Floozman: First Episode
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Part 11: The Sleeping Beauty
part 1 of 4
“With a scandalous abundance, he brings deliverance.”
Fred Looseman used to be the head risk assessor at World Wide Credit Corporation and the chairman of the Anti-Money Laundering Commission. Now he works as an automated teller machine repairman.
Sometimes he hears voices, and sometimes what he hears moves him to tears. His bank account overflows with the money of deliverance, and he becomes a financial super-hero: Floozman.
A few feet from the shore, the car radio is playing an old favorite by The Beach Boys. At the Rhine Bar, young athletes are shaking horned swimming flippers. Fred is standing by the water. He has left his clothes on the car seat, except for his shirt, which he has refused to take off.
“Come, come and have a swim with us,” the girls call to him.
“I am too fat and ugly. I’d rather stay here and watch you.”
The current is very strong, the river is sparkling, the young maidens’ white skin streams with water when they rise from the river.
“No you’re not. Come on...”
A sound of rotor blades. Police helicopters appear upstream. Behind him Fred hears Siegfried.
“Come on, Looseman! This is your last chance, don’t be a fool.”
He turns around. Melanie and Siegfried are closing in, escorted by armed and hooded agents.
“The squad will take you back to the hotel. You’ll be safe.”
Downstream, huge white globules are skimming up the river towards the village, hunting for fugitives.
“Come with us, Fred, and you will live our gleeful life!” cheers Flosshilde.
In a violent explosion, the castle’s high tower flies into pieces. Ashen stones fall in the river; Siegfried’s escort shoots at foes that Fred cannot see. Melanie is lying on the ground.
Fred moves back into the Rhine step by step. He feels a large round stone under his foot. The sensation is so inviting that he briskly pushes himself in the increasingly cool and rapid current.
He leans into the water. The movement gently floats his genitals against his thigh. The algae stroke his ankles again, and then he feels a friendly hand on his arm and perhaps the light touch of a breast on his back. It is Woglinde, the one with such dazzling teeth.
“Come, Fred, come with us.”
“You’ve given up everything, haven’t you, Fred? Love and power?” asks Wellgunde.
“I am old and they fired me... I had no choice,” Fred recalls, laughing. “But yes, I give up everything...”
He gives up as the current carries them away.
A great confusion prevails on the shore and beyond. Walking on the waters, the lady of the river moves forward, straight into the fight. With a graceful gesture, she takes an arrow out of her quiver, nocks it, bends her bow and shoots the arrow to the sky.
Immediate explosions of intense heat and light. In a few seconds the tower disappears; fountains and arbors turn into a parking lot. A yard with modest flower beds emerges in front of a building, which huddles and covers itself with antennas, cables and signs. A road runs where the beach used to be. Over the doorway is the sign “Glützenbaum retirement home.”
Then she hovers over the Rhinemaidens, who are swimming with Fred.
“They came in such great numbers that quantum decoherence movements have stabilized a passage between the two states of the place. I’ve merely accelerated the process... Don’t stare at me like that! I’ll collapse it all, if you prefer.”
She points to Fred: “He’s harmless, after all. Take him to some safe place and meet me at base camp. I’m going into the caves, the dwarves could not keep the Romans out.”
“They aren’t Romans? Oh well, maybe. Whatever...” She flies away.
Then the three Rhinemaidens dive, dragging Fred down towards the river bed. “I’m gonna die,” he thinks. But immediately a stream of fine golden bubbles rises from the bottom and envelops them. Fred breathes this miracle and falls asleep.
At the same moment, the sarcophagus is gliding and yet not gliding in long corridors under the mountain. “Be thou lifted up, be thou lifted up, and hurled into the sea” hear the stones. “Do you believe it has happened?” asks every atom. The pine beams raised by the partisans centuries ago shake as the sarcophagus passes by; the rubies embedded in the stone vibrate silently.
The heavy metal casket picks up speed on a steep slope and breaks through where the tunnel approaches the surface; and then, diving again, it plunges into an underground channel. The groove shaped for its oblong form guides it as it floats towards the Rhine, towed by an invisible force.
At last, the casket comes to a halt in a large pool in the center of a round room adorned with frescoes. When the casket hits an abutment, its lid rumbles open, scaring away bats.
Time passes. The sun is hardly ten more degrees lower in the sky when Fred and the Rhinemaidens, carried along by blithesome conch-shaped effervescence, reach the mouth of an underwater cave.
“This way, sisters, there is a room where we can hide him.”
“Let’s swim, let’s swim.”
They swim in the gallery, they swim under the roads, under the vines up to the pool where they emerge. The golden bubble bursts out revealing the moldy frescoes on the rock face and on the vault.
“How beautiful!” exclaims Floshilde, discovering the mummy in the inner crystal coffin. A few bandages are still wrapped around its ankles and hips.
“She looks as though she were sleeping...”
“Let’s leave him with her. Maybe he will live.”
“Or maybe not, but there is no death,” adds Woglinde.
“Here is the opening. Let’s lay him by her side... How close they are, like lovers...”
The sun continues to set over the nearby river. Then night falls. The moon rises.
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