Boy Caesar

Boy Caesar by Jeremy Reed Read Free Book Online

Book: Boy Caesar by Jeremy Reed Read Free Book Online
Authors: Jeremy Reed
him there, like telepresent guardians of the archetypal kingdoms.
    His head was full of this as they crossed over Dean Street to St Anne’s Court. For Jim the alley was rich with associations, chiefly in respect to its having been the home of the old Marc Almond fan club, Gutterhearts, which had been run from a flat there in the 1980s. He remembered the entourage of Almond look-alikes hanging around the entrance to Trident studios in the hope of catching up with their idol.
    They stopped outside a door painted air force-grey, and Danny pressed the buzzer to the top-floor flat. There was no name on the flat indicator, and the other floors appeared deserted. Jim was aware of the sound of rainwater pouring from a defective overhang into the alley.
    After what seemed an interminable wait a voice on the intercom said, ‘Number?’
    Danny replied instantly, ‘Thirteen/zero plus guest.’
    ‘Come up,’ the voice replied.
    Jim’s suspicions that the building was otherwise deserted were confirmed by the dilapidated state of the entrance and the visible state of disrepair into which the building had fallen. There was no indication of life on any of the lower floors as he followed Danny up a tall, unreliably lit staircase.
    ‘Look out for the gap on the bend,’ Danny warned, with the authority of someone familiar with the house.
    He followed him up to the fourth floor and threw his head up at the sight of a blue slab of night sky blocked into a skylight. The sudden unexpected contact with rock-littered space brought an involuntary smile to his lips. The idea of all that planetary glitter arriving and receding according to the mega-impacted rhythms of Big Bang never failed to excite him.
    The man waiting for them at the top of the stairs was wearing a leather-peaked cap and had a lozenge-shaped scar under one eye. Jim disliked him on sight. He could have been a superannuated leather queen, but there was something cold and inscrutable about his grey eyes. The man nodded at Danny, while largely ignoring Jim.
    Jim followed Danny into a low-lit room screened off from the buildings opposite by black-out blinds. A circle of men uniformlydressed in leather and sitting on floor cushions appeared to be meditating their way into a different space. He noticed that they all wore uniform gold crosses in their ears and from what he could see had the signature of a black snake tattooed on the left wrist as some form of cult identity. The airless room only served to enforce the closed feelings generated by the circle. He felt an intruder in their company as Danny instructed him to sit cross-legged on one of the cushions provided.
    As Jim looked around the room he discovered the word SLUT written on the walls in a number of typographical variants. The word had been disassembled into scrambled orthography, was spelled backwards, with letters inverted dyslexically or written up large in a pink graffiti typeface. There was an air of suspense pervading the room that told him the company was waiting on somebody.
    Jim closed his eyes to centre himself and tried to imagine life without Danny. If his lover really was duplicitous and was mixed up with a leather cult devoted to the worship of a Heath martyr, then he was no longer the person he had taken into his trust. He wondered why there was always a blind side to love, like the stone existing in a peach. He had naïvely assumed that he had found security in Danny, only to discover their relationship was fundamentally flawed. He played with the idea of being free again in the city’s bewilderingly anonymous millions. He would be another solitary man sitting in a bar waiting for the perfect stranger to walk through the door. He would be alone again with his work of recreating a post-biological afterlife for Heliogabalus.
    Jim was shaken out of his slipstream of imaginings by the group beginning to chant. Somebody was busy setting up a mambo rhythm by the use of marimbas. He found it difficult to

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