When acts are unspeakably “appalling”.

“…And so, I urge you all to strive for but one thing.  To be above the world and its petty causes.  Treat its beliefs with contempt.  Nothing is as advertised.  When acts are unspeakably “appalling” they are perpetrated with a nice impunity.  And this is simply, simply because no ordinary, decent, common being can believe that such enormities could ever have been plotted. 

          In truth, it is easier to get away with big crimes than with little ones.  Therefore I will finish this, my brief sermon, by saying unto you, Be outrageous.  This should be the motto of the fine Cisnegro.  Fleece them all!  I give you the ship.”

Danny Tango obliviob in blue

This is a quote from Oblivion, my novel about the Tango, published by Grey Suit Editions.

The quote is taken from an inaugural speech given to the leader of an international cabal of influential men dedicated to their own domination of the planet.  The speech is given on board a massive liner, the Cisnegro – which provides them with an HQ in international waters.   Here is the full text of the speech:

“Gentlemen, ladies, pirates, nymphs and satyrs, on the eve of our first Bacchanalia, allow me to propose a toast, a toast to the Cisnegro, and to all who sail on her on this, her virgin voyage.  What a marvel she is!  What a treasure trove of facilities!  Most of you will have taken advantage of the reclining seats in our planetarium. Some of you may have already discovered that our bordello has been replenished.  Other treats are in store, and, from what I gather, everyone’s onshore ventures seem to be prospering, unaffected by paltry devaluations, since we attend to our own banking in zones safe from such vulgarities as pessification.  We keep in touch with our business interests in the e-chamber, and, truth to tell, we are better suited to influence world markets here than we would be even in Switzerland.

Here, there are scant regulations, few proprieties, and no taxes!  So let us delight in disorder.  The Cisnegro, after all, might be called the flagship of anarchy.  Look about you.  Look at the busts of our heroes sculpted in porphyry, look at the sumptuous riot of our vines, look at the widening fans of our pliant palmettos, the sparkling of our precious stones.  All tokens of unbridled zest.  Here we have the acme of extravagance, the apex of indulgence and cupidity.  Yes, and I truly believe, after meditation on the subject, that ours is the one truly liberated enterprise.  In the public world, the term ‘free trade’ entails a host of disclaimers.  We make no apologies, offer no excuses for our celebration of self-interest.  Those weaker than we may band together in order to indict us, may call what we engage in illegality, but we, we do not shy away from their nomenclature.  No, we embrace it.  We acknowledge it here, secure on our floating estate, and indeed we may as well congratulate ourselves on the success of our venture, and therefore glory in our victory.

Victory, yes, for the fact of the matter is that criminality always has the upper hand.  This is what has enabled us to fit out the Cisnegro.  Our good ship is the spider at the centre of our world wide web.  A web of deceit, of treachery, yes, and of unlimited power.  The strands of its inter-knit mesh reach to the hearts of governments, multinationals, military establishments.

And what is the secret of all this?  Listen.  I will tell you all of just one little incident.

When our Serbian colleague arrived on board, he proceeded to take an intense dislike to our beloved Cardinal’s attire.  We were between Rio and Panama.  He drew his gun and took a shot at him, right here where we are gathered.  Luckily the shot was deflected and only hit the chandelier.   I remonstrated with our fiery confederate.  Listen, I said, the Cardinal’s robe, your patriarch’s beard, the Ustasha dressed in jack-boots, Imr’s turban or Felix’s skull-cap, what are these to us?  Only the dross has faith in such fancy dress.  These belief systems, they are like… like the foliage in some painting by Manet, no more than a cheap backdrop.

You think the pharaohs believed in immortal life?  No, they believed in being on top.  Getting shoals of fools to build the pyramids, the pyramids that put them at the top, just required a little mumbo-jumbo.  Funny hats and turbans work for us!

Then Señor Longhi spoke.  As I recall, he put it like this.  You lik-a the uniforms an you all gotta grudges.   Gimme yor beret, you I vill give my beretta.   Randolph, you see, now ‘e can ‘ave Benjamin’s cap.   General Quincy, ‘ere, take Imr’s turban.  Imr, ‘ave his military visor!  Then we all laughed.

We like to laugh.

Yes, my friends, the Chinooks and the jump-jets touch down here and take off.  Brilliant deals are done at these amicable tables.  Never was there a more intrepid band of devious Argonauts.  Over there the leader of one fanatic cult is accepting a billion dollar contract put to him by an investigative bureau.  Call it gunboat conspiracy.  The burning of the Reichstag, the bomb in Bologna Station.  These are our emblems, their anniversaries being ours to celebrate.

And so, I urge you all to strive for but one thing.  To be above the world and its petty causes.  Treat its beliefs with contempt.  Nothing is as advertised.  When acts are unspeakably “appalling” they are perpetrated with a nice impunity.  And this is simply, simply because no ordinary, decent, common being can believe that such enormities could ever have been plotted.

In truth, it is easier to get away with big crimes than with little ones.  Therefore I will finish this, my brief sermon, by saying unto you, Be outrageous.  This should be the motto of the fine Cisnegro.  Fleece them all!  I give you the ship.”

Oblivion is available from Grey Suit Editions in the UK, 33 Holcombe Road, N17 9AS – £10 + £2 postage -or through the website.

About anthonyhowelljournal

Poet, essayist, dancer, performance artist....
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