Nana, staring at the close-up of her infantile pudenda, is lost in a complex reverie: troubled, sad, bemused, happy to have an artifact (if merely a digital image), upset by its exclusion of all save her "anomaly," curious as to who might have posed her, who had worked the zoom, who had shined the light that hit its target harshly, bashful (retroactively) over such intrusive scrutiny aimed at a baby forced to spread her legs, expose her genitalia, and submit to exploitation, be it prurient or benign, subject turned into object, in any case, newborn into specimen, subsequently proud in spite of attitudes that consider "deviation" legitimately shameful, or something to be studied, documented, displayed like a chloroformed insect, wings pinned under glass, yet ultimately heartened by the Prince who has declared her "defect" an "advantage," an "attribute" much like talent, to be coveted, to be prized, to be accorded special privileges as decreed by the Sheikh himself, neither inclined to denigrate her one-of-a-kind irregularity, or treat the rest of her as merely incidental, and glad to know at last the rationale for her enigmatic moniker: "sample 2 NA" = 2xNA = Nana, the name preceding Wolffmüller; mystery explained.

Twilight has descended on the Palace. Nana craves company. She suspends examination of the file O’Rourke has posted, activates sleep mode on her module, sheds her smock, administers scent, collects her oil pastels and sketchbook, and leaves her quarters for the glassed-in wading-pool-sauna—at this hour popular—where her peers-in-purdah laze or leisurely assemble:

Sophie & Sophia,

playing spank-splash games in the shallows, are the noisiest, bounciest bathers, certainly the youngest, least reserved; with menses’ onset premature, they both were sexually hyperactive by the age of nine—problematic at the Turkish refugee camp that relinquished them to the Sheikh some five years prior—and though adjusting to surroundings more serene, not to mention opulent, “incorrigibly precocious” continues to describe them, a treat and tribulation for their far-more-grown-up cohorts, a double-trouble handful for their hedonistic Host, whose bed now rarely serves as their tandem trampoline;




mute mouth spreading with a honeyed smile of welcome, lounges lengthwise at the steamy water’s edge, her curves resplendent, moisture shimmering, in the silvered dusk, on shoulder, midriff, thigh, her left breast level where it kisses tiles reflecting forms obliquely, flesh so rich it imitates cocoa, chiaroscuro called to mind by darks and lights in league with shapes that lurk in  swarthy shadows; once a warlord’s teenage unspoiled spoils exchanged for lethal weapons—commanding quite a cache before escaping the rebels—after friends and family in Somalia were slaughtered cavalierly, Hermione, owing allegiance to the Prince and Sheik conjointly for her nth-hour liberation, shifts, slips into the torrid bath, and wades across waist-deep with ultra-sluggish strides;



when passed mid-pool appearing colorless, by comparison, skin and hair as hoary white as an apparition; translucent in the soft crepuscular glow from indirect light switched on automatically now that night completes its fall; veins like mineral deposits embedded in flaw-free alabaster; extremities wanly wrinkled from being overlong submerged; sensitive to a fault, her pink eyes wince, then squint uncomfortably, as she, likewise, wends toward the languid pool's periphery, beaching her waterlogged beauty on a terrycloth towel, donning a pair of sunglasses, pleased to be self-pampered, rescued by The Family from eventual prostitution, surrendered by a smuggler trafficking in “domestics”—a hoax that impoverished parents were eager to accept as true, lest selling their own flesh-and-blood weigh too heavily on their Kurdistani consciences,



Bedouin through and through, sent as a gift by her grandfather—much too old and frail to raise the daughter of his tragically murdered son—thrilled, if truth be told, to pay a debt and curry favor by unloading an embarrassment, her whose breasts inexplicably ripened way too early and commenced to lactate without her being pregnant (virginity confirmed) stains betraying the milk whenever she felt aroused, a state that visited the orphan with scandalous regularity, then as now, rubbing herself with unguent where she sits au naturel content to part with clothes forever from the moment she arrived, happily ensconced in this permissive lap of luxury, lavishing affection upon residents one and all through manicures and pedicures, facials and massages, waxing pubes, piercing earlobes, trimming nose hairs, plucking brows, each intimate act provoking dewdrops of unexplained colostrum;



beyond a pair of incense urns, reclining, European from a clan of landed gentry out of luck, a stint of baccarat losses leading her to hock an intact hymen for the Prince's standard stipend plus resort-style room and board—her taste for masticating foreskins to induce ejaculation almost legendary, interest in her nether-parts thus defrayed—ensuring funds recouped would suit her lust for liberating semen while affording her a break from go-broke Monte Carlo, dawdles, waves, invites



to assume a seated posture and arrange her auburn coif in a grand corona, lips then licked, exposing such an over-lengthy tongue it rivals a chameleon's, lets her freckled arms and legs go limp, the latter loosely parted to reveal a shock of hair that mirrors her copper-colored mop, another fortune-seeker flirting with a film career in smut, her lingual attribute as coveted as genuine redheaded-ness, before opting to debut her sultry charms in an environment relatively free of greed, graft, grunge, and economic stress, though skeptical it was a trap devised by Arab slavers to seduce a girl at sweet sixteen from the Emerald Isle to where (?); 'Yeah, right; for how much (?); 'Try again, you bearded, bath-robed, sleaze-ball’; yet the bank book Sheik Hadithah flashed (once Alicia passed her pap smear) looked authentic, proved authentic; she withdrew a huge advance, then put it back per pre-agreement; abracadabra: off she went, and, with a dashing 'open sesame' the handsome Prince deflowered her, in a fashion so fantastic it conjured up a fairy tale;


lastly the triumvirate:


                 Po                       Trin            &         Xia Xia

just now entering, each adorned by glistening beads of post-aerobic sweat, all three professionals—labeled "pillow pals" politely, more precisely "goodtime girls," while those less charitable might apply the appellation "sluts"—sashay, promenade, and saunter—culled from peepshow, pool hall, kitty-porn parlor—stoop, squat, hunker in formation to abuse with bald-faced scorn—their requisite un-breached status surely a technicality—derision in their glance, arched eye, and glare without a doubt—pheromones turned to cattiness effervesced collectively—that Nana’s groin is the tri-part  focus of their ridicule, smirking, curling lips, one cheek with septic tongue  distended—raw recruits selected certainly for cosmetic features solely—first a giggle, next a snicker, last an out-and-out guffaw, bereft of manners, as their actions show, the trio bursts with merriment, misbehavior seldom seen and, if reported, dealt with harshly, splitting sides, convulsing bellies, laughter bringing  tears to eyes until the butt of their derision about-face-turns and retreats.




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