Quebec, part two: You can just ask me if I'm autistic

Published 2023.12.14


"All I do is sin

But God give me halo"

Tomas Tammemets, 2016

Section one.

Ari Augustenburg, narrating

Palatial? Decadent? No. I can't say either of those are applicable. There are words that serve as associative parasites of the Augustenburgian image. I would not call the mayoral residence that. I judge it to lack harboring catacombs. The living hide in the closets from other living playfully. The only dust is that of festive glitter accidents, but ones of disappointing, untermite-like scale. It has been washed year into year from wall to wall, swept, blowdried, intravenously injected, life-supported, corners respected, every surface a shrine. I believe wealth is bled. I do not view this as an admission of guilt or vow of redistribution, the latter follows from status. If you are fated to live forever and assigned a constant with which trees will fall or plastic will serve as logging simulcra, you make like a survivalist and let money pour into the community rainwater filter. Why hoard that which will crumple or harbor microbial life? Why live speculatively? All dirty money under neoliberalism is projections of dirty money. Make believe. To be recognized as a billionaire, the claimant persuades the suitcase manufacturer to sign a statement that the claimant's fortune fills five hundred fine black leather suitcases. Tutankhamun is a sickly child whose tomb commemorates what he could have been, and the suitcases full of speculative money are his death mask. The pats on the back between insular cuckoo claiming men are then the entire discipline of archeology, and all literalism and assumption that derives from exterior opulence. The boy martyr is surrounded by angelic nurses, Joan of Arc's image is faceless and has fire for a head.

Jino: "Nice place you've got here."

I: "It's third rate."

Organum: "It's Lady Bathys' architectural vision. I consider it to be an accomplishment."

I: "It would bring me great astonishment had you anything else to say."

Jino: "If this is third rate, the shit I live is in the negative Alephs."

Organum: "Why, of course. You, as an uninitiated prospect bride, indeed are fated to live in a rat trap, unlike those born into the Aleatoric Empire."

Jino: "I mean, that's true, but-"

I: "The entire island's army derogatorily calls her a hooker. Pay no mind."

Jino reclines on the turquoise canapé, one stitched together from two exemplars to better resemble the Roman triclinium, a stub leg still protruding if one crawls underneath it, a pirate without the appropriate prosthetics. The conceptual has not been animated in the work of conjoined furniture, as it resembles a queen size bed with most of the frame space sewn off, into which you could only place a bean bag and hope you are not sent flying into the air and onto the floor when tossing and turning, the flexibility producing the unfortunate qualities of the trampoline. Despite the colorful metaphor, it is but a long sofa. Above is a large format portrait of a woman bearing the likeness of myself, whose face I wear, and whose growing pains I lock in a meat freezer. Her hair is brown and not the shade of the black, hostile, rotten ocean covering the Earth during the Boring Billion. I say this entirely complimentarily to myself - to be the void that gazes back into others repulses uninvited attention. Her eyes are the foliated green of treelined postcard promenades seconds before an airstrike, that of the escape hatch and bunker full of breatharian nonperishables that is autocannibalistic homesickness, that redacted recall of formative experiences, the upselling of the past since it is not present. It's not a disrespectful rendering - it is what I am.

Jino: "…So uh, is that Saturn? But before the… you know."

I: "Please do not fret to ask the wrong questions. You are highly intuitive and misfires are solely to be blamed onto the suggestive world at large."

Jino: "I take the world as it comes, you know."

I: "I never have."

Jino: "No, you have the best reactive and adaptive reflexes of anybody I know-"

I: "Be silent for a moment."

Jino: "Marry me."

Note to self: do not employ authoritative tones.

I: "I will turn that over to the embassy."

Jino: "But you are the embassy."

I: "I, the ambassador, and the woman being propositioned for union, will need time to think it over."

Organum: "She can't marry earlier than her turning sixteen years of age."

I: "I am the eligible heir. There is an exception in the Master Code that overrides the minimum marriageable age. But it's never been invoked. The woman in that picture got married centuries after turning the minimum age. Her and Mother had met far past her turning sixteen."

Jino: "Aha, so that is Saturn. She looks so damn much like you it's scary."

I: "From what I have surmised, I literally wear her skin. The base body that Rico and myself draw on is a genetic snapshot of some esoteric pedigree in its capture method. One of a pre-monstrous Saturn. A Saturn that would never develop into her towering tentacularity. A Saturn who would forego the infusions and exponents and remain the same as the day her and Mother made the promise to become frontierers of autoevolution, bathing in the comfort of plausible deniability. What she could be in some time that would never come to pass for the body that myself and Rico similarly 'borrow'."

Organum, standing with her hands folded beside the Siamese Louis XIV furniturepiece, helpfully: "Lady Arianna, I speak with certainty when I say it is was Clementine Arenberg that produced the 'snapshot', and it was taken with a thwack! of the scythe."

Jino: "Imagine getting photographed by the shutter of a guillotine."

I: "I don't have to. Only those who were deposed become images at all."

Jino: "Okay, so let me circle back. The Master Code. A book of exceptions. A book of promises that don't have to be kept. You guys are hypocrites."

She says with an incendiary chuckle, clearly intentionally inviting scorn, some rhetorical riling contrivance.

I: "It's the only reason your family is remembered at all."

Jino is taken aback, bolting up from the couch, Organum sliding away into the corner as if in hot pursuit of the Olympic ice skating medal and receding into the exclusion zone of some forelorn notepad of dingbats, intrusive thoughts of great sapphism and deliberate recordings of sapphic-made political intervention schemes, recorded with sapphic passion, dictated sapphic to sapphic. Mother once fished Sappho out with cerulean flags flown and crossbows not drawn for shoot but held like a newborn Orphic lyre to "politely ask" her to take personal responsibility for palimpsest.

I: "The Master Code is not so much a book of exceptions or promises there is a tacit understanding between those whose pinkies are enclenched will not be fulfilled, but a book of potential acquisitions through intermarriage. The original uncorrupted Jino Code survives somewhere within the Master Code. Every family declared prospective which got past the embodiment of Kafkaesque vetting and blood contracting that is Mother surrenders an annotation of their general moral character that then gains syncretism against and within general Aleatoric law. Ana Jino made one such trade with Bathys Augustenburg to be granted safe passage into the afterlife. Except she had faked her own death and appears to still be at large. The last reported sighting of Ana Jino was at the forging of Taj's hereditary knife. This leads yourself to myself, even if indirectly."

Jino: "…I kinda like the whole fate shit."

I: "Myself too. But it is not the will of God but the hubris of the hemophage."

Jino: "And I'm guessing the vampire hunting lessons that bore me and tie me down continually have something to do with it."

I: "Yes, but let myself unfurl Ariadne's thread. But literally. Get it? I'm named Ariadne of Thebes… the second."

Jino actually laughs. She is overtaken. I am happy.

I: "Ariadne Thebes, the first, had committed arson against a Navashino outpost in the Alps and planted a Jino knife. As I understand it Ana Jino was the leader of the Jinos on this planet, The Incipient, but had gone into hiding before this has happened, leaving in her wake a succession scramble that consisted of several tea parties where all the participants decided in mild mannered terms to delegate various aspects of a Jino's work to each other, unmartially and with quaint, bothersome diplomacy. I would almost consider this an attempt to accelerate the act of absorption now that Ana Jino cannot return to take back the surrender of your family's moral principles."

Jino: "Sounds like us, alright."

Beside the brown-haired, green-eyed undead hangs a portrait of a turquoise-haired woman whose face vanishes in white ovalic lens flare, her dress illuminated in iridescence, but the lake landscape suggested behind her rendered in uncontrasted, entirely neutral, purely desaturated greyscale - a Bathysine optical phenomenon in actuality and of record.

I: "This did lead to actual militant skirmishes as the Navashinos marched on the Jinos first, which led to the development of asymmetrical vampire hunting tactics amongst the Jinos - those of hesitance and excess remorse for guileful egalitarian pretenders that treat their women the same way they treat their vassal houses. This series of skirmishes was put on hold after persistence by the Jino side, walking headfirst into arrows, rocks and sabers to offer a deal: the Jinos will take the fall and adopt the Navashinos' policy of denying Saturn Thebes' existence, as well as accept exclusively Navashino-certified vampire hunting instructors that will encourage the middling, bumbling hunter tryouts to consider taking an internship at the nearest global hegemon."

Jino: "…Such as what Goni is setting me up to do."

I: "What leads yourself to myself is Iris Corey's knowledge of this and her subsequent telling of it to Nom Jino, who, if yourself would allow myself to speculate, swore to avenge Saturn's reputation and validate her personhood."

At that time I realize I cannot enunciate sarcasm.

I: "Please don't say that's a given and that Nom shouldn't be praised for the bare minimum. I was trying to make a joke."

Organum: "You will eventually learn to read Lady Arianna, Jino."

I: "Go back to musing about being trampled by Bathys."

Organum: "I apologize if I am impressing upon Jino the wrong idea of your feelings."

Jino: "Well, if it's Nom's mission, then I'm taking on it too. Cannot fucking stand the stylistic inconsistencies in the Goni code. So that'd just require marrying you, huh. Easy."

She gets down on one knee.

Jino: "Arianna Augustenburg, for the sake of truth in the world, take me to be your bride."

I: "I am still ruminating."

Jino: "Some directness would be nice."

I: "Not in a million years."

Note to self: do not employ authoritative tones ever again after this statement. A notification of myself which is deeply derelict, as in our relationship up to the present day I have found myself employing them. Darling appears to have a fondness for the scornfulness of beasts whose life depends on hers.

Jino: "I don't have that long."

I: "Let's get married right now, Daaaaaaaarling."

Again, another failed sarcastic maneuver. I wanted to impress upon her my disinterest with the lexics of the 1950s suburban housewife on speed. It backfires. Nothing has backfired nearly as much before. When I effectuated this, I did not expect that I would begin to take comfort in the elongation of the vowels, a healing frequency similar in function to a cat's purr, and then a fixed vitality of the partnership of Res and Arianna Arnaud. I don't want to say 'I caused this', I just happened to be a conduit for the entropy that led me to find safety in a mockery of idealized domesticity - the invocation of a tearstained veil and suspicious white powder on the countertop, the falling veil of normalcy. The moment I performed the role to defame the role became a foundation of my own true happiness. I was not a good romantic. It is myself who is best suited to confess to this, and not Darling, whose blush response made her appear as if she was dry drowning in her own blood, and prompted a 'medical emergency' reaction from Organum who slapped Darling's face with such craven intensity that she lay in fetal position on the conjoined sofa. She asks to feel my hair against her face. I roll my eyes across the borders of a half sphere and sit beside her. She is warm. I like her.

Good day, and what is first aid? Claribel Organum has hit Res Jino in the face. This is the polemic, unscriptural summation of the situation. There is no 'and' after 'and'. In fact, let's rephrase this to a headline: Teenage Girl Hit by Personal Attendant of Much Richer Teenage Girl, Regrets Nothing. Is it swollen? Yes, it is swollen. It's forceful. Teenage Girl Babbles, Still Undeterred; Continues Passionate Rhetorical Argument. Due to insurance paranoia (pocket money to two out of three people in the room, perhaps entirely irrelevant as we are stood on Canadian soil), doctors are not to be consulted. Jino's economic woes make her scrupulous and martyrlike. What tends to swelling? Whatever is frozen. Whatever in this world could be frozen? Ice cream. Please flip to prologue, and take this as a citation of reference. Enter Nie Faberge. Her name is not Nie Faberge, it is just that every keyboard she has ever used has had a broken C. Her name is, then, Nice "Like the City in France" Theia Faberge. She keeps having to clarify the "niche" pronunciation, and thus it would be reasonable to surmise that the Curse of the C is a warning sent down from the heavens that the 'ch' digraph need be expressed and all things in the world made clear and unmysterious. I would have to contend with the judgment of God, but I cannot contend with the fact that the entire employment base of her ice cream shop, a non-chain affair, is entirely her exes. Twenty different women who pursue entanglements with each other. It is a hippie commune set upon the diorama glacier. It is she then, the Ch-aritable (ha) and the C-less (the seeless? the sightless? lacking in sight of who shall be her next match?), who will cure the ailment with two scoops or a bucket, a bucket that washes no sin.

Res Jino, narrating

Having told Ari that I wanted to marry her out of nowhere while simultaneously being not even close to ready for anything nuptial, and having been slapped in the face, which I was surprised had yet to naturally heal given the intensity of the impact, I turned my swollen face away. "Were we to get married right this instant, the ripple would have an impact impossible for either of us to ascertain, Ari. Though I know we shouldn't formalize anything now, I can tell you for a fact that it's proper for it to happen," I began, running my hands across the leather of the sofa - quite real - and entertaining my senses with the touc h, the other hand still entangled in Ari's hair. Claribel appeared attentive and gave me the motion to speak. "Listen to me for a moment, if you would, regarding the potential for marriage, for I have a thought or two, and it makes me wonder about something: if we got married, I wonder, among other things, if I would see my mothers again at our wedding. While you have been plagued, comforted, reassured, haunted by perpetual afterimages of your parents through their impact on history, I can't see reflections, refractions, of either of my own anywhere, and I would never wish that upon anyone. I would at least want to be reminded of my most immediate forebearers by strangers in the street who vaguely resemble them, to approach those very same people asking what happened to them, why they had to disappear out of my world, even if I know perfectly well what occurred, even if I've connected every dot, just to have the satisfaction of not knowing the exact truth. Surely you've never seen anyone who looks like Bathys or Saturn out there, but they never seemed to disappear totally from this plane of existence, did they? And then from there I still point to myself, the one without any significant records in her thus-insignificant lifespan. For the first few years I was at the Academy, where they silently preach the glory of indiscriminate killing, I was enrolled only informally. For a whole two years I had to pester old man Goni day after day, week after week, to get me on the roll and stop disregarding me outright in his Sisyphean search for new life through me as he kept dying, projecting male attributes onto me, manufacturing my present sense of androgyny, even if I've reclaimed it from him since. These were the things imposed upon me, the feelings of nonexistence except through other people which fractured my childhood. Then, even though I had grown sick of it, I had to impose nothingness upon myself: let it be known that there is not one police report on me, not one recorded disciplinary record, because I have been so careful to be no one, no one at all. When my peers attempted to blackmail me for the most recent drug trade operation, I methodically reported them for all their misdeeds and ensured they would never want to speak about it again without even lifting a finger; all it took was my mouth, but I'm sure it would've been better had I decided to outright create an identity for myself as a criminal, to ruin my future, a future which I already can't even see. Hell, I feel ashamed that I didn't turn myself in for dealing meth, and not even because what I did was evil. It's shameful because I am essentially undocumented; there is no birth certificate signifying my name, and I have found no place in either side of the world that doens't involve anonymizing my attributes and weighing myself down with things that aren't there, but I know this isn't forever. I don't want to exist through you; I want to exist with you. I want to ruin my life with you. I've heard many a story about the creation and embrace of identity from your side of the world, the purely immortal realm, and I've always been fascinated. The way Ecarlate, as I've noticed, extends its tendrils and roots into every technology company there is, every global fashion center, ambiguously selecting collective identities to be subsumed under the word 'scarlet' through seemingly quantum thought processes? That never ceases to inspire me, Ari. Saturn Thebes' construction of a mythological identity as a monster to justify her ever-intense hunger for livestock and to create a place in the world for her conception of monstrosity in a setting of hatred and mistrust? I think about that all the time. Your sense of hyperawareness, of intense and unconveyable thought, that perhaps outweighs the power of any other of your Augustenburg line whom you have described to me, fit to rule all three earths from afar? I think you're the perfect person alongside whom to embrace an identity hitherto repressed. So, I've started thinking: let's get married as soon as possible. That may be years from now, but we'll figure something out. It only makes sense for me, the peasant girl in this situation, to grow next to you over the coming years. I'm going to be someone with what you've told me in mind. Say, do you have any dresses here I could put on? I'm feeling a little femme."

Ari, having fallen silent, paused to take in everything I'd just said, apparently deep in thought. Although it was near-impossible to tell whether she was considering every little detail wrong with my life and how to surgically correct the deepest of the sorrows until I could be happy or if she was simply having trouble deciding between the possible outfits she could impose upon me given my most recent request, I had faith that something would give in the near future. Nervously, I still felt an unusual urge to speak, an urge which contradicted my otherwise very solid ability to shut my mouth in the right situations. This in mind, I soon decided it was best that I speak about something else: "You know, the femme archetype is a very revolutionary thing to me, even if it's not what I'm predominantly drawn to in my personal aesthetics. That wasn't my first consideration in asking you for something out of your wardrobe here, but now I'm wondering…how important could the femme be, as the reappropriation of a paper-thin mask turned into a fully realized, fully functional face?" When I'd finished speaking, Ari abruptly stood from her position next to me, so swiftly that I had to catch myself before clumsily falling over onto my side, a "gruesome" fate I then thought I could not allow myself with Ari around. Alas, I know for a fact that the blush I saw on her face as I picked myself up from the near-collapse was deeply affectionate.

"I'll return momentarily, a suitable dress in hand, carefully selected and considered holistically as to its fit and its feeling," Ari told me, a slight hint of warmth in her voice at the opportunity. "Do you happen to have any textile textures you absolutely abhor, or will any selection do if you can don it with a proper fit?"

"I don't have anything I can think of that'd be 'abhorrent,' but I would prefer that you avoid excessively rough things. I already deal with enough from my RSA uniform as is, but-"

"You're like me, are you not? Your mind functions in a way clearly differentiating you from the average woman, and your obliqueness in arriving at conclusions signifies that-"

"You can just ask me if I'm autistic. It's alright. I wouldn't care if some jackass asked me in the street, so I wouldn't care a bit if you asked me."

"Trust me, I knew from the very beginning. I wouldn't have taken an interest in you were you not ontologically an eccentric yourself. When I return, why don't we discuss our hobbies and such? To myself that appears a normal thing among the strange."

"I'm game, certainly."

Ari departed the room, hair extending in all different directions and pulsating with an uncommon vigor, and I found myself alone, preparing to articulate.

All appeared far from still, the microscopic-level vibration of each object in room seemingly palpable, although I knew this was nothing more than a trick of my senses. My reaction time was snappy as ever, and the occasional on-and-off flow of modern air conditioning (which I reckoned to have been reluctantly installed in this building some time after its construction upon becoming available in order to accommodate the many non-Europeans and over-comfortable European descendants in Quebec City more effectively) caused me more than a couple times when I turned around expecting Ari, said "Ari?" out loud, and realized no one was there. Having done this a couple times, I checked the clock, and a mere five minutes had passed, which prompted me to sit the fuck down and relax.

Several years later, I would be seated in a very different room with Ari, a underground military bunker built long prior by Bureau Hotel in the foothills of the Swiss Alps - rapidly approaching derelict status as a supergiant star ends its sequence by imploding dramatically, but still has to wait for this becoming - and we would remark in excessively casual language on how we had just freed her from the horrors of experience which had accompanied her in all domains of life until then. I would remind myself that I had just helped Ari escape the small house at the edge of the Navashino castle's view, where she had been confined for an undoubtedly too-great percentage of her life. Within the bunker, however, there would be stone walls littered with the pockmarks of ricocheted bullets from encounters we never dealt with, and there would be a paucity of lighting; the flashlight of my phone, devoid of any proper connectivity as I wouldn't have purchased a plan with roaming data, would have to do. We would listen to the faint echoes of arriving Bureau news vans and the rattling of the tightly-locked, essentially impenetrable trapdoor entrance as they would try to open it and bear witness. I would say to Ari, quietly so as not to disturb our 'guests' above us, "I want to know how you feel right now. Every bit of it. Every last detail." Ari would then tell me, "It pains me, Darling, that our story will eventually fracture into a myriad other stories in so little time. In those spoken languages which require a source for all stated information in their grammars, we will be referred to exclusively with these tongues' respective hearsay evidentials at first, then soon enough the distant past if possible. Corneae of eyes around the globe and the celestial mesh of the three earths will be burned beyond repair and require recycled transplants from those mortals who gave up their bodies to science but were otherwise too far-gone to have their visceral organs put towards a good cause. What exactly constitutes a good cause, Darling?"

"A good cause is a cause which involves giving up and integrating a part of oneself into something someone cares about. Good causes entail the partial or total destruction of a boundary within the self, while bad causes require violating the boundaries of others. A missionary may ring an apartment doorbell and be met with a cunningly argumentative young adult who refuses to acknowledge their claims about the absoluteness of good and evil in the eyes of God, telling the missionary that all is relative, and they would be right, but not in the way they'd expect. For me, as you know, the only governing absolute in my life remains love, and I love you above all else."

"From time to time, I still look at you and I think of every way in which I could mortally injure you, but I know you would survive invariably, and thus we will stick to embraces like the one we indulge in now. I will make these deeds into words."

"Even if we grow to hate each other, I will still love you, Ari. Divine right has nothing on me, and with great faith, we will continue to find that anything is possible. Someday you may even stop dreaming of the terror of your past every night and consider the days we've spent together, together and alone."


Within an hour of these words being spoken, a humble Texan woman around our age and given the name of Athanasius Window would successfully enter the bunker, but she would allow no one else inside. She would interrupt us from our newfound silence, rouse us from sleep, and explain exactly what she had done to enter the building, having discovered a flaw in the mechanism of the lock which went unnoticed even by the military consultants who had accompanied her and the other journalists, but she would proceed to rhetorically stumble through her explanation to such a pitifully endearing extent that Ari would decline to bind the poor woman to a wall and interrogate her about her origins. She would explain that she wished to report on us independently of Bureau Hotel's influence and learn the truth of our stories for (funnily enough) the greater good, but that she would gladly incur the consequences knowing that we would be middle-management Bureau political executives at the time, still clawing our way up to the top to take it all down. We would speak with her for many hours, trying to ascertain if she was worthy of our trust and if she would be of assistance to making everything work, all the while saying nothing too revealing and remaining veiled, cryptic. When the dust would clear, she would tentatively become our only true peer, remaining so even today, when Bureau has fallen by our own hands. Indeed, our story would fracture; our stories would be confused even to ourselves, and only God would know, but I must return to the days before, the unfractured dawn of the narrative we have since struggled to construct.

At long last, within a minute of my checking of the clock, Ari brought me a dress.

Ari Augustenburg, narrating

Per corrective requirements, it is the duty of myself to inform you the question I should have asked when inquiring into her textural dispositions should have been 'are you normal or do you believe in the concept of body language? furthermore, do you believe confessions extracted under duress reflect the moral character of the victim? even furthermore, do you believe it is possible for someone to blink too much? furthest of furthermores, do you believe that it is possible to identify someone as a psychopath by the state of their lawn?'.


Returning to Quebec of the Incipient in 2010, it is the moment I bring her the dress. It is a lacy affair, and it is in a certain regal color which is not Tyrian, nor did it romance Cleopatra. Why, gold of course. Would I dress her in the colors of my mother? No, but I would dress her as a sunflower, because I do oppose the act of extracting her seed. However, I have been made to inform you that the opinions of my twenty-six year old self do not reflect those of my thirteen-year old self, despite the adolescent nature of the previous statement. And if you were paying attention to historicity, gold, already extracted in ancient Egypt, would bore Cleopatra.

Her préférence d'couture (coutural preference?) in the present day is frills, and I would choose to attribute it to this incident. It is handed to her, and it seems a wind blows. Is it the air conditioning? Is it the window? Perhaps the airflow of the AC is inappropriately overkill. Perhaps a coastal wind in a room many halls over is predicting a tornado. In her pragmatic sensibilities, she chooses to drape the dress over her present clothing - and a duality of sleeves struggles to be born. As she tries over and over to get her arms to tubular vent-crawl outside the fabric, the dress seems to thrash as if above a shaking dog suspended over bathwater.

The way we stand is unphotogenic, a Renaissance painting in which a subject half-heartedly contorts to stay inside the bounds of the golden ratio. The way we meet Athanasius Window, who we encounter again on that day in the bunker, AD 2015, which Darling described earlier, is quite photogenic. The day which makes posterior that first March day in Quebec, it is us with a shopping cart full to the point of 18th century caricature of the fattened upper classes, raising Jino from her roadside weed-eating poverty and into a comfortable suinusity, pig-pertinence, pig-resemblance, pig-metaphority, whatever you wish to call it. This cornucopial snapshot is made by the penniless independent photojournalist, who considers herself much too cool for universally circulated publications, and chooses as a medium zines of dubious ink swatch pedigree. Cereal boxes, Swiss chocolate, potato chips, exotic fruit, milk bags, French wine. It is thanks to Organum's accompaniment that this cross-caste dual reign of perishable status markers is possible. It eventuates that this image adorns the front cover of the debut album of For Sadness One Reason, entitled 'Celebration', into a vinyl press of which a Christmas handout of money by Window's grandmother is sunk, funding care of the only woman in the world to have a complete collection of the Sapphic works without taking to war on Sappho. Against the tide post-Recession boom of either the elven and ethereal or the beached and stoned, For Sadness One Reason's work more worships at the polytheistic altar of the Farfisa, the hotel lounge or wedding singer's dinky portable drum machine with rumba, waltz, and tango rhythms and the googly-eyed Elvis impersonator. Although the pantheon is agreed in practice to be facets of the same entity, like those of Shiva. A surfer emergent at elftide is the sister of Ni(c)e Faberge, Claire Gaia Faberge, who at that time is twenty-four years old, and has only released her first work 'Gaia Khristos', handing out the compact disable recordable format anti-facsimiles on either the subway or to patrons of her sister's ice cream shop, Ni(c)e ten millennia her senior, or those at the counter and those in the back, should dignitary concerns evaporate. It is on that first March day, succeeding the dress incident, sitting over Babel parfaits, that we number into the unsuspecting recipients. But more on that in a moment.

"Ari. Is there something I don't get?" She asks, having given up the fight with the dress, white flag at half mast and with droopy eyelids, and the cessation of a cavalcade of groans, and why you!'s, and I need some help here if you wouldn't mind trying to make it align with my chest, and various expletives, and other such faces of futile effort.

"I don't quite want to believe it either, but there is a plausible explanation for what is taking place."

She hesitates to ask what it is, finding herself outsizedly alarmed at the prospect of me not telling her yet another hard to believe detail after having previously shattered her idea of her parentage, and the history of her clan, and told her and demonstrated to her, rather matter of factly, that it is possible to use dimensional gateways. But a believer in Hell can be an unbeliever in ghosts. A believer in the ensoulment of fetuses is an unbeliever in totems, no 'can be'.

"I'm afraid this dress has the personality of Mother, and Mother has no fondness for you. Much like her sword can only be held by people she favors, or those who happen to be her kin, it seems her clothes want to crawl out of their sewn skin should they so much as lightly be brushed by a millimeter's worth of your palm."

"I honestly find it easier to believe that a dress is opinionated enough to think I'm not worth of wearing it than that I can just hop across the three Earths."

"So you don't believe in Hell?"


"Nevermind that. Just a thought from my internal monologue I had taken myself to have spoken aloud."

"This is something that Lady Arianna is prone to. Pay it no mind, you will be accustomed to reading her thoughts soon." Organum, having grown weary of pretending to be waiting to receive a phone call from Mother that would redefine this exercise in babysitting two dorks and narrowly avoiding making apparent their inherent vices into a mission of cosmic significance, 'helpfully' chimes in.

"I am not."

In the shipping industry, inherent vice is the quality of goods that leads them to being damaged. While I would describe the state of my sanity as a constellation of inherent vices, the emotional attachment to an arbitrary cluster of stars arbitrarily and artificially named 'Orion' equivalent to the conglomeration of traits "objectively" ("objective" always having "selectively subjective") consolidated into self-contained clusters of neurological and mental disorders, it is the inherent vice of the trapdoor that allowed Window to stow away in the crate that is the bunker. Please refer now to the immature metaphor about 'seed' and the invented automythological significance of the color of sunflower gold dress. The day that we are reintroduced to Window five years after the personal protest of the dress is the day that I lost my virginity in a stochastic flash, bang, clank, spring squeak, pillow clench, highly exaggerated moan followed by giggling and others. A paparazzo ideally follows a certain transparent trail, but here the main story is the successor-in-grooming to the Rhode Island Bureau position, a golden child fast-tracked to functionary status, my Darling, Res Jino, just so happening to have a bunker somewhere in Central Europe. In the present day, I then turn to our two children and say it as transparently as the trail whose contents are either one's diet or citric anonymity: this is the day the two of you were conceived. The day the very idea of us wanting to welcome you into this world was no longer walkable back upon. But we are left no time for reverie, and having decided that clothes are no longer optional at the first hoof-limp of the surface stampede, we greet Window. I greet Window, Res still is trying to place why exactly this stranger's aura is so familiar, it bothers her. "Good day. I did not get your name four years and eleven months ago." So she states it. And after we receive a breakdown of how exactly she got down here, I tell her to get a job at Bureau, and she says it would betray her morals, and I tell her that should she perform poorly, and she should, she will be transferred to the 'penal colony' of Bureau Hotel conferences, East Siberia, from where one day we will rule and with her as third wheel make the institution come to dust.

The dress that resists Res Jino is gold, gold is the sunlight. The dress that I wear when I am emergent out of the trapdoor hatch is black, the black of a rogue-course geoschizoposition, in a world where the Sun failed to report for duty but the oceans still have canned sunlight in a cold war bunker, and the rivers wear dog tags for easier identification by their marian ('mare' - sea in a general sense, not Mariana Alarie) parents in the event of fallout. The gold dress is the kindling of a romance, the first running away together, the black dress is the deadbolting of any entrance that we have already passed as we keep running together perpetually. In a geoschizopositional world, there are no solar eclipses. We cannot block the source of all life and light, we must become all the shadow that has been and is yet to be, the shadow of all things living, matter the same as antimatter. I greet the paparazzi, one hand's fingers betwixt those of Darling's, and another clenching a sword, a sword with Mother's personality, the sword Misericorde. "Mercy", it is called. And it takes all of my mercy indeed to not behead gregariously the entire crowd. The dagger class misericorde pierces armor plates and is used to allow the pretension of honorable death to the Crusader blinded by the false Christophilic sun, able to pierce urinary, scatological and sudorial armor plates with ease in the event of irreparable injury. It is February, and the sunflowers sleep under snow, and it is the most interesting topic in the world to myriads why they feel cold looking at pictures of a snatch of thigh bare in the deep winter, and the word 'hypothermia' trends on social media.

I crumble the fortified walls encasing my domain of bluebird space, and a first-person shot of myself and Darling, I believe this is termed a 'selfie', posted on the account by the handle @notvashino travels far and wide, with this caption:

"Just mountaineer genes

Nothing to see here"

But there was much to see, and much to talk about, so much so that I acquired Twitter at first opportunity. But more on that in a moment.