Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Grip of death

Canteen had run drop-dry some while back, still, the point of no return had been past way before that. In the meantime, I sucked on a smooth, crystalline pebble. Purpose packed. I heard it helped saliva before the sun's stroke wrung every last bit of wet out the body. I would need the power of speech up-until then. And now I was traversing the salt plains, mountain ranges had all but merged and morphed into the periphery. Hadn't notice the crossroads until I was upon them. Ground heat caused the air to flicker and swirl in a conduction fire vortex mirage.

And there he stood, rust bruised bronze skin knotted with wire junctions of thick black veins threading the swollen surfaces of a muscular exoskeleton. What hellish ferment coursed through them, God knows. It looked like he worked out though. On steroids. And too much. His eyes, non-refractive black holes that sucked in everything drawn into their path. His horns, antenna to the unspeakable broadcast. Congealed white powder clinging to the dual dilated rings of flared nostrils. Arrowed tail thrashing dirt in the manner of an untamed predator.

I played my all-or-nothing opening gambit: “I'm here about a sub-prime mortgage.”

“In return for your soul?”

“Soul. It's a bit of an old fashioned notion. Anachronism. I guess a more current terminology would have it as “person-hood”, that which makes us a person, deriving from the Greek persona, “mask”; so you could say personality is the mask through which we speak, the medium of our manifestation – the word made solid in the world.”

“Semantics aside, have you any collateral?”

“Well, I've got my unemployment cheque?”

“Sign here, here and here.”

“I don't have a pen.”

“Blood will do.”

“Ah, you're one for tradition, I respect that. Okay. There, there and there. Done.”

“Remember, if you do not keep up repayments, your home is at risk. Rates can go up as well as down.”

“Keep that in mind. Can I have the deeds now?”

“Not until you've finished paying.”

“When's that?”

“Muahahahahaha. Heard of indebted servitude?”

"Hold on a minute Beelzebozo, I've just got a call to make ... "

" ... and?"

"If you look carefully at the triplicate signature on the contract, you'll see I'm applying for the mortgage on behalf of a public sector pension consortium - real-estate investment - which I have just sold back to them, plus commission, as part of a triple-A rated, junk bond, collateralised debt obligation. CDO for short. Hey, I'm just the middle-man."

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