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‘For You, To Unravel Loves Mystery’, Book II: Lachesis, excerptImage 

The vaguely cosmopolitan mannerisms manifest in the young woman known by her friends and family as Emily were undoubtedly inculcated in her by a set of unhappily undivorced parents with unwarrantedly snobbish capitalist-class pretensions for luxury. As such, their privately educated daughter, upon graduation from her inordinately expensive, females-only preparatory school, was promptly shipped away to the out-of-state four-year institution of her choice. Having been forcibly cloistered for a far too numerous number of years without so much as the simple luxuries of donning a colorful, cute, and stylish outfit every so once and a while, the startlingly myriad amount of religious rules and regulations she was subjected to as an upstanding and well-to-do young lady of overly fine breeding became to chip away at her fragile-by-virtue-of-puberty psyche, slowly and surely. As the days dragged on in an interminable succession of assiduous study of even the most unimportant religious scriptures, insufferable daily sessions of prayer, worship, and confession in the school chapel, incessant reprimands and admonishments from everyone from nuns, rectors, and even the vicar himself on an occasion or two for the seemingly most unordinary and innocuous behavior, and not to mention of course the abhorrence of being forcibly paraded around in the bleakest and perhaps single most unflatteringly plain pieces of academic garments in all of known existence, she was very frequently forced to ask herself one of the most profound of existential queries: ‘how is a girl expected to acclimate oneself in the actualities beyond the cold, castle-like walls and spires of her institution?’ She was as if a veritably burning soul forced to undergo the tortures of being continually doused with equal parts ice water and dogmaa at regular intervals, or whenever even a hint of any immoral or unladylike behavior was suspected. For the simple sake of brevity, this early and lengthy institutionization was probably the sole determining factor in the sluttishness she was to embrace when provided with the opportunity to dislocate herself from the Catholic dogmatism of her formative teenage years with an admissions packet to college and a bank account filled with her parents funds. This is, however, not to say that there were no other remarkable influences in her dramatic transformation, but, truth be told, women of that class and age, for all of their insipidity and relative homogeneousness, are notoriously difficult to psychologize to any significant degree. And so we shall see.

As an inhabitant of one of the higher social spheres is so apt to do, Emily chose her friends with deliberate discrimination upon moving away for college. Though their numbers were diminutive, Emily’s social circle was comprised of only the most well-bred and elegantly dressed young ladies of the dormitory. They, too, were products of prototypically fine families, the forefathers of which had accumulated sizable fortunes in American industry, enabling the latter generations to settle down and breed in the safe-havens of their respective suburban residences. The constituents of the clan had been previously dispersed throughout the respectable urban areas of the middle-west:  Cincinnati, Indianapolis, and St. Paul, to name a few, so it seemed that by an act of an ordained higher power, or perhaps by an act that was decidedly less beneficent in nature, that they had all descended upon the same university. This is not to say that the discrimination perpetuated in the assembly of her social circle was in any way sexist, because such an assertion would indeed constitute the most horrendous fallacy. Gentlemen were accorded the same opportunities as the ladies, so long as they met the same criteria. In this case, one young man with impeccable taste in designer clothes was chosen for admission into the group. He fit in quite well with his soft-spoken, if not entirely silent, superciliousness and apparent disregard for the interests of the lower classes. However, he possessed several deficiencies, but these imperfections were capable of being overlooked due to their necessity. Firstly, he was not what one, especially one with a pampered fashionista’s sagaciousness, would consider attractive. He was a pale young man, tall, but not overtly so, with a pockmarked visage and extraordinarily thin brown hair that was both wispy and patchy enough to suggest androgenic alopecia to some first timers, but to those in the know, his significant amount of follicular degradation was, considering his age of only 19 years-old, almost impossibly symptomatic of male-pattern baldness. That having been addressed, a consideration of his body type must be at once taken into account for further explanation of the previous hypothetical conjecture. Built upon an exceedingly slight and slender frame of somewhere around 5’10-11”, his body was kept cooly emaciated by a very stringent dietary preoccupation with eating little to nothing on a daily basis interspersed with intermittent bouts of excusing himself to the water closet for a quick and friendly purge. His diet, though incredibly unsound from both a general medical and basic human standpoint, was supposedly doing quite well for him. It was doing so well in fact that those members of lesser society without the keen eyes of the beautiful and luxurious fashionistas would likely attribute his pitiable physical condition to a humdrum case of anorexia nervosa. As it is truly a miraculous occurrence that his tiny body could support even so much as his roughly 110 pounds without simply toppling over like a dried and withered walking skeleton, his place amidst the ranks of the gorgeous and disinterested was set by virtue of his trial by hunger. Yes, he had indeed passed the test in spite of his having more than likely both self-initiated it and self-sustained it. Plus, he always wore the latest high-fashion styles from the runways of Paris, Milan, Tokyo, and London, and always in a size at least one smaller than any of his female cohorts.

But despite his overwhelming number of similarities with the other ladies of his clique and the fundamental soundness of their friendship as a whole, cohesive unit, the others were naturally harboring some ulterior motives for ingratiating this man into their elite social scene. His very unattractiveness in the purely physical sense was an essential component to the integrity of the groups infrastructure, as they deemed masculine beauty subsidiary to that of the feminine on the basis of principle; and, moreover, in the interest of hypotheticals, if he was exceedingly handsome, the possibility of quarrels amongst the heretofore catty, but more often than not friendly, female group members would increase exponentially in direct relation to the degree to which he was handsome. Secondly, and perhaps most importantly, he was of the homosexual orientation, so even if he was a burly, handsome, high-cheekboned bruiser with aspirations to toss the pigskin like a champion for the school team, which he most certainly was not by any stretch of the imagination, any chance of internal strife relating to the feminine pursuit of his affection was effectively nipped in the bud.

Emily herself, by all means the unspoken leader of her set, exhibited the same tactful discernment in her acquisition of prospective lovers as she did when selecting her retinue. Although most women, and men, for that matter, would undoubtedly prefer a handsome partner, this feminine predilection is not in itself by any means unnatural; but her methodical process, however, was decidedly megalomaniacal, and in many respects analogous to the way in which a modeling agency is owned and operated. Both her conception of, and insatiable appetite for, masculine beauty had obviously been influenced by her vociferous consumption of all the popular fashion magazines, enamored as she was of well-defined cheekbones, glowing skin, and minimal body-fat percentages. The physical attributes of the male models she swooned over, superlatively seldom though they were in actuality, nevertheless shone the guiding light in her quest to descry and procure as many of these unnaturally beautiful men as possible, essentially in the same manner that a young girl, once she has experienced the previously unknown pleasure of receiving, and subsequently manipulating, her first toy doll, will attempt to appropriate at any cost and by any means, a multitudinous array of them in a passionate display of frenzy. The fundamentally malevolent obsession inadvertently inculcated in her by the well-intentioned gift of a pair of doting parents, desirous of inspiring happiness in their little girl, innocuous as it at first seems, proves to be uncontrollably virulent, becoming with startling celerity an awe-inspiring act of incessantly avaricious desperation. The happy little girl whose face lit up like the beacon of a lighthouse when she opened that fortuitous first gift, on realizing the possibility of obtaining complete control over her possessions, who has subsequently crowned herself queen of the kingdom she has created in her imagination, begins a prodigious psychological and emotional transformation. Reality becomes merely a realm of unnecessary subordination to parents, school-teachers, and other figures of authority. Vexed to discover any exhibition of her developing sense of entitlement is regarded as puerile insolence, she sheds the skin of innocence by her constant friction with those who attempt to exercise any authoritative influence over her, thereby completing her transformation into a purely egotistical and audaciously capricious creature, one inclined to kick, scream, gnash her teeth, and cry the tears of an almost Biblical deluge to obtain the objects of her desire. So the parents who unwittingly gave birth to this child, who still bears a frightening physical resemblance to their beloved daughter, but who, in relation to her former countenance, ceases to possess any such similarity, are forced to acquiesce to her every whim, and to do so with obsequious felicity, lest they seek to expose themselves to the jagged rocks and unrelenting riptides that surround the shoreline where the lone lighthouse that was her face has discontinued to emit its lovely glow. The wrathfulness at all times in uncertain dormancy beneath the folds her cornflower-blue sundress and her bowed tangle of dark-brown hair promotes the parental acquisition of new dolls, entirely new families on a miniature scale, which are purchased with extreme haste and immediately bestowed upon her for fear of another outburst, thus facilitating the expansion of the petulant little queens empire. And, for a time, she is once again elated to take leave of the real world, to retreat to the depths of her imagination where her word is incontestable and her rule over her subjects is unremitting. Unfortunately for our protagonist Dmitrii Donatello, these behaviors once they have become inveterate are the bane of all members of functioning society, not least of all by any means the males.

Emily’s love life, which encompassed nearly the entirety of her waking life, was something altogether peculiar from a scientific and sociological perspective, and, if for no other reason besides, it is interesting enough to discuss in some detail. She was never one to subscribe to any pithy maxim attributable to the majority of women, such as the observation that certain ones ‘prefer quality over quantity.’ This trend is in itself attributable to a certain egotistical viewpoint of the ‘kitschy’ and baser elements at work in society, those to which she would no sooner dignify with a contemptuous sneer in passing as take part in a Labor Day sale at a popular department store, primarily from a sense of education, breeding, and privilege, or the trifecta of power in America. She had the textbook sociopaths desire to conform to the social institutions, norms, and mores intended to provide a supplementary definition of her, as well as all those other members of her age group and gender, due in no small part to her desire to, if not challenge the status quo per se, at least attempt to rewrite the rules by which her early life had been governed. So, insofar as ‘quantity’ and ‘quality’ are concerned, her sense of entitlement, acting on behalf of her conscience, voted unanimously. The final decision was 1-0 for ‘I think I’ll have my pick.’

In spite of the inherent difficulties associated with any matter of proverbially having ones cake and eating it too, whether it be sex or some other much more mundane topic of conversation, it is natural to find that people are genuinely spurious of any acts of exceedingly inordinate copulation that are based essentially on pass/fail criteria. In essence, people are skeptical of the possibility that a fusion of the qualitative and quantitative aspects of a prospective lover can be, each and every time, successfully brought to fruition. It was in this way that Emily became a legend in her own right, so much so that she had developed quite the reputation of a fast woman, but an incredibly discriminating one at that. However, there seemed to be, to once again employ a clichéd expression,  a ‘method to the madness’ of her masculine acquisitions. It was in this respect that Dmitrii likened her to Picasso, whose blue and rose periods corresponded to her blonde and brunette periods, for it seemed that for some months, though she disposed of her boys with the same characteristically unvarying rapidity, she exhibited a tendency towards males of a certain hair color. So in the spring, for instance, she might go through only brunettes with the nonchalance of a sagacious socialite who deigns to wear only the most excellent seasonal pieces from her favorite boutique designer. So with the change in the air that marks the inevitable transition from spring to summer, she would begin to amass a collection of beautiful blondes a la mode, as if by some caprice she had grown tired of the outdated fashions of the brunette auteur, and, after unceremoniously informing him that his services are no longer required, proceeds to clean out her closet with the exasperated, yet excited air of a privileged girl who finds it exceedingly difficult to control her sense of entitlement to an entirely new wardrobe although each piece in her current collection is still as impeccable as the day (only a matter of weeks ago) on which it was purchased.

It was during this seasonal sea change that the ineluctable meeting of Dmitrii and Emily took place. It is not so much that their paths crossed by sheer force of fate, as by force of the indefatigable will of the implacable huntress.

She harbored a soft spot in her cruel heart of stone for the androgynous effeminacy of a well-dressed young man with pleasant features, someone she could wear like a lovely little accessory ‘round her borderline anorexic arm as a means to placate her most recent fancy, and, though it should go without saying, someone who would look dashing in the process.

So it is no wonder that her path should cross that of Dmitrii Donatello, for they had by now inhabited the same campus building for some time. She had been correct in her initial labeling of him as a high-class snob, but she had ultimately failed in determining to which specific school of snobbery he belonged, for the world of snobbery, multi-faceted as it is, is made up of disparate schools of thought, each with their own particular philosophical concerns and emphases on onomastics. The school to which Emily belonged, onomastically speaking, was concerned with Gucci, Prada, Gaultier, and Dolce & Gabbana, to mention a few, while Dmitrii’s school of snobbery, one concerned primarily with the benefits of intellectual and cultural advancement, placed more emphasis on the names of Beckett, Tarkovsky, Stravinsky, Cezanne, and Proust than the designers of high-fashion.

Dmitrii acquiesced to her advances with a variety of vague ideas, the primary function of which was to examine the girl and her retinue from the perspective of a veritably liberal academician. Given the intellectual significance of his former Picasso analogy, he desired to study her from multiple perspectives with the simultaneity of the Cubist tradition:  sociologically, psychologically, and, most importantly, sexually.

Their relationship proceeded with an astonishingly alarming rate, for it had not been a full three hours after their first formal introduction and subsequent cursory conversation that they had become lovers.

The first few minutes of their intimacy passed rather awkwardly, characterized as they were by Dmitrii’s tendency towards silence. He stared transfixedly across the grass into the fading light of the late afternoon. Against the trend of popular conjecture, he was not entertaining any particular thought.

Retrieving an orange medicine bottle from the pocket of his jeans, and adhering to the niceties associated with polite conduct, he turned to his taciturn interlocutor to ask if she wouldn’t like some.

“What is it?” she asked rather listlessly, as if not completely surprised by the subtle temerity of the offer.

“It’s Xanax,” Dmitrii explained. “It’s my anti-anxiety medication, a benzodiazepine.”

“Sure,” she replied, extending her hand not so much in the interest of imbibing pharmaceutical drugs she knew little to nothing about with recreational intent, but more so out of a desire to provide an adequately polite response to Dmitrii’s idiosyncratically affable offer.

“Here you are,” he said, providing her with an oval-shaped pink tablet. “It’s only half a milligram. It shouldn’t mess you up or anything,” he added with a smile. “You’ll still be able to function normally, make the right decisions and so on.”

He took one pill out for himself before placing the cap back on the bottle. He swallowed it and relegated the bottle back to the confines of his jeans pocket.

“Thank you,” she said, proceeding to swallow the pill in the same manner as Dmitrii, without the aid of liquid facilitation.

“Good girl,” he said jokingly, making sure to take this opportunity to pat her on the back in order to provide some indication of flirtation like he’d read about in magazines and blogs. But this type of subtle behavior he simply could not stand with regard to females. There’s was too much on his mind for that breed of passive behavior.

“So, let’s go get wasted, alright?” he followed, not so much asking as informing in his typical manner of brash conversation.

Emily could not help but smile at his uncanny forwardness, so of course she had to say ‘Yes.’