The Banquet of the Damned
Jack Hent, of the Hents, sat on a coach made from the leather of beer fed, daily massaged Japanese cows. He worked on his Japanese made PDA to close a deal with, appropriately, a Japanese supermarket chain so Japanese people could fuel themselves on baked pumpkin seeds for the energy to make more PDAs and to massaged cows. The Circle of Modern Life. Before him, ignored, raged an elite charity function, millionaires or richer only. A monthly ball.
Along came a beautiful fem,
along down beside him.
‘Jack.’ Brusque and cool, she sat down her empty martini with expertise, closed her eyes, and sunk back into the ill fated cow. Her anemic form made a mere dent. ‘Must be years.’
He kept his eyes on his PDA. ‘Lyz. I saw you on that talk show last week. How did they get you awake so early?’
‘The party from the night before was winding down so I took a shower, changed my clothes, and hailed a cab. I showed up early. My agent was amazed.’
‘When do you sleep?’
‘I don’t have bedtimes. I pass out when I pass out.’
‘Ha! Hey, how’d I look on the show?’
‘Good. Better than you have in years. Course, the camera adds ten pounds…’
Her hand covered her eyes, she opened her mouth but didn’t make a noise. She laughed like when she was a kid.
‘Jack, you’re always so mean to me. Why am I nice to you?’
‘Because I’m the only person whose ever been honest with you. Probably why it’s been years.’
‘Honest? Ha! Honestly, isn’t it about time you stopped hitting girls you like at recess?’
‘You like honesty as much as you like food, but you still need it.’ Deal closed, Jack put the ball and chain PDA away and leaned back himself. A week of working thirty hour days with few breaks. He fell into the couch, creating a sink hole which absorbed the dent made by the Lyz’s little head, just as sleep deprived. Her head rolled down hill to come to rest on his shoulder. She nuzzled into a comfortable niche.
The youngsters lay there catching their breath for five minutes, but eventually something had to be said.
‘Nice tux. Soft. So, you’ve finally broke down and come to a decadent ball with your dad? Sigh, where have all the cowboys gone?’
‘I’m here on my own.’
‘What rot.’ Snide now.
‘Bought in last week.’
She opened her eyes, which happened to already point up and right; right at Jack’s face, his eyes closed. Some new lines there, stronger looking at 30, but the same face from childhood.
‘With pumpkin seeds?’
‘I sold 51% of the stock to Bostitch Foods, retained royalty concessions for seven years, and several of my investments have done well. New kind of fiber optic. Some other things. A finder’s fee from time to time.’
‘You got royalties from Ted Bostitch for seven years? That penny pinching lobster? Not to mention ass. He’s strong for a man in his seventies. My bruises last a week after the
‘No.’ Jack still laughed in his words instead of grunts. No “ha” or “Hee Hee!” or any non-words. Just that down turned smile, a word inflected, and that was it. Lyz smiled at him.
‘Wait. Jack Hent, of the Hents, is a self-made millionaire? How am I only now learning this? Facebook is not what it used to be since they let state students in.’
‘Not that you graduated…’
‘I attended! That’s all you need for the Ivy. Answer, sir, the question.’
‘I’m not famous like you. TV, the runway, movies… have you been in a movie yet where your character isn’t brutally murdered in her underwear?’
‘Yeah.’ Lyz rolled over, putting her face higher on Jack’s shoulder, and her hands along his arm. ‘A Skinamax sorority comedy with Maxim’s name on it somewhere. I end up learning the true meaning of love I think, I’m not sure. I haven’t watched it and we shot four different endings. Maxim is always nice to me, unlike you.’
‘In any case, you beat me to it. The millionaire ranks, I mean. I’ve read the books for this… club. You joined three months ago. Independent of your parents, I mean.’
‘Your accountant signed you up. Tax reasons, I should think.’
A waiter extended a tray holding two martinis and a bourbon on ice.
‘About time.’ Lyz downed one, returned it, and took the other martini to sip. Jack took his drink, hushing out a “thank you” in his quite voice, looking down. Lyz smiled, her smile cutting her face almost completely in two. He still used his quite voice when dealing with odd servants. It wasn’t meek, but it resided right on the meek/humble border. It was just hushed, like he was begging the stranger not to answer and just go away please I don’t want any trouble.
‘Yeah, I guess I’m self-made, too. Making girls neurotic about dress size and giving lonely boys with internet access “relief” is faster and easier than pumpkin seeds.’
‘Give me that drink.’
‘Lysistrada Able, give me that drink. Self-mockery is your drinking stage right before psychotic breakdown.’
‘Bah!’ Her hand was a kitten paw on Jack’s chest.
‘It was in Cosmo.’
‘Relax! We’re at a party.’
The young lions studied the crowd of tuxes and dresses, Rolexes and patrons showing off their artistic pets, cloyed pallets shoveling Beluga caviar, voluble marriages, and the stentorian laugher of the damned.
‘Looks like a party to me.’
‘Yeah, I’ve noticed that.’
‘You never were any good at a party. Dour Jack. We have shared some times, though. Heard the chimes at and all that. I haven’t forgotten you saved my life. You still look sad around the eyes when you think nobody’s watching you. Hmmm… No, it’s permanent now. Sad, but undefeated.’ Sip. ‘Hey, why’d we stop hanging out?’
‘You discovered parties.’
Patronizing look. ‘Mean, mean, mean. Sigh. But right.’
Lysistrada Able, of the Ables, arose to wobbling feet due to her blood alcohol level and ridiculous shoes. Her “dress” was even worse. ‘Jack is always right, but never happy. Lysistrada is always indifferent, but never stressed. What does that tell you?’
‘You know, Lyz, at least partially covering your body creates a mysterious charm that enamors men more than, well, the gossamer you have on.’
Jack didn’t know anybody with a more condescending smile. ‘If you excuse me, I’m going to go cling on a Kennedy so my picture will be in the New York Times and Drudge tomorrow.’
‘I’ve never met a 27 year old girl begged for a spanking like you.’
‘Spanking? Ha! Foolish boy, the Fifties are long dead. Long live the Sexual Revolution! Spanking is sixties soft core and John Wayne atavism turned kink. Spankings are light fun now; passé. I don’t want the people to want me spanked. I want the people to want me flogged.’ She downed the rest of her martini, and tossed the glass aside to meet its doom on the ballroom floor. ‘And the people want someone to be flogged. That’s me. I have a role to play that needs to be played, and I’m very good at it..’ She smiled, all the girl gone except the insanity. ‘Now, having burned that sexy image into your brain, the image of me tied up, naked, and writhing from stroke after well deserved stroke of the whip in Time Square, the masses cheering at the justice of a spoiled brat getting her come-up-ens, I say to you, Sir Self-Made Millionaire: see ya in another two years.’
She turned, she walked.
‘Three years.’ Jack muttered. ‘It’s been three years.’
Jack studied her back and lack of dress, keeping his eyes above the waist. He didn’t need any imagination; in fact, he mused, the minx could be both spanked and flogged as clothed without damaging her attire. Not that she’d wear anything twice.
‘Flogging the decadent.’ Jack took a sip, squinting as he did when concentrating on a problem. ‘We almost forgot.’
The charity event spared few from utter disaster. One spared demographic was the media. The media didn’t have a field day. Field days are merely fun. The media, with the splendor of a tantra-like 24 hour orgasm, had the Moon Landing all over again. Jack Hent, of the Hents, brought down the aristocracy with the brutality of
All agreed. Fox and CNN, Drudge and Daily Kos, Rush and Air America, Ann Coulter and Tina Fey, even Hannity and Colmes—all agreed something had to be done about these pseudo-altruistic rich people, because Jack squeezed all of the timocracy’s toothpaste out, and there wasn’t any painless way to but the paste back in the tube. Pain would be required, and in spades. Like the old ways.
In short, the cat was out of the bag and on American Idle.
A clip of Jack on stage addressing the wealthy, a clip that everybody, every human with working sensory organs, all day saw on TV, read in the newspaper, heard on the radio, and linked to Youtube: ‘Thank you, thank you. Last week I joined the most famous, most ubiquitous charity in the
The rabble of millionaires booed and excoriated Jack with vulgar words and baseless accusations. They even threw caviar and exotic fruits at Jack as he made his way down the stage, ruining his rented and expensive tux and the food which was even more expensive. He made a minimum effort to shield himself from the confections as he existed at a steady gate.
The next morning Jack filed suit against the charity for the cost of the tux. The tux rental store filed suit to interpose against Jack, and fought bitterly with Jack, remonstrating that it would refuse the money from such a brave man who had given them international advertising one couldn’t buy (indeed, they did quite well that year during prom season for that very reason), but Jack would not hear of it. That anecdote dominated page four of the New York Times.
Jack snuck in many cameras disguised as porcelain horses, earning Jack the nickname “Jack the Greek”. It was hotly debated who or what coined the nickname, as over a hundred news organizations received a DVD copy of Jack’s speech and drunken mob opprobrium.
However, the government of
Everybody hates the arrogant rich, especially the modest rich. The charity ball erupted into an international class warfare hate-fest that would have made Karl Marx cry like the mother of the bride. As Howard Stern said on his XM radio program, “Jack ass-raped those elitist cocksuckers”, then proceeded to spank a stoned porn star, as is his want.
That was page one. Jack himself dominated page two of the New York Times. They put his story into ink. Jack left his wealthy family at the age of 18. His feuds with his father, Alcester Hent, were common gossip and entertainment at all levels of
Liberated by age, Jack worked as a horseman on a east Texan cattle ranch for a year before the ranch owner discovered oil and reduced his herd and regular hands, so Jack joined the Marine Core. For two weeks after basic Jack served as a guard for the U.S. Embassy in
But the Core takes care of their own, even if unhappy accidents cut a marine’s tour short. The GI Bill paid Jack’s tuition to the
Jack invented Baron Ernst von Strassenhoffer, a 19th Century collage roommate of Otto von Bismarck. Ernst, an anemic due to three-hundred years of unbroken inbreeding, as Jack told it, traveled in the Americas in search of the tastiest treat that contained high levels of iron, as Ernst was convinced that the hemoglobin in his red blood cells, the iron that held the oxygen in his blood stream, would be greatly bolstered by a high iron diet. The Baron perfected the roasting of pumpkin seeds for human consumption, lived to be 98, and his false legacy strove even to Jack’s day, all the way to
The Baron’s biography was posted on every bulletin board in all of
But it got worse, the paper warned the reader. Jack, a child of privilege, had received rather large sums of money over his childhood years. Mutual Fund birthday presents from grandparents, mad money from an old aunt that doted on him as her favorite living male, tax shelters from his father, an uber-healthy allowance—where did it all go? Why was Jack working two jobs and creating a pumpkin seed empire in
No, all the money given to him as a child, every penny, went the very day to his mother, whom Jack’s father divorced so he could marry his mistress whom he has since divorced. Jack’s mother, the beauty queen of a neglected county in
She has since remarried, to a mailman, and it is reported that Jack gets along well with his step-father, as no interesting gossip could be found on the matter.
All of Jack’s boyhood money went by wire to his mother, and now all the women of
Still, Jack did not perfectly dominate the New York Times. The charity ball did. Page one for the speech, page two for Jack, page four for Jack’s rented clothing and the effects of global warming on tree frogs, but page three for Lysistrada Able, of the Ables. Lyz, as she was known among her friends and the members of her Fan website, daughter of the son of one of the world’s great airplane tycoons, after strip teasing(which proved her talent as it is hard to strip tease while wearing almost no clothing) on a banquet table to the delight of many hidden, professional cameras, was found and photographed in a closet with a married Kennedy (second term in the Massachusus State House of Representatives), the mistress of another Kennedy, the mistress’s roommate, and a busboy. The busboy escaped unharmed; indeed he was lauded by his fellow Frat brothers who named him “Dude of the Year!”
The Kennedys were not as lucky. He had to go into rehab for a three days before returning to public service. Lyz, immortalized in that closet covered only in the flesh of strangers and her own vomit, was destroyed. In the chaos of Jack’s wake, Lyz cut a cop with a butter knife. Only a little, little blood spelt. The cop recovered and wrote a book, briefly hitting the Best Sellers list, but still—nobody cuts a NY cop and gets away with it. Money and influence can mate with an Ebola infected porcupine: you cut one of
But little did the media know that a brat jabbing a cop with a butter knife set in motion the salvation of countless millions.