Saturday, July 24, 2004

Polemead's Dilemma: Summer 2003

              Betheena could actually be extra tight with her words while talking to people that she hated, yet she could likewise be so straight to the point in her many unattractive questioning techniques.  Other people would just rather roll over to avoid her immaculate wide-eyed gaze of remonstration, and also to avoid the tussle that she eagerly kept in store for the unsuspecting victim.  Her behaviour betrayed a woman similar to an advanced dowager in years, already knowing how to be lightly young according to her real years without any better knowledge about the responsibilities vital for her prematurely adopted futuristic role.
              Betheena had formerly appropriated one and part of a franchise linked to nautical hotels amongst the coastal directions of Devonshire, between “The Warren” and the greatest of all Exeter’s estuaries that forged out into the starry bays at night, as the sky became engulfed all black with occasional climbing masts, reaching upwards and outwards towards the lonely moors and further still in the midst of hills.  And there an age-old harbour town lay exactly in and between; it became the family seat of this Betheena Gollenspiel.  Here within the harbour the heavenly yacht “Rose fulcrum” now slept ineffectually, awaiting the pleasure of its crew to transact in secret what it had never been done before here on earth.  Twinkling lights dressed the anchoring berth abroad the prophetic big ship whilst harbour monkeys set about drizzling themselves in formation about the harbour entrance to nose into affairs of foreign legitimacy.
              Betheena had amassed such a retrograde fortune from nowhere that she was never tempted to use it even partially functionally and so deceitful missionaries, who harassed passers-by to pay for their own safe passage within her realm, constantly flounced anybody that sailed within her wicked quarters.  Such monies kept her head overtly intoxicated with booze, pernicious social meanderings, party politics and stoic mutterings that would seek to hurt the polemical careers of the communities well meaning swell – all counteracting opposition towards her person was consequently cut out from source by an unknown agency.
              Under her direct jurisprudence were the twins: Polmead and co.  Never was there so likely a couple that would strain to be far away quickly, although simultaneously devoutly loyal to their patroness in arms nearly all the time.  It was such a confused mistake that caused them to be landed in such a chaotic memory, to be kept at bay in such a permanent quandary in case they became a lost and lonely part within Betheena’s personal world of adverse public opinion and disloyalty.  Just through force of habit, the twins were tied here, learning to be partners in crime and at the same time, manage the same people as well as their mentor could and would encourage.
              Today Betheena was characteristically chortling on the phone to a pal that she was secretly trying to nail for some imagined prejudice. Betheena had incessantly fixated delusions about sentencing her perceived enemies into a metaphoric bottomless pit based on word and mouth, which she deemed it impossible to flee.  All she felt was necessary for this, precluded acquiring a proof of the crime solely in her own head to vindicate her feelings on the matter.  If one were acquainted with Betheena’s phoning rituals, one would gather, after a certain amount of time, that she would increasingly contact almost complete strangers who had little or no interest in her at all.  Then she would talk quantitatively to these folk towards which she too had no curiosity about her deepest and innermost desires.  She would tell tale about her strangest fantasies, her own inherent wickedness, her many idle assumptions and much pre-emptive gossip foisted from friends who had much too much for themselves to be engaged in reliable witness to the sad events surrounding her alleged hellish life.
              Polemead’s shadow slowly climbed the slippery wall in quiet solitude.  She could see the back of Betheena’s head as it nodded and bobbed along with the receiver.  It wouldn’t be long until Betheena would slam the receiver into the table and exclaim about her so-called friends infidelity and go on describing the innumerable atrocities that she had committed against her all that week.  Perhaps she would perhaps send over a few officious harbour monkeys to crack open this infidel once and for all.
              Polemead on the other hand, seemed so demurely vulnerable but underneath a gift-wrapped mask was the garb suited to a more cunning madam – it seldom appeared except in dire emergencies.  Polemead would not stand to be affected too much, or to be superseded too much by a more powerful agent such as Betheena.  She certainly occasionally wore an infrequent smile over and above her usual melancholy; so fragrant, it hung like a dewdrop from the pallor from her delicate nasal embrasure.  She possessed a head of hair of such qualities that it washed down her cheeks in a bountiful loom of black tresses that would sometimes veil her with weeping curls that crept magnificently about her features like many warped rafters.  She was more a gliding apparition, wrapped up in her own mystery, than with anything tangible seen on earth, so that all that appraised her literally at first, increasingly failed to notice her in secondary communion with her poised refinement.
              Polemead decided to pursue her suite immediately, provided that Betheena was actually available to notice, and was equally determined not to lie tormented by this phone call previously achieved. 
              Now it was within the glimmering past that Polemead had already estranged herself from fifty ‘grown ups’ in marriage and now wanted another one to add to her healthy connections.  Betheena didn’t approve and would never approve to furthermore factious liaisons without anything monetary to show for it.  Each partner had been and gone without knowing properly that the relationship had finished or even noticed that they were with her prior to this.  A new focus for her attentions would neither label her as a fool, nor attract the possibility of resorting to artificial measures in an effort to keep it going – there was still definitely no sense in restraining herself this time around.
              The phone set went straight down with a crack and through the table as predicted by the narrator.
              “Doesn’t matter about the wedding, I didn’t like her anyway”, she quickly mused as she frowned copiously, “too strange for my liking – not that clever”.
              At this point she decided to turn right round to face her sullen inculcator in an effort to swallow whole her penetrating stare.
              “What seems to be the problem here”?
              “Nothing”, but Polemead lied at this point.
              “Then why are you here”? Came the retort.
              “I’m here to ask you a favour”, Polemead added almost distracted.
              “To ask me just what?” rejoined Betheena, burgeoning up, looking as if she expected effrontery, not really allowing Polemead continuation in her discourse as she felt it in her duty to do so and then she would follow automatically with cross-questioning, uninvited for the sake of displaying the satisfactory amount of authority.
              Polemead suddenly felt highly tensile, keeping it all back from her friend in case the expected indignation would be extended to indulge Betheena’s perverted fascination in her many boy friends, especially towards this certain autominous person she was beginning to see:  Socrates, who she was now in direct contact, disobeyed all the rules of human alchemy and had the looks and grievances typical in a computer.  Instead of a fully blow independent biped, he was a fledgling mainframe hooked into a local network right up to the eyeballs.  In fact, it was not a mere trifle that this machine had ended up involved with Polemead, or rather that Polemead had already wrapped the terminals round her pretty little finger.  This alliance had gone steady now for a number of months and it was now time to make it a little more public and a little less circumspect.
  Socrates was a highly evolved Internet system, which had a string of roots going right back to the 20th century.  To most, this was the last of the great innovations of a nobler civilisation:  Everything else had just about been done, except controlling the planet’s weather systems and exploring foreign galaxies; even that was now was within the dynamic grasp of the nation thanks to Socrates.  Conversely, it was an energy supply that fed the ordinary cravings of the gathered bowing younger saplings found in areas such as the Astrolabe club, a young person’s entertainment dome, and so forth.  
              “May I take your leave to depart these shores for a protracted period, I need to get away quickly and with out exaggerated delay.”  This change of tact from Polemead seemed to her far more prudent at the time then spitting out about her eccentric affair with an undiluted computer terminal.  Betheena was bound to deduce what she was really about if she lifted the whole news right straight out of the blue.
              “Please don’t you judge me for it,” Polemead continued, “I’ll return almost straight away, as soon as I have ascertained my own perplexing feelings on the matter.” 
              This change in tact was much more to the point than a mere pronouncement about an intended electronic love affair that almost definitely would outwardly displease M. Gollenspiel no end.  Betheena might even gain pleasure chastising Polemead for her folly, as was very likely if she stood firm - Betheena’s insecurity would nurture the genuine qualms in a jiffy:  Betheena’s face would darken and then she would be away in her full measured self-satisfied pride, rather than to think about Polemead’s ultimate safety abroad.
              Betheena was now full of pomposity, folding her head sharply to the left, impudently whistling through her teeth; this was a reaction set to demonstrate a measure of ignoring unpleasant utterances from this one of her protégées.
              “You need to get your priorities straight young lady dear,” was the final untactful return from Betheena, just following what had been thirty seconds pause.  It took just this quietly emphatic bolt to resist Polemead’s simple appeal.
              Playing her game for a number of days would have been much better for her but little time interceded between this moment and the time Polemead had booked her flight across the channel.  Betheena sparkled with energy and she was determined that this nonsense was not going further still.    
              “I’m not really in favour of vast impressions like this too far advanced into the deepening afternoon dear girl.  I feel very tired right now.  Perhaps I’ll lay down for a couple of minutes”.
              “I wasn’t trying to distract you from your afternoon siesta”, Polemead gently cooed unnaturally – the cracks in her talk were beginning to show, and as for tomorrow she knew that she would be still holding court at Aunty Beethena’s if she failed to hold out this time around, having been inflicted upon to remain permanently in this house.  She very well knew when Betheena was trying to manipulate her on the spot, along with a deepening sense that there was nowhere to go in the present conversation and according to her acute nature, Polemead felt that if she could help it, this would certainly not be an end to the matter – her duress made her strong willed also.
              It was time for Betheena’s lazy bed and Polemead knew that she was in no mood for an altercation now; it would be a saved treat later that day.  Soon after this, Betheena noisily stomped up the stairs to lay herself down and sooth her restless head, feeling a lingering sensation of heavy irritation with the world’s actions at that moment:  She needed time to mull it all over and to take appropriate action laid upon her own auspices, when she could hope to cope with such a burdensome responsibility as Polemead’s unpredictable desires.

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