“If I could read German I could probably do this without shorting the whole fucking building, but I can’t, so call those lighting queens and tell them to get their flapping arseholes down here.” he called. Edward did not look up. “Okay, I’ll just wire it in and hope nobody dies.”
“What does it say?”
“Something achtung and... dreiphasig... fuck, I don't know, alright? I’ve got a fight in an hour so can we get on with this shit please?”
"Who's your mark?”
“Some ding-wing skinhead.” William twisted and reached for the other end of the truss, pulling himself up to peer into the sockets. “I'm down to take a dive, but I've had it with these fucking supremacist cocksuckers... I'm going to défoncer his blanc arse in front of all his little bunk bitches.” The gracile structure supporting him emitted dour groans as he repositioned himself to install the orphan lantern. A trickle of white dust sifted from the ceiling through the struts and onto his forehead. "Can I get a fucking wrench up here?" Edward continued to read, moving slowly toward the rack of tools and tossing the implement upward; William swung out to catch it and pinned it to his shoulder with his cheek. He frowned again and squinted down at the central control desk with its snaking multiplicity of cables. “Is it off?”
“If you say so.”
“Go over to the distributors and stick your tongue in one of the holes.”
William hung to glare down at him, hair a medusoid collar to his inverted head. The rig groaned again and began to deform, sagging like a skeletal python under his weight; he cursed, turned to face the loggia set into the distant wall, then let his arms fall and began to swing, gaining momentum while the truss lost another anchor point. It gave way, dragged free of the plaster to depend from its extruded wiring in his absence, and on the ground Edward shifted three steps sideways. In place of the sound of flesh impacting concrete William’s bitter expletives rejoiced in the building’s superb acoustics, not from the loggia, which he had missed, but from the end of another, longer truss directly beneath it. Its lanterns rattled like a tray of glasses in a train car.
“Let go.” Edward directed. His brother's unorthodox, sesquipedalian profanities were amplified as his second vantage began to fail. “I will flip the switch and hit you with the fire hose.”
William untangled his wrist and dropped the remaining distance to the floor, where he made a scowling bee-line for the bar, hissing obscenities as he bumped the door and helped himself to a bottle of gin. Edward tossed his phone at the technician’s cart and turned his back on it.
“I’m out of town until the afternoon before the show. I want you to keep an eye on Frost.”
“What is it this time?”
“She’s being harassed on calls.” Edward admitted.
"If Opal's coming after her it won't be with a fucking feather duster... and where the hell are you going? You were just gone."
William shook his head, grimacing at the mediocre spirit.
"Never thought I'd see Iberian alujha pay someone else to give their cousins twelve-gauge facelifts."
"La vie est un mystère qu’il faut vivre, et non un problème à résoudre.”
“This's why these eurotrash shitlords want to sign you up. Everything they've heard makes you sound like a walking kill room with the social conscience of a block of fucking marzipan. How does it feel to have fascist bloodsuckers coming in their pants over your headshot?"
Edward took the program from a previous exhibition out of his jacket.
“I feel nothing. You’re banned from this show.”
"Look at all the fucks I give."
"From your mood I assume Ms Christabel exhibits taste beyond her years." His observation was greeted with morose silence. "Frost mentioned her arm."
"She put it through a window." William sighed; his companion's stare caused him to stamp the bottle down and glare back at him. "No, she wasn't embracing death trying to escape my fucking advances... yes she's okay, thanks for asking."
"I have a flight to catch. Spit it out."
"I've been on speed dial to come hospitalize Frost's psycho tricks for five years... every time she called I'd think, one night I'm going to turn up thirty seconds too late." William related, lowering his voice instinctively despite their solitude. "Have you thought about being in fucking Toledo when you get the call to come pick up whatever Opal's left of her?"
"Did I not ask you to watch her?" Edward reminded him. His companion pushed a hand over his hair.
"I don't want to see her in a black bag, mahatma. Don't hang a bullseye around her neck then disappear... if you're not going to take it in the face for her, leave her alone. And while we're doing favours, I need you to put Petrouchka up for a while. She’s thinking of coming over.”
“You’re saying that like it’s going to be a problem.” In Edward's silence he could feel the shift of heavy elements that had suffered centuries of relegation, and knew that he could not expect unalloyed delight. “She got bounced from the ceverny mesto by the fucktard gestapo. They took her house and most of her shit, so she’s pretty hard up.”
“That’s what happens when you kick against too many pricks on a greasy pole in front of a hostile crowd.” Edward replied. William capped the bottle and tucked it under his arm as he collected his belongings from the floor.
“Pet doesn’t have a fam or a weapons cache or an eighty-inch reach.” he reminded him, scuffing on his boots as he set off across the gallery. “And how much longer are we going to take shit from vampyres? Quarrel, putain... I will back thee.”
“Tell Petrouchka I don’t want to see teeth.”
“You’re the fucking buddha of compassion.”
“I will be back on Friday.”
CONTINUED NEXT WEEK
© céili o'keefe do not reproduce