False Beauty


1
The disarray of books cluttered on shelves occupies most of the room, disallowing me from navigating through it and muddling my memory as to where certain objects are stored.
    I languidly sprawl myself on the chair and maintain my gaze on the window, with vague hopes of an appearance from Jasmine. She had grown to neglect me, no longer turning up for our weekly meetings at the pier. I had slowly come to terms with this; she had become disenchanted by me, something I had long ago come to expect from everyone. This seemed to be my dilemma and the reason why I cultivated my solitude. People, for some mysterious and latent reason, lose their interest and break off all ties with me.
    And how did I get here? An inheritance permitted me to leave the boisterous city in favour of the tranquil and sparsely populated Jakase beach. With this proliferation of money, there was no need for chores, work or responsibilities. I had all the time on my hands.
    Along with this came a simplification of human affairs. There no longer seemed to be any need to talk to people. Although nobody from the city maintained contact with me, I felt no urgent desire to communicate with the residents of Jakase.
    Actually... there she is. There is Jasmine. She opens the pane and walks towards me. I wonder what she’ll say...
2
“Did I cut you short?” she asks.
    “Yes... Yes, you did. Better that way, anyway. There is nothing worse than an interminably long, ponderous opening...”
    “Opening to what?”
    “Opening to the evening. I was sat down, going through my entire life, detail by detail. That’s what I tend to do, you know. Sounds pathetic, doesn’t it? If I’m not reading a book I’ll sit down and think... Either of past memories or of football results.”
    “Spare me the details. Come down with me to the beach, I want to show you something.”
The blistering sun shines lividly, soaking my body with sweat. Jasmine didn’t say a word; I re-examine the luscious contours of her body that, over the past months, have escaped my mind. Her light brown hair hangs over her red top that barely conceals her arid back and perfectly-shaped buttocks.
    When we get to the beach I can see, from a distance, a group of people huddled over a fire. Once Jasmine and I reach them, they are overjoyed by her presence and start heckling incoherent statements. They are eight people; all of them smoke cigarettes. They look incredibly unkempt; they have unshaved faces, dishevelled clothes and yellow teeth.
    “Hello, everyone,” Jasmine greets them. “This is Samuel. He is our latest recruit. Why don’t you all describe yourselves to him... So that he gets a feel of what he is in for.”
    “Hello, my name is Gregory. My speciality is literature that subverts colonialism; in other words, the indigenous revolt. My aim is to pen every minute detail of the Spanish Conquistadores, every single detail of the alienation of the Native American Indians, every detail of the exploitation of the Africans. I aim to unravel the misery of these people by visiting every second-hand book shop of these continents and later assimilate them into a legible text that for once elucidates the complexities of this legacy. Don’t mistake me for an historian, because I’m not. I don’t aim to keep a record of history, I aim to subvert it, change dates and make the voice of millions of kindred spirits heard.”
    The person next to him now goes onto his spiel: “I am obsessed with the overlap between prose fiction and painting. It is my aim to interconnect them and bring together a new form of beauty previously unimaginable. Every time you see a painting, you think of words; every time you read a novel, you picture images in your head. My ultimate aim is a very ambitious one indeed: to bring together one work of fiction that best represents the region it came from, the most archetypal and representative novels of certain time spans, do the same for painting, and finally intermingle them, drawing comparisons and conclusions wto form the ultimate combination of image and word.”
    Next to him: “Hello, I won’t tell you my name. I am obsessed with female beauty. A shortcoming to this obsession is my unappealing appearance,” he says. I look at him and, yes, he is right, he is rather ugly. “Therefore, I have discounted the idea of pursuing it in real life, I have now decided that I will conquer women in print. I am going to track down every single female character in the most seminal books of all time, make a note of their attributes and see if they are applicable to real women. Jasmine has helped me out already and she asked me to join her club.”
    And next to him: “Hello, Samuel. Welcome to our club. My mission is to subvert literature, to destroy it from the inside. I want to take apocryphal books and distribute them worldwide, so that when readers pick up the latest Doris Lessing, they are being cheated, because it’s not a Doris Lessing work. It will be written like one of her books – similar lexicon and syntactical structures – but it won’t be one of her books because she wouldn’t have written it. And so on and so forth for all other writers. The ultimate motive here is to reveal to people how superficial they are when it comes to literature; they will look at the author’s name and get impressions of grandeur, of importance. But they rarely question the true contents of the book. We will assemble the most talented ghost writers for this expensive and ambitious mission.”
    And next to him: “I am no literary person, Samuel; I am an anthropologist. I want to take a note of the characteristics that define the nationality of a person. Do people of the same nationality share similar characteristics? This may seem academic and dry, but it is not. I want to get really close to people by travelling and talking to them. I will not write essays and dissertations; this is not doctrine. As I talk to people from all over the world, I am going to keep a mental check of it all to answer this pressing question. For whom will this answer be for? Purely for me, Samuel. Purely for me.”
    Then the next one speaks: “I have a thing for lists, Samuel. Be they literary lists, musical lists, sports lists, etc. All the lists I’ve seen for these things are always, I find, incomplete and inadequate. I want to make the ultimate list of everything. Again, like our anthropologist next to me, this is not for an academic purpose, this list is for my own sake and for my own amusement. The thing with these lists is that they are subjective, aren’t they? I want to see, once and for all, a list that rings true to me.”
    And next to him: “My speciality is eroticism, Samuel. I want to exert all those filthy writings in real life. I want perpetual orgies, sodomy and sexual perversion to be carried out in numerous places by numerous people. People, I find, are rather narrow when it comes to sex. They need to discover all the perverted activities they have turned their back to in the past. We must fuck our best friends, our friend’s girlfriends, we must fuck everybody. How am I to carry out my plan? I am going to read the best list of erotic classics, select scenes I find to be the most titillating and apply them to real life. We will expose them to the public by hijacking the most prominent newspapers, so that they can later distribute photographs of our orgies. Everyone must see it.”
    Finally, the last person: “I am the last to speak but certainly not the least important, Samuel. Well, to be honest, I have no speciality – I am the executive producer of all of this. Sure, I may not look wealthy,” he says, showing his withered clothes, “I like to tramp around, despite the fact that I am... ‘loaded’. I am a millionaire, but I find putting filthy clothes on, scavenging across the streets on a cold winter’s night completely compelling and necessary. This is why I find these seven gentlemen so appealing... They have had the choice between a comfortable life and the ditch... and they have chosen the ditch.” Everyone else unanimously claps and laughs loudly after he says this, including Jasmine.
    “And what is your speciality, Samuel?” Jasmine asks, condescendingly.
    “I don’t have one... This is why I moved to this quiet beach, so that I can read and think all day! Jasmine, come here, will you? I want to speak to you privately.” 
I take her to the other end of the beach, where we can still hear the tramps blabbering loudly. “Jasmine, what the fuck is all this? Why do you embark on this ridiculously impossible project that lacks any sense of proportion? That’s not what bothers me, what bothers me is that you do this behind my back... You break off contact with me and pursue this absurd... thing. I am left all on my own yet again – I’ve had enough of it!”
    “Listen, that’s why I came to visit you; I want to get you involved.”
    “You know as well as I do,” I tell her, “that I don’t want to have any part in these people’s ill-thought plans and delusions!”
    She does not look at all rattled by what I tell her; she continues to look at me in a self-assured, calm manner. “Samuel, Gregory’s ship is waiting at the pier. Do you remember his speciality?”
    “How would I remember? They are all so similar!”
    “He is getting on a ship heading to South America. His plan is to uncover the real cause of the ‘indigenous revolt’. He’ll be waiting for you in ten minutes and then the ship will part.”
    “But Jasmine!” I cry out, but she walks over to the dilettante tramps.
3
I linger around the beach while the crowd of ‘dilettante tramps’ soon disperse. I have no interest in having any involvement Jasmine’s ridiculous project. I also think this is maybe an elaborate practical joke and, to prove the authenticity of this thought, I head to the pier, where one of the tramps is waiting.
    Sure enough, he is there. “Hello, Samuel,” he says, smiling broadly, revealing his yellow teeth.
    Next to him is a ship of modest size. “Is that taking us all the way to South America?” I ask him.
    “Of course. It will just take the two of us. I’ll take care of the steering and you can just... hop along. Jasmine knew that it’d be rather unrealistic for me to head across the ocean for four solid weeks on my own. I’ll have to go with someone, no? Besides, as you already know, I also want help with my project on literature that subverts colonialism – the indigenous revolt.”
    “Which country do we arrive at first?”
     “First of all we arrive at a Brazilian port, after that we head over to Peru and the Machu Picchu mountains. There begins my work.”
Week after week of sea sickness grieves me and I insistently ask myself why I took part in this ‘mission’. This tramp – Gregory is his name, I gather – ignores me completely, spending most of the time steering the ship and writing into some little notebook I’m not allowed to read. I have no books with me and all I can do is think; when I am not in my homely surroundings, intensive thinking can be quite a distressing process. I lounge around in a stingy room while awaiting the arrival, where we will carry out a project I am uninterested in.
When we finally arrive at the Brazilian port, Gregory starts to acknowledge my presence more; by this moment, however, I have grown completely oblivious to everything.
    “Now we go to the airport and hop on a plane to Peru,” he says.
    I find it rather ridiculous that we had to come all the way to this continent in a small little ship, rather than an aeroplane, and when I ask him about this he evades the question.
    We get a bus to Sau Pablo. As and we walk out onto the street we see hoards of beggars on the street, pleading for loose change. Gregory stoops down to an invalid whose left arm and right leg have been amputated, telling him “We will make your voice heard, my friend! Believe me, we will!” The beggar looks completely bewildered.  
I really don’t want to bore myself with the details. I rushed through the endless weeks in the ocean and the Brazilian streets, but now I have arrived to the most important part of all – the Machu Picchu mountains.
    After climbing up steep slopes, we finally arrive to our anticipated destination. We are accompanied by two indigenous natives who speak in their native Quechua. They address us in Spanish, a language both Gregory and I understand, when it takes their fancy.
    Gregory walks forth onto a hill overlooking the ruins and orders the two indigenous people to take a note of what he says. “All of you, beneath me, shall rise out of your graves and join me. I am, once and for all, going to make your perpetual anguish heard; I am going to put together my innumerable years of research, which I’ve almost completed, and I am going to distribute your misery to all those people who are ignorant of it.
    “The conquistadores aren’t the only culprits of this, my Inca friends. The carnage and exploitation has happened worldwide; from Africa to Oceania, North America and Asia. This European influence has besmirched the true identity of these areas; languages have perished; occidental influence has distorted true beliefs. Well, I tell you now, my Inca friends, that this abomination has come to an end with my infiltration into the history books.
    “Now my tramping across the streets has paid off and borne fruit. Now my twenty years of research have come to an end, and as I complete this monumental voyage, I must pay adieu to all of you, my friends.
    “For thousands of years your language, Quechua, has perished and is nearing extinction. Could you imagine Tolstoy disappearing just like that? All of the great Russian literature going bam and perishing? That’s why, to put an end to all of your years of misery and neglect, I shall ensure that all new editions of Anna Karenina and War and Peace are distributed in your language, so that academicians and the literati can uncover it make it widely spoken.”
    Gregory turns around, shedding tears, emotionalised. The two natives and I, on the other hand, are quite ambivalent as to what to make out it. They have finished scribbling down Gregory’s far-fetched speech, which he snatches and reads repeatedly to himself. He places it inside his scruffy notebook teeming with loose papers.
We quickly leave the mountains behind, much to my disappointment since I wanted to spend more time admiring it. When I pose my disconcertment to Gregory, he says “We are not here as tourists, Samuel, but as subversive researchers.”
    I question myself how on earth rambling over a consecrated hill-top constitutes research or even an act of subversion.
    Arriving to Cusco, Gregory drags me along to a museum of Inca legacy and histories. “We shall meet Hernán, who is the driving force of all this.” We stumble across interconnecting roads until we arrive to a dilapidated building with a plank reading Artefactos falsos de la era Inca (‘False Artefacts from the Inca Era’).
    Entering the museum we see a decrepit man sat on a wooden chair; behind him there are dingy exhibitions. When this old man notices Gregory, he livens up and exclaims his name. “Come on, come on, I’ll take you to the back room. We must discuss business, Gregory.”
    Gregory takes out his tattered notebook, which the old man inspects instantly. “Yes, all that is left now is the distribution... The concluding speech is very eloquent indeed. The perfect finale.”
    “Can you imagine people opening their Tolstoy novels and encountering this... alien language,” Gregory sniggers.
    “Yes...” the old man replies, smiling. By this time, I excuse myself.
    I walk over to the exhibitions. All I see is falsifications of the Inca empire: “Una espada falsa’ (A false sword), ‘Una mascara falsa’ (A false mask), ‘Una pintura falsa’ (A false painting). I question myself if Gregory and this old Peruvian are trying to make the Incan legacy laudable, or simply falsifying it. Looking at the exhibitions, I reach the conclusion that the latter is true. This museum is a mockery of the Incan empire, not a restoration of it. The same is true for Gregory’s plan of distributing worldwide editions of Quechan Tolstoy. He isn’t making the anguish of a decadent civilization heard, he is simply tinkering with it so that if fits into his disrespectful distortions.         
    I realise that I don’t have an obligatory tie to Gregory; I don’t have to trudge with him on his escapades. To put an end to this delirious adventure across the sea, across Brazil and across the Peruvian mountains, I decide to unobtrusivley leave the museum.
While I walk across the street, I realise that I don’t have any currency. I walk back to the museum and see Hernan’s cash machine, which I withdraw several pesos from. I take the entire amount; I think that, if I am to boycott Gregory’s project in any way, taking all of this museum’s cash might be a viable step towards that.
    I know Jasmine’s telephone number by heart, so I immediately dash to a phone booth to make an expensive international call. I aim to and to blame her for involving me in this excursion.
    Sure enough, she answers the telephone. “Jasmine, why do you do this to me? Why?”
    Again, like the last encounter we had, she is calm and moderate. “Samuel, I knew it may all amount to this. That’s why I arranged a private jet to depart from Lima that will take you back home.”
    “A private jet? A private jet? How on earth would you be able to afford something like that that, not only is something ludicrous, but is there as a secondary back-up?”
    “Relax, Samuel. We are funded by a millionaire, remember? He has taken all the possible precautions to ensure that there are no missing gaps in our ambitious project. He is a millionaire, but now even he is starting to get in debt...”
    “Jasmine! ...” I cry out, but there is no response.
4
Arriving at Lima airport, I am immediately escorted to a private jet. All the aeroplanes for commercial purposes are amassed on one half of the platform, whereas the remaining space is used by the jet promised by Jasmine. This jet is more akin to a small bus in size and I find it incomprehensible how such a minute means of transport will take me over another continent.
    A man with Arabic features walks over to me from the cockpit and greets me, “We have a long trip ahead, I hope you make yourself comfortable.” When I ask him whereabouts in Europe the flight is headed he adamantly refuses to answer. I become more and more infuriated by his reluctance to tell me, to which he says, “Look, sir, you either get in this plane or you will be stranded in Lima for the rest of your life.” I see the severity of the situation and walk into the diminutive jet.
    The interior of the jet is worn; there are no windows from which to look out on, making the locality of the destination all the more uncertain. There is only one sofa placed in the middle of a carpet, looking like someone’s living room.
    The trip is unpleasant, with the plane tumbling, making me doubt that I will make it out of the air flight alive.
    Fortunately I do.
Landing on the run-way I find that I am not in an international airport, but in a much smaller locality. After the jet lands I sit uncomfortably in silence, expecting someone to guide out. I walk onto the exit and I see the pilot surfacing out of the cockpit. He seems drunk, and when he catches my sight, cantankerously snaps “Get the fuck out, then!” I find out that the entire flight had been manoeuvred by a drunkard.
    I open the door, finding a row of steps beneath me. Once I descend I walk onto the platform and, to my sudden distress, find a recognisable face: one of the ‘dilettante tramps’. Jasmine, I find out, has prolonged this ordeal even more.
    “Samuel, Samuel! Welcome!” I take a look at his facial complexion and find him to be a carbon copy of Gregory.
    Completely enraged by his presence, I remember the pilot’s threat. I agree with myself that Lima would be far more preferable than this, because then I was a free man. Now I am someone’s pet again. Unsubtly I say “Fuck off.”
    “Samuel, you must go through borders first. Do you have any valises with you? Come, come.” I follow him over to the airport. I find that I arrived at Europe.
    The airport is fairly large, though not excessively so. It is clear that it exclusively handles European flights, which makes the whole ordeal of the private jet from Lima seem all the more ludicrous.
    I have no passport on me but, incredibly, I am permitted to go through, thanks to the tramp presenting a vast assembly of papers. They speak in German, so I uncertainly deduce that we are in Germany.
    By the time we leave the airport, I notice a large sign announcing Koln Flughafen. I now deduce, with certainty, that we are in Germany and that we are in Cologne.
    A book shop is placed next to the airport’s exit and I notice innumerable copies of Anna Karenina stacked next to one another. What’s remarkable is that the typography differs from any language in current use. I see a sticker on the left corner of the book that says Quechan Tolstoy for the Masses. I am aghast that Gregory was successful in his plan to reproduce copies of the revered novelist in this language. What I find most surprising is that I had last seen him scarcely less than two days ago – how had he done the printing and distribution so quickly? Most strikingly is the fact that this is Cologne which, yes, is a major German city, but not one of the most eminent in the world. There must be copies in every single book seller in the world. This meticulous printing and distribution seemed like something that not even a billionaire could afford to fund, let alone a millionaire.
    I show a copy to the tramp: “What does... What does this mean?”
    He is startled. “Yes! It means that Gregory triumphed!”
We are on a taxi driving through the centre of the city. “What are we doing in Cologne?” I ask him.
    “Samuel, don’t you remember my speciality?” he replies, with an overtone of irony.
    “Frankly, I don’t remember any of them. You tramps by the beach not only resembled each other physically but in mentality as well; all of your pointless endeavours sounded exactly alike.”
    “My speciality is the overlap between prose fiction and painting. That’s why we are in Cologne, one of the cities most renowned for art galleries. Jasmine told me all about you and I see that you are a rather introspective fellow. Is that right?”
    “If she told you that, then it must be right,” I say. 
    “And have you considered writing? I know that you read great amounts, by Jasmine’s account your room is overflowing with books. The introspective type is always inclined to write, no?”
    “What has that got to do with anything?”
    “Painting is one half of my endeavour, my dear Samuel. The other is fiction. That’s why you are here, you could come in handy.”
    “Then you are in for a shock; I’ve never written anything in my life.”
    “We shall see. We are going to three galleries; I have a little task for you.”
We enter the first museum which, from the outside, looks like an ordinary building. We go to the third floor, where the tramp is overjoyed by the surrounding canvases. “Renaissance painting is fascinating, isn’t it? Samuel, look at this one! This is like a war between the two angelic forces, between God and Satan.”
    The painting depicts Jesus in a cross while fiendish devils lash him with whips. Above them are angels, buoyantly looking at the carnage with great distaste; it seems as if they are about to intervene and on the atrocity.
    “Samuel, here is your task. I have a notebook and a pen that I will leave with you; I am going to leave you alone, in front of the painting; I will be waiting downstairs while you write a little fragment based on the painting. Good luck.”
    I plead to him to change his mind to no avail. Looking at the painting, I feel unable of carrying out this unusual request. I look at it intensely for a further two minutes and I decide to write whatever shoots into my mind.
Satan cried that God would no longer be sovereign, so to avenge himself he seized his son. “My fall was great, but now comes my ascent. I will mutilate the cherubim that come my way, I will shed aside all the false morals God has perpetrated all these years and I will ensure that no one prevents me from attaining my goal. I will be triumphant, and these progenies of mine, by lashing Jesus with whips, are preventing his second-coming and preventing the security of the cleansed souls reaching Heaven. They shall descend – very much like how I did – to the pits of hell, enduring everlasting pain and misery.
    “I ask myself: do you really want your soul to be pure? Sin is far more exciting than faith; orgies and perversions are far more stimulating than those attained in marriages. Deceit is greater than honesty. I am sure that God secretly envies my position, the many pleasures I derive from Hell. He really does want innuendo and perversion in addition to all that he already has.”
    Jesus cries as the whipping mark pronounced scars on his back. He weakly intones “Lies... lies.” The tears plummet down to the ground, forming pools with sheens of golden light encasing it from the surface.
    The angels fly down and clench the fiends’ whips and take them away from them. The fiends become frustrated, screeching high-pitched sounds that fluster the angels. The angels drop to the ground, falling into the ethereal tears of Christ. The fiends keep intoning their falsetto screech.
    One of the angels says “Christ, fall. Christ, fall. Christ, fall.” After it says this, the leader’s cross is untied from the ground and the benevolent leader, along with his crucifix, falls to the ethereal pool in the ground. The high-pitched screech of the devils persists amidst all this.
    The angels, agonisingly, step up from the ground, take a hold of the whips and lash the devils with them. The fiends stop their cry, but insufferably withstand the hits from the benevolent forces. They hurriedly leave the temple.
    The angels withdraw Christ’s face from the ethereal pool. One of them, saddened and melancholic, says “He has drowned...”
    Satan’s voice returns, saying “There will be no resurrection!”
I nervously stop writing. I feel that what I have just scribbled down, regardless of its quality, is of sufficient length. I place it in my overcoat pocket.
    I see him beside the entrance, smiling. “Very well, Samuel. Do you live in modern times?”
    I don’t understand this ambiguous question, so I ask “What do you mean, exactly?”
    “The painting you just wrote the small fragment on is rather archaic, no? Do you prefer modern art? You read a lot, don’t you? Do you prefer 20th century writers over 19th century authors?”
    “I guess I do,” I say, unconvinced.
    “Well, prepare yourself to visit one of the most eminent museums of modern art in the world. Follow me. We shall see all the Picassos, the Rothkos, the Ernsts, the Pollocks and Miros of this world! Embrace yourself!”
Contrasing the previous ‘ordinary’ building, the architecture of this new museum is indisputably modern. Once inside, the tramp takes me to the second floor, leading me to a painting he has in mind.
    “Ok, Samuel. Look at this intense melange of colours and see what you come up with. I’ll be downstairs, drinking an espresso.”
    Writing a fragment about this painting is an even more difficult task because there are no discernible traces of figures or landscapes – it is simply a morass of colours, with no detectable outline.
    I write in a spontaneous fashion.
dont strangle me mother i want to swim amidst all my friends swim amidst the sea. dont strangle me mother i want to splash and dash with my friends. mother dont make me return to earth earth is solid and dull i want to drink the brine.
    “You will not drink the brine and you will not complain.”
    but mother listen if you want to be a different fish you have to jump out of the school. but mother mother i have no place on earth earth is solid and dull. mother mother the sea is overflowing with kindred spirits like me who dont use facebook who dont drink beer (or whisky or rhy) mother listen im sick and tired of humanity i dont want an academic university i want the university of life. mother mother mother. 
    “You will attend university and you will major in law.”
   mother no mother no. im no good with law i want to return to the sea. in the sea i want to read but not read law i want to read poetry and write poetry. dont stop me please dont.
    “Listen, young man. You will go through university and you will get a respectable job. I don’t want you to contaminate your mind with any more poetry books – do you hear?”
    mother the mind is better contaminated. the pure mind is not the right mind. mother i want to meet a nice girl just like me who shares my perspective i want the girl to be another swimmer in the sea. just like me. mother i want to finally lose my virginity lose my virginity with another kindred spirit. mother mother mother mother mother
I stop writing. I feel that its process was very liberating, and I have no grasp of how this disfiguration of random colours could have inspired the above.
    At the cafe, the tramp serenely drinks his coffee while reading a German newspaper. I pass the writing onto him and he says “Thank you very much, Samuel. There is only one museum left. Would you like a coffee or a drink before leaving?” I decline.
We trek through Cologne while eating German sausages. The museum we arrive at is neither ordinary nor modern; it consists exclusively of a single floor.
    This gallery displays paintings of idyllic flora and fauna. There are images of dusk, ponds and bridges; they are superimposed with colours that somehow manage to both obscure and enhance their depictions. “Samuel, this is impressionism! Do you think you could write anything out of this?”
    I would like to say ‘No,’ but I comply.
    The painting in question has vast quantities of groves and plants on the borders, but in the centre there is a light blue surface over a bridge, overlooked by a bench. On this bench two people can be discerned, depicted like shadows.
Dusk is coming in, enjoyed from afar on this bench. The water mill flows everlastingly and I can’t think of anything more beautiful than my current state.
    I had been expecting Frieda all day, since the morning, but I never felt a desire to leave this bench because the surroundings are simply too sublime and wonderful to depart.
    Frieda arrives with a look of solemnity in her face. “Jonathan... Jonathan...” she whispers.
    “Frieda, what’s wrong?”
    “Nothing... It’s just that... I’ve been getting depressed.”
    “But why? I’ve been waiting here practically all day...”
    “Jonathan, don’t you feel like you are trapped and can’t move widely?”
    “I don’t follow you...”
    “Don’t you feel like you are being controlled by someone? Do you feel like you live in a rather provincial world?”
    “Frieda, I don’t know about living in a provincial world, but I certainly know that I am not being controlled by someone.”
    “These colours, they seem false. You seem false. Jonathan I don’t see much credibility around me; I do think that this is beautiful, but it has been done by a single person...”
    “A single person?”
    “Jonathan, we’re in a painting!”
    I consider what she says and think of a reply. “Frieda, how can that be true. We’ve had past lives, we live in a large town... It’s not like we have been in a concentrated space our whole lives, transfixed and incapable of moving a limb or muscle...”
    She lays her head on my knee and sobs. There is no way of remedying her grief. This behaviour alarms me; Frieda has always been in control of her senses, erudite and lucid. Why does she suddenly spout out all this alarmed paranoia?
    I try to think of a solution; I tell her: “Look, Frieda. Look at the water. It’s beautiful, isn’t it?”
    She lifts up her head from my knee and wipes the tears off her face. She looks at the landscape, her face becoming benign and jovial, and she says “Yes... Yes, it’s beautiful.”
I finish writing. This time the tramp has been in my presence during the conception of the fragment. I hand him over the paper, he places it in his pocket and says “Very well, Samuel. Your work with me is done. Do you want to go to the hotel?”
5
Opening the bedroom door, a startling appearance surfaces: Jasmine. She lies on the bed diagonally, her entire body resting over her left arm. When she sees me, there is no look of surprise, as if she were expecting me all along. Seeing her riles me; I have felt enraged with her since the endless days in the Atlantic ocean. While the anger materialises I don’t say a word, simply looking at her. Once more, she has does not look rattled by my presence, as if nothing has happened
    “I guess I’ll take my leave, Jasmine,” the tramp says. “Nice meeting you, Samuel.” He leaves the room
    “Jasmine... I truly don’t understand why you have involved in this. I reiterated before that I didn’t want to take part... Jasmine.”
    “Samuel, you know I think of you as a very special person.”
    “I guess you do...”
    “I really want the best for this project of ours and, to get the best, your involvement is essential.”
    “Hm. But what is the ultimate aim of this project? It seems rather... meaningless to me.”
    “We need to question things, Samuel. We need to be proactive; you are the antithesis of that. All you were doing was to simply stay in your room all day, occasionally reading, occasionally meeting me. You were too complacent. Your involvement in this is essential. The ultimate aim is irrelevant, while the process leading up to it is exciting and invigorating. That is the ultimate thing: the experience of it all.”
    I walk a few steps forward, looking down at her. “What happened with our meetings by the pier? I don’t know about you, but that was what gave my life... meaning. I truly enjoyed your company. Call it complacent – call it whatever you like – but it was something I liked.”
    “To ‘like’ something is what our group dismantles and throws out of the window.”
    “I don’t... I don’t care. I’ve just had enough! I don’t want to trundle along with your trampy little friends! You stupid little bitch! You fucking little cunt!”
    Once more, that look of serenity on her face, of restraint, devoid of passion. I sit on the bed and, unexpectedly, she tries to seduce me. She moves her hand across my leg, placing it closer to my abdomen. This is not a moment I want to be seduced but, strangely, her inadvertent allurement arouses me, stiffening my cock. I gently mumble her name, trying to disapprove, but she continues to shift her arms across my body. I look at her face; she is smiling, kissing me in the process. I place my hand beneath her red top and beneath her bra, fondling her breasts. She unzips my trousers, my cock springing to view and she sucks it for a millisecond before falling on her back.
    I take my erect cock and enter her cunt. To begin with she is reticent, showing no outward signs of enjoyment, persisting with that passive look. I continue to push my cock into her cunt, maintaining a firm grip on her breasts. She grumbles a bit, but on the whole she is reserved. Any possibility of Jasmine manifesting her pleasure more markedly is brought to an end as I cum into her cunt.
    I gasp and lay my face on her neck. We both lie together on the bed, silently letting time toll. We fall asleep.
The sound of scribbling can be heard. I feel so drowsy that I do not open my eyes to find what the cause of these sounds is – perhaps it is Jasmine, perhaps someone else. I sink my head into the pillow but, as I do so, feel the contact of someone next to me. I place my hands on this person, examining its curves and contours and, yes, it is Jasmine. So who is this person stomping around the bed whilst writing?
    I open my eyes and see yet another trampy low-life scrutinizing Jasmine from a while he writes into a notebook. He gazes at her clothed breasts, her sleeping face and the outlines of her face. This tramp is even uglier than the two previous people I encountered. He has a large nose wedged into the middle of a disfigured face, with his eyes, forehead and jaw displaced.
    I make my presence felt by crawling over Jasmine, which wakes her up and stand right in front of him. Once more, like the two other tramps, he is pleased by seeing me, shouting out “Samuel!” Out of fury, I smack him on the face and he falls on the ground, writhing in pain.
    Jasmine gets up, seizing my waist, saying “Now that was uncalled for...”
    The tramps lies on the floor, eventually coming to his senses and standing. I authoritatively ask him “Why are you here?” Jasmine returns to bed, entangling herself within the sheets.
    “Sorry, sorry... It’s just that Jasmine asked me to... She is helping out in my project.”
    “What project?”
    “A study of female beauty.”
    “What? So have you actually slept with Jasmine?” I ask worriedly.
    “No, no. I have already studied many, many novels, with an emphasis on female characters. I have made a note of their characteristics and now I am testing if they are applicable to real women. As you can see I am not an attractive fellow, but female beauty is my greatest obsession. Jasmine has helped me out with this task, but by no means have I slept with her.”
    I quickly turn my head around to Jasmine covered by the bed sheets and she says “He’s telling the truth, Samuel.”
    “And why... why are you in Cologne? Of all places, why here?"
    “Jasmine is based here and it is at this juncture that she is relevant to my project. The difficult part of intensely analysing novels is over; now I’m consulting Jasmine for the finishing touches.”
    Although I had, in a certain sense, forgiven Jasmine once we’d copulated, now my enragement has returned. In a conniving manner, she has arranged another tramp to appear confront me. I don’t feel like another screaming bout; I repress all these feelings, trying to clear my mind. I decide to quietly leave the hotel room.
6
The aeroplane departing from Cologne to a locality close to Jakase beach is waiting. I aim to free myself from Jasmine’s sect, returning to my books and football result memories.
    The books in my room, I find, are in a different order. They aren’t in the same disordered mass that I had left, they are allotted in four distinct rows. I kneel down to inspect them but, incredibly, they are spurious and falsified editions.
For instance, Guillermo Cabrera Infante’s novel, in Spanish, Habana para un infante difunto, is Habana comunista para un adulto vivo. I look at my stacks of Dostoyevsky and find that their titles, their jacketing and design, have been modified. Crime and Punishment is re-titled Grime and Punishment, Devils in re-titled Angels and Notes from the Underground is given the name Notes from the Surface.
    I lie down on the armchair, considering if this is a feverish nightmare. I turn my sight to the rows of books on the floor and find, no, this is real. They really do have those altered titles. I am jaded, with no idea of what to do.
    “Samuel, do you cherish the canon?” I hear a voice behind say.
    “...”
    “Samuel, one of the reasons why you have been involved in this project is that you are a sentimentalist; you cherish what you have, never really thinking of strategies to move forward.”
    “Like Jasmine, your mind is riddled with shit. Sacrifice what you enjoy for idealism and innovation. Waste your time wandering around aimlessly, pulling off more inane shenanigans. I don’t care what you say – here, by this beach, I found tranquillity and peace of mind. I wouldn’t sacrifice any of it in favour of one of your crack-pot endeavours.”
    “Samuel, are you curious as to how your books have... changed?”
    “I am not curious as much as infuriated.”
    “If you thought Gregory’s infiltration into the literary world was costly and ambitious, think again. Gregory’s undertaking was nothing compared with what I have pulled off. He boycotted a very small portion of the publishing industry; I, on the other hand, have boycotted the entire publishing industry.
    “He was coming at it from another angle, anyway. His aim was to make the suffering of aborigine civilizations heard, bringing out Tolstoy in Quechua. His disgust lied with the evisceration of an entire culture and civilization; mine is with the hypocrisies and contrivances of the literary establishment. The ventilation for my disgust was to create apocryphal books of all kinds and to infiltrate publishing houses so that these are the only produced copies.
    “I can see that you cherish the canon and the classics, Samuel. This is why I have brought you face to face with your facade. You have notions of grandeur and self-importance, but you are apathetic to real literary value. All your Dostoyevskys and your Becketts and your Prousts are all gone now. But I shall pose a new question to you: are you curious as to where your original book collection has gone off to?”
    “No, where?” I deadpan.
    “Liberia,” he says.
    “Liberia... Is this another ploy to get me involved in your project again?”
    “I am afraid it is.”
    “Unbelievable... In any case, I refuse.”
    “So you think you can live without your books? All you have left are these apocryphal editions... And in any case, any book shop you go to – even a second hand one – that’s all you’ll find.”
    Once more, I am cheated into the ordeal again.
The very same ‘diminutive’ jet this time takes me to a neighbouring African country. It is again manoeuvred by the same Arabic person who, once more, is drunk. I don’t even bother to ask him after the destination because I know that he is belligerent. The tramp sits in an adjacent seat, never saying a word. The flight is rickety, both due to the state of the obsolete jet and the drunkenness of the pilot. By the time the jet lands, throughout the journey there hasn’t been a single moment when I haven’t questioned the certainty of my own mortality.
    Opening the jet door, I find that we land on a minute runway. There are patches of earth between this and a dilapidated building. We walk down a flight of stairs and encounter a sign announcing Liberia Airport.
    Driven to a remote resort in the countryside, we enter a room laden with beds of suffering blacks. “These are all victims of AIDS, Samuel. Follow me to the back room where we keep the medication,” he says.
    He opens a cupboard where all the original copies of my books – almost numbering in the thousands – are stored. After he opens the cupboard, a great mass of them fall to the ground. “Well, there you go,” he mumbles quietly.
    “Why, why...” I stammer. “Why on earth are they stored in Africa – in Liberia? Why!”
    “Samuel, our project has links across several continents, where many of our members are based. Our anthropologist friend – remember him? – is based in Africa, so he willingly stored all of your books here after we sent them to him.”
    “Where is this anthropologist?”
    “You want to meet him? Follow me.”
    Returning to the hall of suffering blacks, we see another tramp kneeling over a Liberian adolescent. Seeing me, he moves his eye onto me, saying “Samuel! Happy you have your books back? I am here with Suah, a wonderful person in every way. It’s such a shame he has to endure such turmoil. I’ve told you on the beach that my interest in anthropology is not academic – it’s meeting people like these. The more intellectual aspects are secondary. Suah, talk about yourself to Samuel.”
    “Samuel... I have lived in misery for months. I am not a ghostly apparition, don’t look at me like that...”
    “It’s true,” the anthropologist tramp says, “you are looking at him rather wearily.”
    “Sorry, I didn’t intend to...”
    “I know you didn’t,” the Liberian says. “My state tends to confound people, makes them think of me as... subhuman. You know as well as I do that I am not like that – so why the look?
    “I have helped my tramp friend on his mission. As well as his,” he says, faintly raising his finger towards the producer of apocrypha. “You should also get involved, Samuel. This is exactly what this world needs... Subversion, transgression, reversal... We must stop the apathy that is prevalent in Europe and America. I feel that, for all the suffering I have endured, I have the upper-hand.
    “All those people living in their comfortable homes suffer the greatest plague known to man – boredom. All they know about is the trendiest mobile phone, what the latest soap opera is all about or what gadget is available in the moll. They haven’t experienced pain like I have. It’s a misconception that one must live enjoying oneself when... when painful experiences are just as necessary.
    “So you see, Samuel... I have the upper hand. It may not seem so in the surface, but... I have lived life the way no Anglo-Saxon has and, in the long-run, it works to my advantage.”
    “That is a rather optimistic way of looking at it...” I mumble. “Well, now that I have my books back, can I leave Liberia? Remember, I am only here for that very reason.”
    “You sicken me...” the anthropologist sullenly says, releasing the African’s arms and storming out of the resort.
    Looking baffled, the publisher of apocrypha says “You upset his feelings. You gave off an impression of indifference to Suah’s account. Are you upset about it, Suah?”
    “No worries,” the anguished Liberian replies.
    “By no means did I intend to upset your feelings but, as you may understand, I’ve been missing my habitat for quite a while.”
    “I understand,” he weakly intones.
    The publisher of apocrypha walks out of the resort, towards the direction of the anthropologist.  
    “Your struggle is almost as great as mine,” the African says. “You may leave if you wish.”
Casting a shadow over the arid earth, the anthropologist kneels down and smokes a cigarette, looking contemplative, thoughtful and miserly. The publisher of apocrypha is in the distance, leaning against a solitary post. It seemed that I had caused discord in their dilettante project; they seemed poles apart, ignoring one another. In the past this would have seemed like an achievement, but I have contradictory feelings after having met the dying Liberian. I seemed to have breached a fundamental moral principle, disrespectfully disregarding an impoverished West African on the brink of death. What’s more is that the child spoke with an acerbic eloquence – in the same speechifying manner the rest of the dilettante tramps communicated in, clearly and concisely expressing the pain he was enduring. 
    The publisher walks over to the anthropologist, saying “Listen, I do think Samuel should still have a part in our project. Suah was not offended.”
    “Suah was one of the instigators of all this. When I began my investigations, sleeping in small shacks and wandering across the Liberian slums, I came across Suah. Incredibly, for someone whose second language is English – he had grown up speaking one of the native Liberian languages – he spoke with real articulacy. But what most impressed me in the child was the fact that he shared my passion of reversal. He gave me all the ideas that have helped form my research and... here he is, dying and perishing in some remote resort.”
    I walk in circles while hearing their conversation. He turns around and asks me: “Samuel, do you feel bad?”
    “To tell you truth, yes, I do,” I tell him.
    “Do you think you can redeem yourself?”
    I find this to be the most imprudent question: why should I redeem myself by getting involved in yet another scheme? “You’re trying to get me involved in your project again, aren’t you?”
    “In all honesty, you were going to be freed once having retrieved your books, but after this incident this I feel that it is you are in debt.”
    “I do feel bad about what just happened in there – terribly, in fact. However, I don’t think that what just transpired over there requires some sort of debt from my part.”
    “And where else can you go without our support, eh? Don’t expect me to help you out! You are now stranded in Liberia for the rest of your life! Good riddance!” He storms away.
    The publisher of apocrypha leaves the lamp-post and walks over to me. “Listen, Samuel. We will free you on one condition. You will be able to leave Liberia, but you’ll be required to fulfil another requisite: compile lists.”
    “Lists?”
    “Yes, lists. You will help a member of our project whose principal obsession is list-making. He is based, conveniently, close to Jakase.”
7
The town adjoining Jakase is Jafase, an uncannily identical neighbouring location in the peninsula with an exact beach, exact buildings and architecture, and exact people. Perhaps, my very own doppelganger resides here, equally quiet and uncommunicative, endlessly reading in a self-contained universe of his own tragic devising. Perhaps he, too, has become involved in some extravagant scheme aiming to subvert the literary establishment and the fine arts and maybe he is just as reluctant a participator as I am.
    My destination is a four-story building, lying between intersecting roads that rise and decline. Perhaps this colossal building is the only feature that distinguishes it from Jakase. I have a note from the publisher and anthropologist which I am to present when arriving at this building. Here I shall meet the list-maker who will be – I hope – the final tramp I encounter.
    I present my note to the receptionist, who telephones someone, and gives me the nod to walk over to list-maker’s dwelling.
    The room is overflowing with a mass of papers stuck on the walls and the ceiling, scattered on the floor, stacked over a table leaned over by a figure. He has his back to me, his hair lengthening over his shoulders, unkempt, messy, nit-ridden and unwashed. He turns his back towards me, smiling. The outlines of his face covered by the abundance of hair and thick heavy spectacles.
    “Samuel... I was in the middle of compiling.” He takes his glasses off, bringing to the fore his facial features. “I am trying to assimilate all the lists I can find... The internet is full of them! And all those magazines, science journals and fanzines! I have been very unsuccessful in my task so far; I can’t seem to bring together a list which truly represents everything – the ultimate list. I seem to spend my time reading rather than compiling... Samuel, I have heard of your literary and cinematic interests and I have encountered two lists that match your tastes. Here...”
    I take the papers and pour over them:
·         1.  The Sound and the Fury – William Faulkner (USA, 1929)
·         2.  Fictions – Jorge Luis Borges (Argentina, 1944)
·         3. The Trial – Franz Kafka (Czech Republic, 1927)
·         4. Bestiary – Julio Cortázar (Argentina, 1951)
·         5. Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky (Russia, 1866)
·         6. Pedro Páramo – Juan Rulfo (Mexico, 1955)
·         7. The New York Trilogy – Paul Auster (USA, 1987)
·         8. The Unlimited Dream Company – J. G. Ballard (UK, 1979)
·         9. A Brief Life – Juan Carlos Onetti (Uruguay, 1950)
·         10. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man – James Joyce (Ireland, 1917)
·         11. Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov (USA/Russia, 1955)
·         12. Absalom, Absalom! – William Faulkner (USA, 1936)
·         13. Hopscotch – Julio Cortázar (Argentina, 1963)
·         14. Gravity’s Rainbow – Thomas Pynchon (USA, 1973)
·         15. The Obscene Bird of Night – José Donoso (Chile, 1968)
·         16. The Brothers Karamazov – Fyodor Dostoyevsky (Russia, 1879)
·         17. Dubliners – James Joyce (Ireland, 1913)
·         18. If on a Winter’s Night a Traveller – Italo Calvino (Italy, 1977)
·         19. Zama – Antonio di Benedetto (Argentina, 1956)
·         20.The Drowned World – J. G Ballard (UK, 1962)
·         21. A Clockwork Orange – Anthony Burgess (UK, 1962)
·         22. Nausea – Jean-Paul Sartre (France, 1938)
·         23.The Outsider – Albert Camus (France, 1942)
·         24.Life: A User’s Manual – Georges Perec (France, 1978)
·         25. The Story of the Eye – Georges Bataille (France, 1928)


·         1. 2001: A Space Odyssey – Stanley Kubrick (USA, 1968)
·         2. Blue Velvet – David Lynch (USA, 1986)
·         3. Alphaville – Jean-Luc Godard (France, 1965)
·         4. Aguirre, the Wrath of God – Werner Herzog (Germany, 1971)
·         5. A Man Escaped – Robert Bresson (France, 1956)
·         6. The Seventh Seal – Ingmar Bergman (Sweden, 1957)
·         7. The Big Lebowski – Coen Brothers (USA, 1998)
·         8. The Second Heimat – Edgar Reitz (Germany, 1992)
·         9. The Producers  - Mel Brooks (USA, 1968)
·         10. Andrei Rublev – Andrei Tarkovsky (Russia, 1966)
·         11. The Passion of Joan of Arc – Carl Theodor Dreyer (Denmark, 1928)
·         12. Dr. Strangelove – Stanley Kubrick (USA, 1964)
·         13. La grand ilusion – Jean Renoir (France, 1939)
·         14. Bicycle Thieves – Vittorio de Sicca (Italy, 1949)
·         15. Metropolis – Fritz Lang (Germany, 1927)
·         16. Stalker – Andrei Tarkovsky (Russia, 1977)
·         17. Crimes and MisdemeanorsWoody Allen (USA, 1989)
·         18. Ordet – Carl Theodor Dreyer (Denmark, 1955)
·         19. Spellbound –Alfred Hitchcock (USA, 1945)
·         20. Videodrome – David Cronenberg (Canada, 1983)
·         21. Pickpocket – Robert Bresson (France, 1959)
·         22. Vivre sa Vie – Jean-Luc Godard (France, 1962)
·         23. The Green Ray – Eric Rohmer (France, 1986)
·         24. Branded to Kill – Seijun Suzuki (Japan, 1967)
·         25. M – Fritz Lang (Germany, 1931)
“Reading these two lists reminded me of you, Samuel. They were compiled by a resident of Jafase called Saimon A. King.
    “You know, I have acquired a fair bit of knowledge from all these lists teeming all over the place... When I read a list – be it to do with the sciences, arithmetic or the arts – I make an effort to know what all of the entries are... In the case of these two lists here... In the past I didn’t really read fictional books nor watch art films, but I sought after every single work listed. In the case of Zama, a very obscure title even in Latin-America, I had to learn Spanish as there is no translation. One or two of the films don’t even exist on DVD, so I had to hunt out screenings in independent cinemas.
    “Just imagine – that’s only two lists. I do exactly the same for every single one of them: I read every book listed, watch every film, learn every mathematical formula, learn about rare types of birds... This is a very busy occupation, Samuel. I have reduced my sleeping hours to two; powered by coffee I scavenge across these papers to accomplish my goal: create the ultimate list...”
    I look over the two lists again: yes, they do seem to be quite similar to my interests. Maybe my doppelganger was living in this neighbouring beach resort. “Yes, they do reflect my interests. Not entirely,” I say, “but closely.”
    “They do have some inconsistencies, however. You can tell he created them on the spur of the moment. Both lists, when they near the end, list a French book or film four times in succession. I think he wrote one of them in a cafe – and it shows. It hasn’t been laboured over like other lists that I have encountered. Well, it is, after all, a personal selection...”
    “Listen,” I say. “I think I was sent here to help you out, or something like that? What tasks do I have to carry out?”
   “Tasks? Oh, no! I need no assistance, thank you very much. I like to work here on my own... It’s all financed by Horowitz – ha!”
    “Who is Horowitz?”
    “Oh, he’s the executive producer of this project. I believe you met him, along with the other seven of us.”
    “Can I meet this Saimon person? I am intrigued in meeting my doppelganger.”
    “Hmm, I believe that isn’t possible. He’s a pathologically shy recluse. He’s never even had a girlfriend, like you have... Tell me something, Samuel, have you been feeling frustrated by moving around, from location to location, having meandering conversations with us tramps?”
    “Yes. Yes, I have.”
    “Well, meet Horowitz again! He might have a solution for you. He is a millionaire, after all... I believe he is in your house as a matter of fact! Well, good talking to you, Samuel! As for me? Back to work, back to work...”
   He turns around and shifts papers rapidly. I leave the building.
8
Has it all come to an end? I like to think so. Whatever the case, I will now be heading home, where another tramp will be awaiting me, but I am pretty certain that this is not another cul-de-sac – it is a conclusion, a termination of my involvement in Jasmine’s outlandish scheme.
    To have some sort of celebratory adieu to all this, I decide to stroll through Jafase beach. This is to simply to clear my head, to return to a less austere lifestyle.
    Walking through the wharf, I hear loud hollering and shrieking. I dash down a flight of steps leading to the beach and find a herd of people copulating; to put it bluntly – a gang-bang.
    I move closer to them and see basically every possible form of sex – penetrative, oral, anal... Strangely I see a man dressed in a stylish suit sat on a desk placed on the sand, wearing a hat and thick, squared glasses. On the small table is a typewriter, which he hammers at rapidly; he occasionally shifts his sight from the typewriter towards the orgy, observes it for a few seconds, then types away rapidly for an elongated period.
    The intercourse is photographed by an equally stylish and refined man who, like the gentleman sat on the desk, wears a stylish suit and suede shoes. He walks towards all directions of the intercourse, photographing cocks furiously ramming into cunts, multiple cocks in the same arse, blow-jobs, masturbation, etc. He does not seem to be particularly aroused nor interested in the sex, he simply tries to capture it in a very methodical way on camera.
    The people participating all seem to look rather ordinary, with the exception of one filthy and unkempt gentleman, who does not seem to have showered for several months. This is, I realise, one of the tramps to whom I had spoken to in Jakase beach. He is the most notable of the lot, ravenously and unremittingly inserting his cock into every available hole.
    I turn around to the elegant man typing away on the typewriter. I ask him: “What are you writing while looking at all this?”
    “Oh, just a piece of journalism. I am writing a piece to be published as front-page news on all respectable newspapers and tabloids. This is his speciality,” he says, pointing to the nymphomaniac, “eroticism.”
    “Well,” I reply, “this seems more like pornography than eroticism to me...”
    “Whatever way you look at it, this his attempt to confront every single person with the most depraved and disgusting sex; he wants everyone to read about – and see – all the orgies, all the perversions and all the disgusting wet dreams that haunt racy adolescents.
    “It is not as coarse and crude as you may think. He has studied all the erotic classics for years, constantly selecting scenes he finds to be the most titillating. The standard person has no knowledge of the kind of sexual activities these books describe. Now everyone will see it for themselves. Backed up and financed by a millionaire on a very large scale, we have now finally reached an era when sexual narrowness will be thrown out of the window.”
    I walk closer to the beast of nine or ten backs and see that the tramp has taken out his cock out of a sluttish blonde whore. She places her face and holds out her tongue in front of his cock, which he wanks frantically. He ejaculates a vast quantity of semen that drenches her face, sliding onto her silicone-implanted breasts. The photographer takes a picture of this final and climatic moment on camera, saying “We’ll use that on the front pages!”
    The tramp turns around, noticing me, his erect cock gradually decreasing in size and becoming flaccid, predictably shouting “Samuel!”
    “We meet again! Ha, ha, ha. On another beach!” he jabbers.
    “I’m on my way to see Horowitz,” I say, without having anything particularly important in mind.
    “Ha, Horowitz! Without him none of our interests would have come to fruition! Tell me, Samuel what is sex with Jasmine like...”
    “Unlike your porn, it is an act of love – not mindless shagging.”
    “Hah, a lot of love and labour has gone into this, you know. Jasmine’s plan was to get you involved in all of our specialities, mine included, but as you became increasingly irritable with all of us, she pulled the plug on your assistance.”
    “Thank God for that, too. In any case, I’m off to my house.”
    As I leave, the journalist snatches the writing from his typewriter and talks it through with the nymphomaniac. I head back to the neighbouring beach resort.
9
A shadow is cast over the entire house; a cloud of smoke envelops the room. I can hear laughter emanating out of the living room and I stealthily walk there. When getting there I see a fairly aged man with short grey hair, a red robe, a cigar, and a rounded face.  Sprawled on the large chair, he emits a guttural laugh. “I look different, don’t I?” he jokes. He takes the cigar out of his mouth and extinguishes it on the cover an apocryphal Dostoyevsky edition. (I notice with regret that, against the promises of the publisher, the original copies are still stranded in Liberia.)
    He lifts himself out of the chair, strolls through the room and says “Happy to be home, Samuel?”
    “I’d be happier if I had my books back... You all promised me that.”
   “Hahaha, you are rather materialistic. I, on the other hand, fluctuate and go in waves. Sometimes I like to be in a comfortable mansion surrounded by possessions, other times I like to sleep under a piss-ridden bridge.”
    “Tell me... Settle this once and for all. Why on earth... Why on earth do you fund this ‘project’ when it lacks so much direction and cohesion?”
    “It’s simple, really. We are all seeking to achieve a kind of beauty that is false... Art is considered to be beautiful, but... When you distort it, it is something else – something false. Look at all these false books all over the floor... These are works of art whose principles are moral codes have been mangled and misrepresented... Who is to say that you can’t extract pleasure out of them? At a grand scale, backed by investment, this is the only aesthetic pleasure available – false beauty. I have hijacked the literary world, the art world, the indigenous world, the third world – even sex. People will no longer experience a genuine work of art anymore – that’s come to an end.”
    “My passion for reading has now been destroyed because a cunt like you decided it’s a charade...”
    “Oh, no. You’ll still be able to read, it’ll just be manufactured by ghost writers and the like. You won’t notice...”
    “That’s just what the publisher said – that I am superficial, etc. etc. etc. I can’t stand all this stupid reactionary crap: reacting against trends for the sake of it. What’s worse is that I wanted no part of it; I got caught up in it all against my will. Weeks in the Atlantic Ocean, walking aimlessly in Peru, going to galleries in Cologne, flying over to Liberia, meeting a manic list-compiler and then witnessing a perverted orgy by the beach! And for what? All for this reactionary subversion!”
    “That’s right, Samuel,” Horowitz says, smiling.
    I walk over to the kitchen.  Hurtling into the cutlery placed in the draws, withdrawing the sharpest possible knife, I rush back into the main room where Horowitz, when seeing the knife, looks as relaxed as ever. “What do you aim to do with that knife?” he calmly asks.
    “What do you think?” I shout out, “What do you think? I’m going to bring this whole ridiculous thing to an end and the first step I’ll take will be to murder you!”
    He laughs, sinking the back of his head onto a pillow. “You’re not a murderer, Samuel... You’d never do such a thing, Jasmine has told me all about you.”
    “Yes, in the past – in the past. But I’ve been pushed to the limit with all your fucking crap so much that I feel compelled to murder.”
    Horowitz turns his whole head onto the pillow, preparing himself for a snooze. “You do that...” he mumbles.
    I jump over to the chair and forcefully stab the knife into his chest, prompting anxious screams. He defends himself, but I continue to hold him down, piercing his heart relentlessly with more violent stabs, gouging out blood all over the room, staining the apocryphal editions of Dostoyevsky.
10
Seizing the corpse, I drag the bloody mess onto the threshold. I have no idea what will come next in this new world where logicality, long ago, has been thrown out of the window.
    I open the window pane and release the corpse, which falls onto the beach sand. Now a corpse, right this instant, has been thrown out of my window.
    I am at a loss. I simply decide to walk over to the beach and see what to do with the dead millionaire.
    Walking down the flight of steps, a bustling overwhelming sound becomes apparent. My heart is racing; step by step I walk toward the worst possible scenario one can be confronted with.
    A vast assemblage of people is gathered all over the beach, flash cameras overwhelm my eyes and whispered conversations prick my ears.
     I see the seven tramps in the crowd; Jasmine despondently looks at me, weeping; the Jafase photographer relentlessly takes pictures.
    An important beauracrat seizes me and says “Samuel, you are arrested for conspiracy to commit terrorism and for the murder of News Corporation owner K. R. Horowitz.”


Written sporadically between December 2010 and February 2011. 
 Part 10 written on the 19th of September, 2011




No comments: