UNITED STATES—‘Burning, Burning, Burning, fantasy loves a good fast. Strangled by the Past, crippled in the Present, I’m terrorized into the Future. Find today’s mirror image!’
The low hum & whirr of a large, flat-bottomed helicopter circled tight the evening sky directly above the house. Krystyline and Kathy stuck their heads through the thick, heavy curtains in the drawing room and watched it go round and round for 20 minutes: “What’s it doing and why?” “It’s too big to be paparazzi which means its surveillance.” “In sleepy, buttoned-up, shoot-yer-self Chislehurst?” “Lets Google it tomorrow. The neighbors must be wondering about the noise. Come here! Sit on my lap and tell me about Chislehurst, London, England!”
Kathy had recovered herself enough to fly out of LA after eating a consistently bad diet, no Kangen water and no Sadhana for 28 days. Krystyline was relieved to have someone around in familial territory who, had her back and would stand up to her abusive brothers. Kathy was her man and for all her yoginess KK would also throw the first punch to tame bullies, she believed Yogi Bhajan was that kinda guru.
“Get this,” K begins: “I’m in the Nat West bank across the street, before I leave the teller says: ‘You’ll be getting a call tomorrow, a survey to tell us how we’ve helped you today, a recorded service. If you hang up that will be an automatic mark against us, the tellers.’ I replied: ‘That’s insane, who would want to work for a company that has such a policy? My policy is, I don’t do market research for free, have a nice day.’ And I left. What a business model. What joker thought that up? The saddest part is, people are buying it. It’s the walking dead over here. Then spoilt brats are still attempting tube strikes. A tweet to London Underground by a guy named Icy Barnacles called it: ‘U-neon’s.’ No wonder migrants are falling over themselves to get here. Everyone on the planet sees a utopian bacchanal. We live in a global fish bowl. Madonna and Michael Jackson already blew minds in the rainforests by 1990 now refugees are walking their own charity marathon.
This England is becoming the Manhattan of the Eastern Hemisphere. Words Out, developers are planning to turn its 5boros (the real reason why Scotland wants independence: They’re shooting for the Genuine, Original Tourist Experience) into a duplicate and sky-rise. The only way is up. Next thing you’ll see is these desperate people arriving offering themselves to work the graveyard shift for two months without pay just like the Mexicans in NYC, 2008. I think I’m going to make my next Super8 about this.”
“Haven’t you run out of S8 film yet?
“I’m using the Kodak canisters I won for my Short on 9/11: ‘Debris Trucks on Rector Street.” “I love that movie, so poignant, the juxtaposition of the street vendors selling memorial merchandising. So Disney!”
“Then brace yourself, mum has 1970’s home entertainment. Without broadband, the choice is between terrible or skanky. Thank the goats for Two & A Half Men reruns!” Kathy gives Krystyline a squeeze: “I love that show. Go on.” To top off the madness there’s platoons of anorexic 20somethings walking around, mostly guys. Oh, ‘Lemon’s Bandage’ is a fun show.” “I’ll give you a fun show.” K & KK then started making out on the drawing room’s fine Persian rug.
The next morning the kitchen TV is blaring a press conference live from Good Morning Britain, The Migrant Situation. “Ooo look Krystie it’s your brother! Nice tie” “Yeah, Shame about the asshole inside it.”
Journalist 1: Will migrants be allowed to go on benefits? Are benefits going to be phased out?’ Journalist 2: ‘There is already a great shortage of housing, a long waiting list for homeless, how is this influx of 1,000’s more people into Britain going to be dealt with?’
And Krystyline’s brother Henry rolled on: “In this now small world it is neither too liberal or too far right to start off without being absolutely practical. This opportunity calls for immediate action. With all the knowledge and experience accumulated in the civilized world it is merely pragmatic and forward thinking to start processing right away. It is our duty to inform the public that as the collective terms ‘Migrants’ or indeed ‘Refugees’ turns to the more individual models of…urr, individuals we must now take this opportunity to separate the murderers, rapists, deviants…the arsonists, thieves and the wicked from, let’s say… the Malalas and vanillas of this group of less fortunates, steering them into their appropriate spaces. This may at first seem quite outrageous, but we can also ask ourselves the question; What about those who have been willing to sacrifice their very own children to the greater cause of reaching the Utopia of Box Sets and the Red Nose society? What are we to do with those when we find them?”
K’s mother turned the TV off and the three women looked at each other. “I told you mum, he’s psychotic.”
Henry Plattsbottem was the Chief of NTS Dept of MI5. The FBI’s elite CU squad had helped set up the NTS within a matter of weeks after the Karmic Retribution business system had been switched on overseas. The Notational Time Squared (Dept) was fully equipped to deal with numbers this side of the globe. All these waywards would be soothed soon enough with pacifying electrical currents emitting from their thrilling mobile devices. Plattsbottem left the pressroom, he was handed a phone, Raj Khan calling with news. Things had begun to move fast. There were loose ends to be tied before they all left and now another situation had staggered out of the blue, on home turf. Henry must call Arnold Schwarzenegger himself, as Arnold had been there, in Brentwood when it had happened.
Raj was sounding very charismatic: “Plan Qu is in place. We could cut Scotland out of the deal. Let them have their authentic theme park, it will prove useful.” Raj was enjoying himself, as was Henry, strutting around the House of Commons, he felt entirely invincible as all men in powerful positions do, before a fall.
Merry-Jade had been listening to the same news, live on the radio. The radio had begun shorting, word distortions. As she tried to fine tune, the wilting advert for ‘Death’ Charles Saatchi’s coffee-table book was being aired for the 20th time that morning. Gee, what an ego-testicle bore he was. Merry-Jade was back in Newark St. E1, house sitting, thinking, preparing for the opening of her Serpentine show. She heard voices outside, drawing the curtain she saw the hunch back with pigeon toes grab Shelley’s daughter by the shoulder and move into her face with his vitriolic, putrid breath: “Painting and sculpture made by hands of sum are portals and homes for Spirits. Take care…what may be unleashed when time ripens only Time will tell.”
“I KNOW that old man. I knew that already.” The teen replied. They both glared angrily at each other then, as quickly as the emotion had escalated Shelley’s daughter stormed back into the house. “That old geezer really is annoying.” She said aloud. “Can I help?” Merry-Jade said cautiously. “Not really, but thanks.” And she bolted lightly up the stairs. For the second time that morning Merry-Jade felt faint and had to steady herself. She went back upstairs to lie down. Perhaps this was delayed jetlag.
Merry-Jade then experienced a Future Moment Time Shift Conundrum and became invisible. She had achieved Transparency status reappearing on Laurel, one block south of Sunset 90046. Flashes of light from the Hills, paparazzi, Traksters both? She was painfully walking in the middle of the street then her left leg began to collapse into ash triggering a physical montage of timeline burn victims from the Armenian genocide all the way to Syria 2015 and beyond. A toddler was running in front of her, she was trying to catch up. Was that her child? She woke as if on dry ice, these words on her lips: ‘Collateral Damage or Work with Colleagues.’ There were two things she had to do that day.
By 3:30 p.m. Merry-Jade was standing in a room surrounded by Rembrandt, 56 of his self- portraits. She had brought a pregnancy test kit on the way to the National Gallery a calming, familial place spanning her childhood years. Feeling excited, truly alive with possibilities Merry-Jade moved through the museum crowd and stood staring at a particular self-portrait from across the room from the Andrew Mellon collection, painted in 1659. A tremendously deep feeling took hold of her being, an incredibly strong attachment. There was a surge of energy that drew her sparkling eyes into the swirling pigments and oil. She became a tall and powerful presence which did not go unnoticed, another young woman with thick auburn hair watched, then laughed at this sight for her own reasons.
It was also 7:30 a.m. (PST) and Natalie was driving along Sunset Blvd. KUSC 91.5 FM was playing Rachmaninoff‘s Piano Concerto No 3. The windows were down, the a/c broken. She was a Wagnerian but her father used to play this piece so she turned up the volume. Waiting alongside at the Fairfax lights was a beautiful woman in her early 30s with thick auburn hair. She burst into laughter when Natalie turned up the volume. Why? Who cares? WHAT was so funny? Natalie was about to mission.
But first, she was on her way to meet Kellogg Barnsley, a breakfast meeting at SohoHouse. He had written the much acclaimed Essay ‘The Art World: Still Segregated After All These Years’ which had included Natalie because she was one of the few known Caucasian figurative artists who had been consciously multicultural since the late 80s. Not many people had apparently noticed this technical faux pas. Children’s books were way ahead in this attention to detail.
Kellogg was also a critic and famous for finishing sentences, he was onto another winner, ‘SCA: Spontaneously Combustible Artworks.’ He was questioning Natalie, very keen to get answers. He believed she held some keys.
“Yes, the Battle Painting series I produced for my degree show in 1983 were drawn from Cadavers, in an expansive basement below the Slade School of Art. The Medical students of UCH would show up from time to time but on the whole it was a quiet environment. Rows of spirit less bodies, all shapes and sizes, men and women, shaven and nameless. All had donated their bodies to medical research. I sat there drawing various limbs with exposed muscles under the fluorescent lights. After several months, accustomed to the stench of formaldehyde, I just ate my sandwiches among these grey, bloated bodies…” “Do you believe that your Battle Painting series still imbue some of those kindly spirits?” “Possibly, although I’m not sure how ‘kindly’ they were or are.” “What happens if any of this body of work gets stolen?” “Hypothetically?” “What about the ‘mystery’ warehouse fire of Saatchi’s back in 2004 and the ‘mystery’ fire at Soho Group’s Electric House, Spring, 2012? Do you have any theories on these?” “Well, I’m not sure I’d want to be quoted on something like that.” “There is new evidence that has materialized you know.” “No, I didn’t know, what is it?” Suddenly a commotion broke out by the north facing windows, it was Pine defending his titles again. They signaled for him to come back to the table. Pine slapped his opposition on the back and brought him over: “This, is Boyd. Boyd Glossier, he wrote ‘Slander, Lies & Ostracism: What it Seems to be a Social Outcast.”
Soon they were all laughing again, so much so that Stevens, the manager came over to tell them off. Natalie’s gravitational singularity drew a look, which read ‘you will be getting an email from membership about this disruption.’ The writers decided to hold another meeting the following week, in one of the private rooms and Natalie was invited.
By Jane Gang