Speaking of which, (and were we, were we really?), the sealed envelope containing the next day's top-secret shooting script arrives by undercover courier and Neena, who finds all this on-pain-of-death-hush-hush-for-your eyes-only confidential rigmarole rather ridiculous—it is only a movie after all, isn't it?—takes it to the chaise. There, curling up on the imitation (real) white rhinoceros leather, a chilled glass of pallid wine in her hand, dressed in a hotel bathrobe with its indecipherable gold crest and a matching white towel wrapped in a tall turban atop her head, she opens what now appears to be a diplomatic pouch.
This pouch is sealed with the vaguely ominous and official-looking seal of some government agency or other (she doesn't recognize either the agency or the government, recognizes nothing about it at all except that the supposedly identifying insignia embossed on the envelope’s expensive vellum is identical to the crest on her bathrobe.)
Is she in Dubai? Lately so many of these kinds of things seem to be happening there.
Inside is a sheaf of papers which she now pulls out to find that they are covered, from top to bottom, from first to last, in what appears to be a kind of sigil code which, to make things even more complicated, has been written over another code, the two (or even three together) somehow forming a symbiotic whole, a paralytic palimpsest, an autistic hieroglyphic.
What is she to make of it, this acephalous alphabet? How is she to speak these lines, or is she? Is it all some kind of joke, a prank pulled on her by her co-star, the campy old B-movie actor who plays the paramilitary inquisitor, this unpleasant fellow with the cold eyes and tight, dry, flaking skin a.k.a. The Interrogator, and lately, also known as Mr. Thoth, with whom Neena, unfortunately, seems to share most of her speaking scenes? The director, too, is a suspect in these shenanigans. She hasn’t seen any evidence of him since shooting began, which begs the question, has it begun?
He’s a recluse with a sociopathic God-complex, a real “wack-job,” if the rumors and scandal sheets contain even the thinnest shred of truth, who stages and films for his own titillation his bizarre sexual hang-ups to the widespread acclaim of cowed critics who fear they might be missing something. He’s legendary for the innovative, unnatural, immoral, even technically criminal methods he devises to motivate his actors. Yes, the more she considers the possibility, he could just as easily be lurking behind the vague but ever-growing unease that Neena has felt since her first night in this luxury hotel room which may or may not be part of the film. From the start she’s suspected that these overly opulent accommodations, fit for a prime minister or secretary of state, are bugged with hidden microphones and under the constant surveillance of many-chambered kaleidoscopic camera eyes that pivot, noiselessly, chameleon-like, to catch even the slightest movement of everything from every angle.
To be so closely observed, simply to believe you’re being so closely observed even if you’re not, is exhausting. Eventually the lifting of a pen becomes an ordeal, a crisis of self-consciousness. Neena finds herself having to relearn everything, even the simplest actions, like a stroke victim. How does one cough, for instance, brush one's hair, use a spoon? Orgasm? --forget it, rather ask her to build a rocket to the moon!
“That's why they call it acting darling,” says the director, Oz-like, from somewhere or other, paraphrasing, without attribution, the great demon, Sir Laurence Olivier.
Well, it's true. It's all faked. Simply answering the door for the bellhop (“It’s room service, ma’am), or, should we say the enemy agent (rapist, satanic priest, etc.) disguised as the bell-hop who arrives at her door on cue, is a journey of a thousand steps, literally. The relatively insignificant scene is shot over and over so many times it becomes transparent. Walking from the couch to the door is like crossing the Sahara, a journey of numberless illusory oases. Even after a thousand steps, Neena never quite gets to her destination. She exists, if she exists, like a character in an allegorical paradox of Zeno’s. So it must be only in her imagination when she finds herself at the door, opens it, and sees the old woman with the wheelchair waiting and thereby knows it’s time.
Time for what?
There’s only one way to find out.
She sits down in the wheelchair, not bound (it’s not necessary), but not unbound either (also unnecessary), if that can possibly be clear to anyone (it can’t be, so let’s not bother to elaborate).
So then, back to the point (which would be what, exactly?).
Wheeled, then, in such an impossibly unclear and inexplicable manner, Neena is witness to the sights you aren’t ever meant to see: the furry sexed, the two-tongued girl, the digitally-enhanced young bodies whose sockets provide the infinite pleasure only promised by pornography and advertising. These pleasures, delivered via coaxial umbilical, are generated by a new generation of artificially intelligent bio-machine, a high-tech hybrid of computer science and advanced sex-toys technology. It’s the sort of product you might expect to be dreamed up by a brilliant, erotomanic surgeon with a psychopathic sexual imagination, unlimited financial backing, and absolutely no ethics or legal accountability whatsoever.
“What, then, might the possibilities be, the mathematical combinations of pleasure, if the body had a dozen, two dozen, three or more dozen entrances?”
“Interesting doctor. What exactly do you mean?”
He had his own ideas—his own fantasies—of course. But what did the doctor mean, what was medically feasible, or, even more titillating, unfeasible?
“A cunt, a rectum, a mouth. Why need we stop there? Nature lacks an essential element in our quest for pleasure: a dirty mind. We needn’t be so limited! One might provide ports of departure for points of destination across the oceanic virtually anywhere, virtually everywhere! A New World of Pleasure! Straight through the nipple, for instance—thereby effectively melding both the oral and the genital stage. Turn the nipple into a functioning anus and you’ve captured the Holy Fucking Freudian Grail, the Holy Trinity of Pleasure! For those beyond all that, perfectly adjusted and bored by the usual sexual pathologies and dysfunctions, we can core out glory holes in the crook of the elbow or behind a knee. Straight into the lower vertebrae of the spine, for instance, conjoining the most primitive and brutish preference for rear entry with the neural electro buzz of futuristic deep-galaxy intercourse.
“Less philosophical, let’s say feet are your thing. Why be forced to crook your head around to see your darling’s adorable pedicure while having intercourse? Or be forced to picture her succulent little piggies in your mind’s eye to trigger your orgasm? Fuck them directly! A nicely puckered aperture on a delicately arched instep or implanted on the vulnerable Achilles heel will do very nicely. You could slip your cock directly into a size five—not the shoe, but the foot itself!—as neatly as if putting on a sock. When you’re ready to pop your wad, instruct your paramour to flex her toes, and there you are, cumming in her tootsie like gangbusters!
“For the spiritually-inclined intellectual, it might be a puckered multi-petaled rose in the middle of the forehead. The mystic third-eye, the myth of the unicorn—suddenly all that nonsense makes perfect scientific sense. These myths may well have had their origin in such yearnings. Why not? Now we have the technology to make such myths a reality. A new sort of anus drilled straight into the base of the skull of even the most witless bimbo allows us to penetrate straight into the cerebellum and thus the medulla oblongata where the most autonomous functions reside. Who says you don’t appreciate her for her mind? Now you can assure her that you do in perfect sincerity and with a straight face. Pure jungle sex! Right and left hemispheres. Mammalian and reptile brains experienced at once. You bathe your pecker in both her thoughts and feelings, her dreams and fears. It’s up to you. Think braingasm!
“I’m just theorizing out loud here, unofficially, you understand. Haven’t we enough skyscrapers, strip malls, and Taj Mahals? Enough electric salad mixers and snow-blowers and non-stick frying pans? We have now the rare opportunity to turn the attention and imagination of our generation’s most talented and inventive minds to the science and art of sexual engineering, allowing them to turn loose upon the world their heretofore suppressed erotic fancies.
“A sexual city of the future awaits us. It’s on the horizon ready to be erected. And, already in anticipation, our erections point the way. Up, up, up! The sky is the limit! Our next orgasm knows no boundaries! To the old notion of body as temple we propose a new and complementary concept: the body as whorehouse!”
Read the complete novel here:
Read the complete novel here: