One Decadent Life: Part Two



… did anyone think he couldn’t do it? But he could. He could do it.

David in his fretful sleep twitched like a dog, his eyelids spasm’d, he groaned and whimpered. The fireplace had burnt out, the temperature in the room gone cold. At regular intervals a shuddering ran along his form, this rhythmic reaction merging with the vision, the thing that held him captive

He was being pushed by a powerful wind. Again was he sliding along the derelict plaza. Again he cowered before the sentinel tenements. But now the central Obelisk had been chopped down.

It lay like the broken hand of a huge clock; it lay pointing at nothing, there was no center holding, only blank desolation, a hideous world made by man. And he was doomed to live in it.

The rotting structures of the human dwellings no longer retained human flesh. Only roaches lived there – roaches and rats. All other living creatures had fled the precinct. No one answered his searching glances. Around the periphery he began his walk, looking for anyone who might be lingering. But every door was locked, from the outside. Everyone had left. No-one looked from a window. Not even a junkie lived there anymore.

David watched as a million-roach swarm covered the facade of one tenement.

Usually, at this point, came some answering explosion, the crevasse’s revelations, the great Cat’s ambient hiss.

But nothing. Nothing Happened. No Grand Denouement. No Revelation. Only the monotonous round he was making. There was nothing to do but exist.

Circling circling the centerless square that rocked and buckled like a newspaper in a draught.

But in the arid and senseless air of the dead plaza — something hovered. David looked up.

Aiming for his face was the end of a gigantic red sable paint-brush. He screamed as it lunged at him like a spear, the long silky hairs thrusting against him violently. He fell and the bristles swept across his body, flinging him across the plaza. The hairs caught him up and threw him back again. He could not escape this sweeping, thrusting, he ducked and darted but The Brush always found him out.

He realized he was being painted out — erased. No, worse. The Brush that worried him wanted only to be rid of him, he was nothing but an irritating grain of sand on someone else’s canvas.







One Decadent Life: Part Two










One Decadent Life: Part Two



Just past five she was awake all at once, to see him standing in her room, his back to her, staring out the eastern window. Without, a gibbous moon faded in a thin blue dawn. Venus hovered upon the horizon, with the bright glint she shows just prior to her vanishing. As Angelique stirred, David did not turn, only said, inanely “This morning…” and she knew something was wrong.

He was the thing that was wrong; he was still kicking heroin, but in a whole new phase: the psychic withdrawal, facing up to his soul’s death. How much longer was she expected to serve as his psychiatric nurse?

Angelique was anyhow constitutionally incapable of functioning under the rigor of an early awakening. Now he was at the door, giving her his severe look — “Get up, Angelique. We have to go outside. NOW.”

She did not reply; he expected at least a false-normal greeting. But she was hardly used to being ordered about, and for that reason instantly arose.

She proceeded with a full-on makeup: face, eye, eyebrow, lip. Rummaging in a closet she discovered a long black man’s coat. She put it on, and it trailed on the ground. Perfect! She located a rather large stetson-styled “cow-woman hat,” she thought to herself. It was black as well, so she further enhanced her lipstick to purple.

“Can we find any gloves in this place?” she asked him, unaware that he was utterly furious she had taken an hour to get ready.

But when he stamped to the front door, yanked it open and stepped out she screamed, “Are you INSANE?” he understood and came back in… “Since you’re so impatient, you might make a tea, or coffee or SOMETHING for me.” But he was slumped by the window again, in the broken-backed lounger.

So she took as long as she needed to prepare her own tea and toast. He declined having anything himself. The day was getting brighter, but still overcast.

“Where’s that famous New Mexico sunshine?”

He didn’t answer. She coughed slightly, settled herself at the dining table. “So… then? What is this great imperative you’re under. You are running out there nearly naked and empty, and I think…” and she murmured this softly, “I think you can get killed out there, if you’re not careful.” As she continued her breakfast unhurriedly, he decided to show better grace.

“Well, I had a dream and you were in it.” Angelique suppressed an impulse to yawn… instead, she slightly giggled.

He glanced at her sharply, “It’s a dream I often have… and since I’ve left New York, I’ve had it, maybe three times.

“I’m on the Lower East Side, the worst part of it — but a place that doesn’t actually exist. But it’s the epitome of all the worst things there: burnt-out buildings, and a sort of people, more demon than human. I am standing on a plaza, all filthy with trash, shit, the grime of the ages… the earth cracks open. I’m staring down. Staring into Hell. Sometimes I fall in… last night I was just standing on the edge.”

The yowl of what sounded like a very angry cat pierced this narrative, “Oh my gods and goddesses!” screamed Angelique, “The poor thing, what’s WRONG…?”

“What’s WRONG, Angelique, is that — that’s not a cat.”

“Not a cat…” she was confused, “What is it, then? A fox, a mountain lion WHAT?” as the thing shrieked and yowled again.

“It’s the heroin demon.”

“The heroin demon.” She didn’t know whether to laugh, or scream.

“I’m just coming to that part of the dream… So there I am, standing on the very lip of hell, about to fall in, when this enormous Black Cat, as big as a house, rushes at me and drags me down…”

“And what else does this Cat in your dream do to you? Does it eat you?”

He looked at her, disappointed… was she making fun of him? The Cat outside made a few loud growls, then seemed to move off.

“It leaps up, from its fiery pit, I fight with it, I battle it… no one comes to help me. Then it gets its mouth around my head, and I feel its fangs penetrating the back of my neck… and I wake up.”

“Are you dead in your dream…”

“No — dying.”

It suddenly began to pour rain, and Angelique shrugged her shoulders, “I think I’ll go lie down…”

“You CAN’T lie down… I mean…” he reneged, seeing her startled look, “I mean, you need to kill that cat for me.”


After this bizarre early-morning conference, Angelique had gone back to bed.

At high noon she was awake all at once. The sky still looked dull and grey, and she tsked aloud.

David could be faintly heard, calling her name.

Well, really am I expected to face the entities without being armed and decorated — as per my rank?

She recollected his description, “As I stand on this plaza, where there’s huge obelisk, the earth cracks open. I’m staring down into Hell. All my friends are there. And this huge black Cat…”

As if on cue the cat outside began its wail.

And David was at her bedroom door again: “THE CAT IS MADE MANIFEST!”

She was unnerved to see him in a manic condition, his eyes glassy, his face flushed, perspiring.

“Maybe you had better drink some water…”

“Angelique I’m telling you,” he panted, “You’re going to kill that cat for me. You have to kill that cat.”

She decided she would hold off on responding to his madness. She withdrew into herself, pretending to ignore what he said. But she was terrified.

He watched her wash her dishes, dry her hands, put on hand cream and he thought he would scream. She then went back into her bed-chamber for more adjustments, and ten minutes later — he timed it — she emerged.

“Well where shall we walk?” she said brightly, as they set off down the mesa. The sun was finally out, and the early rain had melted some of the snow. There was a faint path in the earth between the shrubs and grasses. Overhead she could feel the sun forcing its way through the clouds — the blue, celestial blue was on its way.

David kept ahead of her on the path. The mesa widened at this end, to merge with a wide swath of elevated pinon and chamisa shrub. But after a rise in the earth, where they stood on a ridge, there was an magnificent drop, straight down, to the canyon floor.

Before them were red rock formations of stunning beauty — long, high columns of rock, for centuries eroded by water, and the wind, and time. It gave the impression of an enormous castle. They sat on the ridge and gazed their full. She was wholly taken out of herself, dazzled by perfection.

She turned to look at David, and it was with a certain sick sensation that she saw him toying with a large, chambered revolver.


Angelique’s Diary
December 30th, 1985, 3 AM
Archuleta, New Mexico

Was dragged out today on a cat-hunt, as it turned out… I thought we were taking a Nature-walk.
The red rock cliffs at the end of the mesa were a revelation… I have never seen anything so beautiful in my life. If I lived here I might lose all impulse to create. How can a mere human compete with that manifestation?

After we came in I got straightaway into bed. He really is torturing me! I don’t know what I am to him anymore, but I do not like being the focus of his madness. I slept almost the whole evening through.

Before he went to bed he knocked gently at my door to see if I wanted anything. Exhausted as I was, it was heavenly to hear his voice sounding a little more normal, being somewhat brotherly. My love for him took a serious beating today. I think I may also be somewhat overstimulated by his presence. I’m not crazy with desire for him anymore, but I do have to work on more properly effecting the sublimation.

He came in with some tea and settled on the edge of my bed. He complimented me on having what he called “A majestic aspect.”

“There’s something about a woman sitting up in bed… with a little jacket on.” I told him a little about the ‘Precieuses,’ those 17th-century females who received, indeed did everything, from bed.

He is completely obsessed with this cat, a poor wild thing wandering around outside, probably starved or rabid. He says it’s like this cat in a dream he keeps having, and that the cat is not really a cat but a “heroin demon.” And now, for whatever reason, he has decided that I should kill the cat for him!

He is insane.

The Beast is definitely trapped between two worlds. Like the cat in the dream. It’s from Hell, but it walks the earth. And this cat, it was domesticated, but now it’s wild. It doesn’t trust us enough to come close and get any food.

Anyhow I just threw alot of icky lunch-meat out there for it… David was dead passed out on the sofa.

Yes so for whatever reason, I have to kill the cat… FOR him.

“I can’t kill it, but YOU CAN,” he’s said more than once, and finally:

“Tomorrow we’ll have a shooting lesson, so you won’t miss.”






Chapter 36: THE CAT

One Decadent Life: Part Two



David understood he was not going to sleep again that night. He had turned on the generator, to run the electric heaters, and it was groaning like a banshee, eerie whine in the wind, and then… that cat!

Its yowlings weirdly punctuated the night. Gawd I might as well be back in Manhattan, for all the peace and quiet there’s here…

He ground out the fortieth cigarette of the day. How many days now up here? Three? He had lost count. He knew he was behaving like a mental patient, sitting for hours, rigidly staring into nothing. In the same chair, by the same window.

When he had taken that chair, by the window, he had recollected the first time he had come — one of the first times I’d kicked heroin. The memory ached in him like the scar that it was.

He went on staring out that window at what was coming for him. Not a star flickered for him, no longer a glimmer of the faintest moon. Continuous driving clouds blotted out all celestial light.

Now here was the cat again. What kind of insane Beast is it, really? Lurking right outside the window-ledge, growling in its throat like a big cat, the sound grating atrociously on his nerves. But David had seen it — an enormous feral black cat, a tom, with big shoulders.

It yowled like something out of Poe and made his hair stand on end.

He thought he might wake up Angelique … see what she has to say about this fucking cat!

It came over him then, all at once, that he was in an isolated place with a person notoriously capable of anything. With the phone not working. Soleil had not shown up… David’s paranoia about women and what they might do kept urging him to leave immediately. But he tried to calm himself down: You are being utterly ridiculous. You are in no danger from her.

But his subconscious was on a rampage. Waking life was leaving him devastated, in hyper-sensitivity, and add hyper-aestheticism atop that. All the usual baffles, controls, filters he used to allow the tolerable stimuli in, to prevent flooding — were all awry. He didn’t know what he should react to, nor what he should not to react to.

So he appeared somewhat dense, even retarded. But it was the effects of a dominant subconscious, freed from the sedating drug. While his body felt near dead, his mind was aflame.

Material of every type clamored for his attention; and when he finally dozed off in an uneasy ‘REM’ sleep, he was beset at once:

DELANCEY STREET PLAZA, he muttered, in the dream, reading a huge sign over a gate.

He was back in the copping fields, his home away from home. Where he’d gone for years to buy his heroin.

The Lower East Side had transformed itself into a kind of stage, complete with audience. Except — no fourth wall. Bound in by gigantic tenements filled with people enjoying his downfall —

Yeah… he’s a flop.

He’s still onstage, though. He can’t step down.

David is being compelled to embrace, and then climb, the ray of the Sun God Ra — the Obelisk.

He refuses to do this however because he sees the Ray is grounded in filth.

But all gods start from fecal matter — it’s our very first creative production.

The refuse of the body transformed… into the aspiration of the mind?

So I’m a junkie, mired in shit? Who is being given the chance to re-embrace his Sun God?

If David refuses, the entire world will fall to pieces.

In the dream he recognizes that the violent races have not yet managed to destroy the Obelisk. It’s been pissed on, shot at and painted over. Still, He stands.

But David refuses to embrace Him.

The earth cracks open, and he’s being sent to Hell. The black Cat, the tom with his muscly shoulders — is the Heroin Demon. The Cat drags him in, David falls in and down, spinning through every level underground.

First level, he’s supposed to say Hello to the Ancestors: all of them dead (and some more dead than others.) But he rushes by, ignores them — because he doesn’t really want to know what they have to say.

Second level, total rejection of Nature. Here Hell is constructed of bolted steel plating, all of it created yes, from the materia of Nature, but changed into something human and ugly.

Every bolt is a travesty, a sin.

The Cat is biting down hard, dissolving him — his spine at the neck snaps in two. He is going to be eaten.






Feb. 4, 2015: To My Readers

Dear Readers:
We are going to be leaving Angelique and David stranded
on the Fire Mesa for a little while. This Author is embarking on
a project long dear to her intellect: a new edition of Boris
Lurie’s “House of Anita,” which she first worked on in 2010.

We’ll be concentrating whole-heartedly on writing, editorial, research
and development, et cetera through May.

Will try to put up one more chapter before I
start *officially* next week. It seems appropriate that
the Two Decadents of One Decadent Life should be somewhat
forgotten, as they sit up there, far out of Manhattan.

If only they could have actually
stayed on Fire Mesa for three months!
Because it takes time — more time than they have —
for a visionary ideal to come to fruition.

Thank you for reading —

Madame Terence
from the Mesa Marquesa
February 4, 2015

Chapter 35: ON FIRE MESA

One Decadent Life: Part Two



Angelique’s Diary Entry
December 29th, 1985
Fire Mesa
Archuleta, New Mexico


It took us three entire days to get here, a Byzantine flight. We flew from Miami to Washington, and came down in an ice-storm. Then the airline expected us to get back on the same battered ‘plane, to bloody Chicago, and fly out. In a snowstorm. David was game, even as ice-scrapers shrieked against the roof, and workers slid off the wings. But as people began to get off the plane, refusing to believe the assurances, the airline was forced to cancel and gave us vouchers for hotel-rooms.

… in a hotel that surely must be razed by the Aesthetic Bulldozers. All cardboard prefab, boringly decorated in the most offensive colour-scheme known to modern man: beige, ochre and orange. Through the paper door you could hear the Muzak noodling away. Nothing to threaten the average stranger with strangeness. But to me it’s most unsettling. I find this American love of facelessness evidence of an endemic void of spiritual responsiveness.

When we finally did fly into Albuquerque it was to more snow, sleet, and freezing cold. The airport is surrounded by a massive mountain range, sheer rock faces, imposing, even intimidating. I rented a luxury sedan, though David said it would never get up the dirt roads we were headed for. I thought surely a heavy car could make it, having no idea of what I was in for. Besides they didn’t have anything like a Jeep for rent, not that I would be caught dead driving such an apparatus.

The drive to Santa Fe was very long, and I was already tired when we stopped at a supermarket for food and other supplies. It was sort of a downfall watching my Beloved with a shopping cart, but what else could we do? He said there were no restaurants where we were going. The fellow who owns the house, one “Soleil” could not meet us “up there,” as he put it, for a few more days… but I got directions over the phone. And so we drove on, as David sank into a sort of reverie, remarking on the scenery, how this or that had changed since he had last been here.

He seems enamoured of this arid, blasted landscape, which though beautiful, and dramatic, I think has a hostile edge.

As we made the last turn onto a narrow two lane highway towards the town of El Rito, it began to snow again… there were no street-lights, or even edge-markers but for a painted white line fading on either side of the road. Which itself began to disappear. It was only three o’clock but was going dark. David kept pointing to the left, telling me to “Look for the red mesa… the Fire Mesa.” I could barely see out of the windshield. After three miles of this, crawling along at twenty, I saw it: a magnificent, solitary piece of red rock, stark against the white, with a sliver of a house atop it.

A very commonplace metal gate was open, and David got out to chain it up behind us. I went into first gear… the dirt road uptilted at a good ninety-degree angle. We got about halfway up when the wheels began to spin and sink into the sodden clay, which offered no grip at all… and the prevailing snow was turning to ice. He told me “Stop spinning or we’ll never get out.

“We’ll have to walk.”

He was walking ahead of me… when it appeared that the ground before us had completely washed away… and the next step we took? would be to fall into a crevasse. I cried out a warning.

But David continued on, and to my mysticked eyes it appeared he walked upon the Abyss. “Master of the Abyss, Master of the Unknown!” And then I saw “the Abyss” was only a darker streak of red mud, washed across the snow. He turned and gave me his sarcastic look. But I felt unusually exhilarated, the thin mountain air piercing my lungs… paper bags of groceries melting, the wind starting up, my velvet boots ruined in five minutes, sinking to my ankles in the white clay scum.

Once we got to the house David dug me out a most unprepossessing pair of rubber boots. I had no heavy socks to wear with them. I was packed for St. Bart’s, I mean, winter clothes? David searched some closets and produced a woolen pair, I guess Soleil’s, I felt very embarrassed in the ugly footwear.
But we had to make THREE trips, which I think came out to six miles.

When we fell through the door for the final time we lay across the sofas, panting, I began to divest myself of my wet coat, the hideous boots, and David began to build a fire in the fireplace. The house is ice cold, and it seems an actual FIRE is the only way to heat the place! We have gone back in time… to the eighteenth, at least.

This house is indeed a trailer, but one of those ‘double wides’ which aren’t meant to be moved anywhere, once they are plunked down. The only bedroom, which he bequeathed to me, faces north and is utterly frigid. “You’ll want the privacy,” he said, and I agreed before I realized what I had done. Because of course, he’d sleep on the sofa — next to the fire. I’m an icicle, yeah — inside a refrigerator.

The kitchen is a long galley, overlooking the greenhouse which stretches the length of the structure. It’s a messy, tangled jungle, and a plethora of geranium scents the air with spicy freshness.

What strikes you is the absolute silence. The snow continues to fall. David plays with the fire, going outside to a shed to bring in logs. I should unpack the groceries.


The old trailer has sat on its private mesa for the last forty years; a mesa, that is, a long, narrow flat field elevated some thousand feet up above the surrounding grasslands. One end of it comes to a strange curve, like a comma, bending around and finishing in a point, where it rises again in a dramatic promontory overlooking all. Three hundred and sixty five encircled degrees of unspoiled wilderness, and not a human habitation to be seen.

The stone of the mesa is a deep, dried-blood red, black in the darkness. Anywhere on the mesa the sensation is of being suspended above the world, just barely clinging to its crust.

After warming themselves and enjoying a meal, which David remarked was quite tasty… shrimp and rice with peppers, whipped up by Angelique… a strange light filtering through the uncurtained windows showed the snow had stopped, the sky clear, a full moon illuminating the brilliant snow.

They decided to take a walk, “I want to show you the kiva!” he told her. He thought it unusual she didn’t know what that was. As he explained that it was an ancient, round depression in the earth, cut with steps, going down to a central circle… a sort of small coliseum where the Indians had long-ago conferences… he felt amused to be teaching her something.

She seemed curious, open to the experience, able to rough it (aside from the velvet boots) in the primitive setting.

Deep fine-blown snow muffled the sound of their steps, allayed the sense of moving. They were in a cold vacuum, dense and achingly silent.

It seemed then to David very strange, that he had not come back to this place for… what, ten years, or more? He had been so young then, and so excited to be in New York, green and ambitious, “making it” in the big town. Before he’d understood what New York really was. The Indian phrase he used to love came to him, as the two of them reached the end of the comma, and gazed out, from the promontory, upon a real Edge of the Universe: the beating heart of the world. He breathed deeply of the thin, icy air, and began to cough uncontrollably as his latent sickness attacked him again —

New York is the babbling mouth of the world, then… or maybe its dead eyes.

Why had he not come back, in all this time? To know again those things that could happen to a person, the natural, uninvoked magic — that became so vital to your life — and simply because you were on that land, if you could be open to it, as he was now, unbearably so.

His breathing relaxed, and he looked over at his friend. She was transfixed by the moon.

And as the two deepened their contemplation, the vision struck.

The sky exploded with a brilliant blue nebula, breaking out in cobalt fire, a cascading scarf of shimmering, swirling light, winding round itself in the night.

A scrap of aurora borealis? Refracted light from — what? There was nothing, no-one on the earth around them. David, so in need of a miracle, understood it as nothing less than a celestial intervention.

The indigo-violet, occult azure of the astral now broke up into tiny comets, rained down all around them, making the snow glimmer blue, deepest blue of mystic transparency.

Angelique felt a presence greater than any she had yet experienced.

The sapphire flames dimmed, and vanished.







One Decadent Life: Part Two



Angelique’s Diary Entry
Christmas Morning 1985, 11 AM
Saint Barthelemy


Waking up with a blasted brain, hangover sickness, oh my gods and goddesses what did I do to myself last night? I think I absorbed David’s bile and actually BECAME the bastard. Because there I was, doing coke — and I’m thinking he didn’t. Orestes would say something along the lines of: You want to cure a person? Get sick like the person.

Feel like sheer HELL! And I think I even SAW Orestes last night — a vision brought on by The Daddy, Eunice’s Daddy, what was his name?

And that guy Luc, gorgeous yes, but what a dysfunction. Another bastard now how has it happened that I am surrounded by bastards



Angelique stopped writing, hearing a light knock on her door — “Yesss?” she hissed, head splitting.

It was David, just arriving home: “How are you? May I come in?”


As he pushed the door to, the tiny green monkey shot into the hall — “Oh my fucking GOD! What is THAT? AND it reeks like a zoo in here!”

“Good morning to you too.”

“No really, Angelique — I warned you. Somebody finally sold you a monkey.”

A short pause as they stared at each other; then both starting shrieking in hysterics. Angelique pounded on the bed, nearly weeping, David doubled over, guffawing as Angelique took a tissue, blew her nose. The results showed up all bloody.

“Angelique, yech, ugh! Look what you did to yourself.”

“I have very fragile nasal passages.”

“Bad girl, you did coke!”

“You love saying that, don’t you? So what in hell, where in hell did YOU end up?”

“Those bitches AWL and OOL? They threw me in the pool…”

Angelique shrieked, “It’s a limerick! ‘There was a young lady… er… young female called OOL

‘Short for OOL-timate Breaker of Rules
She snorted cocaine
with a sneer of disdain
And died stuck to the floor by her drool.’ “

“Hmm, you’re good at that! But I didn’t hear anything about a ‘pool’ in there.”

“Drool, pool, same thing… but okay —

‘There was a young slut name of OOL
Who drowned the fiend Dave in a pool
Ool and pal Alt
Were ignobly at fault
For this deed so dastardly cruel.’

“And you, did you get laid?”

“Sort of… though not by whom you’d’ve imagined.”

“The two blonde chicks?”

“….. And how did you know about that?”

“Your paramour summoned them, as you were going upstairs. They probably work for the pimp!”

Angelique sighed, “I only realized later…”

“Angelique, the whole ship was crammed with drugs AND hookers. You and I were probably the only two people there NOT for sale. For a change.”

“Stop it! So you got thrown in the pool, THEN what?”

“The slaves took my wet clothes, got me a bathrobe and put me to bed. And I just plain passed out. Slept like a baby, in the middle of the riot.”

“Party pooper!” They screamed again.

“In the morning my clothes came back, cleaned and pressed like they haven’t been for a century. I wasn’t the only one who passed out on that tugboat. Like some kinda crazy nightclub-spa… I think some never did locate their clothes, saw a few of them leaving in bathrobes.”

“So — did you see Luc this morning?”

“You poor thing!”

She tried to swat him and almost fell out of bed, “OOOH my head!” Her nose was dripping blood.

“No, no Luc. Only about a hundred of his minions. They bathed me, clothed me, whipped me up some eggs, on top of a few superior croissants, and finally limo’d me back here, I believe, in one piece.”

Angelique got up and looked in the mirror, “HORRORS!” She couldn’t brush her hair. It was gummed up with the glitter, and stuck in clots by the spray. He felt compelled to go on teasing her…

“So you do coke, do you, Angelique?”

“And so I do. That’s a privilege reserved for those of us who aren’t addicts.” She gave him her superior sidelong glance. “Yaaas… WE actually get to have FUN with drugs. Now and then.”

“And did you have fun?

Giving up on her hair, she considered. “The first snort, yes. The first one’s always the best. Dancing… yes, fantastic. But later it got stupid. Those two blondes serviced me, with Luc watching. All the time I was high, it was fine. Then? I felt awful. Absolutely AWFUL! I saw he was a freak. I CANNOT believe myself. I had a crush on something… that was just like a client.”

“Well I think that’s sort of normal, isn’t it?”

“Normal? For whom? Maybe… such as he is the only thing I attract anymore — yet another freak. Anyhow, can we stop talking about it? I just know I hated it. And him. Though I made him give me a pair of shoes…”

“He has ladies’ shoes stored in his closets?”

“Darling he’s the type who has EVERYTHING in closets. Including his penis.”

From upstairs they heard the monkey squealing and chittering.

“David we have to catch him. Otherwise he’s gonna shit the whole house. I know — I had a monkey when I was a kid.”

“We’ll have to find a cage!”

“ ‘There once was a monkey so green
One noticed not he was obscene
He pranced, and he posed
And then it arose
That his penis was not very clean.’ ”

“You have a sick mind.”

“So I have been told. We’re on our own today. Why don’t you fix me some breakfast?”

“Why don’t you take a flying fuck Angelique my darling and fix ME some breakfast?”

“I thought Luc’s slaves had already fed you?”

She emerged from bed, enrobed herself, tied a scarf around her damaged head, and applied lipstick. Together they managed to
find the kitchen.

“So I escaped Luc, looked for you, the minions said you had left. When I finally exited that fucking yacht, aykayay shithouse, aykayay whorehouse, I went down to the dock, found Eunice and her Daddy, met lots of people and partied on on the docks! Only THEN did I start really having fun!”

“And the monkey..?”

“Yeah, and the monkey… who said ‘Hello’ by crapping my Balenciaga.”

“Your dress?”

“I traded the dress for the monkey.”

Joyfully they shrieked some more. Angelique found him newly adorable; this was what she had been waiting for. Fun, silliness, wit, craziness, total liberty to say or do whatever. So she whined like a child, “I’ve got a hangover.”

“No I’VE got the hangover here. I drank more alcohol than you took coke.”

“You don’t know HOW MUCH coke I took.”

While they were squabbling the phone began ringing.

“Answer it Angelique. If it’s my sister, tell her I left.”

“Golleee, you are the bossy one. I am NOT answering any goddamned telephone. I’m on vacation. And don’t you answer it either, David. It could be that sleaze, Luc.”

“Or OOL. Or ALT! Brrr! Don’t you have the feeling? That we ought to get out of here?”

“Back to Manhattan?”

“No, I don’t think I’m strong enough yet to face Manhattan. But elsewhere…”

“Where? Paris, Rome, Milan?”

They began laying waste to the provisions.


An hour later they had the monkey in a bird cage Angelique had discovered in a storage closet. David was feeding it pieces of an orange, and she was working on her hair. She had her head hanging over the railing on the veranda, separating each fluffy strand laboriously with a small comb.

“Your hair looks like cotton candy,” he remarked.

“It behaves like it too. Always breaking off and falling apart.”

The phone rang on and off, intermittently. They amused themselves by imagining who was calling.

“Sixteen… seventeen rings,” he counted. “That’s my sister.”

“If it’s really important, they can send a telegram.”

They had been discussing where else they might go, as well as David’s present condition, which both agreed seemed to have improved.

“How many days HAS it been,” Angelique asked her friend.

“I have no idea… Maybe three weeks?”

“Yes… we’ve been gone at least that long.”

“It’s not long enough to face down Manhattan though.”

You did resist doing any drugs all night long.”

“But really — my ‘all night long’ only lasted about three hours. I was in public, in a strange place, on a strange boat full of people I didn’t know. It will be entirely different, seeing all my friends in Manhattan again. To then, somehow, NOT get high with them?”

“You’ll just need to find all new friends.”

David decided to fill Angelique in on a few things about Tere — what Tere had gotten mixed up in.

“Dealing! Gods and goddesses but you were DOOMED.”

“I was… we were. I thought running away might help her. But she lasted about three days. She lost her stash, started kicking, panicked and couldn’t stay.”

“I’m sorry…” and Angelique actually was.

“She’s gone to London, where you can register as an addict. So to begin with, she can get dope for free. She’ll never get sick. PLUS she can deal — because people still buy it on the black market.” David lit a cigarette, looking miserable, “I just have this feeling that I’ll never see her again.”

“So ALL your pals are junkies?”

“All of them. Every single, accursed one of them. Even my sister. She’s a pill junkie!”

“What’s a pill junkie?”

“Her doctor keeps her loaded on uppers and downers. Uppers for weight loss, downers to sleep. Uppers for a good mood… downers to keep anxiety at bay. It’s almost like, well yes… I guess it’s true,” he grimaced and drank down a third cup of coffee, “I don’t have ONE straight friend. Except you.”

“Well there’s one good thing about New York. It’s so enormous you can always start over, and without moving away.”

David thought of Anya, Caroline, the Organization. And since Tere had robbed them, and he was her friend… “I should not even go back to New York. Maybe I’ll move to LA. There’s sort of an art scene there.”

“David, you can’t move to LA. It’s full of Philistines. Plus, you can’t drive.”

“Well, I could learn! I think…”

They spent the day ruminating about where else to go; doing nothing, wandering on the beach. The weather was not very comforting. The palms clashed in the wind, there was a presage of storm.

Angelique laid out an early dinner for them, with all the conventional Christmas fixings: turkey, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes laced with garlic, all cooked up by Eunice to perfection. Angelique was pleased to see David eating with good appetite.

As they finished the meal, David had a thought, “You know — I have a friend named ‘Soleil’ who has this house in New Mexico. Up north, an hour past Santa Fe. It’s in a tiny town called Archuleta, on top of a mesa. I don’t even think the place has a phone.

“Let me try calling him, see if it’s free. He collects these strange little old places, adobe huts, run down and isolated. All over the state. At one point he even owned a frontier church. The townspeople rose up against him, though. Thought he was a Satanist. He had to have a public deconsecration ceremony so they’d stop slashing his tires.”

“Sounds… magicky.”

“I’ve stayed in that church. But there’s too many people around. Hippie townsfolk. But this house in Archuleta is on a private mesa, three-hundred sixty degrees of mountain views, and not another house in sight. Soleil had a big party there one night, a spring equinox thing, completely wild for three days. And it’s nearly impossible to find.”

“Sounds VERY magicky. Is there a typewriter there?”

“Yes… we’d just have to stop in Santa Fe and stock up on food. And typewriter paper.”

“Well… I think I may be able to stay away another week.”

“A week?” David sounded disappointed.

“Well… a week at least. Maybe two. I just have to make some phone calls.”

“I’ll call Soleil and find out, get directions, ” and David got up, clapping his hands in sudden, strange excitement.

After this for her rather long exclusion from New York, Angelique realized she had been looking forward to reattaching to civilzation. The possibility of further isolation, more time spent alone with her difficult friend, did not please her wholly and she considered the new plan with some trepidation.


Angelique’s Diary Entry
Christmas Night 1985, 9 PM
Saint Barthelemy


We’re leaving tomorrow morning for an alleged ‘remote location’ in the mountains of New Mexico. David said the place is a converted trailer, on top of a mesa. When I balked at the idea of a trailer, he explained that everyone lives in them in Northern New Mexico, that it’s converted, covered in abode, with a greenhouse attached. Well it still sounds altogether too remote and rusticky. Back to winter and snow! We’re flying to Albuquerque, then I’ll rent us a car.

He’s refusing to go back to New York. Now that he’s finally admitted he’s a junkie, he can admit he is still in the throes of detox. He said he’s on Day Twenty-Two.

And we’re talking again. My obsession, being “in love,” is somewhat abating… as an active, involved friendship comes more to the fore. But the prospect, being so alone with him?

So the Pastoral Ideal continues! As we continue to deny Manhattan its power. This Ideal has always flourished in a time of Decadence. The more artificial our lives, the more we crave a few blades of grass, a green landscape without any human influence.

Is that an antidote to decadence? While it does seem absurd for two over-civilized, late-twentieth-century artists to play at being natural… naive… even innocent? it’s better than going down the drain. Dying on heroin, or degenerating as a filthy rich courtesan with no lovers. It’s the only thing we have left, as we try for redemption.

I called Polonia and wished her a Happy Christmas, told her I would not be back until the New Year. She’s instructed to open the Chambers on the 27th, keep the phones warm for a couple of hours. She said she’d put Mistresses Remi and Marlene on call, as they are the most eager to work. And anyone else… Lady Helena, or that Gloria Hotspur whom I trust as far as I might throw her… will help us make the January rent.

Do not relish the thought of coming home to nothing, having to scrabble in the dead of winter. After Xmas business is quite diminished: all the poor slaves paying off their credit cards. But I’ll leave it to Polonia. I can’t go back now. David needs me.

TIme to pack, but first take little monkey back to Jose. I wish I could keep him, but I can’t see checking him into baggage. And he could freeze out there, on the wild frontier.



for the Novel “ONE DECADENT LIFE”




One Decadent Life: Part Two



[[ Edit complete January 4, 2015 ]]


“Mademoiselle Angelique? Forgive me for calling…”

“It’s quite alright, M’sieur. I was preparing to call you…”

“I awaited your call, and grew impatient I must admit. I did keep it in the mind, the ‘Causewells,’ They are bien-estime on our island. So I have taken liberty —“

“Quite alright. I’ve heard tell of your party, from a local person… quite the event I understand, and so tonight —?”

“Yes, this night of Christmas Eve, through midnight, into the early hours. You will come? You will be a guest of honour… and your friend?”

Angelique glanced over at David who was pretending not to eavesdrop. Their second twenty-four hours together had been somewhat worse than the first, having lost the charm of novelty. She was weary of the bad moods, the narcissistic drama, the unabating tension. Rainy inclement weather had kept them all day indoors, and while the Causewell library was substantial, Angelique hadn’t come to Ste. Barthelemy to read.

If only he would speak to her, as he used to, on the telephone… but no. There was no confiding. He wasn’t even particularly friendly. She dared do nothing to rile up the patient… never encroaching on any painful topic… hoping the delicate nerves remained in abeyance. Angelique was feeling a little bored of her role as psychiatric nurse.

She turned her back entirely on David, and lowered her voice —

“I’m not certain. I can explain when I see you —“

“You will come then? I admit I have thought of you, more than once. Several times…”

“I am very flattered.”

“If we fetch you at nine o’clock, you will be just in time for the supper. The boat, she is called La Marquise Marie.

Angelique sighed with pleasure. How she loved synchronicity, as in a confluence of names: her Marie Alexandra was again a saving grace. Perhaps this man was serving as an antidote, against the evil spell of the priest Salvatore… she pointedly failed to look at David after she hung up.

In the kitchen she asked Eunice to make her some tea. The maid was preparing to leave; she would not be back until the day after Christmas. Piles of food, a turkey, a ham, vegetable casseroles and plentiful baked goods had been prepared and packaged; she and David would have everything they might want or need over the holiday.

Angelique confided, “I’ll be at the party tonight!”

“Aw, hope it do stop rainin!“ Eunice lowered her voice, “He goin’ wif’ ye?”

“I don’t know, and I don’t care.”

“Um un UHN!” growled Eunice, and placed the honey-jar by the lady.

Whatever she had imagined about David had fairly dissipated, in light of this new, cold and superficial personality. Despite the time now spent together, the less she understood him. What she may have ever known seemed to have been subtracted from a very harsh truth.

He’d had a long conversation with Marilyn Causewell last evening; he’d asked her to leave the room, while they spoke! Nor had he apprised her of its subject. That had been vaguely insulting. She figured they may have been discussing her; whatever her role was to be, in their scheme of things, however they imagined her…

She rather did not care. She had trained herself not put up with denigration for more than a couple of beats. Without David, what would she have done? Gone out, and had fun… this man Luc was a welcome diversion, and now I’m going to have fun with a capital F, U and N whether he likes it or not!

Eunice asked her, “You want me to take you down ‘dere?” meaning the Port Gustavia where the yachts were docked… where restaurants , shops and nightclubs lined the quay. It lay about two miles from their house.

“No, thank you Eunice, but Monsieur Luc is sending a car for me.”

“M’sieur Luc… um un uhn,” she expostulated discreetly.

“What… tell me what. He seems quite charming.”

“Chahmin’. O ye. He be dat.”

“What?” Angelique insisted.

Eunice blew a deep sigh, and laughed, “Le’z juz’ say… he’s a rish man.”

“Oh I’m not afraid of rich men. They can fall just as hard as any other.”

“Who falls hard?”

David was standing in the kitchen doorway. He didn’t like the way Angelique chatted up Eunice; he felt it showed a lack of breeding.

“Why don’t you have your tea in the salon?”

When Angelique was settled in, and David sitting across from her, she suddenly felt they might be about to engage…in what she’d characterized to herself as The Confession. But no… he lit a cigarette, and watched her sip. Then both of them spoke at once:

“I came down here because…”

“If you think I’m going to let you…”

They laughed nervously, and David more rapidly took up his thought, “I can’t let you go out to this party alone. I’ll have to accompany you.”

“Oh and may I ask, why is that?” She felt suddenly petulant; having decided she would seduce the Count or Duke or whatever he was — now she’d have to duck a disapproving big brother?

“Angelique, this is NOT New York. This is FRANCE… and worse, it’s the Caribbean! You can’t just go out and act the decadent libertine here! You could end up drugged, kidnapped, shipped on some South American freighter, sold into a brothel…”

“David do not be absurd!”

“Whatever you think, Mademoiselle. But that’s that. You’re not going without an escort.”

So she acquiesced, pleased after all to be worthy of his attention, however conventional it was. So passed the moment for her to confront him… it was time to start getting dolled for the evening.

She chose her white evening gown, spangled with sequins, with a high neck that served as a backdrop for her sapphires. As she worked the catch, ready to call Eunice for assistance, then remembering the woman had already left… it slipped from her grasp and slid across the tiles underneath the vanity-table. She exclaimed, angry at having to crawl, fearful for her sheer white stocking which would show a run… she bumped her head, and gasped, and clutched at something… it was her necklace, and something else.

It was a ring, cold from the floor, heavy, with a large stone… She stood up and held it under the lamp.

Tere’s Alexandrite!

A harsh, pointed fear came over her — as she realized she was going to keep it.


The car was late. It was past nine, and Luc had told her the supper started at nine. Were they coming at all? Angelique considered it was as if her ‘suitor’ knew she wasn’t coming alone.

The shoes she’d brought that matched the gown were a half-size too small. What had she been thinking…? Her feet hurt. There were at least ten white or crystalline pairs of Marilyn’s she might have borrowed, but Marilyn wore a size five and a half. Irritably she’d thought What IS the woman, a midget?

I ought to change my shoes or I’ll be miserable all night… She stopped herself from getting up and looking out the window again. David was dressed entirely in black, which displeased her for once. It’s Christmas for Christ’s sake… couldn’t he have mustered one of Bram’s tuxedos?

David was fairly drunk and pleased to see his friend in a bad mood. He knew what her agitation signified. She had designs on the rich man… and didn’t want him, David, to get in her way.

He, in his turn, had begun to observe her in a less idealized fashion. He thought her too heavily made-up; he didn’t understand the black eyebrows, and a purple lipstick made her face look hard. In her white shimmering dress, with her hair up, dusted with opalescent glitter, and the little pointy shoes, David thought she resembled an icicle — a spike of ice, brittle and frigid.

He finished his fourth cocktail and poured himself another as Angelique glared at him. “You look like an icicle,” he informed her.

“I though I looked like a snowflake.” He had never heard anything like a whine from her before.

“Oh, a unique snowflake. How original,” he muttered into his glass.

“The car is here,” and she was out the door.

The liveried driver she had met before, the man Beauregarde, who greeted her courteously and held open the door. She hesitated for a second, seeing other people within, but got onto the banquette in the roomy interior.

Two women — we hesitate to call them ladies — were ensconced in the most comfortable back area of the limosine. Both were deeply tanned, proving their provenance was the island — both exhibited decolletage to the navel, as was the fashion… strips of heavily sequined material just barely covered their artificially-enhanced bosoms. The skirts on each dress were mostly imaginary…
long, slim legs stretched out in the plushily carpeted interior, and ended in elegant, diamante-encrusted platform spike-heels.

“Hewwo, I’m Altima,” said one who wore her long, dyed-blonde locks ironed-straight to her waist. She held out a small silver tray piled with white powder, and a straw (or rather) a rolled-up currency, “Blow?”

At that moment David entered the compartment, saw the cocaine, and fell back next to Angelique, granting her a furious look.

Well what are we supposed to do now… run for it? Go back in the house?

“No thank you!” smiled Angelique, through her teeth, “I’m Angelique, and this is David.”

“Pleeze to meetya,” said the other female, whose hair spiralled in crazy dark-red corkscrews. She was obnoxiously sniffling, and licking her fingers, “I’m Ultima.”

“Altima, and Ultima… how very original,” remarked Angelique.

“Yes, Luc gave us the names… because I’m always high, the highest!” laughed the blonde Altima.

“And I’m always the last…” snickered Ultima.

“The last?” repeated Angelique, not understanding.

“That’s not what it means,” Altima chided her friend, “It means ‘the farthest point possible…’ ”

“I guessing, you’re the Alpha and the Omega… of something,” David sarcastically rejoined. He had already guessed of what; and Ultima confirmed it when she laughed,

“At least I’m not a fluffer!” *

“You can call us ‘Awl’ and ‘Ool.’ ”

The rest of the short ride to the Porte was dominated by the noise of snuffling and sighing. Angeique and David didn’t touch the champagne offered. Angelique was dreading what was in store; David felt more superior than ever to the alleged fun to come; and Altima and Ultima thought the pair were a couple of squares.

They drove along the quay to the docked ‘Marquise Marie;’ neither female waited on Beauregarde to open the door, shrieking with joy, yelling at friends, tripping on their heels, banging into one another, they staggered up the gang-way between the lines of beige-coated attendants.

Angelique and David exited more gently… all along the quay on either side of the yacht were tables, loaded with bottles and trays of food, fruit, cakes… strung with colored lights, small bands playing steel drums and cornets, as the people of the islands were feasted and feted. Angelique looked longingly at the joyous crowd, but gave in to the slavishly nodding heads, the white-gloved waving hands, drawing them onto the massive yacht.

It appeared to be three stories high, like a small battleship… they landed at the top of the gang-way onto a wide deck, decorated lavishly for Christmas. At least a dozen firs, imported from the forests of Germany, were strung with hundreds of twinkling lights and garlands of pointsettia, pink, white and red. They were set upon by waiters carrying trays of champagne and savory canapes… Angelique and David circled the deck, then climbed a stairway to the second level.

This was a huge, enclosed space, rollicking with music and dancing… Surrounding the dance-floor were round tables, clustered with men in tuxes, women as scantily, fashionably dressed as the Awl and Ool figments. Dinner was being served, but David and Angelique did not see two empty seats together.

At a large, round table Angelique noticed Luc, deep in conversation with a couple of Italian men in tuxedos… also at the table were four Saudi Arabian men in native costume, attended by women who apparently could not keep their hands off the gentlemen. Patens of silver, piled high with the crystalline cocaine, dotted the tablecloths. Angelique had noted that on every table — the supply constantly replenished by waiters dressed in snow-white costumes.

David felt nauseous: the high level of debauchery, the pounding disco-beast of the music, everyone stoned, people dancing though dead on drugs. Images from his recent dreams, that descent into hell, spiraling levels of damnation… intruded on the jollity, sickening him. What also made his anxious: he was aware of the enormity of “an organization” blatantly here in action.

Angelique did not try to get Luc’s attention; in fact, she asked David if they might not go outside.

“Seen enough?” he asked her, as she leaned against the railing, “It’s all about coke, and probably dope too. Your friend — ”

“You don’t know that. It’s probably just for the party…”’

“Angelique you have no concept… have you any idea how much coke that is, what it’s worth? They’re shovelling it in. Your friend’s in the drug trade.”

“Well… anyhow. I still have to say Hello.”

“But why? Let’s just go.”

“No, David. And you’re being a hypocrite.”

“I beg your pardon?

The frustration and anger burst from Angelique. “There’s something I’ve been waiting for… from you!”


“You know exactly what! You called me in New York saying you were going to kill yourself so as a good friend I came down here. So far you’ve had nothing to say about it. You’re so fucking blase.”

“Well wasn’t ‘the reason why’ obvious? I have — I had — a heroin problem. That’s why I need to get out of this place!”

“Well three days ago I would have felt some sympathy for you. But right now… I don’t really give a damn,” and with that Angelique whirled away from him, back into the ballroom.

She threw herself into the melee of dancers as “Let the Music Play” ** hit full force… lovely tinkling bells, counterpointing the violent beat of the disco hit took her… her white gown shimmered and she kicked off her tight shoes.

We started dancing
and love put us into a groove
As soon as we started to move

She sparkled… she floated, people stood back to watch this gorgeous apparition, both ethereal and deeply rooted in the beat.

Suddenly she was joined by Luc. Like her, he wore white, with a silver shirt. For a couple of beats he faced her, meeting her rhythms, then grasped her around the waist and spun her… she flew to

The music played
while our bodies displayed
through the dance
Then love picked us out for romance

He caught her again, bent her backwards, leaned over her and kissed her throat… the crowd applauded…

What does love want me to do?

His kiss smelled of cocaine, her eyes shone into his… he read her thoughts, unscrewed the top of a glass vial around his neck. In its cap was a small spoon embedded:

Love said:
Let the music play
he won’t get away,
Just keep the groove and
then he’ll come back to you one day

Luc gave her a dose… Within seconds the pernicious drug swept her blood, flooded her brain with its thrill, as her body shook in the throbbing music… she danced with new power, danced danced like her life depended on it, felt like a being unmoored, an angel, a white angel, a snowflake! except this gorgeous man, he drew her back, made her want him

Let it play!
Let the music play
he won’t get away

Altima joined them on the dance-floor, shimmying up against Luc, glittering her smile at Angelique, daring her to come between them… inhaling more coke as Luc french-kissed her, spilled the drug down their faces, laughing, licking it off… he then turned to kiss Angelique in turn

This groove he can’t ignore
he won’t leave you anymore,
no, no, no!

Angelique refused the kiss. Luc pouted, faced her, rejecting Altima, began to caress her statuesque shape thoroughly. Angelique tossed her head and accepted the homage

He tried pretending
a dance is just a dance
but I see
He’s dancing his way back to me
he’s dancing his way back to me

David had watched the man kiss Angelique, saw her accept the snort of coke… watched the man whispering in her ear, her laughter, saw her led from the dance floor. From the furthest corner of the ballroom, as they mounted a silver steel spiral stair the man, unseen by Angelique, Luc gestured to someone in the crowded ballroom. David glanced in that direction, and saw two young women get up, and make their way towards the stair.

A four-way… well maybe she was getting what she wanted… and as for me

One of the more good-looking of the waiters was suddenly at his elbow… “Sir may I be of service?”

“What is this place a fucking bordello?” growled David, “Well okay then… how much?”

“Sir there are no charges this evening only gratuities.”

David felt slightly shocked that his sarcasm had hit the mark. What is Angelique in for? Is that fellow a gigolo… or a pimp?

David and his whore went down to the main deck, from which vantage point he could see what looked like a thousand people on the quay dancing and rioting. Like Angelique, he felt drawn to that party, and regretted his elite status. The man opened a door onto a broad staircase descending into the body of the ship. David balked, “What’s down there?”

“The swimming pool sir.”

As they went down he smelled the chlorine stench, humid warmth, heard the relentless beat of the music…

They came out upon an enormous glass-tiled aquamarine pool, surrounded by chaise lounges, palm-trees, circulating waiters, and dozens of partyers, many of them naked or nearly so. At the furthest end on a stage a famous singer was topless, and performing her latest hit, writhing in a group of male dancers:

I feel the night explode when we’re together
Emotion overload in the heat of pleasure
Take me I’m yours
into your arms
Never let me go
Tonight I really need to know
Tell it to my heart
Tell me I’m the only one

David’s paramour found him a chaise lounge, and knelt beside him. David gave in to the reigning bacchanal. He hadn’t had sex in months Why not find out if this damned detox has helped me any?

Stretched out on the lounge next to him was a very old man, exquisitely dressed in a pale pink silk suit, holding against himself a half-naked brown boy who looked to be twelve. David looked away, embarrassed. He felt the wet, ardent mouth of the whore upon him, but he couldn’t feel anything else. What was being pleasured seemed to have lost all its nerve endings.

He felt both the young boy and the old man watching him. David heard them speaking French, laughing. Both old age and youth together humiliating him. The head of his paramour seemed ridiculous, uselessly bobbing up and down. David told him to stop and get him a drink. “Sorry, sir,” he moved away, again a waiter.

The elderly man caressed his boy, whispered in his ear, and the child broke into giggles. David looked into their depraved faces, the slit eyes, the leering mouths. He felt disgusted… the poor child seemed to be high

The passion’s so complete. It’s never ending
As long as I receive, the message you’re sending
Body to body, soul to soul
Always feel you near
So say the words
I long to hear

The maudlin lyrics of the song dinned in his ears, romantic tripe, glossing over the vile reality he found himself in.

In the upper reaches of the yacht, Angelique was standing before a tall pier-glass mirror. Outside the windows a full moon was rising, and she felt herself tall, imperious, commanding over the boat, the night, the sea itself. On a sort of throne her friend sat, watching her; on either side of her were two exquisite women, not of the ilk of Altima and Ultima, but younger and more delicate — maybe Norwegian blondes. Angelique was not about to engage them in conversation. The two girls were undressing her; she kept her eyes locked onto Luc’s, in the mirror.

So is this his thing — voyeurism? She hoped there might be more. In the meantime she promised herself to give him a “show” that he might never forget.

The idea had not fully impressed itself on her — not since her original suspicion of a ‘con,’ in the airport — that Luc could be something more than a mere wealthy aristocrat. David’s sarcastic remarks she rejected completely, as she was so much into her fantasy… he was for her a refined, beautiful being, a Count of a Duke, someone she was falling in love with… So she was missing every cue, as she fell under the caresses of the two young prostitutes.

Is this really love or just a game?
Tell it to my heart
I can feel my body rock
every time you call my name

David almost felt like doing coke, with the ravening hordes. But when the waiter came back with his drink, he failed to ask him for that drug… or for heroin, though he felt certain where there is so much coke there has to be dope.

As if reading his mind Alt and Ult stood before him, twin nightmares he considered them: The Alt thing is coke, and Ult is dope. “Where’s your friend? As if we didn’t know,” they giggled and shoved their asses up against him to sit on his lounge.

“She’s with that fellow, the Mayor’s son.”

“Mayor’s son!” Ultima snorted, “Huh… that’s just something he tells to squares.”

“Well then who or what is he?” The girls started laughing their heads off, and Ultima screeched:

“He’s the fucking Mayor, man!” David felt this wasn’t true either.

Altima focussed on him after a moment: “So — you don’t like to party?”

“I’ve done enough of it, in my time. I’m over it.”

He watched the girls indulge again, vicariously imagining what they were feeling. Ultima helpfully proffered the silver tray, and though David hesitated before saying no… still, he said no.

“Hey Grandpa!” she greeted the oldster, who was accepting pecking kisses from the boy. They spoke in French, with the old man gesturing at David.

“What’s he saying?”

“Mmm he say you can’t get it up so I should give it a try.”

David was annoyed, frowning at them all, “Who the fuck does he think he is?”

“The Mayor,” and the two women screeched again.

“You don’t know who that is?” Altima asked, “He owns,” and she named one of the Europe’s most profitable car companies, “Too bad he likes boys. What about you?”

“Well I like boys, though a little bit older.”

“Aw! All you guys’er so ver’ ver’ boring. Couldn’t you at least be BI?”

“I guess not. Sorry.”

Altima shot Ultima a glance: “Why don’ we show David some’fin new… eggziting?”

Her friend caught the drift, “Yesh… we turn you on to some’fin … ALL new.”

“New? Such as?”

“You come wif us… come on, we show you.”

David obligingly stood up, and took a few steps behind Altima… he suddenly felt the other one behind him gripping his belt, and in a flash Altima turned and together they threw David into the pool.

An hour later, divested of his wet clothes, in a luxurious white terrycloth bathrobe, David was lying down in a small bedroom off the swimming pool area. He was sleeping better than he had for weeks.

The moon up above, it shines down upon our skin
Whispering words that scream of outrageous sin
We all want the stuff that’s found in our wildest dreams
It gets kinda rough in the back of our limousine
That’s what we are, we all want a love bizarre

Angelique was screaming, one girl on her breast, the other between her legs. The two were preternaturally skilled… usually she rarely orgasmed by cunnilingus.

The man Luc sat still, impassively about twenty feet from her, smoking a cigarillo. Angelique felt weirdly ashamed in the wash of her pleasure. She wanted to get through to him, she wanted HIM to be the one screaming, red-faced, out of control. She felt humiliated, being stared at. Then she looked at him again. It was odd… he was very detached, almost as if he was watching a television program. Or — was he looking at HIMSELF? In the mirror? He wasn’t looking at her or the girls.

No, he sat regarding his own beautiful, elegant, rareified male self, reduplicated several times in the several mirrors. Their knot of pleasure had been just a sort of art-work on his wall.

The girls felt her growing cold and fell away, wandering to the bathroom, to clean up and be ready for whatever might happen next.

Angelique watched Luc take another hit of coke. He then seemed to notice her, rose and came to her —

Angelique dully accepted the drug, hoping to rise from her sense of shame. She reached out and caressed his arm, tried to draw him close to her. He laughed, took her hand in his, and kissed it… she touched his lean, handsome face, tried to bring it closer to her. He unhooked her hand from the back of his head, and stood up.

“Is this your bedroom?”

“Yes… one of them.”

She took a chance, “I’d like to spend the night with you.”

“Mademoiselle. I am so flattered… but tonight, you see I am the host. So we must go down now… I am so pleased to have…”

“To have seen me naked? Watched me have pleasure?”

“Why… yes. Why are you angry?”

“Never mind…” she stood up and put on her brassiere… “You wouldn’t happen to have a pair of shoes to match this dress would you? Size seven and a half?”

Fully dressed, newly shod, brushed, makeup touched up, she found her way out of the room, barely acknowledging Luc, with the monotonous pop tune snickering its lyrics behind her:

It gets kinda rough in the back of our limousine
That’s what we are, we all want a love bizarre
That’s what we are, we all want a love bizarre

Angelique was striding through the levels of the dishevelled boat. She observed the detritus of the party, people in various stages of undress lying about a swimming pool… drunken, doped couples shuffling on the dance floor. She caught sight of the man-servant Beauregarde, inquired if he had seen her friend David,

“I believe the gentleman left on foot. Can we see you home?”

“No… no thank you Beauregarde. I think I’ll see if I can’t find… some of my other friends…”

Angelique came out on the vantage point of the deck, breathing the fresh air of the night. Now she looked over the still-ongoing revelry on the quay and tripped down the gangplank, and was swept up into the wilder, shall we say cleaner rhythms of the people’s Christmas Eve.

She danced with several men, and women, ate roast pig from a stick… she spilled grease down the front of her Balenciaga gown. She drank rum punch, danced some more… when she finally caught sight of Eunice, walking grandly along in a bright flowered red dress. She was in the company of a beautiful old man dressed in spotless white. Angelique suddenly knew him for Eunice’s father, and a babaloa of Oye. She could not have said how she knew but

… she gladly approached them, when out of the corner of her eye she thought she saw someone she knew… a man in a red shirt, giving her a wave? She looked sharply to the left of Eunice’s Daddy, where the apparition had vanished…

“Was that Orestes?” by now drunk, and knowing she might not be thinking clearly.

“Orestes?” she said again. For a moment he had looked exactly like Orestes!

The Daddy stood before her, and gazed into her eyes: “Daughter of Oshun,” and rested his hand upon her head.

Both the father, and Eunice — Santeros! But of course. Angelique began to cry. Only by that magick could be cured an addiction: by means of exorcism, release the demonic possession.

The three people shone at each other… Through her tears Angelique understood who Eunice was, and embraced her.

“Them debbils try and git her…” Eunice told her Daddy, and put her big arm around Angelique’s waist, “But you lady, you git away, don’che. You al’lays git away.”

The three turned away from the revelry and walked uphill, a ways into the village of Gustavia.

The old Daddy held her hand… “Ma’am, they’s Work to be done… you part of it. Stay away from that otha’ mess, though. And it’ll come looking for ye. Watch ye’se’f. Since you are Santera. But stay away fum dat LUC.”

They reached a little adobe sort of hut; before it a green donkey cart. Eunice gave a whistle and a little boy, no more than eight, came out of the house, rubbing his eyes.

“You take this lady up to Mis May-lin’s house… she give you a dollah.” He went into a nearby shed, brought out a little brown donkey and attached him to the cart with a few leather straps.

Angelique weakly held onto Eunice, looking over her shoulder at the kind Daddy’s eyes. She felt herself drawing a kind of sustenance from those eyes, so unlike the gaze of the ‘debbil’ Luc: “Lucifer!” she suddenly exclaimed, and the three of them began to laugh.

“O ye!” exclaimed Eunice.

The little boy ran out of the house wearing a broad-brimmed hat, with a little donkey whip in his hand. On his shoulder sat a tiny green monkey, on a chain, twirling to and fro in excitement…

At the sight of the monkey Angelique felt all her angst fall away. She squealed with joy. The monkey made a leap onto her shoulder and promptly shat down the back of the Balenciaga.



* “Fluffer” — in pornographic parlance, and by extension that group sex, the fluffer prepares the male organ, either by fellatio or manual manipulation, for whatever main event is in store. A fluffer is therefore the first participant, and thus not enjoying any ‘ultimate’ pleasure.

Lyrics by Chris Barbosa & Chisolm
Performed by Shannon, 1983
#1 Billboard Hot 100, 1983

We started dancing and love put us into a groove
As soon as we started to move.
The music played while our bodies displayed through the dance,
Then love picked us out for romance.
I thought it was clear the plan was we would share,
This feeling just between ourselves.
But when the music changed, the plan was re-arranged
He went to dance with someone else.
We started dancing and love put us into a groove
But now he’s with somebody new – what does love want me to do?
Love said:
Let the music play he won’t get away,
Just keep the groove and then he’ll come back to you again, let it play.
Let the music play he won’t get away,
This groove he can’t ignore, he won’t leave you anymore, no, no, no.
He tried pretending a dance is just a dance, but I see
He’s dancing his way back to me
he’s dancing his way back to me

*** TELL IT TO MY HEART: This reference is an anachronism, as the song came out in late 1987.
At the time of this story, she was known as “Les Lee” and hadn’t had any hits.

Lyrics by Seth Swirsky and Ernie Gold
Performwed by Taylor Dayne, 1987
#7 on Billboard Hot 100 in 1988

I feel the night explode when we’re together
Emotion overload in the heat of pleasure

Take me I’m yours into your arms
Never let me go tonight I really need to know

Tell it to my heart
Tell me I’m the only one
Is this really love or just a game?
Tell it to my heart
I can feel my body rock every time you call my name

The passion’s so complete. It’s never ending
As long as I receive, the message you’re sending
Body to body, soul to soul
Always feel you near
So say the words I long to hear

Tell it to my heart
Tell me I’m the only one
Is this really love or just a game?
Tell it to my heart
I can feel my body rock every time you call my name

Love, love on the run, breaking us down
Though we keep holding on
I don’t want to lose, no I can’t let you go

Lyrics by Prince and Sheila E.
Performed by Prince and Sheila E.
#11 on Billboard Hot 100, 1985

The moon up above, it shines down upon our skin
Whispering words that scream of outrageous sin
We all want the stuff that’s found in our wildest dreams
It gets kinda rough in the back of our limousine

That’s what we are, we all want a love bizarre
That’s what we are, we all want a love bizarre

A strawberry mind, a body that’s built for two
A kiss on the spine, we do things we never do
Swallow the pride and joy of the ivory tower
We’ll dance on the roof, make love on a bed of flower

That’s what we are, we all want a love bizarre

The moon up above, it shines on upon our skin
Whispering words that scream of outrageous sin
We all want the stuff that’s found in our wildest dreams
It gets kinda rough in the back of our limousine



for the Novel “ONE DECADENT LIFE”




One Decadent Life: Part Two



When Angelique woke up the sun was shining, birds were singing, and David was shrieking into the telephone:

“You are ABSOLUTELY IMPOSSIBLE to talk to about ANYTHING! I FORBID you to come down here! I don’t WANT you here!

Angelique moaned softly as a warm breeze of jasmine drifted over her face… she did not want anyone else coming down, to interrupt her idyll. Her obsession was being realized, alone at last with the Beloved… though it was not (yet?) as perfect as she would have wished.

She pulled the white fluffy pillows over her face. If only she could sleep some more, and then be carried out to the beach by four handsome slaves, where she’d sleep some more…

Marigold was shocked, “shocked… that in your time of need you did not call me to come and help you. Aren’t I, your sister, more than anyone in the world, more than your worthless thing, Tere… interested in your well-being?”

David groaned into the telephone.

“Aren’t I the only one, amongst all your friends, who really wants you off drugs? How could you have been so stupid? To take Tere — as if SHE could have helped you at all?”

“She did help me… you think it’s so simple…”

His sister ignored that, “When I saw Marilyn at the Hurtsome opening last night, she told me how Tere ditched you… well I HAD to have your number. When are you going to understand that Tere is constitutionally incapable of living in any way, even APPROXIMATING anything like STRAIGHT? She was BORN bloody twisted.”

“There is no need for you to be mean and awful about Tere. She has just as much of a chance as any of us …”

“Ha! Oh ha, ha and ha, yeah right except there’s a catch, David: where there’s a will, there’s a way. And she has no will. Miss Face-of-the-Year is never going to stop doing the Drug-of-the-Decade.”

“And how do you know that, Miss Brilliance? Did it come to you in a dream induced by one of your sleeping pills? Yes, your mother’s little helpers,* and your Doctor Feelgood.”

“My prescription medications are carefully titrated by one of most respected doctors in Washington DC and he is NOT a ‘Doctor Feelgood!’ ” **

“Oh, ‘titrated.’ Right. You’re just as bad a junkie as any of us Marigold!”

“THEN I had to hear from Marilyn that NOW you’ve invited some other dreadful creature, Angelique from Mars… Marilyn said she’s a DOMINATRIX? One of those witches who turn men into animals, crawling around on all fours, with no mind left? Is she doing heroin too”

“You don’t know a thing about it so stop being so judgmental. She is totally white *** and a brilliant writer.”

“Hmmm some brilliant writer is she? I don’t know a thing? But what about that OTHER business David I mean you should NOT, I mean, well your NAME should NOT be so closely connected…”

“Oh please my head is POUNDING… you are giving me a migraine!”

“YOU have a migraine? What about MINE? All I can think is this PERSON whatever she is must have some sort of major CRUSH on you to go running down there to hold your hand. I mean she would not have just dropped her whip or whatever to rush to your side UNLESS…”

“Marigold can you please turn down the volume… and it’s ME having the nervous breakdown? Do you care at all, you make such a fucking huge case about how much you fucking CARE — and now you’re yelling at me!”

“It’s for your own good. You’re not having a nervous breakdown, you’re kicking heroin. I’M the one having the NERVOUS BREAKDOWN!”

David wanted to reach through the ‘phone receiver and strangle her. “I’m hanging up NOW, I’ve had just about all I can take from you today. I did NOT give you this number — so DON’T call again!”

“I’m coming down, I’m getting on the next plane…”


Angelique was ascending to the main floor, and avoided going into the grand salon. In the kitchen she quietly greeted Eunice, who was putting finishing touches on two plates of french toast. Angelique glanced in David’s direction and raised an eyebrow, and Eunice laughed,

“Izz hiz sistah…”

“A sister? How tedious,” and she put a strawberry in her mouth. “What day is it anyhow? When’s Christmas?”

“T’day’s Monday, twenty-third. Wednesday.”

“So what do you’all’ins do down here for Christmas?”

“The Mayor’s son, Luc, he frow a huge party on his yacht… all along the shore at de Porte Gustav’, be partyin’, dancin’, food and drinkin’…”

“Did you say ‘Luc’?” Angelique sat up expectantly.


The two women tried not to giggle… Angelique replayed, “This Luc? The Mayor’s son? I think I met him in the St. Maarten airport. Very slim, light brown hair… Luc de something-or-other, aristocrat?”

“Ol’ Frensh family. Luc he a play-boy, mebbe he be the Mayor heah, when his Daddy go.”

“Oh is it a monarchy on Sain’ Bar’s?” Angelique was picking up on Eunice’s eliding sing-song…

“Maight be.” She glanced up at Angelique, “Gal, that chicken-skin o’ yourn gonna FRY on de beach!”

Angelique accepted her plate of toast with syrup, mango and strawberries, and sat down at the kitchen table. She took her first bite and nearly choked as David howled, “I AM NEVER COMING BACK TO NEW YORK!” Eunice rolled her eyes in hilarity, though Angelique’s mien grew serious — she really hoped that wasn’t so.

Marigold capitulated, “Alright, alright. It’s Christmas and I can’t leave my family anyhow. We’ve got parties every day… I haven’t even wrapped the presents.”

“Yes, the presents, better stay up there and wrap your god-damned presents.”

“Well do you want me to come down, or not? Not that I relish the idea of spending my Christmas with a witch. What’ve you got planned for today? Human sacrifice?”

“Yes and if you show up down here, you’ll be the main course,” and he slammed down the ‘phone.

From the kitchen he perceived a weird sound… What is that? Laughing? What are those two laughing about? Are they laughing at me?

He quickly descended to his room; he rather preferred not to speak to Eunice first thing in the morning. She had helped him in his weakness; but when he tried to manifest gratitude, being kindly or nice, he felt a heavy contempt fall upon him. The hugeness of her shape, her expressionless (to him) face, that imponderable HM HN HUH! issuing all-purposely from her gut — she knew everything. Of course, that was her job… she went on cleaning up after the junkie, feeding him, mixing up the cocktails to order. But then he would catch a look on her face, like some black basalt idol’s, requiring some awful homage? What that might be, he couldn’t begin to fathom and he beheld her with terror.

…and then when I saw her dancing with the Heroin Demon… He was shaving, trying to make himself semi-presentable when he heard the ‘phone ringing upstairs. He went out into the hall and screamed, “DON’T ANSWER THAT!” It rang and rang, stopped, then started up again as he finished his toilette.

He thought about his sister, her hypocritical concern. She’s always hated Tere… now she’s going to fixate on Angelique. Such pitiful little moral stands women make, in order to feel superior to their sisters. Nothing excites a straight woman like a whore.

So Angelique’s a whore, a witch… to my gigolo and warlock I guess. A perfect match.

By the time he got back upstairs, Eunice and Angelique were gone. Next to his plate, covered in a silver dome, was a note:

Angelique at beach. Mrs. Marilyn called, says call her tonight.

Great! Who knows what scurrilous gossip she’s passed on… As he walked down to the beach, his mind compulsively replayed Marigold’s ravings. He felt irritated by her all over again. He loved his sister, but she was no longer very loving to him. Ever since their mother had died, she’d taken on an obnoxious role, mothering him in an imperious fashion. And she had passed that attitude on to Paula… God, and Paula — what is going on there? Should have heard from her at least ten times by now. She hates Angelique too.

So I’m doing something outrageous, am I, having Angelique as my friend? An infamous flower of corruption, is she? In his degenerated mode, David was nothing if not negatively suggestible. The resistance Marigold was putting up catalyzed into an impulse to be seriously nice to ‘the whore.’

He looked for his friend along the beach; she wasn’t hard to miss. Aside from the fact that there was no-one else in sight but one bored life-guard, she was glittering like a disco-ball. Her Boucher-shape was molded into a heavily-boned vintage bathing costume from the 1950s; its febrile pink material could have been mistaken for skin, though it was studded over lavishly with rhinestones.

“Princess Perfect! Must we blind the seagulls?”

When she caught sight of him she began to laugh, rolled over on her belly and pushed her toes into the powder-white sand.

“And you — you call that beach-attire?”

David had swathed himself in black silk lounging trousers, the black satin kimono, a long orange chiffon scarf, and a wide-brimmed black straw hat, trimmed with glass cherries.

“Oh, this?” he indicated the chapeau, “Just one of Marilyn’s thinking-caps?!”

“No, I mean – socks? Aren’t we going to go swimming?”

He feigned horror, “Christ on a cross, woman, you must be mad!”

“I think the reigning metaphor this week is ‘Jesus Mary and Joseph.’ ”

“Bloody Christmas! And my sister calling… she wanted to actually come down here!”

“You have a sister! What’s she all about?”

“Married… to a nightmare. One boy. Or should I say two. She treats me like another baby…”

Angelique watched as he settled himself beneath two umbrellas, stretched out and sighed, the heels of his Botticelli loafers digging into the sand. “Aren’t you at least going to take off your shoes?”

He observed her slathering on sun-block lotion, “Alas but not all of us are blessed with the foot of Trilby,” and reached out and flicked the corner of her beach-towel over her feet.

This tiny attention charmed her; then, an unexpected, courtly apology:

“I’m sorry about last night, I was really a very poor host. I am a veritable zombie, you know…”

She waited for the full disclosure, the confession of his addiction, the reason for his calling upon her, the fear of suicide… She indulged herself in gazing upon him, memorizing the line of his hand, gracefully holding a cigarette aloft against the vivid hot sky. Corrupt, tormented, brilliant David Manfred, lifting his face to a shaded sun, like a pagan ruler. Despite his vaunted angst, the rampant self-hatred, still he lived within his Genius.

Lying at his feet she felt suddenly like a kind of exposed sacrifice. She began to drape her body in a large gauzy scarf, when his lazy voice startled her:

“Better we should cover you in gold-leaf.”


An hour passed; any expositions, rational discourse, any witty by-play? The breathy hush of the repeating ocean was the only sound. Angelique dozed… a faint snore from the life-guard’s chair woke her, giggling…

“M’sieur! Madame!” Angelique shielded her eyes against the noon-time glare. A very pretty, dark-skinned boy appealed to their attention; he lugged a basket full of glass jars filled with pink fruit-drink.

David hissed at him, “Get on with you! Get out of here!”

The boy didn’t understand David’s words, but taking their meaning, began to move off.

“Wait! I would love a cooling drink!”

“Don’t buy that stuff, it’ll poison you. Eunice is coming down with lunch and cocktails in a minute.”

As Angelique took up her purse, the boy glared at the man in black in the shade. David watched her in pantomime with the boy, who was seemingly entranced with the pink hair, the rhinestones…

“It is NOT a good idea to encourage the locals!”

“David, really!” Again that loathesome despotism. She paid for two jars of the stuff, partly to annoy him.

“You’ll see. He’ll be back by dinner, trying to sell you a monkey.”

“And maybe I’ll buy the monkey. David, really, why are you so terrifying —?”

“Are we criticizing? Don’t. An attitude like mine take generations to develop.”

“Yes… I’m beginning to understand. I’m only first-generation entrepreneurial sadistic… I still remember the working-class are humans.”

”Yaas… nouvelle sadique, versus old-school. “

“That reminds me… that fellow Luc, well apparently he is the son of the Mayor, and that party? Well according to Eunice the whole island goes….”

“Great. Partying with the maid and her pals… Remind me to skip it.”

“David, I’m sure it will be something to see! And he said he would send a car.”

“A car! My goodness well then — I’ll just HAVE to go.”

“Aren’t you even curious?”

“You go, my dear, don’t worry about me. I have my own means of entertainment.”

His tone was neither dismissive, nor imperious… he sounded only weary. She let the matter drop. Perhaps he would change his mind. Of course she wanted him to come with her, but then again… this man Luc intrigued her. If David was not along to chaperone…

Quite suddenly the day was clouding over, and they decided to pack up; seeing Eunice at the edge of the beach, gesturing… Angelique felt her spirits as well in abeyance. She was not yet certain how she had gotten to that beach: it was still for David to tell her. He had called out to her, in a state of acute suffering — but rather than confide, he seemed instead to be using her as a distraction.

“Storm comin’ in…” Eunice called out as they trudged along the sand that whipped up in little whirlwinds, stinging their faces.


* Mother’s Little Helper: title of, and line from a Rolling Stone song circa 1966. Euphemism for prescription pills taken by middle class women to wake up, go to sleep, “uppers and downers” et cetera, the phrase gone into common usage.

** Doctor Feelgood: euphemism for a doctor who unethically writes prescription for the mother’s little helpers.

*** White. Addict terminology for someone who does not get high.







One Decadent Life: Part Two

Beast and Scarlet Woman


David woke up screaming. The nightmare had followed him, thousands of miles from the copping-fields of the Lower East Side.

Somewhere in the dereliction of Delancey Street, in absolute torment of body and mind, against his will he is moved to the center of a filthy plaza. He is crippled, damaged, in what his subconscious tells him was “a war.” His feet scumble in rubble and slime, repulsively indistinguishable, broken glass, offal…

Encircling the plaza is a solid wall of slum-tenements; the only way out through one of the buildings, which rise to bizarre, abnormal heights. Iron fire-escapes fret their blackened forms like a skeletonized vegetation — clutching, dead, and permanent.

In the plaza’s center thrusts up an Obelisk,* erected to some ancient species of human pride. It serves as a public urinal, its sleek marble sides gashed by bullet-fire, struck over with spray-painted scrawlings — tribute of the violent races, that persistently live on in the tenements’ cubicles.

How can they stand it? How do they go on?

Ribald jeering replies to his faltering moral compunction… increasing his weakling feeling of being tortured. In the hundreds of windows overlooking the plaza there is frenzied dancing, mass rut in fever-time, celebratory copulations. So life goes on, without any interest in his neurotic perseverations.

The temperature is excruciatingly hot… his dream-self is furious, wants to see blood, wants to kill those who glory in his destruction.

… he is being forced to climb the Obelisk… gazing up with loathing. The pediment is caked with feces, he must climb over the filth, he must rise above it!

The task is too revolting. But the instant he rejects this imperative, an earthquake hits… the asphalt of the plaza shudders, fissures crack open, and in a thunderous birthing the naked raw earth beneath the city sees light, breathes air for the first time in two centuries. Denuded of its green skin, buried under concrete, trampled by a million buildings, now erupts the earth, enraged.

The central fissure widens, deepens, David is magnetized to its edge. Within and far below he sees a faint misty spew. As from a sleeping fire. As he watches, the glow increases, with an intolerable hissing as of ten thousand snakes. In the reddening, brightening light, a black shape is forming, thickening, rising. It is a gigantic black Cat, snarling, afoam with impossible fury. Demon Beast, freed by the Cataclysm, it leaps at his face

He grapples for control as the cat grips and drags him, forcing him to the lip of the crevasse — seething in its triumph — together they tumble in

… into an ovoid abyss, a vaginal pit. Embedded in its sides are thousands of sarcophagi: the layered eons of the dead. Corpses of the ancestors, will they be re-animated by Catalcysm? He perceives the sarcophagi are just about to open.

But in the claws of the Cat, he is forced to descend further, where the crevasse is seen to be sheathed in metal. Huge plates are rivetted to the earth by iron bolts. That Humankind has managed to get to that depth, and imposed an industrial containment … sickens David’s heart with its sealed fatality. Cannot even massive Cataclysm destroy Man’s control? The Beast’s hot breath upon his neck he welcomes as a fate.

And at that moment his dreaming soul merges with his waking consciousness. Enrapt by a strange, fixated love, his eyes penetrate into the Beast’s eyes. Awe, and terror cleanse him… a deafening hissing sound, as of twenty thousand snakes, emanates from the mouth of the Cat. His spine snaps in half… he is about to be devoured… yet still, David fights.

The Abyss is a lens, and he but a speck of dust in its crazed aperture. All fantastic visions melt away, his waking mind clicks into focus and he knows —

The Cat is the Demon Heroin. And just like any god, it will not die.

Further they sink, David held by the claws of the Beast. Past the mechanistic levels, deeper still, where the corrugated sides are again of earth, anciently formed into ledges. Men, women and children are making their dwellings there. A blood-orange light infuses the walls, where swarms teeming, myriad life — eyeless bugs, vile reptiles, leprous flattened-out toads — and his New York friends.

Everyone, everything, friends, bugs, toads… are dancing to the racketing beat of the infernal, rumbling quake. It drums on ceaselessly, fed from above, charged by the tenement dances. David’s subconscious faces cosmic horror… more is coming to an end than the Anglo-Saxon white man’s world, squatting on Manhattan soil its mere two hundred years. He flinches from the faces, the bodies of his friends, the frenzied gyrations, the twitching, turning to the virulent beat. Why is Tere coating her bare ass with white lipstick? Why is Paula sucking a hundred cocks? With flat impassive gazes they jig on, with the bugs…

Can they not know, what kind of place this is? Where they, blase, keep on partying?

This recognition, that they know NOTHING is the climax of the nightmare. He can go on battling the Cat for eons; these people will not blink. Not does anyone pay the slightest attention as the fang of the Beast pierces his neck at the point of the atlas vertebrae …

David woke up screaming. Six days clean.

He had just cracked one eye open when the shattering yowl of a cat pierced his brain. The Cat, the Cat! He sat bolt upright and rushed to the window. He could still feel the dream-Cat’s fang in the back of his neck. The cry rose to a crescendo. Who is torturing it, where is it… whose cat is it?

Along the sandy path that went down to the beach he saw Eunice trundling… following her, darting in and out of the underbrush, was a strange black Cat. Even from that distance David could see it was abnormally large… he rubbed his eyes… was it a small panther? As it got up on its hind legs towards the dish Eunice held, it seemed nearly as tall as she.

In the faint dawn morning he watched the woman stroking the Beast and talking to it. He failed to see her looking his way, so intent, in utter terror was he upon The Cat.

The thing had shrieked right in his window! It wasn’t really a cat! His heart rate sped up, pounded in his temples; he was having trouble breathing.

I’m going to have to kill it.

He stalked back and forth, babbling, naked, talking to himself, incapable of two rational thoughts in sequence. His jerky strides were very like those he’d made, in the dream, trying to walk that derelict ‘Plaza.’

Where is that fucking ‘Plaza’ anyhow? There’s no such thing, past First Avenue. Allen Street is what it’s called, not Delancey… He felt a weird fondness for the old neighborhood wherein he had met his downfall.

He went on pacing, peering out the window… Eunice and The Cat had disappeared.

’The Center does not hold… the Center does not hold,” he vaguely quoted the W.B.Yeats poem.** He flushed hot, then went cold, cold-sweating, then hot… Detox was kicking in with a vengeance. His eyes glittered and he looked insane.

He dug the .45 pistol out from under the mattress. He went through the drill, taking out the ammunition, blowing into the barrel. He wondered when it had been last cleaned.

Can I actually kill a poor cat?

But it wasn’t a poor cat. it was The Heroin Demon.


Outside her black window, lightning flashed within a range of towering cumuli — like aerie castles, whose white spires tapered towards the ‘plane flying over. The bright, sporadic revelations seemed to startle the castles awake. All throughout the flight, these oddly silent bolts of electricity had terrified the other passengers in the tin-can. But Angelique yawned as the ‘plane shuddered through another threatening rumble.

At the advanced age of thirty-five she was, like many moderns, constitutionally bereft of ideas of stability or permanence. But that had never required her to worship “reality” — only rendered her more recklessly pleased to dance upon the Eternal Abyss — metaphysical insecurity was almost an Ideal. That she might die in a ‘plane crash was accepted as normal.

In less than two hours, she would see David at the gate. Together they would walk, in the tropical night, down a sandy path to a beautiful mansion. He would be beside her, in the perfumed darkness… quickly she arrested this reverie. Certainly her obsession was receiving intense gratification, but she had to remind herself: her own pleasure was not the point of this ‘rescue-mission.’

Only that morning, a five AM call from David had demanded her presence. He had flatly stated “I am going to kill myself, if you don’t come down here.” He had not provided any other relevant details; only where he was — as Rene had told her, the Causewell compound in Ste. Barthelemy — and the ‘plane she should board. A ticket was provided, delivered by a lackey of the painter Branford Causewell. So it was true: David was sick, getting off drugs. He hadn’t filled her in… just that strange insistence, an emotional appeal that he knew she could not ignore.

Angelique marvelled again at her santero’s far-reaching powers. Hadn’t Orestes called David “a bound spirit?” And said “maybe he kill himself?” There was no doubt in her mind that their magic had precipitated this crisis. Their recent inquiry had not only uncovered his anguish, but it had reached the man himself. Evoking the best part of his soul, he was now enabled to drop all facades, permitted to get as sick and crazy as he required.

The lady did not often engage in a relationship unless there were elements, in the other, for a potential ‘usage’ in her literary endeavours. She did not bother much to respond to another’s living, breathing self unless their psychology happened to be consistent with something she was working on. Thus David’s transparency with her character Salvatore was her ‘rational’ excuse for taking the trip, besides the Orestes imperative,

But that demonic priest would never have anything like an ‘anxiety attack.” Nor could Salvatore ever get addicted to anything. He was too much of a freak for total control.

So may we here observe her interior life is something of an arid shambles. Yet it is no critique if we note: the man’s desperation had found in her an echo. We understand she is flying to him because she is absolutely, madly in love… she woke from a short doze to see a little island’s shoreline all lit up, a phosphorescent serpent in the void. Again thunder trembled the ‘plane, as above its descent a white arrow of lightning leapt from cloud to cloud, piercing their soft hearts.

An extra thrill was hers as well: knowing she was going to miss her book party, and with a fairly good excuse. She’d called Rene on her way out the door — he was staying at the Causewell’s, over the holidays — and he’d told her, “I’ll go, I’ll go! I’ll take care of everything.” She gleefully imagined the chaos that implied.

When she disembarked at the Ste. Maarten terminal, she was annoyed to learn she had to pick up her own bags, and drag them to the dinky little desk that served the shuttles to St. Bart’s. There were no porters about, it was after 11 PM, and she had to shove her three heavy suitcases in relays — walk ahead with two, run back for the one.

“May I be of assistance?”

A man who appeared to be something of a perfect gentleman was standing before her. Elegantly attired in natural linen, a white silk cravat at his throat, on his fingers several rings with gems… just as she was confounded to imagine this Dandy lugging luggage, he made a quarter turn, airily waved a hand, and a genuine liveried servant approached and collected Angelique’s pink leather suitcases.

Angelique was made jealous by the livery: a semi-militaristic frock-coat, in sand colour, with gold buttons, piped in white.

“You’re on to San’ Barthelemy, I take it,” and Angelique assented, nearly compelled to curtsey. “I apologize for our service here, Madame. There’s never a porter for this flight, odd is it not. But people must be in bed by 10 o’clock!” She was intrigued further by his accent, which seemed an admixture of French, Italian and Oxford English. “Charmed to be of assistance,” and he offered his arm, which she took, “Madame —?”

“Mademoiselle, Angelique DeMars.”

“De Mars? You are French? I am Luc, French, but not of France, no, I have lived on the islands all my life. The Baron Luc de Montaigne-DuPlessis, a votre service.”

Angelique suppressed her exclamation as to his baronetcy, feeling that would be fatuously American… She admired his light green eyes, as if faded by Caribbean light, his olive tan, his longish, honey-brown hair waving artfully back from a prominent smooth brow. She guessed him to be her age, or a little older.

He conducted her to the appropriate desk, and with a gentle “May I?” plucked her ticket from out of the top of her handbag. Angelique briefly panicked, wondering if it was a scam… the Baron-and-servant schtick… a way to swipe her ticket and leave her stranded. But no, the tedious details of the new embarkation were managed by the servant, called Beauregarde. She watched carefully as the agent wrote out her boarding pass, and she took it in hand herself.

“So yes, we are all taken care of. May I offer you a refreshment? We have forty-five minutes at least, if they should be on time.” Without her sayso he began to lead her towards a gift shop, which was closed; it did not appear to Angelique that there was anything approaching a bar or cafe. She came to a halt.

“Excuse me M’sieur, but I think not.”

He paused in his suavity, looked where she was looking, and waved that airy hand towards an adjacent door. “But of course, Mademoiselle… I am most importunate. Forgive me. You do not know me… you would not know, that through that door is a private lounge, where only I and a few others may enter. But please, “ and he settled her on a rickety bench, “I will send Beauregarde to fetch. You can stay out here, in the open, where you are safe..”

“I would hope I am always safe, when accompanied by you.”

“And so you would be. If you would give me the chance to be of service, to you?”

Angelique heard the sonorous peal, that familiar tonality, of the slave speaking to his Mistress. She relaxed, thinking perhaps she would be fortunate, and find out that this elegant personality was… a submissive.

They exchanged a few more bits of information. She told him it was her first time to the island, and that she was being met by a friend. “We are staying in a house owned by the painter Causewell.” If the Baron knew the residence he did not say so. He admired her strange, apricot colored hair, and her tight, dark red velvet dress, revealed when she shed her black New York overcoat. Her figure was exceptional… she had a turn of the head, dainty hands, that bespoke some aristocratic blood. But he so often found Americans to be flawed, even when beautiful. Though he didn’t yet perceive any flaws in her….

Intrigued, he went further, and mentioned he had ‘a boat.’ — Angelique imagined, correctly, that it was one of the priceless yachts docked in the fabled St. Gustavia port. He let her know that he had just been in New York, shopping… and that he was “back home,” happy to be attending a friend’s wedding anniversary party.

“This friend who is meeting you — a man?”

Angelique laughed, “Something like that. A new friend.”

“I see. And might I invite you, you and your friend, to some gathering where you might meet some very interesting, indeed, tres propre denizens of our fair isle?”

“I think… it might be possible.”

“D’accord. My card, Mademoiselle DeMars,” and he proferred a thin cardboard, embossed with gold seals. “La soiree, c’est tomorrow night, please call, you will be given the address and directions. Or we fetch you. However you wish.”

They were called to the ‘plane, and Angelique was pleased to see he did not attempt to sit next to her. Evidently very well bred, understanding his own rank and place, he had flirted gently, then left her to consider his invitation. Sitting in the ‘plane, getting further acquainted, would have brought them too vulgarly close, perhaps aroused suspicions in whomever was picking up her, or him for that matter. Not that a gentleman with a liveried servant needed to be met.

Indeed, once off the ‘plane, the Baron Luc had only to take a few strides to enter a silver Rolls, parked right on the tarmac. The chauffeur exited and stuffed the trunk of the car with several shopping bags and glossy boxes from New York luxury stores. He was also garbed n the sand-colored livery. After making certain his master was well settled in, Beauregarde got into the front passenger seat.

Again, no porters… though Beauregarde had settled her bags in a convenient location outside the hangar. When no-one had appeared to greet her, the Baron had inquired if she needed them to wait for her. “I’m sure it’s quite safe, to wait here, I mean,” she had demurred.

“As you wish, Mademoiselle. If there should be some untoward event. please do not hesitate to call me immediately. We have a telephone in the car…” and with a wave, which she imagined was his signature, the big Rolls pulled out and disappeared into the night.

Now fifteen minutes later, Angelique was nervously perusing the deserted parking lot, and a plaza beyond. She did not see anything like a phone booth anywhere, so she might call the Baron, or David, or anyone… But how could David have forgotten? He’d made the plans, knew the arrival time. She noted again a single taxicab parked up the block… not that she knew where she was going! But after a few more minutes, she set off across the lot… thinking it was a small enough island, perhaps she could make the driver understand where the Causewell’s was.

As she approached the cab, it honked once and flashed its lights. She quickened her step, for in the backseat she saw a familiar figure, and the red glowing end of a cigarette being drawn. David! Why had he let he stand out there, alone? Had he enjoying himself, watching her get nervous? Such a sadist. But she didn’t care, she was laughing, the driver was sauntering up and she pointed out her luggage, and she climbed in next to her friend, and gave him a kiss which landed somewhere near his nose, exclaiming:

“Oh my Goddesses! The city was dreadful, encased in black ice. Your call was a godsend!” For the moment she might pretend she’d come down for her own pleasure, “And it was SLEETING when we took off! I was astonished we did. All the way down, lightning, thunder, very hair-raising!”

David was watching his driver struggling, “So! Three bags. You’re moving in, I take it?”

“Well I never travel light, and anyhow, I wasn’t sure how long… or what we’d be doing. I needed evening gowns, this is St. Bart’s isn’t it? Jet setter’s paradise? And perhaps I thought I’d go someplace else, after this.”

“Someplace else? Like where?”

“Well it’s Christmas, you know. I don’t know. Island hopping? By the way, I just met a very fascinating man… we’re invited to a party tomorrow night. I think on his yacht.”

“Really? Aren’t you expeditious.”

David was somewhat terrified to see her. But in the relief of having a friend’s actual presence, he somewhat forgot she was there only for him. And he was not used to women like her. He knew the rich, who drifted, and the neurotic who went nowhere. Angelique had actually gotten on a ‘plane, at his request, and had arrived within twenty-four hours. Just because he’d asked her to.

Angelique was trying not to stare at her friend. He was wearing sunglasses and appeared to have been dipped in wax.

The driver sped them down a broad dusty highway between sparse stands of palms. Along the sides of the road, facing the ocean, were tall hotels. A couple were beset with neon, and blocked the view of the sea.

“So Rene had just told me you were down here… and that Tere was with you. We were going to call you, the other night…”

“Oh so there’s gossip already? I’ve only been here a week.”

“Rene’s staying with the Causewells… your hosts. So naturally, they know what’s going on.”

“Tere got a modelling job in London, she had to leave right away.” David’s tone was abrupt, brooking no further inquiries.

The taxi suddenly veered up a sandy side-street, and stopped before a small, drab cinder-block structure. Every palm around it was dead… apparently killed by a lurid green neon flickering LIQUORS … VINS … LIQUORS … VINS. The driver disappeared therein for rather a long time. All this was quite unlike Angelique’s fantasy.

Uneasy with the silence, Angelique tried, “What’s wrong with the trees?” Her friend mouthed, with lugubrious pleasure: “Disease.”

Their cabby at last emerged with grocery bag clinking, smiling broadly and yes, staggering. David was out of the car, rifling the bag as the man attempted to locate his keys…

“Wrong vodka, WRONG! I said, you got the WRONG VODKA! Russian! Stoli, tell them STOLI. RUSSIAN VODKA, go on! I gave you enough money!”

The man rendered David a baleful stare, as he tried to maintain a ‘macho’ stance on two wide-planted shaky feet.


Angelique was cringing, unnerved by the two extreme attitudes: David crazily tyrannical, and the driver’s verging on dangerous. She compared the last such duo she’d witnessed, the gentleness of the Baron, with his seamless servant… well, there was really no comparison. Though obviously — David did not know how to manage ‘help.’

David threw himself back into the taxi, and Angelique tried to appease him, “David, what is wrong…”

“Nothing a big tip wouldn’t solve!” he snapped.

“No, I mean… you seem overly…”

David didn’t answer. The last thing he wanted to do was ‘get into it’ with her, now, in the taxi, when he needed a drink. They completed their journey at ninety miles per hour, the driver talking loudly to himself in the island patois… Amidst this angry volley, Angelique arrived, and was further insulted when her luggage was dumped on the ground, the man speeding off without being paid.

“Oh he’ll be back, when he’s drunker, with a machete, demanding his bloody dollar.”

This violent elitism disgusted her. Racism was not a form of ‘superiority’ she ever exercised. Yes… it was all quite unlike her fantasy. Her thoughts circled back to the Baron…

But then she came into the great house’s two-storey living room, and saw the paintings above her, ten feet tall, lozenge-shaped, hovering off the mezzanine on their golden wires like, she thought, Angels…! From the central cores of black, Giacometti-like figures, the paintings emanated their own light. They were alive, she understood them as living entities, and exclaimed, “They belong in a pagan temple!”

“Well I imagine this is as close to a temple as they’ll ever get. The Causewell Temple to Modern Art. Built on some kind of human sacrifice…”

“What do you mean?”

David giggled nastily, “Well… Bram DOES have to sleep with Marilyn!”


It was flattering to be worshipped so, but David was suddenly exhausted. The child was naive, and he didn’t have the strength to bring her up to speed. But Angelique was relentless:

“How can you ever dare say, that you will ‘never paint again?’ Can’t you look at yourself? Renew your faith in yourself?”

“I’m afraid it’s all a bit more complex than that. There’s alot more to it, than just ‘believing in myself.’ I mean every time I look at them,” he was gasping for breath — “I want to burn the house down!”

The fiery corollae about the two figures entranced her… indigo, bronze, orange, silver-gray and vermillion, they burst upon the eye as an attack and a challenge. Then, she recognized them. They were precisely the figures she had seen — the creatures in bondage — evoked by the skrying with Orestes.

She followed him into the kitchen and watched as he mixed up a pitcher of dacquiris. She accepted one, took a sip, then took a deep breath:

“So, why don’t you tell me now…” She watched as his face changed from that arrogant rigidity, to a fearfulness, then flattened to a haunted, paranoid gleaming.

It made her want to go to him, hold him. But that was of course unthinkable.

She was studying him so earnestly he didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. “Well, darling… first of all, thank you for coming. Let’s go sit on the deck…”

They passed through the ‘temple’ area, and she thought to say, “You know David just the other day I saw those figures,” David continued to the veranda, and she went on, “My shaman, Orestes, showed them to me, as belonging to you.”

“Your shaman?” He snickered. She felt a door closing… They took their seats, and gazed out to the ocean. A very thin sliver of a moon, what Tennessee Williams calls “a little silver slipper of a moon” was sinking. A faint glow from Porte Gustavia showed that night-life was in full swing…but the jungle protected them.

Angelique decided it might be best to just Keep Silent; since he was going to play cat-and-mouse, she would affirm herself as a cat.

After he had polished off one cocktail, and was into another, “I do apologize,” he murmured, though it came out rather oily and sarcastic. “I have been having a very rough time of it.. Not up to any mental gyrations — those intellectual gymnastics you so love. No, no metaphysical probings tonight, dear Scarlet. I’ll fill you in tomorrow.”

“Very well, David. perhaps I should just leave you be. I’m rather tired myself, after all the upset today.”

“Of course. You are a real friend. But now that is going to be put to the test.”

“Fine with me. I love a challenge.”

“My best Work only oppresses me now. I’ve been… bad. Very bad. To myself. To all my friends. But reformation…” she could hear him gritting his teeth, “reformation is not really my style.”

The effort to control her tender attentions drove her mind into a more rapid, as it were ‘higher’ gear… made her suddenly painfully receptive, yet at the same time, detached. She saw how saturated his entire being was with self-hatred, with the spirit of heroin, and then — in one excruciating instant — she recognized an absolute psychic destruction. That he was, as Orestes had said, possibly beyond redemption.

David was suddenly staring at her, as from the bottom of some sea. The flushed, pretty face, so full of care. The infatuated eyes, and he understood he could use her. Not in any vulgar manner — but that she might serve as a living archive for him. Anything he told her — whatever they talked about — would never be lost. In her was a hiding-place for him. Through her, he would never be forgotten.

Suddenly he could smile at her, and Angelique, his mirror, was cheered.

“Poor Beast,” she lightly caressed him, and went with her glass to freshen her drink, “You are so like that Rough Beast in the desert wilderness,” and she quoted:

A shape with lion body and the head of a man,   
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun

Surely some revelation is at hand!” **

“I think I was just thinking of that same poem, last night… “The Centre does not hold”

“The inconsolable center.”

“I don’t deserve to be consoled. In fact I think this is the time… my time… to suffer all the punishments.”

“But only if the punishment fits the crime. And the crime is —?”

“You know what it is.”

“Punishment is only another type of Fate. Weather it, cover its bare bones with a romantic Ideal, if you will. Only — take it. Take it now, and grow old in peace.”

“Please ! I have no intention of growing old — peaceably, or otherwise.” He accepted a renewal of his cocktail, then excused himself, “I have not gotten more than a few hours’ sleep, since I got here. Perhaps with you here, though, I shall.”

He gave her a brief kiss on the forehead goodnight. She twisted her mouth at his retreat, the irony of the compliment. So, she might make him sleepy. How nice for her.

Left to herself, she strolled up and down the veranda. She felt a sudden impulse to walk through the garden, but hearing something rustling, she decided not… a dark figure like a ferret, or a cat, rushed through the shrubbery. The stars shed a pallid, uneasy glow. The jungle seemed frozen in an uncanny silence, though the repeating hush of the sea filtered through, stroking her jangled nerves.

Her mind still ragged on David’s condition. Underneath the addiction, which was apparently in some slight abeyance now — what was it that caused him such pain? That had led to the heroin? Was it for her, for anyone to ever know?

Her white hands, pale face, the pale pinkish hair seemed disembodied, hovering in the black air. The blood-red gown she wore congealed darkly into the night. Within her soul, an exaltation was growing; a joy, that rose to her throat, as she looked back into the house and saw the Ikons gleaming. The cat, or whatever it was, gave a low growl, as if of approval, as a wisp of Orestes’ song broke from her:

Quando La Practicando! ***

her voice trailing out into the perfumed void around her.


*Obelisk… being a symbol was believed in Egyptian times to actually contain the god to whom it was dedicated. Often this was Ra, the Sun God. David’s Obelisk is apparently uninhabited. Their shape manifests the idea that it is a petrified ray of the Sun, beloved of Ra.

** From William Butler Yeats’ “The Second Coming”

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

*** “Que linda es, o mano mio, que linda is,
Quando La Practicando:” How beautiful it is, my hands, how beautiful
when you practice/Work…” A paean to Magickal Workings.