Archive for December, 2007
She sweeps down the marble staircase, descending into a white room, her diaphanous costume streaming behind her. The music swells as she glides past the Greek columns, standing erect amid the lavish displays of roses and orchids. There is a peculiar smell in the air; of freshness, yet excitement. Her black hair is perfect, she pauses for a moment, then delicately places a slippered foot on the bottom step and, arms outstretched, rushes towards the silent figure standing, until now, in the shadows. The lights come up and He is revealed in all His glory. He stands well over six feet, dressed completely in black. The sombre trousers, jacket and t-shirt are complemented by vivid splashes of silver. Carefully cropped and coiffured silver hair belies his young years. A silver buckle connects a black belt, cinched tight around an impossibly thin waist His hands are a splash of bronze and silver; a silver bracelet, a single silver ring. He, too, extends his arms and Loretta and Randolph embrace as the soundtrack swells to a crescendo.
I drive up the winding gravel road that leads to the hilltop mansion, my heart in my mouth. I had met him the week before. He emerged from the pits, sweating and grinning after hurling his late model Alfa Romeo around the street circuit for a gruelling three hours. His camel coloured race suit had a little horse logo’s, the famed snake and staff of the Italian marque, and, in bright red letters, his name – Morgan. He hadn’t won the race, but he had won the hearts of the crowd. His close fought struggle with the German ace in the inevitable Mercedes had bought the thousands to their feet as they both defied death, duelling down the narrow city streets. Finally, he had spun out on the penultimate corner, and the eastern European put his iron monster in the right spot to accelerate out of the corner and take the race and the purse. He approached me, his face lined with oil stains but, also, a boyish grin. He extended his hand and introduced himself. At first, I wasn’t interested; more bemused really. Then, his suave chatter had penetrated my toughened outer surface and I started to warm to this man. We swapped email and telephone addresses.
Loretta threw back the glass of Château Neuf and fixed her eyes on Randolph. His eyes smouldered in return. She could see the maleness in his black trousers rising, and she felt her own self become moist. Her heart raced, her eyes widened, and she slid along the chaise lounge to mould herself to him.
The week flew by and halfway through he invited me to his country house for the weekend. He hinted of exotic, candle-lit dinner, of lazy drives through vineyards and lakes. His conversation bordered on the erotic but I admired that he merely hinted. On the Wednesday night before the weekend we had an hour-long conversation that harked back to the days of giddy adolescence. We talked of places we had mutually (but at different times) been to, of favourite foods, films and books. We appeared to have a lot in common. I actually found myself lying on the floor, legs halfway up a wall, telephone cord twined between my hands, my eyes shut, dreaming. I hadn’t felt this way since the divorce. Did I dare allow myself the thrill but risk of the chase? I phoned my friend but she was not home. I wrote an email hoping to catch her before the weekend. Did I use the words ‘get lucky’? If all else failed I could always use it as short story material. Who was I kidding? I didn’t want a story. I wanted an epic novel.
He lowered her to the floor and their bodies melted together. He tore off her clothing and began nibbling, sucking and licking her bare skin. She shuddered as she felt his hardness against her groin. She struggled with his clothing. The silver buckle suddenly broke and his trousers and organ were free. She heard a soft little moan as she slid his clothing over his head. She could barely breath.
He answered the door. Dressed in casual trousers, striped cross trainers and a t-shirt with Pennzoil emblazoned across the front. He, at first, seemed surprised to see me, then he stepped aside and indicated I should come in. It felt tense but then maybe he wasn’t used to this sort of thing. What exactly was this? A dirty weekend? A one-night stand? The start of something BIG? Maybe he, like me, had been burned by a relationship gone bad. Suddenly he was gone. A women emerged from a side door. God! Had I got this so wrong and he had a girlfriend? Or worse. A wife. She cheerily introduced herself as Cherie. The flatmate. The masseur flatmate. And where had he disappeared too? Cherie mumbled something about work but I couldn’t decipher if it was her or Morgan she was talking about.
They lay satiated after their frantic lovemaking. She could smell the animal, after-sex odour of him. It excited her and she thought that it might be nice to ravish him again. Then she saw his limp organ and thought better of it. She rolled toward him, encircling him with her long ebony legs. She felt him stirring again and couldn’t suppress a giggle. Randolph was breathing deeply and was suddenly very interested.
By nine thirty he still hadn’t reappeared and I was halfway through book numero uno. Then at ten, Morgan suddenly jumped into the room and handed me a pile of bedding and indicated the couch. Muttering, he sped away with embarrassing quickness, something about having to do computer work. I made up the hard couch and settled into book number two.
The lights slowly come up and Loretta is sitting in the centre of the set. She has the same shoes as she had on the previous day but her clothing indicates that she is waiting to go outdoors. She is regally attired in red, with a single white pearl at her throat. Her breasts swell out of the low cut bodice and if you could smell her she would be like a field of new cut hay with a hint of musk. The doorbell rings and she hesitates, pats her hair, then rises and opens the door. Randolph greets her with a radiant and knowing smile and hands her a bunch of perfectly cut pink, red and white camellias. Loretta’s eyes flutter. She knows the secret language of flowers and Randolph had just said ‘Longing for you. You’re a flame in my heart. You’re adorable.’ Was there no end to this man? Perfect, ardent, lover. Gentle, intelligent, companion.
Curiosity got the better of me. The day was rapidly starting to melt away and I felt a need to be out and about, with or without the elusive Morgan. I edged open the door to his office. Morgan was more animated than I had seen him all weekend. His attention was focussed on the computer monitor in front of him. I inched closer. His hands were clasped around a play station control unit. I saw the opened CD case to the side of his desk. Grand Tourismo. Morgan had been in this room, by my reckoning, for six hours since I had arrived and it seemed that he had been having an intimate relationship with a motor racing game. I touched his shoulder. Jumped out of his skin, Morgan literally left his seat. He spun around and looked as though he momentarily forgot who I was or why I was in the room. His hands flew from the control unit and pushed back the STP cap on his head. I had the impression that I had disturbed some deeply religious experience. I looked around the walls at the pictures of cars sliding into corners, cars sliding out of corners, cars sliding across race tracks; cars, cars, cars. I backed slowly out of the room muttering apologies. Minutes later he appeared and indicated that it was time for the drive. There was suddenly a new vitality to Morgan. A spring in his step, a slight grin on his face. A return to the man I had met a week ago in his Italian racing suit. He proudly backed a gorgeous dark green car out of his garage and I could tell from the expectant look on his face that this was something special. Before I could ask any questions he has informed me that, yes indeed, it is a rare Type S Jaguar. And, yes indeed, the famous Graham Hill had driven this model at Brands Hatch and it still had the plaque on the walnut dashboard to say so. The most I could tell you about my car is that its yellow and it has always started when I turn the key. I don’t know any famous legends and I doubt they would want to squeeze into my little yellow car. But this is progress. Morgan is positively brimming over with enough youthful enthusiasm to serve us both.
We sped out of the drive and into the country, balmy and full of smells after a brief, but heavy, shower of rain. He was to take me to Hillhaven, a newish resort that had opened in the last year and had been frequented already by Presidents, Kings and film stars. I had only previously seen Hillhaven from the outside and was looking forward to an extended tour. I had heard about the famous ‘wet rooms’ and the supremely relaxing Vichy shower treatments. As we sped along the road I noticed a white building, set back off the road. It looked vaguely religious, if a little run down and neglected. It was covered with multicoloured drawings and writing. I enquired what it was and of the obvious graffiti. Morgan grumped, muttered something about damn hormone driven kids, and drove on with increased haste. My hopes of seeing the inner sanctums of Hillhaven were short lived as Morgan raced in, drove at breakneck speed around the roundabout and exited, all within ten seconds. As we drove past the white building again I asked him to stop. Reluctantly, he did so with a dramatic look at his wristwatch and adjustment of the dashboard clock. As I drew closer I could see that the graffiti was largely themed around teenage female angst. Liaisons that had gone wrong, boys who had betrayed. Some were a short blasphemous sentence, others a poignant phrase, a few would have qualified as essays. I was struck by the sophistication and misery of the writing. I heard a horn blasting, and, turning, I could see Morgan gesticulating at his watch.
Randolph knelt before Loretta as a small orchestra of violins and one sole pianist played Vivaldi in the background. He reached into the inner pocket of his white linen jacket and removed a small, satin covered, box. Carefully and with much grace, he opened the lid to reveal a red interior, and, nestled in the centre a ring of exquisite beauty. Loretta uttered a small cry and her hand went to her breast. His eyes met hers and she could hear no words but she read his lips and knew what he was asking of her. She uttered the single reply they both knew she would make from the day they had first laid eyes on each other. She rushed to his arms and they embraced passionately.
The community barbecue later that night. The fluorescent ceiling exudes an olive glow that makes everyone look like they died two hours ago. Morgan stands across the room, talking with a group of men. They are all dressed the same. Dark trousers, polo shirts with automotive advertising emblazoned across the breast pocket, poplin casual jackets, and light coloured shoes. If it weren’t so sad it would be funny. He has successfully ignored me since the long silent drive home after what I am now coming to call the ‘graffiti incident’. I was genuinely fascinated by what this could mean and Morgan seemed to have a definite opinion, which he was keeping to himself. Morgan glances in my direction and I hope that he sees a tall blonde woman seated by herself in this lounge looking back at him and sending him a hard, wary glance that says, step forward if you’re who I think you are; otherwise, get lost. Still; having said all that I have a desperate need to also make something of this journey. I decide to take the initiative, and, as Morgan drifted away from his friends (or was he sensing my move and pre-empting it?), I rushed after him. Catching him, I spontaneously linked my arm with his. I felt his body stiffen and a grimace appear on his face. He’s like a trapped animal, knowing he needs protection and succour, but has this primitive instinct to run or attack. Morgan suddenly had the need to use his captured arm and he pulls free.
At exactly half past nine Morgan suddenly rose from his chair, stretched, yawned and announced he was off to bed. Bewildered I looked at him and then Cherie. She shrugged her shoulders and Morgan disappeared back into the house with indecent haste
At the stroke of midnight I slammed the door of my little yellow car and started the long drive back home. As I passed the room that must have been Morgan’s I saw a figure crouched over a computer screen, intently looking down the racetrack, illuminated by the flickering graphics, STP hat on his head.
A desert island. He, grey haired now, with the first flecks of white, raises a champagne glass. His eyes reflected in the blue waters and white surf, display only enduring love. Loretta smiles and returns his toast. Her sarong slips and shows the body of fifty-year-old Goddess.
The Spam Letter
Jane glanced at the opening lines. Well it’s that time of year again and the Bamber family are pleased to send this to all our friends scattered throughout the World.
Bambers Xmas Greeting – Vis familia fortior = family is strength
2007 My Dear Jane. It’s been another great year for the Bamber family. Eugene has been promoted (again) in Young, Samuels and Egan and is now well on track for an associateship. Our plans had been that this should probably come on stream in 2009. Eugene has recently started a creative painting and sculpturing course which sees him out of the home three nights a week and sometimes for the odd weekend but he has flourished professionally, personally, and artistically. He has a small showing of his first years work opening at the Midtown gallery next Wednesday and has already sold three works for $1000+ (clap, clap, clap.) I am just so proud of him. Eugene (jnr) has one more paper to finish his double major LLB and BA (hons) and continues to top his law and classics classes. Eugene is so like his father and sometimes it’s hard to distinguish the two as they go off for their Saturday golf games. Last month they won the Clubs Stablesford competition and Eugene (jnr) managed a hole in one (the youngest competition to do so!). Samantha is in that awkward stage between teenage and adult years. She is thinking of psychiatry but Eugene and I are urging her to set her goals a little higher. Samantha has such a natural way with needlework and crafts that we both think she would make an excellent surgeon. Eugene has put a word in with the Lions club and its almost a given that she will be accepted for medical school. If only she could get her grades from A’s to A+’s! Bartholomew has just ended his first year at St Judes and it looks like he will be following in his father and big brothers footsteps. Top in science and he’s already in the 2nd XXI. All while winning the junior P class competition at the National Yachting Champs last month! I don’t know where he gets it from (giggle!). We managed to fit in a short sojourn to Greece after we had the three weeks in Italy this year and it was such a thrill to see all those old ruins. It really makes you realise where you fit into the grand scheme of things. We can’t wait for the Olympics next year. We’ve hired a yacht and villa so we get the best of both worlds. Mum finally passed away in May. There were nearly 1000 guests at her final farewell. Bartholomew composed a beautiful poem and Eugene made a magnificent angel for her headstone. We finally moved out of that dismal six bedroomed dive in Front Street and we now have a new address. I’ve always wanted to be No1 and Eugene says that it is the best birthday present he could think for me. Just think of it No1 King Street. The rates are almost as much as the down payment on the new BMW Eugene shouted himself for his birthday. I hope this finds you and Jack well. How are the kids? Anytime that you and the family want to visit just turn up. We have oodles of room and you can borrow the boat if you want some solitude. Love Me – Jocelyn
Dear Joc, Sorry I didn’t get back to you before the new school year started but Jack and I have been having our troubles and I didn’t get your letter until after I returned from Palmi where he is in custodial detention. It’s been a pretty crushing year for us. Jack got convicted of fraud and theft as a servant and is now a declared bankrupt and unable to have any interest in a company or manager a business until 2010. He also got CD for eighteen month and he’s been in Palmerston North’s facility since December 21. I stayed at a motel in the town until what little money we had left run out and now I’m back in Wellington to sell the house and car to try and raise some money to pay back all the creditors. Jack had to go to therapy and the psychiatrist thinks its all some thing that happened in your family when you were kids. Jack just poohooed it all but he has become quite bitter and resentful about the family. Jason took it pretty hard. He was always a little wild but we haven’t seen or heard from him since November when this all fell apart. His best friend Sam came around the other day and he was a bit close-lipped about Jason’s whereabouts but I think there are drugs and gangs involved. Shelia is up north. She got pregnant to a layabout who works on the roading gang. Bastard! Denied any responsibility and although she is underage the police said they couldn’t prosecute as there had been so many other boys involved. His family have been great though. I struggle on. The knitting factory closed in March but I managed to get a job cleaning at nights and then, thanks to some wonderful luck, I got taken on to help clean out all the asbestos from the old school. We get $7 an hour and as much overtime as we want. I cleared $327.15 last week! I don’t think we will be visiting for some time but thanks for the offer. Jack might get parole earlier than the full sentence but he is muttering about going to Aussie. – In hope – Jane.
4 March 2008.
I was shocked upon receiving your letter. You are not taking the Mickey out of me are you? It’s hard to believe all those terrible things you said about Jack, Jason and Shelia. Your children were the light of your lives and I always thought Jack had a wonderful head for business. Please write soon and tell me this is all some terrible mistake. – Love Me – Jocelyn.
April 21 2008
Sorry to disappoint you but I wasn’t taking the Mickey. That’s my life at the moment. Things are looking up though. Jason’s back home and Shelia had a lovely little boy and she has decided to keep him. Kerehama Patu! Can you imagine it? Me! A grandmother. Jack’s doing Ok as well. He met this guy in Palmi and although Jack can’t put his name to the company they have this little scheme going selling something you’ll see in the national papers very soon. It’s working out Ok for me too. The Greens found out about the school asbestos thing and you probably saw the inquiry in the papers. My local MP thinks I’ll get at least two hundred grand for health damages and the funny thing is that I haven’t felt this good in ages. I really appreciate that you keep in touch. All my other so-called friends stopped writing after Jacks thing and those friends that I had left stopped coming around when Jason came home. Maybe you’ll see us before 2003! Much love and kisses – Jane.
December 9 2007
Dear Jocelyn, I waited and waited for your normal yearly letter but nothing. Are you still alive or have you shifted again (ha ha)? The year 2007 has been a great one for the Guyton family. Jacks new business venture has really taken off. Who would have thought people would pay so much to hear how lawyers and accountants embezzle old peoples savings? He’s away from home quite a lot; what with the National tours and he has done a couple to Aussie, and there is talk of North America! We have still got about half the debts to pay back but we have enough to get by on. Jack even managed to by a second hand BMW and an old fishing boat so we may see you on the water (ha ha ha). Shelia is on to a winner as well. Seems that Kerehama Patu is part of the Ngati Tahu tribe so she and Kerehama get a handy little payout every month and what with that and the benefit and the money she gets working for Jason she is already thinking of Kerehama’s future. I wonder if you could forward me some information about St Judes. I don’t really understand what Jason does for his business but its best not to ask to many questions of Jason. He’s turned into a nice young man and although he’s very secretive about his business ventures he is very generous to his Mum, Dad and sister and he just dotes on his little nephew. I ended up with over three hundred grand for the asbestos thing but the lawyer told me to put it into a trust, as I may need it for medical bills in the future because no insurance company will touch me. You should have heard Jack (ha ha). Anyway good times fall on you-my bestest friend. Love, kisses and hugs to Eugene, Eugene (jnr), Samantha, and (of course) you. – Jane.
February 2008 The Year After.
Dearest Jane, It’s been a terrible couple of for years for me. I must admit that my yearly letter did stretch the truth a little. Eugene left me mid way through last year. It seems that the sculpting and art was all a charade. He had met this women at the first class and they have been having an affair since 1999. She finally wanted more than fleeting weekday and the odd weekends with him and Eugene was a little out of his depth. She destroyed our family with her vindictive lies. Eugene had to resign from the office after she went to the Sunday papers with a sordid tale of illicit sex rings and paedophilia. Eugene was just distraught and although I wanted to stand by him his mental state deteriorated, and he started drinking very heavily. He’s in Hammner but I can only keep the payments on that for another month so I don’t know what our future will be. Eugene (jnr) took it pretty hard too. He had been unwittingly covering up for his Dad and he was devastated with the revelations that Sheri came up with. He has given up all hope of making it in the rough and tough corporate world of Auckland and he’s off to teach English in Korea at the end of the week. Samantha took it best of all and seems to have grown as a result of this mess. She took care of selling the house and boat and has become a real rock. That bitch Sheri has a lot to answer for and if I ever catch her in a dark alley (well you can imagine). I don’t know what is happening to the world. What with the war escalating, all those people drowned on that island, that terrible earthquake, and those ghastly terrorists at it again. Sometimes I just despair. I think I need a holiday. After the Olympics debacle and all the money we lost on airlines I am rather reluctant to travel but do you think it would be possible if I could visit for a bit in the next few months?
Ode to my Tractor
Dear sweet tractor
Or should I call you Nell
Your yellow carapace so soft to the touch
How should that next line go? He worried about getting the right cadence to it. He didn’t want to piss Nell off. Could result in some bad vibes. Safety was always important. Right from when he first started. Always have an escape route. A word so that the power can be turned off or the rope cut. That was back in the days before he found Nell.
You are my love
Oh sweet dear Nell
The two detectives surveyed the scene.
The tractor idled. An eerie orange light spasmodically lighting the scene as it revolved atop the cab. If you didn’t look at the front end you’d think it was an everyday scene. A tractor at a claypit. The massive, polished bucket attached to the hydraulics rested partly off the ground and underneath an arm lay at a grotesque angle, a wristwatch attached. A rope lay partly coiled to the left of the arm. A deeping pool of blood spread toward the front wheels, contrasting vividly with the canary yellow of the cab.
‘What the hell?’
‘You don’t want to know. I remember when I first came across this. The scene was one that was sickeningly familiar: a young man’s body found hanging by the neck from a rafter. No signs of forcible entry or of a struggle. Near the corpse, a note. Another tragic youth suicide? You’d think so but closer inspection revealed some unusual and disturbing details. The body, undressed from the waist down. The victim had shot his load before he died. The room, littered with pornographic magazines. The body tied, not just around the neck, but around the ankles and the genitals too. And the rafter showed signs of wear, as if this were not the first time the young man had strung himself up.
It’s a case of lethal autoerotic asphyxia.’
‘Autoerotic asphyxia. Offing yourself accidentally while trying to get off-so to speak. For some it is not merely bondage, but ideas of execution or suicide that seem to provide the sexual thrill. The room may be deliberately set up as a death scene. One guy left a note that read, in part: “When you find my body hanging… with a tight noose around my neck, do not look for a murderer. I have executed myself.” Another fellow was found in women’s clothes, surrounded by stuff connected to judicial execution. One of them said “The law of the land for any man dressed as a woman and found guilty is that he be hanged.” -I tell you its weird’
‘So this guy died when he got accidentally pinned to the ground under the shovel’
‘After intentionally suspending himself by the ankles? For kicks?’