On a dingy corner in Place Pigalle, this little beautiful madam takes my hand and draws me into the sweltering darkness of her strange ambrosial cave. “S’asseoir.” I sit down on a mohair sofa. “Something to drink, monsieur?” “Leffe, s’il vous plaît…” Smoke tingles in a soft blaze of soiled lights, walls aquiver. A big, buxom, African lady-of-the-evening in clinging semitransparent lingerie moves under the chanting red globes. Something begins to diminish. The decomposing dribble of an orbit jiggles amid the infallible reach of timelessness, perhaps?

Here, the dead have dressed up in their oral traditions, god plays grim his violin, light fails, and the prostitutes hit the floor, shoving precisely though the pushandpull of orchestral despair, their bounding feet transfigured on a steep current of swollen logic. It sits at the end of some foreign tongue, volumes of dirty eroticism slowly expanding until the keen queen-of-all-kings coyly emerges. She hurls a handful of confetti in the air, and as she dances through it, I observe the glad awful screaming of her profane flesh; the sweaty waves of palpitating flab among whose climalodes and clangalieds even oblivion would be feign to blush. My beer arrives, green and glowing. It’s handed to me by some Turkish pimp of the dime-a-dozen variety, donned in large white collars and a black bullying blazer stuffed with shoulders, his gold tooth and earrings glittering in the hellish neon, his face a dull retching of perfect evil, like a serpent, or a poisonous caladium. His loafer slightly pronounces itself, he pirouettes, one arm does a lithe sweeping gesture, and the big African descends upon me, pink martini in hand. The pimp nods, nods again. “For the lady,” he says. “Merci…” she says. “On me?” I ask.

But he’s gone.

A cloud of silence covers her face. Immense, gorgeous, perfectly insipid. She takes a sip from the straw. Two hungry thighs squirm before me as she gropes and heaves and unleashes her top. She cups the roundness of her breasts and gives them a good upward squeeze, lets go. Plunk. Then her fingers find my thighs and I feel like all the others, hooked in the gill, waiting to be dragged along the wake and then eaten. The room spins its fuzzy red syllables. A purple curtain parts. A man in a cape begins to sob, and I am the rand in the gning-a-ming-agong. I have no home. Just this perverse little cave of a room, deep in my soul, or across from the Purrus and Clovis, where a purple curtain closes, and gods play grim their violins.