The AF Collective’s Ghetto Aristocracy [excerpt] – Mango Jones

Using the aether they got from the oldest, they go into a dungeon where they meet some other people (the previous oldest splits, and now the one who was the middle cousin becomes the oldest), including a character that stays with them for a while (a guy looking like Van Gogh), and, outside, the girls that the protagonist sees as mermaids – the younger points out: lesbian mermaids – mermaids of funk. Another fling ensues but is cut short by the youngest going insane into the middle of the highway, laughing while crying, and the other lesbian chick getting jealous.

The mermaid encounter:

Amidst the sea of funk they got to get a breather outside, smoke one or two, or three, while the muffled bass nearly kept bringing down the upper mask of the dungeon and its pocket-rooms below. ‘Twas when he, the middle one and straight man, spotted, among swaves of bodies tattooed and cooling-down from the overheated sweat still sizzling inside the pressurized cunt, that capped beauty laughing sneakily, sitting atop the seat of what he judged as someone else’s Harley Davis. What a sight. The smoke dissipated in the air. Another shot at some skin-to-skin that wasn’t completely repulsive. Not many of those in one single night. Was it the same night?
“Give up, dude.” Said the new youngest.
“What? …Why…?”
“They’re more into themselves than you are.”
It took a second. “Oh! So what? Do you know her?” Pointing subtly to the one with the cap, but she had noticed even before his first glance.
“I know all of them. If one gets to be with a guy, then all have to be with that guy. And if they don’t all want it, none can have it. It’s a hive mind.”
“So… wanna try it out? My balls are freezing.”
“Even though everything I just said?”
“Sure, why not?!”
“Ok, you first.” But they go together. “What if one really wants the guy but some other doesn’t, or worse, some other gets jealous?”
“Then you’ll see.”
“She can’t force her ‘friend’ not to spend some time with the guy, all by herself, right?!” The youngest answers but with a short snicker, almost like a burp. “…right…?”
“Heeey!” In enters the youngest in the role of trouble starter. The lot of them react, some laugh, some fake-laugh, some fake a startled expression and the minority really look startled. The one with the cap ignores, and so the middle one keeps his distance while the youngest clowns their attention, at the same time breaking the ice and investigating for sure if the capped one is ignoring him because she wants his cousin to approach or because she simply wants both of them to be gone from existence forever. It had to become clear, as hood politics dictate, if they’re scrubs or not, or if one of them is, while the other isn’t. Hood politics also dictate one should maintain some distance from the mermaids, let them get to you or invite you to come closer. Everything goes subtly, and the danger is as real as any of the sexually cannibal species of insects. Really just like real mermaids of olden times. The middle cousin had received a look, a form of basic invite to approach, but that was still too little, at best it said ‘hey, come close, let me take a look at you’, and so he did and let them take a look at him. The youngest, with nothing to lose and possessive of a fuck-friend on speed-dial just in case, voluntarily broke the etiquette, but did so not devoid of ill intent: the race for the one(s) had begun, and now the youngest desperately tried to identify which one of them mermaids was the one drinking from the same fountain as his cousin. That gesture of importance the middle cousin gave to the one with cap could be a form of misleading his younger cousin, and nothing was to be trusted. Indeed, the youngest was brilliantly well-versed, but not as wise as his older cousin, he was something else; not to say well-articulated with hoodlum language and linguistics. As he kept trying and glancing to see if anything he did aroused a reaction from his older cousin in the back, the latter gave no clues and bravely kept his hood poker-face, impenetrable, forcing that face of semi-boredom while smoking, bidding his time until…
“I don’t know, man, you seem kinda loopy. You say you used zero drugs tonight? I like your friend there, he seems more normal.” Said the capped man-eater.
Jackpot. She sent the formal invitation to approach, usually a loud and clear verbal statement. The youngest tried to look the other way, hiding his sour face, but failed.
That wouldn’t be enough. With the alpha female, in the dead center, finally opening the way to a real close-quarters conversation, at least one other had to intervene, and alas, with a quick and subtle glance, the second-in-command ordered one of the lesser ones to make things more difficult, thus making everything more interesting among themselves.
“Oh, if only I had a smoke.” Moaned one of the lesser ones, a tall beauty with lanky arms covered with tattoos coiling their way through her neck.
But he was prepared. “Here.”
“Gotta light?” But not prepared enough. After all, ‘he didn’t smoke’.
“Shit.” As a smirk came from the corner as well as from the youngest, who now would have time to try everything away with the successfully identified target of his cousin’s desire. “I’ll be right back.”
Since the very green taste of absinth, and the very strong smell of aether, were still vivid in his system, he ran not so hurriedly. Not at all, he walked turtle-mode like a codeine-addled toddler. In fact, he did not move for a while, until he finally had the idea to check his pockets and the pockets of some close-by acquaintances for anything that could light a cigarette. And even some friendly strangers, he was cute like that. All the while he could feel the curious stare of his vampire-like thing of infatuation looming over his back. Unsuccessful in finding the least semblance of something to light a smoke, he then decided ever so slowly to try his luck inside again, where the previous youngest cousin, now turned middle one, still resided, and resided still, doing nothing but stumbling to the sound of some funk in the mixing of stroboscopic effects. Thinking about it now, after the second (?) time the true oldest had gone missing, he was virtually the oldest now, and for all intents and purposes his word should command over the pack of bundled individuals in vogue.
“Do you have a light?” He asked the newly established middle one, after a quick descent back into the dungeon.
“Something to light a cigarette!”
“Somebody has to have this shit!”
“Not me! Go buy it!”
“In the back!”
But going further in the back was each step less illuminated and every couple steps more dangerous and unruly by an exponential factor. But the booze, wormwood, nicotine, aether, caffeine, benzos, tribulus bai ji li, in short everything roaming through his system, plus the age and warmness reverting to his balls, made his head lighter and his penis harder. After getting aroused a couple of times and then interrupted, the next time is always despair-inducing, and he really liked that girl that he knew nothing about. He liked her smell. So fuck it. In the back he goes, where the stench of unprotected sex is familiar even to the most virginal of victims.
It is important not to get the wrong idea, that love-at-first-sight thing is not a hood thing, the affectation and infatuation of the primal fringes of post-apocalyptical society surpasses such measly Shakespearean notions stinking of that wicked and tired temper of the old world. He wasn’t white enough for that shit. The commerce of love was nothing but the fantasy of some Uncle Toms, something this new oldest cousin himself was a victim of, for love is no disease but, indeed, a true criminal of demonic status. Yet, a single mention of its name is able to clench the anus of the most reputable of gangsters and mobsters – always and forever all too human. No, the way she stared at him was not like a mom stares at her imprisoned child, but like a cat stares at its food, fiercely, before attacking and playing and mutilating it completely till boredom does them part. Although it is fine if, as some do, one wants to call that love, viciously delicious as it installs itself in the victim’s reflection.
The corners of the dungeon expanded visibly in the crescent lack of light as people disappeared and shadows took shape, the fog is clear, and the fourth shot of the faerie drink finally hit with the incoming wave of lapsing aether brought back, too, by the smell permeating the whole place like a very pregnant cloud, and then a hissing sound followed a giddiness almost uncontrollable. But to laugh in front of clusters of cloud-chasing thugs could prove fatal if one had little to no repute in the game, and this new oldest cousin was greener than the new money he so earnestly thought he earned, almost as cintilante as the absinth now burning his loins. But he was never one to pee his pants, not while awake.
“Do you have a light?” He finally asked upon arriving somewhere lit enough, where people seemingly ordered strange drinks from.
“…” Without a word, a bulky man throws a box of matches over the balcony. Then he takes it, shakes it, opens it, looks inside. Only about eleven left.
“Can I.. take it?”
The guy only shook his head slightly. He interpreted that as a yes. If anyone recognized him, or even tried to talk to him, on the way back, he did not know, but he just felt like that was the case several times. But again, he was high out of his balls. And as the pressure was alleviated, and the cold breeze of the fertile night stroke his nerves once again, he saw the youngest still trying his hardest to make an impression, any impression, when one of the girls spotted his return with a waving of the box of matches. She let slip a laugh. “How cute! He actually got it!” As the other girl, the main enemy and supposedly second-in-command, lit a cigarette with a customized lighter she took from her own pocket, out of nowhere. They were all already smoking but the youngest and the girl with the cap, still sitting there over someone else’s seat, still comfortably avoiding the youngest’s advances.
“Give me one.” She said, reaching for a cigarette in the new oldest’s hand and making a gesture for him to light it up. “They say matches are better anyways.” With a melting glance he felt all the way into his veins and arteries roaming through his vascular system, from heart to penis, riding a wave and unleashing a rush he did not know still resided in the legion of potions and vapors festering inside his guts. Success. It truly begins. If only. If only he could ignore the sight of the defeated youngest now running into the highway, laughing maniacally, taking off his upper clothing, maybe crying a little while hugging a light post. He could be doing it to scare off the girls, thought the oldest. Maybe he felt the rush, too, maybe everything finally hit him all at once, too. The Sisterhood attacks again. He looks at the cracked street with a slight melancholy in the eyes, smiles, looks back into the mermaid – she already understood everything. She smiles back, “do what you gotta do.”
“If only I had a choice…”
“It’s ok.” And she turns back, cigarette in hands, towards a victorious to-be-matriarch that smirks through the shadowy vapors fuming from everywhere.

Sweet 2019, in 2019 words.