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Permeating the faces Nana sculpts with staunch alacrity is an animus she has drawn upon to evoke the psychic rift by which her schizophrenic subject is defined, possessed, afflicted, his an illness, she intuits, as her palms caress the features she has striven to make manifest dawn till dusk then dusk till dawn—the Prince distracted, for the moment, initiating “Norma Jean” (her name alone a famous throwback to anachronistic pulchritude, Norma's set askew by her extra pair of tits, one piquantly tucked under either arm), affording peers a respite, possibly protracted, while the Southern belle from America proves or refutes her worth; Nana hoping to complete her twofold work in the interim, may already have done so, may have finished at least the model from which a bronze must soon be cast, the deadline for her upcoming show speedily approaching (arranged on her behalf by the enigmatic Sheik).

Circling now the dais on which 'Stuyvesant-Left-Right' stands, analyzing the symmetry, assessing the double-busted balance, Nana comes to a troubling, if prescient realization: he who brought her into being as a clone may be a clone himself—a tragic one, if her sixth sense can be trusted.

Dichotomies can, and do, ratchet the soul apart, rip reason from its moorings and make a mockery of sanity. Be it twin from twin, feminine from masculine, or basic good from evil, contradictory forces drive in wedges—when perceived as contradictions; misperceived, that is, for ends like such are less true opposites, more areas of continua. Where the Eastern mind paints circles, the Western mind draws lines. I, endowed as a male in one respect, in most others signify female. I, therefore, am a mix, as are we all who belong to the human race. Ambiguous genitalia do not an alien make. Nor am I what is commonly called “a freak of nature." Natural “is” as natural “does”; nothing on this earth, which is “of” the earth, is genuinely “unnatural." Including what we, as indigenous beings, ultimately create. Even when we re-engineer ourselves.

Motive is at issue; his for fabricating me—S.R.Y. Why Nana, is the question I long to put to him. Was I fashioned for a purpose, and if so, what might that have been? Something other than a Prince’s sexual plaything, I would like to think, to know despite allegiance to the Royal Family’s head, to Sheik Hadithah my mentor, my protector, and my guarantor of affluence.

Soon I will have discharged my contractual obligation. If offered a continuance, I believe I will decline. Unless, of course, the Sheik himself tenders the request. Then, and only then, my decision would be... well, difficult. Owing him so much, I would be loathe to appear ungrateful. Knowing him so well, I would guess this risk remote, though it might, indeed, be moot depending upon the Prince, on how smitten he may be by Ms Look-Alike-Monroe.

Glad I am for her opportune arrival for she demonstrates a truth; women prized for features principally physical are apt to be discounted,  'marked down' subsequently, and ultimately thought of as 'remainders,'  regardless if they once were someone’s “favorite," new blood tending to refurbish tastes grown weary of one trait or another, constancy to a bachelor a short-term proposition.

Tired beyond fatigue, Nana caps her pen and stows the hidebound journal, carelessly neglecting to secure its buckle-catch, planning to amend her latest entry after she avails herself of 'just a little nap'... merely a stolen moment to rest her bleary eyes... steal a march on Sleep as if it were some Minotaur lurking to devour an unsuspecting maiden... should one fall too deeply... linger in the lap of Morpheus undefended... sacrifice sense to nonsense... and surrender to a spell:

discovering, once unconscious, the confidence of ferocity, fingers changed into claws, teeth into fangs, hearing, sight, olfaction enhanced to the power of ten; Minotaur beware; snow leopard on the loose, cunning, stealthy, merciless, muscles in flanks and shoulders like slow-motion pistons bulging under a pelt deceptively luxurious, worn by wealthy women oblivious of the rightful owners’ yowls, and explosive outrage at being slaughtered by bullets fired from safe distances, aimed by scopes, by eyes, by those most cowardly of killers named "people," wild things’ worst enemy; Nana can smell them as she stops to stretch her back, forepaws fully extended, spine bent like an archer’s bow, belly brushing terracotta tiles—where is she?—birds flitting overhead on short-lived, nervous flights, incarcerated by something like the sky only lower, harder, impenetrable, must be synthetic, must be kith and kin to that atrocity called a cage, home to almost all of her endangered-species brethren; so be it; when furry beasts are gone perhaps their exterminators will peel, tan, and cure themselves, wear moccasins made from Indians, belts and boots from Blacks, capes from Orientals, accessories from Caucasians, tote around their valuables in stylized scrotal sacks; Nana, purring at the notion, pads off noiselessly, exiting the aviary—how did she get inside?—catching scent of death, a scavenger's call to dinner, faint but unmistakable, mixed with a putrid stink like the fermentation of entrails spilled from a gutted abdomen, from two, three gutted abdomens, variations on a trauma-victim’s expiration theme, females, by the reek, each one of them Asian, if bred in different habitats, stronger on the wind, their stench overwhelming as Nana ventures near, low to the ground, in stalk mode, suppressing anxious twitches throughout the length of her horizontal tail, which fidgets nonetheless upon approach to the ultra-sanguine tableau: Xai Xai, Trin, and Po—she knows their names and nasty dispositions—hang on rough-hewn crucifixes a la Christ on Calgary with his sorry brace of thieves, none, however, apt to be recalled to their Maker’s clement bosom—systematically hoisted, stuck, and bled like a triumvirate of pigs, their innards scooped, extracted, and tossed in a trough, remnants deftly skinned, shucked like ears of corn, flesh yanked from their grizzly skeletons then spread out and staked to be dried before immersion into chemical vats for further processing, henceforth sent to esoteric designers with a flair for the macabre, fashioned into fashion items, unexpectedly durable—bound to draw attention, customers best kept exclusive hence less likely to holler foul, hypocrisy accustomed to affecting guilty blushes on opulent cheeks inured to rank-and-file inferiors; Nana unconcerned; fewer homo sapiens meaning fewer acres occupied; the 'civilized' must be culled; how else to make room for Nana's cubs and cubs of her cubs should she ever find a mate, the itch for which averts her snarling senses and redirects her stride, causing her to double back, retrace her pseudo prowl, and then awaken with a post-siesta shudder.

 

 

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