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A Note from the Marquis de Sade on the occasion of Andy Murray’s Wimbledon Final

July 9, 2012

There, the way her jaw line and nose are in sharp parallel, see it there – she’s an animal in bed.  You can see in her eyes.  She knows how to let instinct take over.  The vulpine little wench.  These petite-bourgeois do like a roll in stench once in a while, don’t they just love it between shopping trips to Bond Street, their spa treatments, firing the help over imagined theft.  Watch which exit she uses.  We’ll catch up to her later, after this lanky ginger has finished entertaining everyone with his nationalistic flopping about.

He looks a bit like Napoleon Dynamite, does he not?

I’m absolutely steeped in this Pimms-and-sugar-water the service keeps bringing out around here.  Leave it to the Brits to wilfully choose cough-syrup as their national beverage – sheer awkwardness.  I’m tempted to ask someone for a jar of Marmite to spoon into the cucumber and strawberry they insistently pack into the bottom of my glass.  Let them see their disgusting culture pushed to the nth degree right in front of them.  The sick little things, their faces would bulge in horror of recognition!  But really, this match is taking too goddamned long to keep on drinking this shit, and anyway, all of this grunting and the smell of perspiration is making me yearn for champagne and anal sex.  I look over at my acquaintance, an Englishman named Grayson, but he is too busy chatting with minor socialites to offer any assurances on the booze selection.  I audibly, visibly, palpably sulk.

Come to the tennis, he had said on the telephone.  It will be a gas, not to be missed, etc. – “everyone’s already referring to it as Britain’s first great historic sport failure of the new millennium.”  This acquaintance of mine hardly ever phones, less often with an invitation; and as most of my English friends do, he owes me a bit of money in gambling losses, so I naturally felt obliged to accept.  I immediately notified my photographer, a smallish man named Li who looks exactly like Pat Morita and flits about in an astute and surreptitious manner snapping away wherever I go.  He used to be attached to some biographer or another, one of those tabloid-writer types invariably assigned by this or that publishing house to cover my tastefully sordid goings-on.  No books come of it.  None of the editors believe a word of the copy they are sent, and poor, loyal Li was for a long while not notified to stop snapping.  I’m not certain how long it had been since any official capacity had passed, but by the time Li realised what had happened he was already quite integrated into my personal spheres and schedule.  I quite like a smallish retinue with me anyway, so I keep him on retainer out of polite vanity.

I have him on speed-dial.  “We’re off to Wimbledon, Li.”

“Excellent, I can use my action shutter!”

“I should expect we’ll be doing a fair amount of navel gazing and celebrity-spotting, but, oh, go ahead if you think there will be any action on the court worth catching.  I’ll be around with the Benz in half and hour.”

The roads were a bit of an ordeal, but my chauffeur excels at decisively overpowering Sunday traffic.  This is due to twenty years previous service to an inconspicuously wealthy member of the clergy given to daydreams, bellinis at brunch and consequent tardiness.  He still keeps a rosary hanging from the rearview out of habit.

So hypnotic is the sound of the Benz’s diesel engine block chewing through London towards Roehampton that I dozed for a bit.  I’m barefoot.  Moss and a whole forest beneath me, above me.  I hear a little girl singing softly, like the sound of rain behind curtains.  I turn round and round, looking through an endless glade to find the voice.  Then Li jostles me awake.  Grayson is standing at the rolled-down window.

“Wakey, wakey, Sadie. I’ve got us a box near the Prime Minister, I know how you do love to spit at heads of state.”

The driver has come around for the door.  “Lovely.  And everyone’s certain their countryman is going to fail?”

“Mm, but he’s Scottish, so the whole thing’s kind of a compromise, you see.”

“I have never pretended to understand you people.”

It’s a few games in to the first set, and some asshole, clearly drunk, is yelling to this rich bitch in the royals box.  I can see him clearly – his big brand-name sunglasses dangle from his shirt below a clutch of hairs coiling out of the collar.  What a perfect attention-seeking buffoon, I think to myself.  Right in the face of the so-called civilised bunch filling this place.  It’s a shame this probably won’t get more entertaining.  Something brisk with whimsy.  Oh, for the chance he might flash a little bit of his particular endowment to the princess or whatever the fuck she is.  Who could commit to something rowdy surrounded by all these wooden cowards.

Anyway, Li is shooting the whole incident.  If only things escalated.  We could take it straight to the bank if he could just be brave enough.

“Imagine if he did something out-there, something perverted.”  Snapsnap.  “That would make a very valuable piece of photojournalism!”

“That’s amazing, Li – I was just now having the exact thought you have just uttered.”

The buffoon yells a second, then third time.  The crowd finally has to admit that they notice him now.  This is his moment: he can seize the whole world with one inflammatory gesture; he can show them all their own animal side, let them breathe deep the smell their own sweating asses, the stench of their blue-blooded bollocks and country-club cunts; this drunken asshole, he can be their champion.

But that’s not what anybody here wants.  That’s only what I want.  My spirit has become agitated.  I should calm down, mind my own business.

This scar here, above my brow, this is where I wasn’t minding my own business at a nightclub.  I tried to stop a young guy pulling this girl’s hair.  Just like a kindergarten teacher.  His friends were all dressed identically, it’s a wonder I didn’t see them beforehand.  He took my beer bottle away and smacked me with it just before security came down to the dance floor.  There was a lot of blood, and all down the front of my favourite tie.  You can’t dry-clean those, the silk gets all fucked up.

“He doesn’t have the stones to be that kind of hero, Li.”

The match went on.  We managed to locate some suitably vintage burgundy.  Rain delayed play for a bit while the roof was drawn shut.  When the ushers took us back to our seats, I slipped off my boat shoes for a bit and let my mind wander.  Then focus.  Wander again.  One of my toenails has become completely taken over by this fungus.  It is thick and ripe looking, a fecundity at once arresting and repulsive.  The nail itself no longer a single plate, but rather like a panel of wood looks when swollen and rotten.  There’s a forty-day cycle of Lamisil the doctor can prescribe.  There’s a forty percent success rate for such a course of treatment.  Or I could lop it off with a hatchet.  That would have to be precision work.

I’m mentally sharpening claw hammers when the match is called in favour of the Swiss competitor.  The dream is over.  Grayson turns abruptly from the conversation he’s been having with some West End theatre up-and-comer.

“Looks like this poor chap isn’t ape enough to be a hero out here for us, either, eh Sadie?”

“Once in a while you do show evidence of true wit, my friend.”  People on the court were assembling, arranging themselves for the rituals that restrain the erstwhile explosive combatants and reclaim them in the name of orderly society.  “Now, I believe I have the matter of engineering a meeting with this foxy lady – Li?  Have you found out her name for me yet?”

“I’m afraid it’sMurray’s, eh, fiancée.”

“How delicious.  Have our driver uncork some Moet.”

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