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NOVEL

The African Gentleman


…and The Plot to Re-establish The New World Order


A Novel by Fred Beauford


Chapters 5-7


5

"I was married for seven years," I said, starting a tale I wasn't sure I should be telling to someone who was still a stranger, and someone I also suspected had a notebook for a mind.

But I forged ahead, anyway. The die, as they say, had been cast.

       “The first six years were the happiest of my life. I had met my wife at The University just a few blocks from here.”

     I pointed in the general direction of The University.

     “We were both students at the School of the Arts, and wanted to be professional actors. I was damn good, as I have said before, but I always thought that she was far better than I. She could cry at the drop of a hat, with real tears running down her face, and then quickly transform herself into a joker, and burst into a laughter that was both full bodied, genuine, and infectious. She could sing, dance, and convincingly throw bodies twice her size across a room, and just as quickly become meek, virginal, and submissive, with little effort.  She was really something to watch.

       “Sometimes when we were simply talking about life, she would suddenly become incredibly animated, her blue eyes shining, staring directly at me and burrowing deep inside of me, her hands gesticulating madly, her voice full of heartfelt conviction—pinning me to my seat.

    “You are wrong, just wrong!” she would shout at me in disgust and disbelief.

     “At this point, I didn’t know if she was acting or just being herself.

     “Awesome is the word all right. You could also call her a force of nature. But in the end, she had one disadvantage which ultimately worked against her as an artist.”

      “What was that?”

     “She was tall, had lovely blond hair, large blue eyes, and a big chest. I am convinced that it was the big chest that in the end did her in, and ruined her once promising career.”

      I could see that I now had Gladys’ full attention. No more double sipping her wine. She was drinking much slower, and even put her glass down at my last remark. “I’m sorry, Jamison,” she said, “but that just don’t sound right to me. I thought tall, big chested blondes got everything they wanted in this world.”

     “Yeah, but that’s the point of this story. At any rate, I was madly in love with her. She loved sex. We did it all the time. I knew I was addicted to her body, and was unable to sleep the few times we were apart. But, thank God, we were rarely apart.”

     “So what happened?”

     “We went to Hollywood.”

     “Hollywood?”

      “Yeah. We reasoned that if we were serious about being actors, then we had to go. We had heard all the scary stories about that place, but as a writer you know that being here in The City is the place to be. Hollywood was the same place for us. By the way, did you see the movie, Star 80? It’s an old, old movie that occasionally shows up on movie channels.”

     “I can’t say that I have.”

     I felt somewhat disappointed in Gladys’ answer. That movie illustrated much of what I was trying to explain to her. “Well, it doesn’t matter. We left The Village and landed in that strange town. Then movies ruled like nothing else. You remember those days, don’t you? Actors could become president, governors, senators or anything else they wanted. They could even murder ex-lovers. No jury would convict them of anything, even if the smoking gun was found in their hands.”

     Gladys laughed. “I remember. How true…how true. One actor famously said that being a movie star was like being in high school where they were the popular ones.”

      I ignored Gladys’ remark and returned to the story I now wanted to tell her more than anything else. “I just didn’t have the right stuff,” I explained to her, hoping her writer instincts would quickly grasp what I had been through, “whatever that was or whatever the hell they were looking for out there. I never felt like such a nobody before in my life, or since.”

     Gladys nodded her head in recognition. “Yes, I have heard stories about how it once was out there. No wonder the damn thing collapsed.”

      “Yes, but my darling Angel -- yes, that was her real name, Angel Bronson -- stuck out her big chest, shook her blond hair like the proud purebred she was, and found a protector. This African American “insider” promised her that the town would bow down before her lovely feet if only she got rid of that albatross from The Village, and move in with him.”

     Gladys, wise head that she was, looked at me knowingly. “I know where this story is going,” she said.

     “Yes, absolutely. You got it. My beloved Angel packed her bags and left me alone with our two cats. She also left me in a state of abject depression. Daily, in the weeks and months after she left, I sank deeper and deeper into despair. I felt humiliated. What had happened to me would pop into my mind at unsuspecting times and I would flush with embarrassment.

       “I could be having a casual conversation with someone, or watching television, or even having sex with yet another stranger, it didn’t matter the time or the place.

       “How could I have been so wrong about someone, Gladys? Why where my eyes shut so tight that I couldn’t see that she was just a selfish user…an actor?”

      “I started drinking more than I ever had before. I also started taking pills to get to sleep at night. My sex-addicted body craved Angel’s wonderful body and left me thrashing around at night, sometimes hugging my pillow tightly, pretending it was her warm, sexual, and comforting body.

       “I spent every spare dime on hookers, and any woman that still spoke English. I was ready to fuck anything, anybody.

      “I was also always angry, and deeply wounded, like some beastly creature sulking around in a dark cave, occasionally softly licking his injuries, hoping that one of his many enemies outside wouldn’t spot him, and see just how weak he had really become.

     “I was feeling so sorry for myself. I could break into tears at any minute. And these weren’t cheap actor’s tears, Gladys. They were the real thing.

       “One day, in sheer frustration, I kicked one of the cats so hard that it died. It just flew across the room and hit the wall with a hard thud. It was Miss Ross, the beautiful, longhaired, all black one, the one with the soulful yellow eyes. The poor thing was just hungry, and was whining and rubbing up against my leg and asking me to give it some food.

      “But I got so angry with her that I kicked her, poor little thing.

     “I was so horrified at what I had done that I threw myself on Miss Ross’ small body, still warm, but lying still, the life now gone from her.

     “’Oh, Miss Ross! Oh, Miss Ross!’ I cried.

      “My entire body shook with grief and guilt.

     “I started crying and wailing so loudly that the Mexican family next door called the police. It was lucky they did, because when the cops finally broke down the door, I laid next to my cat, barely alive from the bottle of pills I had just taken.

     “This turned out to be the first of two suicide attempts.

     “The next time they broke down my door, they had me committed me for about a year. There, I slowly recovered most of my selfhood.

      “After that, I left Hollywood, and left acting.

      “And precious  Angel Bronson? She got a few co-starring roles in several horror films. I often watched her on my personal entertainment center, running around, sticking out her big chest and displaying her great skill at being fearful, angry or whatever else was called for. I guess it was worth it for her. I have no idea if it was or not; I have never spoken to her since the day she left our apartment and moved to the Hollywood Hills.”

6

Gladys had agreed that my story was indeed dark. My killing poor, innocent Miss Ross especially disturbed her. She said that she also had two cats of her own, and loved them as if they were her children. This is also another reason why I never tell anyone this story until late in the relationship, if I tell them at all. Maybe I really do want Gladys to put me in one of her novels. Perhaps seeing all that hurt on paper will bring an end to the pain I still sometimes feel.

***

      But the retelling of this story only made me more introspective. For some reason, I wanted to talk to Assai about all of this, more than anyone else.

      But how does a Pagan like me discuss ideas like this to a pious man like Assai?

      I called him Assai when I should have called him Mr. Assai, or Dr. Assai, in that he had a Ph.D. from MIT. He called me sir, because of our age difference. He hired me when no one else would give me a job. I was then making a lot of dough, and, not being a coward, I didn’t mind going across The River, and being one of the oldest in a sea of young brown faces.

7

The minute I walked off the elevator, I sensed that something was amiss. I had seen a large number of police cars downstairs, but because my office building was near the underground that takes us under The River and joined the two parts together, there were always lots of police cars, especially after the last bombing that came close to breaching the tunnel.

      That is also why my friends told me I was crazy to work over there.

      “It’s either a tunnel or a bridge, neither place I want to be these days,” I heard over and over.

       But I was the one with the heavy pockets, and could afford to live in The Village, and sit in bars with good-looking women like Gladys, drinking glass after glass of white wine sometimes over $20 dollars each, even for the cheap stuff.

     I walked into my office and immediately spotted the policemen.

    “Do you work here?” one asked me.

     “Of course I do. I am Jamison Omak, the editor of The Site,” I answered. “What’s going on here?”

     The Policeman looked at me skeptically, his light brown eyes seeming to bore deeply into me; trying to make me, against my will, reveal all my closely held secrets.

      I guess I didn’t seem like someone who would be an editor of such an important website, at least not that one, not with that work force.  Or, perhaps he regarded me in that brief moment, and concluded that that I was a really The Pagan I was among believers.

     “We have to seize all of your computers and records,” he said.

      “Are you kidding?”

       “Does this look like we’re kidding?”

       I turned to see Assai sandwiched between two enormous detectives. He was in handcuffs. It was the large black detective that had spoken.

     “Do as they say, sir,” Assai said in a low voice to me. He usually never looked directly at me when he spoke, but rather maintained an eye level aimed at my forehead. Now, his head was bent downward, as if he was trying to hide from me his deep feeling of shame.

        But what was he ashamed of? What did he do?

        The two large detectives led him to the door, and I saw my job coming to an end.   But it couldn’t end! Not yet. Not now. I loved having all that money. I needed that money, I didn’t want to move from my great, coveted apartment in The Village, and I needed to talk to Assai, to hear his wise counsel.



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