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Amber Paulen


From The Body’s Long Madness, Part 4, pg. 187 to 189:

Paul does come over. He doesn’t bring gifts, like Andrew used to do, just himself, figuring, that is all Arianna wants anyway. They sit in the living room, sharing a joint and some drinks with Valerie, who, eventually patters away to the ‘Private Room’ for some privacy, her journal and her books. When Klaus exits via Cicerone for the night he strides by the living room; he glares through the open double-doors; he keeps daggered eyes on gentle Paul and the company he chooses to keep. There are no Germans at via Cicerone tonight; all of them having heard the sad news: all are consoling the cheated-on girlfriend by buying her drinks.

Arianna can’t help but to flaunt her victory before the shocked Germans; like a young child who can’t help but to antagonize the eldest until the eldest surely splits and bursts. And split Klaus does! What! with all that incessant moaning dripping through the stone-echos of hallway, leering out from the infinitesimal crack under the double-doors. . . as if she suspends her paroxysm until she hears the jingling of keys. “How could she?” Klaus and Monika whisper and shake their heads before curling together separately in their marital bed. That slut! That tramp! That licentious whore!

To make matters worse, to send Klaus’ already hyper-ebullience to super-boiling, the following evening, as he strolls again by those open double-doors, catching his eye, going in. . . a condom! a used condom! smack in the center of the floor. That bitch! That trollop! That odalisque of crudely mythical proportions! What does she think this place is? Some kind of harem, that harlot! Some kind of whore-house, that slut! Which I pay for? If Arianna is going to sleep with my friend’s boyfriend, ex-boyfriend thanks to her, at least she could have the courtesy to clean up, to not go around shoving the fact in everyone’s face. Klaus is on fire. The vehemence seeps from him; hot and destructive lava down a smoldering volcano; burning all reason that stands in its tortured way.

He can’t hold it in. Klaus paces the living room. He stares down at that limp condom; letting his mind take him; his imagination running wild with him: there is Arianna holding her steamy pussy, forcing poor Paul into it, forcing him down, forcing him to take it. The poor guy, Klaus thinks. He didn’t want to do it. It was her! Her! Her rampant sex! Her gross and distorted mind! She’s not a normal female with normal sex sentiments. She uses men like socks, slipping them into her for the night; taking her pleasure like a merciless siren. She could even fuck a man without a head as long as the body kept on fucking. Klaus’ mind runs away with him, through the deviltries of sex without restraints: what Arianna represents for him. . .the evil of women, of women only out for the fucking.

Klaus paces the hallway. Klaus paces the kitchen. He paces the floor. He has no plans for the night but Oh! he wishes he did. He wants a reason to run out of via Cicerone, but he is stuck. He is pacing the floor. He is glued down to his racing images and his pounding agitation for revenge. Revenge for all men! He paces the floor. He formulates.

Bzzzt! the buzzer sounds. It’s Valerie. That’s good. She is a sponge into which he may safely vent.

She enters via Cicerone after meeting with Isaac for a brief afternoon. He is replacing the role of friend with hash-dealer.

The seething, now scarlet-faced man, intersects Valerie before she can make any clean retreat. She senses his almost bestial energies churning rampant, she smells his seething: “What’s wrong Klaus?” Valerie gets out before he can formulate a word.

What’s wrong?“ he chokes, taking a breath on the surface of the clarity that seems to be coming. “Arianna. . . did you know-”

Valerie interrupts him. She knows what is coming. “Yes Klaus, I know. Did you ever think that Paul actually likes her? Did that ever cross your mind?”

“Well. . . no-”

“It should have. There is nothing wrong with Paul and Arianna having sex. You should leave them both alone.”

“But she hurt my friend and that is a treachery I can’t let be. They were together for a long time, you know.”

“And now they are apart. It’s not Arianna’s fault. I hear that it was a shitty relationship anyway, and that your friend also admitted that this split is for the best.”

“That’s not what I wanted to talk about.” Pause. “I want to show you something.”

Klaus leads them to the living room where he points down at the crusted condom so sad and simply repentant, on the floor. Just then keys are heard fumbling in the lock. Valerie can feel Klaus’ muscles tense in the currents that jolt besides her; like a warrior, seconds before the anticipated, blood-curling battle-cry.

“Hello everyone!” Arianna cheerfully says; walking in, her hands are laden with groceries. “How are you Klaus?” she asks, making the sweetness ooze from her mouth, all honey and cloves. She walks directly to the kitchen so that she may lighten her load. Arianna’s presence has rendered Klaus still. Shaking himself deftly, he walks swiftly after her, his footsteps sound down the stone hall.

“I need to know something Arianna,” he demands, awkward in his fury. Bringing her back to the abomination at hand. Now three by-standers gape at the relic abused, on the floor. “What is that!?

“Now Klaus,” Arianna responds in that same sickly-sweet sarcastic tone. “That’s a condom. It’s to ensure my uterus won’t ensnare Paul’s progeny any time soon.”

“It’s in the middle of the living room floor!” His turbulence and storm. “I pay to live here. You need to respect that. You need to clean it up!”

“Klaus, you are obviously in no state for civilities. We can talk about all this later. Go calm down. Go get a drink or something, I’ll even pay for it.” But Klaus is already out the door; he is the tempest on the end of a short fuse.

As soon as the resounding slam settles in the stones, Arianna lets out an almost witchy laugh, a cackle of sorts, low and raspy, it lingers beneath her calmly drawn breath. “He is funny isn’t he?” Arianna turns back to the kitchen, to her groceries and to her cigarettes.

It takes Klaus days to get over the condom. It takes Paul coming around one night for drinks and smokes; he joins his German judges sitting around the kitchen table; he’s brought gifts of truce. It takes days, after Klaus bends down to remove the atrocity himself, as Arianna’s solution is kicking the condom indignantly off into a corner. “Only Joseph can make me clean anything,” Arianna explains to Valerie as they lay their passive bodies under the good-will of the sun. But mostly it takes Elina to wipe clean all that piss and vinegar; Elina with her angelic smile and yellow-haired halo; Elina, suffering at the hands of wicked men. Elina: fair, pure and chaste; like women were meant to be.

Bracciano Italia
February 2008

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