The Man Who Never Sleeps: Part II - Chaz's Manuscript - chapter 3

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Neversleep Part Two - Chaz's Manuscript title Neversleep p2 -3 Life went back to normal. I moved money from the computer and spent time with Marietta. The hype that Toby created was forgotten and I only had parties with, or visits from, the people in my own social set. Nate and I went sailing, horse riding or hunting; or we drank, smoked and played backgammon with our other associates. I was, in fact, reminded of how bored I was with life in general before Toby had come. I eventually became well acquainted with Spaper. I went to a number of parties that he held at his place, and he'd often have me there for a smoke. We'd dally on the very top of his building and look down upon the ant-like humans below. The reason I write in detail about Spaper is because he was later responsible for shaking up the good order of my life, and though there were signs of warning even at this point, I failed to acknowledge them. Perhaps I should despise the man for it, but there are only two of us left. He struck me as being restless all the time. While I'd be leaning back with a drink, he'd be chattering enthusiastically about something or other, using his limbs as a visual aid. When he wasn't chattering he'd childishly execute a handstand and maintain it as long as he could, or he'd do a cartwheel -- something along those lines. We discussed many things but the main topics were human arts and culture. He was not only well educated in these subjects, but was also quite passionate about them. It was he who instilled in me my own love of artful things. I dropped in more than once and caught him trying his hand at painting, writing poetry, or playing his electric bass guitar --- such a vulgar instrument. He wasn't any good at it but he was genuinely enthusiastic. One subject he never cared for was business. Sometimes I arrived with the day's events fresh on my mind and he'd interrupt me saying, “Bored, bored, bored, Booorrrrinnnng!” He'd persist with it until I ceased. It was really quite childish. He was one of the richest men in the world so I guess no news could have affected his life to the point attracting his attention. Under the influence of Marietta, I even tried my own hand at painting. It was tediously difficult because I was at a loss when it came to the subject matter. Anyway, I was embarrassed. Especially when Nate Rutter found out and roared in laughter (the fat bastard!). Either way I put the painting off. I simply had nothing to say, which perhaps says something about my life. But I tell you -- I would give anything to go back to it now. There became intervals of approximately a month at a time when I neither saw nor heard from Spaper. Neither did anybody else that I associated with. The general opinion about this was firstly that he just spent his time in another, wealthier social set; and secondly, that being the richest man on our side of the world, he was probably just in Europe and America attending to business. This was a reasonable assumption and I supposed it to be true until Mr. Van Leer showed up unannounced, asking if I'd seen Spaper. “I haven't seen him for almost three weeks,” I told him. “I ask you! We've got all this technology and I can't find him anywhere!” he said. “That's puzzling.” “Damn straight it is! I feel like a human, running around like this! Why doesn't the devil carry a communicator?” He thanked me and left. What a character this Spaper fellow is, I thought. The very next day when I was breaking my fast, and Rose was helping Marietta break hers' (Marietta had no hands), Spaper hailed me on my computer. (Take note that we could both see each other and talk to each other on our computers.) “Hello Chaz. Are you busy today?” he said. “Only as busy as usual,” I said. “Oh.” He looked disappointed. “I meant that I'm at your service.” “Oh.” He was happy again. “Good! You see I want to show you something.” “Did Van Leer find you?” “Looking for me, was he?” “Yes. He was a tad frustrated too.” “Oh.” He looked disappointed again. “I'll have to get back to you then. Keep today free, okay? I'll be round in an hour or two. I just have to clear some business up.” “Okay.” “Okay!” -- a big smile. “See you soon, chief!” He hung up. I went back to my breakfast. “He's a strange man,” said Marietta. When we were alone, she expressed herself quite openly. “Quite. I wonder what he wants to show me,” I said. I finished my breakfast and dressed. Then I paced around waiting for Spaper, as there wasn't anought time to do aanything else. Marietta was at first reading one of her human novels, but fell to watching me. “Why do you insist on wearing that?” I was wearing my bowtie. Nobody wore bowties anymore. That's why I like them. “It's got character,” I said. “It's crooked,” she said. I straightened it. “You should get rid of it. It always manages to end up crooked again, anyway.” I ignored her and continued pacing. “He said he'd be an hour or two. Why don't you sit down?” she said I continued pacing, then sat beside her. “What's your book about?” I asked. “There! You can turn the pages for me, and I'll send Rose away,” she smiled. “Oh no he can't!” said Rose firmly. “I'll not have it. I'm the maid and you're the mistress, and that's how it'll stay! He's too soft on you as it is.” “There you have it, Marietta. I'm not allowed,” I said. I really should pause here and tell you about my dear Marietta, Mon petit reve! She was a slave. Our kind had a slave trade. It was not big but it was not rare either. They were usually female and served as mistresses. Sometimes, though, bored ladies bought themselves male slaves. They would be housed separately from our families, of course, and they would not be used for children. We obtained our slaves mainly from third world countries, usually from a young age. A small race of slave-women was started when we took any illegitimate children and brought them too up as slaves. But Marietta's generation was different. New breakthroughs in genetic engineering and cloning enabled us to create ideal mistresses to the personal taste. You might say it was a fad. Our unchecked sexual desires grew into perversions that we accepted as normal.
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Those were the days! I purchased Marietta, for instance, when she was still a foetus. To accommodate my particular fetish I had it fixed so that in place of arms and hands she grew a smaller set of legs and feet. Her growth was accelerated so that I wouldn't have to wait long, but it was set to slow down to normal pace when her appearance reached her mid teens. I had her for ten years. I even loved her. We no more considered this evil than does a human consider keeping a pet bird in a cage with its wings clipped. Slaves had no education, but I taught Marietta to read words and music. One of her favourite pastimes was reading -- especially human novels. Therefore she was considerably more intelligent than my friends and family ever realised. My maid Rose constantly waited on her. Rose dressed her and washed her and helped her with any other little things Marietta needed hands to do. I had no wife or fiancé --- only Marietta. And she had me. Just then the teleporter buzzed. I gave the “okay” and Nate Rutter appeared. “Get ready, Chaz, you're coming sailing with me,” he said. “I'm afraid I can't today,” said I. “Why not?” “I said I'd do something with John Spaper.” “Spaper? Oh. What's that then?” “I don't know. He didn't say, but he'll be over shortly.” “You see! I should've had the luck to get to kill the human. Then I'd be hobnobbing around instead of you.” “Whom are you sailing with?” I asked. “Nobody, now. I'm terribly bored today, Chaz. I don't know what to do with myself.” “Maybe you can come along with us.” “No. Perhaps I'll go and do some gambling. Yes, that's what I'll do.” “You want a drink?” I asked. “No, I'll be off. What time's Spaper coming?” “Any minute now.” “Alright Chaz. See you tomorrow.” He left. As soon as I sat back down with Marietta, the teleporter buzzed again. I granted access but instead of coming, Spaper said to go over to his place. “Come on over, chief.” he said. I winked at Marietta and left.  Eyeless Spaper's city home was larger than mine was, but very untidy. There were unfinished paintings and sketches lying all about the place. The floor was a minefield of musical equipment -- electrical leads, effects pedals, CD's and sheets of music. His bass guitar leaned against a velvet sofa, with the amplifier nearby. His home reminded me more of a rock-star's than of an entrepreneur's. He noticed my expression and said, “Please forgive the mess, captain. I've sent my staff out to the country for the week.” “Why's that then?” I asked. “You'll see. Sit down, let's have some tea before we go.” “This is all very mysterious.” “Exciting isn't it?” he said. His sly smile appeared. We sat down together and he served the tea. As we were drinking he spied me in a calculating manner. “I've taken a liking to you, Chaz,” he said. “Err…thank you.” “I noticed you have quite a few human authors in your library.” “Yes. They're more interesting than our authors.” I have since changed my opinion. “You read Tolstoy?” “Sure.” “I like Tolstoy. He would have been one of us. You know: if he were round now-a-days.” “Yes, but then again you know what he thought of the peasants and getting back to nature and all that?” Again Spaper smiled. It was as though I'd said what he wanted to hear, but we were just chit-chatting about books. “You read the Snows of Kilimanjaro?” he asked. “Hemingway?” I said, wishing he would get to the point, if he had one. “That's right,” he said. “Do you remember what he said about rich people?” I didn't. “How he wouldn't write about them because they were all dull and repetitious?” “I can't remember but I do like Hemingway.” “Yeah, nice one.” Nice one? What kind of an expression is that? He gulped down his tea and leered at me. “I want to show you something Chaz, that I think you will appreciate,” he said. “I mean, you're probably the only person I know who would appreciate it.” I didn't know how to take that. I generally dislike people `rubbing me up'. “Why's that?” I asked. “Well I'm just pointing out that we think the same, you and I. We have the same tastes! Art, for instance.” Stop dancing around the damned point, I was thinking.  Eyeless Spaper stood up. “Enough of this talking then! Let's get started,” he said. “What exactly are we going to do?” I asked. “I want to show you my secret pastime. You'll have to change out of those clothes, though.” He took his robe off. Underneath were tracksuit pants. He retrieved a shirt from a sofa and put it on. To my surprise it was a t-shirt -- a Jimi Hendrix t-shirt! “You put those on,” he said. He was pointing to a pile of clothes on the other end of the sofa. It looked like army pants, tennis shoes and some kind of flowery beach shirt. “What the hell's the idea?” I said…obviously! “Trust me, Chaz,” he laughed. “You can't be serious, man!” “Don't be so predictable! Just bear along with me. It'll be worth it.” “Where are we going dressed like that?” “Hold on, Chaz. You know who I am, right?” “Yes…” “So you know I've got my shit together. I'm a big fish and all that?” “I guess…” “So trust me. Bear along. You'll laugh later.” I begrudgingly acquiesced. I'd continue only out of politeness. He was beginning to irritate me. I had no business going around looking like human trash. Take offence if you like. He slipped some thongs on his feet and said, “Alright. Let's go!” He strutted to the teleporter and I dawdled after him feeling ridiculous. My shirt had the words “Aloha Hawaii” written across the chest. “Remember this combination,” he said as he punched it in. He went first, opened the top and sat in the teleporter. He pressed the button and was gone. It was my turn now. I got in and followed. I appeared in a very small bedroom. There was just enough room for the shabby double bed, a wardrobe, and the receiving teleporter, which was near the bed. Spaper stood there holding a white sheet. When I hopped off the teleporter he spread the sheet over it. “Always keep this covered,” he said. “I have the occasional visitor here.” He left the room. The next room was a lounge room with adjoining kitchen, and was also very small. I realised that I was in a typical working-class human home; or rather, a one-man unit. The carpet was soiled with stains. The wallpaper was peeling. I thought that perhaps Spaper liked to pretend he was human. “What is this place?” I asked him. “It's an outright dump, isn't it?” he said. “It's just a place to put the teleporter.” Spaper sat down on a rickety chair and motioned me to join him. When I did, he leered at me again. “Okay. I'm going to have to bring you up to speed. We are, right now, in Adelaide amongst the humans.” “What do you mean?” “I mean this is a rented unit. Ground floor! We're in a suburb called Glenelg. The building where you live is half an hour's tram-ride away.” He opened a curtain and revealed the street outside and the beach in the distance. There were humans walking around just a stone's throw away. The tops of high-rise buildings were just seen in the distance. “Are you mad!” I started. “Do you have any idea of the death rate down here! The casualty rate?” “Pull yourself together,” he said. “They bludgeon each other with their fists, for god's sake!” By `they' I of course meant humans. “Not all the bloody time,” said Spaper. “What if our own kind found out where we are? We'd be rats in a damned cage!” “Look, chief, sit back down.” “Close the curtain! One of them saw me!” Spaper closed the curtain. “Listen,” he said. “Calm down. Don't be so dramatic. They're really quite likeable. I've met some of them.” “You met some of them?” “Yes. They're really an amusing bunch. As for all that bludgeoning that you hear about, it depends where you go and at what time. I've come to know where to be to avoid the highest possibility of danger.” “You've come to know? How long have you been coming down here?” I was in disbelief. “Not long,” he said. “I want to bring someone else in on it now. It would be better experienced with another of my own kind.” I had to take a moment to let it all sink in. Spaper smiled mischievously at me. “What…what is it that you do here?” I asked. “I hang out with humans. I go exploring and have adventures.” “Hang out?” That wasn't an expression that our kind used. “Tell me, Chaz, aren't you bored of running around from dinner to dinner and party to party? Aren't you bored of drinking and talking about money? I'm telling you, Chaz, this is real excitement! Real danger!” “Danger?” “For goodness sake, stop repeating me! It's only a small percentage of danger, just enough to make it fun. This is a good area. The average life-span is about seventy years.” “You…you're quite a man, John.” I was going to say he was mad. “Thanks captain,” he laughed. “Now what say you give it one go? Come up and meet my neighbour. Just watch me and do what I do. I'll say that you're my cousin from Sydney.” “And you've actually done this before?” “Damn straight!” After several minutes of indecision, I said I'd give it a go. “That's the spirit! I knew you had it in you. You should see some of the things these humans get up to!” He opened the door. As I followed him out into the hall, I felt a swarm of nervous butterflies surge through me. We ascended the stairs and Spaper knocked on a door that had the number eight on it. “Remember: we're just working class humans,” he said quietly. “But what's my profession?” I whispered. “Um…dishwasher.” The door opened…. to be continued...  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