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by Bertrand Cayzac

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À la version originale

Chapter 2 : Floozman and the Old Lady

part 2 of 2

“Very well. Arrange a procession and quickly purchase a large field for the wedding,” answers Floozman. “Up there on the crest of the hill.”

Mrs. Maïté comes back and hands her old Jerusalem Bible to Vera.

Lo and behold! At soon as the young woman opens the book, a circle of fire forms around the block. Muffled screams are heard in the crowd and above the rumbling flames Vera’s voice rises and becomes a chant.

“Listen Floozman! Listen, all! Read, Mrs. Maïté! Start anywhere you want.”

And with her clear tiny voice, Mrs. Maïté reads a paragraph. Although the words are in her language, none can recognize their meaning more than confusedly, at edge of the mind where speech and noise part.

Mrs. Maïté reads with pleasure, then jubilation. All of a sudden, she cries out, “This is it! But not at all... I mean, this is not the same Bible!

“This is the bible of the future. Such as it shall be revealed to the children of these children. And to yours, and to those of each of your parents. The Word...”

At that moment, the fire alarm rings.

* * *

Meanwhile at the police station, a young inspector leans back heavily on his chair. “I can’t find anything, boss. But who is this guy?”

“The Rolls belongs to a lawyer, fine. The bills are authentic, recent notes, but they don’t tell us anything, either. The card transactions are made on the account of the lawyer’s father, who is an associate partner. Nothing wrong there.

“We have to understand before escalating. We can’t proceed otherwise. Catch him as you can. He will end up doing something stupid, anyway.”

“What do we do, then?”

“Out! I’d rather see you in the field than on your damned computers.”

Doors are slammed. Police alarms blare.

* * *

Before the firemen’s eyes, Floozman and Mrs. Maïté emerge from the steam curls, laughing, followed by the young ladies. The house is intact, golden and streaming with water.

“Everything is all right!” Floozman calls out to the crowd where the Floozboys are already, repeating “It’s all right” while slipping bills into limp hands.

All of a sudden, as if magnetized by the warm radiance of the walls, the mob marches on the house.

At this moment, the Rolls turns the corner of the block and stops.

“Step in, now!”

Quickly the Floozboys deploy a cannon bill and fire-pressurized notes on the mob which scatters instantaneously while Floozman and his friends are escaping.

At a crossroad on Main Street, a funeral procession gives them precedence.

* * *

Now the Rolls is rolling across fields. Behind it, radios buzz and crackle. In a packed column, police reinforcements are leaving town at full speed. Around them, wheat and giant corn stalks are waking up to the evening fragrances, indifferent, cosmic, shivering.

“They have cut across country!” yaps a young cop.

“Like Bonnie and Clyde!” answers his female partner.

“What do we do?”

”Let’s catch them by the D931, after the Super Shoes store!”

“But we can’t see the Super Shoes! It must be here somewhere!”

Indeed the horizon is drawing back. The crest vanishes in the distance, yielding to an immense plain. At a fantastic speed, the black road extends itself to infinity while grain silos rise to become fantastic blind towers erected against the sky.

This is the hour when the rich farmer’s daughter gets dressed up to go to town.

The glow-worms are encrypting around the house a peaceful message addressed to her father. It says: “You who live in a fold of time, you who led cattle with the old Maudru, lend us please the use of a path. Let us confound the powers of daylight...”

Suddenly, Floozman appears in the middle of a wheat field. The column stops and deploys along the bank after taking time for coordination. Policemen come out of their cars and aim their guns at him.

The tall silhouette walks toward them. At each step it unfolds and splits in two so that every policeman is soon confronted with Floozman.

“Freeze or we shoot! First warning!” shouts the lieutenant.

“You crossed the state border!” announce the Floozmen.

“Stop... er... Stop this nonsense! You are under arrest!”

“The only solution is to die?” says a Floozman to the seventy-eight others.

“What wrong have we done?” asks each Floozman to his policeman.

“You set fire to Mrs. Maïté’s house! You disturbed public order.”

“The house did not burn. We did no harm. We did not get any profit from this illusion,” answers each Floozman peacefully.

Now that their eyes are accustomed to the shadow, the policemen can see the blue skin and the lawyer’s robe of the infinitely rich standing before them. They also see his prodigious androgynous beauty...

“That is true, boss. The house is intact.”

“And your laws don’t punish the illusionist.”

Each Floozman takes a step towards his policeman. The glow-worms are now producing a heady music.

“Second warning!” yells the lieutenant. The radios keep on buzzing faintly. Despite everything, the policemen let themselves be approached and taken by the arm. Worse! The Floozmen are dragging them into the heart of the cultivation, in different directions.

“Let’s talk. Or dance a logical and juridical dance,” they propose.

The farmer’s daughter is gliding on the road in her silver coupé. In the hollow of the field and in the woods beyond, amazing couples are dancing and talking.

We believe that constellations are vaulted along the earth curve, but this is not true.

* * *

Meanwhile in the twilight, the little group is climbing the hill, followed at a distance by the crowd. The breeze swells Floozman’s black coat. For a short time Basil’s motorcycle flies by the crest as if to meet the evening star rising in the indigo sky.

At the top, black-dressed women are already hauling long white tablecloths out of the flank of helicopters lying in the grasses. Victual boxes are unloaded. Men in tank tops are stacking barrels. On a round stone, others are slaughtering beasts and collecting blood.

Soon high fires light the whole field. In freshly dug pits, entire sheep and beef are being roasted.

Silent machines finish building terraces on the hillside. As soon as they are levelled, these alveoli are paved with golden tiles; then marble tables are erected. Blue silk tents are deployed and adorned with flower garlands where insects settle. Banners dance in the evening wind.

Similar to these in their slender spectral body, Clara and Vera are in the sky with diamonds. Conniving, they will extend all the blessings of that world on Quitteria and Basil’s union when a little later the children will embrace each other in the long grass, offering to the night pollens the pale sweetness of their naked skin.

The moon rises.

“Look up!” cries Floozman and he points to ten new helicopters shooting up from behind the crest, adorned with innumerable lights. The people are coming!


[Prestige sequence begins]

Valentino Enciennada and the actress Flora Dupont, whom he has been dating since last week, are the first to descend from the helicopter. She is naked but for the Carfu drape in translucent golden micro fibres girding her loins and colorized by the neo-constructivist designer Lounar Chatsky. Valentino is wearing a raw plastic dinner jacket, quite relaxed.

They are followed by Cynthia Roquepy, very fresh in her Pantin suit. She has come alone but she visibly sympathizes with the Broom brothers, who have kept their Primi tennis outfits. They are heading to the V.I.P. Tivoli, where a Provençal buffet set out by Boudiou himself awaits them.

The second helicopter lands gracefully, the sliding door opens and... Yes! It is the intrepid Indira Shopping who pushes open the heavy panel. She is superb in the corolla of her bell-shaped dress designed by Zulfy. In spite of her recent divorce, she smiles to the photographers and we have to admire the courage of this young woman carried too fast to the summits of cinema

[Prestige sequence end]

“Mrs. Maïté, when you were a teenager, you used to love Rock ’n Roll, true?”

“Oh yes! I did love it!”

“I picture you on the verandah... You liked to hear Elvis’s voice filling the evening when the first stars trembled above a peaceful countryside. You were waiting for your lover, who was a long time coming, so long was the road from a city to another.

“Large dark strips of land lay between them while the vibration of the warm song seemed to extend to the entire continent. A fertile continent as filled with promises as an immense, unknown planet. He was driving to you in the summer night, his hair in the wind, and the air had a smell of time as in the valleys of Mars on a certain evening.”

“Elvis... Oh yes!” says Maïté clapping her hands.

“Today, such nights may not materially exist anymore in the universe. However, their faint echo is still propagating itself. It subsists mostly in the continuum nodes that correspond to the secondary foci of all the ellipses that could have been formed at that time in the same referential, taking as a first focus the spatio-temporal coordinates of the very place where you kissed your lover: on the verandah or on the stair since you came down a few steps to welcome him. These wave packets are in motion and, God willing, we will pick them up and materialize them for a few moments. Do you see, Mrs. Maïté?”

At this moment, the Voice speaks. A white helicopter is now lying by the stage. Its round, open door evokes the rocket in ‘Mickey on the Moon’. On the plasma screens dancing against the constellations, Elvis appears in his body of glory.

“Elvis’ ghost!”

“Mrs. Maïté,” says Elvis, looking at her from everywhere. “We are full of days, and we are happy. I want to live with you in death, and this is my song for you all tonight,” he cries out to the invited.



“I wanna live with you through death.”

The night vibrates gently, deep down into the bones. Mrs. Maïté looks Floozman straight in the eyes, smiling. She embraces him strongly, then sinks into his arms.

“I am happy...”

Then, without a word and without turning back, she moves lightly towards the stage, her naked feet barely touching the grass.

“And leave the grave far beneath...”

The flames screen the white silhouette from Floozman’s sight. Or is it the flames that he sees through Mrs. Maïté’s pale spectrum?

“You’ll be mine forever...”

The Voice gets lost in helicopters’ rustle brought by a gust of wind. The tree tops tremble. Around the buffet crumbling under victuals, uneasy inspectors watch the sky, a cup of champagne in hand.

“T.V. is coming!” says a Floozboy.

“Party! Party! Now!” answers Floozman.

Directions are given straightaway. Elvis and the Floozboys start a sidereal “Jailhouse Rock” revival. Mrs. Maïté is quietly waiting in the moonlight by the small white helicopter.

The crowd is dancing frenetically. The Floozboys are at the consoles. The sound becomes solid and percussive in its low frequencies. All of a sudden, a bunch of reporters succeeds in sneaking close to Floozman.

“Mr. Floozman, you are organizing this event. What is the meaning of such a party?”

“Mr. Floozman, nobody knows your identity. When will you reveal your face?” asks a blonde journalist with a very professional attitude.

“The body of an old woman was just found on the other side of the crest. What will you do about that?”

Floozman looks for a way out and sees the sky turning blue in the east. The Floozboys try to contain the crowd flow.

“We need a morning shift. We need... we must dispatch drugs so that the guests can experience the dawn. It is beautiful. Bring them back to the tents and into the sofas. We need... we forgot the L.S.D, the poems! It is too late...”

“Good morning. I am Jeremy Dru, from Raviparty magazine. How do you manage to get authorizations so fast despite the recent tightening of regulations?”

Floozman has a vision of the immediate future. The ground is littered with garbage, tablecloths are stained, animal grease is congealing in the empty plates. Faces are marked by fatigue. Music pulses indefinitely without any spirit.

Further, Mrs. Maïté’s withered but dignified body lies in the grass. Her nice white dress is spread around her, and her jewels bespeak her struggle against age. There is not enough wind in the banners, not enough purity in the daylight, not enough grandeur... He sees headlines in the local paper.

He feels dizzy. Reluctantly, he distinguishes and analyses every question. Every utterance forces its way to his excited reason. Multiple responses form against his will, dividing the flow of his thoughts. A part of his mind computes and ponders. He wants to speak, but he is not himself anymore. A chasm opens up before these streams which carry him dowards, ever smaller and weaker towards a haze.

The people are already leaving like a flock of sparrows. Roadies and technical staff bump into the little group. Police alarms resound.

“How much is a party like this?”


“Hurry! The smoke machine!” cries a Floozboy.

Pscchhhhhhhh... A green mist spurts out and engulfs the hills like a northern Pacific fog. Through the thick smoke, amid the confusion, the Floozboys evacuate Fred Looseman.

A moment later, a bunch of engineers emerge unnoticed, arms loaded with equipment. Only Fred Looseman is smiling.

In the sunlight, a small white helicopter moves away and vanishes. A blazing reflection forms an ellipse on the screen.

Copyright © 2008 by Bertrand Cayzac

Open Challenge 297...

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