevator brought her down to the ground-floor again.

 

LEVEL -2 – Notes from the Observatory

a. Environmentalist | Politician

“Great to meet you, I’ve heard so much about you”, the Environmentalist said while tiptoeing on her high heels onto the parquet of the antechamber. “Also saying hello from the Banker”, she was rational and composed enough to add. She noticed the flicking of his nostrils upon mentioning this as she stepped closer.
“Thanks, same here. Your reputation as one of the world’s leading environmental experts has already made secret history in our internal party material, haha.”
The Environmentalist noticed one of the Artist’s sculptures filling one entire wall, the only wall with no irises standing straight in line in that dignified room. Something to talk about. She felt relieved.

<I wonder whether they’ll get it on, eventually>, one Agent says to the other while watching the scene on the monitors with perhaps a bit too unusual interest.
<Hoho, I’ve already had a peek into the future. Do you want me to fast-forward a bit?>
<You bloody cheat>, the first Agent says. You can never leave your colleagues alone if you’re really keen on fair-play. They’d always find something to do behind your back that will make you look stupid. What the heck. ‘Twas just a lousy job. Once they stepped out of that grey world of the office, both their lives were parting into again totally separate worlds. Separate universes, even.
<Go on>, he therefore says and the second Agent scrolls his finger toward the right hand side of the holographic screen to fast-forward.
<Here we go>, the second Agent says and pulls his finger out of the screen again. A thin film of time-space slobber got stuck on it and smells familiarly electrostatic. The Agent turns up his nose and wipes the drool off his finger on his grey work t-shirt.

“I can assure you, Mr. Politician, that my knowledge of the master Artist is first hand and genuine”, the Environmentalist said, more and more flirtatiously as they got to know each other better. There was something quite mysterious and really strong about the Politician that put her, maybe against her will even, into a bold and open seduction mode. It was something that she hadn’t felt for a long time, if ever.
“That might be so, Dear Environmentalist. But I’ve actually got some work at home, even. Something most rare.”
“Oh really”, the Environmentalist said. She acted intrigued, bending her head backwards to expose her neck and more of her cleavage. “Can I see it?”
“Sure thing”, the Politician said and couldn’t get his eyes off her chest. If he were married to a woman like that he certainly wouldn’t need any of his moronic lovers. “We can actually go now, if you want.” He looked at his wristwatch which now was exactly the same as the banker’s. “I’m free now. I told my secretary to book you in last thing Friday evening. Do you think that was by chance, ha ha ha.” “Ha ha ha”, yeah, that definitely was funny. Her knees turned a bit into butter. It was teenage time again. “I don’t assume there was more to talk about our actual agenda, was there?”
“Haha, sure thing. Not at all. We support you wholeheartedly towards whichever direction you’re heading, ha ha ha.” Yeah, at some stage, it was all only a laugh.
“Haha, well, then. Let’s go”, the Environmentalist said and mockingly let herself escort out of the government building in the crook of the Politician’s right arm. The house kept composed.

<You want to see more?>, Agent Two asks. There certainly was more to see.
<It’s okay, I think I’ve seen enough. What about the other guys?>, Agent One says, <aren’t they all linking up at some stage?>
<Yeah, they do.> Agent Two does some swift hand gestures on the screen and then a scene between the Artist and the Banker comes up. <How ‘bout that?>, he asks and turns his head towards Agent One, smiling in the triumph of being able to show the most extraordinary hilarities to his esteemed colleague. A shame they aren’t actually friends. But job is job. The bosses have always been very clear on that and he’s never met anybody who wouldn’t have followed through on this law of enstrangement without the slightest trepidation.

 

b. Banker | Artist

The Banker thought that meeting in the park was a terrific idea. It was an exceptionally sunny day. During office hours, there were only a couple of mothers and a few excited children around.
That Banker guy was the first straight guy the Artist had ever met who he felt was really interesting, without any sexual undertones. It was almost as if they’d be something like brothers. Very strange.
“So we’d like – ‘we’, that is Belanglos, Glaeubiger & Neumann, BGN, the ‘guys’ – well, we’d like to buy some of your stuff. My bosses say that you’re really green and good for us. Haha, just joking. No, I personally really dig your stuff. And I’ve got a special deal for you if you’re interested.”
“Sounds great about the purchase. You can never have enough money, can you? Haha, just joking.” The chemistry was unmistakable. “Just tell them to drop by my studio and we’ll have a deal.”
“Great. I like easy deals.” It was now time to sit down. The Banker spotted a place on freshly mown grass. The smell was fantastic and the sun shone right on their heads, as if to sanctify their meeting with due ceremonial support.
“I’d like to show you something”, the Banker then said and took out his black smartphone. He also had a white one, obviously, but he kept it tucked away for lucrative business deals only.
The Artist gazed on the little screen. Noisy, almost black footage came up and then he recognized the Politician and a few cuts later, the Environmentalist, both naked.
The banker looked at the Artist and smiled sinisterly. “Now, is that something? You want to see more?”
Although the Artist didn’t really want to see the Environmentalist’s gigantic breasts jiggling and bouncing, when the Politician entered the shot again, he kept silent and just watched. This Banker guy was from another fucking planet. What is this? Where the fuck did he get this from?
“Crazy, isn’t it?”, the Banker said. His smirk was now so frozen into his face, it seemed stuck there for all eternity.
The Artist remained silent and just kept staring and watching. The Politician’s cock was now standing nearly straight and it actually wasn’t too bad at all. What a surprise.
“Don’t ask me where I got this from. Let’s just say that’s the bank’s subtle powers. But listen up, Mr. Genius. As I said, I’m really digging your work. If you do me a portrait for my new downtown apartment, Warhol style, haha, yeah, don’t laugh – please please do me Warhol style, ha ha ha – well if you manage to do that, I’ll get you thirty minutes of this stuff from whatever subject you choose. Anything you want, it will be yours.”
Now the Artist looked up at the Banker. The screening had now turned into explicit hetero stuff and he really wasn’t too keen to watch that. Anything he wanted. He thought for a while, but not for too long. The Banker was really great and he couldn’t help having the feeling that maybe from now on, he wouldn’t be so alone anymore. It would be a pleasure to ‘do him Warhol style’, haha. And the footage, he didn’t have the shadow of a doubt that something or the other appropriately exhilarating will come to his mind, eventually. He stretched out this hand. “You’ve got a deal, Mr. Banker.”
The Banker took the hand. “Ha ha ha, I knew we were riding on the same wave.” Some kids further down were trying to catch a large rainbow-coloured water-ball and came over screaming while the wind had decided to bounce it about the Banker’s and the Artist’s feet for a little while.
‘What a beautiful boy’, the Artist thought, as one of the kids approached and then left with the others. ‘What a beautiful girl’, the Banker thought, as another kid approached, laughing at them, even teasingly giggling, as if to say ‘fools, losers’, before she left with the ball and the others.
The sun kept shining down right to their bones. “Want an ice cream?”, the Banker asked the Artist. The bells of the ice-man sang its luring chimes with the most beautiful memories of days long past. And without fully realising, the Banker wiped away something wet, a tear maybe, from his three-days beard-stubbles, while he went back to his new friend with two cones of frozen strawberry-cream on his hands.
<Poor sods>, Agent Two says. <And you know what, the Banker guy is actually one of Ours. Unfortunately, he’s gotten lost in that Realm, so we can’t help him anymore. One of those things. Rules and Regulations. What can you do?>
<Yeah, you’re probably right>, is Agent One’s succinct only comment. His time-sense also tells him that they’re finished here for today. With that thought, all the screens in the room go at once dark and silent, save for the red blinking-lamp at the bottom, indicating that all machines’ lives have now gone into their proper sleep-mode. In another dimension, someone else is still using them, though, normally operating and normally prying into other angles of that strange and hilarious Realm. Here, though, it is now back to lives private.
If he were in any way emotional, Agent One is thinking, he would probably be finding this quite touching, the last Artist and Banker bit and their emerging friendship. Especially, if that whole thing was only a fictional story, not real, he might’ve now signed off to an extended holiday of solitude – something normally needed after too much exposure to the wearing intensity of fictional features. But this is only the real thing. Yes. Real. And real life, to people like them, Agent One and Agent Two, is just the same old dreary, loyally executed day-to-day Justice, which at the end-of-the-day, after going back to their private lives, only remains, quite frankly, a succession of rapidly fading random memories, endlessly stupid and boring.
It was, after all, only a job.

 

LEVEL -3 – Avici Portals

 

{Next subject, OBD 330.753.665 YU, subject Banker}, exclaims one Voice into the Whiteness. {What is the verdict?}
Stereophonic acoustics are spinning around in circles, then spirals, until they arrive in the centre of the White Space. The Ultimate Gatekeeper in charge for this Aeon, represented by a female angelic Voice, pronounces matter-of-factly:

\\Subject spends most of his time thinking about intimate details of other people. Mental, intellectual and emotional rapist. Obsessed, greedy, without any notions of scruple or morals of any kind. Not to mention any remaining traces of compassion. Turned his back on it. Very sad. He had indeed Fruit Status at some stage. One of our people from the Other Side. Now wrapped up beyond redemption. Nothing to be done there. Past life sins accumulated on top of all. Dispatched to the Gate of No-life. Executable at the time of his allocated exit from the mortal world in three months-and-a-half through a sudden stroke after overdosing on drugs while watching the prime minister being screwed by a bossy wife on his black phone together with an underage hooker. Hooker also one of ours. Will inherit his Bitcoin fortune and change her life after that.//

{Very well}, said the First Voice again. {Next subject, UTH 447.812.904 RT, subject Environmentalist. What is the verdict?}
The same stereoscopic Soundscape sweeps through the dimensional Void, arriving at the exact same Centre with its female angelic Voice:

\\The verdict is as follows: subject is entirely wrapped-up in self-interest, self-deception and quite frankly, lust outside of any connubial framework. Uses sexuality as a tool to advance and ease boredom. Uses the blessings of her well-paid and respectable profession as a tool to attain an even more self-important status in society. Pretends to be caring and compassionate while inside being nothing more than an obnoxious whore without dignity or sense of shame. Past-life karma already piled up to the brim. Gate of No-life through pre-ordained death in five years time by a rare bug from the South American rainforest.//

{Subject YYC 235.614.993 HQ, known as the Artist. Verdict?}

\\Verdict: depraved, spineless and a compulsive liar and faker. Lives for his own pleasure and continuous licentious titillation. Cares not about art, people or culture what-so-ever. Cares not about anything but his lewd, pointless caricature of a ‘self’. Gate of No-life through allocated exit from the mortal stage in one-year-and-a-half via rampant testicular cancer.//

{Very well, indeed. And the last one for this Micro-Aeon’s selection, subject YTB 553.494.670 OP, aka subject Politician. What is the verdict?}

\\Power-crazed, cynical to the core, self-destructive and outwards destructive. No shame, no morals, no meaning to life apart from power. Compulsive adulterer. A failure in any possible way. But – after his allocated death in six months time by a profesional killer who poisons him into a heart attack, after the subject has learned the true extent of world deception – he remains true to himself at least on this last account and fails to comply, shut up and step down, even after repeated death threats and his existence having been ruined via sex blackmail. While he still has to pay for his sins with his mortal life, he atones for the gravest part of his errors by not subjecting his conscience to submit to the Big Lie. He is therefore allowed one more chance to get back on the Wheel of Life. The subject Politician is therefore spared the Gate of No-life.//
{Very well. Thank you, your Highness.} There is a ceremonial pause and total stillness and motionlessness throughout the High Court.
Then everyone leaves the space and goes off to their respective Heavens.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *