74
 

 

Nana, fully conscious of her fleeting opportunity to escape the Prince’s 'mayhem' by pre-emptive action, balks. The envisioned scenes, when compared to those that correspond to certainty, charge the Sheik, acquit the Prince, advise that options be revamped, for time has passed and much has happened in the realm of her awareness:

  • fear appears to be uncalled-for;

  • trust might have been misplaced;

  • her fight-or-flight response, in retrospect, lacks justification...

... this cloying inner sanctum notwithstanding, its furnishings—lit by sunrise as the glass-domed roof ignites—upholstered eerily with the pelts of sundry animals (most extinct), its very walls—absorbing warmth from the early-morning rays—encased in leather, hand-tooled swatches framing archways, edging baseboards, sheathing panels—colors altered by the dawn's encroachment, bleached to blond, resplendent, reminiscent of the beasts before their skins were turned to hides... if there are birthday suits among them—meaning human scalps or membranes  (as implied by her cinematic prognostications)—The Prince is not to blame, whereas his uncle (murky in his dealings as projected, as depicted by her dream or prescient reverie) may be culpable, may be capable of the infamy that his nephew has alleged, for whether she indeed has augured or intuited or invented certain aspects of events, events have nonetheless been taking place and of those 'verifiable' are the following:

  • Sheik Hadithah, having made his presentation to Brotherhood Eye, is returning to the Palace in his private aircraft.
     

  • Joanna Meerschaum and Samuel Blumenthal, having consummated their relations at the latter’s San Francisco apartment, are exploring new positions by which anatomies might be linked.
     

  • Rockefeller Falk, having intentionally trashed his father’s laboratory and accidentally set the place ablaze, is hastening home to Willeston Quay, Suzette Nguyen in tow, her vital signs dodgy.
     

  • Remington Falk aka Stuyvesant Fink, having witnessed, on Late-Night News, his life’s work incinerated, inches ever closer (with his consubstantial twin) to the threshold of insanity.
     

  • While Dad O’Rourke, having finished his assignment, packed his bags, confirmed his flight, and reported to his employer, lifts his glass in a toast to Jeanne Claude's / Jean Claude's health...

and the health of "every other mother’s son or daughter" en route to inebriation, taking a shortcut, in fact, ‘a bottle of your best’ delivered to his table, the barstool proving "too unstable a platform" for the binge he has in mind, for the binge that has him in mind rather, since, once begun, the drinker and the drunk take turns affixing responsibility, thus finding fault with neither nor with anybody else on this charming upside-down island, Kiwis being a very friendly bunch, all brown ‘n’ furry outside with green-as-shamrock centers, Irishmen down-under is a phrase that seems to suit. How, one has to wonder, did we O’Rourkes end up in the state of Utah? What has Jesus Christ to do with Joseph Smith? Mormons to a Catholic are like squatters to a landlord; don’t know who they are, where they’ve come from, or how long they plan to stay, but sure as God made Adam they’ll not pass Heaven’s Gate anon. Not that the likes of me can expect a hero’s welcome either. ’Tis the bum’s rush I’ll be getting, should I dare to show my face. What on earth am I saying? Hell itself is too plush a place for a hired assassin... with an urge for a little taste... of Man’s best friend—hair of the dog that bit him... "now and at the hour"... Amen.

Leaning toward incoherence, Dad props up his head, forearm like a crutch in support of a guilty conscience, acknowledging:

deeds undone by drink
by hangovers are reconstructed
faults assuaged by drunkenness
by sobriety are reinstated
and
memory is accursed
for those who seek redemption.

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