Ladies and gentlemen, before I make myself scarce, I would like to give you a very short version of the magnificent story of my death – and, please, understand that I am in a hurry, because in but a few minutes Jasmine will appear and I would find it totally inappropriate if she were to meet me while…
The best way to tell this story is to begin with another death fantasy of mine! Namely the one when, for the first time, I was going to throw my deeply detested wife Abigail Hadley at the wall of our chimney chamber very realistically!
And I have to admit – even if this is not necessarily one of my life’s highlights – that, from the first moment, the image of the ’splashy impact’ of her contour-lacking body was not the only thing I dearly longed for. In fact, the mental concept of the sinfully expensive Francis Bacon hanging opposite the chimney being taken down followed immediately. Strangely enough, the thing I envisaged along with Abigail ’splashing ’ on the freshly designed white wall was that of her subsequently being transformed to become one of those expanding relief portraits with the help of a few quick mummifying tricks and a golden frame which these days are shown even in the Tate Gallery. …
For myself and my pixyish Jasmine, it would certainly have been an often dreamt dream come true if Abigail – silently agreeing – were to drape the wall behind us in this heroic way while we emptied our glassed of champagne saluting her from the light-coloured bear fur in front of the chimney…
My God – what a great little joke this would have been for my fun-loving Jasmine! But unfortunately, this was not what came to pass! Because this happy-go-lucky angel Jasmine, who virtually emanated lust for life and vitality, fell into a heavy coma on November, 21st at twelve o’ clock noon totally unexpectedly – I will never forget that day!
And none of our so highly praised London doctors had even the faintest idea how this could have happened! The entire assembled London medical fraternity of the famous ’Royal Brompton Hospital’ knew of nothing to say or do except shake their heads sheepishly and blow their noses when confronted with this terrible event!
I am sure you cannot imagine what it means if such combined helplessness is thrown at someone like me! Me, Sir Ethan Hadley, the greatest magician of England, who is at home on all the world’s show stages and whose financial situation is such that I could easily have bought up this entire sorry heap of doctors and let them rot! Or even better: I could have cut every one of these incompetent “dottores” up into small, ’anti-septic pieces’ with my saw without ever having to fear any kinds of conseuences at all!
But even those, admittedly evil fantasies, were basically only how I coped with my absolute helplessness when faced with this bottomless bumbling incompetence of the London doctors!
This might well also be the reason why, at the time, I lost it so totally, spontaneously yelled at the doctor standing nearest to me and slapped him in the face rather loudly! Without another word, I stormed out of this damned hospital head over heal, spent several days roaming through all the rooms of my huge property at Esher, promised ruthless revenge, hid in every mouse hole I could find, eventually fell onto a heap of oily rags in a total state of exhaustion and wanted nothing more than die.…
And if Bob, our caretaker, had not accidentally found me at the time after I had been sick into the oily stink of the rags several times, I am sure I would have kissed this world good-bye without further ado. Yet it would have been even more embarrassing if Bradley, our butler, instead of Bob, had found me at the time! He certainly could easily have killed and disposed of me there and then. I am sure he would have done anything for money! This, however, is something I must admit to not yet having known at the time …
The only strange thing about it was that, from the moment Jasmine had disappeared from everybody’s sphere, my entire conniving mesh poke suddenly was ever so touchingly concerned about me! Even my eternally dribbling Abigail seemed to be a new person: in an unexpectedly tender way, she cared for and pampered me day and night. And I must admit that it felt nice – I enjoyed these long-missed benefactions more than I like to admit.
Naturally, along with Abigail, my agent Florence Bloomfield made her immediate appearance. She tried to distract and stabilize me by proposing numerous appointments! In fact, I even had to use all my persuasion to keep her from starting a new world tour with me immediately! In order to pacify her, I made her understand that there was really no time for this, since I needed her for a very personal task!
And – now this is only between you and me – I expected as much reliability and discretion of her as of Freya, the black sheep of the glorious Nelson family! Incidentally, in the noble Nelson family, who are extremely proud of tracing their line back to Admiral Nelson, Abigail’s younger sister Freya defined herself more through ’latex and leather’‚ which meant that she had a very creative and successful way of satisfying even the most out-of-the-way fantasies of London High Society in her atelier – as she called it! Yes, I must admit – I am also one of those who had huge respect for her! I appreciated her immense professional standards, her hidden sympathy towards myself and her mute understanding when she helped me to relax with her hard whip and barking commands – I will spare you the details!
As expected, Florence acted with similar professionalism when I told her to initiate the foundation ’Doctors for Brains’ in my name. In this way, I want to be able to have the maximum possible influence on Jasmines recuperation process.
Of course, Florence was present during the first discussions with Professor Gordon, who is a well-known expert when it comes to coma patients. Even the most hopeless cases were re-awakened by him. But then, during a confidential interview, he confronted me with information that caused a new state of shock in me.
Incidentally, I am not ashamed to admit that, without Freya and her – let me call it – ’despotic care’, I would never have been able to cope with this new blow on the back of my neck, let alone with the diagnosis of Professor Gordon!
”… we have to assume”, he said, “that your acquaintance, Jasmine Moore, has been administered a poison injection! Even if this is now hard for you to bear, I have to tell you that it really seems like she was to have been killed, but the amount of poison needed was incorrectly calculated”.
”O My God”, I moaned, “who on earth would want this? This is totally absurd!“
”I do not know, mister Hadlay, but I am absolutely certain that the poison that was injected is identical with the one the Amazon Indians are still using to poison their arrows today“!
”Please do not say this, Professor Gordon”, I begged him, “please, no …!”, because I knew immediately what this would have meant: after all, Abigail’s brother was an anthropologist who had been working and doing research in the Amazon region for many years.
And when, on top of everything else, I discovered that my agent Florence Bloomfield had set out to cheat me out of a few million dollars when she organized the foundation ’Doctors for Brains’, it was, of course, Freya, who punished me in the most agreeable way for my stupid blind confidence with face mask and whip. This is something I have to admit to quite honestly, since today is obviously confession day!
Even more so since the situation grew worse through the joyful yet rather disastrous additional call by Professor Gordon! In fact, since he told me on the telephone that my much-loved Jasmine Moore finally came out of her coma after three years, even Freya suddenly belonged to those people I now had to fear – even tonight!
In retrospect, however, I also can assure you that I will never again go and attend my own funeral: because you really cannot imagine how my angel Jasmine, who at the time had just come out of her coma, suffered during my funeral. Incidentally, I myself would not have believed it, either! Neither could I watch it! Consequently, I left the assembled mourners during my own consecration ceremony. Of course, this is impossible behaviour! But then, everything about this lie of a funeral ceremony was nothing else:I was among the mourners wearing a perfect mask that made me look like Butler Bradley, while Bradley himself silently lay in the consecrated coffin.…
My God – what a scene had he made when I, who had been presumed dead, stepped out of the coffin unharmed shortly before the consecration ceremony and ordered the overwhelmed ’camouflage killer’ to lie in the box in my stead. To make his next few hours a little easier, I offered him a potent special drink. Well, I would not really want to elaborate, but Bradley certainly did not empty his ’cup of hemlock’ anywhere near as courageously as that Socrates had done, you can believe me! .In fact, he even went so far as to beg for his miserable, small life in a disgustingly feminine fashion! He sobbed until his eyes fell out of his head and told me all the names of those who had ordered him to eliminate me for quite a sum without me having even asked for those names – and I have to tell you we are talking practically all the persons I mentioned tonight, of course, with the exception of my much-loved Jasmine. But I guess she will go totally crazy when she hears about me still living!
Naturally, Freya was not among those names, either. But she suddenly started hating me when I made her understand that, from now on, I was going to exist exclusively for Jasmine! And since I know only too well what Freya can do to me without me having anything to fight her with, I want to hide somewhere outside Europe as fast as possible, maybe even tonight – but where?
Well, it has to be a place where it is always warm and where you can get macro-biological food. Besides, Jasmine hates all sorts of small animals, in particular cockroaches and mosquitoes! And I need a written guarantee that this strange German Boris Becker with his Lilly will never cross my path. Because that is something that must not happen at all!
But now I really have to make myself scarce: Jasmine can turn up every second now and I really would not wish to inflict her hysterical outcries on you! A very good evening to all of you! I am sure some of you will meet me again at Freya’s – but do not have any illusions about discovering me there! By now, my face masks and all-body corsages are more than perfect; not even Freya will know if the famous magician Sir Ethan Hadley is still deigning to visit her establishment.
(Translated by EG)