Fuck the Pain Away
“Suckin' on my titties like you wanted me, Calling me, all the time, like Blondie, Check out my Chrissy behind, It's fine, all of the time, Like sex on the beaches, What else is in the teaches of peaches? Huh? What? Fuck the pain away, fuck the pain away, Fuck the pain away, fuck the pain away, Fuck the pain away,” - Merrill “Peaches” Nisker
“But life is just a party And parties weren't meant to last War is all around us. So If I gotta die I'm gonna listen to my body tonight” Prince Nelson
As the virus raged outside Metropolis, Bran-D Higgins is elated. He couldn't have asked for a better culling of the heifer herds of humanity. Sure, he profited from billions of Grips and Vessels, but, by and large, there were too many of them, and these teething masses yearning to breathe free would eventually trample over him and his luxurious lifestyle. They were becoming more and more desperate as resources became scarce. Artificial intelligence and algorithms were perfectly understandable, he always knew what to expect. But with humans, a corner of his mind lingered on fears of upheavals. At some point, they would turn on their overlords and bust a Bastille on him.
Yes, Brand-N was happy to have a Final Solution for the urchin class so he wouldn't have to concoct one himself. And, when necessary, he could always breed more labor.
With a 100% mortality rate, he'd just have to wait it out. Let the virus rage through the Vessels and the Grips. Let the Earth swallow them whole and let the virus run its course. Like a brush fire that rages as inferno, sooner or later, it will succumb to time and flicker its final embers and be extinguished.
Dénouement et fin.
But much like a brush fire, Higgins never knew which way the winds would blow. Best to insulate himself fully from the virus.
But for how long?
And what would he do?
Time is a tricky bandit, he could either be bent and subdued by it and muddle through the months. Or, he could take this opportunity as a sabbatical, a time away from the concerns of business as usual and enjoy life.
To truly live!
“If we took a Holiday...” He mused. “Some time to celebrate...”
More lavish than he had every thrown. A way to dance, laugh and drink all their cares away.
“An escapade! We'll have a good time.”
The whispers whipped through Metropolis. A deadly virus that added the ultimate insult to its injuries: it destroyed all the well-crafted beauty they had bought. To assuage fears, Brand-N and the patricians of Metropolis held a town hall meeting, broadcast on every holoscreen, from every wall and above every toilet.
The doors to Metropolis would be sealed. The outside world would be quarantined from them. All non-essential Grips would have their passports canceled. The necessary ones would be quartered in office buildings, twenty to a room, until the virus ran its course.
The same spirit of sacrifice that burst from every Metropolouses' heart to forfeit large parts of their fortune to create this kingdom, bubbled up again. For the Greater Glory of Metropolis, they would sacrifice their housekeepers and gardeners.
He could already here the ladies scream, “Not without my makeup artists!” No, they can keep their Leeches. These Leeches had burrowed deep under their Boujee skin and would be protected as a hapless class of lovable buffoons. Their hair dressers, makeup artists, trainers, nutritionists, dance instructors would be safe with them. They were always beleaguered with hilarious petty drama which did make the days pass faster. And, of course, they were always good for a fuck.
But as the official pronouncement burst from holoscreens, a notification popped up for a select few. They had to swear to secrecy before opening the message.
A months-long bacchanal in the top floors of the Burj Bab'El hosted by their Prince of Prosperity, Brand-N Higgins.
The instructions were simple:
Pack few clothes but underwear, bathing suits and the most outrageous costumes.
Tell no one! No family member! No friend! No neighbor!
Keep a light on in your home and a gentle hum from your holoscreen.
Exodus begins at 4am, so steal away like a thief in the night with your passports and this invitation.
By the next time Metropolis turned towards the sun, the invitees were safely inside the lobby of the Burj, out of sight of the nosey nobodies left in a lurch.
The crowd froths with glee, seeing thousands of their favorite humans, excited for the extended holiday together. What a gift! A period to slow down the hustle and bustle of modern life, after too many outings and too many balls, and just relax. They could finally enjoy each other and the finer things without having to move more than a thousand feet.
They squeal and laugh as they see each other.
“You made it!”
Happy bouncing hugs are given for their favorite humans! Any loved ones left out were clearly of a lower caste, so best to severe relations with those betas.
Once all were inside, courtiers melted the steel doors with flamethrowers, welding each entrance shut.
Crystal glasses brimming with Champagne are passed to all assembled.
The merry toasting turns to silence when the lobby's ebony clock strikes six.
The revelers shudder.
This quiet forces a moment of meditation.
Should we...? Could we...?
Pyrotechnic explosions snuff out those half-formed concerns. As the smoke clears, a figure appears on stage in a tuxedo with a cape draped over his face.
The crowd ejaculates with applause and laughter to see their deliverer stand before them. The slayer of ennui, the savior of social status, the prince of piecemeal regimentation of society. He bows before the crowd and hushes them with his hands raised.
“Everywhere you turn is heartache. It's everywhere that you go!" Brand-N begins. "You try everything you can to escape the pain of life that you know. I know a place where you can get away.”
The women and men, draped in diamonds and pearls, look around at their opulent surroundings and squeal with delight at their privilege.
“How vogue!” They murmur to each other.
“Look around!” Brand-N continues “You are the chosen people. You've been selected not to merely survive the plague, but to thrive in the most luxurious environment ever created. Now raise your glass to life! To finally living in a world surrounded by the most beautiful, the most successful humans that have ever lived.”
Clinks then gulps as gullets slurp down the first sweetness of what's to come. Ahh, the rush of alcohol reassured them.
The violinists play on either side of the crowd as they are ushered to the elevators.
“Come with me and you'll see a world of pure imagination.”
The halls are lined with oak barrels full of wine. A team of Grips, 10,000 strong, scurry the supplies for the long soirée: wheels of the stinkiest cheese, crates of avocados, the freshest flash-frozen salmon and bison meat still dripping blood.
The guests enter the glass elevators and point and laugh with each other across the tower's center. Tiara clad, draped in jewels, the cream of the crop rises to the top. Past the 54th floor, the eyes turn outward. Out of the building they see the Boujees who scurry on the streets below.
Still unaware that they have been abandoned.
Ha! What will they think when they've discovered the best were missing? Did they know they had been demoted?
The doors open to the Def Corporation executive fortress, remodeled into an adult playground to maximize human pleasure.
“Let the merriment begin!” Higgins cheers.
Cries of delight are heard from all corners as the Boujees sprint to explore.
The tower's top floors are made up of seven suites.
In the first, an orchestra of rotating members fills a ballroom to the brim with the gay sounds of Tchaikovsky and Handel.
In the second, Boujees binge in the theater room, watching humanity's greatest shows that the busy Metropolouses always promised they'd make time to watch. They take a brief break every fourth episodes to allow them to void their bowels and order more food to the snuggle section.
A third plays Electronic-Dance-Music with flashing lights. Herein a single song will roar for weeks, edging close to a climax but ebbing back before the beat drops, as the attendees froth with unfulfilled desire.
The fourth is lined with a buffet where the greatest delicacies and comfort food collide, caviar mac & cheese, oysters and pumpkin pie. In the middle sits a 6-tiered nacho fountain with an unending guacamole moat. In the corner is the bulimiarium for the guests when they had the urge to purge.
Steam streams from the entrance to the fifth suite. This misnomerly known day-spa prunes guests for weeks in hot tubs and mud baths before treatments of seaweed wraps and chocolate scrubs.
Most attendees lurk in the dark recesses of the sixth suite. This sex dungeon chamber looks as if it were architected by M.C. Escher and designed by Michel Foucault, who spent his sadomasochistic later years developing new possibilities for pleasure. Stairwells disappear into walls, humans hang upside down from the rafters, while others swing in slings. Beneath them, tarps cover all surfaces. A writhing centipede of human flesh swells and shrinks, pressed together and pulled apart.
What a convivial atmosphere! Not a single person cries the most feared phrase ever uttered by humans, “Who invited HIM to the Orgy?!”
“Bacchus, that slutty Roman God of Orgies, would be proud!” Brand-N thinks, as he douses this haram with sex drugs. Today's orgy is brought to them by the letters G, E and T.
Months of revelry roar by. Time slows and speeds up in accordance with the substances they use. Morning, noon and night mean nothing underneath the neon lights.
How long had it been since he last slumbered? He couldn't count in minutes or hours, but in sex partners, in ejaculations and in refractory periods. Was it 47 ejaculations or 52? Oh! And what vile yet wonderful smells they had made.
A cleaning crew constantly hoses down the floor and walls and then collects the hastily discarded hazardous materials. The moment the cleaners move to a different section, the naked Boujees tumble in, writhing in delight.
The seventh and final suite is filled with plush black velvet carpeting that covers the floor, walls and ceiling. The room is pitch black. It has it's own vestibule made to trap any photon to ensure no wave-particle would disturb this suite. This is an escape from the sensory overloads and a place to sleep. When he did sleep, Brand-N is sure he would sleep for forty hours at a time. He'd roll over only to empty his bowels into his Givenchy colostomy clutch. The circuits in his brain try to snap together, to recover and to dream, but they never could. Their Boujee minds never had time to fully rest and make memories. Life for them was experienced in a domino of moments that knocked into each other but never stood out.
Pleasure, like luxury, has no limits, only diminishing returns. By the fourth month, Brand-N had exhausted his creativity of how to fill the time. He tweaks as he searches for the next highs to shock the dopamine receptors of their brains.
On the 132nd day, the last of the Metropolouses outside had perished. The clock in the hall gongs and counts to twelve as all fall silent in a moment of reflection.
One woman shakes and sings to herself.
“Ring-a-round the rosie,
“Pockets full of posies,
“They all fall down...”
And the band played on. The sounds of “Nearer My God to Thee” fill all seven suites.
None knew for sure how the virus first entered their domed city-state. But there were rumors. Some said it was brought by a yacht docked after a world tour. The captain thought the redness was just rope burn from the erg machine in his yacht's gym. Others blamed the Grips imported to repair the holes in the dome created by Project Q.U.E.E.N.
As he hears this last rumor, an idea strikes Brand-N's mind.
“Everyone! Everyone!” He hollers. “Come with me to the theater room!”
The crowd scurries after Brand-N, all eager to end their vigil.
“We've captured some of the invaders!” He orders the holoscreen to show the jail cells of JA-NL, Bon-E and Est'R. “These are the women we have to blame for killing our beloveds. Now, watch them squirm!
“Jail ALEXIS, play the CIA's torture playlist.” The United States of America had once subjected its detainees to days of torture in black sites by blasting these bubblegum pop songs.
The sounds of Britney Spears' “Hit me Baby One More Time” blasts at 115-decibels, just above the limit deemed healthy for human ears. The bodies of Bon-E and Est'R squirm as they scream in pain. JA-NL sits, stone faced. The song ends as the Boujee audience laughs. “Again! Again!”
The playlist moves to the Barney & Friends love song.
“I love you, you love me. We're one big happy family.” Even these words of encouragement stab their minds like ice picks at such high volumes.
“AAHHHH! Make it stop! Make it stop!” Est'R cries.
JA-NL closes her eyes and breathes deeply, shutting off the sounds with careful meditation.
“Jail ALEXIS, bring up the next song to 130-decibels in JA-NL's cell!” With Brand-N command, the Purina Meow Mix jingle booms in her cell.
“Meow, meow, meow, meow, meow, meow, meow, meow, meow, meow, meow, meow, meow, meow, meow, meow, meow, meow, meow, meow, meow, meow, meow, meow, meow.”
The sheer pressure of that many decibels ruptures a few capillaries in JA-NL's ear and blood trickles out. Still, her eyes remain closed as she clenches her teeth.
Something about JA-NL's lack of response robs him of the satisfaction he desires. He whispers to himself, “I will make you suffer! When this party eventually ebbs, I'll tap your spunk to power a new version of Cyndi.”
He turns to the crowd, hiding his feeling of defeat.
“Now wasn't that fun!” He says cheerfully as he flips the holoscreen back to play what's in progress, “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” season three.
During the fifth month, Brand-N feels like he's just going through the motions, walking through a part. Every single night is the same arrangement.
Desperation spikes in him. He has to do something. Brand-N ups the drug doses, creating a frenetic writhing of flesh as they twitch and shake. Some went into convulsions, vomiting until the medic crew carries them away.
It isn't good enough yet.
He finds himself pacing the orgy chamber, rearranging the furniture, adjusting the volume for the techno music, scratching his skin, unable to pluck out what is wrong. His mind screams that nothing was right. Everything is wrong. He mutters and shouts, screaming at no one but everyone at the same time.
“It's all wrong!”
Half the sex partners have been benched with medical problems: syphilis sores, fractured penes and broken hips. Another contingent had tired of their rambling host interrupting coitus to demand help moving furniture.
On the 173rd day in isolation, a piece of Brand-N's consciousness clicks into place.
Awareness overtakes him.
He had been blinded by the light, revved up like a douche in the middle of the night.
“Have I been muttering to myself? How long have I been standing here naked? Where the devil is everyone else?” He stands alone in the orgy chamber, feeling drops fall from the ceiling. It's raining men sweat on him.
Shame swallows his awareness as he races through the chambers, looking at the downcast eyes of the chosen. His chosen! They are his play things! They're here to entertain him through the doldrums.
He can sense a general malaise has seeped through the partygoers who seem tired and... Bored?
How could they be bored!?
He had given them all they could want and and and...
The wave of anger at these ingrates smashes into the wave of his insecurity for failing them. At failing him. He still feels a pang of veneration to the assembled captains of industry and culture. The waters of insecurity overtake his anger. He races to the band, now slowed to 3/4 time and peps them up as he runs through the halls, crashing a cymbal.
“Wake up! Wake up! Life is for the living!”
He orders the courtiers to wheel out the best Champagne and the deepest nacho dip platters to continue the celebration. He tells the servants to spike each glass with a cocaine and quaalude cocktail to liven up the party.
Something is absent...
The festivities are missing...
The crowd has pawed on each other for months and grown accustomed to their faces. Their climactic highs and marshmallowy lows are tediously second nature to them now.
The doors are sealed.
The Burj secured.
And then a flash!
His member throbs to life with a thought.
He demands an A/V-tech Brain scour the tunnels beneath Metropolis for any sign of sluttiness, to find a body none had seen before, who could tantalize the men and their sex-object wives. Had any sex Vessels survived, he wonders.
After three hours of scanning, the Brain bumbles back to Brand-N.
“Sir, I think I've found one.”
And there she stands!
Brand-N scans her holographic dimensions. She has the perfect ratio of subcutaneous fat to toned muscle (5:1), that jiggles like a juicy sausage taut in its encasement. Those honey colored breasts, those large brown areolae, they first seemed obscene but then his saliva glands fill as he aches to suck them.
“Bring it all to me!”
And this is how humanity's oldest profession became its last.
“But sir, the doors are sealed, you told us never to---” the A/V techie quivers as Higgins conks him upside his head with a double-sided dildo.
“Bring her through the seventh suit. In the back of the black room, there is a panel which opens on a service hallway. Pry it open!”
Brand-N meets Ma'Sque in the seventh suite. A low red light leaks from the hall into the black chamber and silhouettes a robed figure. She drops the robe and stands naked, backlit by red, her curves hugged like the moon during an eclipse. Then the panel is sealed shut as darkness covers her. He reaches out and lets his fingers do the seeing, pawing her flesh, inspecting her buoyancy.
He drapes Ma'Sque in diamonds and walks through the chambers, gazing at the men, who all rage with excitement for this fresh flesh.
Most overlooked the gaudy amounts of makeup that cakes her face. Those that noticed shrugged, thinking she was some modern Geisha, overly done up for them to sully.
After the slow dance tour of the suites. The men race after her. The women follow that electric sexual air, sparking with renewed adolescent fervor.
Like virgins, touched for the very first time.
They had made it through the wilderness of boredom.
Somehow they made it through.
The drugs kick in as the music swells. The addition of the new body reorganizes the group into shapes they never dreamed of. Together, they writhe together towards ecstasy.
By hour four, the sweat drenched Ma'Sque stumbles to the buffet. A single drop of perspiration starts from her hairline and toboggans down her face and splatters into the poutine tureen with a Pollock-esque splash of paint.
Dishes drop, the music stops and screams burst in rows rolling out from the Ma'Sque epicenter.
The rivulet of sweat exposes her face dotted with red pox.
A pandemonium of kicking and punching, yelps and screams explodes as they rush to the doors and windows, trying to breakaway from the red death that dances before them.
The insults are thrown hardest at Brand-N who should've protected them. It is all his fault. They only have him to blame.
Higgins feels the sharp whips of diamonds to his face and acrylic nails stabbing his back.
“How dare you?”
“How could you?”
Each verb twirls with generations of entitlement.
Terror rushes through the crowd as they tear at themselves, hoping to pluck out the demon virus before it incubates in them.
“Out, out damn spot!” They scream.
A few barricade themselves behind sofas and sex chairs, piling fondue sets into a fort.
But it is too late.
They now know they'll never keep out the worst party guest, smallpox.
On the 184th day, the blisters boil through the crowd as mortality steps in. Overpowered by their survival instincts, they attack each other, cower and cry.
Only one figure remains calm. That Grand-Haught-Dam, the Arch Duchess Katya Zamolodchikova Zsa Zsa Crawley, drapes herself on the solid-gold grand piano and swills her martini as she takes in the tragedy.
With a shrug, she turns to the pianist, who plays them out.
“I remember, when I was a very little girl, our house caught on fire. I'll never forget the look on my father's face as he gathered me up in his arms and raced through the burning building onto the pavement. And I stood there, shivering, in my pajamas and watched the whole world go up in flames. And when it was all over, I said to myself.
“Is that all there is to a fire?”
Caught in the moment, Katya slides off the piano and sways and sings.
“Is that all there is? Is that all there is? If that's all there is my friends, then let's keep dancing. Let's break out the booze and have a ball. If... that's all there is.”
As she waltzes, she dodges the physical manifestation of despair as punches are thrown and goblets are hurled all around her.
“And then I fell in love with the most wonderful boy in the world. We'd take long walks down by the river or just sit for hours gazing into each other's eyes. We were so very much in love. Then one day he went away. And I thought I'd die, but I didn't. And when I didn't, I said to myself, 'is that all there is to love?'
“Is that all there is? Is that all there is? If that's all there is---
“I know what you must be saying to yourself. 'If that's the way she feels about it, why doesn't she just end it all?' Ha! Oh, no. Not me. I'm not ready for that final disappointment. Cause I know just as well as I'm standing here talking to you, when that final moment comes and I'm breathing my last breath, I'll be saying to myself,
“Is that all there is? Is that all there is? If that's all there is my friends, then let's keep dancing. Let's break out the booze and have a ball.
“If that's all. There. Is.”