International Writers Magazine: Fiction
Reverie (excerpt from "A Symphony of Fear")
regarded herself critically in the full-length mirror of her bedroom,
still trying to decide if it was absolutely essential for her lingerie
to match her street clothes. Nothing was more essential for her
than to be perfectly put together even when walking her dog (though
she couldn't remember when was the last time she had actually walked
him herself) or rushing for a quart of milk at the Korean deli.
As far as she was concerned, a thoughtlessly composed exterior betrayed
a person's inner confusion, and a poorly attired person was not
to be trusted in other, more important aspects of life.
Her hair was a
radiant explosion of natural shades ranging from light brown to golden
blonde. She had gotten the idea from a magazine photo of a quiche that
she had observed while waiting her turn at the beauty salon. Her nails
were two-tone raspberry and silver, with the raspberry color exactly
matching her lipstick. Her eyelids were purple, exactly matching the
little purple flowers on her French push-up bra and panties. Her make-up
was applied with amazing subtlety. The natural look, as it was called,
the desired illusion being that no make-up was being worn, and that
the perfect complexion, betraying just the first blush of sexual awakening,
was the woman's natural state. She took a quick inventory of her assets
with the same attitude of invincible entitlement as that of the Rock
Hudson character in "Giant" when overlooking his oil wells.
Breasts, legs, buttocks, arms - perfect. "Son, some day all this
will belong to.." Belong to whom?
All this perfection was more than any man had a right to expect. To
Paulette's way of thinking, American women had broken through a barrier
of physical desirability that had left their males holding the bag,
so to speak. First of all, women didn't have all those superfluous muscle
groups, which were essentially useless in the modern world. A lower
intensity of training, combined with precision surgical enhancement,
was needed to bring a woman to her peak of perfection, while men were
having to waste precious time and energy to arrange all that mess into
something resembling order. Sure, a man could eventually build himself
into a pale imitation of what nature had intended for him, but what
would he be then? Some kind of a useless, statuesque eighth wonder of
the world, a Schwartznegger unable to run around the block for fear
of tearing a hamstring, incapable of employing all that useless muscle
mass to a useful end, which might involve a ripped bicep or glute.
She winced at the thought of it. Man was a beast of burden, a throwback
to an earlier stage of evolution, an anachronism. When life was elemental
the world needed men to do all the nasty, brutish things: carrying,
building, killing. Life was all about getting and keeping the products
of the sun's energy - meat, plants, organic objects. Then economies
became more refined and the sun's energy came to be symbolized by money.
Instead of trading eggs for a knife, you sold them for money and bought
the knife. Still men had been useful.
But into today's electromagnetic world of energy impulses, what good
were men. Instead of going out and catching reindeer, they had been
reduced to going out and capturing digital pulses, which could be just
as effectively done by women, or even children. Every week there was
another story about a kid who broke the bank on Wall Street. Some of
those kids video games were being used to train fighter pilots.
Men had come down a lot. Their inability to keep their obsolete bodies
in tune was killing them off and they were leaving their money to -
Paulette was certainly well-heeled! She had inherited all her daddy's
money. All those years of him sweating, grunting, stealing and chiseling,
until at the end his whole life could be summed up by some little handbag
clasp that he had been able to bring in from China for a quarter. The
warehouse filled with boxes of useless peaked caps that he had finally
liquidated for six dollars a dozen so that they could travel half-way
around the world only to get hijacked by some gang of thugs at the Estonian-Russian
border, ending up on the head of a peasant kid in Khirgistan, all the
rays of the sun which had started off as plant life, eaten by dinosaurs,
putrified into petroleum, refined into polyester, woven into fabric,
sewn into a Saint Antonio Spurs hat and sold for dollars which were
now zeros and ones in a computer account with her name on it!
Paulette fell into a rapture of contemplation. She would never have
to break a nail. She had a job, if you could call it that, as a real
estate agent showing East Side apartments to star-struck out-of-towners.
This career Paulette had planned with meticulous precision. No way did
she need the money, but is was a prestige situation, the cream of world
society practically on their knees, begging for a Manhattan pied à
terre, ready to kiss her firm, gently rounded butt in Macys window
for the chance to get gouged for a dark, cramped cubicle on the East
Side for a couple of seasons. Then their countrys currency would
collapse and they would be forced to return to Malaysia or St. Vincent,
freeing up the apartment for the next wave of happy wanderers.
Yeah, Paulette was in the drivers seat. She was like a sheep shearer,
standing at the airport terminal gate along with all the other New Yorkers,
clippers at the ready for the next load of out-of-towners who would
run through, sheared clean, and sent right back through the Departures
gate. The process would have run much smoother if everybody just stayed
home and sent their money in. A micro-diagram of the world economy at
the time of this story might look like this: imagine a pool table built
on a slant with only one pocket at the bottommost corner. That pocket
could be labeled New York, because all the balls are going to end up
there anyway. It doesnt matter if you came here or not, because
your money was damned sure going to end up here no matter what happened!
The mayor, whose names was Keynes, gave an interview shortly before
he took his midnight flight to Montevideo. He was asked to reflect on
the citys historically ongoing housing crisis, to which he had
contributed as mightily as anybody else in history. Of course
theyre flooding in! he exclaimed with a magnificence of
spirit that only the grandest of thieves is capable of marshalling,
and which had endeared him to New Yorkers for years, even as his larcenous
nature stuck out in plain sight, Where the hell else are they
going to go? Nobody in New York can live on his salary. There
is always stealing and chiseling involved, right up and down the food
chain. That is why New Yorkers are such humorless fucks. Everybody is
only thinking about eating, about capturing a little part of the suns
energy. If New York City had a national animal, it would be the seagull,
which is a totally humorless animal. When was the last time you saw
a seagull laugh? That most maritime of birds would rather steal than
catch his own lunch because you get a double whammy, you eat without
working, which is every New Yorkers dream. The way Paulette had
it figured out, all she had to do was sit tight, keep things down to
a dull roar, and let Pops keep figuring out her investment strategy.
That way she would go out of this world on the plus side of things.
She would leave her children more than had been left to her, which is
appropriate thinking for any decent American.
Borok March 2008
Dean Borok (Extract from Symphony of Fear)
The world of dreams is an eternal infinite universe inside each person...
driven by the unformed expression of neurotic impulses and sexual repressions
of the dreamer
Gets His Fortune Told
Still holding the dregs of his drink in his hand, Havelock Jones waded
through the Halloween party in the direction of the fortune
all rights reserved - all comments are the writers' own responsibiltiy
- no liability accepted by hackwriters.com or affiliates.