Setting down at Heliport One, a fuel-cell powered whirlybird disgorges its solo
passenger who shuffles fully upright under decapitating blades disdaining
their awful ruckus, ignoring the flapping wind-horses they make of his burnoose, and travelling from their influence at a self-possessed pace, oblivious to the
Himalayan spectacle of snow-crowned peaks mere inches from abrading
a cirrus-whiskered stratosphere, making straight for the chamber wherein
business will be conducted (concluded, if he has his druthers) over objections from
the Prince (unlikely to be raised much less endorsed), and objections from Ms Wolffmüller
(out of the question).
Tableau after tableau left and right of the colonnade distract his plodding footsteps
not in the least,
Eros was a man
as conceived by the ancient Greeks:
immune as he
has grown to the profligacy of his dead brother’s son,
and primed to prove his point,
censorious irrespective the supportive role he plays,
candid in his
indifferent to Hermione, Jude,
Alicia, Dominique, unmoved by Sophie and Sophia, Fatima, or the newcomer Norma Jean,
lustful in his
numb, in truth, to urges from the prehistoric brain that signals going-into-heat;
sex and psyche
and brutishly uncircumcised,
drives, to those un-driven, levers to be worked,
and romanticized by Helen,
Prince’s fortified den his uncle's destination—to which he admits himself with
an upturned arcane ring,
Amor and Cupido
by the sentimental Romans,
tracking with blind-eye-turned consent,
he who once laid
waste to virgins,
ravished maids and maidens,
sodomized little boys
Family’s Head never to be barred admittance;
reduced to a
The Prince, feigning fond surprise, abiding his kin's intrusion—rules of hospitality would
hardly have it otherwise,
a winged and
marking their exchange,
positioned like a fig leaf
over parts far less benign,
expected by the
uncle, by the nephew duly enacted,
genitals aptly geared
for flagrant fornication
pleasantries indulged, prolonged, discharged politely—
oh so prudishly,
learned to veil.
in-progress subtext, with discourse,
For that which
culture hides from itself breeds appetites insatiable.
applies to Nana, I am afraid I fail to see.
devil’s hobby, is Nana’s true vocation. Art, the great apologist for the
villains people were, still are, and ever shall be—so long as their libidos dictate
their behavior—is provocateur, seducer, and self-aggrandized scoundrel.
And who are
Art’s primary patrons?
rich, indeed. Nana has an upcoming one-woman-show.
This much she
has told me.
Sheik interrupts his discourse to analyze its effect;
untoward about her sharing such a confidence;
Nana doing otherwise might have
in the Prince’s manner...
... has put the
elder off (and furthermore on his guard).
Where is Nana,
by the by? I saw her not in passing.
The Prince affects nonchalance; the Sheik maintains suspicion.
Her studio, I
imagine. Preparing to take her leave?
Easing into the throne-like chair where Nana last
had lounged, the Sheik reviews
her have proven ill-advised?
checking it for
weaknesses, for tertiary blind spots, and for unseen opportunities to work against
Could she and this philanderer be in league?
amiss. I will hear your explanation.
Imperious in his tone, unwavering in his scrutiny, the Prince's father's brother
will not be denied... thus incomplete divulgence might well prove disastrous;
(with seeming reluctance) tells what has transpired.
Upon your last
departure, Nana acted strangely. Tense would be most accurate when describing
her demeanor. I questioned her; she attributed it to mounting
insecurity about life beyond these walls, about her future, in point of fact.
She mentioned, then, the exhibition you so graciously arranged. Doubts about her work, she
claimed, were also rather worrisome; was it good—in and of itself—or was she trading
upon your influence? By way of reassuring her, I invited Nana here to my private quarters, which impressed her as
unprecedented. Indeed it was, as you well know; no one ever breaches this
matchless cell. Beneath her show of gratitude, however, I detected
apprehension. I had to coax, almost compel her to enter that very door. Once
inside, her whole deportment changed quite radically. I came to see she was
frightened—not of things to come but rather of me. I believe she misconstrued a number of
these artifacts, recognizing those rare few derived from human skin.
Somehow she confused their vintage for recent acquisitions. I was taxed
to disabuse her. And, of course, I bent the truth. Nana, nevertheless, took
fright and fled.
Not impulsively; she
did pretend a degree of unconcern, which lulled me into thinking I had put her mind at
rest. But last night when I summoned her, I confess she failed to answer.
searched, I presume?
premises, yes. Incursions further afield await your authorization—though it is doubtful she could have left unseen by surveillance.
Sheik takes pause to process (and weigh the veracity) of this troubling
Sow a seed,
doubt that it should germinate
in someone so unseasoned?
Improbable or plausible? Easy to ascertain. But what could be the motive for such
have thought Ms Wolffmüller
somewhat less impetuous.
Let us pay a
visit to Nana’s room and module.
Neurons firing frantically in the nephew's throbbing skull, the Prince
forestalls... or would, were his uncle not underway, proceeding down a corridor
gait, the train of his white burnoose sweeping
aside leaves fallen from the atrium, muttering to himself (as is his wont)