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Tuesday, August 10, 2010


{“The question is this : Is Man an ape or an angel?

I, my lords, am on the side of the angels.”
- Benjamin Disraeli.}

{Samuel Clemens’ ghost here. Old Benjamin had a point. Better to be on the side of the angels – especially if it is the Angel of Death.

She had led us to a brothel of the damned where the killers using the group name “Jack the Ripper” were burning up what little was left of their souls.

She is leading us up the stairs to find a way back to Meilori’s, the supernatural jazz club and sanctuary for lost souls like Roland, the ghost of Marlene Dietrich, and myself.

But I’ll let Roland take the story from here.}:

Death tugged me gently to my feet with fingers so cold I flinched from the pain of them.

"Time is short, and we must make a small stop on the second floor before proceeding to the third."

She turned a sad eye to me. "Once long ago, farther back in time than even I can comprehend, the universe was small."

She put her thumb and forefinger together and looked haunted at me through the tiny space. "Very, very small. And everything made sense."

She sighed, "Then, it got very hot and very big very fast. And since that time, nothing has ever really made much sense to me."

"I don't understand," I said.

“What he said,” grumbled Mark Twain, though I noticed Marlene looked haunted.

Death lightly mussed my hair and blew away the flakes of ice that formed from her touch.

"Neither do the people who think they have all the answers, Roland. The universe is too vast to comprehend. Just ride the tide, do not try to drink it, or you will drown."

"In other words, things are going to really smell on the second floor, and you don't want us to throw up, is that it?," snorted Mark.

"The third floor will be even worse."

Marlene murmured, “Worse than this endless preamble?”

She eyed my friend coldly. "That depends on your definition of 'worse.'"

I sighed, "I don't define. I just care. As I care for Marlene, Mark, and … you."

She stroked my cheek with fingers that felt like cold knives. "You ... break my heart, Roland."

She sniffed back something wet and pushed me away. "What you will see on the second floor will not be pretty. It is the worst form of woman farming imaginable."

"Woman farming?"

Her face became icy rage. "Yes, turning women into serfs, no, worse than serfs, into slaves, into cattle, dependent on the proprietor for food and clothes and shelter.

They have no property of their own, not even their own bodies, which belong to the female fiends that run places such as this.

They are forced to fulfill the evil wishes of these 'landlords', who receive the majority of the income received for the selling of their dignity, their bodies."

She tugged me up the stairs as she walked with grace and precision. "No property, no rights, no will, no hope -- in short, not one attribute of independent life, save the right to suffer, to decay, while wretches more vile than they prosper at their expense.

These brutal tyrants demand everything from the poor girls whom they pervert and destroy, giving them but the bare necessities. And many times, not even that."

Mark smiled crooked, “Oh you mean treat them like the government treats us.”

A shrill voice cut through the gloom as we reached the second floor. "How dare you walk here naked? My God, th-those wings are real!"

I whipped my eyes to Death. Oh, jeez. She now wore wings and nothing else. I cringed, my heart sinking. I would bet cash money that it was a double-bonus sin to see Death naked.


  1. You are being kind and discreet with your descriptions. Part of me wishes for a few minutes to be Death and deal out what all those people deserve...but then where would the women get any money at all? It's not like they have anyone to go home to or be a nanny or teacher to...the sad truth is that circumstance and law often forced them into that life. Women still had no rights, couldn't own property and precious few held jobs. If a husband, father, brother died, women were left on their own...grrrrrrr. The children, and the contrasts, in the vid break my heart. Brings out the dark, cynical pessimist in me....

  2. Roland, your stamina amazes me! I marvel at how you've kept this story up and made it so interesting for so long. I don't think I'd have the discipline :-)

  3. What Sangu said! I barely have time to read the installments, I don't know how you're able to write them given your other responsibilities. But to quote Death: "The universe is too vast to comprehend. Just ride the tide, do not try to drink it, or you will drown." I will follow this advice, accept, read and continue to enjoy. Thanks Roland.

  4. only wish is for a pic of Death...naked of course.

    Call me sick, but for some reason I can't shake the vision of, say...Angelina Jolie in her birthday suit...nothing but tattoos and wings.

    Funny...Death isn't quite so scary anymore. And I need a drink:)

  5. Word Crafter : Tomorrow's post has Death coming for the "landlord" of this brothel. Don't miss it.

    Sangu : I gave you the setting, occupation, and random word on your own blog. Hope you enjoy.

    VR : I couldn't abide THE PASSAGE. I have the ghost of Mark Twain critique it in my post : PROSE AS A BLUNT INSTRUMENT :

    Plotting this story gives me something to focus on during late hour blood runs. Thanks for liking my writing.

    Elliot : Yes, Angelina Jolie would make for an impressive Death. As for her being naked, I don't need a drink ... I need a cold shower!

  6. Loved Twain's quip, “Oh you mean treat them like the government treats us.”

    Nice injection of humor:) And so true!

    Again, wonderful storytelling...

  7. "...and sanctuary for lost souls like Roland..." Interesting that Death refers to you as lost.

    "I don't define. I just care." Love this. What if we all could do this? Something to aspire to.

    The mystery unfolds, that rebel, Olivia

  8. I'm so slow in catching up! I'll have more time at the end of this week. I love what I've read so far, though. :)

    PS--I have an award waiting for you on my blog if you have a chance to stop by.

  9. Roland, I missed your comments on my entry on my Change Blogfest. :(

  10. Poignant descriptive narrative here - and the last couple posts. I'm sorry I'm not keeping up.

    Roland you write the devastation of humanity in such haunting, realistic terms. I am moved by your insights. The suffering one sect is willing to inflict upon another is heartbreaking.

    I've always admired your emotive voice. Such desperation and hope combined. Lovely for its eloquence, and revolting in it vision. Beautifully executed.


  11. And when all powerful beings get naked, ya know the shits hitting the fan!

    And I can see Angelina or Tilda Swinton (Narnia/Constentine). Different looks but I can see death living in both of their forms.