204. OUT OF ESSEX

CHAPTER TWO – The city of corruption

 

“Here is a man whose life and actions the world has already condemned – yet whose enormous fortune…has already brought him acquittal!” 
Cicero

 

 

He awoke naked at about 7 pm, in the simply-furnished bedroom where he had slept for the past half century. A radiator gurgled softly. Stretching languorously, he switched on a lamp, threw back the white quilt and proceeded to the washbasin. Picking up the pint glass standing between the taps, he placed his glans penis over the rim, letting urine flow to its regular tidemark. Around seven eighths of a pint.

Inserting the plug in the sink, he emptied the glass. The colour was somewhere between yellow and clear: sufficient urea to be effective without excess odour. He dipped the flannel in the liquid, letting his hands sit in the warmth before squeezing the cloth. Dabbing each part of his face, head and neck. Unusually, his dream was perturbing him. His backbone had been crumbling. It was an extraordinary spine, vertebrae consisting of gold coins.

He walked to a nearby window, observing early Saturday evening humanity. This part of the City was bereft of shops. Under a cherry tree in raging pink blossom, a young woman waved an arm, tightly clad buttocks swaying as she chatted on her mobile. Good cheekbones beneath black hair. Italian?

She tilted his mind back to Oxbridge, decades ago. One Friday evening, after some execrable sludge in the communal dining room, he watched a dozen fellow undergraduates become shockingly drunk in his rooms. A small gas fire fought the January freeze. Two of the women suited his purposes, he decided, while taking tiny sips from the bottled stout and cheap French wine being rapidly passed around. He selected the more inebriated, wagering silently that she would be unable to walk home.

She vomited in his sink as the drinking games peaked. His later offer of a bed was accepted gratefully. Her snores shook the room. From the sleeping bag, he prodded her firmly with a finger. Zero reaction. Her head hung from the bed, dark hair falling almost to the floor. Her open mouth took the first ejaculation, eyelids motionless. If anything, his excitement mounted.

Following his father’s instructions, he crept into the bed’s other side, easing up the tee-shirt serving as her nightie. He pounded her shoulder several times. Dead to the world. Gently, with a smudge of vaseline, he slowly helped himself. Withdrawing at each explosion to eliminate evidence. Finally crawling out of bed on Sunday afternoon, she applauded him as “a true gentleman”, before puking again. Two weeks later, his papa slapped his back heartily. “Have we sired a veritable warrior of the bedroom? Then a bottle of 1929 Chateau Latour for you, my young hero!”

During the subsequent 60 years he continued to comprehensively screw humans without most of them having a clue.

His clan associates called him the PM, in recognition of his power. British Prime Ministers had joined in this protocol – rather uneasily, in some cases. The silver-haired leader had been his favourite, a sensible man who knew his limits, and enjoyed his time. Major had called him ‘clan man’, quite fearlessly.

The Puppet Master washed and dried his hands, drew together the curtains, and switched on the main light. In the mirror, his skin looked superb. He would read for an hour before dressing for dinner.

Perhaps one of the Huxleys.

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