It seems a good time to introduce one of our protagonist’s heroes, Monsieur Guy Debord. First of all, Debord was French–very important for Fred–and a Marxist writer and filmmaker, probably best known for his book, The Society of the Spectacle. (You can read it here… and good luck.) It’s a seminal document for the Situationists, a loose association of French intellectuals and artists who gathered in the 1950s, of which band of merry provocateurs Fred would love to think himself a part, though they unraveled in personal squabbles and political differences not long before Fred was born. Oh, what could be a sweeter dream than a bunch of jargon-slinging French intellectuals smoking heavily, drinking at least as hard, and arguing the day away? For Debord, late capitalism has turned us all into consumers content with phony, mechanized, second-hand lives, sort of like all the plugged in drones of The Matrix. The Situationists wanted to undo all that, and not with a little red pill; they believed in creating situations, moments of real life, authentic encounters, adventure, liberation. They even had an urban architectural theory, but I’ll leave that for another day.
Now that I have made up for this extremely short chapter, I’ll leave you to it.
Reason Cannot Go
“My life is for itself and not for a spectacle.”- Emerson
By the time light filtered into Fred’s room, Constantia was already awake. Oddly enough, she had picked up Society of the Spectacle from the floor and seemed thoughtfully engrossed in it.
He stretched, observing his companion closely. The black curly hair he had admired so much at Gooski’s that very first evening they met, looked decidedly flat at the moment. Nonetheless, her heavy-lidded eyes, aimed as they were at the pages of the yellowed paperback, were as beautiful as he remembered, with their thick black lashes laying against warm ivory skin. She did not seem in the least uncomfortable with this change in status between them, or in any way conscious of the important threshold which she had crossed. He detached from his reverie.
“No bunny dreams, I trust?”
She did not lift her eyes at once, but murmured distractedly, “None. No hangover either.”
“The rose elixir is the evanescence of joy. No suffering can come from its offices.”
She slid the book closed around an index finger which she entrusted to mark her page, and rotated the back cover toward him. A young, bespectacled, black-and-white Guy Debord gazed off into space, sucking passionately on a cigar.
“You look like him,” she said.
Fred was skeptical, though it seemed politic to agree. “That is an august recommendation, my enticing Constantia.” He hesitated then, for women, in his experience, do not interpret syntactical arrangements as men do. He planned, therefore, his foray into inquisitiveness.
“I am rather enthusiastically surprised by your poise in this no doubt novel encounter.”
She laughed at him. He found this unnerving, especially as she continued in this vein of hilarity for some time. No doubt he had erred in grammar in some conspicuous degree. It was best to be gracious.
“It did seem to me, at least, as if you were reluctant to assay this level of familiarity…”
“So, you mean, why now?”
“Well, yes, actually. Yes.”
“I wasn’t sure if I liked you or not.”
“Ah.” This could be very good or very bad. “I am replete with pleasure that you have come to a decision with regard to—“
“I haven’t really,” she said, putting aside the book for a moment. “The holidays bore me; I’ll want diversion. I was curious.”
His brow was furrowed. “And now?”
“Even more so.” Her lips had curved into a strange smile. He needed an escape.
“I shall be momentarily absent, but I’ll leave you in the cerebral company of Monsieur Debord, while I take a hasty shower. I promise to leave you hot water.”
“No worries,” she said, again engaging with the book. “I’ve already been.”
Already been? Indeed, the lady seemed to be most at home. He hastened to the loo for a crap, a shave, and a bit of privacy. Sometimes, you’ve got to look in the mirror and wonder what the hell you are doing with yourself, only then he remembered what he was doing last night with the lively Constantia, and all seemed right with the world again. He turned on the shower tap and began to sing an aria from Don Giovanni. Fred was not in any way musically gifted, so it was a singular experience for all who heard him.
Returned to his room, a towel draped about his waist, he found the girl still absorbed in Debord. He pushed out his lower lip in contemplation of this unlikely reverence and reached for his jeans.
“Hold on there,” she said, though she did not stop reading. “Put those down.”
He did, instantly.
“Give me one good reason why you don’t want to have sex again.”
So saying, Constantia tossed Debord back onto the floor and leaned back on her elbows. Half her exquisite torso had cleared the sheets, and his towel, too, was extending its contours in a compelling manner. Discretely stepping over the Spectacle, Fred vaulted Constantia to the vacant space at her side. Much wrangling with the incredibly thick pile of blankets ensued before the two lovers were able to make intimate contact with cool, clean skin, wet, tangled hair and the scent of soap.
As was to be expected, Fred happily had no good reason at all.
You can find chapters 1-15 here. I hope if you haven’t read them, you will. They are far easier than The Society of the Spectacle.