You rise to kill André. Pack a Luger heat tucked in your thick belt. In leather armor, straddle your Triumph motorbike with spit shined horsepower. Yesterday you caressed that motorbike thinking of what you have to do, you took the muck off the chrome and off your wheels deep groove to not leave tracks behind.
In near dawn, you swoosh from west to east, an incensed archangel delivering a doomsday forecast, blonde mane flames – fuck the Polizei! – the drizzle makes you invisible to the naked eye, slithering through the puddles, swiftly wrapping around the walls, the lilaceous bloated clouds suffocating the morning Berlin skies. Nothing cools your jets of emissary; your pixilated blue eyes lead the way.
Somewhere in the Kreuzberg, in Little Istanbul, fat little André gasps for air out of his makeshift cot, gets under a lukewarm shower and sips a lukewarm Nescafe, tiptoeing clumsily in the small quarters he temporarily shares with accidental acquaintances, some forced urgent relationships, only until today. He’s to leave. A discount airline takes off from Tegel mid morning. He has a ticket.
Cut off to you speeding up Mehringdamm, some traffic slowly coagulating in the crossroads without blocking them yet. The thrill of the kill spinal tabs adrenaline from your handsome neck to the base of your veiny cock shaft, and it injects down into your tank full of testosterone. No one fucks around with you. No whimpering sorry cunt boy of any consequence such as André.
You will fire at close range. There will be one moan of a fleshy mermaid drowning in her lipoid ocean surrounded by screeching minor sirens. This execution will surely be the one clean and sure thing to happen in André’s wretched life. Today, it is three weeks since the end of the TV reality show where you two had met.
André has an itch somewhere in his flabby self, or is it a presage? He had barely made it from the blandness and obscurity of being a quatre-cinq-zéro of Montreal suburbs. He moves with effort. He has overstayed his welcome in Berlin. Finally, he could raise the cash to fly a cheapo airlines back to Standsted and possibly back to Truedau soon after. His little cosmopolitan bubble has burst. Fly away you chubby Icarus! May the winds sweep you back to Canada! Half damped, he stretches a frayed t-shirt over his big head. The t-shirt squeals at being stretched but it doesn’t burst; fortunately, André’s lucky star shines on him at the strangest times.
Yeah, the lucky star and the reality show. That TV show was a perfect launching pad, Eurotrash TV for easy spender teenagers bored to tears with their aseptic rural life in the old continent – if that can be called “rural”. You know the kind of youngster: the who-bangs-what-brunette-behind the barn, or the who-fist-fights-over-what-cousin, the what-guy-scores-with-brown-chicks because that is all the pussy there is to go around for too many hefty German, Turkish, Polish male teens. The show format parlayed these petty dramas in fatuous glitter. Warm their nubile loins, enthuse their simpleton hearts, slip a plot-twist here and there to pull their tongues, border on the pornographic that Europeans toy with in the 6 o’clock news: raped children, 9” inch cock Africans, violent eastern Europeans and sex slave Muslim women but don’t cross the line. Audiences get off on what they cannot understand, ignorance is an aphrodisiac. Make this TV show classy but saucy.
The producers wanted London but had to settle for Berlin to stage this first multilingual pan-European TV fare and serve it hot in cool satellite dish. The Brits advertised it but stayed out of it – What is the fucking stick up their ass anyway? First, refusing to deal with the Euro, and now this? The TV show concept was didactic, not ideological; they have seen enough of that shit in these lands. The tinge was soft porn European with schmaltzy rocky musical intros and a glitzy modeling contract as the carrot at the end of the stick. Come together, talk crap, eat, drink, meander through these close circuit TV sets rigged with cameras and mikes, compete to win in some lame tests, and get horny vicious when the elimination night comes and the Vaseline host, a former Georgian porn star, expels the young one at a time from “Paradise Redux”, a three stories velvety bunker in suburban Berlin. Wer erfindet so einen Schwachsinn? Aber teenager werden es auf jeden fall total geil finden. Ha!
The TV reality show scheme was an unqualified success. Auditions were held in selected European cities and the youngsters lined up for hours, moths to a flame, in all tonalities, shapes, sizes, and heights. Hundreds of dull teenagers graced momentarily by the fleeting gleam of youth. They didn’t have to sing or dance or act or have a one-trick-talent or anything, just be “cool”, the lowest common denominator of the millennium. Only one would be chosen by the youth audience from all over Europe and from the sloth of their rooms by twittering away coprolalia on bejeweled cell phones. Screaming and waggling came the aspirants, the misfits, the minor harlots, the overblown gym bodies, and the bold and beautiful looking elongated in their Swiss precision, giggling porcelain Japanese French figures with miniskirts and Hello Kitty accessories, boys with matador hourglass waists from Andalucía and Malaga, and even Euskadi; stormy hairy mountainous Celts and Vikings with clumsy self-assurance, cosmopolitan lassies, Maltase, Cypriots, and alabaster Africans with elephant necks and bewildered eyes. And crestfallen left the rejects.
Thor, you came from Oslo, a beaming convector through fast highways. André, poor little André, tipped on the announcement on a flyer at Waterloo Station in London, drowned in the anonymity of the passing mob. André was studying literature in London, paid by his invalid mother in Quebec, her last wish for him before she died. Against his better judgment, he put together some of his meager allowance and came to Berlin.
A female producer used a clinical manicured polished nail to dissect the hopes of the candidates open as if she could pry inside them, cracking open their ribs on tenterhooks. “Paradise Redux” must be beautiful and pliable. They must bend, coil, and summersault into the most intoxicating fame ever. It requires greed in the arteries and veins – Ein bisschen naeher, mein Kind, damit ich Dich besser sehen kann. Thor, you always had the “star factor”, so did Almendra from Barcelona and Gerard from Paris and other seven contenders. London was the last city where they held auditions. At the last minute, one of the producers reckoned they needed a court jester, the customary repository of public prurient pity to complete the arch of human emotions in fashionable TV shows: euphoria, lust, greed, fear, cruelty, pain, and pity. As the cast off menagerie evacuated the London audition salon slowly, the producer clicked her heels and pointed to one last youngster lost in the crowd destined to oblivion. Du! Gekommen mit mir…please. A whiff of Escada on the air. Tongue-tied André followed her down the corridors. It was not available to him then to soothsay that someday someone would be crossing the Berlin morning to murder him. Fame takes its toll.
Now, forwarding fast goes your gorgeous tall nose - a hood ornament. Not a drop of sweat blemishes the erect pillar of your neck. If there is a drop, the drop shies away under your leather jacket, barely half an inch separated from your impeccable skin, your heaving chest, and the drop decants in those heavy golden dog tags that bear your name, Thor, the new brand line name for a dashing clothing line, Thor. Brushed iron, tobacco threads, and musk, this clothing line is a whole person concept involving the sensuality of young pulsating customers’ hands doling out the euros to be decked in your image, demeanor and size. You wheeze by billboards that bear your airbrushed image: concave hairless armpits, lips slightly open in paroxysm, solid rhomboids, cylinders, squares, and triangles form your architecture peaked by a flame of nearly white curls. You sure-footedly put on the brakes of your Triumph much the way you will put the break on André’s existence in just a few minutes. You arrive in the Little Istanbul area where you are worshipped as well. Fame is borderless.
A cup stumbles inside the cluttered sink. Squat rotund André hesitates in the dimmed light casted from a narrow high window. He is out of favor here, his Polish flat mates are eager to see him go back wherever the fuck he came from – who cares where. Suddenly, another noise, like an irate insect, screeches on the wall. It is the buzzer ringing and André runs to pacify it.
“Oui, I mean, André hier.”
“It’s Thor.” Your voice reverberates like the tolls of a cathedral bell through all of Andre’s fibers; it gushes down and swells up. “Come right down.” A man about to be executed gets neither a choice of final prayer nor of slayer.
André flies down the wooden steps in twos and threes without waiting for the iron cage lift to come and fetch him. His heart misses a beat on the second of the fourth floors and panting he waits barely a second to catch up with his soul chasing after him like a puffed cat, spooked. You stand at the front steps of the grayish building. You have not heard André’s odious voice since the second to last episode of the twelve-week series that was the talk of many European towns. “Paradise Redux” is now almost forgotten, however your image has stayed with the young shoppers. You have serially dated Almendra and other girls from the show which is well publicized in the showbiz section of those thin stupid newspapers doled out at the entrance of the U-Bahn.
The “Paradise Redux” show had made ten participants rehearse petty dramas in ostentatious surroundings, injecting vicious little cues of various irrational stereotypes, ethnic national, prowess, sizes and who-said-what-to-whom kind, cheap conniving propulsions to make this young cast act out silly desires. Who needs to articulate sentences? One flick of the eye, the rustle of the fingers over skin, and the half-secretive moans are registered by infrared cameras and planted mikes? Every Tuesday evening, many thousands, perhaps a few millions viewers, plucked down to see Thor and nine other young hearts writhe in their fate. Every Wednesday, in a half an hour elimination show, the outcast suffered the ignominy of being expelled from the makeshift cardboard paradise. The Vaseline archangel host signaled the way out of “Paradise Redux”.
At the front a step, the rain is soaking you from head to toe. Steam rises from your heated sallow skin. You can hear the erratic footsteps of André somewhere inside the building, descending the steps.
No one imagined that this peculiar twit André would survive all those weeks of malicious and banal TV contests designed to make Thor and Almendra stand out, or make Melania, the curvaceous Polish girl widen her deer eyes and blabber idiocy and still win a guessing game about the biggest body parts of her competitors. Or the challenge that made Nikitos rip his bodice (to expose a jungle of religious tattoos perfectly mounted on each muscle) and dive into the fake shallow lagoon to save the show pet where it has been sunk by one of the sneering producers to buoy the sagging weekly ratings. Nikitos’ head concussion meant that he had acted valiantly.
However, in the second to last show, André was disqualified. Attention! He wasn’t eliminated, he was disqualified: a Black Tuesday for the fatty kid. It all happened much to the astonishment of many and it was unplanned by the producers. It all started that Tuesday morning and it escalated throughout the day. At lunch time, Almendra, Thor and André sat performing the tension that would wound up to the evening challenge and the next Wednesday elimination day. They ate the sponsoring brand of youth-oriented transfat well stocked in the shelves of supermarkets. Their stares crisscrossed the white noise. Any registered utterance could make or break the voting of thousands of processed-cheese starving teens glued to the last episodes. In the preamble interviews, the Vaseline host planted an insinuation that the sexual tension between Almendra and Thor might have been consummated by sneaking away from the infrared cameras the night before. Oh no! Really! When? How? Minutiae must be exposed! Such lovely consummation by the finalist Adam and Eve of “Paradise Redux” would bloat the ratings. What about André? Such salacious revelation would cost him the favour of fickle audiences. The show was finally plotted out: pity for fat can’t compete with lust for gorgeous. Cue in the cut-rate hip-hop musical curtain!
André arrives at the heavy metal front gates; the glass only lets on an opaque silhouette of the radiant Thor in waiting at his stoop. Puny hefty André pants as his sweaty palm wiggles the defective copper doorknob – click, click…click-click-click — clank – his life is on hold on the other side.
What was the task that would put André out of the game? A simpleton “truth or dare” under the burning studio lights. They were propped on garish cushions in a living room set. Almendra opened fire on André.
“Truth or dare?” Haettet ihr euch nicht ein noch mehr bescheuertes Spiel einfallen lassen koennen?
“Truth.” It has been André’s response all along; his shaky low voice had always come across hopeless thus garnering the mercy of viewers.
“The only reason you are here is because you are hot for Thor.”
“Hot?” Poor, poor André, his English was almost as bad as his German and he can’t sound out the “h”.
“Yeah! Horny. You want him!”
“Horny? Not true.”
Thor injected a stern, “I say, you’re hot for me.” with a sneer.
André sweated on the brow. “No. I’m not.” Thor swaggered strong across the room, camera 1 zoomed in a revealing HD close up.
“Kiss me.” Thor dared André. “Prove you’re not lying.” His smirk spread heavenly across the HD screens across Europe: it’s live TV! Petitioning for this one androgynous kiss called the plump Quebecois’ bluff. At home, it made the girls wet.
Cameras don’t lie, ever. André doesn’t kiss him, of course he wouldn’t. He sank his large stumped humanity in the red velvet of the couch and the director called “Bitte weiter!”
Wait! André was trying to mumble something. “Almendra?” André’s insect screech roasts under the studio light beams. An insect stranded in the vibrant red velvet desert of the upholstery. “Truth or dare?” There is a minute nerve left in his core, there is a minute left in the broadcast.
“La verdad, por supuesto.” The gypsy looking Spanish girl was brimming with conceited sensuality.
“You have been—“
“You’ve been…with both of us, you been with us so you can win.” A quivering knell in the dark.
A huge laughter came out of Almendra. “Coño, que cosas dices bicho. What the fuck!” Thor stands to attention; camera 3 in the living room captures every slight movement. The program director licks his lips and fires instructions in the booth hidden somewhere Weiter filmen. Das wird noch was, vielleicht koennen wir diese verdammte Sendung noch retten!
Almendra had to answer.
“¡Maricon de tu puta invalida madre en Quebec! Dijiste que seria nuestro secreto.” She beamed at Thor. “I had to…I maybe did,” and she turned again to André to yell, “Eres un cerdo asqueroso,” and then to Thor again to implore, “It’s not what you think. Not what you think.”
“I didn’t enjoy it either Almendra, if that is any consolation.” André’s whisper was magnified by the many mikes. Almendra was sickened. “It’s a mistake.” She looked around to find cameras to clear this stupid gaffe. “I gave myself to Thor — we made love, that is – because we were in love.”
“Were?” Asked Thor.
“I am. I am! I did something with André to find out that he doesn’t like girls, that he was in love with you Thor.”
“Was?” Asked Thor, and without batting an eyelash he added, “Oral is not really having sex….” and captured by camera 4 he ended “…it isn’t ‘making love’.”
André’s blabbered a puzzled realization prompted by Thor’s statement “I get it now. This means that you and I made love?!”
In the monitoring cabin, the producer sprayed her sponsoring iced beverage all over the console. Almendra, the belle from Barcelona, puked her gastric stupor all over the velvet cushion where she was perched and all over her nearly transparent gauze blouse. It trickled into her olive skin at the exposed exquisite mid-riff and belly button. She ran through the “Paradise Redux” sets hounded step-by-step by the cameramen.
They segued perfectly into a commercial break. The advertisers rejoiced.
The pause is over; André opens the heavy gates and there you stand, flawless, a mesmerizing vision in the bluish light of dawn. André glides out close to you and your conked gun in your belt. The two of you stand across from each other in the high threshold of the gray building.
Alone in the set, the two of them, André and Thor, were back from the commercial break, they were surrounded by the studio staff looking from the wings, the producers were sitting at earshot, and the director was ecstatic that drama had exploded – finally! André and Thor looked at each other. Thor was inscrutable. André was searing in sweat. Icarus had dared to fly too near the sun and his counterfeit wings were melting. The Vaseline host had joined them and he was reassuring the audiences that Almendra would be back for ‘elimination Wednesday’ and begged the youngsters across Europe to vote for their favourite contestant.
André extended a lame hand and grabbed the mike. “The producers…it was the producers, they set everything up, they made us do it. They told me that I had a chance to win, to be here with…” The Vaseline host tried to pry the mike from André’s flabby hand but there was no stopping his quick muttering.
“They made us eat something, in the cheese, it made us get all horned up. Really. I heard them talk about the sagging ratings of this fucking show. They drugged us!” Yikes! “Das is zu viel.” The director was cutting off, pressing buttons, 30 second delay, 30 second delay! She sneers a look at the “Paradise Redux” lawyer with trepidation, “Das stimmt nicht, ueberhaupt nicht, dumme Kinder, nur mit dem Schwanz und den Hormonen denken.” The lawyer is sucking lemons.
André’s statement about the producers doling out horny drugs contravened a clause in the contract each contestant had signed beforehand and André was sent to pack and leave the studio. The ratings spiked. Almendra recovered well enough (with the aid of some pills and heavy make up) to appear in the elimination Wednesday broadcast and finish second, expectedly, in the grand finale. The Vaseline host made a joke about the implausibility of André’s exposed desire for a beauty queen. They said that nothing physical or illegal had happened except in André’s febrile imagination. He had been taking pills to lose weight and this had affected him. He had voluntarily decided to quit the show – Enough said.
And here we are, it is the grand finale, again. André and you standing in the cold morning, barely a few weeks after. Thor had been immersed in the vortex of petty celebrity, dashing off to photo shoots, signing contracts, maybe a recording deal. The calls, videotaped visitations to lame charity children, the two-beat interviews. André’s tears swell up without emergency. You point the Luger at his face.
“We made love.”
“I had to win.”
“You had won when you started.”
“You wanted to win as much as I did.”
“You wanted it more. I wanted to win you. No one has ever loved you before – you said it. You said many things that night…” André’s lips seem to evoke a taste in his lips. “Told me about giving the producers that story that you’re a Scandinavian renegade, not an American groomed to be a child model in contests shows in buttfuck town California.”
Thor interrupts. “In the ‘truth or dare’ game? Why you didn’t kiss me? And let everyone know.”
“Why ruin your chances? No one had seen us. No one could prove it. They needed a scandal and I gave it to them.” André threads his declaration without difficulty. “Almendra didn’t even know that we had wasn’t sex – stupid bitch. I’d never betray our secret.”
“Not a secret when three know about it, right?” Your accent is not continental anymore.
“I’m not talking about your ‘I’m-from-Oslo’ line. I’m talking about that night at the Paradise Redux. She passed out…you and I didn’t.”
“I’m not talking about that or the story about Oslo either.” Thor’s breath steam dizzies André like a holy ghost.
“Not talking about your liking girls and …guys? Almendra thought you had sex with her.”
“Maybe I did but I’m not talking about that either, no.”
“…then, all is good?” André shakes at the embrace of dawn.
Thor blurts out a phrase, “I am talking about our love.” Thor’s lips utter the words with quizzical sincerity, “I wanted everyone to know I dig guys too. It would’ve brought me all these contracts.” A finger tickles the nipple of death, pressing it slightly and making her moan in lust, someone get hard.
André’s voice lowers sweet and confident. “I thought you didn’t want them to know. See all the fame you got now? Think about it, Almendra would have won, you could have lost.” André seeks validation in the measureless blue morning of Thor’s eyes. Something needed to be done, and I did it. Look at you. You’re an angel star! ” Looks at the steps, grey and luminous with rain, and notices the gun in his belt. “You’re here.” André is closer to Thor’s flickering pupils.
“I needed all them to know you two loved me. You ruined it. You betrayed our love.”
A silencer shot. Crimson blood splatters like confetti at a muted carnival.
You step closer; you kneel your gorgeous figure down, and slowly kiss André in his quivering bloodied lips, for a long minute. It is La Pieta with André resting on your strong biceps at the front steps living the most amazing moment of the rest of your lives. You deposit his body carefully against the steps and exit into the first light to the saddle of your motorbike. Somewhere a lens zooms out very slowly from above until the steps vanish distantly in the icy Berlin morning; the reality show has ended, the producers rejoice, the mikes sleep like withered roses, the cameraman hands rests.