‘It was like fate saying, ‘here have this.’ But when I came to find you to say goodbye, I heard you refer to me as the son of a servant, and I thought, maybe I had been wrong. I certainly never expected you to turn up, so when I heard your voice on my intercom it shocked me. I thought to myself, play this cool Vann. And I did until I gave you a forkful of my mash and saw the way you ate it, I knew then you were starving, for food, for attention, for love. From that moment on there was no more resisting you. That night I was not teaching you how to be Yehonala. I was Yehonala and you were the Emperor. I had one night with which to impress and captivate you.’
‘You sure did that. I was astonished. The things you made me feel. You made sex beautiful.’
He chuckles. ‘The beautiful way you owned that pole last night?’
I am suddenly shy. ‘That was a bit brazen, wasn’t it?’
‘Totally.’ He grins. ‘I’ll be wanting a repeat performance tonight, by the way.’
‘You have to deserve it,’ I say with mock severity.
‘Let me see. How about my agent told me last night that I’ve got a Getty Center commission for a series of paintings in the same vein?’
‘Oh! Wow! I’m so proud of you.’
‘I couldn’t have done it without you, Sugar.’
‘Who is Monfort?’
He sighs heavily.
‘You are afraid of him, aren’t you?’
‘Only a fool with nothing to lose would not fear them. They know no boundaries.’
‘Why is Blake not scared of him then?’
‘Because Blake is one of them. In the strict hierarchy of the brotherhood Blake is far more powerful than Monfort, but because Blake is moving away from the agenda he is open to challenges. His love for Lana also means that he has become vulnerable. It is how they get everybody—find a weak spot, exploit it. But Blake walked away the winner last night.’
‘But you told Lana, it is her love for him that is saving him.’
‘With or without Blake the agenda will be implemented, but because of Lana and his love for her, he has discovered the humanity that he lost to the brotherhood.’
‘What is the agenda?’
‘Why do you want to know?’
‘It has to do with the deliberate poisoning of the earth and the extinction of mankind, hasn’t it?’
For an instant he looks surprised. ‘Lana’s diary?’ he hazards.
I nod. ‘Why? Don’t they, their children and their grandchildren have to live on this earth too?’
‘The answer is staring you in the face. They always hide everything in plain sight. Think. What is the one movement that is more inexorable and unstoppable than anything else? It pervades the entertainment industry, politics, military ‘breakthroughs’ and scientific circles. No matter who you are or where you are you will be exposed to it. You see it in commercials, music videos, movies, and hear about it being discussed at the highest levels.’
I frown. ‘I don’t know.’
‘You watch music videos all the time, don’t you?’
‘Lady Gaga, Will I Am, Jay-Z, Beyonce, Rihanna… What do all their slick videos have in common? What do they glamorize?’
In my old life I would have said, awesome designer clothes, catchy tunes, fantastic dance moves, and brilliant choreography. The new Sugar knows: it is not those things.
I shake my head.
‘Don’t give up so easily, Sugar. This is a little test to see how successful the controllers have been.’
The clue must lie in the names he has given me. I try to think with the destruction of the planet in mind. Lady Gaga coming out of an egg, Beyonce wearing riot police gear, Will I Am with his robot themed videos and Rhianna flashing the one eye symbol—come to think of it all of them flash that.
‘The coming police state and robots?’
‘Bravo to the brotherhood.’ There is no joy in his face. ‘The coming superhuman is disguised as a courageous and exciting project, but its true implications are vast and horrifying. Just like splitting the atom can go both ways. There is no desire or quest to ‘evolve’ all humankind. If there was then the one percent of the population wouldn’t own more than half of the world’s wealth.
‘The true aim is to alter the human genome to survive under a toxic sky, as two species; the new homo-superiors, in reality, the homo-predators and what is left of a successful depopulation strategy—the genetically engineered and chipped slaves. The agenda in a nutshell is the quest for godhood, to live for hundreds of years and rule with unchallenged domination.’
‘Do we do nothing at all about it, then?’
‘What do you want to do, Sugar? Tell everyone? They would only brand you a fruitcake or a conspiracy nut. It is as I told Lana: what you fight you become. Are the Inquisitors better than the witches they burnt? The real battle is inside you. If every single person on earth refused to lift a gun, propel a drone, hurt another human being in the name of democracy, or ‘freedom’, or whatever shit they call their murderous ways, this world would be a paradise.’
Finally, I understand the confusion and vulnerability Lana had shown in her notes. I am afraid. Hold me, I want to say, but I don’t because I don’t want to taint my happiness. No, no, I won’t react now. I will think of it all tomorrow. I can unravel it then. Tomorrow is another day. Now I will just love this man with all my heart.
Still, I must have looked mournful for he caresses my cheek, and says, ‘The only thing we can really do is live our life to its fullest. We may be among the last of the humans to live and die on this world.’
I smile softly up at him, relieved that he is not Blake. He doesn’t have to constantly watch his back. Lana is braver than I. I don’t know if I have the strength to risk my man to machinations of sinister men like Monfort.
In the car I call Lana. She sounds sleepy. ‘Don’t go swimming alone after you turn thirty,’ I tell her.
For a moment there is silence. Then she gets it and there is bubble of laughter. ‘Oh! wonderful. I’m so pleased. Is he with you now?’
‘OK, tell me everything later, but we go out to dinner next week.’
‘That will be brilliant.’
‘Speak to you soon, babe.’