12 Months more or less, it had gone like this

The woman boarded the flight to London from a German airport, everything had begun in Tokyo and she had spent the last eight days in Switzerland (Zurich) and Germany (Frankfurt Au Main). The woman was sure that neither her sister nor the man had traveled to any of these cities, as far as she knew they had scarcely left the locality they lived in. Little real information of their activities was available, living in open sight they were almost invisible. This is scarcely important however in this story of a person traveling from Tokyo to see her sister and to ask for some of the money she’d taken back, and for her to do some work for them, to ensure that peace continued. It’s a morning in May, a lovely day which is like summer. Which is a sublime detail as the photons fall from the sun making the sky a pale blue colour which is of some importance to her and the bodyguards. But where to start ? Why not at the beginning of the end with the woman boarding her flight to London […]

It was better to travel from Frankfurt to London she thought because what mattered was her long trajectory from Tokyo to London and now it was here a final direct flight into the city. The flight took about two hours and they arrived at around three to three thirty in the afternoon. So here they are sitting in business class, she occupying two seats whilst they sat comfortably close — the trip had been booked by her secretary and she’d done a good job. The flight attendants were courteous and unobtrusive. She drank clear fruit tea, and a light snack. She is in her mid to late thirties, quite tall, dark hair, thin and healthy looking. Though you couldn’t tell because she is dressed in linen trousers and jacket over a silk blouse, she has a single headed dragon tattoo on her body. (Her sister has a double headed dragon on her body) The attendants imagined that she was a business woman accompanied by her assistants, perhaps a senior manager of a multinational corporation, an anonymous business woman who spends her life generating economic growth for the corporation. But of course, one of them said, she could be a politician flying into London to attend cabinet level meetings with foreign office officials. (You are so romantic the others said….) She fell asleep in her comfortable business class seat, dreaming of a child and a partner who was looking after her, she imagined him taking her to school, eating ice-cream with her at the municipal park, perhaps chatting with the other parents. He was enabling something close to normal life for a child she knew. In her half asleep state she looked more obviously muscled, less elegant more obviously signs of her working out. As she woke up she stretched and then looked at her agenda of meetings with two sets of nervous hedge fund managers. She looked at the newspaper and its color supplements that the attendant had given her. She looked through the business section, read the micro-paragraph stories that were on the front pages, twenty five words each story with small photos or charts. She ended up looking at the magazine section which contained some photos by Gary Winograd and a thermonuclear bomb mushroom cloud. Some of her distant relations had been vaporized by the bomb at Nagasaki she remembered, feeling a little saddened about this event that was probably why she was sitting on this plane descending towards London. She remembered her friend Aldico who had died last year in a car accident, he’d crashed into the back of a lorry whilst desperately trying to escape from his pursuers. She wondered at the trail of destruction left behind by the growth of value. It was peculiar how value had a relationship of equivalence with death. She sighed closing the magazine and noticed a reference in the business section, a recommendation for Kwarbarti’s IPO shares. She wondered about this. Her heart briefly raced, she hadn’t really had an arrhythmic heartbeat for over a year. After testing he doctors had told here it was caused by stress, which for some reason she no longer seemed to suffer from. She had seen many images of violence, even some real ones, none had caused her to feel stressed since last year. The co-pilot announced they were coming into land and they should look out over the city and enjoy the view. The plane curved round to the right at around 700 feet a tall skyscraper could be seen out of the windows just below them. The buildings and ground of the city dull and mechanical below them, a few small parks. The plane dived in towards the city airport. Wheels down, flaps down, engines reversed, air brakes. She looked at the photographs of one of the anonymous global meetings of the richest people and countries in the world, thinking there was no difference any longer every photo was edged in gold. She turned the page and looked at a picture of a young half naked man being casually tortured. She closed the magazine and put it aside […]

They landed, taking the hand luggage, collecting the luggage off the conveyer belt speaking to the immigration and customs officers about why she had come. There was a chauffeur waiting with a sign (single dragon head industries — Ms Seo) to take them from the airport to the hotel. [They had arrived] The car was hot from the afternoon sun. He turned on the air conditioning for them. The younger bodyguard sits in the front with the driver.The older next to her on the passenger side. It was a slow trip skirting the city of London, across the top of the congestion charge zone and down past the park to the hotel. The hotel had two restaurants, one cafe, a pool and gymnasium, room service, secure internet, twenty four hour laundry service (which she used), themed suites and rooms, she had ordered a neutral suite with light grey walls, wooden floors and rugs. She didn’t know what their rooms were like, one on each side of her suite. The hotel was mostly full of business travelers who seemed to be always busily going somewhere or other. In the hotel in the evening she would talk to her dark suited bodyguards about the hedge fund and venture capitalist people who she was scheduled to meet the next day and about their nervousness whenever she turned up, they were drinking Mohitos in the terrace bar, before she retired to the suite. . Is that why you always schedule at least a day? The older of the two bodyguards asked. Yes with enough time they relax and begin to speak. She asked them if they had found the investment trip interesting {more than I thought it would be}. The rest of this week, after tomorrow is a board meeting at the london office and the meeting with my sister [///] They ate light food in the restaurant, the older body guard checked the security of the hotel and booked a room for the meal tomorrow night. (There was a blue plaque saying that Rebecca West and James Joyce had stayed here.) In the cafe she ate some ice cream whilst reading some papers that had been delivered to the hotel for her inspection. Over the dual carriageway there was a large park, mature trees all along the roadside with green open spaces beyond it, there were people playing an unidentifiable ball game directly opposite her. A variant of baseball she thought. The city had a long history, a thousand years or more, this section had been villages before the expansion caused by the industrial revolution. The younger bodyguard was checking the road map for routes to the hedge fund offices, they could pass through the centre of town or travel a little to the south and along the embankment. He chose the second route along the embankment. He remembered the pleasantness of driving through the park to the river. […]

She went upstairs and puts on a TV weather channel that is dedicated to meterology, it informs her that the weather is going to be dry and warm, maximum temperature of 23 and lows of 12, humidity at acceptably low levels high pollen. Good weather for meetings in the city and perhaps some al fresco dining at lunchtime. Though this would make her bodyguards nervous so perhaps they wouldn’t allow her to sit outside enjoying the sun and would force her to go somewhere more secure. And makes some phone calls to Japan, to talk to D, she would speak to her daughter in the morning before leaving the hotel. She turned {off} the air conditioning down to a low murmur and opened the window onto the balcony to feel the warm polluted air of the city and listen to the traffic noise. There was an endless stream of traffic passing by below, nine to eleven floors below. Slightly bored, wishing the week was over and she was going home she waited waited waited until the door beeped and the hotel staff asked if she needed anything. She said no to the face on the screen, her left hand holding a knife. After a while she changed and taking one of the bodyguards with her went for a walk around the locality, walking out of one of the west side entrances along the side road and breaking into a gentle run through the streets, running round the first square, along a side road into another square and round that one, northwards, then westwards into the park at the top corner. As they ran side by side, looking alarmingly like a couple to the unobservant eyes, whilst others might notice the chaotic nature of the glide through the city. Along the canal footpath, pace pace pace, they passed a pair of black funeral barges, on the leading barge there were two oak coffins draped with white and purple lilles, inside a glass cabin. On the second barge mourners dressed in a black and dark grey were exchanging pleasantries and watched them run past. They stopped at the tunnel and went up the steps and ran over the road through the park back towards the hotel. They ran the last two or three hundred metres at a slower pace. She felt lighter, as if the potential situations of the past eight days had dissipated as soon as she had arrived in this city. She walked into the hotel, feeling calmer, some half remembered piano piece came into her mind and she felt she could almost play the notes. She waited for the second lift, she didn’t want to step into a shared space in case it ruined her mood. She was following an old memory of the days when she was not at risk, when she was almost invisible, she knew that this would never return. She was hoping for a holiday after this, just being able to spend some time with D and her daughter. It was after this trip to london, or perhaps it was the next one, that she came to realize, ironically, that she would always be safer here than anywhere else, that the close security people should just be people to talk too as the invisible people on the periphery of her perception were her actual protection […] The two mohitos she drank were perfect, she had espresso and had orange sorbet for the desert […] She followed the bodyguards and the chauffeur to the car in the morning, wearing a dark suit, comfortable low heeled shoes. The arrived at the office with its discreet glass and wood doors, backed by brushed steel. They opened inwards. There were two receptionists who handed them passes and sent them to the top floor. Outside the corridor was a small rooftop garden, a pair of beehives and some beds of small bushes, herbs and some seats. They were directed into the meeting room. The meeting room was shielded from the sunlight by shades, two or three other other people came in and sat down. The introductions began. The old man at the head of the table moved with difficultly, slightly arthritic hands she decided, his grey hair hanging down almost to his shoulders. She looked around the table. Introduce yourselves she instructed them. In the morning they reported progress, a few losses and gains. Nothing very different than she expected, she had explicitly instructed them to maintain a conservative to medium risk profile. So it would be like this, for no other report would have been accepted, other conclusions were possible, some even plausible, but as they were reporting well she knew she would be giving them some capital for higher risk investments that would be carefully monitored […] It was later at lunch time, sitting outside in the roof garden, when the old man, his secretary and the director she normally dealt with were talking about the rest of her week, that she mentioned Kwarbarti, he said do you want to invest in them? They are preparing for IPO at the moment. (We/I) cannot invest there. They look surprised at how emphatic she is. He asks why, she explains that the Director of Security is her sister and its because of family reasons. The old man said wasn’t the IPO delayed before? Yes, the Director of security, insisted they delay the IPO after she moved to the UK. I’ve met her a few times, she is quite intense, rumor has it that she owns a huge part of the company. You’ve met my sister, she says to him that is a surprise. Last time I was meeting with the CEO and we were collecting coffee from the kitchen and she was standing there with her secretary and some guy who was a detective, and they were just laughing. (She is happy. she thought.) During the afternoon they discussed the higher risk investments she was looking for and the reporting parameters, the notifications she would require from them.She asks them if they can manage this sudden additional investment. The day passes, she buys them all a meal in the hotel, she apologizes for not being able to go to the restaurant they suggested. […] [At breakfast an old Japanese man in the hotel was delighted to be speaking with someone from his home. Since I am rarely at home. I have times of great stagnation. It’s because (opposite of stagnation) is for the strong. I am resigned because resignation is for the noble. I am a businessman because it was once a great thing to be. I am old because I survived. I don’t mind my silence, because silence is for the strong. I am all of these things because I am weak. I suffer and complain at the waste of my time. The three looked at him. She said. We will never see you again, because we cannot be seen. never speak to us again, because we cannot be spoken to. We are never silent, because we speak with one another. We will speak to a dragon today, we may not live. It is not and will never be safe for you to speak with us.] [They drive. She talks to them about how dangerous her sister dragon is. we know we volunteered. The younger man says.]

She arrives at the Kwarbarti offices, surprised at how luxurious they are. She tells them she is here to see Director Park. The receptionist looks at her carefully. She asks the receptionist to tell Director Park that her sister is here to see her. Handing the receptionist her bilingual card. She asks her to notify her and that she will wait, wait wait for her reply. Her two bodyguards were sitting on leather chairs drinking takeaway coffee from the Starbucks next door. She turns back to the receptionist and asks her to tell her she has two bodyguards with her. The receptionist was touching a few virtual buttons. “Hello Nancy. Could you tell Director Park that a woman claiming to be her sister is here to see her, and that she has two bodyguards with her. Please sit down, Director Park will be down shortly.” She is looking forward to going back to Tokyo in few days time. Wondering how this meeting with her sister will go. She thinks of the neutrons passing through her body. A woman of indiscernible age emerged from the lifts followed by two men who followed the woman to scrutinize her before leaving. She gave her a card, keep this card with you at all times. You can’t move around the building without it. The doors won’t open. (The men are police, they come and visit Director Park occasionally.) I will take you to her office. She handed the bodyguards cards, come upstairs its more comfortable […] Park is making tea in the kitchen, slicing fruit with a large triangular kitchen knife. Talking to a man in a black suit who was talking in japanese with her, she was correcting his bad grammar. She stopped seeing them standing. [Park imagined killing the two men with the knife, then her sister]. She looks seriously at her secretary. Nancy could you put a conversational Japanese budget together for him. But I didn’t… She smiled at him, it will be useful later. I will, and and also I’ll look after them and bring tea. Nancy said. [She twirled the knife, thinking of them lying on the floor and blood.] “He’d never forgive me.” She said loudly to herself. Picked up her tea and a piece of pineapple. She took her sister to her office […] He asked Nancy what had just happened. She wants to know if your japanese can be improved. If so there will be new work later[…] Tea, coffee ? In the banalities of the everyday there are things that are bound up in the hegemony. Like Siegfried hunting down the lovely Brunhilde, who saves him from the dragon both suffering from the fear; of walking away from school, of running away from work, the fear of talking yourself away from the family, the fear of resisting, poor Siegfried and Brunhilde endlessly bound by the machines of domination. But here and now she has left the knife and thinks of him and smiles her way back to her office. She is still smiling as she gestures at her sister to sit down. She asks who the two men are, bodyguards she queries? She shakes her head, not really they are friends, who are accompanying me pretending to be bodyguards. I didn’t really know this before today.

What do you want Seo? All hope for intra-familial pleasantries vanished. She tells her that she is here to to to ensure that peace continues. A few things need resolving to guarantee this: (Nancy brings a few porcelain cups and saucers into the room. She asks her = Could you call him and see if he could come and collect me this afternoon. Let me know.) Firstly, the money in Switzerland, we need it back. Secondly, in exchange we will give you a substantial stake in a company that we own which about to IPO, which will require some minimal work from you. Thirdly, this will guarantee your safety and you will be left in peace. I will need some guarantees she says. (Nancy leaned in through the door, between five and six at the latest. Possibly earlier if he can escape.) It was one of those moments when a third party asks you if the love you feel for another is a truth event, heavily disguised but the meaning is crystal clear like a hotel. Seo smiles tentatively and asks — Is he the one ? Yes, we are together. We would probably have run and vanished, but were offered some safety under perpetual surveillance by his police boss. He is monitored through his work. I am also under surveillance. Then there are your people and I am sure some others. (Park shrugs,) When i went into exile i imagined i’d just be lightly monitored. Instead I have become a commodity under constant surveillance. Only he keeps me grounded, only him. She smiles warmly. And of course I keep him grounded and safe. I didn’t know. We thought only we were monitoring you. I will collect guarantees for you, confirm them next week. Then we can discuss the options associated with the second to you.

They exchange further and actual pleasantries, promises. Exchanging Business cards, email addresses, encrypted secure PtoP chat addresses. Talked about their lives. Afterwards she realized she was horrified by the way her sister seemed almost normal, the topology of her everyday life drawn out and compared to hers. She talked about her life in Japan, the past few weeks spent with her friends/bodyguards and switzerland, germany. What will you do this evening ? “We three”, she gestures at them, they look up. “…will drink Mohitos and perhaps eat fish in the hotel…You ?” I will tell him about your visit and that we are speaking to one another, and that I will be giving the investments in switzerland back. He will say that he is pleased as he didn’t like being so rich. She speaks of the experiment as being successful and that they will probably be together forever now as there is nobody else they could trust. [They will, as you know, live together for the next 50 years.] Language and characters fall as they strike the glass walls of the office to land on the floor, what is said being inherently unreliable as the order-words meet and the parasites are softly pleased.

[Nancy escorts them out and takes their passes from them on the ground floor. Ït’s good you came with friends and not bodyguards, it helped her to relax, she is sensitive about these things. They leave and return to the hotel. They talk about {Friends} over drinks and food. What else could you call us or would call us? Seo challenges them. Ordering more Mohitos. They talk about being friends — they had never thought about it before. If its not friendship and who else could I possibly have taken to this meeting with my sister? Then what else could it be. She is looking quite earnestly at the younger man. He smiles and says feed me a Mohito. These are lovely. He nudges his friend who is looking bemused. I thought she wanted to kill me when she was cutting up the pineapple. Me too. She looks at them affectionately. You know that we are the only three people around the council who are safe in this country. That’s pretty scary, the older man said. What ? The politics of friendship. We are lucky that we are a fratriarchy she said. I propose we toast the fratriarchy ! Later as they fall asleep they will wonder when and where this had started…]

She went and sat on Nancy’s sofa. Looking across the office and out of the window at the building opposite. She was feeling feint and looked pale. Nancy looked at her and asked if she was all right? She tells her that she feels terrible, is feeling slightly sick and weird. Nancy produces a bottle of polish vodka from her cupboard and some shot glasses. I feel sick, she says again. Vodka is poured into the the the crystal shot glasses. She is speaking of things that Nancy cannot understand but will repeat later. — I never expected them to send her [what?] [probably] just to remind me what I have lost. The price of being here. My family, belonging, sense of identity, place. It appears i lost so much […] More vodka is poured into glasses. Why did you leave? I thought you knew that I left because of him. Do you regret it at all ? She poured herself another shot, ate some some pieces from the bento box that had magically appeared on the low wooden table. Not at all, even with all that I lost, i like it here. I feel sick. Nancy looked suspiciously at her. Nancy’s assistants collated the outstanding reports and documents and put them in neat piles on the table. Yellow paper notes notes describing each piles contents. Seeing my sister reminds me of what I am, perhaps I don’t really want to be reminded. He emerges from the lifts and walks through the office. She never understands why the strange feeling of terribleness makes her feel so strange, she begins to cry. It is when things are too much for us that we cry — even when we cry for joy, but imagine that at this moment she felt terrible. He sits down and puts his arms around her. Even as this makes her feel safe and enables her to stop crying, she still recognizes how stupidly illogical this is. Later when she thinks about this she wonders where the joy came from.

The three of them sat together in first class on the Tokyo flight, they played Go, watched terrible horrible hollywood movies, read and talked talked and talked. They didn’t look like gangsters she thought. A few months later they were in Shanghai before returning to London…


difference/indifference, singularities, philosophy , text, atonality, multiplicities, equivalence, structure, constructivist, becoming unmediatized

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sz_duras - text

difference/indifference, singularities, philosophy , text, atonality, multiplicities, equivalence, structure, constructivist, becoming unmediatized