by Richard Godwin
Rosemary of the soft skin had been acquired by Ronald Noble as his latest accessory.
She had wild blue eyes that had been switched off by the drugs and she liked to cover her skin in the oils sent from the exclusive perfume makers of France.
She had accounts with them all and knew the combination still used from the originators from Grasse.
Now one Sunday, away from the sweaty advances of her husband, she dipped her body in the hot water of her bath and read about the US economy.
The book she held in her hand was called ‘Pissing It Up The Wall’ and she already loved the first paragraph.
She enjoyed the sensation of hot water lapping around her body as she digested the economic jargon and felt herself sliding into a tidal world of politics and manoeuvres.
Beneath the fiscal pomp she sensed a darker glory, a codification of need based on the control of dependence engendered by the economic relation between the pharmaceutical companies and the politicians.
And as she sipped her wine she sensed a way to crack her husband’s hollow skull.
She read about the waste incurred by the government, its statistical lies and obfuscations, its declaration of foreign support based on nothing more than reinvestment in its own economy and she began to feel hot.
Outside the window cleaner leaned on his ladder, a twisted allegory of pain.
He was the hanging man of her dreams, the one she could sup from.
And within that dark and bleeding moment she thought she was haemorrhaging on knowledge borne from the cup of sinful knowing.
That she had transgressed some hidden law and she felt the water had turned dark and she was bathing in blood.
The window cleaner leaned to watch the flesh on offer and his ladder slipped.
He reached out a hand and caught hold of an electrical cable plunging Rosemary into darkness.
He hung from the wire and managed to fall softly into a tree from which he made his escape with the cash he had earned.
Rosemary reached for her handbag, fumbling for her torch.
But there was no light in this economic blackness and she dropped a wad of cash into the bath.
The moon broke through some clouds and sent a distant ray of light into her steaming bathroom and as she stood and reached for the cash it seemed to her she was pulling the notes out of blood, each dollar dripping with blood and strangely erotic by the light of the moon.
And she realised as she stood there that the economy was nothing more than that and she knew all she needed to know.
Downstairs she found the trip switch and lit the house.
Then she poured some wine and returned to her bedroom to dress.
She went into the bathroom and watched the steam swirl in the air and it seemed to her like the vaporous economy she inhabited.
She pulled the plug and watched the red water disappear down the pink drain and she knew the menstruating economy was another shell.
She made a salad Nicoise and waited for her husband to return home.
As she handed him his plate she said ‘I’m thinking of starting up a bank.’