Miss Sedative & Co
The four of us were sitting outside on the pool terrace, with a mojito in hand, desperately trying to find a common topic for conversation.
“Arcadio, where did you learn to create such a high wave of sexual latitudes? It was quite incredible,” Martha asked, testing my reaction or perhaps out of idle curiosity.
“Just following the wind, sweetheart,” he grinned.
The high-security guard of the pool area, the armadillo Jack, walked past me and crammed himself into a small box (that looked like a coffin) under the terrace table. He was utterly exhausted. Watching him suffer made me happy.
It was weird being surrounded by the two people I disliked the most, but the energy around me, the cloud of secretness, made me stay. I wanted to know more about the Gunung Kinabalu Kingdom, Screw Quarter universe, and how it all worked. I hoped that the hot-tempered games in the pool were the way to find out the answer.
I don’t know how long we lay there, drained out of all strength. I heard the clumped steps and turned my head to the sound. With a silver bell on his foot, a peacock of exceptional beauty came out of the darkness, blocking the moonlight. Armadillo Jack jerked up and headed towards it. The peacock didn’t look very surprised, so I assumed that they had met before.
I was still chewing the last ice cubes from my mojito when the Sheriff, who hadn’t said a word after our dynamic swim in the pool, stood up and announced: “I was impressed by your brush, Doctor Harmless. But I must ask you to visit the intimate salon of Ms. WickedBreaker, to have a professional cut for our next close-up session.”
Arcadio stared at me like I’d grown a second penis. I felt confused and anxious; my face flashed in all possible nuances of red.
“Such a pity we don’t have enough time to re-group our positions. Hopefully, we’ll continue at the Dope party,” she added.
I was ‘chocked’ by her comment: the blood under my skin raised to the level of rapid simmer. One more nasty mention would make my heart explode. Seeing my erratic convulsions, Sherriff patted my wet hair, leaned closer, and whispered: “I must confess, just the look of it terrified me. I have unusually sensitive skin, too.”
“About time,” laughed Martha. “I told you when we first met. If you’d listened, you’d have saved yourself from heartache, Bullet.”
The Sheriff left our company, but her mean note was playing on the repeat in my head as a roar of bitterness and fury.
The rays of light started to pick out from the East, and the Screw Quarter woke up to life. Arcadio proposed to help me to get safely to the house of Ms. Sedative. I tried to convince him that I was the best in the orientation class in college and asked him to draw me a map of the Death Tower, but he declined. I felt like a bull harnessed to a cart, with a cabman holding a whip behind my back: what could be worse than that? From the other side, I knew I’d never find the road to the Death Tower on my own. Not in these crazy jungles of the ‘femme_fatale_population.’
We made our way through the streets, drowning in the sounds of the shouting women about champagne baths, belly dance lessons, triple nails painting, emerald-green eye patches for the wrinkles. The closer we got to the Death Tower of the mysterious Ms. Sedative, the more the rhythm of the streets changed: the voices became more profound, heavier, full of dreamless, esoteric moans, and weirdly shaped, extravagant, mascaraed costumes.
The house of Ms. Sedative was a plantation-style villa with a small white citadel on the top floor. Four pavilions embraced a lengthy pool, designed in Ralph York’s Caribbean style with cushioned rattan chairs, maritime art, hurricane lamps, and a vast old-fashioned dining hall with custom-made wallpaper. I waved goodbye to Arcadio Hardstone, who was very stressed near the house. He muttered something about getting back in time to the pool to stop his lovely friend, armadillo Jack, from killing a local peacock. It was unusual to see Arcadio so worried, and I wondered why I still cared for him after his mad accusations.
I stepped inside – the dining hall was quiet and empty. Still, someone snored upstairs. I knew exactly where the wheeze was coming from. Carefully, like a tiger, I climbed up to the last floor, facing the door to the Death Tower, the last obstacle to my privacy. I grabbed the doorknob. Suddenly, Alex Raphael opened the door from inside with a cup of hot liquid in his hand.
“Ah, it is you… Surprised to see you, Alex. How did you get here? I need a good breakfast, a shower, and lots of rest.” The weakness of my voice alerted him.
“I have no idea. I remember climbing out of Hamilton’s car, but before and after that – only dim flashes.” He paused. “We don’t have a shower, but please, come in.”
Alex Raphael welcomed me into the citadel of poverty and disaster. In the middle of the room slept Captain Happy, naked, on a smudged, wet, old mattress. The kettle was boiling on the floor in the far corner, spreading the aroma of oblivion and loss all around.
“Awful setting. What’s next for you? Are you planning to find and locate your tourist group or maybe write a new book?” I joked.
“I’m going to work as a personal assistant for King Hamilton. She is planning to publish a historical memoir about her deceased father. Don’t worry, Mr. Harmless, I’m moving out to the American West Palace this afternoon.”
“What is the American West Palace?” I asked with envy.
“Where kings live, of course…”
We went out to the narrow two-square-meter balcony and sat side by side, breathing deeply, hating each other.
“Hamilton asked me to replace, at least for a couple of weeks, the priest of their Non-Binary Church. She begged me last night, hm, in her private rooms…” Alex Raphael paused. “I couldn’t say ‘no’ after the second rough round. She knows how to make us, men, agree.”
I made a slight shrug.
He continued, “I was able to save your photo, though. And the book.”
Alex stood up, pulled out a crumpled picture from the pocket of his shorts, and placed it on my lap. From the photo smiled the one and only Margaret Thatcher. I hugged the shabby piece of paper, chaotically reciting the prayers I heard in my childhood.
The dream about peace was disturbed by the rattle on the door. Alex opened, inviting inside the lady of remarkable elegance, our host Ms. Sedative.
Her magical charm was supported by three other angels – Dinkie Dow, Blanca Speed, Spider Blue – who, without hesitation, jumped into the bed of the already awake Captain Happy.
“You are too perfect,” I whispered, astonished by the brilliance of Ms. Sedative.
“It’s mother nature’s gift,” she replied, “and a skill mixed with money. More of skill and money, I’d say.”
I didn’t care. We stood and chatted for a couple of minutes. I made a compliment about her beautiful mansion. She answered that her smoking area is even neater, fully renovated with a high-powered telescope, an intoxicating sauna, a magic whiskey brewery, and a self-discovery bed court.
“A telescope? What for?” I asked, surprised.
“To relax after a hard day of saving this Kingdom from madness.”
I nodded and glanced at Alex Raphael, hoping to get some help, but he was busy entertaining our new arrivals – Holly Terror and Candy de Beast. The two young women brought with them a strange kind of fungus, full of the most lethal microbes, which, as they gladly explained, had been regularly used for a political purpose along the southeast coast of Screw Quarter. It was killing 1.5 million people every year in the other countries, too.
”Holly shit…” I mumbled.
After an unintentional dance with Ms. Sedative, I started to see little red dots everywhere I looked. I could touch tiny particles of dust. I could see beyond Neptune, seven billion miles away, beyond the Kuiper Belt, where my true love, Sobekneferu, resided. I felt trapped in the net of gross absurdist comedy, shifting my shapes, shouting about the desire to become a fossil, then seeing the astronauts passing above, waving and smiling. By the end of the evening, I had transformed into a Zombie of the Death Tower, incapable of conscious movements and designed to grow in one place only. Though, extremely slowly…
Within 68 minutes of communication with Holly and Candy, I improved my tantric techniques and started to believe that my sexual abilities might be immortal.
The next three newcomers – Tootsie Heavens, Peth Backwards, and Drowsy High – convinced me that I could last underwater for a few million seconds, suggesting an experiment, during which they’d sit on top of my lungs filled with a homemade soup from coyotillo berries that usually cause paralysis.
Like fleeting smoke, the room vanished. I couldn’t predict anymore what was going to happen next. An ear-splitting scream woke me up, notifying me of the arrival of another of Ms. Sedative’s servants.
“My name is Cecil Rippers. What a comfortable-looking place. I’m going to change that,” she said.
Her words left me speechless. Ms. Rippers smiled with an expression of satisfaction and declared her latest discovery that dinosaurs aren’t dead. I believed her.
It’s safe to say that I was ready for a Dope yacht party…
P.S. The girls’ names are slang words for different kinds of drugs.
Next post – Day 16: A haircut selection