The man’s name was Gore Volcano and he sat alone in a booth at a diner in a big city and he was shaking salt onto his hash browns. The booth had a large square window, and he could look out and see the bark of the bustle, feel the vibrations, hear the mixture of life in motion.
Peering out that big window as he ate his breakfast, Gore Volcano saw a sidewalk with people, a street with cars, a park with trees, tall buildings with glass, an ocean with water, an exosphere with stars stirred in darkness by a comet, Mars with its milkmen leaving glass bottles on celestial porches.
He forked some scrambled eggs into his mouth and chewed while he glanced at the front page of the newspaper bent at the fold in front of him. It was nothing but the same — another disease, another war, another asshole politician, another mass shooting at a playground. He opened the paper to the weather page and went for his coffee. He sipped and read with over-bulbous, tired eyes. It was nothing but the same — a murderous tornado, a worrisome hurricane, out of control wildfires, a deadly pileup due to fog. Gore Volcano shook his round, bald head and pushed the newspaper aside in disgust. He snapped his fat fingers at a whirling, hustling waiter. “More coffee,” he commanded.
The young, thin man nodded, and in barely any time at all returned with a pot and was pouring. “Looks like a cold rain is coming,” the waiter said, motioning with his head out the window and toward the sky, an oddly cheerful look on his face.
Gore Volcano turned his thick neck and looked up at him. “What we need is a monsoon… To wash all this filth away.”
The waiter looked back at the sour, round man wearing an opened rain coat the color of Egypt. “Can I get you anything else?”
“How about a ticket to Mars.”
Gore Volcano waved him off with a scoff. “Just bring me my bill.”
Once on the street, Gore Volcano tightened the Egyptian-colored raincoat around him. It was a blustery day, and the sky was graying over. He stood still in front of the café, his back pressed against the wall of the building as all the people moved like frantic ants — this way and that way, legs chopping at the sidewalk, arms swinging, mouths stretching and screaming in muddied conversations. He forced himself forward and into the humming human flow and reluctantly moved with it.
When Gore Volcano got to his fancy building at Ambiance and 69th, he breathed a brief sigh of relief. He went in and walked toward the elevator. The lobby was strangely quiet, the only sound being his fancy shoes clapping against the polished tiled floor. He pressed a circular button, there was a gentle whirring sound, and then the doors slid open. He got in the empty elevator and pressed a glowing disc marked 27. He moved up toward the sky.
He opened the door to his voluptuous home and stopped at the small antique table to flip through yesterday’s mail pile. He grunted and unwrapped himself from the heavy Egyptian-colored raincoat and hung it on a fancy wooden rack. He walked toward the kitchen and then turned his head to the left. There were noises. He saw his wife doing it with the doorman on the grossly expensive living room couch. They were completely naked, and he was behind her, holding her by the hips and thrusting into her. He could hear flesh slapping against flesh. He could hear her breathy grunts. She looked at her husband across the ornate distance of the apartment. Her face was flushed like a hot day sunset, and it seemed like she was in pain, but Gore Volcano knew it wasn’t pain. He said nothing, turned away, and went into the vast and gleaming kitchen for a glass of perfect water poured by an unobtrusive butler who had just been reading a magazine and eating an organic apple while sitting on a stool.
A while later Gore Volcano was in his study with its dark wood and shelves of books and large desk topped with broken family photos in hobbled frames. Soft, classical music was leaking invisible from the walls. He was standing before a large window that looked out upon the famous park of New York. He sipped fancy liquor from an iced glass, the cubes clinking together when he raised it. There was a knock on the door, and he turned. “Come in,” he said with business-like authority. It was the doorman.
“Well, how was it this time?” Gore Volcano asked the young, disheveled man standing there as he moved to sit at his big, important desk.
“It was hot,” the doorman said, trying to fix the tuck of his shirt.
“Did you make her…?”
“Did she like it?”
“Definitely seemed that way.”
“Did she call out my name?”
“Did you spill your seed inside her?”
“Couldn’t help it.”
Gore Volcano nodded his head in understanding, opened a drawer, and pulled out a white envelope. He tossed it onto the top of the desk. It landed with a thud. The doorman quickly snatched it up and looked inside. He counted the money. “This is a lot more than usual,” he said, a big grin growing on his dumb, perfect, collegiate face.
“Because it’s the last time,” Gore Volcano said. “I’m taking her away. I don’t want you to ever see her again. What do you think of that?”
He shrugged. “Not a problem now,” the young doorman said, clutching the envelope even tighter. “I was planning on going to Colorado anyway… Smoke a little weed. Do some skiing.”
Gore Volcano looked at him and smiled a scornful and resentful smile. “Good luck to you. Don’t break your leg… Or do. I really don’t care.”
Mr. and Mrs. Gore Volcano sat in comfortable lounge chairs on a pristine beach of paradise on Earth. They were sipping on fruity drinks and listening to the waves gently curving and falling onto the shore. They were surrounded by white sand, palm trees, blue water, a clean sky full of fresh air. There were no other people besides the servants that took care of their every need.
Gore Volcano looked over at his wife in her bathing suit, her fake yet intelligent breasts punishing the fabric, her hair wild around her, a floppy faux cowboy hat atop her head, dark sunglasses strapped to her eyes, her speckled face glistening with tropical oil. She sensed he was staring at her and turned. “I can’t believe you bought an island, but I love it, and the house is fantastic. What a sweet surprise.”
He smiled at her. “Maybe later we can take the boat out for a sunset cruise.”
“That sounds lovely.”
He hesitated. “Never mind.”
She smiled, raised her eyebrows. “You know,” she began. “All those people that say ‘money doesn’t buy happiness’. Well, they’re just full of shit now aren’t they.” She laughed to herself. “It buys a lot of happiness.”
He nodded to her in agreement. “You know, darling. They only say that to make themselves feel better about not having any money and being stuck in pathetic lives. It’s all bullshit. Have you ever seen a big smile on the face of a dirty homeless person?”
They wildly laughed at that together. Then a thin servant in a white suit and with contrasting dark skin appeared. He was carrying a round tray with more drinks. He set them down on the table between them, smiled, bowed politely.
Joan Volcano smiled back at him. “Good job… But have you cleaned the master bathroom yet?” She glanced over to her husband and smirked. “I had a wicked blowout in there this morning.”
Her husband turned away with a sick look on his face. “Oh, Joan. Must you?”
“Must I what?”
“Be so… Gross.”
She scoffed at her husband’s remark and waved her hand at the servant. “Go on now. Shoo. Scrub. Scrub. Scrub.”
They reclined there in silence for a while, a Milky Way star bathing them in warm life, the sound of the waves a dreamy lullaby. It was clean peace and the universe in perfect order.
“You know, Joan,” Gore Volcano began, breaking the pace of the quiet run between them. “I don’t love you… Not at all.”
She removed her sunglasses and looked at him intently for a moment, a sincere smile formed upon her manufactured lips of earthy clay. “It’s okay… I don’t love you either.”