Saturday, April 11, 2015


Fox Maison could hardly bring herself to listen to the priestly drone that bade her mother, Baroness Monique Therese Yolanda DuMaison farewell. Father Finnerty had known her mother better than many people. They’d been friends and, to call a spade a spade, passionate star-crossed lovers, since childhood.
But it didn’t feel real.
Her mother didn’t feel dead. In the pit of her heart where Fox kept all her feelings her mother seemed so very much alive. And not just because they had failed to recover her pert, sun-kissed body.
White roses and Tiger Lilies littered the graveside. An alleyway of Jo Malone votive candles led the procession of mourners to a grave. They had nothing to bury, but Carlow Von Cleef, Fox’s father and the hottest music producer in all eight continents, even the secret ones that only the upper echelons of the pleasure classes knew about had insisted on a grave. “For Closure.”
Father Finnerty was openly sobbing now, calling her his Mary Magdalene. His beautiful sin. Carlow VanCleef didn’t know where to look. His wife’s indiscretions had never felt so sadly indiscreet. The team of handsome masons he’d hired stalwartly continued to fill in the grave, pecs rippling subtly through black cashmere.  Within lay a single photograph, her on their first wedding anniversary, a little Fox in her arms, gazing up at him and smiling widely. This was the shining woman he remembered. This was his precious bride. He wished he’d made her happy. He really wished he’d asked another priest to give the mass.
Fox put her delicate hand on the priest’s black-clad shoulder. He was taller than her by far and yet her steely expression confirmed that it was she who held the upper hand. Father Finnerty had been the Baroness' playmate as a child, sure, but he’d been the housekeeper’s son. He’d risen through the clergy to become the parish priest of a range of exotic locations. He was a powerful man, a man of God. But she was to the manor born. And they shed their tears in private.

“Father, pull yourself together” her tone was kind but it was unmistakably a command. The Irishman wiped the tears from his ruddy face, and rolled up his sleeves like the peasant he was. The grave was filled. They served h’ors d’oeuvres. A tasteful statue of her mother aloft in the centre of the room, a champagne fountain beneath her. Nothing tacky. What she would have wanted. A send-off befitting a baroness.

Saturday, March 14, 2015


Fox Maison and Ephemera Tornado were drinking artisanal cocktails that cost more than your first car. “There’s nothing like empty calories to make a day feel special” remarked Ephemera, who did not have to watch her weight because of her incredible genetics but was cognisant of her privilege.
“Amen” agreed Fox, who as a child had once been instructed to put double cream on her cereal instead of milk, because it was so horribly difficult for her to gain weight.
“These taste so good” observed Ephemera “It’s almost a shame that they are limited edition.” It was true. Only two hundred of them would ever be made, upon which the recipe would be burned and the ashes scattered to the Four Seasons. In the penthouse suite, to be precise.
“It is like drinking a moment in time that can never be repeated.” Sighed Fox “these mason jars are metaphors for our incredible privilege and beauty”
“You’re deep, Fox” observed Ephemera again. Ephemera was really knocking it out of the park today in terms of observations, for though her incredible looks sometimes led to people underestimating her, she was wildly intelligent and could do really hard sums and chilling insights as easily as she could enthrall the fashion world with her intensity and raw beauty.
“And you resemble an uncut diamond, Ephemera” sad Fox. Fox was really good at compliments. It was part of what made her such a good friend.
“Can I get that on a cuff?” laughed Ephemera, her billion dollar face crinkling up in the laughter people had seen on so many billboards, in so many campaigns. Fox got to see it for real though. Because this was her normal, everyday life. So glamourous and exciting and different from that of a lowly primary school teacher who would like to get some health insurance please and thank you.
“So… Jackman DuVall.” Stated Fox. She did not have to ask if Ephemera knew him. But she wanted more information. Compelling insights into the man who had so fascinated her with his potent aura of business and sexual promise.
“Ah.” Said Ephemera. “Jackman DuVall.”
“Jackman Duvall” said Fox again, rolling his name on her tongue like it was a limited edition artisanal cocktail.
“Jackman DuVall” said Ephemera Tornado. “Is a singular individual. He has bedded every superlative woman in America, and left them all too sated to care when he inevitably abandons them. He is like a sex-midas, Fox. Tread carefully.”
Fox knew Ephemera spoke the truth. Jackman DuVall was like a sex-midas, the mythical king who turned all to gold with the subtlest of touches. What would his hands feel like on my body she wondered? Would I turn to liquid gold beneath his businessman’s palms?
“You’re thinking about taking him as a lover, aren’t you?” asked Ephemera who was astute. But not that astute in this case, because it was Jackman DuVall. So, like, duh.
“Have you and he…?” Fox could not bring herself to finish this sentence, for, though she had had suitors aplenty, something about Jackman was different. Regal. Male.
“Twice.” Said Ephemera. “Once, on a sultan’s boat and once in this, like, big private fountain thing at an Academy Awards afterparty.”
            Ephemera had tried acting a while ago. She’d played a transgender supermodel so ably that she had won Best Actor, Best Actress, Best supporting actor and Best supporting actress. And the director, greying and with tears in his eyes, had given her his Oscar as well because he felt she deserved it more. It was true.
“He was an exceptional lover, Fox.” confided Ephemera. “But to tie him down to just one woman would be unfair. And also, he called me Deborah for most of it, which made me a little bit sad. Dude is properly emotionally unavailable, but in this intensely vulnerable way. If he was to meet the right woman, I got the sense that his passion would burn so hard the world would be as ash. Forever changed.”
Fox was intrigued by the allusions to Jackman’s prowess, and emotional unavailability. She had always been nurturing as well as incredibly beautiful and talented. It was why she had so many friends and got so much free stuff and was not a racist or anything. She was about to ask Ephemera to spill more intoxicating details of the exhilarating puzzlebox that was DuVall.
Jackman even.
But then the phone rang. It was her father, Carlow. His voice was thick with emotion.
“There’s been…an accident, Foxy” he said. “The ship. The cruise ship. It’s gone down.”

The last thing Fox remembered before blacking out was the sound of her own voice, high-pitched, desperate, panicked. A little girl. Crying for her Mom.

Saturday, February 21, 2015


Deborah Wiseman woke up in a strange hotel room. Sated and alone. Swearing softly to herself, she checked her messages. Thirty five new emails. And none of them from him. Why do I do this to myself? She wondered, and not for the first time It always ends up with me. Alone. In an improbably opulent setting. No more Alpha-Males, Deb. She sometimes called herself Deb in her head, to make herself relatable. It was important to be relatable, approachable and likeable when you were the sort of beautiful that’s only for sleeping with like once and then swapping for another, shinier option. Like a sex-pog. Remember Pogs, Deb? She asked herself. The world was so much simpler then, collecting pogs instead of accolades, instead of heartbreaks.
She pulled her La Perla cami-knickers over her smooth porcelain skin. She put her expensive bra back on. Jackman had taken it off last night with his big wealthy hands. He’d promised her nothing with words, but everything with slick sex-moves. He made love like a power-ranger the night before a battle she mused. One of the good ones, like the red or the white ranger. Not that they should be sleeping with anyone the night before doing battle. They should conserve their energy. But still…
Orgasms always made Deborah nerdy in a specifically nostalgic way. It was why she only allowed herself several a year. The phone rang, cutting sharply through her erotic reverie.
“It’s Joseph, Deb. We gotta problem”.
Deborah ran her fingers through her expertly high-lighted hair and applied a slick of barely-there lip-gloss. She brushed the delicate traces of the night’s cocaine from her elegant credit card before inserting it back into the credit card pocket of her prada wallet with a certain earthy finesse.
“Talk to me, Jo”.  Her voice was calm, even. She could handle Jackman DuVall, and come out of it singed but still alive. She could handle anything.
“It’s Carbon, Deb. He’s not in his room. And one of his’copters is missing from the ‘copter garage.”

Deborah sighed. Another day, another dollar.

Sunday, February 15, 2015


Jackman Duvall was tersely rustling papers when the phone rang. He had to be prepared for his conference call with Tokyo. But were they prepared for him?
His secretary, Deborah, informed him that his three o’ clock was here.
And what a three o’ clock she was.
Small, yet perfectly formed she was like an hourglass made out of fabergé eggs. Her hair was the dark, shiny auburn that counts as red-head but never as ginger. He wondered if it were natural. It probably was. Everything about this creature seemed effortlessly perfect. Not like a Deborah at all.
“Fox Maison” she said and shook his well-manicured hand with her own.
“DuVall, I know. I have heard of you.” they both laughed. Of course she had. Everyone always knew the name of the most potent businessman in their borough. And that name was always Jackman DuVall.
“So, Fox Maison, what can I do for you in the next fifteen minutes?” he purred, like a lion remembering a particularly exquisite gazelle.
“Well, Jackman. Can I call you Jackman?”
He nodded, taken aback at her chutzpah. Nobody ever called him Jackman. Not even his mother, Deborah DuVall. He shook himself away from the memories of a childhood best forgotten. The beautiful  girl is talking, Jackman DuVall, he thought. And then corrected himself. Not, not a girl. Never a girl. Fox Maison was every inch a woman. And not one of those racist women like you sometimes hear about. A proper beautiful inclusive woman, equally respectful of all cultures and peoples, no matter what that chauffeur said one time.
“I’ve prepared a ten minute iPad presentation on why you need to invest in my company.  You can watch it, or interact with it on your comfort level. When you’re finished, then you can ask me…anything you want to know.” She sat back in her chair, a confident young business maven.
What I want to know thought Jackman DuVall is how you would look lying in my very expensive bed after I had satisfied you with a merger that had nothing to do with business and everything to do with pleasure upon pleasure.
But asking her that would have been sexual harassment, which was not okay in the workplace, even when you are an alpha male who is mostly made of rocks.
So he swiped around on the iPad, nodding thoughtfully. It seemed a solid investment opportunity. It wouldn’t make him billions. But maybe it would make him care again. In a way he’d thought impossible.
When Tokyo called, Jackman DuVall told them to phone again tomorrow.

He had a Fox to catch.

Sunday, February 8, 2015


In the vaults of the ship there lurked a dangerous weapon, caged in human form. . Mingling with the crew. One day a cabin boy, the next cleaning staff. Serving all the beautiful people their gluten-free truffle oil and whatnot.
 How he loathed them.
The beautful rich. There was no true beauty to them, apart from their faces, things and hearts. They thought they were better than other people because they were born with funds they hadn’t earned. The ocean was their playground. They had no respect for it. Or anything else.
 It made Eduardo sick to his rippling stomach. His taut, tanned skin burned with intensity as dark as his smouldering eyes.  
Parasites! The lot of them! Seeking naught but pleasure upon pleasure. Asking for nothing, demanding everything. Wearing tuxedo-based clothing on a regular basis. Spending more in a week than an Irish Primary School teacher could earn in a year. Needing no lucrative second incomes, they shunned those that did. Be they primary school teachers, or international men of murder.
He walked among them but he was not of them. And they would pay.
Oh, how they would pay.
Particularly the one he had been sent to kill. He eyed her photograph, which he had printed out because he couldn’t crumple his phone screen menacingly. Her face. Her beautiful, perfect face, unmarred by years. The one who’d hired him had not been aware of their former connection.
She stood, hands on hips, legs akimbo, beside a spaceship she’d been in. Eduardo had never been in a spaceship. But he had been in her once, and it had ruined him for all other women.
Five hundred thousand dollars (pocket change to his employer) was already wired to a Swiss bank account, and more to follow when the job was complete. He would have iced this bitch for free.
He took the photograph out of his pocket, carefully smoothed out all the creases, glared at it and crumpled it again.
Baroness Monique Therese Yolanda DuMaison, thought Eduardo Khan, the jet set’s grimmest assassin, stroking his rapier-thin pencil moustache. Prepare to encounter an old friend. And then prepare to die. And then actually die.

For the first time in several decades, Eduardo almost smiled.