"Rise and Fall of Buster Jeser"
by TS Caladan
Buddy entered the bright, modern, outer office of his ‘handler,’ Malcom, with flare and grace. The eager young ‘talent,’ who had a perpetual smile, was 16 years old. He wore a white jacket and pants. His blonde hair nearly reached his shoulders and was insured for more than the ‘teen idol’ and heartthrob’s voice. The Music Industry had a rising star in Buddy. The world never knew his real name; the fans were only shown a charismatic personality with the name “Buster Jeser.” About every young girl and boy was well aware of the singing and dancing sensation, packaged and pushed over multiple Medias.
Jeser had only been on the scene for a year and his popularity skyrocketed. After his debut album called “Flash in the Pan” hit #1 on every pop chart in 2014, he went on a World Tour that broke records. His first single was “It’s Only Mystery” and was followed by the ‘street anthem’ called “Black Son.” Buster’s dance moves, his sexy, slow style of singing the ‘Oldies’ and electrified voice to modernized (fast) classics contributed to the kid’s international appeal.
He already ‘owned a Beverly Hills mansion’ and was rarely ever seen in public or nightclubs. Buster was known for ‘owning an electric Tesla car of every color,’ but was never seen driving one. Television and radio interviews were highly guarded affairs and not very public. The charming, well-mannered Jeser was always surrounded by a security team of heavyset, aspiring rappers. Few people, except elites of Hollywood and New York, spent much time with the Illuminati’s ‘hot,’ new property.
Only his Los Angeles agent, redhead Malcolm, called him by his real name and very few ‘invisible’ others on top. It was an inside ‘code’ between those in the know that pulled Malcolm’s strings and the secret ones on higher levels. Buster’s ‘real name’ was not his real name. It was given by his handlers.
Jeser’s entire backstory-history to the press and Wikipedia was a lie. There was no orphanage and now ‘passed-on’ adoptive parents. The bogus report that a ‘studio’ basically had parental rights to BJ was widely accepted. Records and photos were fabricated and the adoring fans believed everything they were told by New York and Los Angeles, the many ‘people’ behind Buster. Permission for various investigative documentaries were always refused.
His PR staff and entourage handled all affairs on low levels and took their orders from the shadowy ones atop the Industry on the highest levels. His ‘people’ never knew that Buster was Buddy.
“Sit down, Buddy,” Malcolm said as he sat behind a marvelous, modern desk.
The boy slid a bit and smiled and sat down on the comfy red and black couch that was out of a Buck Rogers film. The ‘star’ waved his longhair out from his face and looked around the bright, futuristic and very large office. It was the first time he was let into M’s plush, back office and he was in awe of its enormity.
“So cool, School. Had no idea, man. They treat you right, M. Ha.” Buddy got back up from the couch to take a better look with larger eyes. Then he sat down again. “Wow. Should have known; this place is so amazing, it’s…stupid.”
“How are you, Buddy?” the ‘agent’ sincerely asked. ‘I mean how do you feel? Are you well?”
Buddy was serious. “Yes, sir. I feel SUPER! This is fantastic, down here. More I see, er…I mean the more they let me see, of the levels, the different zones…blows my fucking mind.”
Malcolm laughed. “Good. Good. Everyone likes your face, the reviews say. And we have to keep it that way.”
“But? Yes, why you wanted to see me. Before we explore that, hold that thought,” M said quickly like a good salesman and shifted the conversation. “Did you have any smaller things to discuss? We can get that out of the way. We’ve been very good to you, you know?” The agent grew slightly agitated. “You really want to complain, after all we’ve done to make you who you are today? You’re a lucky kid. You know how few have seen what you have seen?”
“Dude, take a pill. Easy.” The boy calmed Malcolm from an oncoming rant.
“Easy. Only want to ask a question…”
“I want to go topside.”
Malcolm grabbed a memo in front of him on the fancy desk, the same memo Buddy was given. “Bud, you were given an itinerary of your next scheduled appearances, yes?”
Jeser flicked his cool, blonde hair from in front of his face again and said, “That’s my point. I want to get out more; see my fans. I hear from them and they only hear from me over Twitter. They scream at a distance and I can’t touch them. It’s that personal contact I love and crave, Mal. Can’t you see it’s not freeing in this incredible cage?”
“Not a new story, kid. I’ve heard it before. You know the contract you signed and the few stipulations in it. What you can’t speak of…”
“I know. I know. You could have offered the deal to someone else. I know. I signed. There’s really going to be a movie?” Buddy said, overwhelmed, as he remembered other items on the recent memo.
“There’s really going to be a movie.” Malcolm smiled and knew he eased the concerns of the potential superstar.
“It’s so frustrating…to know…”
“A lot of pressure to perform and…and get it right, you know? To please you all, your bosses, I haven’t met. The training, practicing.”
“You’re doing splendid kid, coming up great. Your dance moves are getting everyone’s attention. I saw the sessions: looked great. Don’t worry. Oh. You’ll meet them, my bosses. The ones responsible for everything you see here. New York is very pleased.”
“I don’t know your last name, Mal. Ha. I don’t know my last name.”
The agent answered in a serious tone. “We don’t have last names.”
“Yes, Buddy. Remember who you are. You’re Buster Jeser.”
“Uh. Why, why can’t I see TV or have the Internet? Or text? Or have a phone? I own a palace of a home I can’t visit and a rainbow of cars I can’t drive, but, but, I also can’t have a PHONE?”
Malcolm grinned and brightened with a type of energy. He confidently told the boy, “You’re going to have something much, much better. It’s the next level for you. You’re going to have something the rest of the world does not have. You already have Sherlock, while they have Watson.”
Buddy believed his handler’s true statements. “I know. He was the stupid one. What else will I have that they all don’t?”
Mal opened a large, hidden drawer and pulled out what looked like a small, white flash-stick. “When you get back to G-Colony, plug this into your tech-unit.” The agent’s eyes enlarged and he nodded.
“What’ll I see?”
“Channel One,” the redhead replied correctly. “Your answers are there. It will teach you the truth. It will be as plain as that hair in your face why we can’t tell others the truth.”
The boy was amazed and did not know how to respond. He brushed his hair aside again.
“We don’t want you contaminated by your loving fans and their world…”
“You mean the world you give them?”
“I think you’re catching on, Bud.”
[A few minutes later, Buddy, a face of Buster Jeser, was on a “Kushline Streamer 5000” that left M’s office at 8000 kilometers an hour (comfortably) in the direction of New York. The trip was completed in a half hour].
Right after Buddy left the big back office, Malcolm remained behind the elaborate desk that complimented the ‘futuristic’ décor. He looked over to a particular pattern colored into the plush and ultimate rug on the floor. Something materialized directly over the pattern~
Jess beamed in as casually as if he had walked in the door. Malcolm expected the visitor who appeared as if he was buddy’s identical twin. He was Buddy’s identical clone, down to the exact length of blonde hair. Jess wore a grey jumpsuit and was confident. The boy seemed older and wiser than Buddy on the inside, yet was the same age on the outside. Here was another Buster Jeser that was at a higher degree and on a higher level than innocent Buddy.
“I know. You’ll stand,” chuckled Malcolm without a last name.
Jess was an intellectual and saw through hype, lies, deception and was not so easily led or misled. Jess was a backup clone and an ‘insurance policy’ on the ‘Buddy’ original. He was made with stronger vocal capabilities: genetically altered to be a “Super-Singer.” His training with professional vocal-coaches resulted in phenomenal skills transferred to the boy in no time. Jess was also created to move the proto-superstar known as BJ to new and farther heights in the future. Jess was nowhere near the smooth dancer as Buddy. Each were used in the past year at various award shows and performances according to whether singing or dancing was emphasized. Jess knew he was a clone and knew of Buddy. Buddy was unaware of Jess and what he was.
Buster #2 paced in front of the big desk. “When are you going to tell him? Maybe I should tell him?” Jess joked to his agent.
M laughed. “Ha, ha! No. Ah, I think we’ll ease him into it, right, right?”
“Look, School. What you just said. Was that prophetic?”
“What do you mean, Jess?”
“Will I? Will I be the one to stand? Yeah, who’s going to survive between us, the singer or the dancer? I don’t know what you’ve planned.”
“Not me. You’ve seen too much of your own press, upstairs. Sure, they love his moves. We’ve cancelled ‘Dancing with the Stars,’ if that’s consolation to you? We’ve told you the plan from the start. As Jeser expands, gets bigger and bigger…and ages, the dancing will be phased out. That was to attract the young twerks…”
“Yeah, girls and boys. Hey, how come he’s gay and I’m not?”
“That’s complicated. Maybe you’ll know at next level, eh? You’ll come into the picture more in the next years as a serious singer and hook an older, more sophisticated crowd.”
The boy continued and stepped from side to side. His pace went a bit faster. “What happens when you don’t want a singer anymore and you want something else? Clone an actor?”
“No worries. No fears, son.”
“You know my real concern after everything I’ve seen? What’s to stop you from making a Number Three? And have you already, my ‘Maleficent’ friend?” Jess stopped and stared into the eyes of his LA agent, which he knew was a government agent.
“You know that’s classified. Ah…hmm, maybe…”
Astute Jess with enhanced vocals completed the man’s statement: “You’ll know at next level, right? Dude, how many Malcolms are there?”
“I could lie to you, but you’re beyond that. We won’t do that to you anymore. Nothing but the truth from now on. You’re not a kid.” The question went unanswered. “What did you think of my boss?”
The shock had worn off of Jess. “Not what I expected.”
Jeser #2 was worried and marched again, back and forth. “I also am not one of you and will always be your property, to do with as you please. Correct?”
Mal was serious. “Not mine, Jess. And so is everyone else, they just don’t know it. Unlike them, you’ll be given Keys to the Kingdom. You should know by now, son…there’s room at the top for promoted ‘studio baby’ clones as there have always been in the past, many times before.”
“As long as we play ball and keep our mouth shut and make you a lot of money?”
“As long as you play ball and keep your mouth shut and make us a lot of money.” Mal smiled wider.
“What about me? I mean what you told me is next?”
“Oh, right, right! Off-world. Your performance last week at the Grammies sent TV-ratings into space so that’s where you’ll go. I mean, if it’s what you want to experience?”
“Damn straight, dude! Ha. If it’s good enough for Cruise, Travolta, Denzel, Beyonce, Jay Z, Jim Parsons, Ga-Ga, Clooney, Streep, Bowie, Prince and Kevin Hart, then, I guess it’s Okay for me, too. Ha. You mean?”
“Off-world is really called ‘Elysium’…like the movie?”
Malcolm replied, “Yes. But only the first artificial planetoid you’ll visit. It’s orientation, Space 101. You can experience personally, in detail, what Sherlock and One only informed you of.”
The boy was stunned. “Christ. So there’s many…off-worlds? Unbelievable, and I can go there?”
“Oh. Speaking of movies…”
“What’s my film about? What’s it called?”
“It’s a musical parody of a ‘spaghetti Western’ called ‘The Good, the Bad and the Stupid.’ You play three parts. We got Tarantino to direct.”
Buddy’s trip to New York had the usual, mega-accommodations in the ultra and very new Kushline Streamer 5000. The sleek, white, shiny turd of a tramline sped on a cushion of magnetic electricity through a tunnel system four miles underground that connected all major cities on Earth! Poor celebrities only had private jets. The real celebrity elite had access to secret underground cities and super transport systems beyond belief. Electro-magnetism was utilized to its fullest extent in the Underworld, yet hardly scratched on the surface. Development for the masses: Not Allowed. Millionaires drove ‘Tesla’ automobiles on land, while true elites and Royalty used Tesla’s principles for incredible transport systems and journeys into space.
Top leaders of Earth (and their many masters above in a cosmic Hierarchy) have separated from the planet and the human race. They have hardened their hearts and basically ‘fly to the stars in a magical capstone,’ while immense numbers of people are stuck in the poor, primitive, bottom portion of the Social Pyramid and suffer. Billions of people on the surface of the planet have been engineered and are only given retarded technologies compared to what currently functioned four miles underground below all major cities by a relative few (13 families).
Buddy disembarked the Streamer in the same manner as others amid fantastic Zone 18 of the New York facility. The last step upon the last step of the oval tram exit, always bounced the car very slightly on the magnetic cushion no matter how many passengers were within.
The panoramic view around the boy was staggering. He was only here three times previously. [Jess had been to the NY Underground 10 times]. All was white and bright and round. The tramport appeared as a gigantic, indoor section of a great white sphere Super Station. The usual soft lighting and ‘healing-healthy’ music rained down from the amazing, curved ceiling. The open area of Zone or Deep Underground Military Base #18 measured thousands of cubic kilometers.
Buddy saw eight round openings in the monstrously huge, white, warped walls. Each one carried long tramline cars from different directions in the vast network. He only now figured out the tunnels’ pattern or spacing. One was the tunnel his car utilized on the west wall along with two others tunnels. Two transit lines were on the northern wall and three were to the south. Apparently, east would be into the ocean and this newly installed system did not do that.
There she was! She was always in stylish black. Buddy was met at the tramport by the same person at each New York visit. Jean was another singular name and always treated him with the highest care and respect. The small brunette approached with the same ‘famous’ hairstyle seen on Mrs. Hogenson in “The Incredibles” film. In fact, Jean was the basis for the CGI character.
“Darling!” The little woman hugged and air-kissed the young man (kiss, kiss). “How are you, my sweet, beautiful, dancing songbird?” Jean gushed and waited for Buddy to notice…
“How am I? Look at you, you’re gorgeous! What the fuck happened to you, woman? Fuck me right now! I’m like Stupid on this. What the fuck did they DO?”
Jean twirled in delight, laughed and lit a smoke on a long cigarette-holder. The [de-aged] elder woman of secret New York Design and Modeling joked, “My doctor suggested I stay away from cigarettes, so I got a longer holder. Do you love me, darling?”
“Yes!” Buddy only met her three times and she was one of the oldest people he had ever seen. Now she looked like a young mother of a Victoria Secret model, only shorter. He grabbed her in a romantic embrace, pulled her close, his chest to her face. Then he grabbed her ass. “You wanna do the nasty, mother?”
“Down, boy. You’re the good one; you’re not supposed to say those kinds of things, baby. Cameras are everywhere. I thought you were gay, Buddy?”
He let go. “I am. I don’t know what the hell came over me, there.”
“I’ll give you just a boobie; go ahead.” Jean put his hand on her left breast.
Somehow, Buddy lost his desires in the dialogue. “Ah, I guess I am gay.”
“I was only thinking to be the envy of my bridge club…on many levels!” Handler Jean raised her thin arms and black sleeves in victory. She took a hit on the cigarette.
“Hey, School. What did you mean, I’m the good one?”
“Never mind that, my love. I only meant we want you squeaky clean at first. Later, I promise, dear, you’ll go wilder and out with people more, and have fun with those you love and who love you. You’ll be able to enjoy your success. Mal told me all about it…”
“Really? That’s a relief. Wait. Wait! Jean, seriously.” Buddy completely changed away from him and onto her. “Your bosses could do such wonderful things to you?”
[It was Buddy’s first view of a transmogrified human being].
“And much more…Magic. Come, my boy. This way; you have another train to catch.”
Minutes after Jess left Malcolm’s gargantuan office, the Los Angeles agent found himself completely alone. He made sure no one from lower levels had cameras on him. His mind told him when everything was clear for a different type of transmogrification. Mal undid his mask. He pushed a button on a small device in front of him. The suited redhead physically morphed into blonde Dexter dressed in a black jumpsuit, the third clone of the Buddy-original. The third copy was added insurance. He was much more experienced in the ‘ways of the world’ and understood how ‘things really operated’ than his two underling, genetic ’brothers.’
Dexter had traveled to four artificial satellites and eleven undetected planets in another dimension of our Solar System. In the last year, he climbed and excelled and progressed far more than any of the clones slated to be Buster Jeser.
The third clone was not a great dancer or singer. He also had a brilliant mind on the order of Jess, but there was one more quality programmed into the young man that the other two did not possess. Dexter would easily and gladly kill.
Jean and Buddy had a bite to eat in the normal kind of average bistro along the artificial way. Such establishments were hidden and ultra-exclusive on the surface of the planet, places that served perfect water that rejuvenated the body and ‘food of the gods’ that did not contain slow poisons. They talked about his career, talents, what he needed to work on, social plans, future plans: what could be in store for the boy post his first movie.
Small crowds in the colorful and mega-stylish underground did not notice Buddy. He thought it odd, the more he observed of the strange community. That would not be the public attitude topside. Were these young, beautiful faces in outrageous makeup and black, white and red clothes, famous in their own right? Buddy did not recognize one of them.
The pair left the fine establishment and soon reached one of the ‘lifts.’ Lifts were perfectly circular tech-areas with diameters of 33 feet. The ‘quick elevators’ had a new feature that few top elites operated. Lifts had long technical names, but users simply called them ‘lifts.’ Four miles of distance were safely traversed, straight up by a ‘vortex-conduit’ in a matter of 14 seconds with a brilliant ‘lightshow’ formed around its users.
Rather than a lift ride and brilliant lightshow for 14 seconds, Jean surprised the boy with, “You done that. You haven’t done this, my love.”
More bizarre elites of the Underworld disappeared off the round tele-platform.
When no one was on the lift, Jean and Buddy jumped on the disk like an amusement park ride.
“We’re not going up?” the attractive dancer asked.
“Would you believe you are going to meet the Pope in less than an hour, Buddy?”
It was a quarter minute before words came out of his mouth: “That’s just Stupid!”
Jean’s mind activated the ‘beam’ function and they also disappeared off of the tele-platform. No lights.
Less than a second later, the two manifested into material forms in dreary, smelly, damp, dark, stone catacombs. They appeared within a mystic circle of white powder 33 feet in diameter.
Buddy now had to be Buster Jeser, ward of the Studio and a good Catholic who was scheduled to meet the Pope. He followed Jean who sure knew exactly where to go. Her small legs climbed up one circular, stone staircase and then another. Five minutes later, the passage led to a guarded antechamber and Jean and Buddy emerged in the room.
A Swiss guard wore what appeared as a ‘clown’ outfit to Buddy. He recognized Jean and allowed them to enter a large auditorium…
“I’m going to meet the Pope?” The boy was dazed when he saw Pope Francis onstage and a line of people along a violet rope who waited to greet him. But he was far more blown away that in the blink of an eye, he went from New York to Rome!
Jean slapped him a little. “Just be polite, your sweet self. Dressed perfectly, ah,” she said as she brushed him off and straightened his clothes. “One day we’re cutting your hair short, you know?”
“Don’t you dare.” He laughed off what was not a joke.
She slapped him harder. Jean was very serious.
“Hey. Okay, that did it; this is a dream,” he stated with a clearer head.
“No, darling. You walk there to those two men that look like feds [pointed]. We’ll pretend they’re Studio Heads. Don’t say anything stupid to Francis…”
“Wait. The frikken Pope asked for me? He likes my music?”
“No. But we’ll pretend that he does. There, go.”
He went and eventually bowed before Pope Francis. The boy acted beautifully, honorably and with great respect, made real Studio Heads extremely proud.
World Press, UPI and TMZ ran with the story that the Pope met one of his Christian flock, a fellow Catholic named Buster Jeser.
“What’s happened?” Dexter asked. He was dressed in black, behind his back office desk and only communicated audibly with his master, the First Director.
First Director’s deep voice stated emphatically, “Buddy’s dead.”
“Why did you kill him?”
“We discovered he would not cut his hair.”
“First Director…his hair?”
“We saw through time. He would never agree to the short look. It was a deal-breaker. He would have told his fans he was quitting and he would have quit. On the nexus point of only the hair issue, our dancer had to go. Come up with a good lie for Jess, he has to be told. Out.”
Two years passed…
“It’s beautiful here. How can it be possible? Mal, you’re telling me this is not a hologram? It’s real?” Jess wore white clothes. His long hair was gone as his handlers insisted. It wasn’t as blonde as it was. He stood on the shores of a calm, turquoise ocean. “Ha, ha!”
Malcolm had not changed appearance in two years. He was dressed in black. He stated with his hands on his hips: “Everything’s a hologram.”
“How the fuck can this be Pluto? It’s not a dream and we’re on a real Plutonian beach?”
Three satellites were in bright, purple skies of the phenomenal planet. Urban regions were hundreds of kilometers away from this gorgeous portion of nature.
The International Astronomical Union has been aware of the high population on Pluto for decades. The fact or ‘great secret’ determined the entire campaign to demote Pluto into a so-called ‘dwarf planet.’
A hovercraft with visible crystals passed overhead.
“I don’t know why you’re ecstatic about this? You’ve been to other planets.”
“Lifeless worlds that others on Earth can’t see, yeah, cool. But, I’m not convinced they were anything more than fed holograms. No interaction with life forms; amazing scenes and some not so pretty. I was bored after a while…”
“And this?” Malcolm asked.
“This is Pluto! Warm and bright; who woulda believed that? Did I say it’s beautiful here?”
Mal laughed. “You did. Ha, ha. You know you haven’t seen anything of what’s in our Solar System, yet.”
Malcolm responded with, “Where isn’t there life? We’re everywhere.”
Jess said with enthusiasm, “Those are cities on the horizon...and, and ships going back and forth.” Occasionally, one of the rounded crafts silently buzzed close to the Earthlings. “This stuff won’t bore me. Wow, another one. But…is it a lie?”
“I told you a long time ago, Jess. We were through lying to you. Now on, it’s the real deal.”
“Then tell me the truth about Buddy!”
Malcolm did, immediately. “His high performance Tesla was remotely made to crash into the side of a building at 140 miles per hour…all because he wouldn’t change his look. They changed his looks. All because he went against the Directors that made him. It was Buddy’s first time driving.”
Jess tilted his head and said, “Well, thanks for telling me the truth now, at least.”
“What do I pay for this? Who’s next?”
Malcolm asked not so innocently: “What do you mean?”
Jess turned and focused on Mal. “You know what I mean. I’ve had to do unspeakable things…”
“No one put a gun to your head.”
“Not yet. What they put on the tray is all the wealth of Avarice. The gun was implied. I figured the Beatles had no choice about the title: ‘Revolver.’ Hang on, Paul.”
“Huh! Clever, boy. I suppose they could ruin you, OJ you or MJ you. I suspect they won’t. Or…”
“…I suppose they could always…give you…MORE.”
“More? You didn’t answer my question. What the fuck do they WANT?! They’ve already drank my blood.”
They want you to join the military. ‘Support the Troops’ campaign is down and they want to kick it into high gear again. With you, the international, singing sensation.”
“I don’t want to do a stint in the military service; I already Serve Hell! Hollywood! You know, movies aren’t what I thought they were?”
“Stop. Not as bad as it sounds. You won’t really be in the Marines, Marines, no less. They’ll fake it like Elvis. Your duties in the Corp, activities and great sacrifices, putting your career, your amazing career aside for a year…is being produced in a film studio as we speak.”
“What?” was semi-screamed in a very high pitch.
“It’s a few photo sessions, that’s it! News and Internet Medias will show the world your ‘Great Sacrifice’ and the effect will be like an atomic bomb. No one will check into it. They own the stupid military; they’ll back everything. The fans will believe every word of it. Why? Because they love you and they saw it on TV.”
“You can pull off that lie? Okay, sure. Ya pulled off plenty of others and fucked over a lot of people. I should know by now you can do anything…but save your soul. This is not going to end well for me.”
“Go on vacation, J; take a year off. Relax. Your ‘Dog will be Wagged.’ You’ll still do rare, sporadic performances, no tours, that’s great news. Like Jean told you: You need time to sit back and simply enjoy your success.”
“And. Ha. You’re saying, I can do that with fake service as a young Marine during fake wartime?”
“Sure. Where would you like to go in the Solar System next? If you had your choice, Jess? Maybe it can happen?”
“Easy. Big Martian Face!”
“Only…only it’s not just ruins. One told you about the million year old ruins and what we know of the ancient Martians. It did not inform you of the giant Time Mirror there…”
“Huh?” Jess expressed from a blown mind.
“Remember in Martian Chronicles, what the Martian said: Don’t you see the carnival lights, the boats, the women? Don’t you see the City and the ocean beyond? That was given to Bradbury, purposely placed as a reference to the Time Mirror. We can walk through a Star Gate and reflect back a million years.”
Both man and young man on a Plutonian beach were excited and very pleased, one more than the other.
“You did some good acting there, friend. I have to come down to Earth. Question. Buster plays Bruce Willis’ character’s grandchild in a proposed new Diehard? Yes, you’re going through with that? Well. Is it symbolic of me plateauing, public sick of me already?”
“Why would you ask that?”
“Because script says he’s going to accidently machinegun me to death! It’s some type of Greek tragedy, whatever…”
“I’m afraid the audience in theatres will CHEER. That’s what they want to see and I even think you want that to be the case, eh?”
“That’s ridiculous! Can’t please everyone, Jess. All in all, reviews are fabulous. New York loves Buster. The movie is 16 months from now, after bogus time in Marines. No worries, mate.”
“Again, I have no choice? Another slave in solid gold chains.”
M tried a new angle. “Who would you like to marry?”
“Ha, haaa. Oh, I can marry anyone?”
The ‘older’ redhead assured the teen, “Nothing’s off the table.”
“Unbelievable. Huh. Question. About Buster’s new album?”
“You’ll love this. Everything will be made up to you with an album that will be…”
“What?” Jess was keenly interested in his art which he had very little hand in~
“The plan is (big breath)…it’ll be…wait for it…it’ll be bigger than Thriller! Funny you mentioned Beatles because the team is creating such songs, such sophistication with supreme studio work. It’s been compared to Sgt. Peppers.”
“Fuck.” Instead of being happy or grateful, Buster #2 was upset.
“That means none of my songs will be anywhere on the album.”
“Can I choose what’s on the album cover?”
Jess on the real planet Pluto, closed his eyes. Out of frustration, he wondered what Mal’s reply would be to: “What does the title mean: ‘Below the Mask’?”
Malcolm did not answer because Jess knew the answer. Instead, the appearance of an agent only turned to the vast purple and turquoise panorama of the undiscovered country in front of them and said, “It’s beautiful here.”
Later, Jess returned to Earth.
Malcolm or Dexter stayed on Pluto, unmasked. Dexter rendezvoused with one of the sky-vehicles that was piloted by the rejuvenated Jean, designer-director from New York.
The gold craft flew over Great Crystal Cities and an ocean that sparkled. It flew beyond the bullshit first layer of ruins that appeared as abandoned ‘roofs’ or multi-leveled ‘parking garages.’ It flew beyond the bullshit second layer of a natural terrain and out into open space.
Dexter sat in the soft, red and black passenger seat. He asked his agent, “How was my acting?”
“Divine, darling. Are you fishing for compliments? You said the right thing to your brother.” Jean took another hit on a cigarette in the long holder. She thought it was cool to smoke cigarettes in the spaceship.
“No. I don’t mean…I mean the scenes they filmed of the underwater project. Did you?”
Jean’s arms flailed up when she remembered the potential film ‘in the works.’ Yes! You were divine as a young James Bond in the new ‘Thunderball.’ But that’s years away. I love it! Don’t worry; they won’t make 007 sing.”
“Haaa. I have to admit…”
“I know what you’re going to say.”
“…It would be cool to be Bond,” Dexter confessed. He was happy and smiled big. “If you asked me what I want, that would be it.”
“Years away, years away. And we don’t know if it will happen.”
Dex seriously asked Jean, “What determines?”
She puffed a few more times on the smoke and then answered: “First Director, your Lizard friend. When he decides Jess is a problem, as he’s seen down the road…will you kill Jess?”
“Done,” Buster #3 coldly stated without any hesitation.
“Then you’ll have a license to kill, Mr. Bond.”
Jess and Dexter were unconscious and only in hospital gowns. Each were prone and bound by gold chains to different metal gurneys 20 feet apart inside a filthy basement with a black and white tiled floor. A hacksaw was placed next to each of the gurneys. The awful stench was worse than any prison.
Hundreds of world leaders, rebels, newsmakers, troublemakers to famous celebrities have ‘forfeited’ their lives in Room 101. The end of the film ‘Brazil’ parodied Room 101 and a reference appeared in Orwell’s ‘1984.’
Dimly lit, Room 101 was merely a dirty basement in appearance only. It was really a Nazi Torture Chamber of the Devil, one of many. The dungeon of hell was called ‘101’ because the participants always learned hard lessons.
Through a large, smeary, bloodstained window was the appearance of Jean and Malcolm. Both smiled dark smiles at two groggy clones that slowly moved on the gurneys. The observation deck held a considerable number of seats for the Illuminati and their minions.
Soon Jess and Dexter would meet for the first time, face to face.
Dexter grunted, “Aah. Wh…what’s goin’ on?” Buster #3 opened his eyes, gagged at the smell, looked around and puked on one side of his gurney. He collapsed and heaved.
Jess came to and handled the situation better. He could understand a torture chamber and even dark personas of his agents and handlers he knew were Devil-worshippers. Jess was spared many of the satanic rituals of Witchcraft that had to be performed. He had to murder no one in sacrificial rituals to the Dark Lord, yet. He could understand WHY this might be happening. Baphomet bastards, killing children, friends, parents, all to sacrifice lives to Baal in order to gain fame and fortune were things Jess heard of. He was not directly involved, he thought, until now.
Jess recognized the scene out of the movie ‘Saw,’ especially after he observed his hacksaw on the bloody floor. He understood the meaning of the Moses Floor. The super singer almost expected a crossed path with the Devil somewhere along the line and here it was. What he couldn’t immediately understand was: Who was this poor soul chained to the other gurney and why did he have my face? “Who are you?”
Dexter coughed and got to his feet. He yanked on the chains to no avail. “You don’t know?”
“They did make a Number Three. I’m Jess,” Buster #2 said sweetly.
“Shut up! You fool! They’re gonna have us at each other’s throats in a minute!” Dexter yelled in anger and fear. He was right.
Both turned and faced the monsters that examined them through the big glass.
Jean and Malcolm laughed a prolonged hysterical laugh as soon as they got the attention of the helpless prisoners. When the funniness lessened…
“This wasn’t the deal, Jean!” Dex screamed at the designer and Big Apple artist. He tugged with more force at the gold chains.
“What deal?” Jess asked Dex.
“I’d reach a new level. I only have to snuff out the great singer here, you! What the FUCK!! That it? This is part of how I kill clueless here? Well ya ain’t helping!”
[Over speakers] “Change of plans, my dearest. Always changes. Expect changes! Ah, fun. We had something different in mind, eh?” Jean took a drag on her cigarette with holder and winked.
Jess shouted at Malcolm, “Promises! Mal…all those promises. No lies? Remember Pluto? Remember, ah, ah, I was supposed to go to Mars? Or, or ‘Below the Mask,’ the album of albums, bigger than Thriller? Yes?”
Dexter interrupted Jess. “That was me, kid. I said those things to you. They considered it my acting debut as far as ‘Improv.’ I’m Buster, the actor, Phase 3. No Mirror on Mars, sorry. Made that shit up. Ah, but the album is true. Tell’m ‘bout the album, Jean.”
“Darlings, ‘Mask’ will be bigger than Thriller. A Masterpiece. You stupid clones won’t receive anything from it, ha, ha,” Jean said and laughed like a demoness.
Dex stared at Jess while he spoke to the two behind glass, “He doesn’t get it. Look at him. And I am as stupid and just as foolish, to believe in the Devil?”
“What do you mean, you’re Malcolm? Malcolm is right there,” Jess declared along with a hard yank on his chains of bondage for the first time.
“Fool, that’s not Malcolm,” Dexter said with a twinge of terror in his voice. “There’s no Malcolm, I should know. They created the character; I acted the part.” He turned toward the two observers. “Oh. I finally saw the show you hid from me, the one you named me after, you fucking bastards. You’re the Dexters, you fucking shits! Why not be truthful for once? Drop the mask, MAL! Truth or Dare and I dare ya to show the kid and drop the mask.”
The image of Malcolm asked the image of Jean, “Should I?”
She nodded for yes.
‘Mal’ hit a button on the console of the observation deck. The image of ginger Malcolm disappeared and there was another face of Buster Jeser, next to Jean.
“See that, Stupid? You wanna bet that’s not Jean? Show’m Truth!”
‘She’ did. Her mask was now not operational and the ‘woman’ disappeared. Two clones were tied by gold chains to gurneys with hacksaws near and two identical clones watched them.
“Yeah, I see the light.” Jess used a different approach. “Tell us the rules of the game. Only one survives, yes?”
“You can’t figure it out, darlings? No, both of you may move on to the next and last round of Final Jeopardy. Yay!”
Jess asked, “How?”
“Wait, why are you still talking like Jean, you fucked up Buster-clone?”
The clone cackled a witchy laugh. “Oh, fun. Ah, ha.”
Then the other one in the observation deck also laughed.
Dexter screamed at Jess and the other two, “How? Fuck how and this fucked up GAME! We’re all the same! Look at our faces! What are you Jesers doing? What is this place? We on a mad island of Buster clones?”
The two observer clones nodded to each other and both generally whispered, “That was close. Not bad.” They were impressed.
The clone that mimicked the real transmogrified Jean from New York informed them over the speakers: “Back to the game. Notice your gurneys won’t fit through the doorway there, the one way out. We’re gonna do lunch. Whomever makes it into the other room when we come back, moves on. Just a quick bite and some blood. Someone better be in the room there or…kaput, kibosh. (kiss, kiss) Ah, almost forgot: Don’t try the Mickey Rourke maneuver, smashing gurney into glass. That won’t work anymore. Ta.”
One pair of clones stayed and one pair of clones left.
When the sick pair of clones returned, they entered the ‘other room’ where Final Jeopardy will be played, and found…
…A strangely silent, near naked Dexter with his left-hand sawed off and most of his white gown drenched in blood, tightly wrapped around a partial limb. He appeared a ‘walking coma.’
Jess was uncharacteristically enraged and in the exact same state as Dex, only his right-hand was gone. “You bastards! You fucking monsters!”
The other two laughed. They also pulled out extremely long machetes from behind them for two reasons: 1) to protect themselves, and 2) for the game in the final round.
“You know, my darlings…if ONLY you’d have thought to not use the saw. Then you’d have won the game and both been set free; that was the Test! But now look what you did. If you only had a little more respect for yourselves and showed us you weren’t slaves and worthy of life…ah. Losers! Now only one moves on and that’s the one who survives. Delicious.”
The two ‘bosses’ threw the machetes at the bloody pair and missed. They clanged on the checkered floor as the two in command made a speedy retreat toward the one way in or out.
When they reached the portal, something strange and unexpected and very different occurred~
The change or shift in reality was proceeded by a loud, low buzz-sound that ever so slowly ground down to a vibratory halt…
After the power outage, everything and everyone were different:
They were not in an adjacent room to Room 101. The new environment was of a fairly modern ‘hospital’ facility, more like where doctors studied patients on the other side of an observation window. There was no blood or stench, yet the white room looked damaged and was completely without power.
The sudden change of scenery was not the extraordinary shock to Dex’s and Jess’ cerebral cortex, it was the change in people…
The two ‘extra’ Buster clones, who made for the escape portal, confronted more clones when the door was opened. But everyone appeared 50 YEARS OLDER! Other, old Buster Jesers that wore orange uniforms pushed into the room, aggressively. They fought with the two who previously looked like Jean and Malcolm. Chubby, overweight security guards used Taser weapons and stunned the two naughty ‘monsters.’
Both fat and bald clones electrically shook on the synthetic floor for a while.
“What’s all this?”
The guards looked at the bloody, nude, clones and the pair looked back at what they had no conception…
Then, old ‘Dexter’ and old ‘Jess’ passed out.
When they came to consciousness, they were in separate beds of what was a real and basic hospital area. The old Busters were bandaged, cleaned and they were on a ‘drip’ from bottles hung above them. A large window in front of them had a tremendous view of a massive artificial structure.
When Jess awoke, he saw the other bed. He had no idea who the guy was or what had happened before. He did not know who he was. Why was there an operation on my right-hand?
Dexter was busy and did not notice his mate. He used a long telescope and spied out of the window to see in detail the new world. He also had an operation performed, but it was on his left-hand. Everything seemed unknown and fresh. He had no memories. Dexter had enough intelligence to realize that his mind had been wiped.
“Who are you?” Jess asked the one with the telescope. He realized he also had a telescope.
“Check this out, guy. What do you see?”
The clueless two spied long rafters and conduits and things through the scopes.
“Who the hell built this?”
“If you’re the same as me, and by the way, you are the same as me…us old guys are starting out like babies.”
“What are you talking about?” Jess, unaware he used to be Jess, asked.
“Oh, shit. Quiet. Here comes somebody.”
“What?” He put down the telescope.
Suddenly a seventies-something doctor and an old guard with an orange uniform walked into the room. They had the same face.
Jess was flabbergasted. “Hey, hey, hey! What’s going on? You three triplets?”
Dex smiled and cheerfully said, “Make that four.” He’d seen his face in the mirror. “There’s a mirror in the drawer. Look.”
“Huh? You’re…” Jess reached for it, nervously, and viewed a face that was only very slightly different. “Unbelievable. That’s just Stupid!”
The doctor was in a good mood. “And how are we today? How do you feel, boys? You look all right.” He went directly into his general routines on both patients with the usual tools.
The guard hardly fit a ragged uniform that busted a bit at the seams. He informed them, “You are on Argo Colony and we are adrift in space. We’ve had a big accident and been without power for years. With certain systems finally coming back online…well? Ah, huh. How can I explain it? Order is being restored and ah, boys will be boys?”
“Wait.” Dex asked, curiously: “We’re lost in space? What accident?”
The doctor answered, “Okay. When they lost power on Earth, ran out of funds, not ‘cost-effective’ stated the official report and forgot about us slaves…let’s just say: Likely to have doomsday when they put us near so many Doomsday Asteroids, eh?”
Both patients stared at each other and shook their heads in wonder.
Jess asked a hopeless question: “No women, just you old geezers?”
“No women,” both guard and doctor lamented, sadly.
Dex wanted to be less confused on one point: “I don’t understand why we’re different from you on this Colony? What were we doing when you found us?”
The guard commented, “Good question. With power on, a few of our nastier elements, yes clones, tapped into the electrical line here and played a horrible, outlawed holo-game.”
Dex strangely inquired, “What was it called? The game?”
The chubby guard with only a few strands of grey hair expressed, “What does it matter? There’s millions of holo-programs…”
He wanted an answer.
“It, ah…it was called “Rise and Fall of Buster Jeser,” adapted from a short story by TS Caladan. Although we doubt the author was connected to the holo-program.”
Jess asked, “What the hell is Earth?”
Doctor said, “Ha, ha. You know, boys…you’re going to be glad we wiped your minds…”
The camera faded back slow, ever so slow, and the Argo Colony slowly shrunk in the distance along with thousands of jagged pieces of a destroyed 5th planet.
Thanks to Tray for the privilege of featuring this story
Last edited by PurpleSkyz on Fri Jun 03, 2016 12:39 pm; edited 1 time in total