"Why? Why did you come here?” they asked her, almost incredulously, but their questions were also mixed with a sense of profound fear and admiration. Some of them quaked in her presence knowing a little of what she was about and less of where she had been. The reporters attending her event wanted to know; they always wanted to know, and usually the most inane details, everything that was beside the point, tangential. She sighed internally and wished she could unleash her media Blitzkrieg (more like the “Schlieffen plan”) now, at this moment. She could hardly bear waiting any longer and felt the craving coming on. Were all paid speaking engagements this grueling? Maybe she could roll everybody after the speech.
This was a tough crowd, descended from European cave dwelling mutants who could detect the faintest scent of blood in the air, real sharps, sharks would cower when they were around. To show any signs of humanity could compromise her overarching philosophical agenda, triggering a genuine Mexican standoff before its time. Surprise was everything. Was her cheater showing? The waiting was killing her, but it was better this way. Had she remembered to tell the help to pack her .9mm with laser sighting and intelligent ammunition along with the sarong, the first editions of Rand, and the collected speeches of Lenin? She had. She chuckled that rednecks believed what she wrote and said when they were all from different worlds, but believe her they did, the rubes. What was most amazing was that these were the people fooling everyone else.
The attendees all looked slick, too slick, in fact, to be human. Some came running. Others were gathered there, the suits, in a peculiar semi-circle, chanting some strange and factually incorrect mantra about Adam Smith; it sounded more like a reunion of the outer heads of the O.T.O. to her, and it grated upon this realization. There are no Secret Chiefs. She knew that the core secret of Western Civilization was that no one was in control. The rest was a myth, but you could have some fun on the way back down into the mire if you played your cards right like the rest of the squalid nihilists. Only the eternal moment and objects mattered, and how useful they were.
Their clothing was of the finest materials, tailored as close to perfection as this life's gonna get, brother. Most were wearing lightweight body armor and held high security clearances because of who they were; 93.7% of them hadn't slept with their wives in over a decade. They were entitled. Their innermost collective secret was that their suits fit so well that you felt naked, and this was very true; they were feeling the love, higher than kites, clutching a staggering variety of mixed, hard drinks and packing powerful narcotics that were illegal for everyone else when she first entered the complex.
Some of them were CEOs, others bankers, and they all agreed that if the public--never mind their underlings and the redneck petit bourgeois--ever knew how truly freewheeling their lifestyles were they might view them as communists and hippies. The reality is, in their own sick, twisted, degenerated, and delusional style, they really were, ensconced in a cocoon of free market self-deceit and a smokescreen for the little people to chew on. The old methods weren't bringing in the dazzling profits anymore, so communism it would be, but just for them. They enjoyed lying to each other and considered it a form of sex. They lied so much that whatever the lie was, it became true on accident most of the time, except that that route was delivering less all of the time. Nothing was real, but they weren't all born liars. Lying requires those first baby steps forward, and these were real monkeys, this lot. The first one is always the hardest, they say, but it gets easier each time...lying that is, not combat kills or the behaviors of people like Ted Bundy, a serial killer who nearly became a Republican congressman from Washington state, a real “ladies man”. The others that got further than Bundy were able to hide the bodies better, with considerable effort, but old habits die hard.
“Why?” another smarmy attendee demanded again.
“Thee ansower ees wary simpal,” she said, and giggled (and snorted) falsely in her Slavic accent, “bud yoo weel haff' to wade for eemportant messaage forst.” Was it a Slavic accent? At times it seemed to waver in-and-out of that and a Germanic inflection. In an instant, a holographic advertisement appeared to fly dramatically out of one of their ears and half of them pondered the effects of the new technology on the human psyche but then wrote it off since questioning it might cost them a promotion down the line. These holograms were creepy because they appeared so real, so solid, as though they even emanated normal ambient sound that all objects make and which we sense almost subliminally. Of course, it wasn't real, but neither were any of their social interactions, so who cared? Not them. Still, they all persisted over why she had come to America.
“Greed?” queried one of the journalists in a dramatic non sequitur that had everyone agog. He was forcibly removed by two men in Chekist-style leather jackets with earpieces and a criminal record that was thicker than the Paris directory or even Department of Homeland Security contractors.
They showed no emotion when they first grabbed him, then dragged his person into a nearby warehouse, never to be seen or heard from again. His person was not pleased, but that was his tough shit. They continued on. They all looked to her with half-earnest yearning: in other words, only because they might get something out of it for free. The expulsions were thrilling, possibly one of the few existentialist realizations they would ever experience in their miserable, gray lives. A few of them were Rotarians, so they knew the drill, understood it's permutations, exalted its psychobabble, and pronounced it “marketable”.
“Sowry, yore juss'goink to haff to wade!” she said with equanimity and a trace of murderous annoyance, but only in her eyes, those windows to the soul, and hers were clouded. Her mind raced, and she beheld a superimposition of her thoughts of the Italian Christian Democrat, Giulio Andreotti--his visage--over the gathered attendees. In an instant, the thought form was gone.
They all waited some more, and in no time, the commercial's message was clear: there was something missing from their lives. Yes, they could feel it, and they all began drinking heavily, which was normal for most of them anyway. Some began breaking-out mainlining-kits, cocaine paraphernalia (including a few rolled-up Franklins), while others began having religious conversions and began quaking, speaking in tongues, and other forms of deviant sexual intercourse disguised through ritual.
“Yoo see, deer ees a rea-son why I haff called yoo heer dis' even-ink.” and she paused dramatically.
“Because 'someone's been murdered?' ” asked one of them, without thinking first. He'd been spotted and tagged as a known heckler at concerts for over three decades and Karma had finally come-a'-knockin'.
“Zer ees now!” she spat back, and the two nondescript men returned, this time grinning. “I'm gonna enjoy dis' one.” said the shorter one, and his fist made instantaneous contact with the journalist, breaking their jaw and his hand. “OK, maybe I'm not going to enjoy this, shit!” and held his hand in the crook of his arm as though he had a sling on it. Both the reporter and the goon were dragged to the warehouse and never seen nor heard from again.
“Wow, she's not fucking around, is she?” said someone in a voice that appeared to be emanating from everywhere and nowhere.
She continued: “Yoo may now ask questshuns.” and they gathered at her feet. She felt nothing but contempt for them, which was appropriate considering her escape from...and what of her actual last name? Why did she change it, and why the specific WASP surname? She'd never tell anyone, not on your life, man. Her thoughts floated to the image of a bottle of Pernod, and she warmed to it.
“Why, then, madam, did you come to these here U-ni-ted States?” asked an 87 year old Rotarian. He was wearing a bandolier over his Armani suit, kept pushing his horn-rimmed glasses back up his nose, and recalled that he needed to pay his American Legion dues for next year.
“Zat ees eazy wun for to ansower. Yoo see, een A'murka, you haff thee right to be wrongk, and eet pays goot too!”
“Is that it?” asked a young woman who had been walking past.
“Da. Zer ees mohr: yoo can say whad the fuck yoo want here too...”